Viewing entries tagged
Development

Logical sequence

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Logical sequence

The doctrines of the Church proceed logically from its founding on the faith of St Peter and the commission given to him and his successors.

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Assimilative Power

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Assimilative Power

Christianity was able to assimilate into itself those glimpses of the Divine which were to be found in other religions, without losing anything of its own integrity.

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Preservation of Type

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Preservation of Type

The first test of the genuineness of any development is whether it is true to type. The oak tree grows from the acorn, but if you plant an acorn and you end up with a weeping willow, the acorn has died.

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Time is short: eternity is long

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Time is short: eternity is long

So, we reach the end of our series of extracts from Newman's Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, the book which marked the progress of Newman's own crossing of the Tiber. His time may have been short, but his influence is eternal.

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A surviving Church

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A surviving Church

Tracing the vicissitudes through which the Church has passed, Newman sees in its survival a proof that not even the Gates of Hell can prevail against it.

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A Living Church

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A Living Church

The survival of the Church in its long journey through this age is, Newman thought, itself proof of its authenticity; it has managed to survive those who run it, after all.

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St Ignatius: Spiritual Exercises

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St Ignatius: Spiritual Exercises

Devoted to Our Lady as he was, Newman emphasised to those outside the Church that Catholic devotion to her was but part of the rich spiritual practice of the Church. Here he comments on St Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises.

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A conservative church

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A conservative church

By its nature, the Church conserves its Apostolic deposit and through the workings of the Holy Spirit is led to an ever deeper understanding of the Infinite; but that understanding is a confirmation of what has always been believed, not a contradiction of it; there is a hermeneutic of continuity - not of rupture.

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Relics

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Relics

Newman regarded the veneration of relics, a phenomenon observable from the beginning of the Faith, as another sign of the Apostolic origin of the Church.

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Superstitions?

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Superstitions?

In his Essays Critical and Historical, Newman had already dealt with the common charge that the Catholic Church had incorporated into its worship and doctrine pagan practices. His argument not only anticipates the position the Vatican later took up, but contributed materially to it.

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Images

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Images

One of the most contentious points between the Apostolic Churches and the Protestant ones is the use in worship by the former of images. Newman, unlike many moderns, knew this argument had been settled long ago, and here quotes St John Damascene, whose work against the iconoclasts may be found here.

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Opinion & Dogma

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Opinion & Dogma

Newman here takes issue with the French historian and politician, Francis Guizot, who was an early advocate of the view that Christianity was essentially without dogma; for Newman, it was inherent in the idea of the 'faith once given'.

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Dogmatic Truth

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Dogmatic Truth

Newman's views on dogma are the antithesis of the consensus of this era, which, failing to see that relativism is, itself, a form of dogma, holds one opinion (not least on the Internet) is as good as another. Newman shows that this has never been the view of the Church.

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'Whoever heard the like?'

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'Whoever heard the like?'

As he approaches the end of his Essay, Newman brings together his thoughts on the continuity of Christian doctrine and separating the wheat from the chaff.

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Dogma matters

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Dogma matters

We live in an age where even the word 'dogma' is suspect; but it is essential, as Newman says, if faith is to have any content.

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