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The Pure Modernist are the Francis Catholics, the semi-Modernists are the Conservative Catholics and Rome... was what it was then with Tradition

Newman: “saw clearly, that in the history of Arianism, the pure Arians were the Protestants, the semi-Arians were the Anglicans, and that Rome now was what it was then” (Apo, pp. 133-134).

The Pure Modernist are the Francis Catholics, the semi-Modernists are the Conservative Catholics and Rome... was what it was then with Tradition.


The Arian triumph was complete in this, at least, that the Catholics were all completely muzzled and gagged. Not a single bishop was left in possession of his see who dared refuse to condemn Athanasius. But there the triumph ended. The cowed episcopate was very far from being in its heart anti-Nicene, and if no one dared openly defend the homoousion and its champion, no Arian on the other hand dared openly disavow it. The triumph would only be complete when the bishops who had been forced to renounce Athanasius were brought to renounce Nicea too. To this, then, the Arian energy next turned itself.

The old theological discussions were renewed and presently (357), there appeared a new statement of belief drawn up by the bishops in residence at the court at Sirmium. This is the so-called Second Formulary of Sirmium. Its teaching is Arian, and its manner of expression the most radically Arian so far. Not only does it not declare the Son to be of the same substance as the Father -- the Catholic teaching -- but it states definitely that the Son is unlike the Father. The plan of those who drew it up was that it should be sent round the episcopate to be signed by each individual bishop. But its first effect -- when the collection of signatures began -- was to turn the divergent tendencies among the heretics into so many hostile sects. From the beginning the really radical Arians, in the theological sense, had been very few. More numerous, but still a minority, had been the political Arians, ambitious place seekers, who saw in the trouble a chance for their own advancement, and who had "managed" the party since Nicea. The vast majority of the Arian bishops were what the majority of a new party so often is, enthusiastic, and confused in their enthusiasm, driven as much by the hope of avoiding what they feared as by zeal for anything positive: their only definite characteristics their suspicion of the homoousion and their docility to the ruling emperor. From this section had come the support for that succession of vague, ambiguous creeds which gradually deprived the faith of all definite meaning for those who adopted them.

The publication of the Second Formula of Sirmium, suddenly reviving the most radical kind of Arianism -- patent anti- Niceanism -- as the creed of the party, forced into joint action the vague and hitherto fluctuating body of middle opinion which, although suspicious of the homoousion as a definition of the traditional belief, was yet Catholic in mind and willing to express the relation between Father and Son as one of likeness of substance (homoiousion). St. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, was one of the chiefs of this section, but its real leader was Basil of Ancyra. The split between radical Arians (Anomoeans), and these so-called Semi-Arians (homoiousion party), bred in the group of Politicals a new subtlety. In their endeavour to keep the party together they grew ever more carefully vague, proffering finally as a basis of agreement the formula that the Son is like to the Father (homoios -- whence the name of Homoean sometimes given them). It is round the manoeuvres of these three sections to capture the favour and interest of the Court that the history of the next three years turns (357-360).

The Anomoean formula provoked criticism throughout the scarcely tamed West. It also, in their hour of victory, split the Arians. Immediately the prestige of the Anomoeans fell, and Basil of Ancyra became in Constantius' mind the all-important bishop of the day. The Second Formula was withdrawn. In its place Basil proposed one of his own fashioning -- the Third Formula of Sirmium -- a provisional statement designed to gain the support of the Nicene West, to be the basis of an alliance between the Westerns and those Easterns who, if they differed from the West as to the wisdom of the term homoousion and as to its suitability to express their common belief, agreed in that belief none the less. The moderate Arians in the East whom the sudden revelation of Anomoean aims and strength was driving slowly back towards Nicea would, it was hoped, come in too. Before such an alliance -- and with the imperial favour which Basil enjoyed -- Arianism would be ended for ever.


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