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Newman, Protestant Nativity & Etiquette

Was Newman a Liberal?
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I read the article The Liberal Cardinal Newman Americans Don't Know with great interest. It was something I suspected, given some of his writings and the strong dislike he had of the counterrevolutionary Catholics of the time, the Ultramontanes. Because of the enormous popularity he enjoys in the English-speaking world, the tendency is to whitewash or ignore any hints about a liberal Newman.

I did some searching on the topic, and came across a scholarly article 'Newman and Theological Liberalism' by Terrence Morrigan. One point in the often murky writing of Newman was crystal clear to Morrigan early on in his extensive research: Newman's writing was marked by an ambiguity that permitted it to be appealed to by Catholics of every hue on the theological spectrum.

Progressivists, conservatives - and today even traditionalists - can find in Newman's writings remarks that appear to serve their positions or agendas. The confusion today about Newman is nothing new - it was present already in Newman's lifetime. It is the same ambiguity, in my opinion, that marks the documents of Vatican II, and makes him a worthy 'father' of the Council, as he is often called.

Then there is his decided leaning toward the 'liberal society' that he had decided 'had come to stay.' He thought it was necessary to adapt to a democratic and religiously plural society. He figured that the 'liberal virtues' of tolerance, democracy and freedom (both political and intellectual) had to be accepted, and could even be a good in themselves. He also believed a return to the 'authoritarian and monolithic tradition' of the past was simply unrealistic.

Newman, says Morrigan, realized that to be credible in a liberal society the Church could not afford to be seen as "illiberal," i.e., opposed to liberal standards in political and social life. According to him, it was better to adapt to the modern day world than fight it like the Ultramontanes.

As the years passed, Morrigan observes, Newman was increasingly dismayed by the prevailing theological conservatism, especially in the face of the intellectual crisis generated by 19th-century scientific advance. To meet the challenge of the age, he came to believe what was needed was the creative re-appropriation of the Christian inheritance. Theology must respond to the needs of its own age, and be open to the scientific research and methods. Again, one understands why he is called a precursor of Vatican II.

I cannot believe that this man is a saint - but it isn't surprising that his cause would be promoted today. To canonize Newman is to canonize the precursor of Vatican II - and legitimize much of the controversial thinking of that Council.

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Wrong Link
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The other day I was reading an interview with Mr. Atila that you have posted on TIA's website, which, by the way, I have not succeeded in locating again. In any case, the point in fact is that in the text of his answer about the Luminous Mysteries introduced by John Paul II there appears a link on the historical sources regarding the supernatural origin of the Rosary devotion. If I recall, the words underscored and highlighted in blue are precisely those; that is, 'historical sources,' or similar ones.

This link takes you to an article in New Advent Catholic Encyclopaedia that is no less than a vipers' nest. Indeed, the reader is overwhelmed by a broadside of allegedly scholarly arguments and bibliographical references that totally 'refute' and, in any event, undermine, the traditional view - the 'evolutionist' one that Mr. Atila in no way subscribes to.

They even go as far as to claim that Blessed Alain de la Roche (they use the alternative name De la Rupe) was emotionally unstable and a victim of delusions, and that Saint Dominic did not really make much of the Rosary - preposterous! Isn't it?

I can see setting up this link obviously was an unintentional oversight; however, it calls to be corrected.

     Oremus pro invicem!


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TIA responds:


Thank you for your observation. The mistake has been already corrected. The article of Mr. Guimaraes you mentioned is here and the topic was also addressed here and here.

When you have difficulty finding something on our website, we advice you to go to our Search page and type in a key word or phrase of the topic.


     TIA correspondence desk

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Anti-Sacral & Pro-Protestant
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The Nativity Story was heavily criticized by Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D. I take exception with her as I see the film as a plausible representation of the event and time without the warm fuzzy feeling of hymns, candles, lights and snow.

This Piled Higher and Deeper (PhD) needs to realize the possibility of the times and gain a realistic perspective. I'm Catholic and I thoght [sic] the film was a realistic, fantastic piece of work.

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Women at Home
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We may share some differences but... I briefed over some of your writings [here and here] on women not having careers. I must say, that I think women are made to stay home. I cannot stand how women are masculized and how men are feminized.

I dreamt of finding a husband and it never happened. I've never worked. I've always been a homebody and only went out when I did charity. Now, my mother has a terminal disease and she was the one working and never me. We don't have any family. We believe since my father passed over a decade ago, that it's her duty to work and not mine.

I don't regret my choices, but what am I suppose to do now? The thought of working is something I cannot mentally handle, yet I LOVE to stay home and "work". This world does not accept me for being who I am!

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People Commmenting
Dear Dr. Horvat,

I hope yours is a merry Christmas and thank for your many informative and timely articles on etiquette posted on the TIA website.

I am curious to know what is the proper response when I am having a casual conversation with a person in public and a third individual approaches seeking to speak to the person I am conversing with. Then the intruder interrupts to ask him a question or tell him something without offering any sort of 'excuse me please' or 'pardon me a moment' to either of us, and then he walks away without the slightest thought about his intrusion or any acknowledgement that we were conversing before he approached.

It seems rude, and I'm wondering what is the best way to handle such circumstance.

     Best regards,


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Dr. Horvat responds:

Dear Mr. D.O.C.,

I thank you for your kind greetings and, likewise, I hope Our Lady gives you a blessed New Year.

In situations like the one you described, I believe that the best thing to do is to ignore the intruder. If the individual addressed your friend and not you and he did not apologize, it would fall to your friend to say a word to you apologizing for the lack of consideration of his acquaintance. If he says nothing, you should be silent.

However, the conclusion of the episode leaves one thing very clear: Neither the intruder nor your acquaintance was trained in good manners.

I hope this may help you in such situations in the future.


     Marian T. Horvat.

Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted January 5, 2010

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The opinions expressed in this section - What People Are Commenting -
do not necessarily express those of TIA

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Related Topics of Interest

catholic   The Liberal Cardinal Newman Americans Don't Know

catholic   Fr. Leonard Feeney Speaks on Cardinal. Newman

catholic   Newman, the Inspirer of Vatican II

catholic   The Luminous Mysteries: Novelty Clashes with Tradition

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