Demonstrations of how accusations of Catholic devotion to Mary are not fair or aimed towards unity

May 13, 2023 • 3 min

From St. John Henry Newman’s Letter to Dr. Pusey in reply to his Eirenicon, page 121
By St. John Henry Newman

9. And now, after having said so much as this, bear with me, my dear Friend, if I end with an expostulation.

Have you not been touching us on a very tender point in a very rude way? is not the effect of what you have said to expose her to scorn and obloquy; who is dearer to us than any other creature? Have you even hinted that our love for her is any thing else than an abuse? Have you thrown her one kind word yourself all through your book? I trust so, but I have not lighted upon one. And yet I know you love her well.

Can you wonder, then,—can I complain, much, much as I grieve,—that men should utterly misconceive of you, and are blind to the fact that you have put the whole argument between you and us on a new footing; and that, whereas it was said twenty-five years ago in the British Critic, “Till Rome ceases to be what practically she is, union is impossible between her and England,” you declare on the contrary, “Union is possible, as soon as Italy and England, having the same faith and the same centre of unity, are allowed to hold severally their own theological opinions?” They have not done you justice here; because in truth, the honour of our Lady is dearer to them than the conversion of England.

Take a parallel case, and consider how you would decide it yourself. Supposing an opponent of a doctrine for which you so earnestly contend, the eternity of punishment, instead of meeting you with direct arguments against it, heaped together a number of extravagant descriptions of the place, mode and circumstances of its infliction, quoted Tertullian as a witness for the primitive Fathers, and the Covenanters and Ranters for these last centuries; brought passages from the Inferno of Dante, and from the Sermons of Wesley and Whitfield; nay, supposing he confined himself to the chapters on the subject in the work, which has the sanction of Jeremy Taylor, on “The State of Man,” or to his Sermon on the Foolish Exchange, or to passages in Leighton, South, Beveridge, and Barrow, would you think this a fair and becoming method of reasoning? and, if he avowed that he should ever consider the Anglican Church committed to all these accessories of the doctrine, till its authorities formally denounced Taylor, and Whitfield, and a hundred others, would you think this an equitable determination, or the procedure of a theologian?

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