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Author:  John Lane [ Thu May 03, 2007 10:30 pm ]


There can be no doubt that the peril of the next ten years will be latitudinarian Christianity in all its forms. So long as men are approaching to the Catholic Church they hold the necessity of precise and inflexible dogma. The moment they waver in their approach, fidelity to dogma declines; they then feel about for a new basis. As it cannot be precision, it must be vagueness. Dogma is against them; they must be against dogma. Theology excludes them; they must hold theology cheap. From that moment (we write what we have seen) men move off from the path of truth, insensibly for awhile, unconsciously to themselves. The Catholic faith is ‘Latin Christianity;’ the Catholic Church is Rome; Trent is occidental; theology a transient phase of mediaeval thought; Christianity the education of the world, the joint contribution of nations, wide as the human race, old as creation, intolerant of visible forms, impatient of mixture with the earthly elements of government and temporal power, purer than the Church of God, awaiting its redemption from the bigotries of sects and churches, its investiture in the theology of the nineteenth century, and the Church of the future. Such is the tendency of the day, of which the theory of union before truth is the one extreme, and the rationalism of freemasonry is the other.

—Henry Edward Manning, England and Christendom (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1867), p. 213.

Quoted in the American Ecclesiastical Review, November 1945. The title of the piece is from the AER. You'd think he was describing the world after Vatican II, in which the New Religion of unanchored feelings and vagueness is set against the New Paganism, with inevitable results. One of the wonderful things about the Faith is the clarity of vision it provides even of things not directly dogmatic.

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