For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of Liberalism in religion....[Hat tip to Rorate Caeli]
Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy.
... Hitherto, it has been considered that religion alone, with its supernatural sanctions, was strong enough to secure submission of the masses of our population to law and order; now the Philosophers and Politicians are bent on satisfying this problem without the aid of Christianity. Instead of the Church's authority and teaching, they would substitute first of all a universal and thoroughly secular education, calculated to bring home to every individual that to be orderly, industrious, and sober is his personal interest....
There never was a device of the Enemy so cleverly framed and with such promise of success. And already it has answered to the expectations which have been formed of it. It is sweeping into its own ranks great numbers of able, earnest, virtuous men, elderly men of approved antecedents, young men with a career before them.
... I lament it deeply, because I foresee that it may be the ruin of many souls; but I have no fear at all that it really can do aught of serious harm to the Word of God, to Holy Church, to our Almighty King, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Faithful and True, or to His Vicar on earth.
Christianity has been too often in what seemed deadly peril, that we should fear for it any new trial now....
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Remembering Newman's battle against liberalism
Rorate Caeli has posted a tribute to "Newman, the Prophet" (postdated February 21, 2008) on the anniversary of the Venerable Cardinal's birthday. It is taken from Newman's Biglietto Speech of May 12, 1879, in Rome, on the subject of liberalism in religion. Here are several brief excerpts: