Sunday, October 20, 2019

Cdl. Newman and Idols

From Fr. Rutler's letter, a prescient observation from St. John Cardinal Newman.

"What is the world's religion now? It has taken the brighter side of the gospel, its tidings of comfort, its precepts of love; all darker, deeper views of man's condition and prospects being comparatively forgotten. This is the religion natural to a civilized age and well has Satan dressed and completed it into an idol of the Truth. . . . Our manners are courteous; we avoid giving pain or offence . . . religion is pleasant and easy; benevolence is the chief virtue; intolerance, bigotry, excess of zeal are the first of sins. . . . [I]t includes no true fear of God, no fervent zeal for His honour, no deep hatred of sin, no horror at the sight of sinners, no indignation and compassion at the blasphemy of heretics, no jealous adherence to doctrinal truth . . .—and therefore is neither hot nor cold, but (in Scripture language) lukewarm.” (Sermon 24. Religion of the Day)

It seems that idols are all the rage these days, with Pachemamma leading that parade into the Vatican.  In an odd way, the arrival of Pachemamma and the canonization of Newman fit together, as Newman was frustrated by Church authorities for most of his life.

...When Newman became a Catholic, former friends thought he had wasted his talents, and some Catholics questioned his free spirit and innovative genius. Not least among these were bishops. In Ireland, Archbishop Cullen impeded his foundation of a Catholic University there and opposed making Newman a bishop. In England, Cardinal Manning, a great man in some ways but not innocent of envy, regularly thwarted numerous projects. The English-language secretary of Pope Pius IX prejudiced the pope’s opinion of Newman, and with no little subtlety, Manning tried to prevent the new Pope Leo XIII from vindicating him with a Cardinal’s red hat....

Perhaps, like St John Newman, we will have to wait for a modern-day version of Leo XIII who will crush the head of Idolatry.  Let is pray that we live to see that day! 

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