Newman preached regularly and therefore commented upon much of the Biblical text having to do with ritual and liturgy. The sermon entitled, “Reverence in Worship,” takes up the “forms of worship—such as bowing the knee, taking off shoes, keeping silence, a prescribed dress.” These and the like are “considered as necessary for a due approach to God,” even from the standpoint of natural religion (310).
While reverence is “one of the marks or notes of the Church,” the world teaches man to be “familiar and free with sacred things” (310), entering the Church “carelessly and familiarly” (311). While Newman opposes the approach of the world, rather than simply adopting rote ritual postures “for their own sake,” he challenges the faithful to keep in mind the fact of being in the very presence of God and so to “allow the forms of piety to come into God’s service naturally” (311).
In his sermon on the “Ceremonies of the Church,” Newman comments upon the “great importance of retaining those religious forms to which we are accustomed” (76). Indeed, there is “no such thing as abstract religion” (78).
He made sense wherever he went with his thinking.