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The ways the Catholic Church has responded to errors in Mariology have been prudent

2 min • Digitized on May 11, 2023

From A Defense of the Teachings of Mary, page 112
By St. John Henry Newman

7. Though, then, common sense may determine for us, that the line of prudence and propriety has been certainly passed in the instance of certain statements about the Blessed Virgin, it is often not easy to prove the point logically; and in such cases authority, if it attempt to act, would be in the position which so often happens in our courts of law, when the commission of an offence is morally certain, but the government prosecutor cannot find legal evidence sufficient to ensure conviction.

I am not denying the right of Sacred Congregations, at their will, to act peremptorily, and without assigning reasons for the judgment they pass upon writers; but, when they have found it inexpedient to take this severe course, perhaps it may happen from the circumstances of the case, that there is no other that they can take, even if they would. It is wiser then for the most part to leave these excesses to the gradual operation of publie opinion, that is, to the opinion of educated and sober Catholics; and this seems to me the healthiest way of putting them down.

Yet in matter of fact I believe the Holy See has interfered from time to time, when devotion seemed running into superstition; and not so long ago. I recollect hearing in Gregory the XVI.'s time, of books about the Blessed Virgin, which had been suppressed by authority; and in particular of a representation of the Immaculate Conception which he had forbidden, and of measures taken against the shocking notion that the Blessed Mary is present in the Holy Eucharist, in the sense in which our Lord is present; but I have no means of verifying the information I received.

Nor have I time, any more than you have had, to ascertain how far great theologians have made protests against those various extravagances of which you so rightly complain. Passages, however, from three well-known Jesuit Fathers have opportunely come in my way, and in one of them is introduced in confirmation, the name of the great Gerson. They are Canisius, Petavius, and Raynaudus; and as they speak very appositely, and you do not seem to know them, I will here make some extracts from them:—

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