Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Part of a letter
written by Venerable John Henry Newman, in February of 1846, a few months after his reception into the Catholic Church...
" Catholicism is a deep matter—you cannot take it up in a teacup.

Any dogmatic or sententious proposition would too surely be misunderstood. If I said, for instance, 'I have become a Catholic, because I must be either a Catholic or an infidel,' men would cry out 'So he has flung himself into the Catholic Church to escape infidelity,' whereas I should only mean that Catholicism and Christianity had in my mind become identical, so that to give up the one was to give up the other.

I do not know how to do justice to my reasons for becoming a Catholic in ever so many words—but if I attempted to do so in few, and that in print, I should wantonly expose myself and my cause to the hasty and prejudiced criticisms of opponents. This I will not do. People shall not say 'We have now got his reasons, and know their worth.' No, you have not got them, you cannot get them, except at the cost of some portion of the trouble I have been at myself. You cannot buy them for a crown piece—you cannot take them in your hand at your will, and toss them about. You must consent to think—and you must exercise such resignation to the Divine Hand which leads you, as to follow it any whither. I am not assuming that my reasons are sufficient or unanswerable, when I say this—but describing the way in which alone our intellect can be successfully exercised on the great subject in question, if the intellect is to be the instrument of conversion. Moral proofs are grown into, not learnt by heart. "


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