As last year, when we provided the text of "The Inaugural Blessed John Henry Newman Lecture" delivered by Dr Stephen McInerney on Newman and the Roman Rite, this year we bring you the text of the second lecture, delivered by Fr Scot Armstrong*, a founding member of the Brisbane Oratory in Formation.
“Newman's Conversion of Conscience
and the Resolution of the Crisis of Modernity"
Delivered at the Parish of Blessed John Henry Newman, Melbourne
17th October, 2015
We are living not in the age of Aquarius, where what feels good is right because all you need is “lerve”. We are living in the age of the eclipse of God. “God is dead. We have killed Him, you and I”, said Nietzche. He was right. However, it is the case epistemologically, not ontologically – in other words - not in reality, but in the mind. (Hence the analogy of the eclipse) This eclipse of God has been worked-up, constructed – as a new Tower of Babel - into the false primacy of conscience, that is, conscience as an empiricist, rationalising excuse mechanism, rather than an echo of the voice of the Creator. There is an inversion of the dependence of freedom on truth. No longer does the truth set us free. Rather, we are free to make true what we desire by the will to power.
Aldous Huxley, in his novel Brave New World, wrote a fascinating passage which made mention of “a Cardinal Newman”. Mustapha Mond is explaining why God has become unnecessary. First, he cites Newman:
"'We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property. Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter? Is it any happiness or any comfort, to consider that we are our own? It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way–to depend on no one–to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man–that it is an unnatural state–will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end …'"
After explaining that there is no need to go hunting for a substitute for youthful desires in old age when those youthful desires never fail, since the brave new world has made human life one of a middling happiness free of trouble, of rationally organised self- indulgence: “What need have we of repose when our minds and bodies continue to delight in activity….” - he is asked if he thinks there is in fact no God. To this he replies that he thinks there probably is. But, while in pre-modern times He was manifest as described in old books, in modern times He manifests “as an absence, as though He weren’t there at all.”
There is, in other words, a grand capitulation to vice (as St Thomas describes it, an ‘animal’ beatitude not proper to human beings): a well-planned and efficiently implemented justification of our fallen state, and the elimination of the idea of God and of our need of grace. It envisages a life that is painless, but flat. There obtains a globalised immanentising of human transcendence.
In the life and thought of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman Providence has, in my opinion, given us an answer to this eclipse of God. “Since the conversion of St Augustine, probably no other conversion has had repercussions as widely diffused in the world as this, both inside and outside the Catholic Church.” In particular, the conversions of Newman at the age of fifteen, and then at the age of forty four, embody the resolution to the false primacy of conscience by which the human mind shuts out the light of God, and the flawed notion of progress which attempts to substitute for the grace of the redemption. Part I of this presentation will treat of the former, and Part II of the latter. Part III will examine the claim that modernity is a contest between the principles of Arius and the principles of Athanasius.
I The Conversion of Conscience: from the insufficiency of the private judgment of Protestantism [forerunner to the “miserable counterfeit” of relativistic conscience] to the voice of the Creator
Newman’s conversion at the age of fifteen was a turning towards God as not merely an object of belief or thought, but as One whose habitual presence he perceived, and whose ‘voice’ he heard “speaking so clearly in my conscience and in my heart.” This experience he described as one of God perceived in terms of a Personal Absolute: as if “there are but two beings in the whole universe, our own soul and the God who made it….to every one of us there are but two beings in the whole world, himself and God.” He later criticised the idea of conversion as intense feeling, a tendency to introspection or even spiritualised introversion, as if there were some kind of ‘justification by feeling’. He also wrote that this “great change of thought” was “never effaced or obscured.” This indicates a liberation from, rather than a cocooning of himself in, a subjective relativism.
The doctrine that conscience is an echo of the voice of God, he noted, had become already in the nineteenth century unfashionable:
[I]t is fashionable on all hands to consider it in one way or another a creation of man. [But….] the voice of God in the nature and heart of man, as distinct from the voice of Revelation….the internal witness of both the existence and the law of God….it holds of God, and not of man.
Rather than the misuse of reason to overcome the voice of conscience, which is one way to describe rationalism, we hear Newman speaking of the presence of an Other:
[One] of religious mind attends to the rule of conscience, which is born with him, which he did not make for himself, and to which he feels duty bound to submit. And conscience immediately directs his thoughts to some Being exterior to himself, who gave it, and who evidently is superior to him; for law implies a lawgiver, and a command implies a superior. Thus a man is at once thrown out of himself, by the very Voice that speaks within him….He looks forth into the world to seek Him who is not of the world, to find behind the shadows and deceits of this shifting scene of time and sense….arising from their sense of the presence of God, originally certified to them by the inward voice of conscience.”
In perhaps the most celebrated passage in all his works, certainly within his Apologia, we hear:
When I was fifteen, (in the autumn of 1816), a great change of thought took place in me….I [believed] that the inward conversion of which I was conscious, (and which I still am more certain than I have hands and feet,) would last into the next life (….) I have no consciousness that this belief had any tendency whatever to lead me to be careless about pleasing God….I believe that [in]…making me rest in the thought of two and two only absolute and luminously self-evident beings, myself and my Creator[…].
[Those of you familiar with this passage may have noticed that I’ve left out the references to a “definite creed” and “impressions of dogma”. That is because I hope to re-integrate them in the last section, which, I hope, will make the claim of the conversion of conscience as the foundation of the conversion to faith in Revelation all the stronger.]
On the natural basis of the voice of God in conscience, there is then developed an expectation of Revelation:
Newman maintains that belief in revealed religion depends on belief in natural religion, and this in turn depends on our listening to the voice of conscience from which we receive our first intimations of God. All religion “is founded in one way or another on the sense of sin.” Where there is no sense of guilt, where conscience is replaced by a mere moral sense, there will be no true religion. But where there is a consciousness “on the one hand, of the infinite goodness of God, and, on the other, or our own extreme misery and need,” there will also be an anticipation that a revelation has been or will be given. If somebody, then, “has longed for a revelation to enlighten him and to cleanse his heart, why may he not use, in his inquiries after it, that just and reasonable anticipation of its probability, which such longing has opened the way to his entertaining… .There is only one Religion in the world which tends to fill the aspirations, needs, and foreshadowing of natural faith and devotion…It alone has a definite message addressed to all mankind…[Christ] fulfils the one great need of human nature, the Healer of its wounds, the Physician of the soul…Natural Religion is based upon the sense of sin; it recognizes the disease, but it cannot find, it does but look out for the remedy. That remedy, both for guilt and for moral impotence, is found in the central doctrine of revelation, the mediation of Christ…that gift of staunching and healing the one deep wound of human nature.
In the context of the eclipse of God, the deceit that a darkened intellect mistakes the inward voice of a weakened will for the voice of God in conscience making what it would not like to be true false, or at least doubtful, is built up into a globalised culture. This is a danger of truly dramatic proportions, which has indeed come to pass in our own time. I do believe, however, that Newman resolved also the cause of this very grave difficulty. It takes the form of a development in understanding the dynamic of reason at work in the conversion, or turning towards God, of conscience. This set him even more resolutely on the path to reception into the Catholic Church.
II The Conversion to the One True Fold of the Redeemer
In what he himself later described as the “best thing he ever wrote”, the Oxford University Sermons, he outlined a key epistemological distinction that would enable him to arrive at an understanding of the true nature of development. Recounting this in his Apologia, he essentially observed that in setting himself to write Development of Doctrine, he argued himself out of Anglicanism and into the Fold of the Redeemer. That epistemological distinction is between the implicit and explicit dimensions of the rational faculty.
The European endarkenment, usually referred to as the ‘Enlightenment’, reduced the scope of reason to what Newman described as the explicit dimension. But this dimension is in fact the lesser of the two.
By reason is properly understood any process or act of the mind, by which, from knowing one thing, it advances on to know another. (Sermon xii, 2)
The process of the Reasoning Faculty is either explicit or implicit: that is, either with or without a direct recognition, on the part of the mind, of the starting-point and path of thought from and through which it comes to its conclusion…The process of reasoning, whether implicit or explicit, is the act of one and the same faculty, to which also belongs the power of analysing that process, and of thereby passing from implicit to explicit. Reasoning, thus retrospectively employed in analysing itself, results in a specific science or art, called logic, which is a sort of rhetoric, bringing out to advantage the implicit acts on which it has proceeded.
Clearness in argument is not indispensable to reasoning well. The process of reasoning is complete in itself; the analysis is but an account of it. (xiii.10) [my emphasis]
This has been directly inverted in our era of history: since “the spontaneous process which goes on within the mind itself is higher and choicer than that which is logical”, inverting this will mean that we become – if you will forgive the Keatingesque observation – all tip and no iceberg (this is why everything is upside down); or an eclipse of the implicit reason brings about the eclipse of the religious sense articulated in human reason, and so of the sense of God. It can therefore be seen why the Enlightenment reduction renders the faith-reason severance dramatic: first separating faith from reason, then further reducing the scope of human reason effectively so narrowing the goalposts for faith that it becomes impossible to ever kick a goal.
One particularly important consequence of this reduction of reason to the explicit dimension is a loss of appreciation for the place of moral predispositions in reasoning, hidden from the explicit reason but colouring the implicit reason right through. Acts of reason will therefore will be motivated by the desire for a particular outcome while not being aware of that fact (or only insofar as the will permits awareness of the desire to emerge into the explicit reason), and so of the tendency to line up the process of reasoning in view of the intended result. The effects on conscience are obvious.
Newman, however, was able to elaborate an account of human reasoning that takes into account both implicit and explicit dimensions, and their “structural anticipation” of the gift of faith. In doing so, he was able to recognise the features that characterise the course of development in nature generally, and so also the manner in which grace perfects nature while not destroying it. At the same time, this enabled him to identify the marks of false developments or corruptions - of which, more in the next section.
The fundamental dogma of the Enlightenment is the denial of the possibility of Revelation: the attempt of reason to dictate the terms on which God may be God. What motivates this anti-dogmatic dogma?
III The Arian character of Liberalism
From Newman’s discourse on being made a cardinal, known as the Biglietto Speech:
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….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 teaches that all [are] is to be tolerated, for all [are] matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste…and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy.
This doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion rules out a “definite creed”, and dogma. Yet, Newman’s conversion at the age of fifteen, his conversion of conscience, was one in which creed and dogma were central, if not uppermost.
When I was fifteen…a great change of thought took place in me. I fell under the influences of a definite creed, and received into my intellect impressions of dogma, which, through God’s mercy, have never been effaced or obscured.
So for Newman, a conversion of conscience opened up to definite creed and impressions of dogma, not the personal taste that Revealed religion is not truth. This authentic conversion is seen precisely because it opens the soul to the truths Revelation and not because of an attempt to relativise them.
“[S]een Newman’s way, contemporary civilization is a contest between the irreconcilable principles of Arius and Athanasius.” Fr Louis Bouyer thought that Providence brought him into full communion on the eve of a cultural disintegration that would present difficulties for the faith not experienced before (or, at least, not to the same extent): namely, the disappearance from the ordinary run of daily life of the natural human preparations for faith in Christ, the so-called pre-ambula fidei (pre-ambles to faith). Such an “eclipse” would prepare the terrain of the human soul for mass apostasy, widespread confusion, scandal and profound distress on the part of the faithful. Newman thought, however, that it had already happened before in principle, in the Arian crisis of the 4th century, and in the historical continuations of that crisis which followed. While the crisis of modernity is a new sounding composition to the ears of superficial listeners, upon closer examination, its themes are merely variations (metallic and plastic sounding – in other words, a mechanistic de-humanising) on an ancient and hollow error.
What is it that is implied in the Arian denial of the divinity of Christ? If He is merely a man of God and not God in Person, the Second Person of the Trinity, He cannot redeem, and we must (futilely) strive to lift ourselves up by our own bootstraps by means of the folly of developing technology apart from moral and spiritual growth, thus treating only the symptoms of our moral problems but never the disease. This is the phenomenological level of our present crisis. At the metaphysical level, we must attempt to make ourselves into God, an undertaking as frightening as it is impossible when considered in persons of dubious moral character. This latter tendency would correspond to the perverse metaphysic at the heart of secularist liberalism. To dictate the terms on which God may be God, corresponds to the perverse metaphysic at the heart of liberalism in religion.
The Arian denial of the Divinity of Christ follows upon a more subtle denial - the claim that the nature of God is inexpressible, and so against dogma. This is why the Arian Logos could not be God, if He is the Father’s Word. The Logos, a mere “halfway” creature, made flesh, would no longer be Emmanuel, God-with-us, and the way to God is barred. It is in fact true that the nature of God is inexpressible - not in itself, but in the limited expression of creatures. Hence the need for incarnation of the Christ, in whom are united - an inexpressible Divine nature and an expressible human nature, and thus constructed - a Bridge who is the Eternal Pontifex. To make the inexpressibility of the Divine Nature an obstacle along that Bridge, is to deny the reality and purpose of the Incarnation. We are told in 1 John that to deny that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is to be an anti-Christ. In the ever deepening understanding of the faith in the life of the Church, Lateran IV (1215) would provide a definitive answer: whatever similarity exists between human nature and the Divine nature, there is always implied an even greater dissimilarity – but there is some similarity, and that is the point. The way of the Pontifex implies that our participation in the Divine nature will, even in the definitive state of the next life, be constituted by ever growing beatitude. The Arian denial which seeks to keep alive the longing for God by denying that we can ever really be with Him sits down on the bridge, the greying hair brushed back into a ponytail, the circle singing to itself in self-referential affirmation, refusing to go forwards or backwards, prompting the question: why even begin the journey if you do not wish to arrive at the destination?
What is implied in this attitude? It is essentially the attempt to escape from the moral consequences of the redemptive Incarnation: conversion from sin, amendment of life, the practices of penance and mortification, the moral arduousness of the ascetical principle in the life of grace. The folly of thinking that Christ may be had without His Cross, that we may indulge our vices while attempting to eliminate their material consequences through the misuse of technology.
Conclusion A Different Desert
If the corruption of the best is the worst (corruption optimi pessima), then the worst only becomes possible once the Best has made its appearance. This means that the eclipse of God has only become possible since the Incarnation, and its effects sufficiently matured in the course of history. The crisis of modernity is the Arian heresy plus the development of technology under the false primacy of conscience.
The wisdom of the ascetic tradition of the Fathers of the Desert can strengthen us against the Lenten privations of the present darkness, just as it did during the Arian crisis of the fourth and fifth centuries. Self-abnegation that produces as its fruits a serene defiance of political correctness, a welcoming not just of persons but a condemning sin, a refusal of secularism as resolute as that of the martyrs of the early Church to burn incense to the ‘genius’ of the Emperor – this can be learnt only in the school of the Sequela Christi that practices the virtues of the Desert Fathers in the midst of the present urban modernity and post-modernity.
Newman thought that St Philip Neri wanted to emulate in the sixteenth century, and in an urban setting, and not just any city - but Rome, what the Fathers of the Desert had done for the Church in the fourth. Newman took it to Birmingham and London in the nineteenth century, and it is springing up again in today in various places including Toronto, Cincinatti, San Francisco, and Brisbane. To joyfully bear witness to the Living Tradition, which rises above everything that militates against it, during the present eclipse of the human sense of the Creator’s habitual presence in the conscience is the task of every community of faith, but especially of an Oratory. Please pray for us, that we may be for our time what St Anthony, St Philip Neri and Blessed John Henry Newman were for their times.
*Rev Fr. Scot Anthony Armstrong (PhD) was born in Perth, and worked as a violinist and violist before entering Vianney College seminary in 1994. Ordained priest in 2001, he has since been appointed to various parishes of the diocese of Wagga Wagga, as well as teaching at Vianney College, where he also served as director of propaedeutic formation and vice rector from 2005-2010. In May of this year he moved to Brisbane to be part of the Brisbane Oratory project.
His doctoral research investigated the question of modernity as a phenomenon which necessarily involves the intersection of philosophical and theological anthropology. The figure of Bl John Henry Newman featured prominently in the investigation, as one who "lived the whole problem of modernity....and renewed the the interior genesis of faith". (Pope Benedict XVI)
 Card. Robert Sarah, God or Nothing (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2015), chapter vi.
 Friederich Nietzsche, Also sprach Zarathustra.
 We are perhaps seeing in our time the culminating moments in the historical trajectory of a false dichotomy that emerged powerfully at the time of the Reformation trauma between private judgment and authority. Nerwman himself appeared to be conscious of the danger of being misunderstood or misquoted: “But, of course, I have to say again, lest I should be misunderstood, that when I speak of Conscience, I mean conscience truly so called….[I]t must be more than that miserable counterfeit which…goes by the name…..[One] must vanquish that mean, ungenerous, selfish, vulgar spirit of his nature, which, at the very first rumour of a command, places itself in opposition to the Superior who gives it, asks itself whether he is not exceeding his right, and rejoices in a moral and practical matter to commence with scepticism.” Anglican Difficulties, II, 258-9. Citations from the works of Newman, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the standard edition of his works published by Longmans, Green & Co.
 Jean-Charles Nault, O.S.B, The Noonday Devil: Acedia, the Unnamed Evil of Our Times, Ignatius: San Francisco, 2015, 91-95.
 “Desde la conversiόn de San Agustín, probablemente ninguna otra conversiόn ha tenido repercusiones tan mundiales difundidas como ésta, tanto dentro como fuera la Iglesia catόlica.” Pablo García, Domingo Barberi Precursor y Profeta: ¿Que Está Sucediendo en el Anglicanesimo? (Salamanca: Ediciones Sigueme, 1997), 170.
 John Henry Newman, Callista, 314-315.
 Keith Beaumont, Blessed John Henry Newman: Theologian and Spiritual Guide for Our Times, Catholic Truth Society, London, 2010, 14-15.
 Apologia, 4.
 Anglican Difficulties, II, 247-8.
 John Henry Newman, “Faith Without Sight” in Parochial and Plain Sermons, 17-18.
 Apologia, 4.
 Grammar, 253, 272, 274, 276-77, 299, 313; in Ker, Newman On Being a Christian, op.cit., 13-14. Proponents of a false primacy of conscience not only confuse the function of authority in natural religion as distinct from revealed religion, but in doing so relativistically deform the sense of sin in human conscience, thus also demolishing the bridge of rational anticipation of the Mediation of Christ, necessary in sensing the call to faith. In an essay on conscience, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger suggested that Aquinas took as read an understanding of the ontological level of conscience and so treated of its practical judgment at the level of act. If the memory (anamnesis) of being and of the Creator at the ontological level of conscience is ignored, the will blocking the recognition of the bonum faciendum est, then this skewed first conviction will pave the way for the desired excuses for erroneous judgments at the practical level of judgment. “While it is never wrong to follow the convictions of conscience, it can very well be wrong to have come to such skewed convictions in the first place, by having stifled the anamnesis of being. The guilt then lies deeper, not in the judgment of conscience, but in the neglect of memory.” Joseph Ratzinger, On Conscience (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2007), 37-38. Those who promote a false notion of the primacy of conscience, who usually have recourse to Newman’s rhetorical assertion in his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk that he would toast conscience before he would toast the papacy, is countered by Ratzinger with the observation that the papacy is the ‘fall-back guarantee’, as it were, for the conscience when it becomes forgetful of its own anamnesis of being: “The true sense of the teaching authority of the pope consists in his being the advocate of the Christian memory. The pope does not impose from without. Rather, he elucidates the Christian memory and defends it. For this reason the toast to conscience indeed must precede the toast to the pope, because without conscience there would not be a papacy. All power that the papacy has is power of conscience. It is service to the double memory on which the faith is based – and which again and again must be purified, expanded, and defended against the destruction of memory that is threatened by a subjectivity forgetful of its own foundation, as well as by the pressures of social and cultural conformity.” Ibid., 36. The proponents of primacy of conscience wrongly understood have inverted – in the language of Newman - the order of natural religion and revealed religion, the latter being necessary to the former in order to cure it of the usurpations of dualistic rationalism: “Moreover, it must be borne in mind that, as the essence of all religion is authority and obedience, so the distinction between natural religion and revealed religion lies in this, that the one has a subjective authority, and the other an objective. Revelation consists in the manifestation of the Invisible Divine Power, or in the substitution of the voice of a Lawgiver for the voice of conscience. The supremacy of conscience is the essence of natural religion; the supremacy of Apostle, of Pope, or Church, or Bishop, is the essence of revealed; and when such external authority is taken away, the mind falls back again of necessity upon that inward guide which it possessed even before revelation was vouchsafed. Thus, what conscience is in the system of nature, such is the voice of Scripture, or of the Church, or of the Holy See, as we may determine it, in the system of Revelation." John Henry Newman, Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (Indiana: Notre Dame, 1989), 86.
 It should, perhaps, be added that Newman described beautifully the effects of a genuine conversion of conscience: “To understand that we have souls, is to feel our separation from things visible, our independence of them, our distinct existence in ourselves, our individuality, our power of acting for ourselves this way or that way, our accountableness for what we do….These are the great truths which lie wrapped up indeed even in a child’s mind, and which God’s grace can unfold there in spite of the influence of the external world; but at first this outward world prevails. We look off from self to the things around us, and forget ourselves in them. Such is our state, - a depending for support on the reeds which are no stay, and overlooking our real strength, - at the time when God begins His process of reclaiming us to a truer view of our place in His great system of providence. And when He visits us, then in a little while there is a stirring within us […]; - and we begin, by degrees, to perceive that there are but two beings in the whole universe, our own soul, and the God who made it. Sublime, unlooked-for doctrine, yet most true! To every one of us there are but two beings in the whole world, himself and God […]. And now consider what a revolution will take place in the mind […], in proportion as it realizes this relation between itself and the most high God.” The Immortality of the Soul, in Parochial and Plain Sermons, I, 19-21. This revolution is the aim of the proclamation of the kerygma, not the globalisation of the “miserable counterfeit”.
 John Henry Newman, Preface to the Third Edition, Fifteen Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford (Notre Dame, Indiana, 1997), xi-xii.
 Ibid., xii.
 Joseph Pieper observed: “Not only the Greeks in general – Aristotle no less than Plato – but the great medieval thinkers as well, all held that there was an element of purely receptive ‘looking,’ not only in sense perception but also in intellectual knowing….The medievals distinguished between the intellect as ratio and the intellect as intellectus. Ratio is the power of discursive thought, of searching and re-searching, abstracting, refining, and concluding [cf. Latin dis-currere, ‘to run to and fro’], whereas intellectus refers to the ability of ‘simply looking’ (simplex intuitus), to which the truth presents itself as a landscape presents itself to the eye. The spiritual knowing power of the human mind, as the ancients understood it, is really two things in one: ratio and intellectus: all knowing involves both. The path of discursive reasoning is accompanied and penetrated by the intellectus’ untiring vision, which is not active but passive, or better, receptive – a receptively operating power of the intellect.” Josef Pieper, Leisure, the Basis of Culture (Indiana: St. Augustine’s Press, 1998), 11-12. The distinction is given clear exposition in De Veritate, quaestio 15, responsio. There are more contemporary investigations of the distinction as well, though approached from different starting points and expressed in different terms.
 Biglietto Speech, in Addresses to Cardinal Newman and His Replies, 64-5.
 Apologia, 4
 Robert Pattison, The Great Dissent: John Henry Newman and the Liberal Heresy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 116.
 In an exceptionally fine essay, David Bentley Hart elaborates on this need for believers to “recall and recover the wisdom and centrality of the ascetic tradition. It takes formidable faith and devotion to resist the evils of one’s age, and it is to the…apothegms of the Desert Fathers – that all Christians, whether married or not, should turn for guidance….This is not an especially grim prescription, I should add: Christian asceticism is not, after all, a cruel disfigurement of the will, contaminated by world-weariness or malice towards creation; it is a different kind of detachment, the cultivation of the pure heart and pure eye, which allows one to receive the world, and rejoice in it, not as a possession of the will or an occasion for the exercise of power, but as gift of the good God….[A] kind of Marian waiting upon the Word of God and its fruitfulness. Paradoxical as it may seem to modern temperaments, Christian asceticism is the practice of love, what Maximus the Confessor calls learning to see the logos of each thing in the Logos of God”. Christ and Nothing (No Other God), in In the Aftermath: Provocations and Laments (Michigan: Eerdmans, 2009), chapter 1.
 “The Oratory resembled those early independent monastic communities without formal vows….Monasticism evoked the ‘primitive age of the world’ and was a sort of emigration from the old world ever since Anthony had found gold…and on the news of it thousands took their departure year after year for the diggings in the desert. The paradox was that the very monasticism which had been a retreat from a dying world became in no small measure the very life of the new order. So far as Newman was concerned, it was…the charism of one man, who was not even a priest, that had saved Christian civilisation.” Ian Ker, Newman on Vatican II (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), Chapter 4.