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Protestant View of the Catholic Church

Lecture 1 of Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England.

Delivered on Monday, June 30, 1851.

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There is a well-known fable, of which it is to my purpose to remind you, my Brothers of the Oratory, by way of introducing to you the subject of the Lectures which I am proposing to deliver. I am going to inquire why it is, that, in this intelligent nation, and in this rational nineteenth century, we Catholics are so despised and hated by our own countrymen, with whom we have lived all our lives, that they are prompt to believe any story, however extravagant, that is told to our disadvantage; as if beyond a doubt we were, every one of us, either brutishly deluded or preternaturally hypocritical, and they themselves, on the contrary were in comparison of us absolute specimens of sagacity, wisdom, uprightness, manly virtue, and enlightened Christianity. I am not inquiring why they are not Catholics themselves, but why they are so angry with those who are. Protestants differ amongst themselves, without calling each other fools and knaves. Nor, again, am I proposing to prove to you, or to myself, that knaves and fools we are not, not idolaters, not blasphemers, not men of blood, not profligates, not steeped in sin and seared in conscience; for we know each other and ourselves. No, my Catholic friends whom I am addressing, I am neither attacking another's belief just now, nor defending myself: I am not engaging in controversy, though controversy is good in its place: I do but propose to investigate how Catholics came to be so trodden under foot, and spurned by a people which is endowed by nature with many great qualities, moral and intellectual; how it is that we are cried out against by the very stones, and bricks, and tiles, and chimney-pots of a populous busy place, such as this town which we inhabit. The clearer sense we have of our own honesty, of the singleness of our motives, and the purity of our aims of the truth, the beauty, the power of our religion, its exhaustless fund of consolation for the weary, and its especial correspondence to the needs of the weak so much the greater may well be our perplexity to find that its advocates for the most part do not even gain a hearing in this country; that facts, and logic, and justice, and good sense, and right, and virtue, are all supposed to lie in the opposite scale; and that it is bid be thankful and contented, if it is allowed to exist, if it is barely tolerated, in a free people. Such a state of things is not only a trial to flesh and blood, but a discomfort to the reason and imagination: it is a riddle which frets the mind from the difficulty of solving it.

(Continue.)

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P.S. Thanks.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Fri. 06/30/06 07:28:42 AM
Categorized as Historical & Literary & Religious & Speeches and Suchlike & The Present Position of Catholics.

   
         
         

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