MODERNISM, a doctrine or system of beliefs held by many Catholics in the period 1888-1910 which were opposed to the traditional belief of the Roman Cath olic Church. In common with many Protestants some Catholics believed that the doctrines of the Church should be interpreted in the light of modern scien tific facts, especially in the light of the results established by historical science as to the composition of the Bible and the evolution of dogma. Those holding such advanced views were called Modern ists, after their desire to "modernize" the beliefs of the Church. The most conspic uous leader of the group was Father George Tyrrell.
Modernism met 'he most determined opposition in the head of the Church. In 1907 the Pope condemned as heretical, false, and offensive nearly all the propo sitions advanced by the Modernists. In September, 1907, Pope Pius X. issued his encyclical against the doctrine. As is customary, the letter is known histori cally by the first words ; these were in this case "Pascendi Dominici Gregis." The
decree calls Modernism the synthesis of all heresies, and ascribes its spread to folly, ignorance, and curiosity. The Pope declares the doctrine is false in its inter pretation of the sacraments and at vari ance with the scholastic philosophy. The head of the Church urges zeal upon the bishops and especially all the heads of educational institutions under the Church to punish all convicted of holding Mod ernist doctrines. In 1910 Pius X. went still further and by decree ordered all the priests of all orders in the Church, all professors, and all candidates for holy orders to take a solemn oath rep", diating Modernist views and declaring their adherence to the authoritative doc trines of the Church. They are, in addi tion, to state their unbelief in any doc trine at any time condemned by the Church of Rome. These vigorous edicts, followed up as they were by the action of the authorities, effectually stamped out Modernism.