From THE LIVING FAITH IN A WORLD OF CHANGE, Carl Pfeiffer, S.J., page 26.

"The doctrine (of original sin) as all the Church's saving teachings, is an

attempt by God's people to articulate human experience, to make sense out

of it in the light of faith.

"Faced with the constant human struggle between the powers of

selfishness and the call to generosity, the writers of Genesis attempted,

in the story of the Fall, to make sense out of the experience. They affirm

the unquestionable goodness of God. He certainly could not be the cause of

man's misery . . . The world's evil is somehow man's doing, each wanting

his own way, wanting to be `like gods.' They taught this with the story,

the penetrating story of Adam and Eve."

Ibid., page 27. "The exact historical beginnings (of the doctrine of

original sin) are hidden in the misty unknown of pre-history, millions of

years before the story of Adam and Eve was written. The story of Adam and

Eve is not a historical document but the attempt of God's people in a given

time and culture to explain the same mystery that we experience in the

world and in our hearts today."


From TIME, 7/28/67. "In the early 20th century, the R.C. Church had its own

secret police. The target of the agents was the heresy of modernism - a

broad term encompassing the efforts of certain scholarly priests and laymen

to bring Catholic teaching into line with the contemporary scientific and

philosophical thought. In 1921, long after the leading modernists had been

excommunicated, Benedict XV suppressed the ring. The memory of modernism

has been kept alive, however, by a solemn oath against heresy that every

Catholic priest since 1910 has had to take before receiving holy orders.

Last week, Vatican sources reported that Pope Paul VI decided to abolish

the oath-taking requirement.

"The most fanmous modernist was Abbe Alfred Loisy (1857-1940), a

Frenchman who used the critical tools of modern scriptural scholarship to

justify the dogmatic development from primitive Christianity to the complex

Catholicism of his time. In doing so, he conceded that the doctrines of the

20th century were different from the simple faith of Jesus' first disciples

- a judgment that Rome denounced as heretical. In his 1907 encyclical

PASCENDI, Pius X issued a formal condemnation of modernism; one year later,

Loisy was excommunicated.

"In England, the modernist movement found its voice in Irish-born Jesuit

George Tyrrell. He proposed that the Church restate its beliefs in the

light of discoveries made by science and philospophy. He was excommunicated

in 1907 and died two years later.

"Pius' encyclical PASCENDI ordered all seminary teachers who were

tainted with the heresy to be fired. Loyal Catholics suspected of

involvement with the movement were forced to issue humiliating public

denunciations of modernism.

"Some church historians now contend that the repressive measures of Pius

X (who was proclaimed a saint in 1954), stunted Catholic intellectual

development for a generation. Not until Pius XII's 1943 encyclical DIVINO

AFFLANTE SPIRITU, were Catholic Biblicists able to study scripture with the

same freedom enjoyed by their Protestant conunterparts.

"Today, Loisy's argument that the Bible must be scrutinized in the light

of scholarship is an acceptable premise of Scripture experts; Tyrrell's

proclamation that the Church needs to restate its faith in the language and

terms of modern man is commonplace on the lips of the Popes. Whatever their

specific errors - and most of their modern writings look terribly dated

today - the modernists have a fair claim to be regarded as the genuine

precursors of Vatican II."

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