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By Those Who Knew Them

French Modernists Left, Right, and Center

Harvey Hill

Publication Year: 2012

By Those Who Knew Them illuminates the lives of several key figures involved in the modernist movement--the movement for intellectual and structural renewal in turn-of-the-century Catholicism

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press


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pp. 1-14

“Modernism” in its Roman Catholic guise is hardly familiar to the vast majority of Catholics. Like most “isms” (with the possible exception of Catholicism, depending on whom one is talking to!), it carries a vaguely negative scent. And further acquaintance would verify that impression. Its condemnation by the Vatican in 1907 termed it ...

Part One: The Left

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1. The Morality of Apostasy, Félix Sartiaux's Biography of Joseph Turmel

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pp. 17-40

Even to those with only superficial acquaintance with Roman Catholic Modernism, the names of principal figures such as Alfred Loisy or George Tyrrell would be familiar. One would have to delve rather deeply into the movement, however, before encountering Joseph Turmel. In a number of ways Turmel can be considered a marginal figure. ...

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2. An Ideal Modernist, Marcel Hébert

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pp. 41-68

The events in Hébert’s life that led up to his attempts to accommodate the Roman Catholic Church to modernity, his relation to similar or parallel initiatives for renewal, and his activities subsequent to his leaving the Church, form the substance of Albert Houtin’s Un prêtre symboliste. ...

Part Two: The Right

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3. Le Moderniste Malgré Lui, Pierre Batiffol

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pp. 71-89

In a retrospective look in Témoins de la pensée catholique en France sous la IIIe république (1940), Pierre Fernessole extolled Pierre Batiffol’s orthodoxy: “[F]aced with the Modernist heresy, the Church had no defender of Catholic Truth more zealous, more authoritative, more effective than Mgr Batiffol.” ...

Part Three: The Center

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4. Houtin’s Loisy, The Construction of a Modernist

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pp. 93-121

Fearing that their Church was becoming increasingly anachronistic, many Catholics at the beginning of the twentieth century sought to update its teachings. The ecclesiastical hierarchy condemned these efforts as “Modernism” and excommunicated the most prominent Modernists, including Alfred Loisy (1857–1940). ...

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5. In Defense of Loisy’s Mysticism, Bremond’s Modernist Confession

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pp. 122-149

In the encyclical condemning “Modernism,” Pascendi Dominici Gregis (1907), Pope Pius X characterized those he condemned as philosophical agnostics motivated primarily by pride and morbid curiosity. Although Modernists posed as reformers, Pius insisted, they were actually enemies of the Church who remained in the Church ...

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6. Mgr Mignot, the “Ultimate Modernist”?,

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pp. 150-186

MGR Eudoxe Irénée Mignot, bishop of Fréjus (1890– 1899), then archbishop of Albi (1899–1918), is one of the rare French bishops from the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century not to have been completely forgotten. He owes this privilege ...


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pp. 187-194


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pp. 195-198

E-ISBN-13: 9780813218380
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813215372

Page Count: 207
Publication Year: 2012