Before the centenary year of Pope St. Pius X’s great anti-modernist encyclical, “Pascendi,” closes out, let us give two examples of the light which it throws upon today’s undiminishing confusion in Church and world: the primacy of objective truth, and the non-binding nature of sedevacantism (the disbelief that recent Popes are true popes).
Over the last two centuries, the modern world has fallen more and more into the grave error of subjectivism, whereby every man (or subject) makes his own truth, so that he is free from any supposedly objective truth imposing itself upon his mind from outside. One hundred years ago this error threatened to undermine the objectivity of all Catholic dogma – hence the Encyclical. Yet one hundred years later, despite Pius X’s efforts, the mass of Catholic churchmen are awash in this error – hence Vatican II, Religious Liberty, Ecumenism, etc.
In Pascendi, Pius X nailed the unhooking of the subjective mind from objective reality as the foundation of the coherent Newfaith of the modernists’ Newchurch. What mental rest and spiritual relaxation to be able to lean on the one true religion given to us from outside and above by the one true God, without our having to pay heed to the mass of modern fantasies!
However the Conciliar fantasies have taken such a grip on many of today’s churchmen that the temptation arises to consider that none of them are churchmen at all, in particular the last few Popes. But Pascendi can offer a way out of this temptation by its same teaching that subjectivism unhooks churchmen’s minds from reality. Are they fully aware of how mad they are, when virtually everyone shares in their madness? And if they are not fully aware, do they necessarily disqualify themselves as churchmen? Pascendi suggests at least to me that sedevacantism is not binding.
By no means everyone agrees with letting the Conciliar churchmen off the hook in this way, but that is of secondary importance. Back to Pascendi – what is of primary importance is to give glory to God and to save our souls by submitting our minds to that one objective Faith which God has revealed, and without which nobody can please God (Heb XI:6).