"In wilder zügelloser Jagd nach Neuem"

© Ferdinand Schöningh

The Catholic Church and "modernity" - a topic that is just as debatable today as it was 100 years ago. At that time, Pius X condemned everything modern in one sweeping blow. The guardians of the faith, the Inquisition and the Congregation of the Index in particular, had to implement this "anti-modernist" stance and banned one book after another. Why then did the Roman Curia of the time consider everything "modern" so evil? How was it that they had Catholic priests swear an "oath against modernism" renouncing the errors of the time and pledging unwavering submission to the teaching authority of the Church until 1967?

The so-called "modernism" and "anti-modernism" in the Catholic Church constitute a broad field of research. Both the questions and the answers are still topical issues. The present volume is the result of a conference held at the Villa Vigoni on Lake Como in October 2006, at which leading experts on modernism, from Europe and the USA, reassessed the current state of the field.

This volume addresses how such explicit anti-modernism was possible a good 100 years ago, then presents an overview of which archives today’s research can draw on before presenting a selection of cases. Primarily, the volume is about the "victims" and the question of whether those targeted by the Curia were modernizers or modernists. However, a series of biographical profiles helps to draw attention, for the first time, to the "perpetrators" and tackle the question of who the upholders of Roman anti-modernism actually were. The accompanying register of all German book censorship cases from 1893 to 1922 may be of significant interest for progressing research further.


Hubert WOLF and Judith SCHEPERS (eds.), "In wilder zügelloser Jagd nach Neuem". 100 Jahre Modernismus und Antimodernismus in der katholischen Kirche (Römische Inquisition und Indexkongregation 12), Paderborn et alibi 2008, 320 pages, hardcover, ISBN: 3506765116.