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Pascendi

PASCENDI

Encyclical letter of pius x (Sept. 8, 1907), which, along with the Holy Office's decree lamentabili and the Oath against modernism, forms the basis of the Church's condemnation of Modernism. Presenting a logical synthesis, not found wholly in any one Modernist's work, Pascendi emphasized root tendencies and principles. Successively it considered various roles of the Modernist.

As philosopher the Modernist proposed an agnosticism that limited all knowledge to phenomena and a vital immanence that made religion, revelation, and faith simply a sense springing from the collective subconscious and the Church its product apart from historical events. As believer he resorted to an intuition of the heart to find the divine reality. dogma he considered a series of secondary symbolic formulas that must be continually adjusted to the religious sense. As theologian he postulated an immanence that often savored of pantheism. As historical critic he based his work on a concealed philosophy of vital immanence. Pascendi termed Modernism "the synthesis of all heresies." The encyclical concluded with a list of disciplinary measures to be taken in the training of priests and in the censoring of written works.

The various statements of the encyclical should be interpreted in the context of its major preoccupation, which is to condemn (1) agnosticism, both in natural theology and in the symbolic, nonobjective approach to dogmatic content; (2) vital immanence, an exclusive immanence of the divine and a consequent natural, vital evolution of revelation; (3) total emancipation of exegesis from dogma and of political-religious movements from ecclesiastical authority.

Bibliography: pius X, "Pascendi dominici gregis" (encyclical, Sept. 8, 1907) Acta Sanctorum Sedis 40 (1907) 593650, Eng. All Things in Christ, ed. v. a. yzermans (Westminster, Md. 1954). j. riviÉre, Le Modernisme dans l'Église (Paris 1929). a. farges and j. lebreton, Dictionnaire apologétique de la foi catholique, ed. a. p. alÈs (Paris 191122) 3:637695. h. stirnimann, Lexicon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 195765) 8:126127.

[j. j. heaney]

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