Showing posts with label Scholasticism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scholasticism. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Condemnation of Action Française and the Birth of Vatican II

Edit: We received this interesting piece which addresses the life of Father Roger Thomas Calmel, O.P., about some of the preliminaries that led to Vatican II and the defeat of scholasticism in France, which took place well in advance of the fateful year of 1963. We've also attached the postscript by Roberto de Mattei. This was originally posted on Rorate Caeli, but taken down for some reason:

Posted by Sacerdos Romanus at 2/27/2016 @ Rorate-Caeli

Pope Pius XI’s condemnation of a political party supported by many French Catholic royalists was a revival of the ralliement of Pope Leo XIII, a dangerous ecclesiastical policy that was reversed by St. Pius X [see comment below]. The condemnation paved the way for the rise of a new theology that would be of great influence at Vatican II.


The Condemnation of Action Française and the Birth of the Nouvelle Theologie

Anthony Sistrom

The Condemnation of Action Française signaled the end of Thomist dominance in French seminary studies and the arrival of the nouvelle theologie. As a result three leading Thomists were fired from their jobs: Fr. Henri LeFloch, cssp, rector of the French seminary in Rome, Cardinal Louis Billot, SJ who taught at the Greg and Fr. Thomas Pegues, OP regent of studies at St. Maximin in Provence.

On the eve of the Condemnation, Fr. Marie Vincent Bernadot, OP and Fr. Etienne Lajeunie, OP met with Pius XI. They found common goals. Pius XI wanted to normalize relations with the French government and an opening for his beloved Catholic Action. Frs. Bernadot and Lajeunie wanted the removal of Fr. Pegues from his post at St. Maximin and a ban on Action Française as the bastion of Thomism.

In the wake of the condemnation Fr. Bernadot would launch his journal, La Vie Intellectuelle and a publishing house, Editions du Cerf that would publish Catholicism by Fr. Henri de Lubac, SJ. The conventional account of this affair is newly told by Fr. Peter Bernardi, SJ “Action Française Catholicism and Opposition to Vatican II’s Dignitatis Humanae” in the festschrift A Realist Church: Essays in honor of Fr. Joseph Komonchak. Fr. Bernardi tries to convict Cardinal Billot of antiliberalism, failing to convict Pius XI for a monumental error which Pius XII would reverse in his first act as pope. Vide Philippe Prevost, “Condamnation de l’Action française : preferer la verite historique a route papolatrie.” But the last word belongs to a saint. Fr. Roger Thomas Calmel, OP writes at the end of his life (1974):

Between the two modernisms there was the savage condemnation of Action Francaise; in that lamentable affair a pope very authoritarian unable to understand that his repressive operations carried out according to his desire, had no. other outcome than disaster; first the crushing of Catholics attached to the Syllabus, then the rise of an episcopacy not opposed to modern errors; regarding the famous Catholic Action, it would not find any advantage other than politicizing itself and bending in the direction of socialism.

“The ralliement of Leo XIII: a pastoral experience that moved away from doctrine” – by Roberto de Mattei

Posted by New Catholic at 3/19/2015 @

Roberto de Mattei

Corrispondenza Romana

March 18, 2015

The 1905 Separation, the complete failure of Leo XIII’s policy of ralliement: “The Separation: ‘Let us separate – I will keep your assets.'”

Leo XIII (1878-1903) was certainly one of the most important Popes in modern times, not only for the length of his pontificate, second only to Blessed Pius IX’s, but above all for the extent and richness of his Magisterium. His teaching includes encyclicals of fundamental importance, such as Aeterni Patris (1879) on the restoration of Thomist philosophy, Arcanum (1880) on the indissolubility of marriage, Humanum genus (1884) against Masonry, L’Immortale Dei (1885) on the Christian constitution of the States and Rerum Novarum (1891) on the question of work and social life.

The Magisterium of Pope Gioacchino Pecci appears as an organic corpus, in continuation with the teachings of his predecessor Pius IX as well as his successor Pius X. The real turning point and novelty of the Leonine pontificate, by contrast, is in regard to his ecclesiastical politics and pastoral approach to modernity. Leo XIII’s government was characterized in fact, by the ambitious project of reaffirming the Primate of the Apostolic See through a redefinition of its relationship with the European States and the reconciliation of the Church with the modern world. The politics of ralliement, that is, of reconciliation with the French, secular, Masonic Third Republic, formed its basis.

The Third Republic was conducting a violent campaign of de-Christianization, particularly in the scholastic field. For Leo XIII, the responsibility of this anticlericalism lay with the monarchists who were fighting the Republic in the name of their Catholic faith. In this way they were provoking the hate of the republicans against Catholicism. In order to disarm the republicans, it was necessary to convince them that the Church was not adverse to the Republic, but only to secularism. And to convince them, he retained that there was no other way than to support the republican institutions.

In reality, the Third Republic was not an abstract republic, but the centralized Jacobin daughter of the French Revolution. Its program of secularization in France was not an accessory element, but the reason itself for the existence of the republican regime. The republicans were what they were because they were anti-Catholic. They hated the Church in the Monarchy, in the same way that the monarchists were anti-republican because they were Catholics who loved the Church in the Monarchy. The encyclical Au milieu des solicitudes of 1891, through which Leo XIII launched the ralliement did not ask Catholics to become republicans, but the instructions from the Holy See to nuncios and bishops, coming from the Pontiff himself, interpreted his encyclical in this sense. Unprecedented pressure was exercised on the faithful, even going as far as making them believe that whoever continued to support the monarchy publically was committing a grave sin. Catholics were split into two currents of the “ralliés” and the “réfractaires”, as had happened in 1791, at the time of the civil Constitution for clergy. The ralliés accepted the Pope’s pastoral indications as they attached infallibility to his words in all fields, including those political and pastoral.

The réfractaires who were Catholics with better theological and spiritual formation, on the other hand, resisted the politics of ralliement, retaining that, inasmuch as it was a pastoral act, it could not be considered infallible and thus could be erroneous. Jean Madiran, who did a lucid critique of ralliement (in Les deux démocraties, NEL, Paris 1977), noted that Leo XIII had asked the monarchists to abandon the monarchy in the name of religion in order to conduct a more efficacious battle in defense of the faith. Except that, far from fighting this battle, with the ralliement, he effected a ruinous policy of détente with the enemies of the Church.

Despite Leo XIII and his Secretary of State Mariano Rampolla’s endeavor, this policy of dialogue was a sensational failure and unable to obtain the objectives it proposed. The Anti-Christian behavior of the Third Republic increased in violence, until culminating in Loi concernant la Séparation des Eglises et de l’Etat on December 9th 1905, known as “the Combes law” which suppressed all financing and public recognition of the Church; it considered religion merely in the private dimension and not in the social one; it established that ecclesiastical goods be confiscated by the State, while buildings of worship were given over gratuitously to “associations cultuelles” elected by the faithful, without Church approval. The Concordat of 1801, that had for a century regulated the relations between France and the Holy See, and that Leo XIII had desired to preserve at all costs, fell wretchedly to pieces.

The republican battle against the Church, however, encountered the new Pope along its way, – Pius X, elected to the Papal throne on August 4th 1903. With his encyclicals Vehementer nos of February 11th 1906, Gravissimo officii of August 10th of the same year, Une fois encore of January 6th 1907, Pius X, assisted by his Secretary of State Raffaele Merry del Val, he protested solemnly against the secular laws, urging Catholics to oppose them through all legal means, with the aim of conserving the traditions and values of Catholic France. Faced with this determination, the Third Republic did not dare activate the persecution fully, so as to avoid the creation of martyrs, and thus renounced the closing of the churches and the imprisonment of priests. Pius X’s politics without concessions, proved to be far-sighted. The law of separation was never applied with rigor and the Pope’s appeal contributed to a great rebirth of Catholicism in France on the eve of the First World War. Pius X’s ecclesiastical politics, the opposite of his predecessor’s, represents, in the final analysis, an unappealable historical condemnation of the ralliement.

Leo XIII never professed liberal errors, on the contrary, he explicitly condemned them. The historian, nevertheless, cannot ignore the contradiction between Pope Pecci’s Magisterium and his political and pastoral stance. In the encyclicals Diuturnum illud, Immortale Dei e Libertas, he reiterated and developed the political doctrine of Gregory XVI and Pius IX, but the policy of ralliement contradicted his doctrinal premises. Leo XIII, far from his intentions, encouraged, at the level of praxis, those ideas and tendencies that he condemned on the doctrinal level. If we attribute the significance of a spiritual attitude to the word liberal, of a political tendency to concessions and compromise, we have to conclude that Leo XIII had a liberal spirit. This liberal spirit was manifested principally as an attempt to resolve the problems posed by modernity, through the arms of diplomatic negotiation and compromises, rather than with the intransigence of principles and a political and cultural battle. In this sense, as I have shown in my recent volume Il ralliement di Leone XIII. Il fallimento di un progetto pastorale (Le Lettere, Florence 2014), the principal consequences of ralliement, were of a psychological and cultural order more than a political one. To this strategy the ecclesiastic “Third Party” was called upon, which throughout the 20th century tried to find an intermediate position between modernists and anti-modernists who were contending the issue.

The spirit of ralliement with the modern world has been around for more than a century, and the great temptation to which the Church is exposed to, is still [with us]. In this regard, a Pope of great doctrine such as Leo XIII made a grave error in pastoral strategy. The prophetic strength of St. Pius X is the opposite, in the intimate coherence of his pontificate between evangelical Truth and the life of the Church in the modern world, between theory and praxis, between doctrine and pastoral care, with no yielding to the lures of modernity.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

As 800th Anniversary of the Founding of the Dominicans Nears, Birthplace of Thomism is Closed

Empty Halls of the Dominicans
(Rome) The Dominican Order is one of the most glorious orders of the Catholic Church.  Officially recognized as a religious order in 1215, its members devoted themselves to living in poverty as preachers of the Community of Saint Dominic to combat the Cathar heresy and for the conversion of the Cathars. Just before the Order could celebrate its 800th anniversary, one monastery after another must be closed due to shortage of young workers.  Including traditional-worthy  houses in Graz, Florence, and in Friesach the oldest monastery in the German-speaking areas and in Naples even the monastery of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
The monastery in Graz, Austria has been abandoned after 547 years. The history of the monastery was as changeable as the times. Founded in 1466, a move took place in the 16th Century. The oldest Dominican Church is an urban parish church today. The new monastery was lost in the "Cloister Storm" of the Enlightenment and was expropriated in 1807 by the Emperor. The former Dominican monastery now houses a convention center whose premises can be rented. The Dominicans then were referred to a third location in the city and took over the also abolished Augustinian Hermitage at Münzgraben. In 1832 they had to hand it over to the Jesuits, but were able to return in 1857. In 2012  the decision of the South German-Austrian Province of the Order of St. Albert, was made to dissolve the monastery and in the summer of 2013 it was abandoned.

Oldest Dominican Convent in the German Area Only "Pastoral Station"

The oldest Dominican monastery in the German-speaking world, the monastery in Carinthia Friesach,  was founded in 1216 just one year after the order was recognized, has been dissolved in 2010 by the Province of the Order. Friesach still exists as a Dominican pastoral station. In Austria there is thus nothing more than one Dominican monastery, the one in Vienna. In the Province of Southern Germany-Austria also gives you some monastery convents in Freiburg im Breisgau, Munich and Augsburg.
The prestigious convent of Naples was closed. San Domenico Maggior has been  a spiritual center of scholasticism since 1302. St. Thomas Aquinas took the Dominican habit at the age of 19 there in Naples. In this monastery he wrote a large part of his Summa contra Gentiles in 1259, founded a general study in 1272  which is  what we now know as the Faculty of Theology, and in 1274 wrote the third part of the Summa Theologiae.  The  great saint lived till 1274 in the convent of Naples, when he set out for the Council of Lyons. He could not come back because he died on the voyage.
His theology remained in the monastery  and developed from there a positive effect on the church. The Second Vatican Council strongly recommends the Saints as  teachers ( Optatam Totius, No. 16 ) and to follow the footsteps of the Holy ( Gravissimum educationis, No. 10 ). Church law especially recommends following "the doctrine of St. Thomas" to follow (for the formation of clergy Can. 251.3 ).

Monastery of Saint Thomas Aquinas Will be Closed Down - Not an Isolated Case

But now to the monastery where St. Thomas entered, had been formed,  lived and worked, will be abandoned. A similar decision was taken by the provincial chapter of the Order. The monastery church of San Domenico Maggiore, in the historic center is one of the main churches of Naples. The graves of leaders over 800 years are in it. Many artists such as Titian and Caravaggio have designed their interiors. The Monastery was for centuries the seat of the Province of the Order Regni utriusque Siciliae that covered all of Southern Italy and Sicily, equipped with a Faculty of Theology and a rich library. In this monastery renowned theological and philosophical journals were published. It was only 23 years ago that was Philosophical Institute St. Thomas Aquinas was established. "The fact that after 800 years, this center with such a heritage is put to quite an unspectacular  end, is something incredible in itself," says Mauro Faverzani of Corrispondenza Romana .
"A tragic incident, but not an isolated case," said Faverzani. Almost at the same time, the closure of the monastery of San Marco in Florence, it was decided by another Dominican Province, where the Order had been since 1436. Another center of asceticism, of art, of intellectual debate, which housed the co-patron of the St. Antoninus of Florence, as well as Maxim the Greek, whom the Orthodox venerate as a saints, but also Savonarola, Cosimo de 'Medici, Pico della Mirandola and the St. Philip Neri. Part of the monastery, the first renowned library of modern times, which was opened to the public in general, as an apothecary of European importance. Now this monastery is also dissolved, although only recently extensive and costly renovations were performed. The Provincial Government is of the opinion that two convents in Florence (the other is located at the Church of Santa Maria Novella), is a "luxury". However, an abandoned site is to be managed by the future surviving pastoral location. Reference is made to the lack of friars.
In Rome there are also two convents in two monasteries, which are close together, both are only a few brothers. Nevertheless, it holds by the Rule on both, addressed by Fratres ibique habitualiter degentes   (Constitutions No. 260.1).

On "Spirit of the Council" Follows "Bureaucratic Spirit" - Serious   Research Isn't Undertaken

"In order to justify what is unjustifiable,   bureaucratic thinking has also entered into the spiritual realm," said Corrispondenza Romana . In the interviews given by Dominicans in Florence, therefore, is much talk of "reorganization", "rationalization", "redeployment of resources" as they give to themselves  a business mentality. Believers have now directed an appeal to the General Master of the Order, to take back "the legitimate, but spiritually and culturally deadly decision." The General Master will soon visit all three Italian Dominican Provinces.
The Dominican Order was not only the first order, which powerfully inhaled the "spirit of the Council", but also to the first order, but is among the first that spread this "spirit" abroad with enthusiasm. Leading representatives of the Nouvelle Theology came from the Order of Preachers. Declining vocations, empty seminaries and now the shutting down of the monasteries shows how lethal the "Spirit of the Council" is.

Way Out of Crisis is about Return to the Charism of the Founder

The progressive stream carried by the "Spirit of the Council"  in the Church responded to the crisis "both structurally" with the dissolution of cloisters and the closure of the monasteries. A root cause analysis, as to how it could come to such a disastrous development  within 50 years, has not been accomplished . Thus, a serious search is bypassed for a remedy. There are Dominican forces, which show that there is another way and a return to the charism of the Founder is not only possible, but also represents the way out of the crisis. They are isolated in Europe, but stronger in parts of North America.
Text: CR / Giuseppe Nardi
image: Corrispondenza Romana
Trans: Tancred