Concordism kept a hold on the minds of most Catholic theologians and in fact became a quasi-official position in Catholic seminaries. Concordism, which produced an immense literature, fell merely in disfavor with the publication on November 18, 1893, of Leo XIII’s Encyclical Providentissimus Deus on the interpretation of the Scriptures. The Pope emphasized that the inspired authors did not mean to teach about the workings of nature and therefore no “real conflict could arise between the theologian and the physicist as long as both remained within the confines of their respective methods.” It was left to the theologians to be specific about the sense in which Moses’ message was literal, that is, genuinely historical.
As will be seen, the subsequent grappling of the theologians and exegetes with this task did not improve a bit on the dismal picture that had emerged from their previous efforts. No one at that moment painted that picture more realistically than F. Hummelauer, Jesuit professor of Old Testament exegesis at the Gregorianum, who helped the Pope in drafting that Encyclical: “In the end, what is left of so many systems of explanation? Diluviansim is guilty of ignoring the geological evidence; restitutionsim, whose aim it was to satisfy the geologists, is rejected by them; periodism does violence to the text, poetism to the context, mythism to the idea of revelation, whereas idealism is destroyed by its own instrinsic absurdity. All is darkness and chaos, when let light come forth at long last!” (From Genesis 1 Through the Ages by Stanley Jaki p. 238-239; internal Hummelauer quote from Commentarisus in Genesim p. 68)