Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Apologia pro Lameness Mea

Well, I haven't touched Newman in a couple of weeks. I'm trying to pack up my household these days in advance of our move the week of Christmas. Where is everyone else? Do you want to continue with Newman after Christmas, or should we throw in the towel on him and move on to Melanie's pick, which will undoubtedly be more readable?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

More Notes on Newman

Newman is my nightcap. I pick up the book after the kids have gone to bed and promptly fall to sleep. But I have made it up to his Religious Opinions of 1841-1845, and feel like I have a better acquaintance with Newman the young man. He portrays himself, not as a genius, but as an impassioned defender of truth willing to risk offending people, a courage I often lack. I wonder how it felt to realize you have been a catalyst of a major historical event.

Some quotes that stuck out to me:

From 1833 to 1839: Since our parents are converts, among our extended family are various differences in matters of faith. Some relatives share the opinion of Dr. Hampden: “'Religion is distinct from Theological Opinion’” and that “‘theological propositions’” (dogma and doctrine) are not to be confused with "‘the simple religion of Christ.’” Newman’s response “While I respect the tone of piety which the Pamphlet displays, I dare not trust myself to put on paper my feelings about the principles contained in it; tending as they do, in my opinion, altogether to make shipwreck of Christian faith.”

Is this an attempt at ecumenism or unity?: “A further motive which I had for my attempt was the desire to ascertain the ultimate points of contrariety between the Roman and Anglican creeds, and to make them as few as possible. I thought that each creed was obscured and misrepresented by a dominant circumnambient ‘Popery” and ‘Protestantism.’” He did not succeed, for this is still a problem today, as evidenced by my own family.

Then I skipped to the back of the book and found these:

From Note A on Liberalism:
“Now by Liberalism I mean false liberty of thought, or the exercise of thought upon matters, in which, from the constitution of the human mind, thought cannot be brought to any successful issue, and therefore is out of place. Among such matters are first principles of whatever kind; and of these the most sacred and momentous are especially to be reckoned the truths of Revelation. Liberalism then is the mistake of subjecting to human judgment those revealed doctrines which are in their nature beyond and independent of it, and of claiming to determine on intrinsic grounds the truth and value of propositions which rest for their reception simply on the external authority of the Divine Word.”

From Note G on Lying and Equivocation: This is good for parents:

“Almost all authors, Catholic and Protestant, admit, that when a just cause is present, there is some kind or other of verbal misleading, which is not sin.” Then he explicates the difference between just cause and the kind of verbal misleading or silence, which could be a mortal sin, calling to mind Endo’s book.

My book also has as an appendix Newman's list of English saints arranged according to their feast days and then again chronologically, which is interesting. It stops at the 15th century.

The Sunday meditation in Magnificat was from JHN’s sermons:
“If, indeed, we listen to the world, we shall take another course… We shall have a secret shrinking from the Church’s teaching. We shall have an uneasy, uncomfortable feeling when mention is made of the maxims of holy men and ascetical writers, not liking them, yet not daring to dissent. We shall be scanty in supernatural acts, and have little or nothing of the habits of virtue which are formed by them, and are an armor of proof against temptation. We shall suffer our souls to be overrun with venial sins, which tend to mortal sin, if they have not already reached it.

I say, that we must not only have faith in the Lord, but must wait on him; not only must hope, but must watch for him; not only love him, but must long for him; not only obey him, but must look out, look up earnestly for our reward, which is himself.” He goes on about being detached from the things of the world, and making Christ our only object of faith, hope and charity, as he evidently did himself, to turn his back on his position of rising attention in the Anglican Church. A good reminder when I have such a hard time making even tiny sacrifices.
Yesterday I stumbled across this information on a course in Art, Beauty and Inspiration, at Maryvale, the institute near Newman's Birmingham Oratory from a link from another good blog by former DRE of a former church we used to go to - great for education ideas.  Want to find time and money to go to England for 3 weekends and enroll?