Saturday, March 7, 2020

"None but the Schola Theologorum is competent to determine the force of Papal and Synodal utterances".

"When the Church teaches with authority, theologians explain the exact meaning of these decrees 'in order to make [them] as tolerable as possible.' Such an approach, Newman argues, is not minimalism but a doctrinal moderation consistent with sound faith. The decisions of councils and popes are authoritative for Newman. However, such statements also mark the beginning of sustained reflection wherein theologians determine precisely how and in which exact manner they are in continuity with the prior tradition. This is why Newman can say that [the prophetic power of] theology 'has restrained and corrected such extravagances as have been committed, through human infirmity, in the exercise of the regal [episcopal] and sacerdotal [pastors and the faithful] powers.' Even popes can be salutarily corrected. . . . In a private letter, Newman remarks that theological schools protect the church from the encroachments of popes and councils."

     Thomas G. Guarino, Vincent of Lérins and the development of Christian doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2013), . I was put onto this by Reinhard Hütter, “Authentic development of doctrine between Scylla and Charybdis,” Thomistic Institute Angelicum, 7 December 2019.  The header, also quoted by Hütter, following Guarino, is from the famous "Letter . . . to the Duke of Norfolk", where, however, it is directed against the Anglican Gladstone, not the regal and sacerdotal (as distinguished from the prophetic) powers/offices of the Church as understood by Newman in the important 1877 Preface to the third (Catholic) edition of The via media of the Anglican church.

Friday, March 6, 2020

"My youthful years were spent [in the slave trade] in Africa, and I ought to take my degrees (if I take any) from thence."

Seattle Pacific University Archives

     "I have been hurt by 2 or 3 by letters directed to Dr. Newton.  I beg you to inform my friends in Scotland as they come in your way, that after a little time, if any letters come to me, addressed to Dr. Newton I shall be obliged to send them back unopened.  I know no such person, I never shall, I never will, by the Grace of God.
     "Do not think I am displeased with you or any of my kind friends, who mean me kindness and honour by such an address.  I only beg for my peace sake, that it may not be repeated.
     "I have been informed that a College in America, I think in the New Jersey, has given me the Honory degree of Doctor.  So far as this mark of their favour, indicates a regard to the Gospel truths which I profess, I am much pleased with it.  But as to the title itself I renounce it heartily; nor would I willingly be known by it, if all the Universities in Europe can conferred it upon me.  My youthful years were spent in Africa, and I ought to take my degrees (if I take any) from thence.  Shall such a compound of misery & mischief as I then was, be called Doctor?  Surely not."

     Newton, John, Letter from John Newton to John Campbell, June 2, 1792. Newton/Campbell Letters 19.  See also Letters and conversational remarks, by the late Rev. John Newton, rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, Lombard-street, London: during the last eighteen years of his life, ed. John Campbell (New York:  S. Whiting & co., theological and classical booksellers, Paul & Thomas, printers, 1811), 5-6.  It would be fun to track documentation of this honorary Doctor of Divinity down from the side of Princeton University.

Monday, March 2, 2020

"God's thought of lions is lionlike"

     "It is a poor speaker of French who thinks in English and translates as he goes; the true master of tongues thinks as he talks.  He is a Frenchman in France and a German in Germany; why, he may find himself dreaming in German or in French.  The shape, the idiom of the Creator’s thought is the very shape and idiom of his creature’s existence.  God’s thought of man is human, for he thinks man as he is.  It is true that his thought of man stretches man, and reaches out into possibilities undreamt by us; but these possibilities are still  human.  God’s thought for us extends into the heaven he has prepared for us; but heaven itself is a human state; it is the state of man-in-glory.  God’s thought of lions is lionlike, and of sparrows sparrow-like; and elementary things that have neither life nor sense are thought and willed by him exactly as they are or as they go."

     Austin Farrer, God is not dead (New York:  Morehouse-Barlow Co., 1966), 74.  God is not dead was first published in Great Britain as A science of God?