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No. 476.JULY, 1923,


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Der Katholizismus, Seine Idee und seine Erscheinung.

By Friedrich Heiler. München, 1923. PROF. FRIEDRICH HEILER, of Marburg, is, in the opinion of men well qualified to judge, the most outstanding among the younger theologians of Germany. He is well known as the author of a standard work on Prayer Das Gebet '), which has passed through several editions ; and he has now republished, in a much enlarged form, comprehensive study of Roman Catholicism, which is probably the most important book on the subject. The Professor has lately left the Church of Rome to become

Lutheran ; but he retains a warm affection and admiration for the Catholic system, and explains in a masterly way the many-sided attractiveness of that majestic institution, which appeals to nearly all the religious instincts of human nature. Heiler was driven out of the Roman communion by the disciplinary measures taken by the Vatican against the Modernists. It does not appear that he was personally censured; but he is an ardent disciple of George Tyrrell and Archbishop Söderblom of Upsala, and still more, perhaps, of Baron Friedrich von Hügel, who must certainly be ranked as a Modernist, though this profound and loyal lay theologian is too great an asset to his Church to be molested. Heiler writes with burning indignation of the fate of Tyrrell and his friends, but he makes no attempt to defend Loisy, the great Biblical critic, and even denies that he has had much influence on the Modernist movement. The unflinching condemnation of Modernism by Vol. 240.-No. 476.

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the Pope made it impossible for Heiler to remain a Catholic without denying his convictions and deserting his friends.

The main facts about the Modernist controversy are well known. The group of men whom Pope Pius X called Modernists are, or were, some of them philosophers and some New Testament critics. In the latter capacity they tend to accept the extreme destructive position, holding with Loisy that the historical Jesus was merely an enthusiastic prophet who went about preaching that • the Kingdom of God'-a supernatural cataclysm which would bring the world-order to an end—was close at hand. All the supernatural elements in the Gospel narrative are either openly rejected or tacitly set aside. Albert Schweitzer's one-sided insistence on the so-called eschatological (apocalyptic) character of Christ's teaching has had a strong influence upon the Modernists. The historical Jesus, according to these critics, founded no Church and instituted no Sacraments; the real founder of Catholicism was St Paul, who inaugurated the cult of the Lord Christ (Kyrios Christos), and thereby gave the new religion a form which was intelligible to the Hellenistic population of the Roman Empire. The Church grew, like any other organism, by responding to

, its environment; it adapted itself to human needs, and gave scope for the unchanging popular religion of the Mediterranean peoples to find expression within its comprehensive system. Since religion is fundamentally si * irrational'—Heiler repeats this statement many times, it can easily survive the loss of its factual basis. The fatal error of Catholic theology has been the attempt to find a rationalistic foundation for faith.

That this treatment of the historical Founder of Christianity is deeply repulsive to the large majority of believers' is admitted by Baron von Hügel; but the more drastic Modernists maintain that it is, or soon will be, forced upon us by honest criticism; and their antiintellectualist philosophy helps them to face the crisis with equanimity. Christianity, as Tyrrell said, is at the cross-roads. The arguments from miracle and prophecy are gone. The historical'articles in the Creeds are, for the Modernists, myth, not fact. The claims of the Roman

, Church are buttressed by fraud. And lastly, the official

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philosophy, that of St Thomas Aquinas, is quite out of date, being based on preconceptions which modern be abandoned, or it must justify itself by a new apolophilosophy has rejected. Either, then, Catholicism must getic. Tyrrell, in a letter which he did not mean to be published, used the strong phrase, 'Catholicism must

The Vatican made no terms with its dangerous defenders. Modernism was pronounced to be a compendium of all the heresies,' and its theses were anathematised in detail. A very searching anti-Modernist oath was, and still is, exacted, which was intended to make it impossible for any Modernist to hold office in the Catholic Church, except by deliberate perjury. Loisy protested that it is impossible to kill ideas by a coup de báton, but he seems to have become convinced that his position was really incompatible with membership of a Christian Church, and accepted a lay professorship. Other members of the school considered themselves deeply injured by being branded as heretics, and pro

tested their loyalty and devotion to Catholicism. Heiler's TD

position, as will be seen, is peculiar. He thinks that the Church in becoming Roman has ceased to be Catholic. Since the Reformation it has, he says, been growing steadily narrower, till it has lost the right to speak in the name of universal’ Christianity. The

question whether the Church has, since its very beginning, substituted a mythical figure for the martyred prophet of Galilee must be argued as a problem of historical criticism. Liberal theology in this country dees no reason to accept the position of Loisy and Schweitzer. The present writer has elsewhere stated some of the difficulties which the advocates of the theory

To fail to meet; the matter cannot be discussed here. the Protestant, the severance of the Church from its roots in the Person of the Redeemer would be a blow from which his faith could not recover; official Catholicism is equally emphatic to the same effect. But it will be well to let Heiler speak for himself, since we must not attribute the same opinions to all members of the



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Heiler gives us a sketch of the entire history of Catholicism from the first century to the present day.

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