Sunday, September 19, 2010

Today Pope Benedict XVI beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman

“I would also like to mention another citizen of Viterbo, Blessed Domenico Bàrberi (1792-1849), the Passionist priest who, in 1845, welcomed John Henry Newman — who later became a cardinal — into the Catholic Church. Newman was a high profile intellectual and a man of luminous spirituality.”

Blessed John Henry Newman, C.O. (21 February 1801 – 11 August 1890),often referred to as Cardinal Newman, was an important figure in the religious history of England in the 19th century. He was known nationally by the mid-1830s.

Originally an evangelical Oxford academic and priest in the Church of England, Newman was a leader in the Oxford Movement. This influential grouping of Anglicans wished to return the Church of England to many Catholic beliefs and forms of worship. He eventually converted to Roman Catholicism (1845) and rose to become a cardinal.

His beatification was officially proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the United Kingdom on 19 September 2010.

Newman was also a literary figure of note, his major writings including his autobiography Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1865–66), the Grammar of Assent (1870), and the poem Gerontius, which formed the text for composer Edward Elgar's Dream of Gerontius.

Conversion to Roman Catholicism
An interval of two years then elapsed before Newman was received into the Roman Catholic Church (9 October 1845) by Blessed Dominic Barberi, an Italian Passionist, at the College in Littlemore. The personal consequences for Newman of his conversion were great: he suffered broken relationships with family and friends, attitudes to him within his Oxford circle becoming polarised.[34] The impact on the wider Tractarian movement is still debated, since Newman's leading role is regarded by some scholars as overstated, as is Oxford's domination of the movement as a whole. Tractarian writings had a wide and continuing circulation after 1845, well beyond the range of personal contacts with the main Oxford figures, and Tractarian clergy continued to be recruited into the Church of England in numbers.

Newman's conversion

The College, Littlemore where Dominic received Newman into the Church, Whilst in Italy and latterly in Belgium, Dominic had always kept up a keen interest in the Oxford Movement. In 1841 a letter by John Dobree Dalgairns appeared in L'Univers explaining the position of the Anglican High Church party. Dominic decided to respond to this letter which he believed represented the views of the entire faculty of Oxford University (Dalgairns was an undergraduate when he had written the letter). In his 'Letter to University Professors at Oxford' Dominic describes his long hopes for the conversion of England and his belief that the men of Oxford would be instrumental in such a conversion. The letter, through the help of Ignatius Spencer eventually ended up in the hands of Dalgairns who was residing with John Henry Newman at Littlemore. Dominic repudiated the Anglican claim that the 39 Articles could be interpreted in a Catholic light. In their continued correspondence Dalgairns and Dominic debated the Catholic position and Dalgairns requested copies of the Passionist Rule and Dominic's 'The Lament of England'. Eventually Dalgairns was received into the Catholic Church by Dominic at Aston in September 1845.

In October of that same year Dominic visited Littlemore where Newman made his confession to him, Newman relates in his Apologia of how Dominic arrived soaked from the rain and as he was drying himself by the fire Newman knelt and asked to be received into the Catholic Church. This event is marked by a sculpture in the Catholic Church of Blessed Dominic Barberi at Littlemore. Two of Newman's companions at Littlemore were also received and Dominic celebrated Mass for them the following morning. Newman and Dominic always afterward followed each others careers.

After an illness, Newman returned to England and thenceforward resided at the Oratory until his death, making occasional visits to London and chiefly to his old friend, R. W. Church, Dean of St Paul's, who as proctor had vetoed the condemnation of Tract 90 in 1841. As a cardinal, Newman published nothing beyond a preface to a work by Arthur Wollaston Hutton on the Anglican Ministry (1879) and an article "On the Inspiration of Scripture" in The Nineteenth Century (February 1884).

From the latter half of 1886, Newman's health began to fail and he celebrated Mass for the last time on Christmas Day in 1889. On 11 August 1890,[4] he died of pneumonia at the Birmingham Oratory. Eight days later, his body was buried in the cemetery at Rednal Hill, Birmingham, at the country house of the Oratory.

In accordance with his expressed wishes, Newman was buried in the grave of his lifelong friend, Ambrose St. John.[4] Previously, they had shared a house. The pall over the coffin bore his cardinal's motto Cor ad cor loquitur ("Heart speaks to heart").[4] Inseparable in death as in life, a joint memorial stone was erected for the two men; the inscription bore words Newman had chosen: Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem ("Out of shadows and phantasms into the truth").

On 27 February 1891, Newman's estate was probated at £4,206.

Newman's grave was opened on 2 October 2008, with the intention of moving any remains to a tomb inside Birmingham Oratory (contrary to Newman's express wishes) during Newman's consideration for sainthood; however, no remains were found because the coffin was wooden and the burial took place at a damp site.

Canonization of John Henry Newman
Blessed John Henry Newman, CO (21 February 1801 – 11 August 1890) was a Roman Catholic priest and cardinal who converted to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism in October 1845. In early life, he was a major figure in the Oxford Movement to bring the Church of England back to its Catholic roots. Eventually his studies in history persuaded him to become a Roman Catholic.

Canonisation would make Cardinal Newman the first English person who has lived since the 17th century, officially recognised as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. In 1991, Cardinal Newman was proclaimed "Venerable" by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints - the first stage in the canonization process. He was beatified on 19 September 2010 at an open air mass in Birmingham.

A file on Newman’s beatification was first opened in 1958.

In 1991, Newman was proclaimed Venerable after a thorough examination of his life and work by the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints. One miracle attributed to Newman's intercession was required to have occurred and been fully investigated and approved by the Vatican before he could be beatified. A second miracle would then be necessary for his canonization.

In October 2005, Fr Paul Chavasse, provost of the Birmingham Oratory, who is the postulator responsible for the cause, announced that a miraculous cure had occurred

Jack Sullivan, a deacon from Marshfield, Massachusetts in the United States, attributed his recovery from a spinal cord disorder to Cardinal Newman. The claimed miracle occurred in the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Boston, whose responsibility it was to determine its validity. In August 2006 the Archbishop of Boston, Sean O'Malley announced he was passing details to the Vatican.

On 24 April 2008, the press secretary to the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory reported that the medical consultants at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints had met that day and voted unanimously that Sullivan's recovery defied any scientific or medical explanation. The question of the genuineness of the alleged miracle then went to the panel of theological consultors, who unanimously agreed to recognize the miracle a year later on 24 April 2009. The panel's vote, presumably having been verified by the prelate members of the Congregation, allowed Pope Benedict XVI to beatify Newman at a date of his choosing following a meeting with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (then Archbishop Angelo Amato) to formally approve the Congregation's voting process.

On 3 July 2009, Pope Benedict XVI recognised the healing of Deacon Jack Sullivan in 2001 as a miracle, resulting from the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God, John Henry Newman. This decision paved the way for Cardinal Newman’s beatification, which occurred on 19 September 2010.

Although it had been originally announced that Newman would be beatified at an open air mass at Coventry Airport but this was later switched to Cofton Park in Longbridge. And so, it was during the first Papal state visit to the UK that Pope Benedict XVI himself performed the beatification on 19 September 2010.

Steps towards sainthood
A second miracle needs to be confirmed before Newman can be canonized as a saint. The Vatican's Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints is expected to consider the case of a 17-year-old New Hampshire resident, who fully recovered from severe head injuries suffered in a car accident after invoking Cardinal Newman.

Fr Chavasse expanded on his remarks at the Michaelmas 2006 dinner of the Oxford University Newman Society (held in November), suggesting that Benedict XVI has shown a personal interest in Newman's cause.

Vatican Radio announced that on 3 July 2009, Pope Benedict authorized Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect for the Vatican's Congregation of the Causes of Saints, to promulgate decrees on the progress of several would-be Catholic saints, including Newman. This included a recognition of the validity of Newman's miracle in Boston, effectively declaring his beatification imminent.

Movement of remains
In 2008, the Vatican decided to enact plans to move Newman's remains from The Lickey Hills, near Rednal, Worcestershire where he was buried, to the Oratory in Birmingham city centre in anticipation of his being declared a saint. The move required prior permission from the Ministry of Justice; in preparation the area was enclosed by steel fencing incorporating The Oratory country house, a mortuary chapel and a small graveyard which contained his shared grave (with Ambrose St. John).

The planned exhumation and move of Cardinal Newman's remains were finally agreed by the UK authorities as a special case, as UK law prohibits the removal of a body from a graveyard to a church tomb. Licence was finally granted on 11 August 2008, the 118th anniversary of Newman's death in 1890, to permit the move by undertakers.

Newman's grave at Rednal was opened on 2 October 2008. It had been hoped that his body had been buried in a lead coffin and would be well preserved. However, the exhumation revealed that Newman had been buried in a wooden coffin and his body had completely decomposed; there were no human remains. The only artefacts retrieved, including an inscription plate, were wooden, brass and cloth. These artefacts, along with locks of hair, which had been sent to Sullivan before his inexplicable cure (and had always been in the possession of the Birmingham Oratory), were placed in a glass sided casket for a Vigil of Reception. The relics were then solemnly placed in the Chapel of St Charles Borromeo situated to the right of the Sanctuary. They will rest in the Chapel while the process of Beatification continues in Rome. The Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory have decided that the specially made green Italian marble sarcophagus will not be placed between the columns opposite the Holy Souls' Altar in the Oratory Church, Birmingham as originally planned.

The proposed movement of Newman's body angered some gay rights campaigners, who saw it as an attempt to deliberately separate him from his close companion Ambrose St John, with whom he was buried in accordance with his personal wishes. In their view, this was to deliberately downplay the intense nature of the relationship between the two men who had been companions for 30 years. Peter Tatchell entered the debate in an article in The Times on 19 August 2008, accusing the Vatican of "moral vandalism", and renewed his criticisms on the Sunday programme on BBC Radio 4 on 24 August 2008.

In response the Vatican commissioned Father Ian Ker, a theologian at Oxford University, to rebut the allegations in an article for the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

Tatchell went on to criticise the Home Office of collusion with the Vatican. According to his interpretation of heavily censored documents released to him under the Freedom of Information Act, Tatchell claimed that the Catholic Church had "put the government under sustained pressure" to obtain the authorisation to exhume the body.

Nevertheless, Ker and Fr. Paul Chavasse, current provost of the Birmingham Oratory, maintain that Newman would have been glad to submit to the wishes of the Vatican in whatever they asked, no matter his previous wishes - Newman had stated "I wish, with all my heart, to be buried in Fr Ambrose St John's grave — and I give this as my last, my imperative will", he wrote, later adding: "This I confirm and insist on."

Pope beatifies John Henry Newman before 50,000 faithful in Birmingham
Cardinal John Henry Newman moves one step closer to sainthood after beatification by Pope in Birmingham's Crofton Park.
by Maria Mackay
Posted: Sunday, September 19, 2010, 11:17 (BST)

Around 50,000 Catholics gathered in Birmingham’s Crofton Park this morning to witness the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman by the Pope.

The beatification of the Victorian cardinal, who converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism, is the first to take place under Pope Benedict XVI and the first ever to be performed in Britain.

The cool temperatures and overcast sky gave the open-air Mass a more sombre tone than those held in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park on Thursday and London’s Hyde Park yesterday.

Addressing the crowds, the Pope acknowledged the sacrifice and bravery of Britons in the Battle of Britain, the seventieth anniversary of which is being marked today.

“For me as one who lived and suffered through the dark days of the Nazi regime in Germany, it is deeply moving to be here on this occasion, and to recall how many of your fellow citizens sacrificed their lives, courageously resisting the forces of that evil ideology,” he said.

“My thoughts go in particular to nearby Coventry, which suffered such heavy bombardment and massive loss of life in November 1940.

“Seventy years later, we recall with shame and horror the dreadful toll of death and destruction that war brings in its wake, and we renew our resolve to work for peace and reconciliation wherever the threat of conflict looms.”

He went on to describe Cardinal Newman as a “saintly Englishman” of “heroic virtue” and praised his continuing influence on education.

“His insights into the relationship between faith and reason, into the vital place of revealed religion in civilised society, and into the need for a broadly-based and wide-ranging approach to education were not only of profound importance for Victorian England, but continue today to inspire and enlighten many all over the world,” he said.

“I would like to pay particular tribute to his vision for education, which has done so much to shape the ethos that is the driving force behind Catholic schools and colleges today.

“Firmly opposed to any reductive or utilitarian approach, he sought to achieve an educational environment in which intellectual training, moral discipline and religious commitment would come together.”

Beatification is the third of four stages in the canonisation of a deceased Catholic. The beatification of Cardinal Newman fell on the last day of the Pope’s official state visit to Britain.

Cardinal Newman’s motto, ‘Cor ad cor loquitur’ or ‘Heart speaks unto heart’, was the theme for the papal visit, the first to Britain since John Paul II made a pastoral visit in 1982 and the first official state visit by a pontiff.

The Pope is due to meet with Catholic bishops from England, Scotland and Wales later in the day before departing for Rome this evening.

Pope Benedict beatifies Cardinal Newman
By Mark Greaves on Sunday, 19 September 2010

The sanctuary at Cofton Park (Photo: PA)

Pope Benedict XVI today beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman in a historic Mass at Cofton Park, Birmingham – the first beatification ever to take place on British soil.

In his homily, the Pope placed Cardinal Newman in a tradition of English martyrs and saintly scholars, and praised the “warmth and humanity” of his priestly ministry.

He also noted that it was the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and paid tribute to English men and women who resisted the “evil ideology” of Nazism.

He said: “For me as one who lived and suffered through the dark days of the Nazi regime in Germany, it is deeply moving to be here with you on this occasion, and to recall how many of your fellow citizens sacrificed their lives, courageously resisting the forces of that evil ideology.

“My thoughts go in particular to nearby Coventry, which suffered such heavy bombardment and massive loss of life in November 1940,” the Pope said.

He explained Newman was the latest in a “long line” of saintly British scholars, including St Bede, St Hilda, St Aelred, and Blessed Duns Scotus. It was a tradition, he said, “of gentle scholarship, deep human wisdom and profound love for the Lord”.

He pointed to Newman’s “devoted care for the people of Birmingham … visiting the sick and the poor, comforting the bereaved, caring for those in prison”.

“No wonder,” he said, “that on his death so many thousands of people lined the local streets as his body was taken to its place of burial not half a mile from here”.

The Pope said that given his holiness it was fitting he should take his place beside England’s martyrs, “whose courageous witness has sustained and inspired the Catholic community here for centuries”.

Pope Benedict said his vision of education had “done so much to shape the ethos that is the driving force behind Catholic schools and colleges today”.

He quoted Cardinal Newman’s appeal for a well-instructed laity as a goal for all teachers of religion. He said: “ ‘I want a laity not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it.’ ”

The Pope added: “I pray that, through his intercession and example, all who are engaged in the task of teaching and catechesis will be inspired to greater effort by the vision he so clearly sets before us.”

He also spoke about Newman’s holiness, saying it was a “profound desire of the human heart to enter into intimate communion with the Heart of God”.

The Pope spoke in front of tens of thousands of pilgrims, some of whom had slept overnight at Cofton Park in sleeping bags. Others had set off from parishes as early as 2am in special pilgrim buses. Fr Tim Finigan, parish priest at Blackfen, Kent, tweeted: “Apologies to the neighbours for waking them up last night singing ‘God bless our Pope’ as the coach left for Birmingham. Won’t happen again.”

According to Simon Caldwell, the Catholic Herald’s news editor, rain poured down all morning until just before the Pope’s helicopter landed nearby, when the sun finally came out.

Deacon Jack Sullivan, who was healed of a severe spinal disorder after praying for Newman’s intercession, proclaimed the Gospel during the Mass. It was his inexplicable healing that led to Newman being made a Blessed.

A choir of 1,200 sung a new setting of the Mass by composer James MacMillan. The prayers of the faithful were made in German, Welsh, French, Vietnamese and Punjabi.

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