Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ven. Pius XII's Condemnation of the Nouvelle Theologie

From Pope Ven. Pius XII's encyclical Humani Generis: 

13. These new opinions, whether they originate from a reprehensible desire of novelty or from a laudable motive, are not always advanced in the same degree, with equal clarity nor in the same terms, nor always with unanimous agreement of their authors. Theories that today are put forward rather covertly by some, not without cautions and distinctions, tomorrow are openly and without moderation proclaimed by others more audacious, causing scandal to many, especially among the young clergy and to the detriment of ecclesiastical authority. Though they are usually more cautious in their published works, they express themselves more openly in their writings intended for private circulation and in conferences and lectures. Moreover, these opinions are disseminated not only among members of the clergy and in seminaries and religious institutions, but also among the laity, and especially among those who are engaged in teaching youth.

14. In theology some want to reduce to a minimum the meaning of dogmas; and to free dogma itself from terminology long established in the Church and from philosophical concepts held by Catholic teachers, to bring about a return in the explanation of Catholic doctrine to the way of speaking used in Holy Scripture and by the Fathers of the Church. They cherish the hope that when dogma is stripped of the elements which they hold to be extrinsic to divine revelation, it will compare advantageously with the dogmatic opinions of those who are separated from the unity of the Church and that in this way they will gradually arrive at a mutual assimilation of Catholic dogma with the tenets of the dissidents.

15. Moreover, they assert that when Catholic doctrine has been reduced to this condition, a way will be found to satisfy modern needs, that will permit of dogma being expressed also by the concepts of modern philosophy, whether of immanentism or idealism or existentialism or any other system. Some more audacious affirm that this can and must be done, because they hold that the mysteries of faith are never expressed by truly adequate concepts but only by approximate and ever changeable notions, in which the truth is to some extent expressed, but is necessarily distorted. Wherefore they do not consider it absurd, but altogether necessary, that theology should substitute new concepts in place of the old ones in keeping with the various philosophies which in the course of time it uses as its instruments, so that it should give human expression to divine truths in various ways which are even somewhat opposed, but still equivalent, as they say. They add that the history of dogmas consists in the reporting of the various forms in which revealed truth has been clothed, forms that have succeeded one another in accordance with the different teachings and opinions that have arisen over the course of the centuries.

16. It is evident from what We have already said, that such tentatives not only lead to what they call dogmatic relativism, but that they actually contain it....

See also: Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP - "Where is the New Theology Leading Us?"

1 comment:

Geremia said...

When De Chardin met Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, he told a friend, after Fr. G.-L. left: "This is the man who wants to burn me at the stake!" (reported in The Sacred Monster of Thomism by Fr. Peddicord, O.P.)

"Pius XII's encyclical Humani Generis (1950) completely rejected the Teilhardian position on evolution. Teilhard was furious and he accused the encyclical of exhibiting a 'masochism and sadism of orthodoxy.' The encyclical appeared to require the faithful to 'swallow the truth under its crudest and stupidest forms.' The Church failed to recognize that the theories of relativity and evolution were as critical to understanding God as the constant refinement of dogmas." —Between Science & Religion by Phillip Thompson (p. 74; original source: Speaight, Teilhard, 299.)

De Chardin must disagree that "the whole science of natural and divine things is based" on "the capital theses in the philosophy of St. Thomas", as Pope St. Pius X wrote in Doctoris Angelici.