This unsigned editorial appeared online Oct. 3 on the website of Rhode Island Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island.
John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was an Oxford professor, a theologian, an Anglican priest, a gifted and prolific writer and a convert to the Catholic faith. Not long after his conversion, he was ordained to the Catholic priesthood, and later in life was made a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII.
Now (as of Oct. 13) he will also be numbered among the canonized saints of the church!
Many contemporary Catholics are unaware of Cardinal Newman’s life and work, and the impact that his theological insights have had on the church and the world since the late 19th century. Of special importance is the almost universally acknowledged influence that Cardinal Newman’s ideas had on the Second Vatican Council.
Historian Christopher Lasch points to that influence when he quotes these words of St. Paul VI, taken from a talk the Holy Father gave at a Newman Symposium in 1975: “Many of the problems which (Cardinal Newman) treated with wisdom … were the subjects of discussion and study of the fathers of the Second Vatican Council, as for example the question of ecumenism, the relationship between Christianity and the world, the emphasis on the role of the laity in the church and the relationship of the church to non-Christian religions. Not only this council but also the present time can be considered in a special way as Newman’s hour.”
We highly encourage you to get to know this great saint and to become familiar with his writings — which many consider to be classics of English prose. A great place to begin is with his spiritual autobiography, “Apologia Pro Vita Sua,” in which he describes his journey to Catholicism through his prayerful and diligent study of the fathers of the church.
Cardinal Newman’s intellectual and spiritual honesty, which are so evident in the Apologia, are virtues to which we should all aspire.
St. John Henry Newman, pray for us.
The views or positions presented in this or any guest editorial are those of the individual publication and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicPhilly.com, Catholic News Service or of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it without youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month. Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can -- a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: