Joseph Turmel

Among the great French religious modernists of the twentieth century, Joseph Turmel was a native of Rennes. His family was both very large and very poor, his parents pious and unlettered. However, Joseph’s keen intelligence was noticed early. He entered the large Seminary of Rennes and subsequently studied theology at the University of Angers, was ordained priest in 1882 and immediately appointed professor of dogmatic theology at the Seminary of Rennes. Turmel’s faith was ardent, and he worked hard to defend the Church against the incredulous. However, he himself became subject to doubts with the appearance of Gesenius’ commentary on Isaiah. Despite Turmel’s attempts to convince himself of error, those doubts grew with his continued study of the Pentateuch. On … Continue reading

Alfred Loisy

Alfred Firmin Loisy (1857-1940)       “The believer of the past is above all one who confesses, who frequently confesses—who does so more often even than Catholic morality requires to atone for sinfulness. He is a man who practices intellectual obsequiousness, acknowledging what the Church requires by fiat and accepting all that it teaches him without examination, contesting neither the sense nor the logic of what he believes and considering himself a minion who learns from the Church all that he needs regarding the great subjects touching upon his existence—what he must do in order to be a good person and (above all) what he must accomplish to be a good Christian. His activity is thus ultimately regulated by an exterior authority … Continue reading