Thursday, January 04, 2007

Newman On The Fathers Of The Church

"For myself, hopeless as you consider it, I am not ashamed still to take my stand upon the Fathers, and do not mean to budge. The history of their times is not yet an old almanac to me. Of course I maintain the value and authority of the 'Schola,' as one of the loci theologici; nevertheless I sympathize with Petavius in preferring to the 'contentious and subtle theology' of the middle age, that 'more elegant and fruitful teaching which is moulded after the image of erudite Antiquity."

The Fathers made me a Catholic, and I am not going to kick down the ladder by which I ascended into the Church. It is a ladder quite as serviceable for that purpose now, as it was twenty years ago. Though I hold, as you know, a process of development in Apostolic truth as time goes on, such development does not supersede the Fathers, but explains and completes them. And, in particular, as regards our teaching concerning the Blessed Virgin, with the Fathers I am content; -and to the subject of that teaching I mean to address myself at once. I do so, because you say, as I myself have said in former years, that 'That vast system as to the Blessed all of us has been the special crux of the Roman system.'

Here, let me say, as on other points, the Fathers are enough for me."

-in A Letter Addressed to the Rev. E. B. Pusey, D.D., on His Recent Eirenicon.

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