Monday, May 11, 2009

Apologia Pro Vita Sua. (3)

John Henry Cardinal Newman. (3) Garden City, New York: Image Books.A Division of Doubleday and Company, Inc. 1864 (1956)

10-second review: Cardinal Newman’s reflections on his religious thoughts that led to his conversion from Anglicanism to Catholicism.

Sample quotes (3)

“I think history supplies us with instances in the Church, where legitimate power [of infallibility]has been harshly used. To make such admission is no more than saying that the divine treasure, in the words of the Apostle, is ‘in earthen vessels.’ ” p. 333. ………. One source of “error,” an idea whose time is not right. p, 334, ………. “…the question arises how are the respective claims of revelation and of natural science to be adjusted.” p. 335. ………. “To reconcile theory and fact is almost an instinct of the mind.” p. 335.

“It would ill become me, as if I were afraid of truth of any kind….” p. 336. ………. “…scientific knowledge is really growing, but it is by fits and starts; hypotheses rise and fall; it is difficult to anticipate which will keep their ground, and what the state of knowledge in relation to them will be from year to year.” p. 336. ………. “Nothing carried on by human instruments, but has its irregularities, and affords ground for criticism, when minutely scrutinized in matters of detail.” p. 337. ……….. Controversies begin at the lowest level and then gradually work themselves up toward the court of supreme power when all aspects of the controversy have been examined. p. 339. ……… A half-truth is in some sense a lie. p. 342.

Which Commandment condemns lying? The Ninth? “If then my lie does not injure my neighbor, certainly it is not forbidden by this Commandment.” [“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” p. 345. ………. Taylor: “To tell a lie for charity, to save a man’s life, the life of a friend, of a husband, of a prince, or a useful and a public person, hath not only been done at all times, but commended by great and wise and good men.” p. 345. ………. “…Taylor was a great writer, but great writers were not therefore infallible.” p. 349. ………. “…by insincerity and lying , faith and truth are lost, which are the firmest bonds of human society….” p. 351.

“Now, first, that the miraculous stories are treated, in the Life of St. Walburga, as legends and myths. Throughout, the miracles and extraordinary occurrences are spoken of as ‘said’ or ‘reported,’ and the suggestion is made that, even though they occurred, they might have been after all natural.” p. 379. ………. “In my essay on miracles of the Year 1826, I proposed three questions about a professed miraculous occurrence. 1. Is it antecedently probable? 2. Is it in its nature certainly miraculous? 3. Has it sufficient evidence? These are the three heads under which I still wish to conduct the inquiry into the miracles of Ecclesiastical History.” p. 391. ……….

“As Almighty God did not all at once introduce the Gospel to the world, and thereby gradually prepared men for its profitable reception….” p. 397. ……….“…the end for which language was instituted, viz. as signs of ideas.” p. 409.

Comment: This book is certainly not for everyone. It is not uniformly a great book. But it has moments when excellent language and ideas come together. RayS.

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