Today I’m posting at Ignitum Today on how one of the Church’s most brilliant men dealt with slanderous attacks against him:
In January 1864, the Protestant pastor and novelist Charles Kingsley reviewed an English history book for Macmillan’s Magazine. The review began innocently enough. Kingsley critiqued the author’s handling of English figures like Mary Tudor and Queen Elizabeth. However, it quickly devolved into potshots against Catholicism and against one of its most ardent supporters, John Henry Newman. Newman was not yet Catholic, though he was on his way to converting in October 1845. However that didn’t stop him from being grossly offended by Kingsley’s remarks. This one hurt the most:
“Truth, for its own sake, had never been a virtue with the Roman clergy. Father Newman informs us that it need not, and on the whole ought not to be.”
To translate into modern parlance, Kingsley basically said: “All priests are liars and Newman is the worst.” Or into leetspeak: “Newman’s a n00b.”
So how did Newman respond? Well, the same way any of us would. The internet is flooded with slander and personal attacks—if you doubt that, go on Facebook and comment on any religious or political issue—and the typical response is to fight fire with more fire. If they dish it out, you serve it right on back. Newman was of the same mindset, so here’s how he responded.