Ad Limina Apostolorum (Blog) | St. Augustine's Library
Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Newman's Essay, Part VIII: Application of the Third Note of a True Development: Assimilative Power 

A study of the early Church will show that its most unique and compelling element was that it referred all revelation and all truth to One Supreme God, and this idea was powerful enough to withstand and envelop all other ideas.

As far as dogmatic truth, it has always been the standpoint of orthodoxy that the absolute purity of doctrinal truth must never be compromised. And when opposite ideas collide, the one which will always overpower the other is the one that is held with the most sincerity and the most gravity. This principle is revealed by the steadfastness of the martyrs. Historical research will show that the principle of dogmatism was present from the beginning of the Church. In fact, in the earliest years of doctrinal conflict, this principle took shape amidst the rise and fall of heresies. For, surprisingly, nearly every Catholic doctrine was defined by heretics before it was professed by Catholics, and even the Church Fathers wrote some of their greatest material by borrowing from that of heretics. Yet the grace of the Supreme God allows doctrine to thus develop and to absorb without risk of corruption.

As far as sacramental grace, what we shall call the 'sacramental principal' is that which assimilates that which is evil from its surroundings, and by grace transforms it into something holy. This principle is asserted repeatedly in Scripture. Hence, for example, St. Paul denounces abstinence from meat, the observance of holy days, and the practice of celibacy, and yet when these have been incorporated he exhorts us to fast, celebrate the Sabbath, and remain unmarried. In the same way the earliest Fathers objected to priests, sacrifices, altars, and images, and yet the later Fathers embrace all of these trappings. the same elements are adopted for the worship of the true God. The Church has been thus entrusted with the dispensation of sacramental grace, and trusted to use discretionary power in its application. For the Church, like Christ, aims to make holy what is unclean. Nearly all of what is generally received as Christian truth is originally to be found among pagan philosophies and religions. The Trinity, the Incarnation, the Divine Word, the rite of baptism, the idea of a new birth, angels and demons, and many more. While some may say 'Because these are in paganism, they are not Christian,' it is rather true that 'Because these are in Christianity, they are not heathen.' This merely proves that our Wise Creator has scattered the seeds of truth across the earth, which have been occasionally corrupted but never lost. The Church has the privilege of gathering these truths and sanctifying them; and while others "are ever hunting for a fabulous primitive simplicity, we repose in Catholic fulness."

# posted by Jamie : 11:59 AM


Under the Patronage of
St. Augustine of Hippo

Contact me:

Ad Limina Apostolorum: An ecclesiastical term meaning a pilgrimage to the sepulchres of St. Peter and St. Paul at Rome, i.e., to the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles and to the Basilica of St. Paul "outside the walls".

"Augustine of Hippo Refuting Heretic"
(illuminated manuscript,
13th century)

"Jamie . . .
I could kill you in three seconds.
-Bishop Sheridan

Books Recently Read or Currently Reading

John Milbank's Theology & Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason (next in stack)

Colson Whitehead's Zone One (reading)

Michael Wyschogrod's Body of Faith: God and the People Israel (reading)

J. B. Schneewind's Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy (reading)

Paul Hacker's Ego in Faith: Martin Luther and the Origins of Anthopocentric Religion (finished: 3 stars)

Edward Peter's Modern Guide to Indulgences: Rediscovering this Often-Ministerpreted Teaching (finished: 1 star)

Blogs I Read

Blogroll Me!


Missale Romanum
Parallel Text of Latin Mass
Order of the Mass
Today's Mass Readings
Collect of the Day
Mass Times
Liturgical Calendar
Liturgical Year
Catholic Calendar Page
Liturgy of the Hours (Universalis)
Liturgy of the Hours (Apostolate)
Parallel Latin/English Psalter
Psalms in Metre
Pope's Commentary on Psalter
Gregorian Chant
More Gregorian Chant
Schola Cantorum Bogotensis
Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music
Monks of Adoration
Catholic Liturgical Library
Treasury of Latin Prayers
Thesaurus Precum Latinarum
Litany Collection
Novena Prayers
Real Presence Association
Liturgy Q&A (Zenit)


Bible Gateway
Unbound Bible
New Testament Gateway
NT Gateway (Greek)
Latin Vulgate
More Vulgate Resources
Nova Vulgata


Patron Saints Index
Doctors of the Church
St. Thomas More (Litany)
Saint Bonaventure
St. Josemaria Escriva
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla
Saint Padre Pio
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Queen Isabella of Spain
John Henry Newman


Catholic Answers
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism (Dave Armstrong)
Cor ad cor loquitur (Blog)
Nazareth Resource Library (Akin)
Surprised by Truth (Madrid)
Catholic Outlook (Hoge)
Scripture Catholic (Salza)
Defenders of the Faith (Ray)
Envoy Encore (Blog)
Peter Kreeft
Mark Shea
Catholic Apologetics Bible Concordance


Holy See
Pope Benedict XVI Fan Club Catholic Hierarchy
Bishops of the United States
Diocese of Arlington


Catechism of the Catholic Church
Ecumenical Councils and Decrees
Papal Encyclicals
Church Documents (New Advent)
Code of Canon Law
Academic Theology Links (Georgetown)
Modern Theologians (Wabash Center)


03/01/2002 - 04/01/2002
03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009
08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010
11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010
04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011
09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011
01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012

Buy my Wife's Cabbage Patch Kids!

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>

St. Blog's Parish Hall

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

This site is certified 61% GOOD by the Gematriculator

This page designed by Christopher Blosser
© 2003-2004 Jamie