Reflections on fundamentalism: “The modernists try to present the Pope as if he were one of them”



With the current Pope, the modernists have changed tactics. Having seen that insults and ridicule do not serve to correct the Popes, now they resort to equally blatant flattery, to present the Pope as one of them, taking advantage of some of his gestures, acts or words, which can lend themselves to misunderstanding or be misinterpreted, while the Pope does not seem to take care to remove the misunderstandings, so that the bad interpretations are immediately spread all over the world […] In my view, the Holy Father is too severe towards i Traditionalists and too lenient towards i Modernist. In doing so it lacks that impartiality, which suits him as the fulcrum of ecclesial communion […]



Author John Cavalcoli OP
John Cavalcoli OP



Occasionally in literature and publications Catholic still appears today the relief or accusation of "fundamentalism", as a moral or religious defect, as well as an outdated exegetical method. This accusation is usually launched against backward and stagnant environments, by those Catholics, who want to be advanced and faithful to the Church of our time.

botero jailer
The truncheon of the modernists” – The photos of the works reproduced here by the Colombian painter Ferdinando Botero [Medellin 1932], are taken from the exhibition held in 2013 at Palazzo Venezia (Rome)

This term it is also used by modernists, to denote with contempt the Catholics firm and steadfast in their convictions, fighters, attached to dogma and enemies of heresies. They can be Catholic or more tradition-oriented, like the Servant of God Tomas Tyn [cf. WHO], or more open to progress, come Jacques Maritain. The disciples of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre are also the subject of these attacks.

On the lips of the modernists, so it happens that even good Catholics are accused of fundamentalism, and are united with the Lefebvrians, because both admit the eternity and immutability of truth, unlike the modernists, which, as St. Pius X already noted with disdain when writing:


“They are truly blind and leaders of the blind, that, swollen with the proud name of science, raving to the point of perverting the eternal concept of truth " [Pascendi Dominici Gregis, n.20].


Of the term "fundamentalism" thus took over modernists, to oppose not only the Lefebvrians, but also to all good Catholics, faithful to the Pope, to the Second Vatican Council and to the Magisterium of the Church. For the modernist, the charge of fundamentalism is infamous, disqualifying and is a condemnation without appeal.


Botero dog
… the modernists have reached the pinnacle of aggression, because they have now settled in the key posts of ecclesiastical power [work of Ferdinando Botero]

We converse with the atheist, with the Muslim, with the communist, with the mafia, with the Freemason, with the Buddhist, but not with the fundamentalist. The modernists did not hesitate to accuse even the post-conciliar Popes of fundamentalism, up to a great Pope and progressive theologian like Benedict XVI, which however reminded us of the existence of "non-negotiable values". So still a fundamentalist.

With the current Pope modernists have changed tactics. Having seen that insults and ridicule do not serve to correct the Popes, now they resort to equally blatant flattery, to present the Pope as one of them, taking advantage of some of his gestures, acts or words, which can lend themselves to misunderstanding or be misinterpreted, while the Pope does not seem to take care to remove the misunderstandings, so that the bad interpretations are immediately spread all over the world, with the consequence that the furrow that divides the modernists from the Lefebvrians is deepening.


botero prete - the Vatican bathroom
Fernando Botero, opera: “The Vatican bathroom”

It would be necessary that the Pope would do more for reconciliation in the Church. No one other than him has the capacity from God, the authority and power on earth to restore unity, safeguard unity, defend unity, foster and promote unity. One of the purposes of the Council was to rebuild the harmony between the divided and separated brothers. Instead, after fifty years of ecumenism and pastoral initiatives, not only has unity among Christians not been restored, but the Church has never been so divided internally. Concord is found on the basis of the unity of faith in Christ. He is the "cornerstone" [If the 2,20: The Pt 2, 6-7], the rock" [The Cor 10,4], the "foundation" [II Tm 2,19], on which it is necessary to rely [cf Col 2,7] and it is necessary to build.


It is therefore supremely up to Peter [Mt 16, 18], that is to the Pope, "Lay the foundation" [The Cor 3,10-11], so that the disciples of the Lord are "founded in faith" [With the 1,23]. It is up to the Pope to call to himself, that is to Christ, lost children and lost men in the shadows of death. Nobody can take his place. Indeed, “When the foundations are shaken, what the right can do?» [Will 11,2]. If the Pope does not intervene, who can replace it? Mons. Lefebvre? Luther? Rahner?

The Pope is also the good shepherd who goes in search of the lost sheep, having compassion for the lost crowds and without a shepherd, leads the flock to fertile pastures and defends it from wolves. As Vicar of Christ, the Pope is the foundation of the Church, it is a fundamental point of support. When the foundations are shaken, like today, with satanic powers; it's up to him, with the Holy Spirit, strengthen them and defend the Church from the powers of evil.


botero prete 8
Work of Fernando Botero

In my view, the Holy Father is too severe towards traditionalists and too indulgent towards modernists. In doing so it lacks that impartiality, which suits him as the fulcrum of ecclesial communion, and that would allow it to operate effectively, as it is up to him, for a rapprochement between the two trends, linking together the qualities of each: the tradition of the traditionalists and the progress of the modernists. In this way it would be realized, in Catholic unity, the very happy formula of Benedict XVI: "Progress in continuity".

"Fundamentalism", per se, it's a nice word, which means love for the ground. A firm and sure foundation is very important in life and in thought. We need to lean on a foundation. All the great philosophers have always sought the principle or foundation of being, of thought and action. However, this foundation must be authentic and distinct from what is not or is no longer so. Here a problem arises, linked to the historical origin of the term. In fact, it originally designates an American Protestant sect, born in the 19th century, but she saw in the Bible the revealed foundation of doctrine and morals, the "foundation of faith", but with a rigid attitude, naive, uncritical and a-historical, led to consider as the Word of God and as absolute moral principles, also many ideas, institutions, mores, read, exceeded; or names, facts or stories of Scripture, without historical foundation or scientific reliability.


botero prete 7
Work of Fernando Botero

The fundamentalists they realized that the Bible is a fundamental value for life and salvation, Universal, Permanent, essential and indispensable. This they sought in the Bible and, at the bottom of, rightly. But they also exaggerated in absolutizing many forms of expression, ways of thinking, historical contexts, human situations, political systems, judicial practices, mentality, local uses, primitive conceptions, genealogie, popular traditions and prejudices, artistic forms, archaic myths, geographic news, religious symbols, which in reality had nothing to do with divine Revelation, but they were only the contingent and transient mark and imprint of the human author, which God used to communicate his Truth. They entered into controversy with those liberal and rationalist Protestant exegetes, who used the new biblical sciences to question, relativize or deny those Catholic dogmas, which Luther had kept, like the Trinity, the Incarnation, the miracles of Christ, the atoning Redemption, the existence of the devil, the resurrection, the end of the world and the universal judgment. The same Catholic exegesis of the past, one could say since the early centuries, did not go exempt, until the Second Vatican Council, from this trend, that today we call "fundamentalist". This is why this way of commenting on Scripture was considered "traditional" and, therefore, untouchable.


The modernist phenomenon of the times of St. Pius X one of his demands was that of a renewal of biblical exegesis, inspired by the progress made by the biblical sciences in Germany in the nineteenth century. But the problem was that these advances were used either in the interest of Protestantism or to give a hand to rationalism; so the modernists were unable to separate those exegetical methods from erroneous conceptions, to which they were related. Hence the condemnation of the modernist proposal, to be understood, but, not as it refers to the new biblical sciences, but as it is invalidated, as noted by St. Pius X, from an "agnostic criticism, immanentist, evolutionist" [cf. Pascendi Dominici Gregis, n.66].


botero prete 6
Work of Fernando Botero

In this very difficult and intricate situation, and distinguished, but, on initiative, courage, perseverance and wisdom, the learned and holy French Dominican exegete, the Servant of God Father Marie-Joseph Lagrange, founder of the Biblical School of Jerusalem. He took the Fathers as a model of Bible commentators, the Doctors and St. Thomas for the spiritual and dogmatic aspect, and modern historical-critical methods, for the scientific aspect. We owe him the amendment of the modernist proposal, so as to make it compatible with the doctrine of the faith, so that Catholic exegesis could begin, in a difficult relationship with the Biblical Commission, founded by San Pio X, a prudent assumption of modern exegetical methods, without the risk of making mistakes. However, only with the Second Vatican Council, in particular in the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, the Church has fully welcomed Father Lagrange's project and satisfied what was acceptable in the instance of the modernists, avoiding Protestant and rationalist contaminations. At the same time, persistence has begun to be called "fundamentalism", somewhere, of the old exegesis.


Thus the Church once again demonstrated the compatibility of science with faith. To tell the truth, even the liberal exegetes, with their scientific approach to Scripture, they wanted to prove the same thing, against Luther himself, famously convinced that reason is opposed to faith. Except that the liberal Protestants were infected with a Kantian conception, positivist and historicist of reason and science, and this serious ball and chain led them to disregard or ignore the divine foundations of faith, that were important to the fundamentalists, but above all to the Catholic Church itself, far better equipped than the fundamentalists in terms of tradition, and of philosophical and theological wisdom.


botero prete 5
Work of Fernando Botero

Fundamentalism it was basically a reference to the Sacred Tradition, in itself right. But, since he was not guided and enlightened by the Magisterium of the Church, supreme and infallible guardian of Tradition, it ended in a blocked and sterile conservatism. Fundamentalism is a form of traditionalism different from the Lefevrian and the Tynian ones [CF. G. Cavalcoli, Tomas Tyn. A post-conciliar traditionalist, Faith&Culture, Verona 2007]. It is, substantially, of a Protestant movement, with the characteristic flaws of Protestantism. Vice versa, Lefebvrism is a Catholic movement, even if hostile to the Second Vatican Council and not in full communion with the Church. Instead, Father Tyn's traditionalism respects the right sense of tradition with full obedience to the doctrines of the Second Vatican Council.


botero prete 4
Work of Fernando Botero

Another factor of the momentum, that borders on aggression, of fundamentalism, it is an authentic value in itself, but badly set up or experienced, that is, it is the iron conviction that everyone must embrace, by love or by force, our faith, being the real one. This principle is particularly accentuated in Islam, less evident in Hinduism, in Buddhism and Judaism.

Christianity, instead, wisely accompanies an articulate one, delicate and accurate work of persuasion with the charitable warning of the divine punishment of the otherworldly in case of refusal. For its safety and rigidity, which tends to fanaticism, fundamentalism pushes, in conduct towards opponents, to acts of violence and intolerance, that can come, in extreme cases, for example in Islam, up to terrorism.


Fundamentalism, unfortunately also present in the Church, it generates dire consequences in the moral field, and in civil and ecclesial relationships and coexistence. On the one hand, it maintains undoubted fundamental values, such as religious piety, love for the Bible, the liturgy, the Onesti, family, social and work commitment, but, other, being the fundamentalist convinced that he has always God with himself or on his side - error, this, typical of Protestantism and all heretics -, he is inclined to support his ideas, perhaps purely questionable or even wrong, always in an absolutist way, peremptory, aggressive, he admits no objections and is deaf to any refutation. Mistakes rigidity for fidelity to truth and flexibility for yielding to error. For him the different is not a value to be respected, but an enemy to fight. He does not accept uncertainty and always wants to show maximum safety. In fact, he is convinced that his word coincides with the very Word of God, as well as in the Bible, under the pretext of inenarrangement, it does not distinguish the true Word of God from the limitations and errors of the hagiographer. He is on the side of good; whoever contradicts him is on the side of evil. And since there is no mediation between good and evil, ends up despising, as inconsistent people, opportunists and doubles, not just the open opponent, ie the modernist, but also those kind people, peaceful and wise, that, knowing that at the center of power and therefore rejecting the opposite extremisms, they keep, although they are the object of contempt by the extremes, in an intermediate or synthetic position, as peace mediators, promoters of dialogue and links, and advocates of conciliatory balance.


botero prete 1
Work of Fernando Botero

The rest, the mindset of the modernist it's the same, even if of opposite sign; he is on the side of good; anyone is anti-modernist, either with the Council or against the Council it does not matter, is on the side of evil. Therefore, even the modernist does not recognize any mediating ecclesial formation between him and Lefebvrism, faithful to the Magisterium, as is that of true Catholics.


Due to the rebirth of modernism after the Council, the term "fundamentalism" has begun to have two meanings: one, to signify this persistence of the old exegesis and a stale traditionalism, tough and aggressive. And this is the language we find in the Magisterium. We find this meaning of the term, for instance, in a document of the Biblical Commission of 1993, "The interpretation of the Bible in the Church", who devotes a paragraph to the theme [pp. 62-65]. It is, essentially, as it is said on p. 100, of a "confusion of the human with the divine, for which the contingent aspects of human expressions are also considered as revealed truth ". We find it, for instance, in these words of the Pope in the interview with 30 last November released during the flight that brought him back to Rome from Africa:


“We Catholics have some, not some, many, who believe they have the absolute truth and go on dirtying others with slander, with defamation, and they hurt, they hurt. And I say this because it is my Church, we too, all! And you have to fight. Religious fundamentalism is not religious. Why Is That? Because God is missing. It is idolatrous, how idolatrous money is. Doing politics in the sense of convincing these people that they have this tendency, it is a policy that we religious leaders must do. But the fundamentalism that always ends in a tragedy or in crimes, it's a bad thing, but there is a little bit of it in all religions ".


botero prete 2
Work of Fernando Botero

The other sense is what I have already explained, used by modernists to attack the anti-modernism of both Catholics and Lefevrians. From these considerations we see how the term "fundamentalism" has become ambiguous. The sense in which the Pope uses it is not that used by the modernists, to attack Catholics and Lefevrians. It is possible that modernists believe that the Pope uses the term in their own sense. Poor deluded! And we do not think with the Lefevrians that the Pope is a modernist. Let's put our hearts in peace: is a "Catholic" Pope.


It is therefore necessary to be very careful in using the term and in discerning, when we hear it from others, in order not to take the whistle for flasks in a very important theme of our life of faith and of the Church.

Varazze, 19 January 2016



Dear Readers.

We hope and trust in your providence and indispensable help to collect necessary to cover administrative costs of the site of 'Patmos Island for the year 2016.

see WHO





About Father John

Giovanni Cavalcoli Dell'Ordine dei Frati Predicatori Presbitero e Teologo ( Click on the name to read all its articles )

13 thoughts on "Reflections on fundamentalism: “The modernists try to present the Pope as if he were one of them”

  1. Evidently, if Pope Francis commemorates the 500 years of the Reformation (and the posting on the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral of the 95 thesis by Luther) it means that he thinks very differently about Luther than Pope Leo X or Pius IX or even Pius XII…

    What if – as stated at “Courier service” a couple of days ago that “Giorgio Napolitano and Emma Bonino are among the greats of Italy today "… and when someone points out that Bonino does not think exactly like the Church: “Patience ”commented Francesco“ we need to look at people, what they do ”and she, Bonino, "Offered the best service to Italy to get to know Africa": a judgment that Paul IV or John Paul II or Benedict XVI would never have pronounced… Evidently the world changes… for the better!

    1. Dear Beppe.

      On the columns of the’Patmos Island we complained several times, pained and even embarrassed, how unhappy certain past expressions were and how unhappy certain present outings undoubtedly are. All always distinguishing the “private doctor” by the Roman Pontiff, the unhappy expressions made off the cuff and the papal magisterium.

      Therefore, certain jokes, don't do them to us, authors of very clear articles in this regard, if anything, address them to those who are silent, who do not speak, who pretend to approve and in the meantime they launch or are also launched into those dazzling ecclesiastical careers that neither Father Giovanni Cavalcoli nor I have ever sought and which we have never missed, this is proved by what we write and what we will continue to write in accordance with the deposit of the Catholic faith, to revealed truth and dogma.

      And that's a fact, just go and read our published articles in the archive, starting with the last ones. Or just waste a couple of hours of time listening to my latest video lessons.

      Of course, you are free both not to read and not to listen, however, he must avoid making certain biting jokes to us, as biting as it is legitimate on its part, but in any case addressed to two priests who have always paid homage to the truth and paid for this homage on their own skin, sometimes even at a high price.

      1. I specify that I am not at all saddened or embarrassed by the words of the Holy Father… I am, on the contrary, happily surprised!

  2. In the end, the Catholic takes the fundamentalist from both traditionalists and progressives, as well as from the world, of course. I would say that this is a guarantee that we are following the path that marked Our Lord, and which the pope renews every day. Thank you Father for this beautiful article

  3. the truth, the Vicar of Christ responded today, on various topics related to the family and marriage, back to the teaching of his predecessors.
    three quotes:
    1. .. there can be no confusion between the family willed by God, and every other type of union.
    2. The family, founded on indissoluble marriage, unitivo e procreativo, It belongs to the "dream" of God and his Church for the salvation of mankind
    3.The Church, therefore, with a renewed sense of responsibility continues to propose marriage, in its essential elements - offspring, good of the spouses, Unit, indissolubilità, sacramentalità [6] –, not as an ideal for a few, despite the modern models centered on the ephemeral and transitory, but as a reality that, in the grace of Christ, It can be experienced by all the baptized faithful.

    1. The polygamous family of an Abraham was also wanted by God? Sarah was not Abraham's half-sister? therefore also incestuous… And with recourse to the rent of the uterus of poor Hagar… I don't see many monogamous families in the Old Testament… Solomon did not have three hundred wives and seven hundred concubines? perhaps the sacred writer exaggerated a little, but he was certainly not monogamous… we are far from God's dream… and also the Holy Family is a bit’ differs from “dream of god” …

      1. «Solomon did not have three hundred wives and seven hundred concubines?»

        That by chance she would have liked to give him a hand as a charitable volunteer in front of so much good of God?
        If I weren't happily and freely bound to celibacy and chastity, I would have.

        1. Absolutely not! I leave Solomon to his three hundred wives and seven hundred concubines… Known only as natural families in the Bible there are very few… By this I simply meant to observe that the family is nothing but a cultural product

  4. A distressing question: Civil Unions and Family Days as the Pope thinks? Divisions in the Church, among men of the Church, between Catholic associations and movements, who invites to participate, who parades, who remembers the words of the Pope Emeritus, those who praise the alleged neutrality of the current. A brief press review: Bagnasco, Crepaldi, Ruini and others in favor, many slip away, Galantini, Bregantini and others against, Who speaks of “mandate of Francis” (Melloni) who quotes his words against the pilot-bishops(Rodari), who reiterates ” wanting to stay out of the fray” (Tornielli).
    Mediatically it is an unequal duel, the force of manipulation / persuasion of the composite, organized modernist army, Enlightenment and agnostic is overwhelming compared to the voluntary resistance and commendable prayer initiatives of the “people of God”.

    the truth, the Vicar of Christ can be silent?

    1. The Family Day event seems appropriate to me too, and I would have liked the leaders of the Church to support it compactly. By Galantino and’ difficult to have a good opinion; On the other hand, I know some people who live their faith very seriously’ and yet they are perplexed, for various reasons.
      In short, I do not believe that the borderline between the modernist army and the people of God is exactly the same as that between those who adhere to the demonstration and those against it..

    2. Dear Ettore.

      Since there are no precise pontifical directives on these issues, it means that the Pope allows a free and fair debate, civil and ecclesial, between opinions and adverse choices, provided that the one and the other part, if you want to be considered Catholic, being in communion with the Church and with the Pope, and implement civilian conduct consistent with its being Catholic, implementing or respects in relation to the principles of natural law and Catholic morality, in particular the Magisterium of the Church, concerning sexual ethics and marriage, distinguishing what the Catholic must be implemented in an exemplary manner on what, the ecclesial plan of mercy and the political, It can be tolerated, in reference to those environments, those situations and those persons, especially non-believers, that, for various reasons or excuse, they are unable or unable to fully implement the requirements of the moral law.

      God asks everyone to go all out, but it does not ask everyone to reach the maximum of objective perfection, but to get as far as possible. He does the rest with his grace.

      One is already perfect before God and one's conscience, when he does all he can, whatever the objective moral level reached. Sick people cannot be asked to behave like healthy people. This is the law of divine mercy.

      It is therefore necessary to avoid both the subjectivist laxism and the libertarian and permissivist relativism of the modernists, as the rigorism and the tough, merciless, Pharisaic and inexorable intransigence of the Lefevrians.

      Natural law and divine law are absolute, universal and immutable and are for all the guiding star of human conduct.

      The norms of the Church and the State, for their part, in their evolution, both within the scope of their competence, they must make everyone progress towards the best, each with its own pace.

      1. The problem, Reverend Father Cavalcoli, is that these bills are based on the denial of Natural Law.
        The question is all here: there are those who believe that there is a Natural Law written in the hearts of men, and those who deny it, asserting that there is only the law written by men on the paper pages of the Civil Code.

        Natural Law can also be recognized by a non-Christian, but a Christian cannot disown Natural Law.

Comments are closed.