In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

732BOOK REVIEWS the same kind of thorough treatment as Paz has suppUed for its mid-Victorian zenith. David Hempton The Queen's University ofBelfast Critics on Trial:An Introduction to the CatholicModernist Crisis. By Marvin R. O'ConneU. (Washington, D.C.: The CathoUc University of America Press. 1994. Pp. xüi, 394. $59.95.) Years of treading through the historiographical minefield of Roman CathoUc Modernism have left me doubting the possibUity of a satisfactory, comprehensive single-volume history. Marvin R. O'ConneU's Impressive book almost has convinced me otherwise. Critics on Trial reads like a novel with a host of weUdefined characters, both heroes and viUains, aU ofwhom become vibrantly aUve. O'ConneU states that he intends only to teU "the story of the Modernists rather than to analyze the phenomenon caUed CathoUc Modernism" (p. xü). The reviewer must accept the author's disclaimer and guard against the temptation to criticize a book he did not intend to write. But whUe O'ConneU strives to be objective and dispassionate, evincing considerable sympathy for the Modernist protagonists and unsparing of thetf ecclesiastical tormenters, we are left with a somewhat traditional ????fGe?????? of the meanings of Catholic Modernism . Part of the difficulty stems from the total reUance on printed sources— Ui itself hardly a fault when attempting to write a narrative synthesis. But experts on the specific theological, phUosophical, historical, and ecclesiastical aspects ofModernism wUl be quick to point out errors offact and questionable interpretations. Some of this wUl be mere ?3f?^, but it is a more serious matter when O'ConneU ignores the judgments of the best contemporary scholars. Where O'Connell sees "a mendacious irony Ui Loisy Including himselfamong the theologians, for his whole purpose was to drive a wedge between theology and history" (p. 127), most scholars would argue quite the opposite, that, however many his faults, Loisy was trying to remove a wedge implanted over the centuries by the Church's ahistorical dogmatists. O'ConneU repeats a number of old saws, citing less than credible secondary sources to substantiate the assertion that as early as 1886 "Loisy was convinced that 'he suffered under Pontius PUate' was the sole article of the Cadiolic creed he could accept as fact" (p. 216). The wrenching of quotable Unes from thetf context often prejudices thetf meaning, such as Loisy's statement Ui L'Évangile et l'Église, "'Jesus preached the kingdom, and, behold, it is the church that has come'" (p. 248). If only for dramatic effect, O'ConneU accepts Loisy's recoUection that his initial meeting with Friedrich von Hügel may have signaled the beginning of the movement later caUed Modernism. Yet, whtfe aUowing that von Hügel "would provide . . . whatever fragUe unity or coherence possessed by the movement" (p. 42), and being weU acquainted with Lawrence F. Barmann's seminal work, BOOK REVIEWS733 O'ConneU minimizes the significance of the baron's inteUectual contribution. Though thoroughly disproved by David G. Schultenover, O'ConneU ?efep^eß die canard that George TyrreU was"contemptuous or hostUe"toward die Summa Theologiae (p. 123). It is simply wrong to assert that the Modernists generaUy were "unable or unwilling to distinguish between good Scholasticism and bad, between the monumental acbievercient ofAquinas and the frequently trivial appUcations of it Ui the manuals written by his overly-zealous disciples" f. 344). O'ConneU is on target Ui die social and poUtical context, that the churchstate battle Ui France "served as the backdrop to the inteUectual crisis within CathoUcism" (p. 309). But many wUl contest the conclusion that "die aberrations shortly to be termed 'Modernist' by Pius X appeared to be—despite English and Italian outriders and German sympathizers—an overwhelmingly French phenomenon" f. 310). For ecclcsiastico-poUtical reasons, Pius X may have be8n concerned primarily with extinguishing the Modernist fire Ui France and Italy, but Pascendi struck at the universal Church. O'ConneU writes that "hardly anything like the phenomenon Pascendi caUed Modernism was to be found among German Catholics" (p. 356), but in fact only Rome's special poUtical relationship with Germany saved dozens of German Modernists (not merely sympathizers) from condemnation. (This is made clear in Otto Weiss's Der Modernismus in Deutschland...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 732-733
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.