Newman’s Significance for Catholic Theology

The first of the conference's three themes was 'Newman as Theologian'. His Eminence Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, presented a paper titled 'Cardinal Newman’s Significance for Catholic Theology'.

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“What does Newman’s contribution mean today at the existential level of faith, at the historical level of doctrinal development, and at the mystical level of ecclesiology for the future of Catholic theology? This great witness of the Christian faith says to Catholic theology that, first of all, faith must never be taken for granted and cannot be reduced to formulas. Since it is part of a living and changing relationship in the continuity of a person, it lives as a growing organism within an ecclesial community and a living tradition.

“The definite adherence that faith requires is total and a source of peace as well, because it moves beyond the “notional” adherence to truths towards the “real” acceptance of God by the whole person, even when questions and perplexities remain. However, “ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt“,[1] and theology must help reveal the rationality of faith, while steering it away from the control of scientific reason that admits only its own canons and criteria.”


[1] Cf. Apologia…, op. cit., part VII, p. 276.

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