Tract 90

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Remarks on Certain Passages in the Thirty-Nine Articles, better known as Tract 90, was a theological pamphlet written by the English theologian and churchman John Henry Newman and published in 1841. It is the most famous and the most controversial of the Tracts for the Times produced by the first generation of the Anglo-Catholic Oxford Movement.

In Tract 90, Newman engaged in a detailed examination of the 39 Articles, suggesting that the negations of the 39 Articles (a key doctrinal standard for the Church of England) were not directed against the authorized creed of Roman Catholics, but only against popular errors and exaggerations. Newman's reasoning had predecessors in the writings of Francis a Sancta Clara and William Palmer [M], although Newman claimed to have been ignorant of Palmer's contemporary treatise In XXXIX Articulos.

The purpose of Tract 90, in common with so many others in the series, was to establish the contention that the fundamental ecclesiological identity of the Church of England was Catholic rather than Protestant.

Its author John Henry Newman, a major figure in the Anglo-Catholic movement in Oxford, later changed his position, finding the tenets of the Oxford Movement untenable, and converted to the Roman Catholic faith where he was later elevated to Cardinal.

Tract 90 is divided into the following sections:

  • Introduction.
  • 1. Holy Scripture and the Authority of the Church.
  • 2. Justification by Faith only.
  • 3. Works before and after Justification.
  • 4. The Visible Church.
  • 5. General Councils.
  • 6. Purgatory, Pardons, Images, Relics, Invocation of Saints.
  • 7. The Sacraments.
  • 8. Transubstantiation.
  • 9. Masses.
  • 10. Marriage of Clergy.
  • 11. The Homilies.
  • 12. The Bishop of Rome.
  • Conclusion.

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