Monday, March 07, 2005

On March 7, 1849...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., wrote a letter to a friend, who was considering being received into the Catholic Church:

As to my Essay [on Development] you mistake in one minor matter,—it is not the argument from unity or Catholicity which immediately weighs with me, but from Apostolicity. In that book is asked why does its author join the Catholic Church? The answer is, because it is the Church of St. Athanasius and St. Ambrose. Vid. the passage about St. Athanasius and St. Ambrose coming from Treves to Oxford. And it is an argument natural to weigh with me who have so many years been engaged in the meditation of early Church History—and it is as natural that the difficulties I had felt, and the difficulties I there answer, should be difficulties of doctrine, since I have studied in Church History the history of doctrine more than anything else. You may recollect too that the one idea which for years was before me, was, "the Anglican Church corresponds to the Semi-arians, corresponds to the Monophysites"—It is contained in the letter I wrote to Robert in Autumn of 1841; it had been in my mind as early as summer 1839. I never shook it off—how could I? when to every reader of Church History it is so plain. Nothing is more day-clear than this, that unless there never was a Church and heretics round it, the Anglican Church is a loco, in the position of one of those early sects. This again I kept saying—I think I wrote to Keble, "I am far more certain that the Anglican Church is in loco haereseos, than that the Roman corruptions are not developments." No one can maintain the Anglican Church from history, (whatever they may try to do on the ground of doctrine)—and those who speak against my Essay as inconclusive, most of them, do not see its drift.


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