April 13, 2008

"Not one moment's wavering of trust"

My hero, John Henry Newman, rarely answered the many attacks made on him in his lifetime. But when he did, it was "shock and awe!" (One of the greatest books of both English literature and religious biography, is his Apologia Pro Vita Sua, which was written in response to a scurrilous attack on his conversion to Roman Catholicism—his first response after about twenty years of harsh criticism.)

This letter was written to The Globe, in response to the printing of a rumor that he was planning to return to the Anglican church...

I have not had one moment's wavering of trust in the Catholic Church ever since I was received into her fold. I hold, and ever have held, that her Sovereign Pontiff is the centre of unity and the Vicar of Christ; and I have ever had, and have still, an unclouded faith in her creed in all its articles; a supreme satisfaction in her worship, discipline and teaching; and an eager longing, and a hope against hope, that the many dear friends whom I have left in Protestantism may be partakers in my happiness.

This being my state of mind, to add, as I hereby go on to do, that I have no intention, and never had any intention, of leaving the Catholic Church, and becoming a Protestant again, would be superfluous, except that Protestants are always on the look-out for some loophole or evasion in a Catholic's statement of fact. Therefore, in order to give them full satisfaction, if I can, I do hereby profess ex animo, with an absolute internal assent and consent, that Protestantism is the dreariest of possible religions; that the thought of the Anglican service makes me shiver, and the thought of the Thirty-nine Articles makes me shudder. Return to the Church of England! No; 'the net is broken and we are delivered'. I should be a consummate fool (to use a mild term) if in my old age I left "the land flowing with milk and honey" for the city of confusion and the house of bondage.

    I am, Sir,
        Your obedient servant,
            John H. Newman

I'll second all that. "The city of confusion and the house of bondage." Geez, that sounds like San Francisco...

I found the letter quoted in Louis Bouyer's Newman an Intellectual and Spiritual Biography, which i give my highest recommendation

Posted by John Weidner at April 13, 2008 5:04 AM
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