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Monday, October 7, 2013

Primacy: How the Institutional Roman Catholic Church Became a Creature of the New World Order

"Primacy: How the Institutional Roman Catholic Church Became a Creature of the New World Order" was to be Father Martin's last book. Then he was murdered, same as Father Vincent Miceli was a few years before. Whenever anyone who knows the inside tells the truth about the Vatican since its total Apostasy from God at Vatican II, the Judenratz-Freemasonic crime cartel Rosicrucian Satanists will murder them.

Doctrinally, at the core of the Apostasy of Vatican II was and is Modernism. Below is Father Malachi Martin's expose of that evil godless heresy.

This is from: The Jesuits, The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church, by Malachi Martin 1987, ISBN: 0-671-54505-1
All copyrighted sources are quoted and used for comment and education in accord with the nonprofit provisions of: Title 17 U.S.C., Section 107. The use of all these sources is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C., Section 107 and is protected under the Fair Use doctrine.
pp. 264-284 Wherein Father Martin’s history and indictment of the Modernists is presented. Father Martin utterly rejected modernism and showed it for what it was, the rejection of God and His Christ and the whole faith.
“We humans have our rightful place in the long, still-unfolding drama, the biological adventure that is cosmic development,” said the nineteenth-century unbeliever, looking up from his microscope. “From the worm up to man! Come! Join in!”
The new humanism underlined our privilege of being human together in a purely material cosmos. It championed human membership in that cosmos as something inherent in cosmic history, a happenstance that dated from remote beginnings in the primeval “soup” of lifeless chemicals on an ancient morning, all the way to the erect posture of Homo sapiens, and down to the scientist, the scholar at work on fossils and atoms, and his more practical- minded colleagues, the new social engineers. We are “brothers of the boulders, sisters of the stars,” in the words of one latter-day scientist.
Everything about the new unbelief was different from the past. In its heyday during the nineteenth and three-quarters of the twentieth centuries, the new unbelievers and those who understood them called the new attitude or outlook “being modem” or “modernist.” Modernism became the normal mode of thinking congenial to the unbelievers of Western nations. The Modernist mind foresees all sorts of “goodies” for mankind, and quite a spectacular development, if people will only consent to change.
The one obstacle to that sustained and spectacular development Modernism promised was a certain stubborn resistance to change, a certain fixity of religious belief, the clinging by many to ancient dogmas. Of course, any organized religion presented such an obstacle. But, for the new race of unbelievers and Modernists, the Christian churches and in particular the Roman Catholic Church were the prime creators of the obstacle.
No church, however, had had the history of the Catholic Church in this matter, because for hundreds of years Rome actually fed, regulated, and controlled all intellectual and artistic development in Europe and Latin America. By the end of the nineteenth century, Catholic clerical regulation of learning, research, and inquiry had had a long history marked by bitter experiences of ecclesiastical control over human destinies.
The new breed of unbelievers automatically had a deep antipathy for that control by churchmen. It had retarded man’s develop. ment, they said. It offended man’s dignity. Clerics themselves spoiled the natural unity of men by their churlish divisiveness, and their quarrels over abstract ideas and propositions and dogmas
—formulated by other men long dead and moldering in dust— impeded modernity. Worst of all, clerics forbade change. They al-
-lowed no adaptation. If that clericalism and ecclesiastical control could be liquidated, men would be free to develop and meet the challenges of a new world.
The attitude, this increasingly militant, anticlerical unbelief, stood for what has come to be called secular humanism.
Unbelief, of itself, could not unseat popular belief and attachment to traditional religion among the masses of ordinary people. The very language it spoke was unintelligible to the ordinary mind. Of its very nature it was a development that suited the sophisticated minds of the learned, the well-educated.
For churchmen, on the other hand, as well as for other religious leaders and thinkers, theologians and social scientists, the new attitude represented a cup of fresh, sparkling water held out to them in what had become for many a tiring, wearisome, repetif tious desert. There was, in fact, a noticeable lassitude, an uninventiveness, a sameness and monotony, to be found in the thought of Roman Catholic thinkers of the early nineteenth century. The dominant trait was a siege mentality. Historical events—the French Revolution; the Napoleonic wars; the rise of such great Protestant powers as the British, German, and Dutch empires, and the American Union; the rabid anticlericalism rampant in Europe
—reduced Catholic intellectual activity to the spasmic reactions of retort, refutation, repetition.
Adding a taste of gall to this barren monotony was the obvious progress of science, and the substantial social betterment achieved by people who were either unbelievers or at least dead set against Rome, Romanism, and the intellectual tradition of Rome.
A great desire to join in the success, to participate in the “new age,” to be colleagues of those who were pushing the frontiers of human knowledge far beyond all conceivable limits, began to play on the intelligentsia of the Church. Surely, they concluded, the Church must also evolve and therefore change. They too (in the Swami’s words) were “climbing up from truth to truth that is higher.”
Not surprisingly, the one visible and known organization that perceived clearly what harm this Modernism could wreak on its very soul was the Roman Catholic Church. For if Modernism were accepted, the backbone of Roman Catholicism would be broken, and before long its body would be an eviscerated ruin.
Roman Catholicism was built on fixed dogma and belief, and was tied irrevocably to the tradition that the personal representative of God on earth lived in a small but distinct enclave on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, Italy. From there, he authoritatively
claimed fixed truths about belief and morality. There was a whole gamut of such traditional teachings dealing with every aspect of human life from before the womb to after the tomb and beyond, into God’s eternity. Such traditions could not be changed without altering Catholicism completely.
Already in the 1840s, Italian philosopher Vincenzo Gioberti stated flatly that “the Church will have to reconcile herself with the spirit of the age.
. . and with modem times. . . .“ Otherwise, he said, the Church would perish. Within thirty years of Gioberti’s death in 1852, leading Catholic scholars in France and Italy had succumbed to the power and charm of the new outlook. The continual progress of science, a new cast to the studies of Biblical scholars, the huge vogue of Darwinian evolution, were beginning to have their effect. Supernatural revelation and knowledge, wrote Monsignor d’Hulst, Rector of the Institut Catholique in Paris, must not only look reasonable; it must be “reasonable, if it were to enter the mainstream.”
In practice, of course, this and other statements like it meant that if a conflict of ideas arose between Church teaching and science, the Church should modify or do away with her teaching.
Instead, however, the Roman Catholic Church attacked Modernism directly and by name as a heretical belief on a par with such major heresies of prior ages as Arianism and Pelagianism back in the third and fourth centuries. It pilloried the main principle of Modernism, that all of religion changes, must change, with all of culture according as men make progress and become better in their humanness. The Church of Rome forbade anyone even tinged with Modernism to occupy a teaching post in its seminaries and universities. Church authorities hounded any such people out of all positions of influence. It imposed a solemn oath of abjuration of Modernism on all its theologians. Publicly and officially, Modernism had no chance of resisting the papal attack within the confines of the Church.
Nevertheless, covert though it was, Modernism made its inroads in the Church. For the intellectual, for the culturally sophisticated, there remained that winsome attraction of the unbeliever
—as well as his modernity. The Modernist mind was that of hundreds who helped mightily in bettering man’s lot. He originated socially beneficial legislation. Modernists championed the underdog. They displayed none of the hate that was rife between differing religions. They claimed no infallibility. Surely, it was argued by Catholic theologians, there must be some truth in a lot of what the Modernists proposed?
We know of scores of Roman Catholic thinkers and theologians who felt that their Church’s ban on Modernism was ill-conceived, myopic, the product of an archaic mentality and medieval superstition, a reaction of fear. Most of them were punished. Most of them submitted—some genuinely, others as a matter of form—in order to survive and await a better day. They went underground.
We also have on record what the attitude was in the Society of Jesus on the issue of Modernism around this time. At GC23, which met in Rome from September 16 to October 23, 1883, the Delegates gave unqualified support to the papal condemnation of Modernism. They instructed the then Father General, Anton Anderledy of Switzerland, “that by every means he take care to keep this plague out of the Society.”
Clearly, however, the record shows that the attractiveness of the new attitude of unbelief, this Modernism, had made itself felt in the Society. Some Delegates to GC23 argued that the Church existed to save men, not to condemn errors. The unbelieving Modernists, they argued, were trying to do good. Would it not be better to adopt a more sympathetic and understanding attitude to these Modernists? How else could modern man of the 1880s be led “suavely and sweetly” to consider Christ and his salvation?
Of course, those voices advocating what they called a “positive” approach were drowned out by the overwhelming majority of Delegates. The papacy had spoken. The matter was decided. But the sound of those voices would be heard louder, clearer, and far more dominantly just one hundred years later. The same argument for a sympathetic approach would be used to exclude fidelity to the will and decision of the papacy.
A result of the propapal attitude of that time was certainly that in the formal training of Jesuits and in their published works, there was no advocacy of Modernism. But it can be said just as certainly that around this time a Modernist trend of thought entered the
V intellectual tradition of the Roman Catholic Church and the Society of Jesus.
Modernism was never, during that intervening period—the first fifty years of the twentieth century—professed overtly or openly taught. Indeed, no official Church body was more zealous in promoting papal extirpation of Modernism than the Higher Superiors of the Society up to the middle of the twentieth century. Still, a Modernist mind existed as the “upper ceiling of thought” beneath which many Catholic scholars, Jesuits included, faithfully taught the traditional doctrines of Rome. Many also joined the underground of crypto-Modernists. There was always the possibility
that one day circumstances would permit that covert mind to pierce beyond that ceiling, and to experiment in the “blue yonder,” if only “the old Church” would yield to common sense and crumble in its defensive siege mentality.
That dream was not always a passive thing. The more prominent and active of these crypto-Modernist Catholic theologians and thinkers vented their efforts to hasten the arrival of that longed-for day. A veritable brotherhood arose between them. They exchanged private copies of their speculations and theories, met at international “scientific” Catholic congresses, held private discussions, promoted each other’s pupils and books, and corresponded at length with each other. Their attitude was well summed up by one of their more brilliant members, the famed French historian Monseigneur Louis Marie Olivier Duchesne.7
In a consoling and advisory letter to one of the brotherhood, Pierre Hébert, headmaster at the influential Paris
Ecole Fénelon, Duchesne told Hébert to act cautiously, attempt no “reform” of the “medievalist” teachings of the Roman Church, because the “only outcome of such attempts would be to get oneself thrown out of the window... .“ No, Duchesne went on, Hébert “should teach what the Church teaches. But leave the explanation to make its way privately. . . .“ Then he expressed the secretly nurtured hope of the brotherhood: “It may be that despite all appearances, the old ecclesiastical edifice is going one day to tumble down.
Should this happen, no one will blame us for having supported the old building for as long as possible.” The abiding cynicism of Duchesne’s words is clear.
When one recalls Duchesne’s reputation and standing as a Roman Catholic scholar, and the enormous influence he wielded through his learned writings both on theologians and theology professors of his own time, and on successive generations of seminarians—the future priests and bishops of his Church—one begins to realize that the new outbreak of Modernism in the sixties of this century was no accident, no mere coincidence. It had been long and carefully seeded by hidden operatives like Duchesne.
Even after a second and fiercer onslaught on Modernists and their Modernism by Pope Pius X in the first ten years of the twentieth century, the underground continued on. A group of young French Jesuits calling themselves
La Pensée (Thought) flourished in the twenties; they met privately in their free time in order to discuss the more advanced thinkers in the Society. One effort by their Jesuit Superiors to disband them in 1930 failed. Through the years of World War II and into the late forties, “they never ceased
advancing in their notions of Christ and of Christianity,” as Father Teilhard de Chardin, one of their prominent members, recalled later.
By the middle of the 1940s, strange rumors started to reach the sensitive ears of Pope Pius XII about de facto acceptance within pockets of the Church of new theories about creation; about denials of Church teaching about Original Sin, the divinity of Jesus, the primacy and infallibility of the Pope. Pius issued two encyclicals—Mediator Dei and Humani Generis—attacking errors that, in the eyes of the open, above-ground, everyday, public Church, were nowhere to be found. He condemned those who would gravely change the ceremonial of Roman Catholic Liturgy (“they would remove the Tabernacle from the altar”), and those who would let the hypotheses of scientists concerning the origin of man determine what Catholics should believe. He reasserted all the basic traditional Church doctrines.
Not until much later did it become clear that his targets were theologians and thinkers in seminaries who in private were not only experimenting with the new notions, but were privately communicating these notions to their students.
La Pensée was under papal attack.
“The members of
La Pensée will cling to their positions. . . ,“ de Chardin prophesied (with the same willfulness that would later become a hallmark of his fellow Jesuits), “and ultimately they will prevail. For they alone are truly active and capable of communicating their thought since they alone have adapted to the new method.
Because French Jesuit seminaries were considered to be hotbeds of budding Modernism, in 1948 Jesuit Father General Janssens sent a stalwart conservative, Belgian Jesuit Edouard Dhanis, to visit the seminaries and houses of studies in that country. On completing his visitation, Dhanis recommended the dismissal of several professors and the removal of certain books from the seminary libraries. But, apparently, his efforts were to no purpose.
La Pensée, in one form or another, behaved as Teilhard de Chardin had prophesied. Consequently, at an international assembly of Jesuits in 1950, Janssens delivered a sharply worded rebuke to the errant intellectuals of the Society. They were lax, he said, in their interpretation of Church doctrine, and they had shown themselves unenthusiastic for the defense of the Pope’s encyclical letters that directly addressed the relationship of science and Church teaching about the origins of the human race.
Although five more professors were “resigned” from their posts
in France, for members of the brotherhood it was now clearly a waiting game; and what they awaited was the demise of the authoritarian Pope, Pius XII, and the arrival of a more tolerant regime in the Church. In the meantime, similar convulsions began in the Order of the Dominicans. Their Father General had to reprove two prominent theologians, Marie-Dominique Chenu and Yves Congar, because they were too unorthodox for doctrinal safety in their thinking and teaching.
There is no way, no rational way, to explain the apparently overnight conversion to a Modernist stance of the Society of Jesus in its thinkers, Superiors, and principal activists in the sixties of this century unless you accept that really
it was not an overnight thing, and realize that a Modernist current had entered the Society’s intellectual tradition all the way back in the last decades of the nineteenth century, and that it had lived underground among the members of the “brotherhood” in clandestine groups such as La Pensée, waiting for its day of destiny in the sunlight. In its long, covert preparation, Modernism within the Church and in the Society of Jesus had simply matured; had developed a point of view among the intelligentsia of Church and Society; and now it needed only freedom of action to demonstrate its relevance and acceptability.
That the “brotherhood” labored in covert during those early years with precisely this end in view, there can be little reasonable doubt. Among the many clear signposts that point to this fact, three are so vital that they demand notice. Each one is stronger than the last in the context of classical Jesuitism.
There was, first, the example of Jesuit George Tyrrell, who was finally condemned by Rome and dismissed from the Society because of his Modernist views. Tyrrell was overcome by the “helpfulness” of Modernists compared to the hard, do-or-die, either-for- me-or-against-me attitude of papacy and Church. Above all, the new experts in Bible studies convinced him that Roman Catholic belief was founded on a mythical, not an accurate, reading of the Bible. All in all, those views, or at least many of them, are held by Jesuits today. The correspondence between the two points of view
—Jesuit Tyrrell’s and modern Jesuits’—is very often chillingly close.
Another signpost of Modernism’s effective progress during its covert existence was the still stranger case of Jesuit Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Teilhard was enthralled by what scientists were claiming to establish about prehistory—that enormously long period when our present cosmos was in geophysical gestation.
For him, the hypothesis of evolution proposed by Darwin was a proven fact. He proceeded to adapt Roman Catholicism to that “fact.” He elaborated a whole new theory about Catholicism and Christianity. The strangeness of his case lies in the fact that Jesuits, whose undoubted intellectual powers could have made mincemeat of Teilhard’s work, instead took him as their front- runner in philosophical and theological matters that concerned their Catholic faith vitally; and that today, above all, he holds an honored position in the Jesuit Hall of Fame, as well as an ascendancy over the Jesuit mind.
The third, and the strangest, of these most significant signposts of Modernism’s early, covert hold on the Society was provided by what we know nowadays as Liberation Theology. Properly speaking, Liberation Theology was a Jesuit creation; and it has dominated the practical decisions of the Society’s last three General Congregations. With the emergence of Liberation Theology and its concrete applications to the visible world of poverty in Latin America and the teaching of theology all over the Church Universal, the hitherto covert stream of Modernism in the Society gushed forth in full force from its subterranean channels and flowed far and wide in the bright sunlight. Its long-awaited day of destiny had arrived.
272 - 13 GEORGE TYRRELL, S.J.  I
George Tyrrell was born in Ireland of English parents in 1861. After converting from the Anglican Church to ________ Roman Catholicism in 1879, he entered the Society of Jesus in England one year later. Once his Jesuit formation was finished, he taught philosophy to young Jesuits-in-training at the Jesuit Stonyhurst College for two years, from 1894 to 1896. There never was any doubt about his religious zeal, and no fault was found with his practice of normal Jesuit asceticism. He was, moreover, a man who formed deep and lasting friendships, and aroused a personal devotion to himself in those he counseled and helped spiritually.
Early in his teaching career, however, doubts arose about his judgment in intellectual matters; and in spite of his conversion, which was sincere, and his Jesuit training, which was thirteen years long, he sometimes gave the impression that he had never really grasped the underpinnings of Catholic belief. Whatever
it was that was not quite well-adjusted, both he and his Superiors decided he would do better in a more actively apostolic setting. So he moved to London and lived at the Farm Street Jesuit residence as one of the Jesuit priests attached to the adjoining church.
By the time he moved to London, he had already become enamored of the outlook professed by the European Modernists of his day. He was disenchanted with the official policies of his Jesuit
Superiors concerning Modernism, with the quiescence of his fellow Jesuits as a group, and with the policies of the papacy and the Roman hierarchy of his time. In the glory of Victorian England and the Pax Britannica, what Tyrrell took to be the siege mentality of Rome seemed so unworthy of man, so uselessly backward. The First Vatican Council, which ended in 1870, had declared that the infallibility of the Pope was a revealed dogma to be believed on faith by all Catholics. This was totally unacceptable to Modernists. Even before that, Pope Pius IX had issued two lacerating documents against Modernism, reiterating all the old—and for Tyrrell, cliché-ridden—dQctrines and “medievalisms” of the old Church. All of this added up to defensive authoritarianism in Tyrrell’s mind.
During his own student days, Tyrrell had been very impressed with the results of the “higher criticism” leveled at the Bible, and with the promise of science to open up the universe. “The Modernist,” he wrote later, “demands absolute freedom for science in the widest sense of that term.” He refused to allow “theology to be tied down to any stereotyped statements, but only to the religious experiences of which certain statements are the spontaneous self-chosen expressions.” The fixed dogmas of Rome were his target.
For some time, his real thought and outlook escaped any acrid notice or condemnation. He does seem to have had an agenda all his own, its principle being that in a series of publications he would unobtrusively introduce the substance of his ideas for reforming Catholicism and bringing it up to date—for “modernizing it.” Thus, the irony and weaving style of his first five books covered over his full meaning. An article of his on Hell written in 1899 did provoke sharp criticisms from his Jesuit censors, but no profound criticism of where he was going intellectually.
For some time, then, his thought and outlook escaped any condemnation. Catholics of the time, including English Jesuits, were not of themselves likely to find most of what Tyrrell said and wrote objectionable—but just peculiar. He was, after all, trying to help modern-minded people to believe. Rome, so distant from England, seemed wrapped up in its own formalism.
Inevitably, however, one of Tyrrell’s writings came in for heavy censorship by his Jesuit Superiors in Italy as being extremely dangerous and steering close to heresy. He was warned. Undaunted, he began to publish and circulate his writings privately, sometimes using a pseudonym. Finally, in 1906, his position came to a head. Tyrrell was asked by the Father General to retract his views
formally. He refused and was therefore dismissed from the Society. He retired to a private residence at Starrington.
Because he was denied access to the Sacraments, he assumed he had been excommunicated from the Church. But, publicly at least, no formal bill of excommunication was issued against him. His former Jesuit Superiors wished to avoid the public scandal of a Jesuit in open revolt against the Pope. Moreover, although some English Jesuits and bishops were thought to be in secret sympathy with his views, Jesuits and bishops alike feared Rome’s anger; the tendency on both sides therefore was to cover the affair up as quietly as possible. What no one said out loud was that Tyrrell in refusing to retract his Modernist views had incurred automatic excommunication; he had deliberately left the Roman Catholic Church. He could not be given the Sacraments of the Church.
One of Tyrrell’s Modernist friends, French priest Henri Brémond, wrote him pooh-poohing the excommunication as “a little Roman formality” of no eternal significance. This probably was Tyrrell’s own point of view. For him, for Brémond, and for all the Modernists, Rome no longer mattered. The Church for them was something other than the Roman Catholic hierarchic institution, something with new laws and a totally different structure.
Tyrrell, therefore, kept on publishing and lecturing and giving spiritual counsel undauntedly right up to his early and unexpected death in 1909, at the age of forty-eight. Among his last spoken words—he was unable to talk in the last few days before he died on July 15—was a firm refusal to retract his Modernist views, which by then were widely known.
The local bishop where Tyrrell died refused his body Christian burial in a Catholic cemetery, just as he had refused to allow the dying man to receive the Last Rites of the Church. To accept him or his mortal remains officially with formal Catholic Rites would have been a clear signal that a total revolt against Rome, its bishops, and its promulgated doctrine made no difference; that you could be a Modernist and still be regarded as a member of the Church in good standing. This was precisely the point that Tyrrell had hoped to make, and that the Modernists aimed at inculcating:
that the day of Rome’s primacy and leadership in the Church was over.
In spite of the bishop’s ban, however, some priests who were friends and associates of Tyrrell’s did administer the Last Rites to the dying man, and did pray over his grave. The reason for his dismissal by the Jesuits, as for the bishop’s refusal of Last Rites and of Christian burial, was, therefore, Tyr-
-rell’s stark refusal to retract his Modernist views. Tyrrell was indeed what he proudly called himself: a Modernist. For all of that, however, he was not uncritical, and could even be quite sardonic in poking fun at his more nebulous fellow Modernists. Having listened to the frothy Baron Friedrich von Hugel for a whole evening, he said that for von Hugel “nothing is true, but the sum total of nothings is sublime!” For all of his short life, Tyrrell remained in close touch with his Modernist colleagues in France and Italy and England; he was fully committed to the cause.
What makes Tyrrell’s case most relevant in any assessment of a large number of Jesuits today—as well as an equally large number of theologians and bishops—is the uncanny resemblance between their views and Tyrrell’s views, between their attitude to papacy and Church hierarchy and Tyrrell’s attitude. The striking and vital difference is that today there are so many Tyrrells still held in good standing—that, unlike Tyrrell himself, they are still at their teaching posts in seminaries and universities; still retained in the Society of Jesus; still heading their episcopal sees. In other words, while Tyrrell in retrospect cuts the sorry and pathetic figure of a man (to quote a Slav proverb) who tried “to turn back the Danube River with a fork,” whatever rot made him a pariah then has today a firmer and more widespread hold in the Society of Jesus and in the Roman Catholic Church. The credit for that lies to an appreciable degree at his own door.
All of Tyrrell’s difficulties and his ultimate lapse into grave heresy centered around that keystone element of the Roman Catholic Church: the hierarchy and teaching authority of Pope and bishop and, ultimately, of priest. As the Church is structured and functions, this hierarchy delivers dogmas and other formulations of belief to the people for their loyal adhesion. Theologians can research and speculate on the data of faith. They can inquire into new avenues of thought. But only this triad—Pope, bishop, and priest—form the teaching Church. The people, theologians included, form the believing Church.
The adhesion of the believing Church to the doctrine delivered uniquely and authoritatively by the teaching Church is and has always been considered the crux of being a good Catholic, a member of the True Church.
Tyrrell argued against both the structure and function of the hierarchical Church. What that Church produced, he said in essence, was merely “an engineered unity” that had nothing to do with real spiritual unity. It was nothing more than a product of medievalism. Medievalism, he said, always holds on to the same
outworn ideas and institutions. Modernism, on the other hand, “slides with the lines” of human development. Tyrrell presented himself unabashedly as antimedievalist and Modernist.
He was painstakingly explicit, and went back to basics. “Religion,” he said, “is shown to be the spontaneous result of irrepressible needs of man’s spirit which finds satisfaction in the inward and emotional experience of God within us.” For the Spirit of God is in us all. The human spirit awakens to self-consciousness and recognizes its kinship with that Spirit which is striving to express itself in the historical process of science, morality, and religion.
Christ did not teach dogmas, ideas, or theories, Tyrrell maintained. The central inspiring theme of his preaching was his own near-future return in glory as the Son of Man to judge the whole world. But in that, according to Tyrrell, Christ miscalculated. The wait turned out to be a long one. In the meantime, Christ served to recall man to “inwardness” and the true “vitality of religion.” Contrary to Church teaching, Jesus made no provision for an institution like the papacy, nor did he believe in or know the future.
What did happen then? That is, if the Church was not instituted
by Christ, how was it created and what was its true nature and
For Tyrrell, the answer was that the same Spirit that created Christ, created the Church as a passing phase in the ongoing religious process. When the real inspiration of Christ’s preaching died out with the death of the last of the twelve Apostles who had known Christ in the flesh, there arose a number of loosely federated communities of believers—what today would be called Base Communities,
communidades de base—living a strictly democratic life and endowed with authority directly from the Spirit to teach what should be believed. Gradually, the present “highly centralized ecclesiastical empire” of the Catholic Church was imposed by human wile and ambition. Authority to teach was erroneously displaced from the communities of believers to this “ecclesiastical empire” of Pope and bishops and priests.
The argument is a lethal one for the Catholic faith and, if accepted, leads directly to a perfect expression of Modernism: The gift and the truth of faith—what is called the deposit of faith— was confided originally to the people. Fundamentally, the “Church” (that federation of communities) is democratic; and the only norm of faith is the democratic consensus of the people. That is to say: The “people,” and not the Pope, is the Vicar of Christ. Neither Pope nor bishops channel the Word of God to the people.
The people have the Word already. The collective religious life of the people is the ultimate criterion of truth.
As a consequence, “what makes a Catholic is not this or that abstract theory of the Roman Church but a belief in the historical Catholic Community as the living outgrowth of the apostolic mission.” Faith in the world thus becomes more fundamental than faith in the Church; for the world—humanity—is by revised definition the fuller and all-inclusive revelation of God.
Furthermore, as each age comes and goes, men invent formulas that reflect only one stage in the growth of the spirit in humanity. With another age, new formulas must be invented. Belief itself, therefore, changes. That is the true religious process. No intellectual truth, no dogma, has been given to us by God for our permanent assent. We have been given merely “a way of life,” the highest life of the soul. Any and all formulas or dogmas of churchmen have no more authority for individuals than the formulas of scientists about anthropology or atoms or history. They all change, because they all progress, as humanity progresses.
What then about the Roman Catholic Church? Well, it was an experiment. And, to give it its due, at one dangerous stage for God’s revelation in the early days, it was a necessary thing in order to keep memories of Christ alive. But those days were over, Tyrrell said. Humanity had progressed. Ideally today, the Pope and the bishops should merely formulate the feelings and beliefs of the faithful. The Pope, properly speaking, should be the publicly accepted and final exponent of the people’s feelings and faith. But, all in all, the ecclesiastical experiment known as the Roman hierarchic Church had outlived its usefulness. It now represented
a perversion and stultification of a system that once promised such great things for the good of humanity.”
Put simply, it was time to move on. In all its charity, the Modernist hope was that the Church would cease to claim divine origin and immutable doctrines and fixed government by Pope and bishops. If only she were to offer her spiritual services to civilization, then the Church too could reenter the religious process of humanity, and thus help toward the ultimate goal.
What goal? The “Catholic ideal of an international and universal religion inspired by the idea of democracy as the original constitution of the church.” The Roman Catholic ecclesiastically-run Church must conform to the iron laws of the religious process leading inexorably to this goal.
A hard fact had to be faced in all this, Tyrrell admitted: The
Roman Catholic Church might have to die “in order that it may live again in a greater and a grander form.” Why? Because, Modernist charity aside, there was no earthly hope that the ecclesiastical authorities would change their medievalist doctrines in the light of modernity—in the light of man’s new discoveries in religion, in anthropology, in psychology, in physical science, in medicine. The Roman Church must therefore perish like every other abortive attempt to discover a universal religion as catholic as science. For science represented the ideal universality: It was the possession of all men.
Tyrrell, like all Modernists, believed in the possibility of a synthesis between the essential truth of his religion and the essential truths of modernity. For the Modernist, Catholicism can and must be reconciled with the results of historical criticism. Tyrrell therefore demanded guarantees for the liberty of individual Christians against encroachment by dogma-spouting ecciesiastics. He protested against the centralization of government by the papacy and the bishops, who deprived the people of their share in Church government.
The parallels are already clear between George Tyrrell’s nineteenth-century Modernist theology and the present-day theology of such a man as, say, Fernando Cardenal, who has declared his true mission to be the political liberation of the oppressed. As a Jesuit, his priesthood meant nothing else. Neither the Pope in Rome nor the local bishops of Nicaragua bad any importance in his optic. But the parallels between Cardenal and Tyrrell do not end with a few points of contention with the Church. Tyrrell left nothing untouched or unchanged.
Tyrrell must have been exposed to all the training, piety, and devotion of a man formed in the Society of Jesus in the late nineteenth century. Yet, clearly, from his explicit statements, he had abandoned the basic concept of Ignatian spirituality and the driving motives of Jesuit zeal: the Kingdom of Christ, the Leader, at war with the archenemy of Human Salvation; and Jesuit obedience to Christ’s Vicar on earth, the Pope. To read Tyrrell’s books is to understand that nothing of all that entered the warp and woof of his thought and belief. In fact, some time before his open rupture with the Jesuits and with Rome, he admitted that the Society of Jesus and all it stood for had become like so much “dust and ashes” in his mouth. The breakdown in his attachment to the Ignatian ideal could not have been more plain. The rest followed.
It is certain that Tyrrell did not believe that Jesus was God-made-man. He did not believe either in the resurrection of the
body or in the existence of Hell or of Heaven. Nowhere in his eleven major books can you find that the Mass was for Tyrrell the Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. In fact, Christ does not appear as a living Savior dying on the cross to effect the Salvation of the world. Christ’s personal love for all men and women does not appear. Instead, Jesus is diminished to pygmy size. “We cannot frame our minds to that of a first century Jewish Carpenter,” he wrote.
Small wonder, perhaps, that there is a lack throughout Tyrrell’s writings of any sign of that devotion to the person of Jesus that was central to Jesuit spirituality, piety, mission, and zeal. And small wonder, too, that there is a similar lack of devotion to the Virgin Mary or to the saints. Small wonder—except that the absence of such devotion was both remarkable and symptomatic in a man educated and formed in the Society of Jesus in the late nineteenth century.
If Tyrrell was merely neglectful of the Virgin and the saints, he was downright vituperative and contemptuous when it came to the Pope, the Vatican bureaucracy, and the bishops. He was not merely criticizing obvious faults; faithful Catholics do that much all the time. Rather, he denied outright the infallibility of the Pope, the teaching authority of the hierarchy, the divine inspiration of the Bible, the existence of the Devil, and a whole gamut of other defined dogmas of the Roman Church. For Tyrrell, the papacy and the bishops had about as much to do with the Church and true religion as the academic faculty of All Souls College of Oxford University had to do with pig farming in Uganda. He could not abide the hierarchic Church as an idea or as a reality.
Tyrrell’s mind was wholly and exclusively concentrated on the here and now. His voice was the authentic echo not of the Jesuitism he ostensibly chose, but of the unbelief that was born just about the time Tyrrell was born. For him, belief in Christ entailed no faith in Christ as “a teacher and in his doctrine, but [merely] an apprehension of his personality as revealing itself within us.”
The true Catholic, according to Tyrrell, “believes in humanity; he believes in the world. To deny that God is the primary author of all intellectual, aesthetic, moral, social, and political progress seems to the Modernist mind the most subtle and dangerous form of atheism.” In one sweep of his pen, Tyrrell had thus embraced at least implicitly several major and ancient heresies long since considered refuted and condemned by his Church.
No matter, however. For Tyrrell maintained that there was no point in defending the Roman Catholic Church as the one true Church. A more glorious option was open to mankind. “To feel
the relation of fraternity between the various members of the religious family. . . “—Tyrrell had Christian as well as non-Christian religions in mind—”.. . is to be a Catholic”; for “Modernism acknowledges among the religions of the world a certain unity in variety.”
At the same time, however, there was “no organic unity between the various forms of religion as though they all complemented each other.” For, in the final analysis, true religion was nothing more than “an adjustment of our conduct to a transcendent world.” Whatever that meant, all forms of religion must conform to it or perish. Indeed, all beliefs and credal formulas of all religions were seen by Tyrrell as passing adaptations, and all were destined to disappear as man progressed from higher plane to higher plane. There was no “warfare” for the “Kingdom,” but merely a “development of the Spirit of holiness” throughout humanity as it passed through its various stages. Swami Vivekananda could not have said it better.
Many prominent theologians and bishops in today’s Church should be able to recognize in George Tyrrell a true ancestor of theirs. Enthusiasts of Liberation Theology such as Jesuit Father Gustavo Gutierrez and Juan Luis Segundo are following Tyrrell’s lead in their insistence that theology must not come “from above”
—from the hierarchical Church—but “from below”—from “the people of God.”
Similarly, the vaunted “new” idea of Base Communities as the authentic unit of believers, and as the only trustworthy source of belief and revelation, is nothing more than a resurrection of Tyrrell’s proposal precisely that the true “church” was formed by a gaggle of such communities.
Indeed, just about every major Church figure who throws obloquy on the teaching authority of Rome today need seek no further than Tyrrell for his exemplar. Teaching with an impunity denied to Tyrrell, such honored men as Karl Rahner, Hans Küng, Charles Curran, Leonardo Boff, Jon Sobrino, Edward Schillebeeckx—to name but a handful of self-established Church authorities and luminaries—claim, as Tyrrell did, that the spirit of God reveals itself in individuals and in local groups, and that those individuals and groups therefore have their own authority. They need pay no heed to Rome’s voice.
Tyrrell set the Modernist model not only for teaching authority and authenticity of belief, but for religious mission. Tyrrell’s total abandonment of the Ignatian ideal of warfare carried out for the sake of Christ’s Kingdom will be recognized by Fernando Cardenal
and his compatriots, and by every other Jesuit who has substituted a sociopolitical ideal—usually the Socialist/Marxist ideal—for that ideal of Ignatian spirituality.
Tyrrell’s influence does not stop with structure and mission in the Church. Necessarily, the basic nature and function of priesthood in the Catholic Church comes into question.
In Catholic doctrine, priesthood is a Sacrament given through the Church to an individual. To receive the Sacrament of priestly Ordination, to become a priest, means that personally and individually the recipient’s soul is forever qualified and added to. Another dimension is added to
it by God’s grace. It is a dimension of power exactly corresponding in its own limited, created fashion to the dimension of power that belonged to the human soul of Jesus as the savior God-man and as high priest of salvation.
That forever irremovable dimension of power has two principal areas of activity: The priest can offer the Sacrifice of the Mass as a reenactment of Jesus’s sacrifice of his human life on Calvary, and the priest can forgive other men for their sins. Besides these two areas, there are others also—preaching the good news of the Gospel, spiritually advising others, dominating evil spirits, theological perception, moral judgment, and so forth.
A priest is fundamentally, essentially, and unchangeably a sacrificing, absolving, preaching member of the Church whose authority and whose priesthood come to him from God through the summons of the Apostles—the bishops of the Church of whom the Pope is head and supreme guarantor of every priest’s authentic
In the Modernist doctrine as propounded by Tyrrell, all that Catholic doctrine is thrown out the window of human intervention. Neither the divinity of Jesus nor the sacrifice of his physical self for men’s Salvation has any place in the ultimate stage of religious truth of Modernism.
What does take place in priesthood according to the Modernist mind—Tyrrell’s and all the other Tyrrells who have flourished since and are flourishing in our day—is expressed as accurately as could be in a namesake of George Tyrrell, George Wilson, S.J., an American whose writings have had a wide impact, and reflect the mentality of an entire generation of Jesuit theologians.
For Jesuit Wilson, “the ‘Church’ is not, in the first instance, a world institution but rather a local acculturated sacramental reality. ‘Local Church’ is not in the first instance an administrative unit of a larger organization [in which the focus might therefore quite easily rest on the bishop], but rather [is] the life of the whole
gathered people, with all its unique ethos, lived out initially in significant communities where people experience the reality of reconciliation/salvation; the family and the parish, and secondarily that local church we call diocese.”
Though he is far from poetic, it is clear that in the tangle of sociology and anthropology that went into the making of Wilson’s “new theology” of the “Church,” teaching authority rests with the people, not in the Roman Catholic Church’s bishops and Pope. That much is unadulterated Tyrrell.
Where Wilson makes his contribution, standing on Tyrrell’s shoulders so to speak, is in putting into so many words the meaning of all that for the priesthood.
“Priesthood,” Wilson explains, “is not in the first instance a personal gift bestowed on an isolated individual but a corporate gift given to a body of persons for the upbuilding of these local churches.”
Immediately, Wilson has solved a Modernist dilemma. If you do away with the priesthood, you haven’t a prayer of holding together anything even resembling an organized church such as the Catholic Church has always claimed to be. But if you’ve already done away with Jesus as God, and therefore have done away with his sacramental gifts bestowed upon individual priests, thus allowing them to stand in his place—to offer his forgiveness and his Sacrifice—well, the embarrassing problem obviously is what to
do about the priesthood.
The answer is as simple as it is devastating. Priesthood is no longer given to an individual; it is given to, or perhaps resides in, a community. And its purpose is no longer sacrifice and absolution; it is the social “upbuilding” of the community. But then, of course, you have a problem about sins. What happens to them? Are they “evolved” away, out of existence? Or do you state there is only “social sin,” but no really “personal” sins? Neither Wilson nor Tyrrell have any solution.
There is yet another striking note of similarity between the case of George Tyrrell and his descendants, the Modernists of our time: the note of fundamental and dangerous contradiction in the way they cling to the skirts of the Church they scorn. To the end of his days, Tyrrell grieved because he was not allowed to stay on in the Roman Catholic Church. He retained a fierce attachment to that Church—understood of course in his sense—and a fierce desire to aid in its transition from medievalism to Modernism.
Side by side with his deep Modernist persuasion, surely aware but apparently heedless of the contradiction, he insisted that the
Catholic Church of Rome “has on the whole preserved the message of Christ more faithfully than any other. . . and in it you can find the germ of that future universal religion for which we all look.” So much so that “if Rome dies, the other churches may order their coffins.”
For Tyrrell, then, every other church was “the work of the devil, a snare, an imposture, a spurious evolution.” And “whatever Jesus was, he wasn’t a liberal Protestant.”
In line with such sentiments, Tyrrell’s most vociferous condemnation of Martin Luther and John Calvin and the other Protestant reformers of the sixteenth century was that they should not have revolted, but should have stayed in the Church and worked for its change from within, as he yearned to do.
How Tyrrell would have envied such twentieth-century Modernists as Hans Kung, and all those many others who wish to be known as Roman Catholics, but who use that position to eviscerate and transform Catholicism. Indeed, today Tyrrell’s case history is probably most notable for the fact that he was expelled at all from the Society of Jesus and excluded from the Sacraments of the Church. For, in our time, the Modernist spirit of George Tyrrell reigns supreme. Up and down the national hierarchies, and at large among Jesuits, Carmelites, Dominicans, Maryknoll priests and nuns, as well as among some two dozen other Religious Orders and Congregations, the Modernist point of view is openly declared and put into daily practice. Superiors—both Religious and episcopal—make no attempt to get rid of the Modernists in their midst. No one of the last three Popes has been strong enough or threatening enough to force the hands of those tolerant Superiors; and one is forced to suspect that those Superiors themselves share the Modernist mind and outlook.
Without a doubt, were Tyrrell alive today, he would not be beyond the pale, but would be flourishing in a professor’s chair at a Jesuit university or seminary.
But such was not his fate. Once he went public, he became a threat to friend as well as foe. His Jesuit Superiors were afraid of what the strong Pope of that time, Pius X, would do if the Society of Jesus sanctioned Tyrrell as he was going. He died, therefore, in his regrets.
If you visit his grave today, you will see the headstone just as he himself sketched it before he died: the Host and Chalice at the top; beneath, his dates and the words “A priest of the Catholic Church”—the position he desired so much.
Host and chalice; priesthood and Church. No matter, he seemed

to say, that these can no longer be accepted as the practical instruments Jesus provided to see his servants into the place of God’s eternal glory. He could still cherish them as dearly beloved cultural artifacts identifying George Tyrrell, S.J., as belonging to one phase in the long development of “the spirit in man.” 

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