Unreality is disastrous not only to the intellectual and spiritual lives of individuals but to the Church as a whole. Newman got to the heart of it in an 1839 sermon called "Unreal Words." He said:
- The invisible Church has developed itself into the Church visible, and its outward rites and forms are nourished and animated by the living power which dwells within it. Thus every part of it is real, down to the minutest details.
But when the seductions of the world and the lusts of the flesh have eaten out this divine inward life, what is the outward Church but a hollowness and a mockery, like the whited sepulchers of which our Lord speaks, a memorial of what was and is not? And though we trust that the Church is nowhere thus utterly deserted by the Spirit of truth…yet may we not say that in proportion as it approaches to this state of deadness, the grace of its ordinances, though not forfeited, at least flows in but a scanty or uncertain stream?
"Ignoring the Obvious: The Unreality of American Catholicism"
Crisis Magazine, March 2003.