Thursday, September 16, 2010

Call to the Laity Some 150 Years Ago

John Henry Cardinal Newman

From the Archdiocese of Washington DC blog comes an article by Susan Timoney about the late and soon to be canonized Cardinal John Henry Newman.  She quotes him from a sermon of his about Catholics relating to Protestants.  Interestingly this sermon was given almost 150 years ago, and is as current today as it was in its day.  He said:
 “I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men [and women] 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. I want an intelligent, well-instructed laity – I wish [them] to enlarge [their] knowledge, to cultivate [their] reason, to get an insight into the relation of truth to truth, to learn to view things as they are, to understand how faith and reason stand to each other, what are the bases and principles of Catholicism.’  (Sermon 9, Duties of Catholics towards the Protestant View, 1851)
Well, I can get "disputatious" - good word, which of course, means argumentative.  Over at Where the Rubber Hits the Road, the blog of Father Tim Moyle, of the Pembroke Diocese, there is a commenter, a former Catholic, who propounds protestant fundamentalist prevarications about the Catholic Church.  Often, I have risen to the occasion, being in fact disputatious, and it has borne no fruit, except that it raises my blood pressure precipitously.  I offered up a very brief comment to one of his prevarications the other day, and Father Tim, in his wisdom, it being his blog, chose not to post it.  It was definitely disputatious as comments go, and would have brought no good, so I believe that Father Tim made the correct choice.

I have been trying to be the kind of lay person that Cardinal Newman writes about, though I had no idea until today that he had so written, but the disputatious part I really need to work on.


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