THE RETURN OF MODERNISM:
The Second Wave Revisited
by Dr J.N. Santamaria
(A.S. Publications, 2011, 109pp, $19.00. ISBN: 978-0-98718-970-7. Available from Fidelity Books, 443 North Road Ormond, Vic 3204, tel (03) 9578-2706; or web wwwfidelitybooks.com.au)
St Pius X described modernism as "a synthesis of all heresies". He observed that the modernists, having attacked the root of the faith by their false theory of revelation, proceeded to diffuse poison through the whole tree.
That is why this book is so important for our times.
Dr Joe Santamaria has reproduced an updated reprint of the 1978 book The Second Wave by the late Fr W.J. Hayes, a priest of the Sandhurst diocese in Victoria.
This new book has a complete copy of the original publication together with the April 2011 document by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, Chairman of the US Committee on Doctrine, titled Bishops as Teachers.
The book also includes the 1973 "Declaration in Defense of the Catholic Doctrine on the Church Against Certain Errors of the Present Day" ( Mysterium Ecclesiae) and a short bibliography of publications in Dr Santamaria's personal library.
The purpose of this new book is to educate today's Catholics about the current danger of modernism which is still ever present in the Catholic Church.
So what is modernism? Modernism is based on the assumption that human thought derives from within. It denies the existence of God and a divine revelation that externally directs human activities and is promoted by scholars and theologians of a liberal mindset.
Modernism undermines the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, denies that truth is absolute and immutable, undermines dogmas of the Church, perverts the notion of sin and redemption, undermines the priesthood and the sacraments, denies the mediation of Christ and His Church, promotes a false theory of revelation and distorts the New Testament as a factual account of what Christ did and said.
Modernism can be seen today in groups like "We Are Church" and the push for married and women priests that has recently come to the fore in Australia along with a bishop and priest being sacked. In addition, the Catholic Church throughout the world is presently being attacked on its support for marriage, human life, sexual ethics and traditional family structure.
The 2011 Statement from the US Committee on Doctrine reminds Catholics that bishops are the primary teachers on doctrine and is a very timely inclusion in the book.
Cardinal Wuerl reminds scholars and theologians they should strive to serve the truth revealed by God, the truth that Jesus insisted upon during his interrogation by Pontius Pilate, the truth that he entrusted to the Church.
It calls for profound harmony between the bishops, teachers of the faith and theologians in teaching the truth. It links theologians with the Magisterium in the essential work of proclaiming the faith.
From the early 20th century the Catholic Church has resisted the modernist push and from St Pius X onwards popes have together with other Church leaders condemned modernism.
The Second Vatican Council harmoniously taught everything that had been previously taught by the Church to correct the errors of modernism and doctrinal pronouncements opposed to modernism have confirmed orthodox teaching:
• Revelation is conveyed to man in the doctrinal teaching of the Church.
• Man comes to know God's plan by listening to the gospel preached by Christ handed down by the Church.
• As men got to know Christ they also got to know God's plan for the salvation of the world.
• Christ is the one mediator between God and man.
• The Church was instituted by Christ as His instrument for conveying truth and life.
• The Magisterium is the proximate source of revealed truth.
• Ministerial priesthood and the sacraments are instrumental causes of Grace.
• Unity in the Church is necessary for preaching the gospel.
Today many Catholics need the above sound doctrine to understand what is happening in the Church.
Christ in His lifetime, through His words and deeds, made known the mystery of God's plan for man's salvation and commissioned the Catholic Church to transmit that revelation to the whole world. This divine commission ensured the truth and permanent validity of all doctrines defined by the Church. Man by believing the doctrine proposed by the Magisterium receives Christ's revelation.
Dr Santamaria has provided in this book a resource to help Catholics understand what is essential to live a life conformed to the mind of Christ.
David Perrin is the National President of the Australian Family Association, a lay catholic and a former Victorian State MP.