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Book description
My short review is this: this is a must-read for all true Catholics who have love for the church and concern for its current and ongoing well-being.The longer review is as follows:For something written in 1907, this encyclical is fully applicable today, which does not buoy my spirits. Pope Saint Pius X warns of the danger to the Catholic Church from the Modernist movement, something with which I was not very familiar before reading this, although I did have a general sense of the dilution of our some of our core Catholic beliefs among even those that self-identify as Catholics. Much of this I attributed to societal pressure and progress. I was not familiar with the Modernist movement per se, or the extent of the dangers that it poses to Catholicism. Pope Saint Pius X takes the reader through a comprehensive look at the Modernist in all of his forms: philosopher, believer, theologian, historian, critic, apologist, and reformer. It becomes evident throughout the treatise the risk that modernism poses, as well as the fact that many Modernists reside within the churchs own ranks of laity and priests. An attack on the church from without is an issue of magnitude. An attack from within is all the more insidious. It is clear that Pope Saint Pius X believed that the church was under attach on both fronts when he wrote this encyclical. I believe he not feel otherwise today.Last year was the first year in which I began reading papal encyclicals to broaden and deepen my knowledge of my own faith. This encyclical was among a number which were on the short list or must-read lists on a number of Catholic websites, so I dove in in early December, expecting to complete it in a few days - after all its only 49 pages long. 30 days later, Im done. Granted, some of the delays were due to social and other obligations associated with the Christmas holiday. But my progress was slowed by two other factors:1. My lack of familiarity with some of the terminology made it important for me to refer to the dictionary often, not only to understand some of the actual words, but also to understand the context and nuance. Case in point is this brief sentence segment: “... the Modernists contrive to make the transition from Agnosticism, which is a state of pure nescience, to scientific and historic Atheism, which is a doctrine of positive denial;” [Excerpt From: Pius X. “Pascendi Dominici Gregis - On the Doctrine of the Modernists.” iBooks.] With the exception of having to look up nescience, I know the meaning of the words, but still needed to put some thought into what Pope Pius X was saying. And this is just a brief snippet. 2. Unsurprisingly, papal encyclicals can be heady material. This is not a summer read. Once I understood the message that Pope Saint Pius X was conveying in a section, I felt compelled to understand the broader context of his message, its applicability to the Catholic Church today, what it meant to me as a Catholic, what actions might I need to take, etc. So I approached this text as an active learner, not a passive reader and that required a bit more work on my part. Having this in e-book format was very helpful because I could highlight sections and record my own comments in the electronic margins as I went, something I am reluctant to do with hard copy books. In spite of the time and effort I needed to put into this, I am glad I read it and did so studiously. This is an IMPORTANT piece of catholic literature and Pope Saint Pius X has given us a clear and relatively concise exposition of Modernism itself and the specific dangers it poses, not simply to educate and inform but to provide the tools necessary to fight it. I am a more educated Catholic for having read this.God Bless Pope Saint Pius X
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