Society of Saint Pius X Africa

A Prophetic Pastoral Letter

 

On 29 December 1899, the Bishops of England Issued a pastoral letter to their flock warning of the danger of liberal Catholicism. With uncanny prophetic insight, the prelates, led by Cardinal Vaughan, described the theories liberal Catholics would advocate:

* The Church was not competent to define doctrinal truths with accuracy, because recent discoveries were then unknown.

* The dogmas of the Catholic Faith are not immutable but tentative efforts after truth, to be reformed under the inspiration of modern science.

* The Church's teaching should be limited to the articles or definitions of Catholic Faith.

* That it is permissible to reject her other decisions; to set aside her censures; to criticize her devotions; to belittle her authority; and especially that of the Roman Congregations; to distrust her ability in dealing with intellectual and scientific objections.

* To place her character as nearly as possible on the level of that of a human institution—that the constitution as weft as the teaching of the Church ought to be brought into harmony with, what is styled, modern thought and the progress of the world,

* That the government of the Church should be largely shared by the laity, as a right.

* That men of science and broad-minded culture should employ themselves in devising means to bring this about.

* That the distinctions of shepherd and sheep should be blended.

* That the Catholics are free to read and discuss matter, however dangerous to faith and morals, If they are inclined to do so.

* That they may retain the name of Catholic and receive the sacraments, while disbelieving one, or more of the truths of the Faith.

* And that they are in these respects subjects of no ecclesiastical authority

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