What's a Modernist?

A biretta tip to Fr. John Zuhlsdorf for this wonderful piece of humor that he came across on Catholic Church Conservation.  When they stop believing in God, they call themselves modernists.  They being the Church of England but would also apply to many Catholic prelates and laymen here in the United States and around the world.

(Biretta Tip: Catholic Church Conservation via Fr. John Zuhlsforf)

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  1. Thank you Tito, I haven’t laughed so hard this week! We laugh because it’s funny and we laugh because it’s true!

  2. “They being the Church of England but would also apply to many Catholic prelates …in the United States and around the world.”

    Tito’s at it again.

    He simpy cannot seem to live his faith without scapegoating many American (and international)prelates in the process.

    At least he is not naming names again.

    That’s spiritual progess, maybe.

  3. Remember…he has actually charged her that many prelates (U.S. and worldwide) of having stopped BELIEVING IN GOD.

    How does he know this? Does he have sources willing to go on record? A special charism of discernment in these matters?

  4. “When they stop believing in God, they call themselves modernists.”

    How many self- described “modernist” prelates are there? Very few, I would imagine. Rather, isn’t it usually a label tagged on by others who disagree with their pastoral approach…. and are perhaps lacking in faith themselves? Just something to ponder…

  5. “How many self- described “modernist” prelates are there?”

    Lots in the Anglican Church ever since John Robinson’s Honest to God book in the sixties.


    The good news regarding modernists is that they tend to destroy the sects that embrace them as they have done in the Anglican Church. I doubt if they will do lasting harm to Christianity. The bad news is that they destroy the faith of those few who do embrace their “updating” of the faith.

  6. Donald,

    John Robinson is a pretty complex case. His biblical scholarship often questions so- called modernist presuppositions. There is much to take issue with in his work, for sure, but I doubt that he would think of himself as a “modernist” today. And can we really accuse any Catholic prelates of modernism, as defined by the Church?

    I just think we should be careful tagging people as modernists. There was a period in the Church when the reigning opinion was that Henri de Lubac and Congar were modernists. I’m sure that Ratzinger was considered one by the conservatives at the eve of VII.

  7. “The Church of England is trying to be more relevant”

    “To God?”

    “Of course not!”

    Hahaha….so true…reminds me of Notre Dame….

  8. Brian, you are correct that the Bishop of Woolwich, CS Lewis, who didn’t think much of Honest to God, referred to him privately as the Bishop of Woolsworth, argued for an early dating of the Gospels, and that is a credit to his intellectual honesty. However, I think the contention that his book gave a huge impetus to modernism is uncontroversial. As to his position today, since he died in 1983 I truly have no clue, although during his lifetime he was always firmly in the camp of those most eager to overturn traditional Christian beliefs. The most important theological battles are no longer between the Church, our separated brethen, and the disputes among their sects, but within the Church and within the sects between those who believe that Jesus is God as part of the trinity, and those who at bottom reject all of this as superstitious mumbo-jumbo. That of course is why modernism, I actually would call it agnosticism-lite, is a path to extinction for any group within Christianity that embraces it. Why attend a “church” that really believes in nothing, can promise nothing after the grave, and might as well be flying a flag atop its steeple with a question mark emblazoned upon it?

  9. Well said Donald.

    The demands of the Catholic Church may be difficult, but the rewards are eternal. I may make mistakes, but I try my best to rectify them and follow the path that Jesus as set out for me.

    I love the Catholic Church unconditionally.

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