Belief in God and belief in his Church stand on the same kind of foundation.
I am going to assert what some persons will not hesitate to call a great paradox; but which, nevertheless, I consider to be most true, and likely to approve itself to you more and more, the oftener you turn your thoughts to the subject….
It is this—that it is quite as difficult, and quite as easy, to believe that there is a God in heaven, as to believe that the Catholic Church is his oracle and minister on earth. I do not mean to say that it is really difficult to believe in God (God himself forbid!); no, but that belief in God and belief in his Church stand on the same kind of foundation; that the proof of the one truth is like the proof of the other truth, and that the objections which may be made to the one are like the objections which may be made to the other; and that as right reason and sound judgment overrule objections to the being of a God, so do they supersede and set aside objections to the divine mission of the Church….
I do not say one ought to believe the Catholic Faith without grounds and motives; but I say that when once one believes in God the great obstacle to faith has been taken away—a proud self-sufficient spirit. When once a man really, with the eyes of his soul and by the power of divine grace, recognizes his Creator, he has passed a line; that has happened to him which cannot happen twice; he has bent his stiff neck, and triumphed over himself….
Coming to you then from the very time of the Apostles, spreading out into all lands, triumphing over a thousand revolutions, exhibiting so awesome a unity, glorying in so mysterious a vitality, so majestic, so imperturbable, so bold, so saintly, so sublime, so beautiful, O you sons of men, can you doubt that she is the divine messenger for whom you seek? Oh, long sought after, tardily found, desire of the eyes, joy of the heart, the truth after many shadows, the fullness after many foretastes, the home after many storms, come to her, poor wanderers, for she it is, and she alone, who can unfold the meaning of your being and the secret of your destiny. She alone can open to you the gate of heaven and put you on your way. Arise, shine, O Jerusalem; for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you; for, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and amidst the people, but the Lord shall arise upon you, and his glory shall be seen upon you.
Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman. "Church of the Apostles." excerpt from Discourses, Addressed to Mixed Congregations, Volume I (Fort Collins, CO.: Roman Catholic Books, 1937).
This book is in the public domain.
Venerable John Henry Newman was born in London, 21 February 1801, and died Birmingham, 11 August 1890. Through his published writings and private correspondence he created a greater understanding of the Catholic Church and its teachings, helping many persons with their religious difficulties. At his death he was praised for his unworldliness, humility, and prayerful contact with the invisible world. Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman is the author of many books including, Parochial and Plain Sermons, Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent, Difficulties of Anglicans, The Idea of a University, Fifteen Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford Between A.D. 1826 and 1843, and Apologia Pro Vita Sua.Copyright © 1937 Public Domain
back to top