Saturday, September 22, 2018

A Student’s Guide to Popular Heresies

From Return to Order:
This book is a collection of essays aimed at the unwary college student. Each essay looks at a currently popular collegiate heresy. Among the fourteen essays are some topics that one would expect—Hedonism, Marxism, and Feminism among them. There are also a few that are a bit of a surprise—Consumerism, Scientism, and Americanism. Mr. Zmirak compiled a list of impressive talent when he went out looking for authors. Fr. George Rutler, Elizabeth Scalia, Peter Kreeft, and Jimmy Akin are among the essayists. Any attempt to speak intelligently about all of the fourteen topics would either be superficial or as long as this slim volume (181 pages).

That being said, perhaps the most useful essay is the final one, Modernism by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf. In twelve pages, the good Father cogently discusses the roots of the Modernist heresy back to Renaissance humanism and through the Enlightenment idea that, “Man should perfect himself and the world by his own efforts.” He then goes on to discuss the fact that the core of this heresy is confusion about the nature of God. Is God the source of eternal truth, or a “god” in one’s own likeness? Certainly, this thinking has infiltrated the Church and, especially, its universities:
Slowly but surely, even within the Catholic Church, individual human reason was proposed as the ultimate criterion of truth, of good and evil. Truths of the Christian Faith became subject to the veto of reason. In the minds of some theologians, divine revelation had to be reshaped in accord with their own conclusions about human needs and progress. For these theologians, natural sciences and worldly philosophies became the starting point for theology. These men came to be called (and later to call themselves) “modernists.”
Fr. Zuhlsdorf then explains that Pope Saint Pius X called modernism the, “summary of all heresies.” (Read more.)

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