11 OCTOBER 1873, Page 12


[TO THB EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR."] SIR,—On my return from a prolonged absence, I find a con- troversy going on which I cannot help thinking might be brought to a very simple test, viz., that of facts. Mr. Nicholson sings a pavan over the Archbishop of Westminster for having used the word "deified" about the Sacred Humanity of our Lord, and asserts that it is contrary to the Catholic faith and to the theology of his (the Archbishop's) Church. Mr. Nicholson's assertion is simply contrary to the truth. St. Athanasius uses the expression in his first Epistle iu defence of the Nicene definition, c. 3 :—"As we by receiving the Spirit do not lose our own proper substance, so the Lord, when made man for us, and bearing a body, was no less God, for He was not lessened by the envelopment of the body, but rather deified it, and rendered it immortal."

St. Thomas Aquinas goes into the question, and gives reasons why the human nature may be said to be' deified :—" Humana natura non dicitur essentialiter des, sed deificata ; non quidem per conversionem ipsius in divinam naturam, sed per con- junctionem ad divinam naturam in unit hypostasi " (" Summa," part 3, q. 16, art. 3). Mr. Nicholson's assertion is, therefore, contrary to fact. I have many other quotations at his service. You are quite right in saying that, according to ordinary lan- guage, "to deify" means "to make God." The Incarnation, how- ever, is a thing apart. Since the flesh, the thoughts, affections, and actions of our Lord are those of God, it is quite intelligible to say that they are deified. Nor, believe me, are Catholics in danger of making a mistake, for they know their Catechism. Catholic priests are, I assure you, as anxious as you "that no kind of worship " should be " addressed to the humanity or the affections of Christ, without distinct and conscious reference to His Divinity." Indeed, throughout this controversy, it has been most strangely forgotten by our adversaries that the Sacred Heart never is separated for a moment even in thought from our Lord's

Godhead, and is therefore, and therefore only, an object of divine matter we who support School-Board governed schools are the worship.-1 am, Sir, &c., truer followers of the best traditions of our party.