The Oath Against Modernism

Given by His Holiness St. Pius X September 1, 1910.

To be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious  superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.

I . . . . firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been  set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church,  especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of  this day. And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all  things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the  created world (see Rom. 1:19), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a  cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be  demonstrated: Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of  revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the  surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that  these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men,  even of this time. Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church,  the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the  real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built  upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the  duration of time. Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was  handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the  same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the  heretical' misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to  another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn  every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been  given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a  philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been  developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely. Fifthly, I  hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of  religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the  heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine  assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By  this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe  to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our  creator and lord.

Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to  the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the  encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially  those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas. I also reject the error  of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and  that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are  irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian  religion. I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a  well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality-that of a believer and at the  same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold  things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises  which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the  conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful. Likewise, I reject that  method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the  tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic  See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or  restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm. Furthermore, I  reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a  historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion  about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise  of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then  interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles,  excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is  common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.

Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the  modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is  far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that  there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact-one to be put on a par  with the ordinary facts of history-the fact, namely, that a group of men by  their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a  school begun by Christ and his apostles. I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to  my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which  certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from  the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored  according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age;  rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the  beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any  other way.

I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and  sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching  or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me  God. . .