The term "modernism" gets thrown around here quit a bit.  I know that it is a heresy and was condemned by several popes in the late 19th and early 20th century.  But can someone please give me a definition of just wht it is?  I know that it has been called the "synthesis of all heresies" but what exactly does that mean?

Many here believe that several popes (including the present one) are guilty of it.  And examples are thrown out that range from taking communion in the hand to altar girls, to ANYTHING associated with VII and/ or the NO mass.

Other heresies are easier to understand as one can readily identify the belief and/or error in question.  But "Modernism" seems to be used as a catchall phrase to describe ANY change that we may not like.

I'm really looking for a DEFINITION and not examples (of which I'm sure there are many).  Also, I'd like something a little more precise that the  "I know it when I see it" explanation.

I have not read through it entirely, but the newadvent article on modernism seems a good place to start.  I would suggest even more to read Pius X's Pascendi Dominici Gregis and Pius XII's Humani Generis.

Those should keep you busy until someone comes around who can give a better and more thorough answer.

ETA:  Modernism is described by Pius X as the synthesis of all heresies and when one begins reading about it it becomes quite clear why it is hard to define concisely.  It may be impossible to narrow it down to one paragraph much less one sentence so a decent understanding requires perusing through texts.
Read the oath against modernism as well.
From my understanding, it basically (and I mean very basically) means that the dogmas of the faith are not revealed by God and received by men, but rather they emanate from the consciousness of the masses and are therefore subject to a kind of evolution as the consciousness of those masses evolves and progresses. It is called the synthesis of all heresies because, as you can probably tell, it calls into question all the dogmas of the faith and the very source of those dogmas--God. A classic example is that the divinity of Christ was conceived of by the conscience of the nascent Church as it developed.

I agree it is tossed around too much as a catch all for everything bad in "modern society" or the "modern church"--while Modernism is definitely still a problem, sometimes people are just regular old heretics and sometimes people are just plain sinners.

Honestly, I think Liberalism--also called Naturalism--is more prevalent. This is the idea that natural reason is supreme and therefore natural knowledge becomes the only "real" knowledge. Religion is therefore reduced to a matter of personal opinion or preference and not really knowable. It's what leads to religious indifferentism, atheism and practical atheism, godless government, and "personalized" or anti-institutional religion. In one of the current Pope's books (Called to Communion, I believe) he says the Liberals created their "anti-institutional Jesus" (the Pharisees and priesthood representing the institution) because an institution is by its nature public and would therefore be a force in civil society. This is why the Masons, who are basically glorified Liberals, have been traditionally very anti-Catholic.  Of course, our reason is not infallible, as it has been wounded by sin, so those who place their faith completely in their own reason more often than not are ruled by concupiscence instead.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.
I agree with SaintSebastian.

Many times "Liberalism" is confused with "Modernism" and the term "Modernism" is used inappropriately.  To learn about Liberalism, I recommend the book "Liberalism is a Sin" (note: that is philosophical / theological liberalism, not political liberalism, which is not inherently a sin any more than political conservatism is).
From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
(02-26-2010, 08:07 PM)QuisUtDeus Wrote: To learn about Liberalism, I recommend the book "Liberalism is a Sin" (note: that is philosophical / theological liberalism, not political liberalism, which is not inherently a sin any more than political conservatism is).

Here it is online if anyone is interested. It's actually pretty short and so may be more readable online for many folks than a longer book might be.

I wouldn't say liberalism is a sin as much as I would say that progressivism is a sin.

Not all liberals are progressives and not all progressives are liberals. Just as not all modernists are liberals just as not all liberals are modernists.


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