November 5, 2011

Me, I'm "an insult to the 19th century"

John Henry Newman was one of the great satirists of the English language. Somehow the academy no longer studies his prose. Gee, I wonder why. I think this snippet is as good as anything by Swift...

...We [Protestants] uphold the pure unmutilated Scripture; the Bible, and the Bible only, is the religion of Protestants; the Bible and our own sense of the Bible. We claim a sort of parliamentary privilege to interpret laws in our own way, and not to suffer an appeal to any court beyond ourselves. We know, and we view it with consternation, that all Antiquity runs counter to our interpretation; and therefore, alas, the Church was corrupt from very early times indeed. But mind, we hold all this in a truly Catholic spirit, not in bigotry. We allow in others the right of private judgment, and confess that we, as others, are fallible men. We confess facts are against us; we do but claim the liberty of theorizing in spite of them. Far be it from us to say that we are certainly right; we only say that the whole early Church was certainly wrong. We do not impose our belief on any one; we only say that those who take the contrary side are Papists, firebrands, persecutors, madmen, zealots, bigots, and an insult to the 19th century...

      — John Henry Cardinal Newman, Historical Sketches. London: 1872.
Posted by John Weidner at November 5, 2011 7:47 PM
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