Posts Tagged ‘Newman’

Preservation of Catholic Heritage

In 13 History on 2014/11/07 at 12:00 AM

The Apostolic and Nicean Fathers preserved the original teachings of Jesus Christ which he gave to the Apostles and are abiding witnesses to this teaching, also referred to as “Sacred Tradition.”  Together, Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture are primary and foundational to Christian Doctrine.  Both flow from the same source: Christ.

Sacred Tradition predates the Church Fathers; the Fathers did not invent Sacred Tradition, but are simply “timely witnesses” to Sacred Tradition which comes from Christ Himself.  To know the Church Fathers is to know Truth. The Fathers teach with authority and are witnesses to the unbroken continuity of Church teaching.

It’s interesting to note that the early Church Fathers did not include their own writings in the canon of Sacred Scripture.  Rather, they included only the writings of Christ’s apostles up to the writings of John.

What the Apostles and Church Fathers warned the Early Church of still holds true today.  Paul warned that heretical teachers would pervert Scripture.  Augustine explained that heresies would arise through Scripture being misunderstood properly.  Essentially, heresy is stressing certain passages of Scripture more or to the exclusion of other passages, interpreting Scripture at will and losing sight of the unity that exists in Scripture.  In short, heresy can occur when Scripture is interpreted or misinterpreted out of context of the cannon of Scripture in its entirety.

John Henry Newman wrote of  ideas or concepts that begot heresies in his day and which still spawn heresies now:

1. That truth and falsehood in religion are but a matter of opinion;

2. That one doctrine is as good as another;

3. That God does not intend we should gain the truth;

4. That there is no truth;

5. That we are not more acceptable to God by believing one thing than by believing another;

6. That no one is answerable for his opinions;

7. That they are a matter of necessity or accident;

8. That it is enough if we sincerely hold what we profess;

9. That our merit lies in seeking not possessing;

10. That it is a duty to follow what seems to us true, without a fear lest it should not be true;

11. That it may be a gain to succeed, and can be no harm or fail;

12. That we may take up and lay down opinions at pleasure;

13. That belief belongs to the mere intellect, not to the heart and will also; and

14. That we may safely trust to ourselves in matters of Faith, and need no other guide.

Unfortunately, Luther and Calvin originally cited the Church Fathers in justifying their interpretations, but, by emphasizing the doctrine of “Scripture alone,” they explicitly excluded the teachings of the Fathers of the Church.

St. Vincent of Lerins summed it up in a formula: “The Truth is what has been taught everywhere, always, and by all.   Blessed John Henry Newman, described the nature of their testimony more analytically: “The Fathers  do not say, ‘This is true because we see it in Scripture’ – about which there might be differences in judgment- but, “this is true because in matters of fact it is held, and has ever been held, by all the churches down to our times, without interruption, ever since the Apostles.” Newman maintained that “the Church teaches that the ‘common doctrine of the Fathers’ may not be opposed.”  He further wrote that this “consensus of the Fathers” is best discerned by the living Magisterium of the Church.

The First Vatican Council (1869-70) confirmed the decision of the Council of Trent (1545-63) saying that “it is not permissible for anyone to interpret Holy Scripture in a sense contrary to this, or indeed against the unanimous consent of the Fathers.”  Newman was cited consistently in discussions during Vatican II discussions.

It was after reading the writings of the Church Fathers that Newman himself, Oxford’s famous Anglican divine, became a Catholic.  In his “Apologia Pro Vita Sua”, he states: “I looked into the mirror, and I saw myself an Arian.”

Researching the writings of the Church Fathers may also lead you to a new home, a new Church.


Real Hope

In 14 Book Corner on 2011/11/04 at 1:11 AM
 Excerpt from ‘The Forty Days’ Teaching by Cardinal John Henry Newman in PRAYERS, VERSES AND DEVOTIONS. Ignatius Press.

God has determined, unless I interfere with His plan, that I should reach that which will be my greatest happiness.  He looks upon me individually, He calls me by my name, He knows what I can do, what I can do best, be what is my greatest happiness, and He means to give it to me.

God knows what is my greatest happiness, but I do not . . . God leads us by strange ways; we know He wills our happiness. . . . We are blind; left to ourselves we should take the wrong way; we must leave it to Him.

I am created to do something or to be something for which no one else is created.

God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. . . . I am necessary for His purpose. . . . I am a link in a chain . . . of connections between persons.

I will trust Him. Whatever, whenever I am, I can never be thrown away. . . . He knows what He is about.

How constant is He in His affection! “I will never leave thee or forsake thee.”  He did not forsake me in my sin. . . . He found me and regained me. . . . He resolved to restore me, in spite of myself. . . . What does He ask of me, but that, as He has loved me with an everlasting love, so I should love Him in such poor measures as I can show.

The Kingdom of God

In 14 Book Corner on 2011/10/01 at 1:11 AM
Excerpt from “The Forty Days’ Teaching by Cardinal John Henry Newman in PRAYERS, VERSES AND DEVOTIONS. Ignatius Press.

My Lord Jesus, how wonderful were those conversations which You did have with Your disciples after your resurrection.   When You went with two of them to Emmaus.  You did explain all the prophecies which related to Yourself.  And You did commit to the Apostles the Sacraments in fulness, and the truths which it was Your will to reveal, and the principles and maxims by which Your Church was to be maintained and governed.

And thus You did prepare them against the day of Pentecost…when life and illumination was to be infused into them.  I will think over all You did say to them with a true and simple faith. The “kingdom of God” was truly Your sacred subject.  Let me never for an instant forget that You had established on earth a kingdom of Your own, that the Church is Your work, Your establishment, Your instrument; that we are under Your rule, Your laws and Your eye-that when the Church speaks You speak.

…let not the weakness of Your human representatives lead me to forget that it is You who speak and act through them.  It was just when You were going away, that then You  did leave this kingdom of Yours to take Your place on to the end of the world, to speak for You, as Your visible form, when Your Personal Presence, sensitive to man, was departing.  I will in true loving faith seeing You before me, teaching all the truths and laws of this kingdom to thy Apostles, and I will adore You, while in my thoughts I gaze upon them and listen to Your words.

I need you to teach me day by day, according to each day’s opportunities and needs….I need the mind of the Spirit, which is the mind of the holy Fathers, and of the Church….I need to be saved from originality of thought, which is not true if it leads away from you….Give me the gift of discriminating between true and false in all discourse of mind…My ears are dull, so that I cannot hear Your voice….You alone can quicken my hearing…cleanse and renew my heart….Give me the discernment to know Your voice from the voice of strangers….and answer me through my own mind.

The Spirit of the Oxford Movement

In 14 Book Corner on 2011/09/29 at 1:11 AM

The Spirit of the Oxford Movement

Excerpt from book review. 

Historian Christopher Dawson’s brief overview of the OM’s first seven or eight years is masterly. It rewards repeated reading. First written a hundred years after the Oxford Movement began, THE SPIRIT OF THE OXFORD MOVEMENT was almost unique in its day for flagging three facts.

The first fact is that the driving, almost demonic, force behind the Movement was the young Richard Hurrell Froude. Froude was the most gifted person whom John Henry Newman had ever met. Froude’s unceasing nagging had the effect, over time, of removing every last one of John Henry Newman’s inherited Protestant detestation of the Papacy. Without Froude, said Dawson, one could not have predicted that Newman would become a Roman Catholic Cardinal.

The second fact which Dawson convincingly and virtually uniquely among historians sketches is the impact of Calvinist theology on the young Newman. This theology John Henry imbibed from his Low Church Evangelistic parents and later at school from one or more teachers and from his reading in church history. Till the end of his days Newman, undisputed leader of the OM, firmly embraced Catholic views first learned under Calvinist auspices: the Majesty of God, the Incarnation and Predestination of the saints. As today’s Baptists and Presbyterians become aware of Newman’s abiding albeit critical Calvinism, they may join those Anglican/Episcopalians and Roman Catholics who see in the writings of Cardinal Newman a way to stitch up shattered Christian dogmatic unity.

Thirdly, Dawson illustrates at work within the microcosm of the soul and conscience of Newman an evolution which Newman presented in THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE. There Newman argued that the one true form of orthodox Christianity, led by the Holy Spirit, will absorb all that is good in the world and cultures around it: Platonism, Aristotelianism, Protestantism, while rejecting what is untrue or harmful. Newman also believed that God gives each human person from birth the wherewithal to find Him, to transcend the limitations of his or her particular family or time in history, to respond to God’s voice echoing in conscience and to find the true religion or at least move in its direction under guidance from the Holy Spirit.


Fr. Charles Connor – Historic Catholic Converts

In 15 Audio on 2011/09/27 at 9:25 PM

Historic Catholic Converts

Host – Fr. Charles Connor, Ph.D

Fr. Charles Connor, Ph.D. brings to life historic Catholic converts with an in-depth, scholarly approach to biography. See what attracted them to Rome, who helped them over their doctrinal objections, and the price many paid for their conversion. Fr. Connor places these converts into their historical context, explaining what was going on in Christianity that made them want to become Catholic.

Please click on this link for access programshttp://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?seriesID=7110&T1=Connor

Historic Catholic Converts

1.Elizabeth Bayley Seton was the first native born American saint. After the untimely death of her husband William, she befriended some Catholic neighbors. She converted to Catholicism after witnessing these friends devotion while receiving the Holy Eucharist. After converting to Catholicism, she went on to found the American Sisters of Charity and began the first Parochial school in the United States.

2.The Oxford Movement  began in the 1830ʼs and was championed by John Henry Cardinal Newman. The Movement was begun by Anglican theologians who attempted to trace the Apostolic succession from St. Peter to the existing Anglican High Church. The more they studied, the more these theologians realized that they were unable to do this. These people began to examine the Anglican faith and found that it lacked the full deposit of faith found only in the Catholic Church.

3. John Henry Cardinal Newman saw in the Oxford movement the opportunity to fight against “liberalism” in religion. This liberal thought was teaching that there was no truth, that we are not more acceptable to God by believing this or that, that our merit lies in seeking not in possessing, that belief belongs only to the intellect and not to the heart as well. As Newman studied the early church fathers he came to understand that the Catholic Church was the only church that contained the complete deposit of faith that had been passed down from Christ to the apostles and their successors.

4. Rose Hawthorne Lathrop Daughter of famous American author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop converted to Catholicism and began the “Hawthorne Dominican” sisters. Her order was the first to provide hospice care and spiritual ministry for those diagnosed with terminal cancer.

5. Cornelia Peacock Connelly After their conversion to Catholicism, Cornelia Peacock Connelly and her husband separated. While he went on to join the priesthood and then leave it and the Catholic Church, she became and remained a nun and founded the order of the Sisters of the Holy Child.

6.Ignatius Spenser and Fidelis Kent Stone Two Passionist priests.

7.Orestes Brownson and Isaac Hecker

8. Robert Benson and C.C. Martindale

9. G. K. Chesterton

10. Jacques Maritain

11. Karl Sterne

12. Converts from British and French Literature

13. Msgr. Ronald Knox

14. Dorothy Day

15. Converts of Archbishop Fulton Sheen

16. Malcolm Muggeridge

17.Edith Stein: Part I

18. Edith Stein: Part II

19. American and European Converts of Note

Please click on this link for access programshttp://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?seriesID=7110&T1=Connor

Scripture Defiled

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2011/04/11 at 5:56 PM

St. Paul,  as recorded in Acts 20: 29-30, warns the believers to be on guard against “fierce wolves who will invade” and “even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them.”  There have been problems in each age but  the Catholic Church has always taught, what Christ taught.  Jesus Christ commanded His apostles to “Go teach whatsoever I have commanded you.”

The Early Church Fathers, following the Apostles, did just that: when heresies arose, they countered them with the Truth.  Councils were called to deal with them definitively.  Essentially, all the problems were the result of misinterpretations of Scripture. The most damaging was Luther’s introduction of “personal interpretation of the Bible” which led to more misinterpretations.  Luther  discarded  the books of the Canon of the Bible that he did not agree with because they did not suit his interpretation.

The so-called Protestant Reformation did not give the world a new and better version of Christianity. ” It gave the world a new false religion. It has not been guided by the Holy Spirit as proven by its negative effects and  its evolution in 30,000 denominations (1000 plus Baptists groups alone!)

Protestantism is not an alternative to the Church as many who have left the Church tell themselves. It is an empty organization based on the bad judgment of Luther.  Every denomination has split into divisions and factions to the point that their founders would not even recognize them.The  Catholic Church, in all its Rites, is by the divine decree, the only Church Christ founded, whether you believe it or not, whether you accept it or not, or whether you like it or not.

If you look at the 2000 year history of the Roman Catholic Church, only divine protection and guidance can explain why it is still around with the original teaching Christ gave it. Of all the religious founders in history: Mohammed, Buddha, Luther, Mormonism’s Joseph Smith….only Jesus Christ claimed to be divine and proved it by fulfilling the over 600 prophecies in the Old Testament and the miracles he performed while on earth. Jesus Christ set up a Church to last to the end of time. He promised to be with it to the end of time. He promised that the gates of hell would not prevail. However, He did not say it would be problem free (as we have seen); on the contrary, He warned us to beware of false teachers.

Hilare Belloc, in his book: THE GREAT HERESIES demonstrates how the “The spiritual basis of Protestantism went to pieces through the breakdown of the Bible as a supreme authority. ” This breakdown was the result of that very spirit of skeptical inquiry  upon which Protestantism had always been based. It had begun by saying: “I deny the authority of the Church: every man must examine the credibility of every doctrine for himself.” “In modern times, the Protestant culture has gone from having worshipped the very text of the Bible as something immutable and the clear voice of God to doubting almost everything the Bible contains. We can say that all the seeds sown are now in full bloom: Rationalism, Modernism, Secularism, Relativism, New Age, and list goes on. The ultimate victim has been Truth.

So what began with the idea of subjective evaluation and personal judgment, as opposed to objective/realistic evaluation and judgment, has resulted in that, today, except in the physical sphere, there is no truth; it’s all just opinion – no one religion is better than another.

Today, as Protestant theologians study the Fathers of the Early Church, they are finding the truth of Blessed John Henry Newman’s conclusion: “You cannot study the Fathers and remain a Protestant.” Today in Protestant Churches  the membership is at least one third or more former Catholics. You may be in contact with some of them. The point is, they are in the wrong church: whether they know it or not, whether they want it or not, whether they believe it or not. The Apostolic Fathers died for the Truth of Christ, the Doctors of the Church defended the Truth of Christ, the Popes preserved the Truth of Christ, and the Founders of Religious Orders enabled the Truth of Christ to be spread throughout the world.

We too are commissioned by our Baptism and Confirmation.   We must be confessors of the Faith upholding the Truth of Christ with fortitude and confidence,  without compromising of belief, and not conforming with anything that goes against faith or moral. We should pray that Jesus Christ will make us be faithful to Him so that we be among those of whom the Book of Wisdom says: “God, You manifest Yourself to those who do not disbelieve You, and truly trust in You and do Your will.”