Pope Leo XIII, arguably the most influential pope given that the Reformation, connected modernism to the collapse of philosophical rigor that accompanied the heresies of sixteenth-century Protestant spiritual reformers and humanists, whom he termed “struggling innovators.” In this lax period, he explained, philosophers speculated with no regard to any unifying procedure. Their thoughts multiplied “beyond evaluate,” top to “false conclusions regarding divine and human matters.” In a breathtaking Counter-Reformation sally, Leo’s 1879 encyclical, Aeterni Patris (On the Restoration of Christian Philosophy), refocused consideration on the thirteenth-century “Angelic Doctor” Thomas Aquinas. Leo vocalized the value, for the survival of the Catholic Magisterium, of systematic, intellectually rigorous ways to philosophy and theology characteristic of medieval scholasticism.
Leo created it possible—with profound political consequences—for Thomist organic legislation ethical philosophy to turn out to be a powerful choice to the reigning modalities of Enlightenment rationalism, skeptical modernism, and transactional liberalism. Two a long time after Aeterni Patris, Leo’s 1899 pontifical letter to Baltimore Cardinal James Gibbons, Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae, centered provocatively on the heresy of “Americanism.” He precisely identified as out the exclusive (or remarkable) character of the American knowledge as a publish-Reformation nation. Lacking Catholic and medieval spiritual foundations, he averred, the U.S. experienced been way too no cost in its cultural imagination to indulge limitless self-fashioning and heedless reinvention of the type Leo attributed to Reformation innovators. For Leo, the problems of Americanism aroused suspicions that “there are amid you some who conceive and would have the Church in The usa to be different from what it is in the rest of the environment.” “But the true church is one,” Leo warned, “as by unity of doctrine, so by unity of authorities.”
As a shot across the bow of the American Catholic episcopacy, Testem Benevolentiae recognized common religious, moral, and governance anticipations relating to the unyielding “shalts” and “shalt nots” derived from the two revelation and all-natural law. Beforehand inaccessible, and even beyond the realm of recognition, to the modernist lifestyle and aspirations of American everyday living, these universal expectations materialized a doorway to the medieval previous, which in the U.S. experienced by no means in advance of existed.
Next Globe War II, Catholic views knowledgeable the pontification of Chilly War conservative intellectuals. William F. Buckley, the devout and mystically inclined Catholic, stays for a lot of the father of fashionable conservative ideology, defending the two religion and markets from the secular and statist threats of godless communism. At the identical time, conservative philosophers proven an institutional educational presence in assorted destinations, which include the College of Chicago, exactly where our 2nd Leo—Leo Strauss—held courtroom, and also at tradition-minded Catholic schools and universities these types of as the Catholic University of The us, Georgetown College, and Notre Dame.