07 April 2009

"an incredible audacity under a mock semblance of humility"

Sent to me by an up and coming young Dominican. . .

Pius X, Pascendi Dominici gregis:

With all this in mind, one understands how it is that the Modernists express astonishment when they are reprimanded or punished. What is imputed to them as a fault they regard as a sacred duty. They understand the needs of consciences better than anyone else, since they come into closer touch with them than does the ecclesiastical authority. Nay, they embody them, so to speak, in themselves. Hence, for them to speak and to write publicly is a bounden duty. Let authority rebuke them if it pleases -- they have their own conscience on their side and an intimate experience which tells them with certainty that what they deserve is not blame but praise.

Then they reflect that, after all, there is no progress without a battle and no battle without its victims; and victims they are willing to be like the prophets and Christ Himself. They have no bitterness in their hearts against the authority which uses them roughly, for after all they readily admit that it is only doing its duty as authority. Their sole grief is that it remains deaf to their warnings, for in this way it impedes the progress of souls, but the hour will most surely come when further delay will be impossible, for if the laws of evolution may be checked for a while they cannot be finally evaded. And thus they go their way, reprimands and condemnations not withstanding, masking an incredible audacity under a mock semblance of humility.

While they make a pretense of bowing their heads, their minds and hands are more boldly intent than ever on carrying out their purposes. And this policy they follow willingly and wittingly, both because it is part of their system that authority is to be stimulated but not dethroned, and because it is necessary for them to remain within the ranks of the Church in order that they may gradually transform the collective conscience. And in saying this, they fail to perceive that they are avowing that the collective conscience is not with them, and that they have no right to claim to be its interpreters.


  1. One can only wonder, then, in our current environment of dissent how different the normal Catholics act under pressure from their "progressive" superiors. It pains the normal folks a great deal more to have to withstand authority, and as a consequence they usually don't.

  2. StM.,

    Yup. You are right. What's really galling is when those progressive superiors use canonical sanctions against orthodox priests and religious. Pleas of conscience are rarely heard...unless they are coming from the correct sort of consciences. How many bishops and superiors tolerate dissent and outright rebellion against the Church when it comes from fellow progressives, yet smack down those who want to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass or institute Adoration? Sad, I know.

  3. Anonymous9:43 AM

    So, how does obedience fit in when being led by a "progressive superior"? As a convert and now a secular Carmelite, I have studied and struggled with obedience. I found it easy with Pope John Paul II and was releived when Pope Benedict was chosen. I have wondered how I would react if a "progressive" made it to the top. Obedience says I follow God's will in the form of the superior's direction. I already struggle with the progressive things allowed by our 60's trained pastor. What's one to do?


  4. Dennis,

    In matters of conscience (a well-formed one!), we are not obliged to obey anyone; meaning, that if a superior of any sort tells you to murder or steal or rape or pillage, etc., you are not obliged to obey. Ninety-nine percent of the stuff we get our knickers in a twist about when it comes to our superiors doesn't fall under this heading. For example, liturgical styles, habits, etc. This is why obedience is often tested in the small things not the big ones.