Raynaud quoting two Fathers who condemn false devotion to Mary

May 12, 2023 • 3 min

From St. John Henry Newman’s Letter to Dr. Pusey in reply to his Eirenicon, page 115
By St. John Henry Newman

(3.) Raynaud is an author, full of devotion, if any one is so, to the Blessed Virgin; yet in the work which he has composed in her honour (Diptycha Mariana), he says more than I can quote here, to the same purpose as Petau. I abridge some portions of his text:—

“Let this be taken for granted, that no praises of ours can come up to the praises due to the Virgin Mother. But we must not make up for our inability to reach her true praise, by a supply of lying embellishment and false honours. For there are some whose affection for religious objects is so imprudent and lawless, that they transgress the due limits even towards the saints. This Origen has excellently observed upon in the case of the Baptist, for very many, instead of observing the measure of charity, considered whether he might not be the Christ.” p. 9. “…

“St. Anselm, the first, or one of the first champions of the public celebration of the Blessed Virgin’s Immaculate Conception, says, de Excell. Virg., that the Church considers it indecent, that any thing that admits of doubt should be said in her praise, when the things which are certainly true of her supply such large materials for laudation.

“It is right so to interpret St. Epiphanius also, when he says that human tongues should not pronounce any thing lightly of the Deipara; and who is more justly to be charged with speaking lightly of the most holy Mother of God, than he, who, as if what is certain and evident did not suffice for her full investiture, is wiser than the aged, and obtrudes on us the toadstools of his own mind, and devotions unheard of by those Holy Fathers who loved her best?

“Plainly, as St. Anselm says, that she is the Mother of God, this by itself exceeds every elevation which can be named or imagined, short of God. About so sublime a majesty we should not speak hastily from prurience of wit, or flimsy pretext of promoting piety; but with great maturity of thought; and, whenever the maxims of the Church and the oracles of faith do not suffice, then not without the suffrages of the Doctors… Those who are subject to this prurience of innovation, do not perceive how broad is the difference between subjects of human science, and heavenly things.

“All novelty concerning the objects of our faith is to be put far away; except so far as by diligent investigation of God’s Word, written and unwritten, and a well founded inference from what is thence to be elicited, something is brought to light which though already indeed there, had not hitherto been recognized. The innovations which we condemn are those which rest neither on the written nor unwritten Word, nor on conclusions from it, nor on the judgment of ancient sages, nor sufficient basis of reason, but on the sole colour and pretext of doing more honour to the Deipara.”—p. 10.

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