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Friday, 23 May 2014

The Wisdom of Cardinal Manning on The Holy Spirit and Scripture

Pursuing the reading of the book by Cardinal Manning on the Holy Spirit in the Church, I can see how much the teaching on the Holy Spirit is not something new at all, as some writers want to state, but part of the long tradition of the Church.

One of the themes in the book I have mentioned in previous posts this week, which is the application of the Attributes of God to the Holy Spirit within the Church. Cardinal Manning also looks carefully at the attributes of the Church, as one, holy, Catholic and apostolic, noting how the Holy Spirit is also present in the Church as one, as holy, as unifying and universal, and as in the unbroken line from the apostles.

But, what I want to emphasize today is the aspect of Reason with regard to the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church's Canon of Scripture.

As I noted earlier this week, the rational basis for accepting the Catholic Church as the one, true Church having the long history of the presence of the Holy Spirit within guiding and teaching cannot be denied by those who are sincere about discovering the truth.

The problem with most Catholics is that they have been influenced by Protestant New Criticism with regard to the relationship between the Holy Spirit and Scripture, one of two gifts in the Church to the world, along with Tradition.

That it is reasonable to accept the role of the Holy Spirit in the creation of Scripture and Tradition has been set aside by those who follow in ways of New Criticism. I have written several times on this blog referring to both Dei Verbum, found here and Providentissimus Deus, found there.

Manning makes it clear that there is a danger of error when approaching Scripture regarding the terms inspiration, revelation, form and matter.

To be begin, one must start with the fact that there are no errors in Scripture. Also, we have the Doctors of the Church as guides, who are "the masters" as St. Augustine states. St. Augustine also writes that those who want to learn go to the masters. Obviously, those who do not want to learn, do not do so, or go to false teachers. This reference is in Providentissimus Deus.

Manning writes this with regard to Reason: "It may be truly said that the history of the human intellect in the last eighteen hundred years is the history of Christianity, and the history of Christianity is the history of the Catholic Church. It is in the Catholic Church that the human intellect has developed it activity and its maturity, both within the sphere of revelation and beyond it."

The systematic study of Scripture and Theology may be traced back to not only some of the Doctors of the Church, but most specifically through the great minds and hearts of SS. Anselm, Hugh and Richard of St. Victor, Bernard of Clairvaux and many others, as Manning elucidates.

To study is not to doubt.

The relationship between Reason and the study of Scripture becomes a problem for some feminist and Protestant scholars. Those who find themselves disagreeing with the moral and theological truths of Scripture pick apart the idea of Revelation and Inspiration so that these two truths no longer apply, in their minds, to the reading of the texts.

Revelation becomes merely one's own interpretation determined by cultural influences and inspiration merely becomes "creative writing".

Manning also points out that among the saints, there has been a solid agreement concerning the Truths of the Catholic Church, including the inerrancy of Scripture. This "consensus" of the faithful is not infallible per saint, but as Manning notes, the consensus of accepted truths is the consensus brought about by the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, those who hold with sola Scriptura depart from this consensus. To be continued...