Tuesday, May 18, 2004

On May 18, 1851
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:
On the World Hating the Catholic Church

"1. INTROD. In the discourse of which the gospel is part, our Lord speaks of the world hating us.

2. This remarkable, viz. that we should be hated. That the Catholic faith is difficult and a stumbling-block is intelligible—but hateful! Difficult to realise, for we are drawn to all, and cannot believe they hate us.

3. Consider its beauty—acknowledged by intellectual men—of its services; of its rites; of its majesty; doctrine of our lady, etc., etc. Its connection with art, etc., etc. Paley on Romans xii., in Evidences.

4. Yet so our Lord has said—quote John xv. 18-19 ,John xvii. 14 , and 1 John iii. 1 . 'Wonder not if the world hate you.'

5. And what is remarkable further, it is a prophecy. It has been fulfilled and is fulfilled to this day; it is literal honest hate. The world is not merely deceived; it has an instinct, and hates.

6. But more than this, or again, it is a note of the Church in every age; in the Middle Ages, when religion was established as much as now.

7. And none but the Church thus hated. So that our Lord's prophecy falls on us, and connects us with the apostles.

8. Others, indeed, by an accident and for a time.

9. For sects have (1) something true and good in them; (2) are extravagant; and these two things make them persecuted.

10. But it is for a time. The truth goes off, and the extravagance—they tame down; thus the Methodists and the Quakers.

11. But Catholics, nothing of this—sober—by token men of the world get on with us.

12. Yet the suspicion, irritability, impatience, etc., etc.-Demoniacs, and it is the devil's work.

13. This must not make us misanthropic, but cast us on the unseen world and purify our motives. This one benefit of the present agitation. "

The "present agitation" was the so-called Papal Aggression" You see, Pope Pius IX had actually dared to re-establish a hierarchy of Catholic Bishops in England, and this brought the 'anti-Papist' bigots out in full force- demonstrations, public burnings-in-effigy of the Pope and the new Bishops, vicious insults in the press and public places (an Anglican clergyman stated from the pulpit that hearing confessions ought to be made a capital crime), attacks on Catholic churches and other buildings (someone tried to set fire to the London Oratory by putting firecrackers on its roof) and abuse hurled at any Catholic recognized as such- but particularly priests and religious. The Venerable responded to the uproar with Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England. Here is a sample:
"What a remarkable illustration have Protestants supplied to this doctrine of a Protestant divine since Michaelmas last! The special champions of toleration, the jealous foes of persecution, how studiously and conscientiously, during nine long months, have they practised what they preached! What a bright example have they set to that religious communion which they hold in such abhorrence on the ground of its persecuting spirit! Oh, the one-sided intellect of Protestantism! I appeal in evidence of it to a great banquet, where, amid great applause, the first judge of the land spoke of trampling Cardinal Wiseman's hat under his feet. I appeal to the last fifth of November, when jeers against the Blessed Sacrament and its rites were chalked up in the Metropolis with impunity, under the very shadow of the Court, and before the eyes of the Home Office and the Police. I appeal to the mock processions to ridicule, and bonfires to burn, what we hold most venerable and sacred, not only Pope, and Cardinal and Priest, but the very Mother of our Lord, and the Crucifix itself. I appeal to those ever-growing files of newspapers, whose daily task, in the tedious succession of months has been to cater for the gross palate of their readers all varieties of disgusting gossip, and of bitter reproach, and of extravagant slander, and of affronting, taunting, sneering, irritating invective against us. I appeal to the buckram nuns of Warwickshire, Nottingham, and Clapham, to the dungeons of Edgbaston, and the sin-table of St. Gudule's. I appeal to the outrageous language perpetrated in a place I must not name, where one speaker went the length of saying, what the reporters suppressed for fear of consequences, that a dear friend and brother of mine, for whose purity and honour I would die, mentioning him by name, went about the country, as the words came to the ears of those present, seducing young women. I appeal to the weekly caricatures, not of persons only and their doings, but of all that is held sacred in our doctrines and observances, of our rites and ceremonies, our saints and our relics, our sacred vestments and our rosaries. I appeal to the popular publication, which witty and amusing in its place, thought it well to leave its 'sweetness' and its 'fatness,' to change make-believe for earnest, to become solemn and sour in its jests, and awkwardly to try its hand at divinity, because Catholics were the game. I appeal to the cowardly issue of a cowardly agitation, to the blows dealt in the streets of this very town upon the persons of the innocent, the tender, and the helpless;—not to any insult or affliction which has come upon ourselves, for it is our portion, and we have no thought of complaining,—but to the ladies and the schoolgirls, who, at various times, up to the day I am recording it, because they are Catholics, have been the victims of these newspaper sarcasms, and these platform blasphemies. I appeal to the stones striking sharply upon the one, and the teeth knocked out of the mouths of the other. Dr. Whately's words have been almost prophetic; mockery and insult have literally terminated in the bodily injury of those non-belligerents, who are sacred by the laws of all civilised warfare. Such are some of the phenomena of a Religion which makes it its special boast to be the Prophet of Toleration."


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