Meditation on Newman's Grammar of Assent

Author: Stanley L. Jaki


Stanley L. Jaki

<Newman's Grammar of Assent deserves to be a subject not only of study but also of meditation. It is a work with a central topic, the unqualified and irrevocable assent to be given to authoritative propositions regarding faith and morals, that has for its clue Newman's resolve to respond in full to a Most Holy God's call to man. The same work also shows the saving effect of Newman's quest for holiness whenever his "personal" method carried him to the edge of philosophical catastrophes.>

Of Newman's three most widely read books two, the <Development> and the <Apologia>, were written in feverish haste. The third, the <Grammar of Assent>, took Newman three decades to write. This fact alone should caution against approaching the <Grammar> with expectations for an intellectual drama which makes the reading of the two other works such a satisfying experience. The <Grammar> is often a very dry and in places a perplexingly difficult book. It is indeed that book of Newman which contains a set of phrases, a particular method, and a specific perspective that were and are still used to support strategies of dissent, although Newman wanted to vindicate assent taken in the strictest sense.

Of the many instances of this abuse of Newman's thought in general and of the message of the <Grammar> in particular, one is particularly eye-opening. It shows the shocking extent to which some think that Newman can readily be referred to as justification for dissent in matters of faith and morals. In connection with the Vatican's declaration that Fr. Curran was no longer a Catholic theologian, the Sunday, September 14, 1986, issue of <The New York Times> carried on the subject four letters to the editor. Of the four two were in favor of the Vatican. One of them would have deserved to be photocopied and sent to every chancery, rectory, department of theology, teacher of Christian Doctrine, and promoter of renewal of any sort. For it contained a biblical phrase, possibly the most relevant biblical phrase for these times of ours when it has become "fashionable" to think that assent or dissent are mere matters of opinion polls. The phrase is from Exodus (23:2) where Moses warns: "Neither shall you allege the example of the many as an excuse for doing wrong." In the two other letters Fr. Curran's advocacy of dissent was supported with references to John Henry Newman.

There are indeed not a few phrases in the <Grammar> that may appear to be graphic endorsements of sheer empiricism which is the very opposite to what is needed for what St. Paul called in the Romans (12:1) a reasoned worship of God. Then there is the <Grammar>'s method that looks very similar to what later took by storm the philosophical and theological scene under the name phenomenology. It stands for a systematic aversion, to use a Pauline phrase again, to reasoned assurance about things that do not appear, that is, are not phenomena. Finally, there is the perspective of the <Grammar>, a perspective of unabashed personalism. Newman states in the <Grammar> that although many books had been written on the subject of assent, he made no special study of them during all that time when the <Grammar> was being written and rewritten, with intermissions of course. This means that over thirty years or so he deliberately ignored the primary and secondary literature on the subject. His reason for this procedure, most unscholarly on the face of it, was that had he been studying that vast literature, he might have inadvertently said something which was not strictly his own idea. One wonders whether with its disdain for primary and secondary literature the <Grammar> would have been accepted today by any prominent university press on either side of the Atlantic.

The <Grammar> was meant to be an account of Newman's way, emphatically of <his own way>, of giving to the challenge of truth, natural and supernatural, the kind of firm and irrevocable reply which he called assent. This is not to suggest that he did not expect that many, indeed all, should find congenial <his> way which, looked at superficially, is an amalgam of empiricism, phenomenology and personalism. But a not too long look at Newman's way should be enough to note the problems posed by his expectation. His way was that of an extraordinarily sensitive moral conscience, a conscience befitting a saint and not an ordinary Christian, let alone a run-of-the-mill non-Christian. That moral conscience let Newman constantly hear God speak to him and, so to speak, with a moral obligation on God's part. Newman calls it an antecedent probability of the highest degree that if there is a God He should speak to man clearly and in three ways: through the evidence of nature (Newman means the cosmological argument), through the voice of conscience, and through revelation.

About the first way, the evidence of nature, he is never enthusiastic, though never doubtful either. It appears but fleetingly in the <Grammar>.1 At any rate, in his time the cosmological argument was the victim of a philosophically atrophied natural theology in which the argument from design held the center stage. Newman was certainly to the point that the argument from design cannot be a starting point.2 What he failed to point out or to articulate was that the design argument could be turned into a most effective sequel to the cosmological argument. The third way of God's speaking to man, that is, special historical revelation, was of course of overwhelming importance to Newman, but only for one reason. Revelation for him is, in addition to being a set of intellectual propositions, the full unfolding of a most holy God's call to holiness in truth.

About the time when the <Grammar> was published Newman stated to a correspondent that he had become a Catholic because in the Catholics of the mid-19th century he found the same ethos or striving for holiness which was the mark of the Church of the Fathers.3 Herein lies the clue to his declaration to Pusey in 1864: "The Fathers made me a Catholic."4 Newman did not mean arguments from patristic texts about this or that dispute between Anglicans and Catholics. He meant a striking parallel between two attitudes: One was the Fathers' refusal to conform to the thinking of the ancient pagan world. Newman had special dislike for that epitome of an urbane bishop, Eusebius, in whose attitude toward Arianism he noticed the fatal pull of excessive respect for the cultural standards set by the world at large. This is why Newman had eyes for noticing in the heretics of Patristic times the tendency to backslide into that world. The other attitude was that of the entire post-Patristic church, stretching from Gregory VII and Innocent III through the Council of Trent, and especially through its chief implementer, Saint Pius V, to Pius VI and VII and, last but not least, to Pio Nono. The attitude was the refusal of the Church those popes led to cave in to the relentless demands of an ever more aggressive secular world.

Reference to Pio Nono is an anathema nowadays among all Catholic thinkers aspiring at being accepted in Catholic academic circles, to say nothing of non-Catholic, let alone secular circles. Pio Nono is also a figure with whom even non-modernist Catholic thinkers are not too eager to appear in the same company nowadays. Newman was most proud to be a most loyal son of that much maligned pope. A proof among the many is a sermon he preached on the feast of the Holy Rosary, on October 7, 1866. No less important is the fact that he preached that sermon at the request of Bishop Ullathorne, who was to be Newman's chief support in his campaign against the infallibilists. In that campaign Newman made many misjudgments5 but never to the extent of compromising the integrity of his assent to the pope whoever he may be. His opposition to the advisability of the definition of papal infallibility always contained emphatic statements of his belief that the popes are infallible and therefore deserve an unreserved assent on our part to what they teach and not, to use some recent phrases of subtle evasiveness, "critical obedience"6 or "a measure of conservatism."7

In view of the rising revolutionary movements in Italy, where the <risorgimento> went hand in hand with aggressively secularist ideologies, Bishop Ullathorne asked every parish priest and the rector of every church run by religious in the Birmingham diocese to set forth to the faithful "our obligations to the Holy See." True to his fondness for the concrete, Newman began with a graphic parallel between the Church of the Apostles and the Fathers and the Church of his times: "Therefore, as it [the Church] was <in> the world, but not <of> the world, in the Apostles' times, so it is now:—as it was 'in honour and dishonour, in evil report and good report' . . . in the Apostles' times, so it is now:—as then it taught the truth, so it does now; as then it had the sacraments of grace, so has it now; as then it had a hierarchy or holy government of Bishops, priests, and deacons, so has it now; and as it had a Head then, so must it have a head now."8

Then Newman went on to describe that actual head in a series of questions that stood for so many aspects of that head's supreme power in the church. "Who is that visible Head now? who is now the Vicar of Christ? who has now the keys of the kingdom of heaven, as St. Peter had then? Who is it who binds and looses on earth, that our Lord may bind and loose in heaven? Who, I say, if a successor to St. Peter there must be, who is that successor in his sovereign authority over the Church?"

Then came Newman's reply, a reply that should make speechless any Concilium theologian making studied appeals to Newman, or theologians who fancy themselves to be bridges or bridge-makers9 in the dispute between those in authority and those who claim themselves the right to dissent from that authority. One could only wish that those self-appointed bridge-makers, who only ten years ago were still fomenting open dissent, would have a memory long enough to recall, if not their own recent doctrinaire record, at least the Latin origin of bridge-maker, that is, pontifex. Indeed, if there is so much trouble in the Church today it is because so many in it are pontificating and give lip-service to the tireless teaching of the only Pontiff or head in the Church. No wonder that the bridges they offer to heaven bend back before long to the earth and at times to some of its smelly marshes.

Newman's reply to the question as to who is the head of the church in 1866 reads as follows: "It is he who sits in St. Peter's Chair: it is the Bishop of Rome. We all know <this>; it is part of our <faith.>" Lucky pre-Vatican I times, one may say, when the foremost expert on tradition could assume all this on the part of anyone sitting in the pews. Lucky times when a preacher could continue without a trace of apprehension that anyone in those pews would give less than full assent to the following: "The visible headship of the Church, which was with St. Peter while he lived, has been lodged ever since in his Chair, that continuous line of Bishops of Rome, or Popes, as they are called, one after another, as years have rolled on, one dying and another coming, down to this day, when we see Pius the Ninth sustaining the weight of the glorious Apostolate, and that for twenty years past,—a tremendous weight, a ministry involving momentous duties, innumerable anxieties, and immense responsibilities, as it ever has done."

Then, since Newman's chief aim was to portray the measure of loyalty to the one in that Chair, he had to list his prerogatives: "He can judge, and he can acquit; he can pardon, and he can condemn; he can command, and he can permit; he can forbid, and he can punish. He has supreme jurisdiction over the people of God. He can stop the ordinary course of sacramental mercies; he can excommunicate from the ordinary grace of redemption; and he can remove again the ban which he has inflicted. It is the rule of Christ's providence, that what His Vicar does in severity or in mercy upon earth, He Himself confirms in heaven." Newman then could raise the question: "What need I say more to measure our own duty to it and to him who sits in it, than to say that, in his administration of Christ's kingdom, in his religious acts, we must never oppose his will, or dispute his word, or criticize his policy, or shrink from his side?"

Concerning that measure of assent, Newman articulated it first in respect to what was implied in being a pope: "There are kings of the earth who have despotic authority, which their subjects obey indeed but disown in their hearts; but we must never murmur at that absolute rule which the Sovereign Pontiff has over us, because it is given to him by Christ, and, in obeying him, we are obeying our Lord. We must never suffer ourselves to doubt, that, in his government of the Church, he is guided by an intelligence more than human. His yoke is the yoke of Christ, he has the responsibility of his own acts, not we; and to his <Lord> must he render account, not to us." The thrust of this statement is, to put it crudely, similar to that of the old Roman saying about what is allowed respectively <Jovi> and <bovi>. For this no apology is offered to those Newmanists who spread the idea that Newman advocated a qualified loyalty, a limited assent.10 Pointing out ignorance or plain abuse of plain texts is a charitable service and should be taken with gratitude by all earnest inquirers about truth.

Then Newman portrayed the qualities which the pope's subjects must display in their assent to his teaching: "Even in secular matters it is ever safe to be on his side, dangerous to be on the side of his enemies. Our duty is,—not indeed to mix up Christ's Vicar with this or that party of men, because he in his high station is above all parties,—but to look at his formal deeds, and to follow him whither he goes, and never to desert him, however we may be tried, but to defend him at all hazards, and against all comers, as a son would a father, and as a wife a husband, knowing that his cause is the cause of God." Catholic feminists may take note, as well as advocates of liberation theology. The Newman of the foregoing words cannot, even by the utmost stretch of imagination, be pictured as someone in their corner.

Newman was not yet through. He now conjured up future popes: "And so, as regards his successors, if we live to see them; it is our duty to give <them> in like manner our dutiful allegiance and our unfeigned service, and to follow them also whithersoever they go, having that same confidence that each in his turn and in his own day will do God's work and will, which we felt in their predecessors, now taken away to their eternal reward." Clearly, if there was anything alien to Newman's thinking it was the expectation that a new pope may or will come who will be just a president, or a constitutional monarch, or a mere presiding bishop, or one whose temperament makes him slip into the tragic role of a Hamlet. For the last one cannot maintain the necessary momentum to lead, whereas the others are not even entitled to denounce, as the present pope recently did, that dissent whose chief aim is to legitimize assent to one's whims and fancy. If the latter was heatedly described by Newman as the counterfeit of genuine conscience,11 it was only because in any attack on conscience he rightly saw an attack on the very essence of all his thinking and aspirations including the principal aim of the <Grammar.>

The latter had two aspects.12 One was to demolish the claim of the equationists according to whom complete assent could rationally be given only when complete proofs were on hand. They were aptly called equationists because the equality they had in mind was the kind which is on hand in demonstrations of mathematics and physics. Newman showed that even there everything rested ultimately on commonsense evidence which could not be cast into mathematical forms. As Newman lampooned infatuation with mathematical physics as the ultimate source of truth, he produced some sparkling phrases that illuminate even the present-day myths about artificial intelligence and related vagaries of the educated mind. Once common sense was vindicated, it was possible for Newman to argue that ordinary uneducated Catholics, blessed with common sense, were not unreasonable in giving unconditional assent to the teaching of the Church.

Newman gave in the <Grammar> extraordinarily graphic descriptions of the actual mental steps of giving assent on the basis of common sense, but never probed into the philosophy of common sense. He stuck to his way through thick and thin, a way which was a graphic grasp of reality. He extolled the sense of sight over all the other senses, including that of hearing, although it is the channel of the greatest marvel, the spoken word. No wonder that he sounds time and again as a rabid empiricist. He has more scorn than praise for the universals. He does not once take into consideration that every human word stands for a universal. Time and again he seems to give comfort to those who, then as now, take the view that the question of universals can be disposed of by labeling it a scholastic problem. And since he is all too ready to unfold the force of logic in initial premises, he comes in the <Grammar> time and again to the edge of a philosophical abyss which engulfed countless others before and after him.

What saves Newman in those instances, about a dozen or so in the <Grammar>? What makes him, almost contrary to any expectation, suddenly pull back with statements, never properly articulated, that imply philosophical and theological orthodoxy? The answer is not to be sought in Newman's reading of Thomas Aquinas or other scholastics, a reading rather limited. In fact, months after the promulgation of <Aeterni Patris> he 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."13

The answer is much less to be found in Newman's reading of modern philosophers which, with the exception of J. S. Mill, was not extensive at all. He showed much too great a sympathy for Bacon, Locke, and Bishop Butler, for him the <par excellence> British philosophers. Perhaps part of Newman's saving grace was that he left uncut half of the pages of his copy of Meiklejohn's translation of Kant's <Critique of Pure Reason>. At any rate, he saw through Kant and the German idealists. His comment on the monograph on them by Chalybaus, professor of philosophy at the university of Kiel, was as brief as devastating: "I do not think I am bound to read them . . . for notoriously they have come to no conclusion."14 Transcendental Thomists, better to be called Aquikantists, may take note. If conclusions, to which assent is to be given, can ever be the fruit of mere philosophical reasoning, however genuine, they certainly cannot issue from the miscegenation which transcendental Thomists try to bring about between Aquinas and Kant. It is the old story between a horse and an ass.

Newman indeed had an unusual measure of common sense. The <Grammar> instances time and again his wealth of insight about what he called in the <Apologia> "the wild living intellect of man."15 He called it wild not because he approved of its innumerable and continual excesses but because he, more than any Catholic intellectual, with perhaps the sole exception of Chesterton, was convinced that wildness was in more than one sense a deep wound in the intellectual nature of man. He wrote more penetratingly than anyone else in modern times about the awesome reality of original sin.16 No wonder. His was a saintly intellect that never failed to resonate to God's voice speaking through the voice of conscience and through natural and supernatural revelation. This is why he instinctively pulled back from the edge of philosophical precipices. Beyond them he saw more than a conceptual chasm. He saw it for what it was: a continual rebellion of man's mind against light.

If read in this light, the <Grammar> will serve, as intended by Newman, as a powerful source of assurance about objective and perennially valid truths. If not read in that light, it can be presented as a forerunner of Kuhnian paradigms, a scientifically coated form of radical irrationalism. Newman would turn in his grave were he to be told that this manhandling of his <Grammar> has been perpetrated with the help of the printing press of a prominent Catholic University in the USA.17 In any case, for any unprepared reader, the <Grammar> can readily function as a storehouse of phrases that extol individual experience over objectively valid truths. I would not be surprised on finding quotations from the <Grammar> in works promoting situation ethics. In other words, only if one shares something of Newman's intense quest for holiness, will the <Grammar> become not a trap but an inspirational guide on the road toward a salvation which is thoroughly intellectual in addition to being much more.

The only point yet to be covered should relate to Newman, in particular to his various private utterances between 1869 and 1878, the last ten years of Pio Nono. Among other things, Newman expressed his hope, in strict privacy though, that Pio Nono might not live too long.18 Do not those utterances, and many others made in connection with the infallibility debate, contradict his sermon of October 7, 1866 on assent to the pope and many similar statements of loyalty? One certainly should avoid the temptation to charge him with insincerity. It was that charge that brought down on Kingsley the most devastating defense of sincerity, the <Apologia>, ever produced in any major language.

It should seem much safer to follow another avenue. It leads to the inevitable human limitations in any human being, however extraordinary his stature may be. Newman was not only aware of his limitations but put up no defense when confronted with them. The most telling and possibly the least discussed instance of this relates to his desperate expectation that the definition of infallibility would not be endorsed with moral unanimity. No voice of dissent was, however, heard as August and September followed that fateful July 1870. But as he urged several correspondents to wait with patience for such voices, one of them wrote to him that his [Newman's] hopes were not different at all from the position he had once advocated in the <Via Media>. In his reply Newman had the honesty to admit that he could not refute the objection. Perhaps the only time in his life, he, who almost every day in his life put thousands of words on paper, felt completely at a loss for words.19 Though unable to see the advisability of the definition of infallibility he, being a saint, could bow his intellect and trust sincerely that like anything else, it would become an instrument of good in God's hands.

In this he believed with utmost sincerity. Indeed, in 1877, when he wrote the long preface to the third edition of the <Via Media>, which was its first Catholic edition, Pio Nono was still alive. Nobody expected Leo XIII. Among those who prognosticated was Ernest Renan, who conjured up a conclave electing a pope even more reactionary than Pio Nono, and a subsequent revolt by progressive cardinals electing an antipope.20 Renan confidently expected the demise of the papacy by the turn of the century. Clearly what could Newman gain by writing in that preface that the image of the Church as a mystical body set forth in the <Via Media> was not to be seen as a softening up, however slightly, the <imperial> notion of the Church. Much less did that image suggest any tampering with the total assent to the one who is the supreme Sovereign and Ruler in that church. In fact he stated nothing less than that the supreme power in question was "the Papacy and its Curia."21

This is not to suggest that Newman wished to be a curialist. He was very candid in begging for the privilege to remain in England and in Birmingham in particular, a city which he had chosen for his Oratory because of the large number of destitute Catholics there. But he could also say that in greeting Leo XIII's pontificate he did not expect the new pope's liberality to be taken for an excuse to give to the pope's teaching and rulings less than full assent. For a pivotal point in the <Grammar> is that assent is always a full assent. He could therefore also say that he remained consistent even when he hoped that Pio Nono would not live long.

A short year after his conversion, Newman recalled to Henry Wilberforce, one of those who wanted "absolute proofs," a passage in his first volume of Sermons "about the inconsistencies of good men," and added: "I have ever made consistency the mark of a saint." In the same letter22 he drew a brief comparison between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church in the same perspective. He then listed as a chief of those personal graces of which he had been the beneficiary since his conversion "the natural intercourse and conversation" he had with Catholics and pointedly noted having been "extremely struck with their rigid purity." Evidence of this, he continued, "has come before me in a way not to be mistaken." His next words, "how low the Anglican church is here," pose a strong temptation to speculate on what Newman would say today on seeing two Churches: One yielding on each and every issue of sexual morality, the other standing firm, though only because it shares in the unyielding character of its Rock-foundation, or the Papacy.

Yielding to that temptation would not do injustice to that letter in which Newman begins with the question of assent to the Papacy. He begins with pinpointing the essence of his disagreement with Wilberforce: "My dear Henry . . . You do not seem to have apprehended, or rather I to have expressed what I said about 'the Church.' What I mean is this:—If we can get a tolerable notion which is the Church, and know (as we do) that it may be trusted because it is the Church, then comes the question why should not the Pope's supremacy be one of the points on which it may be trusted? For myself I have had so great experience of the correctness of the Roman view where once I thought otherwise that I should be a beast if I were unwilling to take the rest on faith, from a confidence that what is still obscure to me (if there be anything such, I am not alluding to anything) is explainable." And it seems to me extravagant or unreasonable in you to demand proof of one certain particular tenet which it so naturally comes to the Church to decide." Another proof that back in his mind Newman was writing the <Grammar> already in 1846.

Even if at that time Newman had been less than a saint, it would not have occurred to him that one day a Pope, still two removed from Gregory XVI, would decide to create him a cardinal. On hearing his being created a cardinal his first words were <haec mutatio dexterae excelsi.> God, of course, does not change, but to those who remain consistent in the good cause to an apparently bitter end, God often reveals His own consistency by granting them an end that only grows in glory as time goes on.


1 <An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent> (Image Books; Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1955), p. 68.

2 See his letter to W. R. Brownlow, April 13, 1870 in <Letters and Diaries>, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961), vol. XXV, p. 97, where he refers to the <Grammar> and states: "I have not insisted on the argument from <design>, because I am writing for the 19th century, by which, as represented by its philosophers, design is not admitted as proved."

3 "For myself, what made me a Catholic was the fact, as it came home to me, that the present Catholics are in all essential respects the successors and representatives of the first Christians, such a remarkable identity in position and character in ages so widely separated and so strikingly dissimilar, being at the same time the note of a supernatural origin and life." <Letters and Diaries>, vol. XXV, p. 147.

4 "A Letter Addressed to the Rev. E. B. Pusey on Occasion of His Eirenicon," in <Certain Difficulties Felt by Anglicans> (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1891), vol. II, p. 24.

5 For details, see my article, "Newman's Logic and the Logic of the Papacy," in <Faith and Reason> 13 (1987), pp. 241-65.

6 The title of a chapter in <A Short Primer for Use of Unsettled Laymen> by Hans Urs von Balthasar (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1985), pp. 110-14. One wonders whether such a phrase is suited to strengthen loyalty for the pope, the very purpose of that book's illustrious author, who does not provide the unsettled layman with a guideline as to where criticism should stop lest it become the judge even of papal infallibility and a justification for endless filibusters.

7 A phrase of Fr. A. Dulles, from his interview, "Fordham's New Theologian: A Flair for Diplomacy," <The New York Times>, Oct. 2, 1988, p. 50.

8 For this and subsequent quotations from that sermon, "The Pope and the Revolution," see <Sermons Preached on Various Occasions> (3d ed.; London: Burns, Oates and Co., 1870), pp. 263-98, especially pp. 266-69.

9 Fr. Dulles in the interview quoted in note 7 above.

10 Thus, for instance, P. Misner in his <Papacy and Development: Newman and the Primacy of the Pope> (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1976). Misner makes much of the fact that his work was written as a doctoral dissertation under the guidance of Fr. K. Rahner. For this reason too it should seem to be no accident that Rahner, though with solemn vow of loyalty to the pope, took it upon himself to draft an open letter in which John Paul II was called upon to respect the "democratic rights" of Jesuits following his appointment of Fr. Dezza as a temporary General of the Society. For details, see my <The Keys of the Kingdom: A Tool's Witness to Truth> (Chicago, Ill.: Franciscan Herald Press, 1986), p. 205.

11 In his famous reply to Gladstone on papal infallibility, <A Letter Addressed to His Grace the Duke of Norfolk on Occasion of Mr. Gladstone's Recent Expostulation> (London: B. M. Pickering, 1875), pp. 63-66.

12 For details and documentations on this and subsequent topics relating to the <Grammar>, see my essay, "Newman's Assent to Reality, Natural and Supernatural," to be published in the Proceedings of the Wethersfield Institute Newman Conference, October 1988, under the title <Newman Today> (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989).

13 See <Letters and Diaries>, vol. XXVIII, p. 421.

14 <The Philosophical Notebook of John Henry Newman> ed. E. J. Sillem (New York: Humanities Press, 1968), vol. I, p. 229.

15 <Apologia pro vita sua> (Image Books; Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1956), p. 322.

16 <Ibid.>, pp. 320-26.

17 I refer to the edition of the <Grammar> by the University of Notre Dame Press (1979) with an introduction by Nicholas Lash who sets up Newman as a forerunner of such irrationalists as Thomas S. Kuhn, the champion of cognition in terms of accidental paradigm-shifts.

18 See, for instance, Newman's letter (Nov. 7, 1870) to C. R. Poole, the father of a boy in the Oratory School in Birmingham, whom Newman wishfully reminded of the "common belief" that Pio Nono "will not live till that day" (June 17, 1871) when the boy was expected to be met by his father in the school. See <Letters and Diaries>, vol. XXV, p. 226.

19 See his admission in his letter of Nov. 1, 1870, to Bishop Moriarty of Kerry, ibid., p. 223.

20 For details, see my <And on This Rock: The Witness of One Land and Two Covenants>, pp. 110-11.

21 <The Via Media and the Anglican Church> (new ed.; London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1896), vol. I, p. xl.

22 The letter, written on July 4, 1846, is printed in full in W. Ward, <The Life of John Henry Cardinal Newman> (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1912), vol. 2, p. 621.

<Rev. Stanley L. Jaki>, a Hungarian-born Catholic priest of the Benedictine order, is Distinguished Professor at Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey. With doctorates in theology and physics, he has for the past thirty years specialized in the history and philosophy of science. The author of twenty-five books and over seventy articles, he served as Gifford Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and as Fremantle Lecturer at Balliol College, Oxford. He is <membre correspondant> of the Académie Nationale des Sciences, Belles-Lettres et Arts of Bordeaux, and the recipient of the Lecomte du Nouy Prize for 1970 and of the Templeton Prize for 1987. He served as Farmington Institute Lecturer in Oxford in 1988 and 1989.

This article was taken from the Spring 1989 issue of "Faith & Reason". Subscriptions available from Christendom Press, 2101 Shenandoah Shores Road, Ft. Royal, VA 22630, 703-636-2900, Fax 703-636-1655. Published quarterly at $20.00 per year.