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Prejudice the Life of the Protestant View

Lecture 6 of Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England.

Delivered on Monday, August 11, 1851.

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In attributing the extreme aversion and contempt in which we Catholics are held by this great Protestant country, to the influence of falsehood and misrepresentation, energetic in its operation and unbounded in its extent, I believe in my heart I have referred it to a cause, which will be acknowledged to be both real and necessary by the majority of thoughtful and honest minds, Catholics or not, who set themselves to examine the state of the case. Take an educated man, who has seen the world, and interested himself in the religious bodies, disputes, and events of the day, let him be ever so ill-disposed towards the Catholic Church, yet I think, if he will but throw his mind upon the subject, and then candidly speak out, he will confess that the arguments which lead him to his present state of feeling about her, whatever they are, would not be sufficient for the multitude of men. The multitude, if it is to be arrested and moved, requires altogether a different polemic from that which is at the command of the man of letters, of thought, of feeling, and of honour. His proofs against Catholicism, though he considers them sufficient himself, and considers that they ought to be sufficient for the multitude, have a sobriety, a delicacy, an exactness, a nice adjustment of parts, a width and breadth, a philosophical cumulativeness, an indirectness and circuitousness, which will be lost on the generality of men. The problem is, how to make an impression on those who have never learned to exercise their minds, to compare thought with thought, to analyse an argument, or to balance probabilities. Catholicism appeals to the imagination, as a great fact, wherever she comes; she strikes it; Protestants must find some idea equally vivid as the Church, something fascinating, something capable of possessing, engrossing, and overwhelming, if they are to battle with her hopefully; their cause is lost, unless they can do this. It was then a thought of genius, and, as I think, preternatural genius, to pitch upon the expedient which has been used against the Church from Christ's age to our own; to call her, as in the first century, Beelzebub, so in the sixteenth, Anti-Christ; it was a bold, politic, and successful move. It startled men who heard; and whereas Anti-Christ, by the very notion of his character, will counterfeit Christ, he will therefore be, so far, necessarily like Him; and if Anti-Christ is like Christ, then Christ, I suppose, must be like Anti-Christ; thus there was, even at first starting, a felicitous plausibility about the very charge, which went far towards securing belief, while it commanded attention....

(Continue.)

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Ven. John Henry Newman died this day, August 11, 1890. Ora pro nobis.

P.S. Thanks.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Fri. 08/11/06 08:06:38 AM
Categorized as Historical & Literary & Religious & Speeches and Suchlike & The Present Position of Catholics.

   
         
         

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