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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Fri. 09/01/06 07:19:27 AM

Duties of Catholics Towards the Protestant View

Lecture 9 of Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England.

Delivered on Monday, September 1, 1851.

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In this concluding Lecture, my Brothers of the Oratory, I shall attempt, in as few words as possible, to sum up what I have been showing in those which preceded it, and to set before you what I have proposed to myself in the investigation.

You know, then, that at this time we are all in considerable anxiety, and some risk, as regards the future prospects of Catholicism in England. Open threats in the most influential quarters are put forward, as if we might even lose the rights of British subjects, and be deprived of the free exercise of our religion. There has been an attempt to put our convents, in the eye of the law, on a level with madhouses; and one of the Anglican Prelates in Parliament has constituted himself judge whether the dimensions of our churches were sufficient or too large for the "accommodation," to use the Protestant word, of our people. A bill, too, has been passed, about which all of us know enough, without my having the trouble to give it any designation.

The duty of the Catholic Church is to preach to the world; and her promise and prerogative is success in preaching; but this is a subject which has not come into the scope of our discussions in this place. What I have been saying has no direct reference to any such end. I have not urged it on you, as I well might, in the case of those who, like you, love their religion so well that they wish others to enjoy the benefit of it with them. What I have said, however, does not presuppose this; it has not sprung out of any duty that we have of extending the limits of the Catholic pale; it would not have been superseded, if we had no such duty. I have not been aiming at the conversion of any persons, who are not Catholics, who have heard me: I have not been defending Catholic, or attacking Protestant doctrines, except indirectly and incidentally. The condition or hypothesis with which I have been entering into the discussion has been the present anti-Catholic agitation; and my object has been that of self-defence with reference to it. In the present state of things Catholics must, from the mere instinct of self-preservation, look about them; they are assailed by a very formidable party, or power, as I should rather call it, in this country, by its Protestantism. In the Protestantism of the country I do not include, of course, all who are not Catholics. By Protestants I mean the heirs of the Traditions of Elizabeth; I mean the country gentlemen, the Whig political party, the Church Establishment, and the Wesleyan Conference. I cannot over-estimate their power: they and their principles are established: yet I should be unjust, on the other hand, to all classes in the community if I made this Elizabethan Protestantism synonymous with the mind and the philosophy of the whole country. However, it is a tremendous power, and we are menaced by it; this is the condition of things; what must we do? put ourselves on the defensive; this, then, has been my scope. I have not been aggressive, but on the defensive; and what is the first step of those who are getting ready for their defence against a foe? to reconnoitre him. It is simply this that I have been engaged upon in these Lectures....


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P.S. Thanks.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Fri. 09/01/06 07:19:27 AM
Categorized as Historical & Literary & Religious & Speeches and Suchlike & The Present Position of Catholics.


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