Further proof that the Anglican understanding of the Fathers’ authority is less consistent than the Catholic

May 28, 2023 • 2 min

From A Defense of the Teachings of Mary, page 143
By St. John Henry Newman

Such difficulties as the above are not uncommon in the writings of the Fathers. I will mention several:—

1. St. Gregory Nyssen is a great dogmatic divine; he too, like St. Basil, is of the school of Origen; and, in several passages of his works, he, like Origen, declares or suggests that future punishment will not be eternal. Those Anglicans who consider St. Chrysostom’s passages in his Commentary on the Gospels to be a real argument against the Catholic belief of the Blessed Virgin’s sinlessness, should explain why they do not feel St. Gregory Nyssen’s teaching in his Catechetical Discourse, an argument against their own belief in the eternity of punishment.

2. Again, they believe in the proper divinity of our Lord, in spite of Bull’s saying of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, “nearly all the aneient Catholics, who preceded Arius, have the appearance of being ignorant of the invisible and incomprehensible (immensam) nature of the Son of God;” an article of faith expressly contained in the Athanasian Creed, and enforced by its anathema.

3. The Divinity of the Holy Ghost is an integral part of the fundamental doctrine of Christianity; yet St. Basil, in the fourth century, apprehending the storm of controversy which its assertion would raise, refrained from asserting it on an occasion when the Arians were on watch as to what he would say. And St. Athanasius took his part, on his keeping silence. Such inconsistencies take place continually, and no Catholic doctrine but suffers from them at times, until what has been preserved by Tradition is formally pronounced to be apostolical by definition of the Church.

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