Modernist, writer; b. Rome, June 25, 1881; d. there, April 20, 1946. After ordination (1903), he taught philosophy in Rome at the Urbanian University (Pontificia Università Urbaniana de Propaganda Fide). At the Apollinaris in Rome he taught ecclesiastical history (1904–06) and acted as archivist (1906–11). Meanwhile, he became active in modernism and was reputedly the author of the anonymous Il programma dei modernisti (1907), which was placed on the Index March 17, 1908, and was translated into English by George tyrrell. This book, the best known of all Italian Modernist writings, endeavored to reply to pascendi, Pius X's encyclical condemning the movement. Buonaiuti maintained that Modernism was based on the results of recent biblical and historical criticism and that its primary purpose was to reconcile Catholicism with these scientific findings. According to him, the Modernists abandoned scholasti cism because it possessed no further value as a method of apologetics. Buonaiuti was presumed to be the author of Lettere di un prete modernista (1908; 2d ed. 1942), to which he referred in his autobiographical Pellegrino di Roma (1945) as "a sin of my youth." From 1905 until it was placed on the Index (Sept. 7, 1910), he was editor of the Rivista storico-critica delle scienze teologiche, a periodical that published articles on the history of dogmas and of the Church. While director of the bimonthly review Nova et Vetera (1908), Buonaiuti published his own articles under the pseudonym "P. Vinci." After the Holy Office condemned (April 12, 1916) the Rivista di scienza della religioni, a periodical started shortly before this by Buonaiuti, he subscribed to the oath against Modernism prescribed by Pius X. He failed to observe this and later submissions and was suspended a divinis in 1921. Ricerche religiose, a periodical he edited, was placed on the Index (Jan. 28, 1925) soon after it began publication. Buonaiuti was excommunicated vitandus (1925) and was forbidden to wear clerical garb (1930). In 1931 he was relieved of his post at the University of Rome as professor of the history of Christianity, which he had held since 1915 because he refused to take an oath supporting fascism. Another of his numerous works, Storia del cristianesimo, also was put on the Index (Dec. 16, 1942). All his works, Opera et scripta omnia, were condemned to the Index on three occasions (March 24, 1924; Jan. 28, 1925; June 17, 1944). On his deathbed Cardinal Francesco Marmaggi visited him but did not succeed in reconciling him, although Pius XII had authorized the cardinal to do so without requiring a retractation, provided the dying man expressed his belief in the Church's teachings and his disapproval of all that the Church reproved.
Bibliography: m. ravÀ, Bibliografia degli scritti di Ernesto Buonaiuti (Florence 1951), with preface by l. salvatorelli. e. rosa, "Il caso Buonaiuti," La civiltà cattolica (1925) 2:229–243; 3:220–238. d. grasso, Il Cristianesimo di E. B. (Brescia 1953). v. vinay, E. B. e l'Italia religiosa del suo tempo (Rome 1956).
[f. m. o'connor]