Author Topic: Cardinal Newman and liberalism  (Read 269 times)

Offline St.Justin

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Cardinal Newman and liberalism
« on: February 14, 2019, 06:21:27 PM »
 John Henry Newman, Saint - "I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion."
Today, the Holy See announced that Francis has recognized the second miracle currently demanded for the canonization of the most famous convert in modern times, Cardinal Blessed John Henry Newman.

As our contributor Father Richard Cipolla wrote years ago:

    We cannot let the celebration of the memory of Blessed John Henry Newman is particularly remembered go by without recalling his remarkable prescience about the current condition of Western culture and the current situation in the Church, a situation that is itself a continuation of the troubled years since the Second Vatican Council. The great irony—and Newman always understood irony—is that he has been invoked as the “absent Father” of that Council with respect to the role of the laity in the Church, religious freedom, and collegiality. Those who invoke him in this way have obviously never read much Newman, for he would understand that the Church today is in the parlous state in which she finds herself precisely because those to whom her ministry has been entrusted have swallowed and digested that noxious weed decried by Newman and are patting their stomachs in self-congratulation, having succumbed to that “liberalism in religion” whose heart is what Newman called the “anti-dogmatic principle”.

    What is the current attempt to reduce doctrine to praxis if not an example of that liberalism against which Newman fought so strenuously in his own day? What is the gobble-de-gook of prelates pontificating about mercy and the "law of graduality", and the lack of true virile fatherhood among the shepherds, if not examples of that sentimentality that Newman detested and that is the acid of religion?

    One can never read Newman’s Bigletto Speech too many times. This was in a sense his last will and testament, for he who had been shunned in so many ways by the Catholic hierarchy throughout his Catholic life was given the honor of a Cardinal’s hat in the twilight of his life, and what he said in his acceptance of that honor from Pope Leo XIII, is chillingly prescient. And this not only with reference to the current situation of the Church. Newman knew as few today understand that the creeping papalism of the past century has been and is being enabled not by traditionalism but rather by liberalism. Here is the voice of the prophet for our times from his Bigletto speech:

        In a long course of years I have made many mistakes.

        I have nothing of that high perfection which belongs to the writings of Saints, viz., that error cannot be found in them; but what I trust that I may claim all through what I have written, is this,—an honest intention, an absence of private ends, a temper of obedience, a willingness to be corrected, a dread of error, a desire to serve Holy Church, and, through Divine mercy, a fair measure of success. And, I rejoice to say, to one great mischief I have from the first opposed myself. For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion. Never did Holy Church need champions against it more sorely than now, when, alas! it is an error overspreading, as a snare, the whole earth; and on this great occasion, when it is natural for one who is in my place to look out upon the world, and upon Holy Church as in it, and upon her future, it will not, I hope, be considered out of place, if I renew the protest against it which I have made so often…. Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy…

        Such is the state of things in England, and it is well that it should be realised by all of us; but it must not be supposed for a moment that I am afraid of it. I lament it deeply, because I foresee that it may be the ruin of many souls; but I have no fear at all that it really can do aught of serious harm to the Word of God, to Holy Church, to our Almighty King, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Faithful and True, or to His Vicar on earth.

        Christianity has been too often in what seemed deadly peril, that we should fear for it any new trial now. So far is certain; on the other hand, what is uncertain, and in these great contests commonly is uncertain, and what is commonly a great surprise, when it is witnessed, is the particular mode by which, in the event, Providence rescues and saves His elect inheritance.

        Sometimes our enemy is turned into a friend; sometimes he is despoiled of that special virulence of evil which was so threatening; sometimes he falls to pieces of himself; sometimes he does just so much as is beneficial, and then is removed. Commonly the Church has nothing more to do than to go on in her own proper duties, in confidence and peace; to stand still and to see the salvation of God.

        Mansueti hereditabunt terram,et delectabuntur in multitudine pacis
« Last Edit: February 14, 2019, 08:35:21 PM by St.Justin »
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Offline Non Nobis

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Cardinal Newman Canonization Re: liberalism
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2019, 07:05:05 PM »
I think Padre Pio is a Saint even though he was canonized by Pope John Paul II; and I will believe Cardinal John Henry Newman is a Saint even if he is canonized by Pope Francis. I think they are/will be Saints because of God's grace DESPITE the Pope who canonizes them.

If they are not Saints with a capital S I have confidence that they are at least in heaven (and so will hear prayers); if my confidence is misplaced, God will redirect my prayers.

I know Cardinal Newman mostly through his prayers and other spiritual writings, e.g. on the Blessed Virgin Mary.  I think they are excellent.

I know it is true, however, that some traditionalists think that Cardinal Newman was seriously wrong on some things.  I don't know the details; maybe they will show up in this thread. (Of course some of his errors were made before his conversion)

A good site to explore for writings and other info about him:
« Last Edit: February 14, 2019, 07:10:44 PM by Non Nobis »
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

Offline St.Justin

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Re: Cardinal Newman and liberalism
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2019, 08:37:49 PM »
 Some traditionalists find something wrong with everything that is posted on here.
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Cardinal Newman and liberalism
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2019, 02:53:31 AM »
I like Bl. Cardinal Newman's spiritual writings, they are very helpful. Another great Anglican convert, Cardinal Henry Manning, imho, deserves much more recognition than he gets. Both of these men were highly educated English converts, part of the Oxford movement within the Anglican community toward the Catholic Church, something which closer to our own times, we could perhaps see as culminating in the Anglican Ordinariate; though, arguably, we could have obtained the reception of millions more converts from Anglican Christianity if we had done things a little differently. Cardinal Manning was staunchly in favor of the definition of Papal Infallibility, and was responsible for authoring part of the beautiful decree of Vatican I. Cardinal Newman was opposed at least partly for prudential reasons, they say because he feared estranging potential Anglican converts. Cardinal Newman also was much interested in apologetics toward Protestants and those widely read and famous words of his "the Christianity of history is not Protestantism ... if there is a safe and certain Truth, it is this ... and Protestantism has ever felt it so ... to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant" was just a small part of that. Cardinal Newman in his own way helped Anglican and other Protestants come to the Church.

I think the definition of ex cathedra Papal Infallibility, being one filled with grace and the prompting of the Holy Spirit - also announced by the Blessed Mother centuries earlier, that the Pope who infallibly honored Her by defining the Prerogative of Her Immaculate Conception, would in His turn immediately be honored by the Most Holy Trinity such that Papal Infallibility would be defined in his time - rather sped up the conversion of those who were thinking of or in the process of converting, and also led to others who rightly desired Christian Unity to see that the best way they could promote that was by being received as individuals and communities to full communion with the Catholic Church.

If the Pope canonizes him, then he's certainly a Saint, at least in the sense of being in heaven, which the CE opines is the main infallible object of the declaration. Of course, it is not necessary to be formally canonized to be a Saint. In the early ages, canonization was mostly done by universal veneration - itself a mark and indicator of a person being saved since the whole Church cannot venerate someone who is not. If he is canonized, may Cardinal St. John Newman pray for us, and pray for all Protestants to return to the Catholic Church.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2019, 02:56:18 AM by Xavier »
Please pray the Association of Precious Blood prayers daily, especially in the great month of July: Please pray for aborted and for babies every day. You can save unborn children with every prayer for their Baptism that you say and help efficaciously end terrible abortion-killing worldwide.

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Saints say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own! Let us Offer our Lives in Sacrifice to Jesus and Mary to Save All Souls everywhere.