The dispute between Newman and Pusey was not just one over which Church was the true Church, it was over the nature of the Church. Pusey, steeped in Patristics, looked to authority. What had the Fathers said, what did the Councils say, what has the Church said with authority? There, he held, one found what could and should rightly be considered authoritative teaching. In this way, he could set aside the somewhat hyperbolic comments made about Our Lady; let one look, instead, to the Canons of Trent, and let a man assent to them - or not. Ironically it was Newman, safe at harbour in the bosom of the Church, who felt more able to allow room for popular devotion. His own reading of the Patristic tradition suggested to him that a whole variety of views could be held, and that until the Church said otherwise, none of them should be ruled out as heretical; the people, he held, were often truer to the faith than some of their guardians, and one should not easily despise popular piety. Dogma was indeed fixed, but devotion was not.

Here, then, for the moment, we leave this great question. To attempt to decide between two such giants would not simply be presumptuous, it would be to miss the point, which is that both views are alive and well in the Church. Newman's spiritual descendants have less trouble with that than Pusey's, even though, ironically, it was the former who crossed the Tiber. But when a man is secure in harbour and knows his anchor will hold, he may well be more willing to contemplate the storms than one who has not those advantage.

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