The crisis of modernism will be a clash between a defensive authoritarian mentality wanting to safeguard the patrimony of the faith and the more open progressive initiatives of theologians whose ideas are not always exempt from error.It is going to be modernism with its papal condemnations, its oath given to theologians teaching in seminaries, and its spy system set up to root out dangerous innovations that will establish what could be called the psychological dynamism of action and reaction that have colored Catholic theology for the past century.A consultant appointed by the Holy Office studied the book which he appears to have believed was published in 1887 and, after a lukewarm defense of its contents, concludes on pragmatic grounds that since no action had been taken against it up until the present and other books saying similar things are abroad, no action should be taken against it now.But this did not satisfy the Holy Office and the spirit of the times. One, an Italian Dominican, and thus a confrere of Leroy, proved to be no friend, writing that he "instead of combating the absurd opinion of evolutionist anthropologists with the dictates of Revelation, seeks to harmonize evolution with Sacred Scripture and Divine Tradition
Evolution, as all Catholic philosophers teach, stands resolutely condemned by the science of ontology as well as by empirical science." A second consultor concurred, and a third settled the matter with a 54-page broadside that blasted Leroys theory, as well as the whole idea of the evolution of animals and humans, itself.Great was the outcry against such a view, but I forwarded my little book to the Supreme Pontiff, and thereupon Pius IX benignantly granted me a doctors hat, which the late Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster bestowed on me at a public function."Late in life Mivart came in conflict with Church authorities for his theological writings, and was excommunicated. Up to this point it appears that the books of Mivart and Leroy had circulated unhindered, but the climate is changing.His friends claimed that it was under the sway of the diabetes that was to kill him that he had written as he did, and affected a reconciliation after his death, which led to his reburial in consecrated ground.1891. We are on the brink of Americanism, and the crisis of modernism.Human evolution, he felt, should be publicly condemned.
It was almost the universal opinion among theologians, that the proposition defended was heretical, and it was considered only a matter of a short time until it would be formally condemned.More exactly they state: "Our first parents were immediately made by God.Hence, we declare openly opposed to Holy Scripture and to the Faith the opinion of those who go so far as to say that man, so far as his body is concerned, was produced by the spontaneous transformation of the less perfect into the more perfect, successively, ultimately ending in the human."While we might think that this is a rather clear-cut condemnation of the evolution of the bodies of our first parents, later theologians, attuned to the subtleties of official pronouncements, argued along the lines that the conciliar fathers "do not condemn the origin of Adams body by organic evolution if this evolution is not regarded as purely spontaneous up to its term inclusively."1869, May.The First Vatican Council prepares a schema whose purpose is to proclaim as a dogma of faith that all humans are descended from one couple, and there is no opposition from the Council fathers to such a definition.