The Good Gardener And The Modernist Weed
I have read around – I suspect, from the usual V II crowd – that repression of heresy doesn’t really work, as soon after the death of the last “repressive” Pope they were everywhere in just a few years. I found the reasoning so wrong I need to write a post of explanation, in case the argument should emerge in your own discussions with friends, on the Internet, etc.
in my eyes, that repression of Modernism works fine is abundantly proven by the fact that for more than 50 years Modernists were absolutely nowhere as far as mainstream Catholicism is concerned. Their work was limited to some isolated theologians, who were promptly censored or condemned, and – presumably- to a subterranean current of followers which, being underground and therefore silent, could not be easily spotted, much less attacked.
Still, the work of the good Popes of the past was so good, that even in such a situation they did not hesitate in keeping a very strict control over what was happening. It is said Pope Pius XII had put his own “plants” in the major Catholic universities and seminaries, exactly in order to flush out, as much as he could, even the heretics working in the shade. Seriously, how anyone could do better than this is beyond me; and whether it worked, of course it worked!
Still, heresy in the Church is like the weed in a huge field. You can do as much as you want to eradicate the weed, but it will pop up again and again, and it will never be possible to eradicate it completely. Even constant attention will not lead to the problem’s extinction; but neglect will soon cause the problem to explode.
This is exactly what happened when John XXIII was elected. Suddenly, there was no real interest in the extirpation on of weed anymore. As a result, the weed started to grow at a prodigious rate, and in just a few years took over the field. To say the policy of the former Popes didn’t work merely because the following Popes refused to care for the extirpation of the weed is to put things completely upside down.
Repression of heresy works. It works, in fact, beautifully. If after Pope Pius XII we had had Popes who care for the extirpation of weed, the field would be exactly in the same beautiful shape now as it was in the Fifties. Of course, we would still have heretics working in the dark. But this has always been the case.
Those who say the Popes of the first half of the XX Century were not effective against heresy are like those who blame the good gardener who left the garden spotless for the mess caused by his successors, and for the weed now growing everywhere, undisturbed.
Don’t blame the good gardener. Blame the bad ones.