“[It is anathema to say that] ‘The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization.'”— Allocution “Jamdudum cernimus,” March 18, 1861. Cited in Syllabus Errorum, Pius IX.
Fr. Hunwicke recently decided to celebrate the sesquicentenary of the Syllabus of Errors by Pius IX. In his own droll way he highlights the problem:
“[T]he Syllabus of Errors” is regarded as the quintessential epitome of reactionary ecclesiastical obscurantism; you have to say the very words in the same tones of hushed horror as “the Inquisition”. But I am sure that a special Commission has been put together in Rome to organise this Year in which the Universal Church will be called upon to celebrate, to study, to reappropriate the teaching handed down on the instructions of Papa Mastai-Ferreti. This blog will, as ever, merely follow humbly the lead of the Magisterium, or, if the lead is a trifle late coming, will examine as best it can hermeneutical questions arising from this laudable document….
I hope that Fr. Hunwicke is not sincerely waiting for Rome to celebrate, much less mention, the Syllabus 150 years out, since, as far as my (admittedly scant) research indicates, there wasn’t even any hoopla for the centenary of the Syllabus. In fact, the closest thing I’ve found so far to a mainstream “reappropriation” of Pio Nino’s witness is this 1978 article. Interestingly enough, though, as my codgitator kept processing the numbers involved in the centenary and sesquicentenary of the Syllabus, I realized something.
And it gave me a chill.
Cardinal Razinger, in his 1982 Principles of Catholic Theology, wrote that the Dogmatic Constitution Gaudium Spes “breathe[s] an astonishing optimism … [and] represents a kind of anti-Syllabus” (I am translating from my copy of the German edition, p. 398).
An anti-Syllabus? Really?
When was the Syllabus promulgated?
On December 8, 1864.
Presumably in order to mark the tenth anniversary of his own promulgation of Ineffabilis Deus, in which he instituted The Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
When was the “anti-Syllabus” Gaudium et Spes promulgated?
On December 7, 1964.
Precisely one day before the centenary of the Syllabus. Presumably in order to drown out any discussion, much less commemoration, of the Syllabus.
Not at all peculiar.
As you were. Carry on.