The Ice Inside your Soul


When the civil rights movement was under way one woman, Rosa Lee Parks, was doing something she found to be a normal and necessary part of her day- riding the local bus. In the same way that William Palmer found going to the church in Russia to be normal and furthermore necessary in his journey, she went along her day until something changed it and her life forever. Rosa Lee is remembered and known by so many people as someone who started the fuel behind the civil rights movement. She was asked to give up her seat on the bus because of the color of her skin and rightfully so in those times, for African Americans were not allowed to sit in the front of the bus. By taking a stand, she perhaps did not realize that what she was doing what an existential visit of her mind and thereby subconsciously as well as literally saying “I count as a human being as much as anyone else on this darn bus and my being black has nothing to do with the way you behave towards me”.  It is difficult to imagine that someone would have to question who they are in such a profound manner because of the ignorance of others. It is perhaps shocking for us in the 21st century to think that just because of skin color one would be shunned, displaced, and furthermore considered less a person than anyone else. On this Earth we as humans do not have to like one another, but we do have to respect one another in order for the world to not fall into utter chaos. It is such a tiny thing to ask for but in the case of the civil rights movement, people were swept away by the simple color of one’s skin as thus had bitter, black hearts when it came to African Americans. To this day racism thrives in the minds of the ignorant, who fear others that are different than them. William Palmer was also disliked (though  not on the same scale) because he was Catholic was denied communion and through themes of religion discussed the profound effect that had upon him.

The diction of this essay is quite formal with sentences such as “George Horsley Palmer, and Archdeacon Palmer of Oxford, was one of those earnest-minded and devout men, forty years since, who, deeply convinced of the great truth that our Lord had instituted, and still acknowledges and protects, a visible Church—one, individual, and integral—Catholic, as spread over the earth.” (Newman). The words “earnest-minded and devout men” are only a sample of the formal diction that goes on throughout this essay. The essay is one about attempting to join churches so it makes perfect sense that the form would be an essay that Cardinal Newman wrote about William Palmer and his epic journey to Russia. Palmer discovers the Russians resistance and utter despising of him and his methods. It is an essay displaying what a down to earth honestly good human being Palmer is and how one piece of you does not make up your entire identity although the Russians felt that if you were Catholic you were not one of them.

“How Mr. Palmer’s appeal for such recognition of our “Anglo-Catholicism” was met by the ecclesiastical authorities of Petersburg is the main {viii} subject of this volume,” (Newman) is the content of this essay. In the way that Rosa Lee Parks was met by opposition Palmer was denied communion, which is the most sacred part of mass. He wants desperately to be recognized by the church however the Russians say “We know nothing about Unity, nothing about Catholicity; it is no term of ours; it had indeed a meaning once, it has {x} none now. Our Church is not Catholic, it is Holy and Orthodox; also”(Newman) … They are completely serious in their convictions and beliefs that not only will they deny him communion, but never will the two churches have even a faint chance of being united for they know nothing about unity. Their stubbornness is understandable but the way in which they receive Mr. Palmer is unacceptable and cold. They treat him horrible and our author cannot help himself but gush over what a wonderful person Mr. Palmer is.  The tone is straight forward explaining to us about Mr. Palmer troubles.

It is an intricate, complex topic and it is one that is always met with resistance. One’s sexual orientation, skin color, or religion are often brought into question and I believe that the things that people cause us to consider to change about ourselves is often the most interesting thing about of you. In life we are plagued by people daily who are trying to change that interesting part or part that makes us unique and stand out from the pack. Newman eloquently describes it as “at least part of that ancient teaching which they so proudly claimed as their own peculiar prerogative.” In the end I would say to them, “Who do you think you are? Running around leaving scars? Collecting your jar of hearts? You’re going to catch a cold from the ice inside your soul.” This line from a popular song by Christina Perri illustrates my point beautifully. Those in the Russian church, or even those attempting to stop Rosa Lee from getting her seat on the bus are going to do just that, catch a cold from all the negatively that they are spreading. Cardinal Newman and William Palmer understood that it was in fact too much to ask those individuals to change what is in their souls. However, they did become friends and “In consequence of this mutual good understanding, Mr. Palmer made many friends in Russia, and had no reason to regret his going there. He liked the people and country, and returned there again and again;” So really, despite the differences the theme here although the church could not be unified is unity of people.