Si Si No No Title

December 1993 No. 5

They Think They've Won Part III



Let us 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)"

Henri de Lubac


If these 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).

Writing, 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.

On the 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).

Furthermore, 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.”

Thus, 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.



The damage 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 ideas."

"The 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."

Henre 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, 1973:

"I 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.).

Thus, 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).

As always, 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).



Inevitably, 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).

Later 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).

All of 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.

De Lubac 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").



Abandonment 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."

On April 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.

The author, 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."

Many 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.

There 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.



Above 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.

Blondel 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."

The gratuity 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.]

In his 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."

Catholic 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 [321], 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."

In the 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.



What 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 repentance:

"What 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 27).

And again: "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).



De Lubac, 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).

Despite 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)

De Lubac 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 of character.

In 1946, 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, worried Blondel:

"That 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. cit. p.354).

Finally, 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. p, 385).

Sad to 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.

Writing 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).



Neither 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."

The obvious 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?" (p.389).

Amidst 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).

Hirpinus (to be continued)

Translated from Courrier de Rome May 1993


An excerpt of three paragraphs from Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Humani generis rebuking Henri de Lubac and the new theologians.

Paragraph 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.

Paragraph 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.

Paragraph 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.


In these excerpts from Humani generis, Pius XII condemns the new theologians and demands the study of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Paragraph 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)

Paragraph 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.





One who holds the doctrine that says that all knowledge rests upon supernatural faith, thus denying the role of natural reason in gaining knowledge.


A biological term meaning the intimate association of two dissimilar organisms from which each organism benefits.


A piece 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)

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