St. John Henry Newman—Duties of Catholics Towards the Protestant View
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“I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold, and what they do not, who know their creed so well, that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it.”
Happy Feast of St. John Henry Newman, everyone!
Today’s reading comes from a larger work by Newman entitled, “Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England.” What was the position of Catholics in England then, would seem to resemble the present position of Catholics in many places now.
Newman was writing against the backdrop of a resurgence of anti-Catholicism throughout England, marked by anti-Catholic hysteria and government overstep—and though Newman is responding to an institutional prejudice born specifically of an established Protestantism, his words for the most part can be applied equally as well to prejudice born of secularized liberalism.
Newman puts so-called “public opinion” into its place. Many of his comments are especially worth considering in our age of social media and online outrage. Newman exhorts Catholics to be straightforward, generous, and forbearing in spite of provocation. “Interpret the actions of all,” he says, “in the best sense that you possibly can.” A maxim well worth remembering when sensationalist headlines, insults, and calumnies are the currency of the day.
St. John Henry Newman, pray for us!
Duties of Catholics Towards the Protestant View Full text: http://www.newmanreader.org/works/england/lecture9.html
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