3. A Critic of Liberalism 57
57 Chapter 3 A Critic of Liberalism Newman was fighting against the spirit of liberalism in religion which was threatening his beloved church. It was a liberalism that promoted relativism in faith and morals, and denied positive truths and dogmatic principles by adopting a subjective and rationalistic approach to relig- ion. On the occasion of his becoming a cardinal, Newman spoke of his lifelong battle with this liberalism: And, I rejoice to say, to one great mischief I have from the first opposed myself. For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion. Never did Holy Church need champions against it more sorely than now, when, alas! it is an error overspreading, as a snare, the whole earth and on this great occasion, when it is natural for one who is in my place to look out upon the world, and upon Holy Church as in it, and upon her future, it will not, I hope, be considered out of place if I renew the protest against it when I have made so often. Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Re- vealed religion is not...
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