What I mean is that the problem with the modernist nuns–and this includes all the modernist Catholics–is not the superficial problems the Vatican has identified like their being pro homosexual, pro abortion, feminist, neo pagan, pro contraception, etc. These are just the outward and visible signs of the inward and spiritual lack of grace. The real problem is far deeper than the surface issues. This post on modernism in the Church explains the problem.
The real problem with modernism in the American Church is the same problem of Protestantism. The Protestant Revolution was not just about the sale of indulgences, corruption in the hierarchy and whether Henry VIII wanted a divorce. Protestantism and Modernism are both revolutionary movements. As such they blame their problems, and the problems of the whole world on the status quo, and the only way to solve the problems is to overthrow the status quo.
What is telling about Protestantism and Modernism, is that the need for revolution is deep in their genetic make up, and the lust for revolution and destruction of the status quo will never be satisfied. Witness the never ending waves of “restorationsim” within Protestantism. Every generation of Protestants feels obliged to come along and turn over what the previous generation established. It’s the same with Modernism. The need to blame someone else and overthrow the ancien regime will always be part of the Protest movement. Try as you might, you will never be able to appease these people.
You cannot appease the Protestants or Modernists because they see the world in terms of conflict. The must have an enemy, and the enemy must be the establishment. For them the establishment (by definition) must be corrupt, venal, oppressive and just plain wrong. When the establishment seems to be conciliatory, innocent of corruption, patiently open to dialogue and seeking to pacify and appease they are “only playing a game” or are “being especially devious” or are “covering up their true intentions”. Therefore Cardinal Levada is being somewhat optimistic and complimentary in saying this is a “dialogue of the deaf” it is more like a “dialogue with conspiracy theorists”.
Finally, their attitude of perpetual rebellion is linked with an acceptance of the same philosophical principles that drive Protestantism. Protestantism is essentially a utilitarian, rationalistic and materialistic reaction to the full blooded, supernatural religion of Catholicism. The underlying philosophical strains of Protestantism and Modernism are the same for Modernism was bred in the laboratory of Protestantism.
The Modernist (whether he is Catholic or not) shares with the Protestant the view that the Church is a man made invention–not divinely revealed. He shares with the Protestant the idea that the Eucharist is more about “community sharing” than the sacrifice of the Mass. He shares with the Protestant the utilitarian ideals that the Church is about “making the world a better place” and not first and foremost about the eternal salvation of souls. He shares with the Protestant the idea that the supernatural is something which needs to be weeded out of religion through “demythologization”. The list could go on, and these fundamental problems are at the root of the present crisis in Catholicism, and something which will not be remedied overnight by an investigation by the Vatican.
This insidious modernism in the Catholic Church is what I have called “The Smoke of Satan”…in this post, and it will only be eradicated by many years of faithful teaching, a renewal at the heart of the church and more Catholics at every level, living lives of radical, faithful and joyful Catholicism.