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In Discourse 2, Newman wants to show that theology is in fact a science, and therefore must be part of a university curriculum. However, he was not merely concerned with the total absence of theology, but with its absence from the scientific disciplines. In his time, theology was increasingly relegated to what some saw as the more subjective disciplines, like music, poetry, and art. Newman is worried that if theological inquiry begins in the gut, not the head–if God, religion, and faith are mere matters of “sentiment,” taste and preference, rather than matters of truth, knowledge, and intellect–then all questions about God are solely determined by each individual, or what he calls “Private Judgment.” But Newman thinks that if there is a Supreme Being, then theology is the Supreme Science. If there is no Supreme Being, theology is a mess of useless words. There is no middle ground. Thus, he argues that theology is a science, in part to rescue it from demotion to subjectivity and sentiment, which “mutilates the divine” and forgets the true nature of theology as pursuing divine Truth.

Therefore, Newman strongly affirms that faith is an “intellectual act, its object truth, and its result knowledge.” Faith is not a feeling, although feelings play an important role in stirring up one’s desire to know and to do. Faith is the engagement of one’s reason with truth in a committed and total way. The word faith itself–fides in Latin, piste in Greek–suggests not belief in an irrational sense, but in a committed and knowing relationship, as one might sense in the word fidelity which shares the Latin root. To be faithful to something is to be committed in a way that is rational and ongoing.

Newman traces the history of Protestant thinking to show how religion, faith, and theology came to be based, “ … not on argument, but on taste and sentiment.” Rather than seeing Christianity’s presence in the world as an act of God, religious forms came to be viewed as mere social or psychological phenomena. He analyzes this stemming from the Protestant dogma of sola scriptura, that Scripture is the sole authority. This includes an implied corollary that “Private Judgment” is the sole authority in interpreting Scripture’s meaning. But this is self-defeating, because each individual becomes his or her own mini-Magisterium (cf. 2 Peter 1:20). Lacking objective authority or revealed principles with which to interpret Scripture results in an effusion of splintered Protestant sects who all derive different doctrines from Scripture. Newman says, “they learned to believe and to take it for granted, that Religion was nothing beyond a supply of the wants of human nature, not an external fact and and work of God.” If Private Judgment determines meaning, then Religion, Church structures, and faith itself become merely social, man-made manners of expression, not Divine events in human history. Faith itself becomes based on subjective preferences, not on truths objectively revealed by God.

So, Newman was battling the notion that theology is merely a matter of subjective sentimental taste, not objective scientific inquiry into truth. This toxic notion, Newman shows, leaves an immense intellectual vacuum. It is to “ … consider knowledge, as regards the creature, [as] illimitable, but impossible or hopeless as regards the being and attributes and works of the Creator.” When God ceases to be the measure of all things, one must say with Protagoras in Plato’s Theatetus, “of all things the measure is Man.” If Man can measure and determine all things, what basis is there for any truth? When faith ceases to be a matter of the intellect, it ceases to be faith. When theology ceases to be a science, it ceases to be theology. When a university leaves off theology, it ceases to be a university. As pro-life advocate Joseph Schiedler says, the intellect craves truth like the stomach craves food. If the Supreme truth of God is neglected, something less than intellectual truth will become the aim, resulting in malnourishment and fierce hunger pangs.

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There is a clear picture that emerges from these glimpses into life at The Oratory School: Education was in service of man, not the other way around. Play found its proper place, not only as a balance to rigorous academic study, but as an important part of human development.

O most Sacred, most loving Heart of Jesus, Thou art concealed in the Holy Eucharist, and Thou beatest for us still.

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What is the doctrine of the Trinity? The Athanasian Creed, in common use around the sixth century, formulates it this way: "We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance; for the person of the Father is one, the Son's is another, the Holy Spirit's another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal."

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About Cardinal John Henry Newman

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A Guide to John Henry Newman will interest educated readers and professors alike, and serve as a text for college seminars for the purpose of studying Newman.

Review by Catherine Maybanks
(Catholic Herald, April 1, 2023)

Review by Serenheed James
(Antiphon, April 2023)

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Fr Peter Conley takes us on an exciting journey into the spirituality and inner life of Saint John Henry Newman.
 

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Endorsement by Neyra Blanco (Amazon)
I bought this book for my son and he loved it, he wrote this review and urged my to submitted: “I think this book has a very beautiful message, because it shows how the young Newman was so determined to achieve his dream of becoming a priest, but even after his dream he continued to work in the church with passion until the day he died, it’s so admirable that even Newman so old and so weak still had that urge to continued his work of being a priest. And the book is well written with words not too complicated with very enjoyable texts and well illustrated pictures. I highly recommend this book for a 5th grader.  

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What is a Classical Liberal Arts Education? Why is it so important for the development of a person?

Fr. Juan R. Vélez answers these and more questions you might have about University Education in the 21st century. This book is aimed for parents, prospective University students, and educators. It will help you discern why adding Liberal Arts electives to your education will help it form it better, and help the student learn to reason, and not just learn.

He also explains how many Universities have changed the true meaning of Liberal Arts, and the subjects, and gives advise on how to choose College Campus, Subjects, and Teachers.

A wonderful book that every parent should also read way before your children are College bound. A Liberal Arts education can start earlier in life, even from home.

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Endorsement by Christopher Moellering (Goodreads, September 14, 2019)
In Passion for Truth Fr. Vélez gave us an outstanding biography of Cardinal Newman. In this work, he provides a concise overview of his thought and his devotion. This is a great work for someone who, perhaps hearing of Newman for the first time because of his beatification 13 October, 2019, wants to know more about this English saint.Vélez is a wonderful writer in his own right, and the frequent quotations from Newman round out the work nicely. I especially appreciated the frequent citing of Newman’s Meditations and Devotions, which show a different side of his spirituality than his more well-known works, Development of Christian Doctrine and the Grammar of Assent.

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Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman, endorsement by Illow M. Roque (Amazon, September 3, 2010)
“There is a time to put direct inquiry on hold and give ourselves to prayer and practical duties.” Sound advice from one of the earlier, thought-provoking reminders in this sparkling gem of a book: Take Five | Meditations with John Henry Newman, written by Mike Aquilina and Fr. Juan R. Vélez and published by Our Sunday Visitor. This particular paragraph, referenced above, which begins with a direct quote from soon-to-be canonized priest, cardinal and poet, John Henry Newman: “Study is good, but it gets us only so far . . .” is actually the 15th in a series of 76 concise, logically organized meditations moving from the elementary to the sublime. Each meditation–one per page–is built upon the great man’s writings and remarkably rich spirituality. Whether taken whole in one reading or in part page-by-page over a course of weeks and months, these wonderfully insightful meditations will open up, even to the busiest reader in the midst of the world, a unique pathway into prayer and contemplation. My advice to spiritual inquirers at all levels, from the novice to the spiritually adept, is to follow the authors’ recommendation to use this book as a guide for daily prayer and meditation. The structure of the book itself is ideal: first, the authors introduce us to Cardinal Newman, the man, where we are given the opportunity to get to know him through a brief sketch of his life and spirituality at the beginning of the book. This is something readers will likely find themselves referring to again and again, prompting many, I suspect, to even wider explorations of this most gifted Christian leader. Then comes the meditations, consisting of a short summary of Newman’s thoughts on subjects taken, as the authors explain, from various salient points for which Newman is justly remembered: The pursuit of objective religious truth; Teaching on the Virtues; Defense of the Catholic Church; A devout spiritual and moral life; and Generosity and loyalty in his friendships, which sets the topic and tone for each meditation to follow. Each meditation consists of an excerpt taken from Newman’s thirty-plus volumes of writings and diaries. Next comes three brief and extremely useful sections entitled: “Think About It,” which establishes a prayerfully resonant tone throughout the book; “Just Imagine,” which provides a vivid, prayerful experience of the Scriptures that tie in, and finally, “Remember,” a pithy summation which the authors suggest may be used as a daily aspiration. Each meditation is given its own page, which makes it ideal for daily reflection for readers on the go. This book is a must have for every serious Catholic who wants to take their faith to the next level, which is to respond appropriately to the universal call to holiness and seek interior union with God.
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What is the doctrine of the Trinity? The Athanasian Creed, in common use around the sixth century, formulates it this way: “We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance; for the person of the Father is one, the Son’s is another, the Holy Spirit’s another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal.”

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