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Download Divided Friends: Portraits of the Roman Catholic Modernist Crisis in the United States epub

by William L. Portier

On September 8, 1907, Pope St. Pius X brought the simmering Roman Catholic Modernist crisis to a boil with his encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis. In Pascendi's terms, recent biblical, historical, scientific, and philosophical attempts to take seriously subjective mediations of God's revelation led only to subjectivism and agnosticism. Pius X condemned these as "Modernism" and the "synthesis of all heresies." This Modernism threatened the very human capacity to know and believe in God as a reality apart from human consciousness. Prior to 1907 no Catholic thinkers had used the term Modernism to designate the theological or biblical work they were doing. Pascendi , with its provisions for diocesan vigilance committees and censorship of books, combined with the subsequent Oath against Modernism (1910), created a climate of suspicion and fear.In two sets of intertwined biographical portraits, spanning two generations, Divided Friends dramatizes the theological issues of the modernist crisis, highlighting their personal dimensions and extensively reinterpreting their long-range effects. The four protagonists are Bishop Denis J. O'Connell, Josephite founder John R. Slattery, together with the Paulists William L. Sullivan and Joseph McSorley. Their lives span the decades from the Americanist crisis of the 1890s right up to the eve of Vatican II. In each set, one leaves the church and one stays. The two who leave come to see their former companions as fundamentally dishonest. Divided Friends entails a reinterpretation of the intellectual fallout from the modernist crisis and a reframing of the 20th century debate about Catholic intellectual life.
Download Divided Friends: Portraits of the Roman Catholic Modernist Crisis in the United States epub
ISBN: 0813221641
ISBN13: 978-0813221649
Category: Bibles
Subcategory: Churches & Church Leadership
Author: William L. Portier
Language: English
Publisher: The Catholic University of America Press (November 8, 2013)
Pages: 408 pages
ePUB size: 1999 kb
FB2 size: 1475 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 940
Other Formats: doc lrf mbr azw

It told me so much I didn't know about those 4 people & about that fascinating period in Americsn church history.

Bruce Byrolly
Perhaps the most valuable contribution of Portier's well-written text is the manner of approaching the Catholic modernist crisis through the lives of four people who were a part of this important chapter in American Catholicism. Though Portier's text contains excellent and invaluable background on the modernist crisis in its opening chapters, it is these intimate portraits that bring the story to life. Using an array of primary sources, including basically unknown texts such as a novel written by Sullivan, Portier details the differing paths taken by these four in their response to modernism.

Far from biography being tangential to the topic, Portier reveals how indispensable it is in truly understanding the unique American experience of modernism. The modernist crisis was not simply about abstract ideas, but about real people struggling to reconcile the Church and America during this time period - wanting to be faithful to themselves intellectually and to the Church but not always knowing exactly how to accomplish this in a theological world often solely identified with neo-scholasticism. That two left and two stayed in the Church indicates the complexity involved and differing responses to the problems they encountered. Portier's text rightly reclaims the theological conversations of the half-century before Vatican II as crucial for thinking about Catholicism as it has been thought about and lived in the United States.

Divided Friends is biography, history, and theology all in one book. As such, it is a rare accomplishment that deserves the notice of any serious scholar of American history or theology, as well as those interested in intellectual history more generally. Moreover, the text would be greatly beneficial to undergraduate and graduate students struggling to understand the "why" of the Catholic modernist crisis in America and its significance for history and theology today.
Portier's Divided Friends is a must read for anyone interested in the history of the Roman Catholic Americanist and modernist controversies, and anyone interested in the history of Catholicism in the U.S. In the past scholars have considered the Modernist controversy to be a wholly European affair. Scholars will no longer be able to ignore the impact of the Modernist controversy on Catholicism across the Atlantic in the U.S. Portier's volume marvellously captures "the human complexities" (p. 5) involved in the modernist crisis. He is able to do this because of his tremendous erudition and his thorough archival research. The biographical stories he includes paint vivid portraits of the lives of four priests who struggled with issues concerning faith and reason; two continued to serve as Catholic priests, two left the priesthood and the Catholic faith. By examining their biographies prior to, during, and after the crisis, Portier is able to show the ways in which the modernist crisis was related to the Americanist controversy which preceded it. The many controversies emerging in late nineteenth and earlty twentieth century Catholicism are incredibly complex, involving far more than only theological and philosophical matters, and they include polyvalent political dimensions. In Divided Friends, Portier eschews overly simplistic polemics, and instead offers a thick, nuanced, and rich analysis of the history. Despite the many complexities involved in this story, Portier's prose is lucid and engaging. I would highly recommend this book for use in the classroom, especially in graduate and doctoral seminars, but also in specialized undergraduate courses that relate to the history of Catholicism on U.S. soil, and particularly any courses dealing with the Catholic modernist or Americanist controversies. Divided Friends is essential reading for scholars interested in modernism and Americanism, but would also be of interest for non-specialists. Any educated reader who is interested in the topics covered will find in Divided Friends a book well-worth reading.
William Portier has poured nearly three decades of meticulous research into a compelling narrative of four Americans, all dedicated priests, who immersed themselves in the turbulent intellectual waters of modern historical criticism of Scripture and suffered under Pius X's condemnation of Modernism. Portier lays bare the poignancy of their personal struggles of faith, hope, and charity --two remained Catholic priests; two did not. Portier's work situates these four personal stories in the 'ebb and flow of theology' as it unfolds at the beginning of the twentieth century. The legacy of these struggles with the effects of modern thoughtways continue to shape present theological debates.