DE LUBAC: A MASTER WHO HAD NEVER BEEN A DISCIPLE: HIS
LIBERAL INCLINATIONS AND THEOLOGICAL DEFORMATION
now turn our attention to the father of the "new theology,"
Henri de Lubac, SJ. We shall begin with his philosophical
formation, for this will clearly underscore his scornful attitude
and contempt for authority, as well as for all the directives
coming from Roman officials who were truly Catholic. All this
took place even in those early years when the present day
crisis in the Church was only being prepared. In order to
combat the modernists' attacks against the Church, Saint Pius
X had ordered the "immediate removal of any and all modernist
(or suspected modernist) members of teaching staffs, in seminaries
or houses for the formation of members of religious orders.
He also commanded to be excluded from ordination "anyone
who could even be in any way suspected of having the least
attachment to doctrines (already) condemned by the church,
as well as anyone favoring harmful novelties. (Motu Proprio,
November 18, 1907)"
orders had been duly complied with, the young de Lubac would
never have been ordained. He, himself, in his book, Memoire
autour de mes oeuvres, (Jaca Books, Milan), acknowledges
his sympathy or liking for "Catholic liberalism,"
which had already been repeatedly condemned by several Roman
Pontiffs. This fondness for liberalism prompted him to "run
after those turbulent systems and tendencies of modern thought"
(P. Parente, La theologie, ed. Studium).
for example, about Cardinal Couille, de Lubac states: "I
glorified him since my adolescence on account of the memory
of Monsignor Dupanloup, whose colleague he was" [1802-1878;
he was one of the leaders of Catholic liberalism. - Translators
note]. Msgr. Dupanloup, that "hero," or rather,
the man who de Lubac had considered a "saint" in
his youth, had in reality been a leading figure of liberal
thought throughout Vatican Council I (Dec.8, 1869 -July 18,
1870). He left that Council before the end in order not to
be present at the solemn proclamation of the dogma of Papal
Infallibility, to which he was vehemently opposed.
other hand, referring to Msgr. Lavallee, Rector of the Catholic
Faculties of Lyon, de Lubac writes, "what has always
bothered me to no end with him was. ... His reputation as
an (extreme) traditionalist" (p.5). This loathing, this
horror for "Integrism" and "integrists"
(i.e. those Catholics holding to Tradition in its entirety)
will never leave de Lubac until the end of his life, as we
shall presently see. Against the mounting modernist attacks,
Saint Pius X, as well as all of his successors, had confirmed
time after time the obligation of "religiously following
the doctrine, method, and principles of Saint Thomas Aquinas"
(Saint Pius X, Motu Proprio, cited. Also Pius XII,
Humani generis, 1917 Code of Canon Law, 1366,2). But
in the Jesuit centers of religious formation attended by de
Lubac, little importance was attached to these orders coming
from Rome. Indeed, they were held to be of no account, of
no importance at all. Thus, it was in the course of his philosophical
studies in Jersey (1920-1923), the young de Lubac would "passionately
read ‘L’Action’, ‘La Lettre' [concerning apologetics],
as well as other works written by [the modernist] Maurice
Blondel (1864-1949). Though a praiseworthy exception, some
of our professors whose prohibitions were usually severe,
nevertheless permitted, without encouraging us however, to
follow Maurice Blondel's philosophy" (Memoire, p.10).
on page 192 of the same book, he writes, “Amongst the lesser-known
[modernist] authors of the day, we were especially 'crazy'
about Lachelier [a follower, like Blondel, of Kantian philosophy],
who was recommended to us by Fr. Auguste Valensin more for
his style than for his ideas [but that style was permeated
with those ideas]. Let us bear in mind that in those days,
as far as the students were concerned, such [modernistic]
readings constituted, in the main a forbidden fruit. But thanks
to indulgent professors and counsellors, they were never considered
to be a clandestine or underground activity.”
it was that the young de Lubac, instead of receiving a serious
and sound philosophical formation which constitutes that essential
foundation for a serious and sound formation in Theology,
suffered a serious deformation "thanks to overly-lenient
professors and counsellors," through the avid reading
of 'philosophers' contaminated with immanentism and subjectivism.
WHO HAD NEVER BEEN STUDENTS
caused by such a warped and corrupt 'formation' could only
be as enormous as it was irreparable; "Since the traditional
doctrine taught by Saint Thomas (Aquinas) is the strongest,
as well as being the most enlightened and sure in its principles,
let us follow the Church on this important point. Our duty
is clearly to arm ourselves with this strength and light in
order to rule out any and all risky or false theories. Do
we not often sadly see just the opposite? Some people 'study'
in a haphazard or careless manner, a drab and lifeless philosophy
or theology, completely lacking in cohesion or consistency,
and then dabble in the writings of Saint Thomas and in Tradition.
This contact can in no way be called a true and valid formation;
moreover, it utterly distorts and nullifies from the very
outset any effort in acquiring scholastic and traditional
Church insists on a solid formation based on Thomism and Tradition"
(The Study of Tradition, Aubry). Since Saint
Thomas Aquinas has proven to be such a sure, richly productive
and incomparable guide, he is the one person, first and foremost,
to whom we must turn. It is his pure doctrine that most constitutes
the solid foundation of theological formation. To be truly
formative, studies in Thomism must not come nor be considered
as a secondary and optional matter" (Lauvaud: La Vie
Spirituelle, p.174, quoted by J .B. Aubry in L'etude
de La Tradition, p.100). This fatal deficiency or lack
of a solid philosophical and theological formation constitutes
the basic or "original fault" clearly manifested
by all "new theologians."
Bouillard, a veteran of de Lubac's group of followers, offered
the following "testimony" on the occasion of the
inauguration of the Centre d'Archives Maurice Blondel (Archive
Center of Maurice Blondel), given at Louvain, March 30-31,
was one of the young students of theology who, in the early
1930's, used to secretly obtain carbon copies of ‘L’Action'
[Blondel's main work], a book which could simply not be found
in book shops in those days. This book was suspect and it’s
reading was difficult without a competent guide. But deeply
disappointed with the scholastic philosophy as well as with
the apologetics taught in the seminaries at that time [badly
taught or taught without conviction by professors who were
also themselves fascinated by the 'modern philosophy'], we
looked there [into Blondel's 'new' philosophy] as well as
elsewhere for an initiation into modern thought and we were
especially looking for the means, which we could not find
elsewhere, to understand and to justify our [new] faith."
Even as a professor, Bouillard continued, "I must admit
that, in the main, my lessons were largely based on Blondel's
philosophical thought. Other theologians [his friend, de Lubac
amongst others] had long ago set themselves on this [modernist]
course, and others were now doing the same. I must, therefore,
witness not only to all that Blondel taught me, but also to
the great influence he has had on numerous theologians, and
through these, on theology in general" (Centre d' Archives
Maurice Blondel, Inauguration days, March 30-31, 1973. Texts
of speeches, p. 41.).
it was with good reason that Father Garrigou-Lagrange, referring
to de Lubac, de Brouillard and their like-minded friends said,
"We do not think that they have abandoned the doctrine
of Saint Thomas Aquinas; they never adhered to it because
they simply never understood it. This is all just as worrying
as it is distressing" ("La Nouvelle Theologie ou
va-t-elle?" in Angelicum 23, 1946).
the "innovators" (modernists), as Saint Alphonsus
so aptly put it, "expect to be taken for masters, although
they were never even disciples" (A.M. Tannoia. Vita;
Book 2; chapter 55).
OBEDIENCE AND CONTEMPT FOR ROME
together with these modernist "novelties," the young
de Lubac became filled with scorn for those "Roman"
directives. "Amongst those [modernist] philosophers,"
he writes, "whom I followed at the time of my formation,
I am particularly indebted to Blondel, Marechal, and Rousselot"
(Memoire). None of those three, however, was known
for his orthodox views by members of the Holy Office nor,
for that matter, by the Jesuit's headquarters in Rome (Ibid,
p.13). And referring to Pierre Charles S.J., de Lubac writes,
"in our view, his prestige had increased [indeed!] on
account of the disrepute into which he had fallen [in the
eyes of the Roman authorities]. The same may be said for Father
Huby, following the case of 'Les yeux de la Foi' (the eyes
of Faith), one of Rousselot's works which the Jesuits, Charles
and Huby, tried over and over again to have published in the
face of solid opposition from ‘Rome.’” (Ibid p.14).
on, de Lubac learned how to be really disobedient under the
appearance of the most formal obedience. De Lubac explains,
“Father Podechard, the most obedient of the sons of the Church,
had just completed a course on Jahweh's servant at the theological
faculty in Lyons. I mentioned that he should have written
a book on it and have it published. ‘That is impossible’,
he answered. ‘For what reason is it impossible?’ ‘Because
there are, in my writings, crucial positions that are not
at all admitted or tolerated these days. You see, Father,
on the Biblical questions, the Church and I are not at all
in agreement and, therefore, one of us must remain silent.
It is only normal that it should be myself.’” (p.17).
this did not prevent "the most obedient sons of the Church"
from speaking without such restraints or precautions in his
lectures, for he set forth before those young ecclesiastics
the very same modernist theses that he knew full well had
often been condemned by the Church.
learned this lesson very well and, in time, also learned to
camouflage or conceal his real disobedience under the mask
of a formal submission to the Church's teachings. Thus, it
was not without good reason that Pope Pius XII, in Humani
generis, warned that the "new theologians" were
teaching modernistic errors "in a prudent and secretive
manner...although they express themselves with prudence in
their printed works, they nevertheless speak much more openly
in their notes which they hand out in private, in their courses
and conferences" (Ibid). All of this also holds true
in the case of Von Balthasar; all of which serves to explain
how the Catholic world, with Vatican II, finally "woke
up" modernist without even so much as a groan (cf. Saint
Jerome: "The world woke up Arian and groaned").
of Scholastic philosophy was the "new theology's"
first step in its rejection of the Church's dogmatic Tradition.
This step, as we have previously seen in our last issue, was
made by Maurice Blondel. The second step, i.e., the repudiation
of Traditional Catholic theology, was undertaken by Henri
de Lubac. "Modernist theologians," wrote Saint Pius
X, "criticize the Church because She most obstinately
and most definitively refuses, both to submit or adapt or
alter her dogmas to the opinions of [modern] philosophy."
On the other hand, "having discarded the ancient and
traditional theology, they (the modernist theologians) busy
themselves in projecting a spotlight on a new theology faithful
in all points to the frenzied delusions of the modernist philosophers"
(Pascendi). In fact, all theology presupposes or involves
a philosophy, and de Lubac's "new theology" presupposes
or rests upon Blondel's "new philosophy."
8, 1932, Henri de Lubac, S.J. wrote to Blondel informing him
that henceforth it was possible to "develop a [new] theology
of the supernatural, because your philosophical work has prepared
or opened the way for it" (op. cit. p.26). Quite recently,
the L'Osservatore Romano devoted an entire page in
its presentation (naturally full of praise and approval) of
a new book, Henri de Lubac: Theology and Dogma in History-The
influence of Blondel, ed. Studium, Rome.
A. Russo, an Italian student of the German Walter Kasper (who
is also counted amongst "Those who think they have won"),
writes that the exchange of letters between de Lubac and Blondel
"offers us an example of an intellectual symbiosis rarely
seen in the history of thought" (p.307). However, in
reality, it is a repetition of an old story, "birds of
a feather flock together."
things served to unite Blondel and de Lubac: the same lack
of confidence in the cognitive value of human reason (anti-intellectualism
or even agnosticism and scepticism); the same lack of intellectual
rigor (already noted by Father de Tonquedoc, S.J. in Blondel's
works and is easily noted in de Lubac's writings); the same
inferiority complex in the face of "modern man"
(who, identified with the modern philosopher) is infected
with the cancer of scepticism and subjectivism; that same
fear of intellectuals, hidden under the apologetical anxiety
of a "pacifying apostolate" (Blondel), of "remaining
or of being thrown out" by a culture which refuses to
hear Christ and His Church. They also shared the impossible
view of reconciling or adapting modern pseudo-philosophy with
the Catholic Faith as Saint Thomas had conciliated the philosophy
of his time with our Holy Faith. However, Blondel and de Lubac
had never realized that Saint Thomas had purified a philosophy,
able to be refined, since it was fundamentally sound; but
not even a genius like Saint Thomas (compared to whom Blondel
is but a mouse at the foot of a mountain) could ever hope
to weed out and purify those sophisms of the modern philosophers.
is no conflict between the Faith and right reason (Denzinger
1799), but there does exist a conflict between the Faith and
modern "philosophy," since this modern "philosophy"
has strayed so far from sound reason. Wishing to "re-read"
or revise the Faith along the lines of modern "philosophy,"
simply means to dissolve or ruin the Faith in a pool of modernist
errors, without, however, liberating "Christian thinking,"
nor liberating Christians themselves from the ostracism of
modern culture. All of this concerns error, which is not susceptible
of conversion. As far as the victims of error are concerned,
it must be said that it is very difficult to lead those back
to the Faith who, like the modern philosophers, are deceived
in their principles. (Summa Theologica IIa IIae; Question
156, Article 3, ad 2). In any case, those who are mistaken
in principle need to be corrected at the level of those principles.
Establishing the erroneous principles of agnosticism, subjectivism,
etc., as the foundation for a "new Christian philosophy,"
and, thus, a "new theology," will inevitably lead
to equally erroneous conclusions, since it is impossible to
draw true conclusions from false principles. Thus do we see
that the "intellectual symbiosis" found between
de Lubac and Blondel, could only lead to very unhappy results
and not only for the two persons directly involved.
FOR THE INFALLIBLE MAGISTERIUM
all else, de Lubac and Blondel shared the same contempt for
the infallible Magisterium. This scorn becomes quite evident
when we consider that they were upholding (or more precisely,
insinuating and diffusing in a more or less clandestine manner)
their "novelties;" not against a different theological
school on genuinely debatable questions, but rather against
the Church's infallible Magisterium, in matters already possessing
a constant and infallible teaching, as well as repeated condemnations,
by several Roman Pontiffs, of contrary views.
and de Lubac, considered the supernatural as being a fundamental
and essential thing for man, a necessary perfecting of nature
without which nature would find itself frustrated in its essential
aspirations, and, therefore, in an abnormal state. As a consequence
of this error, they denied the possibility of admitting, even
by simple hypothesis, a state of "pure nature."
In doing so, they found themselves in opposition to the universal
and constant doctrine of the Church regarding the gratuity
of the supernatural (in other words, the supernatural as a
free gift from God). If the supernatural were an absolute
necessity of nature, it would no longer be free or gratuitous;
it would then be owed to nature. If it is thus due to nature,
it would no longer be supernatural, but…natural. As a matter
of fact, naturalism is the very foundation of modernism, just
as it also is the basis of the "new theology."
of the supernatural has been constantly taught by the Church
and upheld or defended by her against the errors of Luther
and Baius, who also erroneously appealed to Saint Augustine
just as Blondel and de Lubac have now done. [N.B.- Michel
de Bay (Baius), 1513-1589, was a Flemish theologian and Chancellor
of Louvain University and a forerunner of Jansenism. Influenced
by protestant views on original sin, predestination, and grace,
his interpretation of Saint Augustine in the form of 76 propositions
was condemned as heretical by Papal Bull in 1567.]
struggle against modernism, Pope St. Pius X again confirmed
the constant teaching of the Church, "We cannot help
but deplore and most deeply regret once more that there are
Catholics to be found today (here, Fr. de Tonquedoc could
not help but think of Blondel) who although repudiating immanence
as a doctrine, do, in fact, make use of it nevertheless as
a method in their apologetics; and who do so, we declare,
with so little self-restraint, that they seem to admit in
human nature, as regards the supernatural order, not only
to a capacity and a suitability [things which Catholic apologists
have always taken care to emphasize], but rather to a true
and strictly rigorous necessity."
philosophers, apologists, and theologians can admit in human
nature no more than "a capacity or a suitability"
(obediential potency) to receive the supernatural. Exceeding
these limits will only serve to dislodge the very keystone
of Catholic theology, which will then inevitably bring about
the ruin of everything else - as we see nowadays when the
"supernatural" is no longer that of Blondel and
of de Lubac, but has changed into the "anthropological
aspect" and "anonymous Christians" of Karl
Rahner (1904-1984); or into religious indifferentism or "ecumenism";
and into the secondary importance of the Church as the means
of Salvation (Courrier de Rome; no.131 , pp.2-7.
"Eulogy of Father Henri de Lubac, one of the fathers
of Vatican II."). The encyclical Pascendi came
out in 1907. In 1932, Blondel, in evident contempt for the
Church's infallible Magisterium, was still brewing-up, or
as he put it, "ripening" his heterodox concept of
the supernatural. At the time of his death, de Lubac, once
praised and exalted as a model of "obedience" and
"fidelity" to the Church, now in open contempt for
the Magisterium, prompted Blondel to set up his naturalized
supernatural as the formation of his "new theology."
same way, when these two modernists present and broadcast
a "new" notion of "truth" (vitalist and
evolutionary), they are well aware that this same notion has
long-since been condemned by Pope St. Pius X, in Pascendi
(Denzinger, 2058 and 2080) and later by the Holy Office
on December 1, 1924. Yet, they continued imperturbably and
rashly on their path of self-delusion.
is really striking in the attitude of Blondel and de Lubac
lies precisely in their way of passing themselves off as the
indisputable criteria or models of truth against the age-old
Magisterium of the Church: their cause is that of "authentic
Christianity" (Blondel to de Lubac, 4-15-1945, and 3-16-1946,
in A. Russo op.cit., p.373). They consider themselves to be
prime movers of the return to the "most authentic tradition"
(de Lubac in A. Russo op.cit., p.373), those who have brought
new life back to the "ancient doctrine" (Ibid.).
According to them, the "Christian thought" and the
Church's Magisterium had necessarily deviated from that "ancient
doctrine" in the course of the centuries, Pope Gregory
XVI condemns this attitude, calling it "an absurd and
most offensive allegation against the Church itself” (Pope
Gregory XVI in Mirari vos). In his encyclical Pascendi,
Pope St. Pius X gave a precise description to the modernists'
warped conscience, which robs them of all hope of a possible
is imputed to them as a fault they regard as a sacred duty...Let
authority rebuke them if it please - they have their own conscience
on their side...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 hearts 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" (Pascendi
"Although they express their astonishment that we should
number them amongst the enemies of the Church, no one will
be reasonably surprised that we should do so, if, leaving
out of account the internal disposition of soul, of which
God alone is the judge, he considers their doctrines [which
are the objective criteria upon which one judges], their manner
of speech, and their action. Nor, indeed, would he be wrong
in regarding them as the most pernicious of all the adversaries
of the Church" (Pascendi, 3).
WEAPONS OF SCORN AND DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER
like Blondel (Courrier de Rome, April, 1993) makes
use of the modernist tactics in order not to reveal himself
and his doctrines too much so as to "remain within the
ranks of the Church so that they may gradually transform the
collective conscience" (Pascendi).
all these tactics, the great Thomistic theologians of the
day instantly understood exactly where his novelties would
inevitably lead to. Immediately, the future Cardinal Journet
noted that "de Lubac is no longer able to distinguish
philosophy from theology" (Memoire, p.7), or even
the natural from the supernatural, and later on takes him
for a "fideist." (Ibid. p.20)
had little difficulty in answering the "excellent"
Charles Journet (ibid. pp.7 and 20), but such was not the
case with the other Thomistic theologians. To their arguments,
de Lubac will respond with the weapons of contempt and defamation
Father Garrigou-Lagrange sounded a solemn warning, "Where
is the new theology taking us? It is taking us straight back
to modernism...that which is true is no longer what
it is, but what it is becoming, and is always
changing and this is leading to complete relativism"
(La Nouvelle Theologie... op.cit.). Moreover, in a
personal letter, this great Dominican reminds Blondel, now
quite advanced in age, of his grave responsibility before
God. But in vain. De Lubac makes use of that same letter "to
defame and discredit" its author, (A. Russo. op.cit.)
and promptly intervenes in order to reassure the fretting,
letter which he [Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange] has just sent you
can be explained, at least in part, by the frustration he
has suffered in seeing one of his articles refused by the
(Thomistic) Review itself! He is no longer simply the narrow-minded
person that we used to know. He has become an absolute maniac;
for several months now, he has been busy fabricating a spector
of heresy, in order to give himself the satisfaction of rescuing
orthodoxy. He appeals to common sense, but he is the one who
now lacks common sense. We can answer him that the simple
fact of belonging to an order [Dominican] having 'Veritas'
as its motto, does not confer upon him any privilege of infallibility."
"You are not responsible for any of those theological
deviations that he has simply imagined. At this moment, a
strong integrist backlash is making itself felt, as denunciations,
accusations, and gossip of all kinds converge in the room
of Father Garrigou-Lagrange" (Quoted by A. Russo, op.
on July 28,1948, he reaches the point of speaking of Father
Garrigou-Lagrange's "simplistic views on the absoluteness
of truth" (Ibid. p.356). Whereas Pope Pius XII, on the
17th of September, 1946, personally intervening on this very
same question, set forth those same "simplistic views"
identical to those expressed by Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange: views
which have always been held by the Church regarding the absoluteness
of truth. In a short but earth shattering, speech to the Fathers
of the Society of Jesus, Pope Pius XII had expressed his unmistakably
clear views on "the New theology, which must evolve just
as everything evolves, as it progresses without ever being
fixed once and for all." The Holy Father warned that
"if we were to embrace or share such opinions, what would
become of the immutable or unchangeable Dogmas of the Catholic
Church? What would become of the unity and stability of the
Faith?" (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 38,S., 2,13,1946.
say, this Pontifical warning fell on deaf ears. Equally unheeded
by de Lubac (meanwhile, Blondel had died) was the encyclical
Humani generis (1950), reaffirming the immutability
of truth while condemning outright de Lubac's "new theology
of the supernatural." Commenting on this great encyclical,
de Lubac wrote, "This (encyclical) seems to me, like
many other Church documents, to be very unilateral, which
didn't surprise me. That's to be expected from that form of
document. But I didn't see anything in it that struck me"
(Memoire, op.cit. p.240). To the lucid, even brilliant,
criticisms and warnings coming from his great adversaries
(Garrigou-Lagrange, Lalsbourdette, Cordovan, de Tonquedec,
Boyer, etc.) he could only answer by contempt, defamation
and attacks on their good reputations.
to his provincial on July 1, 1950, he pleads, "It is
true that I have been attacked by several theologians, who
in general, are but little esteemed due to their notorious
ignorance of Catholic Tradition or for whatever other motive"
(Memoire, p.210). Further on, he speaks of "obstinate
criticisms" of a group "bent on his destruction."
(These are the same tactics used by "those who think
they have won.") This reminds us of the unfair and insulting
caricature of Father Garrigou-Lagrange published by Father
Martini, S.J., who treated Pope Pius IX in the same manner
in his book Vatican II- Bilan et Perspectives
(Vatican II - An Appraisal and Prospects). De Lubac
makes use of a "transverse" and identical system
in the case of his companions of whom he sets himself up as
defender. One example: whenever Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.,
who makes up his new theology through "science"
(just as de Lubac makes up his new theology through "history"),
is criticized for his theological errors, de Lubac steps forth
crying that the real fault lies in "the ignorance of
his critics on the actual state of science as well as in the
problems derived thereof!" (pro-memoria note to his superiors,
March 6,1947 in Memoire, p.1780).
POST-CONCILLIAR CRISIS AND DE LUBAC'S "EXAMINATION OF
the warnings and official condemnations from the Roman Pontiffs
nor the learned arguments of his eminent theological adversaries
could serve to even scratch his self-assurance of being a
"reformer." It would take all the dreadful disasters
of the post-conciliar era to shake his unjustified self-confidence.
Pope Paul VI, in his famous speech of June 30, 1972, on "the
smoke of Satan in the Temple of God," gave us a good
idea of the state of soul of de Lubac (and of Von Balthasar,
for that matter), a speech also constituting the belated confession
long in preparation and just as obstinately pursued: "We
thought that after the Council (Vatican II), there would finally
come a day of sunshine in the history of the Church. On the
contrary, alas, there came a day of clouds, of storms, and
of darkness instead."
impossibility of bridling or controlling the anti-authority
protesters, together with the world-wide disasters heaping
up around them, finally gave the lie to all the rosy illusions
of the modern "reformers" and compelled de Lubac
to make an "examination of conscience," as he has
recorded in his book Memoire Autour De Mes Oeuvres,
already quoted above. He remains, however, light years away
from what could be called his conversion. At the very most,
he admits that "this new age (of modernism) is no less
[indeed!] subject to all sorts of aberrations, blunders, illusions,
as well as the assaults of the spirit of evil" and he
continues: "What I am able to perceive nowadays from
all this turmoil, from all these assaults, does not cause
me to curse my years of activity, but they do make me wonder
and pose this question: Would I have not done better by taking
into consideration more seriously, since the very beginning,
my condition of believer, my role as priest and member of
an Apostolic Order, in short, my vocation, to concentrate,
mainly and most decidedly my intellectual efforts on that
which constitutes the center of Faith and of the Christian
life, instead of dispersing them in more or less peripheral
domains as I did according to my tastes or the events of the
day? ...Had I done so, would I not have prepared myself to
intervene with a little more competence and especially with
moral authority in the great spiritual debate of our generation?
Would I not then, at this moment, find myself a little less
unfit to light the way for some and to encourage others? For
seven or eight years now, I have been literally paralyzed
by the constant fear of facing, in a practical and concrete
manner, those many essential and burning (moral) questions
of today. Has it been a case of wisdom or one of weakness?
Have I been right or wrong? Have I not finally ended up, despite
myself, in the integrists' camp which horrifies me?"
so many doubts coming to haunt him, there seems to be at least
one that did not bother de Lubac's conscience; that is, that
"integrism," the horror of which paralyzed him,
was simply nothing other than Catholic orthodoxy, faithfully
and infallibly kept and preserved by the Church, and that
he scorned in order to disperse his efforts in "more
or less peripheral fields" according to his "tastes
or according to the events of the day" pretending all
the while - which is even worse - to be a "master"
in the Church without ever having been a disciple: "Blind
they are and leaders of the blind, puffed up with the proud
name of science, they have reached that pitch of folly at
which they pervert the eternal concept of truth and the true
meaning of religion; in introducing a new system in which
they are seen to be under the sway of a blind and unchecked
passion for novelty, thinking not at all of finding some solid
foundation of truth, but despising the Holy and Apostolic
Traditions, they embrace other and vain, futile, uncertain
doctrines, unapproved by the Church, on which, in the height
of their vanity, they think they can base and maintain truth
itself' (St. Pius X, Pascendi quotation from the encyclical
Singulari nos of Pope Gregory XVI, June 25, 1834).
(to be continued)
from Courrier de Rome May 1993
excerpt of three paragraphs from Pope Pius XII’s
encyclical Humani generis rebuking Henri
de Lubac and the new theologians.
26. Some also question whether angels are personal
beings, and whether matter and spirit differ essentially.
Others (e.g. Henri de Lubac, etc - Editor’s
note.) destroy the gratuity of the supernatural
order, since God, they say, cannot create intellectual
beings without ordering and calling them to the
beatific vision. Nor is this all. Disregarding
the Council of Trent, some pervert the very concept
of original sin, along with the concept of sin in
general as an offense against God, as well as the
idea of satisfaction performed for us by Christ.
Some even say that the doctrine of transubstantiation,
based on an antiquated philosophic notion of substance,
should be so modified that the real presence of
Christ in the Holy Eucharist be reduced to a kind
of symbolism, whereby the consecrated species would
be merely efficacious signs of the spiritual presence
of Christ and of His intimate union with the faithful
members of His Mystical Body.
27. Some say they are not bound by the doctrine,
explained in Our Encyclical Letter of a few years
ago, and based on the sources of revelation, which
teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the
Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing.
(Encyclical, Mystici corporis christi, Acta
Apostolicae Sedis, Vol XXXV, p.193 ff.) Some reduce
to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging
to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation.
Others finally belittle the reasonable character
of the credibility of Christian faith.
28. These and like errors,…have crept in among
certain of Our sons who are deceived by imprudent
zeal for souls or by false science. To them We are
compelled with grief to repeat once again truths
already well known, and to point out with solicitude
clear errors and dangers of error.
these excerpts from Humani generis, Pius
XII condemns the new theologians and demands the
study of St. Thomas Aquinas.
31. If one considers all this well, he will
easily see why the Church demands that future priests
be instructed in philosophy “accordingly to the
method doctrine, and principles of the Angelic Doctor,”
(1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 1366,2.) since, as
we well know from the experience of centuries, the
method of Aquinas is singularly preeminent both
for teaching students and for bringing truth to
light; his doctrine is in harmony with divine revelation,
and is most effective both for safeguarding the
foundation of the faith, and for reaping, safely
and usefully, the fruits of sound progress. (Acta
Apotolicae Sedis, Vol. XXXVIII, 1946, p.307)
32. How deplorable it is then that this philosophy,
received and honored by the Church, is scorned by
some, who shamelessly call it outmoded in form and
rationalistic, as they say, in its method of thought.
They say that this philosophy upholds the erroneous
notion that there can be a metaphysic that is absolutely
true; whereas in fact, they say, reality, especially
transcendent reality, cannot better be expressed
than by disparate teachings, which mutually complete
each other, although they are in a way mutually
opposed. Our traditional philosophy, then, with
its clear exposition and solution of questions,
its accurate definition of terms, its clear-cut
distinctions, can be, they concede, useful as a
preparation for scholastic theology, a preparation
quite in accord with medieval mentality; but this
philosophy hardly offers a method of philosophizing
suited to the needs of our modern culture. They
allege, finally, that our perennial philosophy is
only a philosophy of immutable essences, while the
contemporary mind must look to the existence of
things and to life, which is ever in flux. While
scorning our philosophy, they extol other philosophies
of all kinds, ancient and modern, oriental and occidental,
by which they seem to imply that any kind of philosophy
or theory, with a few additions and corrections
if need be, can be reconciled with Catholic dogma.
No Catholic can doubt how false this is especially
where there is question of those fictitious theories
they call immanentism, or idealism, or materialism,
whether historic or dialectic, or even existentialism,
whether atheistic or simply the type that denies
the validity of the reason in the field of metaphysics.
holds the doctrine that says that all knowledge rests upon
supernatural faith, thus denying the role of natural reason
in gaining knowledge.
term meaning the intimate association of two dissimilar organisms
from which each organism benefits.
of plausible but false reasoning intended either to deceive
or to display intellectual virtuosity.
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Kansas City, MO 64109
translated from the Italian
Fr. Du Chalard
Via Madonna degli Angeli, 14
Italia 00049 Velletri (Roma)