Monday, September 23, 2013


Newman as a young man
Anthony Fraser over at the APROPOS has written another timely article which, as his work so often does, puts paid to many misconceptions of today's Catholic faithful.  In this piece he takes a look at certain warnings that were issued by John Henry Cardinal Newman.

A sample:

"It was the late Fr Calmel OP who warned us against papolatry –  a frame of mind, alas, which has blinded many to the defects not only of the longer serving conciliar and post conciliar Popes of Vatican II, but also to the fruits of their labour, the conciliar revolution, which one suspects is soon to be canonised along with both John XXIII and John Paul II.

Newman reminds us that defects were not lacking in the Apostles too. He recalls that Our Lord chose His Apostles from a cross-section of society - from the humble fisherman to the tax collector and that He worked with the metal He had at hand.  Newman notes:‘The especial grace poured upon the Apostles and their associates, whether miraculous or moral, had no tendency to destroy their respective peculiarities of temper and character, to invest them with a sanctity beyond our imitation, or to preclude failings and errors, which may be our warning.’

One can easily believe this in respect of Judas’s failings and fatal errors, but also concerning Peter too whose thrice denial of Our Lord evokes emotions in all of us who have betrayed Our Lord in our sinful lives. But it was Peter also who was the subject of Our Lord’s harshest rebuke: ‘Get thou behind me, Satan’ – a reminder that the Apostle chosen by Our Lord to head His Church could stray from a correct reading of his Master’s mind.

The Holy Father’s recent comments regarding “triumphalism” have been taken by some traditionalists to apply to traditionalists alone, while others consider that, on the contrary they apply to progressives. In view of more recent comments, we suspect the former – a view which seems to be endorsed by progressives themselves. The initial confusion arose from the word “triumphalism” which was used in the conciliar era by progressives as a nasty swearword, comparable in effect to the word integriste, to denigrate all that the pre-conciliar Church stood for. In the political arena it has a like term “fascist” which was a socialist swearword to attack any political opinion to the right of Marx, Lenin or Trotsky. If one uses these words today one can expect to be misunderstood.  But just as the grace given to the Apostles did not preclude their failings and errors, these too are not precluded in pontiffs. One should always bear that in mind especially when a pontiff’s opinion or asides bear none of the hallmarks of pontifical authority.

Failings – A Warning
Newman advises us that these failings of the Apostles serve to provide us with a warning:  ‘Moreover, the definiteness and evident truth of many of the pictures presented to us in the Gospels serve to realize to us the history, and to help our faith, while at the same time they afford us abundant instruction. Such, for instance, is the immature ardour of James and John, the sudden fall of Peter, the obstinacy of Thomas, and the cowardice of Mark. St. Barnabas furnishes us with a lesson in his own way; nor shall I be wanting in piety towards that Holy Apostle, if on this his day I hold him forth, not only in the peculiar graces of his character, but in those parts of it in which he becomes our warning, not our example.’

Read the rest over at the  Apropos Editor's Blog page.

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