St. Pius X on the Attack

After fleshing out the tactics of the Modernists, Pope St. Pius X outlines a plan of attack for his papacy to combat Modernists. He acknowledges that Pope Leo XIII had fought Modernists, but the Modernists were able to twist the words of the Pontiff and convince others that he really was talking about others, not themselves. But St. Pius X realizes that more efficacious measures are needed. He implores all bishops, pastors of souls, educators and professors of clerics, and in a very special way the superiors of religious communities to help him in taking the following actions:

Teach Scholasticism Everywhere

We will and strictly ordain that scholastic philosophy be made the basis of the sacred sciences. (§45)

Bishops and superiors of religious orders need to implement this, especially in seminaries where scholasticism has been neglected. Pius also reminds professors that they cannot set aside St. Thomas, especially in metaphysical questions, without grave disadvantage.

Theology must be founded on scholastic philosophy. (§46) Clerics should have a deep admiration and love of theology, and find in it a source of delight. Using true history to expound on positive theology is praiseworthy, but positive theology cannot be taught to the exclusion of scholastic theology.

Also, while study of the natural sciences in seminaries is fine, make sure that their study is not undertaken to the point that the study of theology is neglected.

Be Careful in Making Appointments

In §48, Pope St. Pius X admonishes that everything discussed previously with regards to seminary should be kept in mind when picking directors and professors for seminaries and Catholic Universities. If you are making appointments for these offices, exclude anyone tainted with Modernism. If perchance an office is held by a Modernist, just remove him. Also remove anyone who:

  • makes excuses for Modernist behavior in others;
  • carps at scholasticism, the Church Fathers, or the Magisterium;
  • refuses obediance to ecclesiastical authority;
  • loves novelty in history, archaeology, and biblical exegesis;
  • neglects the sacred sciences, or appears to prefer the secular sciences.

Be Careful when Ordaining Priests

Everything that has been said above completely applies to candidates for Holy Orders.

In addition, Pius admonishes those in authority to not give a doctorate of theology or canon law to someone who hasn’t studied scholastic philosophy. Going even further than that, in this section (§49) he uses his papal authority to take away doctorates in theology or canon law from those who have not studied scholastic philosophy.

Stamp Out Modernist Reading Materials

Bishops must stop Modernist works from being read if they’ve already been published, and hinder them from publication if they’ve not yet been published. Seminarians and university students are not allowed to read Modernist drivel.

Bishops must drive pernicious books being circulated out of their dioceses. There are simply too many for the Holy See to handle by itself. Bishops have a right and an obligation to do so. Where it makes sense, deprive Catholic booksellers of the title “Catholic” if they refuse obedience in getting rid of Modernist books.

Bishops need censors to help with suppressing all these writings. Pope St. Pius X outlines his vision for this position in §52-53.

Restrict Congresses of Priests

In §54, Pius X enjoins Bishops not to permit congresses of priests except on very rare occasions, as they are a prime tool of the Modernists for spreading their opinions. If a Bishop does permit one, it cannot discuss “matters appertaining to the Bishops or the Apostolic See”. It cannot produce resolutions or petitions that might imply usurping sacred authority. Nothing can be said in a congress that savors of Modernism, presbyterianism, or laicism. If a Bishop does give written permission for a congress, priests from other dioceses may not attend without written permission from their Ordinary.

Start a “Council of Vigilance”

In §55, Pius X tells bishops to start a watchdog council in their diocese to be on the lookout for, and advise the bishop on, Modernism in the diocese. This “Council of Vigilance” should meet bimonthly in the presence of the bishop. As part of their charter, they should:

  • watch for Modernism both in publications and in teaching
  • take measures against Modernism based on what they find
  • combat novelties of words in books or lectures

Check back with the Pope

One year after the publication of Pascendi, and every three years afterwards, Bishops were to present a sworn report on how the above decrees are being implemented in their diocese. Generals of religious orders were to do the same for those in their charge.

*This post is part of a series on Pascendi Dominici Gregis. Click here for more posts on Pascendi and Modernism.*