Alfred Firmin Loisy (28 February 1857 – 1 June 1940) was a French Roman Catholic priest, professor and theologian generally credited as a founder of Biblical Modernism in the Roman Catholic Church. He was a critic of traditional views of the biblical creation, and argued that biblical criticism could be applied to interpreting Sacred Scripture. His theological positions brought him into conflict with the Church's conservatives, including Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius X. In 1893, he was dismissed as a professor from the Institut Catholique de Paris. His books were condemned by the Vatican and in 1908 he was excommunicated.
Loisy's most famous observation was that "Jesus came proclaiming the Kingdom, and what arrived was the Church" ("Jésus annonçait le Royaume et c'est l'Église qui est venue": Loisy 1902), and he is often taken to have said that with a note of regret (Loisy 1976: 166). But for all his clashes with the Roman Catholic hierarchy, Loisy did think that Jesus intended to form some sort of society or community. It was the aping of civil government ("comme celle d'un gouvernement établi"; Loisy 1902: 152) that he doubted Jesus intended...
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