Pope Benedict XVI Beatifies John Henry Newman
On Sept. 19, 2010, in Birmingham, England, as part of Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Journey to the United Kingdom, the Holy Father will beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman, officially recognizing him as "Blessed".
An open air Mass will be celebrated in the city where Newman lived and established the first English Oratory, an order of priests founded in the 16th Century who worked among the impoverished Catholics there.
Born in 1801, Newman rose to a position of prominence in the Anglican church, in 1828 becoming Vicar of the University Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. His preaching and many theological writings had an enormous influence on those around him.
After long studies, travel and meditation, he decided in 1845 to convert to Catholicism. As a result, he suffered ostracism by friends and relatives, and faced failure at many turns. Undeterred, he went on to become a priest, and in 1851 accepted the arduous task of founding a separate university for Catholics in Ireland, University College, Dublin, and becoming its first Rector.
He wrote The Idea of a University on the nature and scope of education, and the role of the Church in the context of a university.
Newman Centres in his honour have been established throughout the world to provide pastoral services and ministries to Catholics at non-Catholic universities.
They are based on the mould of the Oxford University Newman Society, Oxford University’s 's oldest Roman Catholic organisation, named as a tribute to Cardinal Newman for advancing the cause of Catholicism at Oxford both as an Anglican striving to recover Anglicanism’s roots and subsequently as a convert to Catholicism.
In 1879, Pope Leo XIII named Newman, then a simple priest, a Cardinal. It was a wonderful tribute to the man and Newman said, "The cloud is lifted for ever."
By Gisela Côté