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The new condemnation
'Statements which do not appear in keeping with the Catholic truth'
The vindication of Rosmini did not please his adversaries. They, therefore, searched to twist its meaning spreading false interpretations. An official intervention by the Holy See compelled an apparent silence. However, after the death of Pius IX, the polemic was rekindled against Rosminian teaching, in even more violent tones. The dispute between those in favour and those against who were involved in these activities, extended to civil society, among ordinary people.
It was occasioned by the publication of two posthumous works, that is, the Teosofia, and L’Introduzione del Vangelo secondo Giovanni [The Introduction to the Gospel according to John]; from these and from those already cleared, his adversaries drew the “Quaranta Proposizioni [The Forty Propositions], regarding the fundamental points of his work and denounced them to the Holy Office. A decree of condemnation followed in 1888.
There is no mention of heretical doctrines in this decree. But only of statements which “do not appear in keeping with the Catholic truth”. Nevertheless adverse propaganda presents them as such and the name of don Antonio ended in the book of heretics. Generations of priests and religious grew up with the conviction that they must be on their guard with him, pointing out his brethren as disciples of a heretic.
Because of the condemnation some Catholics distanced themselves from Rosminian teaching, others embraced it, continuing to study and defend it, though in difficult circumstances. There was also a persistent and convinced fidelity to his thought on the part of very sound students, who were often penalised for their choice.
The Institute of Charity, in the person of their superior general, who was then Father Lanzoni, imitating the example of their Founder, submitted immediately to the Holy See, even with broken hearts.
From then on, more than a century passed. In the meantime numerous studies and research regarding Rosminian teaching developed, which have demonstrated its harmony with Catholic truth.
Today Rosmini is admired by many scholars as a great intellectual master. Experts see in him a wise guide of Christian culture between the second and third millennium, fruitfully and fully continuing the teaching of Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas. Pope John Paul II, in his discourse to the Chapter Members of the Institute on 10 November 1988, stated that: “People of culture and scholars, whether ecclesiastics or laity, desire to approach his writings in order to rediscover the supreme reasons of knowledge, in the light of his example as a believer and philosopher. There is an appreciation of his way of approaching God through science and philosophy, a recognition of the opportuneness of his research aimed at confirming the validity of the truth of faith and of the Christian message about man and his role in the world.