From an Apology for Catholicism to Theological Modernism: The Principle of Development in Alfred Loisy’s Thought

Paweł Borto

The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin , Poland
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9873-4368


Abstract

This paper aims to show the reasons why Alfred Loisy’s idea to develop an apology for Chri­stianity was unsuccessful and led to his transition to the modernist position. It explores theological and fundamental issues underlying his ambitious program. Firstly, it discusses the concept of modernism, having in mind that Loisy himself opposed the accusations of his following modernism. Secondly, it syn­thetically presents the context and characteristics of Loisy’s works to properly understand his idea of Christian apologetics. The subsequent section analyses Loisy’s most important assumptions and the way he formulated his apologia, focusing on the issue of historical criticism and his application of John Henry Newman’s idea of development to the history of religion. These analyses allow us to conclude that by applying the historical-critical method, Loisy did not avoid adapting incorrect philosophical assumptions and improper application of Newman’s development of Christian doctrine to his reflections on the hi­story of religion.

Keywords:

Alfred Loisy, apology, modernism, historical-critical method, history of religion

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Published
2022-06-10


Borto, P. (2022). From an Apology for Catholicism to Theological Modernism: The Principle of Development in Alfred Loisy’s Thought. Verbum Vitae, 40(2), 501–513. https://doi.org/10.31743/vv.13682

Paweł Borto  pawel.borto@kul.pl
The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

Rev. Paweł Borto – b. 1969, a priest of the Diocese of Kielce. He studied fundamental theology at the Pontifical Lateran University and the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (KUL), where in 2003, he defended his doctoral dissertation on the tradition and Revelation in the theologies of Yves Congar and Henri de Lubac. In 2021, he obtained a post-doctoral degree on the basis of his dissertation entitled The Magisterium of the Church in the Dispute with Modernism Over the Foundations of Faith. Analysis of the Views of A. Loisy, E. Le Roy and G. Tyrrell and Their Evaluation in the Light of Anti-Modernist Documents and Vaticanum II. His current research focuses on modernism and questions regarding the Tradition of the Church.

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9873-4368



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