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True Testimony Insufficient for the Protestant View

Lecture 4 of Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England.

Delivered on Monday, July 21, 1851.

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I can fancy, my Brothers, that some of you may have been startled at a statement I made at the close of my Lecture of last week. I then said, that the more fully the imputations which were cast upon us were examined, the more unfounded they would turn out to be; so that the great Tradition on which we are persecuted is little short of one vast pretence or fiction. On this you may be led to ask me whether I mean to deny all and everything which can be advanced to the disadvantage of the Catholic Church, and whether I recommend you to do the same? but this was not my meaning. Some things which are charged against us are doubtless true, and we see no harm in them, though Protestants do; other charges are true, yet, as we think, only go to form ingenious objections; others again are true, and relate to what is really sinful and detestable, as we allow as fully as Protestants can urge: but all these real facts, whatever their worth taken altogether, do not go any way towards proving true the Protestant Traditionary View of us; they are vague and unsatisfactory, and, to apply a common phrase, they beat about the bush. If you would have some direct downright proof that Catholicism is what Protestants make it to be, something which will come up to the mark, you must lie; else you will not get beyond feeble suspicions, which may be right, but may be wrong. Hence Protestants are obliged to cut their ninth commandment out of their Decalogue. "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour" must go, must disappear; their position requires the sacrifice. The substance, the force, the edge of their Tradition is slander. As soon as ever they disabuse their minds of what is false, and grasp only what is true, I do not say they at once become Catholics; I do not say they lose their dislike to our religion, or their misgivings about its working; but I say this, either they become tolerant towards us, and cease to hate us personally, or, at least, supposing they cannot shake off old associations, and are prejudiced and hostile as before, still they find they have not the means of communicating their own feelings to others. To Protestantism False Witness is the principle of propagation. There are indeed able men who can make a striking case out of anything or nothing, as great painters give a meaning and a unity to the commonest bush, and pond, and paling and stile: genius can do without facts, as well as create them; but few possess the gift. Taking things as they are, and judging of them by the long run, one may securely say, that the anti-Catholic Tradition could not be kept alive, would die of exhaustion, without a continual supply of fable....

(Continue.)

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P.S. Thanks.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Fri. 07/21/06 08:17:45 AM
Categorized as Historical & Literary & Religious & Speeches and Suchlike & The Present Position of Catholics.

   
         
         

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