Newman's «Grammar of Assent» and Modernism
A Jesuit who told me about Newman's Grammar of Assent
. He said it and Newman's Development of Christian Doctrine
are very useful for understanding our "present situation." Since Newman certainly was an "Invisible [Vatican II] Council Father," the Jesuit is right.
Larson's "Does God Love Us: An Examination of the Epistemology of John Henry Newman
" and Sartino's "Another Look at John Henry Cardinal Newman
" are very valuable, especially the section in the latter on The Grammar of Assent
. These two articles make it clear than Newman's thought was the progenitor of Modernism's schizophrenia regarding faith and reason
. In fact, Modernists Loisy and Tyrrell considered themselves “devout follower[s ] of Newman.”
"Real assent" with the "illative sense" versus "notional assent"—the former being more real and the latter including dogma—is a false dichotomy. Larson very convincingly shows that this false dichotomy is the origin of Modernism's depreciation of dogma as lacking a vitality which each individual believer should supplement with his own personal faith experiences. This is uncannily reminiscent of Pascendi's description of the Modernists' "vital immanence."
Read at least pages 12-25 of "Another Look at Newman
" pertaining to Newman's Grammar of Assent
. "Another Look at Newman" shows how Grammar of Assent
espouses nominalist (things are whatever we name them and nothing in themselves; interestingly, Occam founded nominalism because he was anti-papist, just like Newman was in his disparagement of the dogma of papal infallibility
), empiricist (i.e., a faithful follower of Bacon
), idealist (in that we don't know beings; we only know our ideas of them), skeptic (this follows from all of the above; cf. Gram. Assent x. §2. 410-11
: "I am suspicious then of scientific demonstrations in a question of concrete fact…"), and Protestant (Gram. Assent x. §1. 384-85
: "in religious inquiry each of us can only speak for himself") views.
Also, Newman thinks dogmas are merely human creations, "notions." This is flatly against Lamentabili Sane
's condemned proposition #22:
22. The dogmas the Church holds out as revealed are not truths which have fallen from heaven. They are an interpretation of religious facts which the human mind has acquired by laborious effort.
Another interesting tidbit about Newman is his reaction to Æterni Patris
months after the promulgation of <Aeterni Patris> he [Newman] asked Fr. Robert Whitty, a Jesuit in Rome and most sympathetic to him, as to what the whole encyclical was about. Fr. Whitty wrote back that the Encyclical came because "the Pope [Leo XIII] having himself been brought up in the Society's teaching—knowing that some of our Professors in Italy and France were leaving St. Thomas in certain points of <Philosophy>, and feeling that these were important points against the errors of the day—had expressed a wish that our teaching should return to the old lines."
Newman's false epistemology, certainly related for his lack proper training in St. Thomas's doctrine*, directly relates to his negative views of the dogma of papal infallibility; cf. "Newman and the Pope
*(He never cites St. Thomas once in any of his works.)
Also, here're some interesting resources that show Newman's works are not Modernist:Modernism Essay by Bishop O'Dwyer
(1908) Letter from Pope Pius X to Bishop O'Dwyer
approving his essay (1908)
If you can read Spanish, this
is a good description of Newman's epistemology from a Gregorian University thesis.