4. The Liberal Ideas of Newman 101
101 Chapter 4 The Liberal Ideas of Newman As an Anglican, Newman portrayed himself as the relentless foe of ‘the Liberalism of the day’ in his Apologia. He wanted to expose the damage done to Christianity by the liberals who disregarded tradition. As one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement, he attempted to pro- mote the wisdom of the Church Fathers and opposed any novelty in the church. Newman was afraid modernity and new ideas would de- stroy Christianity in society if liberalism began to take root, which in fact it already had. However, after his conversion to Catholicism in 1845, he appeared to tone down his attack on liberalism and became sympathetic to Catholic liberals without changing his own basic dis- position. Critical of modernism and its hostility to faith, he was also critical of the conservatism in the Roman Catholic Church with its excessive control. In Oxford, he stressed the pastoral role of the college tutor; as founding rector of a Catholic University in Dublin, he emphasised intellectual freedom; and in The Idea of a University, he called for liberal education. There was also a shift in his ecclesiology: in the Church of England, Newman stressed Episcopal authority and respon- sibility, and in the Church of Rome, he stressed participation, defend- ing the interests of an educated laity with his essay in the Rambler of July 1859, ‘On Consulting the Faithful’. Misner rightly observes that this shift is not so much a change in outlook as an...
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