Monday, March 22, 2004

The odd phenomenon
of certain people who are able to explain away any and all Scriptural and historical that Catholicism might be true is, alas, not a new thing....
"I say, the more numerous and striking are the evidences of the divinity of the Church, so much the more conclusively are they retorted against her, when men assume at starting that she comes, not from above, but from below. Does she claim to be sent from God? but Antichrist will claim it too. Do men bow before her, 'and lick up the dust from her feet'? but on the other hand, it is said of the apocalyptic sorceress also, that the kings of the earth shall be made 'drunk with her wine.' Does the Church receive the homage of 'the islands, and the ships of the sea'? The answer is ready; for it is expressly said in Scripture that the evil woman shall make 'the merchants of the earth rich by the abundance of her delicacies.' Is the Church honoured with 'the gold and frankincense of Saba, the multitude of camels, the dromedaries of Madian, and the flocks of Cedar"? Her impious rival, too, will be clothed 'in purple and scarlet, and gilded with gold,' and enriched with 'beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots.' Does the Church exercise a power over the soul? The enchantress, too, will be possessed, not only of the goods of this world, but of "the souls of men.' Was it promised to the sons of the Church to do miracles? Antichrist is to do 'lying wonders.' Do they exhibit a meekness and a firmness most admirable, a marvellous self-denial, a fervency in prayer, and a charity? It is answered: 'This only makes them more dangerous. Do you not know that Satan can transform himself into an angel of light?' Are they, according to our Lord's bidding, like sheep, defenceless and patient? This does but fulfil a remarkable prophecy, it is retorted; for the second beast, which came up out of the earth, 'had two horns like a lamb's, while it spoke like a dragon.'Does the Church fulfil the Scripture description of being weak and yet strong, of conquering by yielding, of having nothing yet gaining all things, and of exercising power without wealth or station? This wonderful fact, which ought surely to startle the most obstinate, is assigned, not to the power of God, but to some political art or conspiracy. Angels walk the earth in vain; to the gross prejudice of the multitude their coming and going is the secret plotting, as they call it, of 'monks and Jesuits.' Good forsooth it cannot, shall not be; rather believe anything than that it comes from God; believe in a host of invisible traitors prowling about and disseminating doctrine adverse to your own, believe us to be liars and deceivers, men of blood, ministers of hell, rather than turn your minds, by way of solving the problem, to the possibility of our being what we say we are, the children and servants of the true Church. There never was a more successful artifice than this, which the author of evil has devised against his Maker, that God's work is not God's but his own. He has spread this abroad in the world, as thieves in a crowd escape by giving the alarm; and men, in their simplicity, run away from Christ as if Christ were he, and run into his arms as if he were Christ."- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. Sermons on Various Occasions


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