New York and London: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1908. First edition. Twelvemo (7 1/2 inches tall), orignal blue cloth gilt. Faint tanning and spotting to endpapers, two pencil annotations to title page, minor bump to lower right corner, else a bright, nearly-fine copy. Item #536
"S. THOMAS WAS THUS THE TRUE MODERNIST OF HIS TIME, THE MAN WHO STROVE WITH MARVELLOUS PERSEVERANCE AND GENIUS TO HARMONISE HIS FAITH WITH THE THOUGHT OF THAT DAY" First American edition of one of George Tyrrell’s last books, a contemporaneous defense in response to "Pascendi Dominici Gregis," Pius X's withering condemnation of Modernism. An Irish convert to Catholicism, "George Tyrrell was one of the most remarkable Jesuits that the English Province of the Society of Jesus has ever produced. He was a man of great pastoral sensitivity, widely sought after as a retreat giver, preacher, spiritual guide and confessor. He was also possessed of a keen intellect and deep insight into the nature and role of religion in life, amounting to what has been called ‘religious genius’. By the late 19th century he had become, perhaps, the most important Catholic theologian in England." (Oliver P. Rafferty, S.J. George Tyrrell and Catholic Modernism: A Reassessment).
Tyrrell was teaching at Stonyhurst and he was prominent among those resisting the papal insistence on Scholasticism and Thomism but his break with the Church was ultimately due to a conflict over Papal infallibility. “Tyrrell’s problems stemmed, it seems, primarily from his difficulties with Catholic authority, which he found narrow and, as he put it, individualistic in the concentration of infallible authority in the hands of one man: the pope.” (Robert Royal, A Deeper Vision). Tyrrell had already been expelled from the Society of Jesus (in February 1906) when he undertook this translation and refutation of Pope Pius X’s dramatic encyclical, Pascendi, promulgated in September, 1907.
Tyrrell's case was divided into five sections: I. Need of an Explanation, II. Explanation of the Modernist System, III. Particular Questions, IV. The Campaign against Modernism, V. Conclusion. He was unrepentant to the end: "We are the true successors of the Scholastics in all that was valuable in their work-- in their keen sense of the adaptability of the Christian religion to the ever-changing forms of philosophy and general culture." Part VI was Tyrrell's translation of the encyclical, itself consisting of three sections: I. Analysis of Modernist Teaching, II. The Cause of Modernism, III. Remedies. Tyrrell was swiftly excommunicated and when he died shortly thereafter (in July 1909) he was refused a Catholic burial. His friends arranged for him to be buried in an Anglican cemetery. With an Introduction by A.L. Lilley, dated "London, December 27, 1907." Published in the same year as the first British edition as part of Putnam’s Crown Theological Library series; bound with the series catalogue at the rear. A bright, fresh copy.