Joseph McCabe (1867-1955) was one of the most prolific authors of all time. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic, worked on Latin documents, and made himself very well-informed about Christianity, but turned against it. But he was extremely naive about Jews; bear this in mind.

Click for Detailed notes on McCabe - scroll down for selections from A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (1948).

Here's the full A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (about 1.3 MBytes; Word format; includes notes on some of its limits)

Syllabus, The.

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

A list of propositions selected from Liberal literature by Pope Pius IX, in 1864, and "reprobated, proscribed, and condemned" by him. In 1848 the Romans had, in view of the chronically foul condition of the Papal States, rebelled and set up the Roman Republic, the Pope having fled in disguise. The revolutionary movement throughout Europe was crushed, and the French destroyed the Republic for the Pope. He returned and made the Papal States once more the opprobrium of Europe," as Lord Clarendon publicly said. In 1856 the European Powers, at the Congress of Paris, solemnly warned the Pope to reform his disreputable dominion - an incident which is not recalled in the public mind now that the Papacy is represented everywhere as a wise, august, and venerable guide on moral-political principles. There was no reform, and the Papal provinces seethed with revolt and bloody reprisals. Cavour bribed France, with the gift of Nice and Savoy, to withdraw its support of the Pope, and the advance of Italy began. The first plebiscite was taken by Italy in the conquered Papal provinces in 1860, and the inhabitants voted overwhelmingly against the Pope. But Pius IX "clung to his poor rag of earthly dominion while he vented his screeds of impotent passion and forgot bare morality in the lust for revenge" (Bolton King). It was in these circumstances - which hardly any historian ever recalls to-day, though they are frankly described in the Cambridge History - that Pius IX directed his Jesuits to formulate in eighty propositions the fundamental principles of what was then called "Liberalism,' and is now the common attitude of educated men. It is as difficult now to find a translation of this egregious document as to find a translation of the Papal decree which condemned and suppressed the Jesuits, and the one is just as much misrepresented by Catholic writers as the other. It was a comprehensive defiance of the demand for freedom of inquiry and conscience. Even philosophy was not to be discussed without reference to revelation and submission to clerical authority (10). Such elementary propositions of modern life as the following were "reprobated, proscribed, and condemned": "(15) Every man is free to embrace and profess the religion which, judging by the light of human reason, he believes to be true." The belief that "eternal salvation" could be attained, or hell escaped - in any religion besides the Catholic was reprobated with horror (16), and the familiar Papal claims to control education and marriage and dictate to the State were reaffirmed. The world smiled, and Rationalism spread so rapidly in Italy that a priest-historian said that "after 1860 Italy seemed to be conquered by rebels against God" (Balan's Continuazione alla Storia Universale, II, 477-81). After defending the Syllabus all over the world for a quarter of a century, Catholic writers realized their defeat and began to say that it was just an expression of the opinions of Pius IX in his private capacity, not as infallible Pope. They knew quite well that this distinction was not made until the Vatican Council of 1870. Pius IX had spoken officially and dogmatically to the entire Church. In the accompanying Encyclical he wrote: "All these wicked opinions and doctrines Pius IX, in virtue of his apostolic authority, commands all sons of the Catholic Church to regard as reprobated, proscribed, and condemned." As to the modern Catholic plea that the document is just an historical memento of poor Pius IX, whose heart was better than his head, the present writer can testify that it was enforced as Catholic teaching during his training as a priest in a London seminary and was a normal part of the manual (by the Jesuit Lehmkuhl) of theology used.


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