mercoledì, settembre 09, 2009

Chesterton on Newman

Chesterton on Newman: "

From G. K. Chesterton's The Victorian Age of Literature, first published in 1913:

This is no place for estimating his theology: but one point about it does clearly emerge. Whatever else is right, the theory that Newman went over to Rome to find peace and an end of argument, is quite unquestionably wrong. He had far more quarrels after he had gone over to Rome. But, though he had far more quarrels, he had far fewer compromises: and he was of that temper which is tortured more by compromise than by quarrel. He was a man at once of abnormal energy and abnormal sensibility: nobody without that combination could have written the Apologia. If he sometimes seemed to skin his enemies alive, it was because he himself lacked a skin. In this sense his Apologia is a triumph far beyond the ephemeral charge on which it was founded; in this sense he does indeed (to use his own expression) vanquish not his accuser but his judges. Many men would shrink from recording all their cold fits and hesitations and prolonged inconsistencies: I am sure it was the breath of life to Newman to confess them, now that he had done with them for ever. His Lectures on the Present Position of English Catholics, practically preached against a raging mob, rise not only higher but happier, as his instant unpopularity increases. There is something grander than humour, there is fun, in the very first lecture about the British Constitution as explained to a meeting of Russians. But always his triumphs are the triumphs of a highly sensitive man: a man must feel insults before he can so insultingly and splendidly avenge them. He is a naked man, who carries a naked sword. The quality of his literary style is so successful that it succeeds in escaping definition. The quality of his logic is that of a long but passionate patience, which waits until he has fixed all corners of an iron trap. But the quality of his moral comment on the age remains what I have said: a protest of the rationality of religion as against the increasing irrationality of mere Victorian comfort and compromise.

How little things change. That final sentence could easily be re-written today as: "But the quality of his moral comment on the age remains what I have
said: a protest of the rationality of religion as against the
increasing irrationality of mere modern/American comfort and compromise."

Newman's miracle (July 6, 2009)
Cardinal Pell on Cardinal Newman, truth, and conscience (August 12, 2009)
If you're going to quote Newman, quote him correctly... (April 15, 2009)

Related Books from Ignatius Press:
Parochial and Plain Sermons, by John Henry Newman
Prayers, Verses, and Devotions, by John Henry Newman

Literary Giants, Literary Catholics
, by Joseph Pearce

Literary Converts
, by Joseph Pearce
Classic Catholic Converts, by Fr. Charles Connor

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