Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The Catholic University of America Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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List of Illustrations
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This long-gestating book owes its existence to the help of many people. I now have the happy task of thanking them. Dan Donovan’s seminar in fall 1973 at St. Michael’s in Toronto introduced me to the serious study of the modernist crisis. Fellow members of that seminar were Ellen Leonard and Michael McGarry, whose subsequent work...
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The Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) begins with a chapter on “The Mystery of the Church.” Its opening line proclaims Christ the “light of all nations.” The Constitution goes on to describe the church as “in Christ as a sacrament or instrumental sign of intimate union with...
Part 1. The Roman Catholic Modernist Crisis in the United States
1. The Cyclone of the Modernist Crisis
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James F. Driscoll wrote these words to his friend Charles Augustus Briggs on December 8, 1907. The “recent curial document” to which Driscoll referred was Pascendi dominici gregis. Pascendi appeared three months to the day before Driscoll wrote to Briggs. By that time, the ecclesiastical whirlwind had crossed the Atlantic and...
2. Who are the Modernists?
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“Enemies of the cross of Christ,” those who seek to “overthrow utterly Christ’s kingdom”—these enemies now “lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart.” These new enemies are not the rationalists and secularists one might expect, but rather Catholic laity and even priests. “Feigning a love for...
3. The Burden of the Dead
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“And we believe in the communion of saints.” With this profession from the Apostles’ Creed, Catholics and others give voice to their faith that the living are united in Christ’s body with those who have died in Him. Historical research is another form of communion with the dead. Historians dare to attempt to bring the dead...
Part 2. Slattery and O’Connell: A Common Crisis?
4. John R. Slattery, 1851–1902: From Attorney to Presbyter
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On Saturday, June 21, 1902, in Baltimore’s Cathedral of the Assumption, Cardinal James Gibbons ordained twenty-nine-year-old John Henry Dorsey. Dorsey (1873–1926) was the second African American ordained to the priesthood in the United States. Both black priests belonged to St. Joseph’s Society for Colored Missions,...
5. John R. Slattery, 1902–1904: Between Presbyter and Attorney
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From the Dorsey sermon in June 1902 to his resignation as Superior in 1904, Slattery dangled between presbyter and attorney. He moved between the ecclesiastical world, where he was V. Rev. J. R. Slattery, and the secular world of Wissenschaft and finance, where he was an anonymous “traveller.” Geographically he dallied...
6. “Theological Privateer”: Slattery’s Denis O’Connell
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“It is a dispensation of Providence,” said a tearful and grateful Denis O’Connell on December 7, 1903. O’Connell was not talking about his rehabilitation from an eight-year Roman exile and emergence earlier in 1903 as Catholic University’s new rector, though he could have been. Rather, he was talking about his escape from a...
7. John R. Slattery, 1904–1926: From Presbyter to Attorney
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Scholars who wish to consult the only known copy of John R. Slattery’s unpublished autobiography must go to the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris—but they must look in the papers of historian Albert Houtin. How Slattery’s autobiography wound up in the Papiers Houtin remains a mystery. In the preface to his 1928 edition...
Part 3. McSorley and Sullivan: A Change of Immense Import Coming Over the Face of Catholicism
8. A Catholic Theological Culture in English, 1899–1907
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As the nineteenth century began, Catholics who spoke English as their native language made up only a small portion of the world’s Catholics. Most Catholics whose native tongue was English lived in Ireland. In all the world, at mid-nineteenth century, there was no Catholic university where Anglophone Catholics could be educated...
9. George Tyrrell and Joseph McSorley
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During the years of the modernist crisis, from the early 1890s to 1907, Catholic journals in the United States published articles by leading figures in European Catholic thought. American readers were exposed to, among others, Loisy in translation on the synoptics as well as Hügel and Charles A. Briggs on source criticism of the...
10. William L. Sullivan’s Fictions
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Among the talented young priests attracted by George Tyrrell’s spiritual writing in the early twentieth century was the Paulist William L. Sullivan (1872–1935). “Father Tyrrell we knew best of all,” Sullivan wrote in a memoir of the modernist crisis. So began a two-and-a-half-page tribute to Tyrrell in Sullivan’s posthumously...
11. McSorley’s Response to Pascendi
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In Pascendi’s American aftermath, two books appeared within six months of one another. In November 1909 the Paulists’ Columbus Press published Joseph McSorley’s The Sacrament of Duty. The following May, Open Court Publishing issued William Sullivan’s anonymous Letters to His Holiness Pius X. With the authorial designation...
12. Holiness and History: From Americanism and Modernism to Vatican II
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For historians of the phantom heresy persuasion, the negative effects of the condemnation of Modernism on Catholic intellectual life in the United States can hardly be exaggerated....Jay Dolan cites this passage approvingly. Likening Pascendi to a bomb, he goes on to note that answers to later questions about lack of Catholic intellectual achievement “lay scattered among the heap...
13. McSorley’s Ressourcement: Saving the Hecker Tradition
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In 1899 the apostolic letter Testem Benevolentiae ended the Americanist controversies in both France and the United States and left progressive American ecclesiastics in a distinctly uncomfortable position. With the possible exceptions of Archbishop John Ireland and Bishop John Keane, no one was more deeply affected...
14. Finding a Place to Stand
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Tumultuous times bring massive and unexpected ground shifts. We find ourselves with no place to stand. The modernist crisis was such a time. The four subjects of the intertwined biographical portraits in this book are tragic figures whose lives embody the American reverberations of this crisis. Slattery and O’Connell, McSorley...
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Page Count: 429
Publication Year: 2013