Sunday, January 30, 2011

Newman's Romance of Truth - Knox

I SAY THAT NEWMAN WAS, as in a measure all converts are, a witness to truth. The martyrs are witnesses to the truth, but for them, it is mixed up with other considerations; with loyalties, with ideologies; the convert sees truth, as truth is represented proverbially, naked. And I say that this witness to truth is all-important in our time. In our lifetime the sovereignty of truth itself has come to be assailed. For the sake of cause or party, for the sake of efficient government, men will silence, expressly and deliberately, that sovereign voice. A hundred years ago our enemies blamed us for thinking wrong; today they blame us for thinking. They hustle the unwelcome metaphysician into the concentration camp, into the gas-chamber. Men are to think as the State wants them to think, whether it is true or not ...

And yet, for us Catholics, truth is something homelier and friendlier than bare intellectual conviction. Revealed truth does not merely claim the homage of our intellects, it satisfies the aspirations of our hearts. What Newman gained in 1845 was not the mere saving of his own intellectual honesty; it was a system of spiritual values which lit up the world for him; not a cold glare but a warm blaze, a kindly Light which made the darkness more congenial than the garish day he loved once. A man of intellect, but very human, he preached to us, not from the rostrum, but from the pulpit. He followed truth, not as one who demands mere leadership; it was a wine he thirsted for, he was love-sick for its romance. His great name lives imperishable in the annals of the Church, a man who lived haunted by the the truth, and died desiring it.

- Ronald A. Knox

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