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The National Catholic Reporter ‘quotes’ Newman in support of an anti-papal campaign. Why is it that liberals think that Newman was one of them?

Catholics, said Newman, are bound by the Pope’s formal teaching. If you don’t accept that, why do you stay?

By on Thursday, 6 December 2012

Benedict XVI presides at the beatification of John Henry Newman at Cofton Park in Birmingham (Photo: CNS)

Benedict XVI presides at the beatification of John Henry Newman at Cofton Park in Birmingham (Photo: CNS)

What is it about today’s theological liberals that they are so keen on quoting John Henry Newman in support of their own disobedience? I had forgotten how utterly contemptible the National Catholic Reporter (aka, says Father Z, the “fishwrap”, ie wet and stinking) really was; I suppose, since the only time one normally reads it is in the often admirable articles of John L Allen, that one sometimes takes away the impression that if they publish him they can’t be all that grossly subversive of Catholic values and teaching. But they really are, as we see exemplified by an editorial on women’s ordination this week which is really an excuse for yet another incitement to rejection of papal authority.

But why are they so keen on recruiting Newman of all people in their crypto-protestant revolt? Either they quote him out of context or just make it up. In this case, I think it’s almost certainly the latter, since Newman just didn’t think what they say he did: “Blessed John Henry Newman,” according to the NCR’s “editorial staff”, “said [just where exactly?] that there are three magisteria in the church: the bishops, the theologians and the people.” This little pseudo-Newmanian gem is called in aid for an incitement to an anti-papal political campaign: “On the issue of women’s ordination, two of the three voices have been silenced, which is why the third voice must now make itself heard. We must speak up in every forum available to us: in parish council meetings, faith-sharing groups, diocesan convocations and academic seminars. We should write letters to our bishops, to the editors of our local papers and television news channels.” And so on.

It’s not particularly interesting to be told that the Fishwrap is viscerally opposed to papal authority and wants to stir up lay disobedience to it, we all knew that. But to have Newman constantly invoked in this anti-Catholic cause is becoming increasingly irritating. “The pope,” said Newman “has for centuries upon centuries had and used that authority, which the Definition [of infallibility] now declares ever to have belonged to him … It may be objected that a representation such as this, is negatived by the universal [anti-papal] sentiment, which testifies to the formidable effectiveness of the Vatican decrees, and to the Pope’s intention that they should be effective; that it is the boast of some Catholics and the reproach levelled against us by all Protestants, that the Catholic Church has now become beyond mistake a despotic aggressive Papacy, in which freedom of thought and action is utterly extinguished. But I do not allow that this alleged unanimous testimony exists… I say there is only one Oracle of God, the Holy Catholic Church and the Pope as her head. To her teaching I have ever desired all my thoughts, all my words to be conformed; to her judgment I submit what I have now written, what I have ever written, not only as regards its truth, but as to its prudence, its suitableness, and its expedience. (Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, 10)”

How about them apples, “NCR editorial staff”? How on earth did you ever come to believe that Newman could with any integrity be used in support of your anti-papal campaign? You, too, like the protestant and liberal Catholic opinion of Newman’s own day, really do believe that, like the great and Blessed Pio Nono, the present Pope has established “a despotic aggressive Papacy”: and now as then, Newman would have been utterly dismissive of your disobedience: “On the law of conscience and its sacredness,” he wrote (Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, 5) are founded both his authority in theory and his power in fact … I am considering here the papacy in its office and its duties … [Catholics] are not bound by the Pope’s personal character or private acts, but by his formal teaching.”

And the Pope’s formal teaching on the question of women’s ordination is absolutely clear, and you are bound by it. If, that is, you wish to continue in full communion with the Catholic Church. In 1994, Pope John Paul II declared the question closed in his letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis: “in order that all doubt may be removed,” he pronounced, “regarding a matter of great importance… I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” In 1995, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith explained that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, though “itself not infallible, witnesses to the infallibility of the teaching of a doctrine already possessed by the Church… This doctrine belongs to the deposit of the faith of the Church. The definitive and infallible nature of this teaching of the Church did not arise with the publication of the Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis”. Rather, it was “founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium”, and for these reasons it “requires definitive assent”.

Clear? Got it? That is what the magisterium of the Church says. Oh, and let’s hear no more about these fictional “three magisteria” of bishops, theologians and people: apart from anything else, the very idea that Newman would ever have said that the Church’s theologians constitute one of three “magisteria” beggars belief, less that he would ever have said it than that anyone could ever have remotely imagined such a thing: are you sure, NCR “editorial staff” that you weren’t thinking of Hans Küng? That would explain it; they’ve obviously got it into their heads, these theological liberals (the Tablet are always claiming Newman for themselves in just the same way) that Newman was a kind of Victorian version of Hans Küng. Well, sorry; it just ain’t so. Hands off.

  • Lazarus

    Reading Newman was one of the key influences that brought me from Anglicanism to Catholicism. I have absolutely no idea how a man whose work focuses so much on the need for dogmatic truth and authority can be read as endorsing ‘make-it-up-as-you-go’ Catholicism.

  • Caroline

    I find the ever increasing, seemingly never ending, incredibly aggressive attacks on our wonderful pope absolutely DESPICABLE! As a convert to the glorious Catholic Church, it was an enormous chock to realize that the attacks nowadays mainly come “from within”, as the pope says. Incredible!
    How do these phony “catholics” (how DARE they even calling themselves that?!) have the guts to publicly scandalize the Church? I can’t help it, but I would be immensely relieved if they would leave the Church, since the only thing they seem to enjoy, in a truly sick and disordered manner, is causing great damage, now that the Church, more than maybe ever, truly would need all the strength she could need, through catholics behaving in a truly catholic manner, openly and publicly expressing their love and fidelity to the pope and the Magisterium. These aggressive feminists, homosexual lobbies, and/or whatever, are weakening the Church.
    The pope is indeed right: that the Church needs to “grow smaller”. (In an interview with Peter Seewald). 

  • MCarroll

    As a Catholic, and some one who is reasonably well versed in Bl. John Henry Newman, I am offended that these liberals could suggest such a thing.

    Bl. John Henry Newman was not a man who took his Catholicism lightly (by any stretch of the imagination). He agonised and contemplated the truths of the Catholic faith for years before converting to the Catholic faith. He searched wholeheartedly for the TRUTH. When he converted to the Catholic Faith, he was a man who knew the Magisterium inside-out and had a level of believe in the ‘revealed truths of Christ within the Catholic faith’ far beyond what we see in Catholics today.

    The irony…….

    It is ironic that BJHN came to us from a protestant church, because those in other denominations are often not in fact protesting about anything i.e. they join their denomination by being born in to a protestant family. 

    What liberal Catholics do not understand is that BJHN was never a protestant in the truest sense, however our very own liberal Catholic are Protestants (with a capital ‘P’). 

    A further irony……

    Despite not having the fullness of teaching those in other denominations have a word for the way liberal catholics behave….

    ……………………..BACK SLIDDEN

  • Mark

    “Why is it that liberals think that Newman was one of them?”

    Humans are often dogmatic in their certainty that they are right even when they have no real rational or evidence based justification. Catholics have the Bile and the church’s Magersterium while liberals have Marx and the 1960′s philosophers; both are capable of ardent faith. The question is whose faith is founded on solid ground and whose is founded on sand? The test of truth is that its eternal even if our understanding is incomplete. Will the cultural revolution continue for ever?

  • Mark


  • Mudge

    As a recent convert, my conversion came after many years of study and thinking, and I was received into the church because I found in it the last refuge of truth.  I saw in it a church that was not going the way of the world.  If it now follows the way of the world, where then shall I go.  Perhaps there will be a remnant left that I can join. A few a happy few.

  • JabbaPapa

    “Blessed John Henry Newman,” according to the NCR’s “editorial staff”, “said [just where exactly?] that there are three magisteria in the church: the bishops, the theologians and the people.”

    Well, that’s a very VERY distorted presentation of the various manifestations of the Magisterium in our Church …

    In fact, we have God, Christ’s teachings, the Deposit of the Faith & Revelation (including Scripture), the Pope, the College of the Cardinals (aka the Roman Curia), the Bishops, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (and, to a lesser extent, the other Congregations), NOT the theologians (this suggestion is borderline heretical), and the Catholic Baptised if and ONLY if the Catholic Baptised appear to be self-evidently of one mind over any particular issue (as we were and are in our reaction to the scandal of clerical paedophilia — as the most recent example of the Catholic Baptised unanimously expressing our own non-clerical & particular Magisterial Authority that springs to mind) (but certainly NOT “the people”). These collectively and individually constitute the singular Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

    Really though, this article by the NCR is straightforwardly heretical.

    Pope Benedict XVI has clarified that the infallibility of this doctrine is “irrevocable”, at this year’s Chrism Mass. This ex cathedra declaration of irrevocability deprives all parts of the Magisterium except for God Himself of any kind of Authority to change this doctrine of our Church — it would require a clear Act of God for anyone in our Church, including Popes and Ecumenical Councils, to be authorised to seek any change to the male nature of the priesthood.

    Let’s not hold our breath over this one …

    Catholics obviously have no authority whatsoever to preach against any infallible doctrines — but make no mistake :

    They’re not just preaching a disobedience to the Pope, they are preaching against the Deposit of the Faith — which is not just a simple act of disobedience against the Roman Pontiff, it’s a heresy pure and simple.

    It is heretical to preach the ordination of women.

    Those Catholics who do so are therefore excommunicated by their own actions.

  • rjt1

    Don’t worry. Remember: “I am with you always, even to the end of time”, that the “gates of Hell will not prevail” against the Church founded on the rock of Peter, and that the Holy Spirit will “lead you into all truth”.
    It seems like heretics are always with us too. (There is nothing new under the sun). Perhaps they are the ‘grit in the oyster’, indirectly leading the saints to respond by developing a greater understanding and a better expression of the faith.

  • Cestius

    I don’t think there’s anything remarkable about liberals having a highly selective take on historical figures and twisting things to suit their purposes.  You only have to read the Guardian to see that. As for women priests, they’re simply in disbelief and denial about John Paul II’s statement. They don’t think they’re being disloyal because they simply refuse to see what is plainly stated – that the Church has no authority to and simply cannot confer priestly ordination on women.

  • Kevin

    Claiming that a universally celebrated figure is one of your own is a classic propaganda technique.

  • rjt1

    An addition: that is not to say heresy isn’t a great evil: it is – and it needs to be combatted in every age.

  • paulpriest

    The National Catholic Reporter is Canonically illegitimate!!

    In 1968 they were accused of heresy & blasphemy and ordered to remove the name Catholic by their Ordinary.

    Following is the text of a statement issued by Bishop Charles H. Helmsing of
    Kansas City – St. Joseph (Mo) Diocese. The statement pertains to the
    National Catholic Reporter, which is published in the diocese and is an
    outgrowth of its diocesan newspaper 

    The Catholic Reporter, formerly the official newspaper of the Kansas City – St. Joseph, was begun by my predecessor under a policy of editorial freedom. That policy of editorial freedom [I] endorsed on my appointment as bishop of Kansas City – St. Joseph. When the National Catholic Reporter was launched, that original policy of editorial freedom was announced as basic to the new publication. 

    At all times it was presumed that the policy of editorial freedom was
    none other than that legitimate liberty declared and defended by the
    Second Vatican Council in its Declaration on Religious Liberty, further defined in the conciliar Decree on Communications, and, likewise, defended in the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. It could not imply that
    pseudo-freedom from man’s obligations to his Creator, Redeemer and
    Sanctifier in vogue under the standard of the 19th century liberalism. It could not imply,
    as a conciliar declaration on religious liberty clearly states, freedom
    in the moral order. As Cardinal Koenig pointed out in his recent
    address to editors, there is a legitimate freedom of opinion to be
    exercised by the Catholic press so long as it is absolutely loyal to
    the Church’s teachings. If an editor is to merit the name “Catholic,” he must remember “to think with the Church.” 

    As long as the Catholic editor carries the name Catholic, he can never
    forget that he is a teacher of Christ’s revelation. What he writes
    necessarily touches on faith — that gift of the Holy Spirit which “we
    carry in earthen vessels” and by which we accept Christ, the Word of God
    Incarnate, and His revelation. 

    The Catholic editor must manifest a reverence which must shine through
    in his attitude and in his every expression. The Gospel is clear on the
    destructive effects of ridicule, for example, in recounting of the
    taunts hurled at Simon Peter: “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth,”
    and their effects on him who, once converted, was to confirm his

    As the editors of the National Catholic Reporter know, I
    have tried as their pastor, responsible for their eternal welfare, and
    that of those whom they influence, to guide them on a responsible course
    in harmony with Catholic teachings. When private conferences were of no
    avail, as is well known, I had to issue a public reprimand for their policy of crusading against the Church’s teachings on the transmission of human life, and against the Gospel values of sacred virginity and dedicated celibacy as taught by the Church. 

    NOW, AS a last resort, I am forced as bishop to issue a condemnation of the National Catholic Reporter for its disregard and denial of the most sacred values of our Catholic faith. Within recent months the National Catholic Reporter has expressed itself in belittling the basic truths expressed in the Creed of Pope Paul VI; it has made itself a platform for the airing of heretical views on the Church
    and its divinely constituted structure, as taught by the First and
    Second Vatican Councils. Vehemently to be reprobated was the airing in
    recent editions of an attack on the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the virgin birth of Christ, by one of its contributors.  

    Finally, it has given lengthy space to a blasphemous and heretical attack on the Vicar of Christ. It is difficult to see how well instructed writers who deliberately deny and ridicule dogmas of our Catholic faith can possibly escape the guilt of the crime defined in Canon 1325 on heresy, and how they can escape the penalties of automatic excommunication entailed thereby. 

    In fairness to our Catholic people, I hereby issue an official condemnation of the National Catholic Reporter. Furthermore, I send this communication to my brother bishops, and make known to the priests, religious and laity of the nation my views on the poisonous character of this publication. 

    As a bishop, a member of the college of bishops, and one in union with
    the head of the college, Christ’s Vicar on earth, I proclaim with my
    brother bishops that the Church is, indeed, always in need of reform.
    This reform is a matter of putting on the mind of Christ, as St. Paul
    declared, through our contemplation of Christ in His teachings and
    through our loyalty to the teachings of the Church so painstakingly expressed in recent years in the constitutions, decrees and declarations of the Second Vatican Council. 

    The status of the world when our Lord came was a deplorable one. We are
    not surprised that the status of man, wounded by original sin, remains
    deplorable as long as he does not heed the voice of Christ and his
    authoritative teacher, his Church. Sociological studies,
    according to modern techniques, can help us appreciate the status quo –
    the exact thinking and acting and attitudes of our people. For this we
    are grateful. But it is a total reversal of our Divine Lord’s policy to
    imagine for a moment that the disclosure of attitudes through such
    surveys becomes the norm of human conduct or thinking. 

    Christ and His apostles preached first and foremost penance, metanoia,
    the change of mind and heart. The Church continues to do so today, but
    it finds itself increasingly more frustrated in its teaching of the
    ideals of our Lord by the type of reporting, editorializing and ridicule that have become the week-after-week fare of the National Catholic Reporter. 

    IN AS MUCH as the National Catholic Reporter does not reflect the teaching of the Church, but on the contrary, has openly and deliberately opposed this teaching. I ask the editors in all honesty to drop the term “Catholic” from their masthead.
    By retaining it they deceive their Catholic readers and do a great
    disservice to ecumenism by being responsible for the false irenicism of
    watering down Catholic teachings. 

    I further ask the editors and the board of directors, for the love of God and their fellow men, to change their misguided and evil policy; for it is evident to me that they have already caused untold harm to the faith and morals not only of our laity, but of too many of our priests and religious. 

    I make this statement with apostolic freedom as given by our Lord to His
    followers; I make it conscious of the heavy burden that is mine as a
    bishop, as one enjoined by the Holy Spirit through the pen of St. Paul:
    “Reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine; for there will
    come a time when they will not endure the sound doctrines; but having
    itching ears, will heap up to themselves teachers according to their own
    lust, and they will turn away their hearing from the truth and will
    turn aside rather to fables.” (2 Tim. 4:2-4)


  • Rizzo The Bear

    Hear, hear! 

    I empathise with you, Caroline.

    How dare they have the brass neck to call themselves ‘Catholic’!They are the real poison and the ‘enemy within’. They are the ones attempting to do damage! They form the noxious ‘smoke’ that Pope Paul VI warned us about. They are those out of date, happy-clappy hippies who like nothing better than to sing ditties rather than hymns and indulge in a spot of liturgical dancing! These fossils are from a bygone era and they should be confined to a deep, dark vault if they don’t toe the line with the Magisterium! They think Vatican II is the sequel to a blockbuster movie… which is why they sought to do damage that wasn’t even part of V2 in the first place and alienated many faithful people. I read somewhere that ‘information is ammunition.’ This Year of Faith should be an ample opportunity for us to read up on good, quality, sound Roman Catholic books, pamphlets, leaflets etc. etc. If we are well-read, we can face these people down and show a mirror to their pride and arrogance.A darn good pruning in the vineyard wouldn’t go amiss!

  • teigitur

    It is a dreadful rag. One should really just ignore it. Publicity is oxygen, something of which it needs to be starved. It gets far too many mentions on these pages.

  • Jeffrey Pinyan

    Googling “three magisteria” brings up an NCRep article from October 2010. Here are the three relevant paragraphs:

    It was the newly Blessed John Henry Newman himself who pointed out that there are really three magisteria in the church: the mouth of the episcopacy, the doctors (meaning the theologians) and the people in the pews. Newman valued all three equally and the wise balance and guidance they provided.

    “I think I am right in saying that the tradition of the apostles, committed to the whole church in its various constituents and functions … manifests itself variously at various times: sometimes by the mouth of the episcopacy, sometimes by the doctors, sometimes by the people, sometimes by liturgies, rites, ceremonies, and customs, by events, disputes, movements, and all those other phenomena which are comprised under the name of history. It follows that none of those channels of tradition may be treated with disrespect.”

    Newman was fascinated with the interactions among these three magisteria in history when doctrine and theology were being formulated, notably in the early centuries when the laity saved the church from the Arian heresy and then in the 19th century when the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was forged by Pope Pius IX, who preferred expressions taken from the church’s lived experience, from the faith and worship of the Christian people, to scholastic definitions.

    The quote is from “On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine”. The last sentence of their quote, however, is incomplete! Newman continued:

    “It follows that none of these channels of tradition may be treated with disrespect; granting at the same time fully, that the gift of discerning, discriminating, defining, promulgating, and enforcing any portion of that tradition resides solely in the Ecclesia docens.”

    At any rate, Newman didn’t limit himself to “three magisteria” (if you can call them magisteria) in his essay, and he places greater emphasis on the “official” Magisterium, the “Ecclesia docens” (the “teaching Church”) as he calls it.

  • Alexander VI

    Newmans views are irrelevant. The current position on the ordination of women is based on a flawed anthropology, sacramental theology and ecclesiology.

  • Alexander VI

    “The National Catholic Reporter is Canonically illegitimate!!”
    So what???

  • paulpriest

     So everything!

  • W Oddie

    None of these were called a “magisterium”: that’s not at all what Newman was claiming here, as the NCR was fraudulently claiming. 

  • W Oddie

    So, in the Catholic Church legitimacy is of the essence: that’s our attitude to the truth. But you are a familiar troll, and I really ought to be ignoring you; you only contribute in order to disrupt and infuriate; I recommend that Catholics simply ignore you.

  • Charles

     We should have an honest appraisal of whether there is Marxist infiltration of the church that is deliberately orchestrated or simply a result of the counter culture. If the former, then we must expose the organizations behind it; if the latter,  Catholic values must simply outlast the counter culture.

  • Parasum

    “Why is it that liberals think that Newman was one of them?”

    ## Because he can be read in more than one way. There is the anti-Liberal Newman who criticised Milman as an Anglican & spoke in his “biglietto speech” of having opposed liberalism for forty years – and there is the Newman of “The Rambler” & the “Letter to the Duke of Norfolk”, who was suspect to many at Rome, such as Mgr.Talbot,  and was not well-regarded by Abp. Manning.

    There is enough variety in him for the Catholic Modernists to have thought of themselves as doing no more than take further issues Newman had already raised – & for St. Pius X to have made clear in a letter that in condemning them, the Pope had no intention of condemning him. Newman is one – but  partly because of the intellectual atmospheres in the two Churches in which  he passed his life, partly because of his own intellectual & Christian development, partly because of his own gifts & limitations, partly because of the reactions of others to him, partly because of the questions then being agitated among Anglicans, & later among Catholics, and also because his Christian life was a long one, of about 75 years, the Catholic Newman of 1884 & the essay on Biblical inspiration is both like and unlike the Anglican incumbent  who found fault with Dean Milman for referring to Abraham as a “sheik”.

    The definition of  “liberalism” is conditioned by when it appears, and by who is using the word. There is no one thing called liberalism. What Newman regarded as “liberalism” in 1820s Anglicanism, would be regarded today as very conservative. The author of the article is a liberal – he is anti-liberal only in the sense that he opposes one kind of “liberalism”, while accepting others. Anglicanism & Catholicism have both developed since then in ways that allow Christians in both Churches to express & argue for views that would earlier have been regarded as beyond the pale. In the 1830s, neither Anglicans  nor Catholics had domesticated Biblical scholarship – but now, both have, tjhough Rome started later & took longer. No-one regards Pius XII’s “Divino Afflante Spiritu” as “liberal” – but not so long ago, it would have been regarded in that way. And Newman is one of the architects of this change, because he looked at doctrine not merely as a sacred deposit, but as something that was not static, but developed genetically – as something that had a history. Popes today routinely say things that would have earned them excommunication had they been priests in 1910 or before. They are liberals, by some standards. 

    So JP2 was called a liberal & a conservative because – by different standards – he was both. The same is true of Newman. The difference in how he is viewed is not dependent on him alone – it also depends on the vantage-point and sympathies of the viewer. So it is not possible to say whether he is a “liberal”  or a “conservative” – both judgements are relative to the standards applied by the person making the judgement. Newman is various in his qualities & lack of them, & appeals to many people – but the people, because they are equally various, & see from different vantage-points, see different things in him. There are many Newmans: the liberal, the enemy of liberalism, the arch-conservative of the 1820s, the author of the “Apologia Pro Vita Sua”  defending his integrity, the subtle & specious arguer of “Tract 90″, the Calvinistically-inclined Evangelical, & more. There are too many different strands & layers to him, for him to belong solely to one faction. Even today there are Catholics who regard him as anything but holy & anything but orthodox.

  • Parasum

    “How do these phony “catholics” (how DARE they even calling themselves that?!)”

    ## That is not for mere human beings to say – not you, not me, not anyone. But for God. Alone. Even the Pope cannot “unmake” Catholics – the most a Church authority can do is to declare that someone is excommunicated, that is, is no longer in communion in with the Church. Even that does not separate the excommunicated person from the Church entirely; one can be in “partial communion” with the Church, in many different ways, because membership in the Church is like a rope with many strands; one or several may break, but that does not mean they all have. Baptism, by which one is made a member of Christ, cannot be undone, ever, not even by death, & not even by damnation; & it “imprints” something called the baptismal *character*, which is like a brand on the soul, and this marks the baptised as Christ’s. This is that indelible “brand”. (That BTW is Catholic dogma, not opinion.)

    So once a Catholic – always a Catholic. The difference between those who deny they are Catholics, & those Catholics who denying these Catholics, is one of degree, not kind. No-one in the Church on earth is entirely faithful to Christ: we *all* fall short, in many ways. He holds on to us, before we hold on to Him. If He does not reject others – can we ?

  • Parasum

    It has a lot of good articles. I wish “The Tablet” were that varied. Neither is perfect – they just have different faults from the CH & other would-be orthodox papers. The CH and the National Catholic Reporter both cover a good variety of  subjects – they complement one another. The NCRep does at least avoid the self-satisfied complacency of the NCRegister & “Inside the Vatican” – but they have their own virtues. STM that in a Church that aspires to be catholic in reality, & not in name only, there should be room for all.

  • teigitur

    I must have missed the “good articles” As far as I can see there is a guy called Allen, I think, who sometimes pens a little sanity and thats about the sum of it.

  • JabbaPapa

    Good points, and it is indeed possible to be an orthodox liberal — a position that will be frequently misunderstood in today’s atmosphere.

  • JabbaPapa

    Rubbish, the ordination of women as priests has been forbidden since March 13th 495, when Pope Gelasius I forbade all Bishops to ordinate any women to the priesthood.

    This has been the constant teaching of the Church for over 1500 years.

  • JabbaPapa

    Even the Pope cannot “unmake” Catholics

    Not true — it is possible, albeit very difficult, for someone to get their baptism annulled (but NOT if the baptism was either received as an adult or has been sealed by the Sacrament of Confirmation — remember, infant baptism is a conditional baptism, albeit perfectly effective) — and there are some sins against the Church or against God that are so grievous that the person committing them can no longer be considered as a Christian, let alone a Catholic.

  • Alexander VI

    “This has been the constant teaching of the Church for over 1500 years.”
    So what?
    It has been the constant teaching of the Church that Adam and Eve were created immortal and in a state of perfection/near perfection. But only a simple minded fundamentalist would now believe that……. 

  • W Oddie

    The point is that Mgr.Talbot,  and  Abp. Manning were just wrong about Newman: The Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, especially, just didn’t say what they suspected it said (or what today The Tablet and others think it says). You say that “even today there are Catholics who regard him as anything but holy & anything but orthodox”; well, they’re wrong too. Newman said, inter alia, that Liberalism was the anti-dogmatic principle: on that criterion, he was never for a single second a Liberal in the sense I am using the word here.

  • JabbaPapa

    Council of Trent : If anyone does not confess that the first man, Adam, when he transgressed the commandment of God in paradise, immediately lost the holiness and justice in which he had been constituted, and through the offense of that prevarication incurred the wrath and indignation of god, and thus death with which God had previously threatened him, and, together with death, captivity under his power who thenceforth had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil, and that the entire Adam through that offense of prevarication was changed in body and soul for the worse, let him be anathema.

    Sorry, I can see no mention whatsoever of “immortality” nor “perfection/near perfection” …

    Scripture, in fact, says :

    Genesis {3:21} The Lord God also made for Adam and his wife garments from skins, and he clothed them.
    {3:22} And he said: “Behold, Adam has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Therefore, now perhaps he may put forth his hand and also take from the tree of life, and eat, and live in eternity.”
    {3:23} And so the Lord God sent him away from the Paradise of enjoyment, in order to work the earth from which he was taken.
    {3:24} And he cast out Adam.

    Which clearly demonstrates that you are wrong about the whole immortality thing.

    And I have NO IDEA why you think that the Adam and Eve story is supposed to be a description of prelapsarian man’s “perfection”, given that it is a story of his rebellion and sinfulness.

  • W Oddie

    Bishops, priests and people, I mean: what you say about the way the quote continues, withy Newman insisting that “none of these channels of tradition may be treated with disrespect; granting at the same time fully, that the gift of discerning, discriminating, defining, promulgating, and enforcing any portion of that tradition resides solely in the Ecclesia docens” absolutely makes my point for me. Well spotted: this completely  torpedoes the NCR’s arrogation of Newman in support for their own disobedience.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    There is a problem with the word “liberal” as it means different things to different people.  For many it will suggest “freedom”, for others it will suggest “liberality”, for me I think of “libre-penseur” or freethinker – i.e. anything goes.  The SOED records another meaning: “licentious”.

    Those who call themselves Liberals on closer examination often turn out to be anything but in favour of freedom.  The Earl of Carnavon writing about Spanish Liberals in the early 19th century tells of a Spanish liberal declaiming against the Inquisition: “I hate oppression in any shape, I am a friend of the human race.  If, indeed, there be a Jew among us, burn him, I say, burn him alive; but interference with honest men like you and me on account of our opinions is beyond endurance”

  • Tybourne

    Sed contra, surely it’s to be celebrated that Newman is embraced by self-declared ‘liberals’ as well as by those who claim the label of ‘traditionalist’ for themselves? While I don’t agree with the NCR’s editorial nor see why any right-thinking Catholic could do, at least if they remain with the Blessed JHN, they may discover the error of their ways?

    This statement of the NCR is a (distorted) paraphrase of Newman’s ‘Lectures on the Prophetical Office of the Church’, a text that was written while he was an Anglican. However, when he came to revise his Anglican works, as a Catholic, he thought that little needed changing. Derided as a crypto-Papist while he was an Anglican, he was seen as ‘too liberal’ when a Catholic by the Ultramontane party. Similarly, a ‘traditionalist’ priest who I am very fond of once told me that Newman would never be beatified or canonised as he was ‘too liberal’. Surely we can learn from Newman’s experience here?On a more general point, when ‘liberalism’ seemed to be the order of the day in English-speaking countries, ‘traditionalists’ rightly complained of being frozen out by the hierarchy. Now that the Ratzingerian ‘reform of the reform’ seems to be well and truly underway, how about showing a bit of charity to the Tablistas? 

    “whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, `You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire” (St Matthew 5:22)

  • W Oddie

    I don’t think the Tabletistas are fools at all; but they are absolutely dedicated to the undermining of the “reform of the reform”. Charity, of course; but they’re not interested in THAT from those who love and are loyal to the present pope.  

    As for Newman, as I say below, both as an Anglican and as a Catholic he defined Liberalism, of which he was a lifelong enemy, as “the anti-dogmatic principle”. So it was then; so it is now.  

  • Jeffrey Pinyan

    Yes, we’re in agreement here. :) He calls them “channels”, and he does not make the claims that the NCR says he does.

  • NewMeena

    I did not know of this publication and its website and am grateful to Mr Oddie for drawing my attention to it.

    Over the past couple of days I have read many articles, book reviews and comments and am impressed  by their clarity, openness and use of English – a sharp contrast with the CH website as a whole (save for only a couple of the article writers). 

    This aforesaid contrast is particularly vivid in respect of the comments which are posted by readers.

  • jaykay

    Well I’m sure  you probably would be impressed by the comments on the NCR, since they tend to edit out those with which they don’t agree. It’s called liberalism, I think.  

    Now how about addressing the actual substance of Mr. Oddie’s article?

  • NewMeena

    “Claiming that a universally celebrated figure is one of your own” is EXACTLY what Mr Oddie has done in his article and additional comments.

  • NewMeena

    Why is it that conservative orthodox Catholics think that Newman was one of them?”
    Face the facts Mark: both camps claim him as one of their own.

  • Alexander VI

    So the teaching on original sin set out current Catechism is wrong ? 

    374. The first man was not only created good, but was also established in friendship with his Creator and in harmony with himself and with the creation around him, in a state that would be surpassed only by the glory of the new creation in Christ. 

    376. By the radiance of this grace all dimensions of man’s life were confirmed. As long as he remained in the divine intimacy, man would not have to suffer or die.
     377. The “mastery” over the world that God offered man from the beginning was realized above all within man himself: mastery of self. The first man was unimpaired and ordered in his whole being because he was free from the triple concupiscence that subjugates him to the pleasures of the senses, covetousness for earthly goods, and self-assertion, contrary to the dictates of reason.

     1008. Death is a consequence of sin. The Church’s Magisterium, as authentic interpreter of the affirmations of Scripture and Tradition, teaches that death entered the world on account of man’s sin. Even though man’s nature is mortal God had destined him not to die. Death was therefore contrary to the plans of God the Creator and entered the world as a consequence of sin.

  • NewMeena

    I am very familiar with “editing out”, and indeed with being deleted and banned from posting, as I was here under my name of Meena, hence NewMeena (a shallow “disguise”, really no disguise at all). This has nothing to do with liberalism.

    The dogmatic statements of the Church delineated in Mr Oddie’s article (ALL of them things that male Catholic theologians have written down long after the time of Jesus) do not much interest me. In any event they are all things that fundamentalist, orthodox Catholics are obliged to accept and to believe, and there is no point whatsoever suggesting otherwise to such people. 

    How anyone can truly believe something because they are TOLD that they MUST, is quite beyond me.

  • JabbaPapa

    So the teaching on original sin set out current Catechism is wrong ?

    No, you’re just misreading it — as you usually do.

  • JabbaPapa

    The dogmatic statements of the Church delineated in Mr Oddie’s article (ALL of them things that male Catholic theologians have written down long after the time of Jesus) do not much interest me

    Then one is mystified as to your motivations for commenting negatively about them …

    And “male” as a negative ??? I thought that you feministy atheisticky types were supposed to have burnt all of that icky sexism at the same time as your bras ?

  • Guest

    “The Witness of the Faithful In Matters of Doctrine according to John Henry Newman” Fr Hermann Geissler FSO. Published by the International Newman Centre of Friends 2012 and probably available from the college at Littlemore Oxford (!) or their website.
    Also, development the only sign of life? Perhaps it would be helpful in the Year of Faith to publish articles on the contribution of,for example, female chaplains and the lay orders in Britain.

  • Louis C. Gasper

     Are we to exercise no judgment when deciding to whom and what we will give our support? The Fishwrap is not Catholic, so says their bishop who has asked them to leave off calling their rag Catholic. That newspaper has not been baptized and it has left off being Catholic. The editors who make it that way have, to that extent, also left off being Catholic. To claim that the difference between their obstinacy in error and the fidelity of their bishop is merely one of degree is to obscure. There is a vital distinction between adhering to fidelity to the magisterium on the one hand and obstinate error on the other. That distinction is well conveyed by saying one is Catholic, the other is not.

  • Alexander VI

    The meaning of the doctrine of original sin as set out in the current Catechism is clear to any reasonable person. This includes the claims (which in my view are quite implausible) that:-

     1. Human beings originally existed in a state very different from what they subsequently became as a result of human sin.

     2. In this original state human beings existed in a state of harmony with God and the rest of creation and that in this state they were free from suffering and death.

     3. Suffering and death entered human life as a result of human sin. If the first human beings had not sinned they would not have experienced suffering and death.

    But perhaps Dr Oddie can give us the benefits of his theological scholarship on this important topic……._

  • JabbaPapa

    Human beings originally existed in a state very different from what they subsequently became as a result of human sin.

    Over-interpretation — or you’re just confusing some mediaeval philosophies with Catholic doctrine.

    In this original state human beings existed in a state of harmony with

    Obviously not, if you just read Genesis

    and the rest of creation

    The Garden of Eden story has more in it than your interpretation thereof.

    It’s a story about the inherent flaws of our human nature.

    and that in this state they were free from
    suffering and death

    There’s a mystical element in the relationship between our knowledge of good and evil in its relationship to the appearance of human suffering that you’re just missing.

  • Alexander VI

    So you do reject the Catechism?

  • Nicolas Bellord

    Dear NewMeena,

    I am still waiting for an answer to my question as to Where does St John the Evangelist say that he does not believe that Jesus was born in Bethlehem?

    The point is that you make comments and make statements but unless you are prepared to reply to questions about the basis of your assertions it is very difficult to take you seriously.