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Coat of arms of Pope Pius X.

Pascendi or with full title Pascendi Dominici gregis (The flock of the Lord to pasture) is an encyclical of Pius X. It was published on September 8, 1907 shortly after the decree Lamentabili sane exitu of the Sanctum Officium , but was created independently of this.

Concerns and statements

The Pascendi encyclical turns against so-called modernism in the Catholic Church . For the first time, Pius X wants the “system” of the modernists as an omnium haereseon conlectum(Summary of all heresies) reveal or expose. In its didactic main part, the encyclical described the modernist in seven roles: as a philosopher who only thinks within the framework of immanence, that is, in the world; as a believer who relies only on subjective religious experience; as a theologian who can only understand dogma symbolistically; as a historian and biblical critic, who dissolves divine revelation into inner-worldly development processes by applying the historical-critical method; as an apologist who justifies Christian truth only from the standpoint of immanence; and finally as a reformer who wants to fundamentally change the church. Modernism resisted traditional scholastic theology and the church's teaching office. Its hallmarks are false intellectual curiosity, arrogance, ignorance and the will to deceive. This is proven, among other things, by the fact that no modernist openly represents the entire modernist system, but always only appears in one of the roles mentioned. In a disciplinary final part, the encyclical took practical measures to inculcate scholastic philosophy and theology, to discipline suspicious lecturers and candidates for priesthood, to censor and to create anti-modernist control bodies . Pascendi only affirmed scientific progress when it took place “in the light of Catholic truth and under its guidance”.


The main author of the encyclical was the French theologian Joseph Lemius of the Order of the Oblates (OMI) . When reconstructing the “system” of modernism, he relied primarily on the works of the French theologian Alfred Loisy . Lemius' intention was to expose the hidden philosophical and theological presuppositions of Loisy's interpretation of the Bible.

Pope Benedict XV confirmed and praised the work of his predecessor in his inaugural encyclical 1914. But he also stated that there was freedom of teaching among theologians at any time and until a definitive decision by the church office had been made. He turned away from integralism , which was often associated with anti-modernism and which Pius X had promoted with the Sodalitium Pianum .

Pascendi can be read today in the light of the decisions of the Second Vatican Council , which did not renew the condemnation of modernism and took over positions in areas such as the relationship to other religions, to democracy and to pluralistic society that had been considered "modernist" in 1907. A negative reference to theological-philosophical modernism, however, can be found again in the encyclical Fides et ratio by Pope John Paul II (1998).

Doomed Teachings


  • Claus Arnold : A Little History of Modernism . Herder, Freiburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-451-29106-7 , pp. 106-119.
  • JB Lemius: Catechism on modernism based on the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis by P. Pius. X . unchanged new edition of the German edition from 1908, Rex Regnum Verlag, Jaidhof 2003. ISBN 978-3-901851-32-2

Web links


  1. ^ Claus Arnold : Art. Antimodernism . In: Staatslexikon , 8th, completely revised edition, edited by Heinrich Oberreuter , Vol. 1: ABC weapons - honorary office . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2017, ISBN 978-3-451-37511-8 , Sp. 243–246, here Sp. 244–245.