January 08, 2003

Cardinal Newman thoughts...
Another must-read post at Disputations here. Makes sense to look at history first in attempting to determine if something is true. Certainly, in the examples he gives, papal documents are not going to be convincing to outsiders...I googled for these interesting Cardinal Newman comments:

'The more one examines the Councils, the less satisfactory they are.....[but] the less satisfactory they, the more majestic and trust-winning, and the more imperatively necessary, is the action of the Holy See.'.......

Newman also wrote to the Guardian sharply denying the allegation of J.M. Capes that he did not really believe in papal infallibility, and citing a number of passages in his writings, beginning with the Essay on Development, for more or less explicit avowals of the doctrine...... "As regards the relation between history and theology, Newman is unequivocal in his criticism of Dollinger and his followers......'I think them utterly wrong in what they have done and are doing; and, moreover, I agree as little in their view of history as in their acts.' It is not a matter of questioning the accuracy of their historical knowledge, but 'their use of the facts they report' and 'that special stand-point from which they view the relations existing between the records of History and the communications of Popes and Councils.' Newman sums up the essence of the problem: 'They seem to me to expect from History more than History can furnish.' The opposite was true of the Ultramontanes, who simply found history an embarrassing inconvenience....

But he wondered why 'private judgment' should 'be unlawful in interpreting Scripture against the voice of authority, and yet be lawful in the interpretation of history?'....No Catholic doctrine could be fully proved (or, for that matter, disproved) by historical evidence - 'in all cases there is a margin left for the exercise of faith in the word of the Church.' Indeed, anyone 'who believes the dogmas of the Church only because he has reasoned them out of History, is scarcely a Catholic.'

--from Ian Ker's John Henry Newman: A Biography via Dave Armstrong's site.

No comments: