Newman (letter)

Newman (letter)

Rev Julius C. Stonehouse

I refer to the critique of Newman's Parochial and Plain Sermons in the October AD2000.

It would have been ironic had the excerpts quoted appeared early in the series [which I assume was not the case], when Newman was still a Protestant, firmly convinced that the Church of Rome was demon possessed, or at least a Church "beside herself", sentiments which appear not to have been formally repudiated until 1843.

Then the call for "more fervent zeal ... indignation and compassion at the blasphemies of heretics" might reasonably have been construed as a protest at the recent [1829] passing of the Catholic Emancipation Act, following the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts a year earlier.

Such a call would certainly have received the enthusiastic support of many Protestants who were as "bigoted", "gloomy" and "fierce" in their religion as Newman could have wished.

One imagines not many admirers of Newman, nor Newman himself, would wish to go back to the rack and the thumbscrew. Nevertheless it seems reasonable to ask how much "bigotry", "superstition" and "gloom" a would-be disciple of Newman is expected to manifest in order to qualify as a conservative Christian.

Others, who entertain no such ambition, might even wonder whether Newman, by his possibly ill-chosen words, may not have innocently provided the reductio ad absurdum of the theme of his sermon.

Barham, NSW

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