Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ven. Cardinal Newman to be beatified!

Cardinal Newman Society announces that Benedict XVI will beatify Cardinal Newman in September in England at the Birmingham Oratory where Newman spent his life as a Catholic.

Newman is not the patron of "progressive" Catholicism that many people seem to think he is. A reading of Cardinal Dulles's book on Newman makes that abundantly clear. Although he was not Ultramontaine, he was definitely not anti-authority, the way so many contemporary "progressive" Catholics seem to be.

One thing I've notice recently is that when some Catholics make a list of what characterizes a "Catholic" culture or institution, they always list "sacramentality," "Incarnational principle," "Both/and, rather than either/or," etc. What is almost always missing, and what is definitely essential is the dogmatic principle. The best way to put this principle is that the authoritative interpreter of reality, including our own experience, is not us, but a divinely established authority. Cardinal Newman stood firmly on the dogmatic principle against what he called "liberalism."

An example: Who decides whether an act of contraceptive intercourse between a married couple is "loving?" Is it loving because I intend it to be loving or feel that it is loving? Or is its ability to be "loving" properly established by God, and expressed to us through His authoritative interpreter on earth--in this case, the Holy Fathers Popes Pius XI, Paul VI, and John Paul II? If I am not accepting the authoritative interpretation of the Church in this matter, I am not acting as a Catholic.

A similar point can be made about the Catholic university. Does the university as an institution accept the authoritative judgment of the Church on such matters as abortion, torture, contraception, capital punishment, homosexuality, etc. Do university policies reflect this acceptance?

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