Bienheureux John Henry Newman
cardinal (✝ 1890)
Né le 21 février 1801 à Londres, mort le 11 août 1890 à Birmingham, ordonné prêtre anglican, John Henry Newman s'est converti au catholicisme en 1845 - Le 9 octobre 1845, Newman est reçu dans l’Église catholique romaine par le frère Dominique Barberi, théologien italien et membre de la congrégation des Passionistes. Il a été créé cardinal en 1879. Il a été béatifié le 19 septembre 2010.
Né à Londres en 1801, John Henry Newman fut un des grands intellectuels chrétiens du XIXe siècle. En recherche de spiritualité depuis l'adolescence, il étudia la théologie à l'Université d'Oxford, où il enseigna aussi un certain temps et devint pasteur anglican. Il dirigea le Mouvement d'Oxford qui cherchait les racines catholiques de la foi en Angleterre. En 1842, alors qu'il écrivait son Essai sur le développement de la Doctrine chrétienne, il mûrit sa conversion au catholicisme. Il fut admis dans l'Église catholique en 1845 et y fut ordonné prêtre le 1er juin 1847 à Rome. Après son ordination, encouragé par Pie IX, il fonda le premier oratoire de saint Philippe Neri en Angleterre. En 1851, il fut nommé Recteur de l'Université catholique de Dublin, charge qu'il exerça jusqu'en 1854. Léon XIII le créa Cardinal en 1879 et il mourut en 1890 à l'oratoire de Edgbaston. (VIS 20100919)
Birmingham, le 19 septembre 2010, messe et béatification du Vénérable Cardinal John Henry Newman, Homélie de Benoît XVI
John Henry Newman (1801-1890) - qui est cet homme qui écrivait dans son Journal: "La sainteté, voilà le grand but. C'est un combat et une épreuve"?
"...c'est un grand enseignant, un grand auteur. Newman est certainement un saint mais ce qui est particulier dans son cas, c'est qu'il est aussi un penseur, un écrivain."
"Théologien, historien, philosophe, prédicateur, romancier, poète, accompagnateur et guide spirituel, Newman est l’auteur de plus d’une quarantaine d’ouvrages et d’une vaste correspondance d’un grand intérêt."
"En béatifiant Newman, l'Église catholique donne une place d'honneur à celui qui, baptisé dans l'anglicanisme, demeura toute sa vie marqué par le patrimoine liturgique et spirituel de l'Église de son baptême."
La passion d'un 'converti' - Éditorial par le frère Franck Lemaître, directeur du service national pour l'unité des chrétiens.
Religieux, éducateur, mais aussi historien, philosophe, poète et romancier, curé de paroisse et accompagnateur spirituel, Newman a été tout cela, au long de sa longue vie, passée pour moitié dans l’Anglicanisme, surtout dans la ville universitaire d’Oxford, et pour moitié dans l’Église catholique, essentiellement à Birmingham. Infatigable chercheur de Dieu, il n’a jamais voulu se présenter comme théologien, mais comme un chrétien qui, en scrutant son expérience et l’histoire de l’Église, y repère des traces du passage de Dieu, et en tire une certaine idée de la manière de se laisser conduire par sa Providence. Newman a été un prédicateur, et peut-être un prédicateur avant tout... Serviteur de la Révélation pour ses frères, Newman l’a été dans l’Angleterre victorienne, il l’est encore aujourd’hui pour l’Église universelle qui l’accueille comme un vrai témoin du Seigneur.
P. Martin Charcosset, aumônier de jeunes à Villefranche-sur-Saône
- John Henry Newman (1801-1890) Le 19 septembre 2010, Benoît XVI préside la béatification du cardinal Newman, à Birmingham, tout près du lieu même où, devenu catholique trois ans plutôt, celui-ci avait fondé l'Oratoire en 1848 et où il vécut jusqu'à sa mort. Mais qui est cet homme qui écrivait dans son Journal: "La sainteté, voilà le grand but. C'est un combat et une épreuve"?
Nous pouvons nous confier à sa prière avec les mots de la collecte de sa fête: «Dieu qui as donné au Bienheureux John Henry Newman la grâce de suivre ta douce lumière et de trouver la paix dans ton Église, accorde-nous, par son intercession et à son exemple, de nous laisser conduire, au-delà des ombres et des images, jusqu’en la plénitude de ta vérité.»
MESSE ET BÉATIFICATION
DU VÉNÉRABLE CARDINAL JOHN HENRY NEWMAN
DU VÉNÉRABLE CARDINAL JOHN HENRY NEWMAN
HOMÉLIE DU PAPE BENOÎT XVI
Cofton Park de Rednal - Birmingham
Dimanche 19 septembre 2010
Chers Frères et Sœurs dans le Christ,
Ce jour qui nous rassemble ici à Birmingham est un jour particulièrement béni. D’abord, parce que c’est le Jour du Seigneur, dimanche, jour où notre Seigneur Jésus Christ est sorti vivant d’entre les morts et a changé pour toujours le cours de l’histoire humaine, offrant une vie et une espérance nouvelles à tous ceux qui vivent dans les ténèbres et l’ombre de la mort. C’est pourquoi les chrétiens dans le monde entier se réunissent ce jour-là pour rendre gloire à Dieu et le remercier de toutes les merveilles qu’il a accomplies pour nous. Ce dimanche-ci évoque en outre un moment significatif de la vie de la nation britannique, car c’est le jour choisi pour commémorer le soixante-dixième anniversaire de la «Bataille d’Angleterre». Pour moi, qui ai vécu et subi les souffrances liées aux jours sombres du régime nazi en Allemagne, il est très émouvant de me trouver ici parmi vous en cette occasion et de faire mémoire de vos si nombreux concitoyens qui ont sacrifié leur vie, résistant courageusement contre les forces de cette terrible idéologie. Ma pensée rejoint d’une manière spéciale la ville voisine de Coventry qui fut frappée au cours du mois de novembre 1940 par des bombardements massifs et de lourdes pertes en vies humaines. Soixante-dix ans plus tard, nous nous souvenons avec des sentiments de honte et d’horreur de l’effrayant coût en vies humaines et en destructions que la guerre entraîne, et nous renouvelons notre résolution de travailler pour la paix et la réconciliation là où pèse la menace de conflits. Toutefois, un autre motif, plus joyeux, fait de ce jour un moment particulièrement porteur de promesses pour la Grande-Bretagne, pour les Midlands, pour Birmingham. Car c’est le jour qui voit le Cardinal John Henry Newman officiellement élevé aux honneurs des autels et proclamé Bienheureux.
Je remercie Monseigneur Bernard Longley pour ses paroles de bienvenue au début de cette Messe. Et j’exprime mon appréciation à tous ceux qui ont travaillé fermement au long de nombreuses années pour promouvoir la Cause du Cardinal Newman, en particulier les Pères de l’Oratoire de Birmingham que les membres de la Famille spirituelle Das Werk (l’Œuvre). Je salue toutes les personnes présentes ici, de Grande-Bretagne, d’Irlande et d’ailleurs; je vous remercie d’être venus à cette célébration où nous rendons gloire et louange à Dieu pour la vertu héroïque d’un saint Anglais.
L’Angleterre a une longue tradition de saints martyrs, dont le témoignage courageux a soutenu et inspiré la communauté catholique durant des siècles ici. Mais il est également juste et bon de reconnaître aujourd’hui la sainteté d’un confesseur, un fils de cette nation qui, bien qu’il n’ait pas été appelé à répandre son sang pour le Seigneur, lui a cependant rendu un témoignage éloquent durant une longue vie consacrée au ministère sacerdotal, et spécialement en prêchant, en enseignant et en écrivant. Il mérite bien de prendre place dans une longue lignée de saints et d’érudits de ces Iles, saint Bède, sainte Hilda, saint Aelred, le bienheureux Dun Scott, pour n’en nommer que quelques-uns. Dans la personne du bienheureux John Henry, cette tradition d’élégante érudition, de profonde sagesse humaine et d’ardent amour du Seigneur a porté des fruits abondants, signe de la présence pleine d’amour de l’Esprit Saint dans les profondeurs du cœur du peuple de Dieu, faisant mûrir d’abondants dons de sainteté.
La devise du Cardinal Newman, Cor ad cor loquitur, ou «le cœur parle au cœur» nous donne une indication sur la manière dont il comprenait la vie chrétienne: un appel à la sainteté, expérimenté comme le désir profond du cœur humain d’entrer dans une intime communion avec le Cœur de Dieu. Il nous rappelle que la fidélité à la prière nous transforme progressivement à la ressemblance de Dieu. Comme il l’écrivait dans l’un de ses nombreux et beaux sermons, «pour la pratique qui consiste à se tourner vers Dieu et le monde invisible en toute saison, en tout lieu, en toute situation d’urgence, la prière, donc, a ce qu’on peut appeler un effet naturel, en ce qu’elle élève et spiritualise l’âme. L’homme n’est plus ce qu’il était auparavant: progressivement, il s’est imprégné de tout un nouvel ensemble d’idées, il a assimilé de nouveaux principes» (Sermons paroissiaux, IV, p. 203, Le paradoxe chrétien, Cerf, 1986). L’Évangile d’aujourd’hui nous enseigne que personne ne peut servir deux maîtres (Lc 16,13), et l’enseignement du bienheureux John Henry sur la prière montre comment le fidèle chrétien est définitivement pris pour le service du seul véritable Maître, le seul qui puisse prétendre recevoir une dévotion sans conditions à son service (cf. Mt 23,10). Newman nous aide à comprendre ce que cela signifie dans notre vie quotidienne: il nous dit que notre divin Maître a donné à chacun de nous une tâche spécifique à accomplir, «un service précis» demandé de manière unique et à chaque personne individuellement: «J’ai une mission», écrivait-il, «Je suis un chaînon, un lien entre des personnes. Il ne m’a pas créé pour rien. Je ferai le bien, j’exécuterai la tâche qu’il m’a confié; je serai un ange de paix, je prêcherai la vérité à la place où je suis… si j’observe ses commandements et le sers à la place qui est la mienne )» (Méditations sur la doctrine chrétienne, Ad Solem, Genève 2000, pp. 28-29).
Le service particulier auquel le bienheureux John Henry a été appelé consistait à appliquer son intelligence fine et sa plume féconde sur les nombreuses et urgentes «questions du jour». Ses intuitions sur le rapport entre foi et raison, sur la place vitale de la religion révélée dans la société civilisée, et sur la nécessité d’une approche de l’éducation qui soit ample en ses fondements et ouverte à de larges perspectives ne furent pas seulement d’une importance capitale pour l’Angleterre de l’époque victorienne, mais elles continuent à inspirer et à éclairer bien des personnes de par le monde. Je voudrais rendre un hommage particulier à sa conception de l’éducation, qui a eu une grande influence pour former l’éthos, force motrice qui soutient les écoles et les collèges catholiques d’aujourd’hui. Fermement opposé à toute approche réductrice ou utilitaire, il s’est efforcé de mettre en place un environnement éducationnel où l’exercice intellectuel, la discipline morale et l’engagement religieux pourraient progresser ensemble. Le projet de fonder une Université catholique en Irlande lui donna la possibilité de développer ses idées à ce sujet, et l’ensemble des discours qu’il a publiés sur «L’idée d’une Université» met en évidence un idéal dont tous ceux qui sont engagés dans la formation académique peuvent continuer à s’inspirer. En effet, quel meilleur objectif pourraient avoir des professeurs de religion que celui que le bienheureux John Henry a présenté dans son célèbre appel en faveur d’un laïcat intelligent et bien formé: «Je désire un laïcat qui ne soit pas arrogant, ni âpre dans son langage, ni prompt à la dispute, mais des personnes qui connaissent leur religion, qui pénètrent en ses profondeurs, qui savent précisément où ils sont, qui savent ce qu’ils ont et ce qu’ils n’ont pas, qui connaissent si bien leur foi qu’ils peuvent en rendre compte, qui connaissent assez leur histoire pour pouvoir la défendre» (The Present position of Catholics in England, IX, 390). En ce jour où l’auteur de ces lignes est élevé à l’honneur des autels, je prie pour que, par son intercession et son exemple, tous ceux qui sont engagés dans l’enseignement et la catéchèse se sentent poussés par la conception qu’il a si clairement exposée devant nous à entreprendre de nouveaux efforts.
S’il est bien compréhensible que l’héritage intellectuel de John Henry Newman ait été l’objet d’une large attention dans la vaste littérature qui illustre sa vie et son œuvre, je préfère, en ce jour, conclure par une brève réflexion sur sa vie de prêtre, de pasteur des âmes. La chaleur et l’humanité qui marquent son appréciation du ministère pastoral sont magnifiquement mises en évidence dans un autre de ses célèbres sermons: «Si des anges avaient été vos prêtres, mes frères, ils n’auraient pas pu souffrir avec vous, avoir de la sympathie pour vous, éprouver de la compassion pour vous, sentir de la tendresse envers vous et se montrer indulgents avec vous, comme nous; ils n’auraient pas pu être vos modèles et vos guides, et n’auraient pas pu vous amener à sortir de vous-mêmes pour entrer dans une vie nouvelle, comme le peuvent ceux qui viennent du milieu de vous» («Hommes, non pas Anges: les prêtres de l’Évangile», Discourses to Mixed Congregations, 3). Il a vécu à fond cette vision profondément humaine du ministère sacerdotal dans l’attention délicate avec laquelle il s’est dévoué au service du peuple de Birmingham au long des années qu’il a passées à l’Oratoire, fondé par lui, visitant les malades et les pauvres, réconfortant les affligés, s’occupant des prisonniers. Il n’est pas étonnant qu’à sa mort, des milliers de personnes s’alignaient dans les rues avoisinantes tandis que son corps était transporté vers sa sépulture à moins d’un kilomètre d’ici. Cent vingt ans plus tard, de grandes foules se sont rassemblées à nouveau pour se réjouir de la reconnaissance solennelle de l’Église pour l’exceptionnelle sainteté de ce père des âmes très aimé. Comment pourrions-nous mieux exprimer la joie de ce moment, sinon en nous tournant vers notre Père des cieux dans une vibrante action de grâce, et en priant avec les paroles mêmes que le bienheureux John Henry a mises sur les lèvres du chœur des anges dans le ciel:
Loué soit le Très Saint dans les hauteurs
Et loué soit-Il dans les profondeurs;
Très admirable en toutes Ses paroles;
Infaillible en toutes Ses voies!
(Le songe de Gerontius).
© Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
SOURCE : http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/fr/homilies/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20100919_beatif-newman.html
John Henry Newman
Cardinal-Deacon of St. George in Velabro, divine, philosopher, man of letters, leader of the Tractarian Movement, and the most illustrious of English converts to the Church.
Born in the City of London, 21 February, 1801, the eldest of six children, three boys and three girls; died at Edgbaston, Birmingham, 11 August, 1890. Over his descent there has been some discussion as regards the paternal side. His father was John Newman, a banker, his mother Jemima Fourdrinier, of a Huguenot family settled in London as engravers and paper-makers. It is stated that the name was at one time spelt Newmann; it is certain that many Jews, English or foreign, have borne it; and the suggestion has been thrown out that he was of Jewish descent. But no documentary evidence has been found to confirm the suggestion. His French pedigree is undoubted. It accounts for his religious training, a modified Calvinism, which he received at his mother's knees; and perhaps it helped towards the "lucid concision" of his phrase when dealing with abstruse subjects. His brother Francis William, also a writer, but wanting in literary charm, turned from the English Church to Deism; Charles Robert, the second son, was very erratic, and professed Atheism. One sister, Mary, died young; Jemima has a place in the cardinal's biography during the crisis of his Anglican career; and to a daughter of Harriet, Anne Mozley, we are indebted for his "Letters and Correspondence" down to 1845, which contains a sequel from his own hand to the "Apologia."
A classic from the day it was completed, the "Apologia" will ever be the chief authority for Newman's early thoughts, and for his judgment on the great religious revival known as the Oxford Movement, of which he was the guide, the philosopher, and the martyr. His immense correspondence, the larger portion of which still awaits publication, cannot essentially change our estimate of one who, though subtle to a degree bordering on refinement, was also impulsive and open with his friends, as well as bold in his confidences to the public. From all that is thus known of him we may infer that Newman's greatness consisted in the union of originality, amounting to genius of the first rank, with a deep spiritual temper, the whole manifesting itself in language of perfect poise and rhythm, in energy such as often has created sects or Churches, and in a personality no less winning than sensitive. Among the literary stars of his time Newman is distinguished by the pure Christian radiance that shines in his life and writings. He is the one Englishman of that era who upheld the ancient creed with a knowledge that only theologians possess, a Shakespearean force of style, and a fervour worthy of the saints. It is this unique combination that raises him above lay preachers de vanitate mundi like Thackeray, and which gives him a place apart from Tennyson and Browning. In comparison with him Keble is a light of the sixth magnitude, Pusey but a devout professor, Liddon a less eloquent Lacordaire. Newman occupies in the nineteenth century a position recalling that of Bishop Butler in the eighteenth. As Butler was the Christian champion against Deism, so Newman is the Catholic apologist in an epoch of Agnosticism, and amid the theories of evolution. He is, moreover, a poet, and his "Dream of Gerontius" far excels the meditative verse of modern singers by its happy shadowing forth in symbol and dramatic scenes of the world behind the veil.
He was brought up from a child to take great delight in reading the Bible; but he had no formed religious convictions until he was fifteen. He used to wish the Arabian tales were true; his mind ran on unknown influences; he thought life possibly a dream, himself an angel, and that his fellow-angels might be deceiving him with the semblance of a material world. He was "very superstitious" and would cross himself on going into the dark. At fifteen he underwent "conversion", though not quite as Evangelicals practise it; from works of the school of Calvin he gained definite dogmatic ideas; and as he rested "in the thought of two and two only absolute and luminously self-evident beings, myself and my Creator." In other words, personality became the primal truth in his philosophy; not matter, law, reason, or the experience of the senses. Henceforth, Newman was a Christian mystic, and such he remained. From the writings of Thomas Scott of Aston Sandford, "to whom, humanly speaking", he says, "I almost owe my soul", he learned the doctrine of the Trinity, supporting each verse of the Athanasian Creed with texts from Scripture. Scott's aphorisms were constantly on his lips for years, "Holiness rather than peace", and "Growth is the only evidence of life." Law's "Serious Call" had on the youth a Catholic or ascetic influence; he was born to be a missionary; thought it was God's will that he should lead a single life; was enamoured of quotations from the Fathers given in Milner's "Church History", and, reading Newton on the Prophecies, felt convinced that the pope was Antichrist. He had been at school at Ealing near London from the age of seven. Always thoughtful, shy, and affectionate, he took no part in boys' games, began to exercise his pen early, read the Waverley Novels, imitated Gibbon and Johnson, matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford, December, 1816, and in 1818 won a scholarship of 60 pounds tenable for nine years. In 1819 his father's bank suspended payment, but soon discharged its liabilities in full. Working too hard for his degree, Newman broke down, and gained in 1821 only third-class honors. But his powers could not be hidden. Oriel was then first in reputation and intellect among the Oxford Colleges, and of Oriel he was elected a fellow, 12 April, 1822. He ever felt this to be "the turning point in his life, and of all days most memorable."
In 1821 he had given up the intention of studying for the Bar, and resolved to take orders. As tutor of Oriel, he considered that he had a cure of souls; he was ordained on 13 June, 1824; and at Pusey's suggestion became curate of St. Clement's, Oxford, where he spent two years in parochial activity. And here the views in which he had been brought up disappointed him; Calvinism was not a key to the phenomena of human nature as they occur in the world. It would not work. He wrote articles on Cicero, etc., and his first "Essay on Miracles", which takes a strictly Protestant attitude, to the prejudice of those alleged outside Scripture. But he also fell under the influence of Whateley, afterwards Anglican Archbishop of Dublin, who, in 1825, made him his vice-principal at St. Mary's Hall. Whateley stimulated him by discussion, taught him the notion of Christianity as a social and sovereign organism distinct from the State, but led him in the direction of "liberal" ideas and nominalistic logic. To Whateley's once famous book on that subject Newman contributed. From Hawkins, whom his casting vote made Provost of Oriel, he gained the Catholic doctrines of tradition and baptismal regeneration, as well as a certain precision of terms which, long afterwards, gave rise to Kingsley's misunderstanding of Newman's methods in writing. By another Oxford clergyman he was taught to believe in the Apostolic succession. And Butler's "Analogy", read in 1823, made an era in his religious opinions. It is probably not too much to say that this deep and searching book became Newman's guide in life, and gave rise not only to the "Essay on Development" but to the "Grammar of Assent." In particular it offered a rejective account of ethics and conscience which confirmed his earliest beliefs in a lawgiver and judge intimately present to the soul. On another line it suggested the sacramental system, or the "Economy", of which the Alexandrians Clement and St. Athanasius are exponents. To sum up, at this formative period the sources whence Newman derived his principles as well as his doctrines were Anglican and Greek, not Roman or German. His Calvinism dropped away; in time he withdrew from the Bible Society. He was growing fiercely anti-Erastian; and Whateley saw the elements of a fresh party in the Church gathering round one whom Oriel had chosen for his intellectual promise, but whom Oxford was to know as a critic and antagonist of the "March of Mind."
His college in 1828 made him Vicar of St. Mary's (which was also the university church), and in its pulpit he delivered the "Parochial Sermons", without eloquence or gesture, for he had no popular gifts, but with a thrilling earnestness and a knowledge of human nature seldom equalled. When published, it was said of them that they "beat all other sermons out of the market as Scott's tales beat all other stories." They were not controversial; and there is little in them to which Catholic theology would object. Their chastened style, fertility of illustration, and short sharp energy, have lost nothing by age. In tone they are severe and often melancholy, as if the utterance of an isolated spirit. Though gracious and even tenderhearted, Newman's peculiar temper included deep reserve. He had not in his composition, as he says, a grain of conviviality. He was always the Oxford scholar, no democrat, suspicious of popular movements; but keenly interested in political studies as bearing on the fortunes of the Church. This disposition was intensified by his friendship with Keble, whose "Christian Year" came out in 1827, and with R. Hurrell Froude, a man of impetuous thought and self-denying practice. In 1832 he quarrelled with Dr. Hawkins, who would not endure the pastoral idea which Newman cherished of his college work. He resigned his tutorship, went on a long voyage round the Mediterranean with Froude, and came back to Oxford, where on 14 July, 1833, Keble preached the Assize sermon on "National Apostasy." That day, the anniversary of the French Revolution, gave birth to the Oxford Movement.
Newman's voyage to the coasts of North Africa, Italy, Western Greece, and Sicily (December, 1832-July, 1833) was a romantic episode, of which his diaries have preserved the incidents and the colour. In Rome he saw Wiseman at the English College; the city, as mother of religion to his native land, laid a spell on him never more to be undone. He felt called to some high mission; and when fever took him at Leonforte in Sicily (where he was wandering alone) he cried out, "I shall not die, I have not sinned against the light." Off Cape Ortegal, 11 December, 1832, he had composed the first of a series of poems, condensed, passionate, and original which prophesied that the Church would yet reign as in her youth. Becalmed in the Straits of Bonifacio, he sought guidance through the tender verses, "Lead, Kindly Light", deservedly treasured by all the English-speaking races. They have been called the marching song of the Tractarian host. But during the earlier stages of that journey it was not clear, even to the leader himself, in what direction they were moving — away from the Revolution, certainly. Reform was in the air; ten Irish bishoprics had been suppressed; disestablishment might not be far off. There was need of resistance to the enemies without, and of a second, but a Catholic, reformation within. The primitive Church must somehow be restored in England. Others met in committee and sent up an address to Canterbury; Newman began the "Tracts for the Times", as he tells us with a smile, "out of his own head." To him Achilles always seemed more than the host of the Achans. He took his motto from the Iliad: "They shall know the difference now." Achilles went down into battle, fought for eight years, won victory upon victory, but was defeated by his own weapons when "Tract 90" appeared, and retired to his tent at Littlemore, a broken champion. Nevertheless, he had done a lasting work, greater than Laud's and likely to overthrow Cranmer's in the end. He had resuscitated the Fathers, brought into relief the sacramental system, paved the way for an astonishing revival of long-forgotten ritual, and given the clergy a hold upon thousands at the moment when Erastian principles were on the eve of triumph. "It was soon after 1830", says Pattison grimly, "that the Tracts desolated Oxford life." Newman's position was designated the Via Media. The English Church, he maintained, lay at an equal distance from Rome and Geneva. It was Catholic in origin and doctrine; it anathematized as heresies the peculiar tenets whether of Calvin or Luther; it could not but protest against "Roman corruptions", which were excrescences on primitive truth. Hence England stood by the Fathers, whose teaching the Prayer Book handed down; it appealed to antiquity, and its norm was the undivided Church. "Charles", said Newman, "is the king, Laud the prelate, Oxford the sacred city, of this principle." Patristic study became the order of the day. Newman's first volume, "The Arians of the Fourth Century", is an undigested, but valuable and characteristic, treatise, wholly Alexandrian in tone, dealing with creeds and sects on the lines of the "Economy." As a history it fails; the manner is confused, the style a contrast to his later intensity and directness of expression. But as a thinker Newman never travelled much beyond the "Arians" (published 1833). It implies a mystic philosophy controlled by Christian dogma, as the Church expounds it. In the "Apologia" we find this key to his mental development dropped by Newman, not undesignedly. He says,
I understood . . . that the exterior world, physical and historical, was but the manifestation to our senses of realities greater than itself. Nature was a parable, Scripture was an allegory; pagan literature, philosophy, and mythology, properly understood, were but a preparation for the Gospel. The Greek poets and sages were in a sense prophets.
There had been a "dispensation" of the Gentiles as well as of the Jews. Both had outwardly come to nought; from and through each had the evangelical doctrine been made manifest. Thus room was granted for the anticipation of deeper disclosures, of truths still under the veil of the letter. Holy Church "will remain after all but a symbol of those heavenly facts which fill eternity. Her mysteries are but the expression in human language of truths to which the human mind is unequal" ("Apol." ed. 1895, p. 27). Such was the teaching that "came like music" to his inward ear, from Athens and Alexandria. Newman's life was devoted, first, to applying this magnificent scheme to the Church of England; and then, when it would not suit those insular dimensions, to the Church of the centre, to Rome. But its wide implications even this far-glancing vision did not take in. However, it substituted a dynamic and progressive principle in Christianity for one merely static. But the Anglican position was supposed to rely on Vincent of Lérins's Quod ubique, admitting of no real developments; its divines urged against Boussuet the "variations" of Catholicism. From 1833 to 1839 the Tractarian leader held this line of defence without a misgiving. Suddenly it gave way, and the Via Media disappeared.
Meanwhile, Oxford was shaken like Medicean Florence by a new Savonarola, who made disciples on every hand; who stirred up sleepy Conservatives when Hampden, a commonplace don, subjected Christian verities to the dissolving influence of Nominalism; and who multiplied books and lectures dealing with all religious parties at once. "The Prophetic Office" was a formal apology of the Laudian type; the obscure, but often beautiful "Treatise on Justification" made an effort "to show that there is little difference but what is verbal in the various views, found whether among Catholic or Protestant divines" on this subject. Döllinger called it "the greatest masterpiece in theology that England had produced in a hundred years", and it contains the true answer to Puritanism. The "University Sermons", profound as their theme, aimed at determining the powers and limits of reason, the methods of revelation, the possibilities of a real theology. Newman wrote so much that his hand almost failed him. Among a crowd of admirers only one perhaps, Hurrell Froude, could meet him in thought on fairly equal terms, and Froude passed away at Dartington in 1836. The pioneer went his road alone. He made a bad party-leader, being liable to sudden gusts and personal resolutions which ended in catastrophe. But from 1839, when he reigned at Oxford without a rival, he was already faltering. In his own language, he had seen a ghost — the shadow of Rome overclouding his Anglican compromise.
Two names are associated with a change so momentous — Wiseman and Ward. The "Apologia" does full justice to Wiseman; it scarcely mentions Ward (see OXFORD MOVEMENT). Those who were looking on might have predicted a collision between the Tractarians and Protestant England, which had forgotten the Caroline divines. This came about on occasion of "Tract 90" — in itself the least interesting of all Newman's publications. The tract was intended to keep stragglers from Rome by distinguishing the corruptions against which the Thirty-Nine Articles were directed, from the doctrines of Trent which they did not assail. A furious and universal agitation broke out in consequence (Feb., 1841), Newman was denounced as a traitor, a Guy Fawkes at Oxford; the University intervened with academic maladroitness and called the tract "an evasion." Dr. Bagot, Bishop of Oxford, mildly censured it, but required that the tracts should cease. For three years condemnations from the bench of bishops were scattered broadcast. To a mind constituted like Newman's, imbued with Ignatian ideas of episcopacy, and unwilling to perceive that they did not avail in the English Establishment, this was an ex cathedra judgment against him. He stopped the tracts, resigned his editorship of "The British Critic", by and by gave up St. Mary's, and retired at Littlemore into lay communion. Nothing is clearer than that, if he had held on quietly, he would have won the day. "Tract 90" does not go so far as many Anglican attempts at reconciliation have gone since. The bishops did not dream of coercing him into submission. But he had lost faith in himself. Reading church history he saw that the Via Media was no new thing. It had been the refuge of the Semiarians, without whom Arianism could never have flourished. It made the fortune of the Monophysites, thanks to whom the Church of Alexandria had sunk into heresy and fallen a prey to Mohammed's legions. The analogy which Newman had observed with dismay was enforced from another side by Wiseman, writing on the Donatists in "The Dublin Review." Wiseman quoted St. Augustine, "Securus judicat orbis terrarum", which may be interpreted "Catholic consent is the judge of controversy." Not antiquity studied in books, not the bare succession of bishops, but the living Church now broke upon him as alone peremptory and infallible. It ever had been so; it must be so still. Nicæa, Ephesus, and Chalcedon thus bore witness to Rome. Add to this the grotesque affair of the Jerusalem bishopric, the fruit of an alliance with Lutheran Prussia, and the Anglican theory was disproved by facts.
From 1841 Newman was on his death-bed as regarded the Anglican Church. He and some friends lived together at Littlemore in monastic seclusion, under a hard rule which did not improve his delicate health. In February, 1843, he retracted in a local newspaper his severe language towards Rome; in September he resigned his living. With immense labour he composed the "Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine", in which the apparent variations of dogma, formerly objected by him against the Catholic Church, were explained on a theory of evolution, curiously anticipating on certain points the great work of Darwin. It has many most original passages, but remains a fragment. On 9 October, 1845, during a period of excited action at Oxford, Newman was received into the Church by Father Dominic, an Italian Passionist, three days after Renan had broken with Saint-Sulpice and Catholicism. The event, although long in prospect, irritated and distressed his countrymen, who did not forgive it until many years had gone by. Its importance was felt; its causes were not known. Hence an estrangement which only the exquisite candour of Newman's self-delineation in the "Apologia" could entirely heal.
His conversion divides a life of almost ninety years into equal parts — the first more dramatic and its perspective ascertained; the second as yet imperfectly told, but spent for a quarter of a century sub luce maligna, under suspicion from one side or another, his plans thwarted, his motives misconstrued. Called by Wiseman to Oscott, near Birmingham, in 1846, he proceeded in October to Rome, and was there ordained by Cardinal Fransoni. The pope approved of his scheme for establishing in England the Oratory of St. Philip Neri; in 1847 he came back, and, besides setting up the London house, took mission work in Birmingham. Thence he moved out to Edgbaston, where the community still resides. A large school was added in 1859. The spacious Renaissance church, consecrated in 1909, is a memorial of the forty years during which Newman made his home in that place. After his "Sermons to Mixed Congregations", which exceed in vigour and irony all other published by him, the Oratorian recluse did not strive to gain a footing in the capital of the Midlands. He always felt "paucorum hominum sum"; his charm was not for the multitude. As a Catholic he began enthusiastically. His "Lectures on Anglican Difficulties" were heard in London by large audiences; "Loss and Gain", though not much of a story, abounds in happy strokes and personal touches; "Callista" recalls his voyage in the Mediterranean by many delightful pages; the sermon at the Synod of Oscott entitled "The Second Spring" has a rare an delicate beauty. It is said that Macaulay knew it by heart. "When Newman made up his mind to join the Church of Rome", observes R. H. Hutton, "his genius bloomed out with a force and freedom such as it never displayed in the Anglican communion." And again, "In irony, in humour, in eloquence, in imaginative force, the writings of the later and, as we may call it, emancipated portion of his career far surpass the writings of his theological apprenticeship." But English Catholic literature also gained a persuasive voice and a classic dignity of which hitherto there had been no example.
His own secession, preceded by that of Ward (amid conflicts of the angriest kind at Oxford), and followed by many others, had alarmed Englishmen. In 1850 came the "Papal Aggression", by which the country was divided into Catholic sees, and a Roman cardinal announced from the Flaminian Gate his commission to "govern" Westminster. The nation went mad with excitement. Newman delivered in the Corn Exchange, Birmingham, his Lectures on the Position of Catholics (he was seldom felicitous in titles of books), and, to George Eliot's amazement, they revealed him as a master of humorous, almost too lively sketches, witty and scornful of the great Protestant tradition. An apostate Italian priest, Achilli, was haranguing against the Church. Prompted by Wiseman, the Oratorian gave particulars of this man's infamous career, and Achilli brought a charge of libel. Newman, at enormous expense, collected evidence which fully justified the accusations he had made. But a no-popery jury convicted him. He was fined 100 pounds; on appeal, the verdict was quashed; and "The Times" admitted that a miscarriage of justice had taken place when Newman was declared guilty. Catholics all the world over came to his relief. His thanks are on record in the dedication of his Dublin "Lectures." But he always remembered that to Wiseman's haste and carelessness he owed this trial.
There was much more trouble awaiting him. The years from 1851 to 1870 brought disaster to a series of noble projects in which he aimed at serving religion and culture. In Ireland the bishops had been compelled, after rejecting the "Godless" colleges in 1847, to undertake a university of their own. Neither men nor ideas were forthcoming; the State would not sanction degrees conferred by a private body; nevertheless, an attempt could be made; and Newman was appointed rector, November, 1851. Three years passed as in a dream; in 1854 he took the oaths. But he had, in 1852, addressed Ireland on the "Idea of a University" with such a largeness and liberality of view as Oxford, if we may believe Pattison, had never taught him. The "Lectures" end abruptly; they gave him less satisfaction than any other of his works; yet, in conjunction with his brilliant short papers in the "University Magazine", and academic dissertations to the various "Schools", they exhibit a range of thought, an urbanity of style, and a pregnant wit, such as no living professor could have rivalled. They are the best defence of Catholic educational theories in any language; a critic perhaps would describe them as the Via Media between an obscurantism which tramples on the rights of knowledge and Free-Thought which will not hear of the rights of revelation. Incidentally, they defended the teaching of the classics against a French Puritan clique led by the Abbé Gaume. This was pretty much all that Newman achieved during the seven years of his "Campaign in Ireland." Only a few native or English students attended the house in St. Stephen's Green. The bishops were divided, and Archbishop MacHale opposed a severe non possumus to the rector's plans. In administration difficulties sprang up; and though Newman won the friendship of Archbishop Cullen and Bishop Moriarty, he was not always treated with due regard. The status of titular bishop had been promised him; for reasons which he never learnt, the promise fell through. His feeling towards Ireland was warm and generous; but in Nov., 1858, he retired from the rectorship. Its labours and anxieties had told upon him. Another large enterprise, to which Cardinal Wiseman invited him only to balk his efforts, was likewise a failure — the revision of the English Catholic Bible. Newman had selected a company of revisors and had begun to accumulate materials, but some small publishers' interests were pleaded on the other side, and Wiseman, whose intentions were good, but evanescent, allowed them to wreck this unique opportunity.
During the interval between 1854 and 1860 Newman had passed from the convert's golden fervours into a state which resembled criticism of prevailing methods in church government and education. His friends included some of a type known to history as "Liberal Catholics." Of Montalembert and Lacordaire he wrote in 1864: "In their general line of thought and conduct I enthusiastically concur and consider them to be before their age." He speaks of "the unselfish aims, the thwarted projects, the unrequited toils, the grand and tender resignation of Lacordaire." That moving description might be applied to Newman himself. He was intent on the problems of the time and not alarmed at Darwin's "Origin of Species." He had been made aware by German scholars, like Acton, of the views entertained at Munich; and he was keenly sensitive to the difference between North and South in debatable questions of policy or discipline. He looked beyond the immediate future; in a lecture at Dublin on "A Form of Infidelity of the Day" he seems to have anticipated what is now termed "Modernism", condemning it as the ruin of dogma. It is distressing to imagine what Newman's horror would have been, had his intuition availed to tell him that, in little more than half a century, a "form of infidelity" so much like what he had predicted would claim him as its originator; on the other hand, he would surely have taken comfort, could he also have foreseen that the soundness of his faith was to be so vindicated as it has been by Bishop O'Dwyer, of Limerick, and above all, the vindication so approved and confirmed as it is in Pius X's letter of 10 March, 1908, to that bishop. In another lecture, on "Christianity and Scientific Investigation", he provides for a concordat which would spare the world a second case of Galileo. He held that Christian theology was a deductive science, but physics and the like were inductive; therefore collision between them need not, and in fact did not really occur. He resisted in principle the notion that historical evidence could do away with the necessity of faith as regarded creeds and definitions. He deprecated the intrusions of amateurs into divinity; but he was anxious that laymen should take their part in the movement of intellect. This led him to encourage J. M. Capes in founding the "Rambler", and H. Wilberforce in editing the "Weekly Register." But likewise it brought him face to face with a strong reaction from the earlier liberal policy of Pius IX. This new movement, powerful especially in France, was eagerly taken up by Ward and Manning, who now influenced Wiseman as he sank under a fatal disease. Their quarrel with J.H.N. (as he was familiarly called) did not break out in open war; but much embittered correspondence is left which proves that, while no point of faith divided the parties, their dissensions threw back English Catholic education for thirty years.
These misunderstandings turned on three topics:
- the "scientific" history which was cultivated by the "Rambler", with Newman's partial concurrence;
- the proposed oratory at Oxford; and
- the temporal power, then at the crisis of its fate.
Newman's editorship of the "Rambler", accepted, on request of Wiseman, by way of compromise, lasted only two months (May-July, 1859). His article, "On Consulting the Laity in Matters of Doctrine", was denounced at Rome by Bishop Brown of Newport and Menevia. Leave was given for an Oratorian house at Oxford, provided Newman did not go thither himself, which defeated the whole plan. A sharp review of Manning's "Lectures on the Temporal Power" was attributed to Newman, who neither wrote nor inspired it; and these two illustrious Catholics were never friends again. Newman foresaw the total loss of the temporal power; his fears were justified; but prevision and the politics of the day could not well be united. Of all Christians then living this great genius had the deepest insight into the future; but to his own generation he became as Jeremiah announcing the fall of Jerusalem. Despondency was his prevailing mood when, in January, 1864, from an unexpected quarter, the chance of his life was given him.
Charles Kingsley, a bold, picturesque, but fiercely anti-Catholic writer, dealing, in "Macmillan's Magazine", with J. A. Froude's "History of England," let fall the remark that
Truth, for its own sake, had never been a virtue with the Roman clergy. Father Newman informs us that it need not, and on the whole ought not to be; that cunning is the weapon which heaven has given to the Saints wherewith to withstand the brute male force of the wicked world which marries and is given in marriage. Whether his notion be doctrinally correct or not, it is at least historically so.
These assertions had no foundation whatever in fact. Newman demanded proof; a correspondence ensued in which Kingsley referred to one of the Oxford Anglican sermons generally; he withdrew his charge in terms that left its injustice unreproved; and thus he brought on himself, in the pamphlet which his adversary published, one of the most cutting replies, ironical and pitiless, known to literature. He returned to the assault. "What then does Dr. Newman mean?" was his question. The answer came in the shape of an "Apologia pro Vita sua", which, while pulverizing enemies of the Kingsley stamp, lifted Newman to a height above all his detractors, and added a unique specimen of religious autobiography to our language. Issued in seven parts between 21 April and 2 June, 1864, the original work was a marvel of swift and cogent writing. Materials in expectation of some such opportunity had been collecting since 1862. But the duel which led up to an account of Newman's most intimate feelings exhibited sword-play the like of which can be scarcely found outside Pascal's "Provincial Letters" and Lessing's "Anti-Goeze." It annihilated the opponent and his charge. Not that Newman cherished a personal animosity against Kingsley, whom he had never met. His tone was determined by a sense of what he owed to his own honour and the Catholic priesthood. "Away with you, Mr. Kingsley, and fly into space", were his parting words to a man whose real gifts did not serve him in this wild encounter. Then the old Tractarian hero told the story of his life. He looked upon it with the eye of an artist, with self-knowledge like that of Hamlet, with candour, and pathos, and awe; for he felt a guiding power throughout which had brought him home. The handling was unaffected, the portraits of Oxford celebrities true and yet kind; the drama which ended in his renunciation of place and power at St. Mary's moved on with a tragic interest. His brief prologues are among the jewels of English prose. A word from St. Augustine converted him, and its poignant effects could not be surpassed in the "Confessions" of the saint himself. The soliloquy, as we may term it, which describes Newman's attitude since 1845, presents in a lofty view his apology, which is not a surrender, to those Catholics who mistrusted him. Though he never would discuss the primary problems of Theism ex professo, he has dwelt on the apparent chaos of history, goodness defeated and moral efforts futile, with a piercing eloquence which reminds us of some lament in "schylus." He met Kingsley's accusations of double-dealing proudly and in detail. But by the time he reached them, Englishmen — who had read the successive chapters with breathless admiration — were completely brought round. No finer triumph of talent in the service of conscience has been put on record. From that day the Catholic religion may date its reentrance into the national literature. Instead of arid polemics and technical arguments, a living soul had revealed its journey towards the old faith wherein lay the charm that drew it on. Reality became more fascinating that romance; the problem which staggered Protestants and modern minds — how to reconcile individual genius with tradition, private judgment with authority — was resolved in Newman's great example.
Amid acclamations from Catholics, echoing the "aves vehement" of the world outside, he turned to the philosophy which would justify his action. He began the "Grammar of Assent." Still, Manning, now archbishop, Talbot, chamberlain of Pius IX, Ward, editor of the "Dublin Review", were not to be pacified. Manning thought he was transplanting the "Oxford tone into the Church"; Talbot described him as "the most dangerous man in England"; Ward used even harder terms. In 1867 an attack by a Roman correspondent on Newman led to a counter-move, when two hundred distinguished laymen told him, "Every blow that touches you inflicts a wound upon the Catholic Church in this country." His discriminating answer on the cultus of Our Lady to Pusey's "Eirenicon" had been taken ill in some quarters. One of his Oratorians, H.I.D. Ryder, was bold enough to cross swords with the editor of the "Dublin", who inflicted on friend and foe views concerning the extent of papal infallibility which the Roman authorities did not sanction; and Newman rejoiced in the assault. In 1870 the "Grammar" was published. But its appearance, coinciding with the Vatican Council, roused less attention than the author's suspected dislike for the aims and conduct of the majority at Rome. Years before he had proclaimed his belief in the infallible pope. His "Cathedra Sempiterna" rivals in fervour and excels in genuine rhetoric the passage with which de Maistre concluded his "Du Pape", which became a text for "ultramontane" apologetics. Yet he shrank from the perils which hung over men less stable than himself, should the definition be carried. He would have healed the breach between Rome and Munich. Under these impressions he sent to his bishop, W.B. Ullathorne, a confidential letter in which he branded, not the Fathers of the Council, but the journalists and other partisans outside who were abounding in violent language, as "an insolent and aggressive faction." The letter was surreptitiously made public; a heated controversy ensued; but Newman took no further part in the conciliar proceedings. Of course he accepted the dogmatic definitions; and in 1874 he defended the Church against Gladstone's charge that "Vaticanism" was equivalent to the latest fashions in religion (see his "Letter to the Duke of Norfolk").
Newman's demeanour towards authority was ever one of submission; but, as he wrote to Phillips de Lisle in 1848, "it is no new thing with me to feel little sympathy with parties, or extreme opinions of any kind." In recommending the Creed he would employ "a wise and gentle minimism", not extenuating what was true but setting down nought in malice. The "Grammar of Assent" illustrates and defends this method, in which human nature is not left out of account. It is curiously Baconian, for it eschews abstractions and metaphysics, being directed to the problem of concrete affirmation, its motives in fact, and its relation to the personality of the individual. This hitherto unexplored province of apologetics lay dark, while the objective reasons for assent had engrossed attention; we might term it the casuistry of belief. Newman brought to the solution a profound acquaintance with the human heart, which was his own; a resolve to stand by experience; and a subtlety of expression corresponding to his fine analysis. He believed in "implicit" logic, varied and converging proofs, indirect demonstration (ex impossibili or ex absurdo); assent, in short, in not a mechanical echo of the syllogism but a vital act, distinct and determined. The will, sacrificed in many schools to formal intellect, recovers its power; genius and common sense are justified. Not that pure logic loses its rights, or truth is merely "that which each man troweth"; but the moral being furnishes an indispensable premise to arguments bearing on life, and all that is meant by a "pious disposition" towards faith is marvellously drawn out. As a sequel and crown to the "Development" this often touching volume (which reminds us of Pascal) completed the author's philosophy. Some portions of it he is said to have written ten times, the last chapter many times more. Yet that chapter is already in part antiquated. The general description, however, of concrete assent appears likely to survive all objections. How far it bears on Kant's "Practical Reason" or the philosophy of the will as developed by Schopenhauer, has yet to be considered. But we must not torture it into the "pragmatism" of a later day. As Newman held by dogma in revelation, so he would never have denied that the mind enjoys a vision of truth founded on reality. He was a mystic, not a sceptic. To him the reason by which men guided themselves was "implicit" rather than "explicit", but reason nevertheless. Abstractions do not exist; but the world is a fact; our own personality cannot be called in question; the will is a true cause; and God reveals Himself in conscience. Apologetics, to be persuasive, should address the individual; for real assents, however multiplied, are each single and sui generis. Even a universal creed becomes in this way a private acquisition. As the "Development" affords a counterpart to Bossuet's "Variations", so the "Grammar" may be said to have reduced the "personal equation" in controversy to a working hypothesis, whereas in Protestant hands it had served the purposes of anarchy.
For twenty years Newman lay under imputations at Rome, which misconstrued his teaching and his character. This, which has been called the ostracism of a saintly genius, undoubtedly was due to his former friends, Ward and Manning. In February, 1878, Pius IX died; and, by a strange conjuncture, in that same month Newman returned to Oxford as Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, "dear to him from undergraduate days." The event provoked Catholics to emulation. Moreover, the new pope, Leo XIII, had also lived in exile from the Curia since 1846, and the Virgilian sentiment, "Haud ignara mali", would come home to him. The Duke of Norfolk and other English peers approached Cardinal Manning, who submitted their strong representation to the Holy See. Pope Leo, it is alleged, was already considering how he might distinguish the aged Oratorian. He intimated, accordingly, in February, 1879, his intention of bestowing on Newman the cardinal's hat. The message affected him to tears, and he exclaimed that the cloud was lifted from him forever. By singular ill-fortune, Manning understood certain delicate phrases in Newman's reply as declining the purple; he allowed that statement to appear in "The Times", much to everyone's confusion. However, the end was come. After a hazardous journey, and in broken health, Newman arrived in Rome. He was created Cardinal-Deacon of the Title of St. George, on 12 May, 1879. His biglietto speech, equal to the occasion in grace and wisdom, declared that he had been the life-long enemy of Liberalism, or "the doctrine that there is no truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another", and that Christianity is "but a sentiment and a taste, not an objective fact, not miraculous."
Hitherto, in modern times, no simple priest, without duties in the Roman Curia, had been raised to the Sacred College. Newman's elevation, hailed by the English nation and by Catholics everywhere with unexampled enthusiasm, was rightly compared to that of Bessarion after the Council of Florence. It broke down the wall of partition between Rome and England. To the many addresses which poured in upon him the cardinal replied with such point and felicity as often made his words gems of literature. He had revised all his writings, the last of which dealt somewhat tentatively with Scripture problems. Now his hand would serve him no more, but his mind kept its clearness always. In "The Dream of Gerontius" (1865), which had been nearly a lost masterpiece, he anticipated his dying hours, threw into concentrated, almost Dantean, verse and imagery his own beliefs as suggested by the Offices of Requiem, and looked forward to his final pilgrimage, "alone with the Alone." Death came with little suffering, on 11 August, 1890. His funeral was a great public event. He lies in the same grave with Ambrose St. John, whom he called his "life under God for thirty-two years." His device as cardinal, taken from St. Francis de Sales, was Cor ad cor loquitor (Heart speaketh to heart); it reveals the secret of his eloquence, unaffected, graceful, tender, and penetrating. On his epitaph we read: Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem (From shadows and symbols goes the truth); it is the doctrine of the Economy, which goes back to Plato's "Republic" (bk. VII) and which passed thence by way of Christian Alexandria into the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, the poetry of the Florentine, and the schools of Oxford. John Henry Newman thus continues in modern literature the Catholic tradition of East and West, sealing it with a martyr's faith and suffering, steadfast in loyalty to the truth, while discerning with a prophet's vision the task of the future.
As a writer of English prose Newman stands for the perfect embodiment of Oxford, deriving from Cicero the lucid and leisurely art of exposition, from the Greek tragedians a thoughtful refinement, from the Fathers a preference for personal above scientific teaching, from Shakespeare, Hooker, and that older school the use of idiom at its best. He refused to acquire German; he was unacquainted with Goethe as with Hegel; he took some principles from Coleridge, perhaps indirectly; and, on the whole, he never went beyond Aristotle in his general views of education. From the Puritan narrowness of his first twenty years he was delivered when he came to know the Church as essential to Christianity. Then he enlarged that conception until it became Catholic and Roman, an historical idea realized. He made no attempt, however, to widen the Oxford basis of learning, dated 1830, which remained his position, despite continual reading and study. The Scholastic theology, except on its Alexandrian side, he left untouched; there is none of it in his "Lectures", none in the "Grammar of Assent." He wrote forcibly against the shallow enlightenment of Brougham; he printed no word concerning Darwin, or Huxley, or even Colenso. He lamented the fall of Döllinger; but he could not acquiesce in the German idea by which, as it was in fact applied, the private judgment of historians overruled the Church's dogmas. Conscience to him was the inward revelation of God, Catholicism the outward and objective. This twofold force he opposed to the agnostic, the rationalist, the mere worldling. But he seems to have thought men premature who undertook a positive reconciliation between faith and science, or who attempted by a vaster synthesis to heal the modern conflicts with Rome. He left that duty to a later generation; and, though by the principle of development and the philosophy of concrete assent providing room for it, he did not contribute towards its fulfillment in detail. He will perhaps be known hereafter as the Catholic Bishop Butler, who extended the "Analogy" drawn from experience to the historical Church, proving it thus to be in agreement with the nature of things, however greatly transcending the visible scheme by its message, institutions and purpose, which are alike supernatural.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Ann Waterman.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
Venerable John Henry Newman
Born in London, 1801; died 1890. (I'm having trouble finding information to verify his feast day and status, so I would say this is very unofficial.) Newman was what all Christians should be--a pilgrim in a foreign land. By the influence and magnetism of his strangely mystic personality, he cast a spell over his generation. In his day, he was the best-known figure of the English Church, to which, beginning as an evangelical, he brought new inspiration and vitality, and from which, in the agony of his spirit and to the discomfiture of his friends, he turned to Rome.
John Newman was a man of authentic sanctity and of excessive sensibility, touched with genius, and bearing about him such grace and light as to seem almost of anohter world, so that to his contemporaries, as one of them declared, in him it was almost as though some Ambrose or Augustine of older times had reappeared.
He was the son of a banker, and at 15 declared himself to God. At Oxford, like Wesley before him, though in a more conventional way, he strove against religious indifference. As vicar of Saint Mary's he preached his famous University Sermons, which circulated widely, provoked lively controversy, and led to an Anglican revival.
Later he resigned his post nad retired to Littlemore, a small parish near Oxford, where for a time he gathered his followers around him. Here in the quiet countryside was the nucleus of a spiritual fellowship, the influence of which penetrated far and wide. Here in withdrawal and retreat the hearts of many were refreshed. Three years later, however, he was received into the Roman Catholic Church. In 1879 he was made a cardinal, but though he reached such high preferment, never again was his influence so great as in those golden Oxford days with all their hope and promise.
It was on an orange boat bound from Palermo to Marseilles that he wrote his lovely him, Lead, Kindly Light. He had been ill with malaria, alone in Sicily, for weeks waiting for a boat, and its words reflect his mood of homesickness and depression. Indeed, we may read into its wistful lines the story of his life. But though the night was dark and he was far from home, from within burned an unearthly light and God was the only substance in this world of shadows.
There is a pathetic story of how in later years, as an old man, he revisited Littlemore, the scene of his lonely vigils. He came unknown, poorly dressed, the collar of his shabby overcoat turned up, his hat pulled down over his eyes as if to hide his features, and as he leaned over the lych-gate of the church he was weeping. The curate recognized him and offered help, but the old man said there was nothing he needed, and as he turned to go the tears streamed down his face. That picture is in character with so much of Newman's life and sensitive spirit for he found no rest in this world, ever tasting the agony of intense spiritual struggle, but always also reflecting the grace and glory of a saintly life (Gill).
PRESENTATION BY HIS EMINENCE CARD. JOSEPH RATZINGER
ON THE OCCASION OF THE FIRST CENTENARY OF THE DEATH
ON THE OCCASION OF THE FIRST CENTENARY OF THE DEATH
OF CARD. JOHN HENRY NEWMAN
Rome, 28 April 1990
I do not feel competent to speak on Newman's figure or work, but perhaps it is meaningful if I tell a little about my own way to Newman, in which indeed something is reflected of the presence of this great English theologian in the intellectual and spiritual struggle of our time.
In January 1946, when I began my study of theology in the Seminary in Freising which had finally reopened after the confusion of the war, an older student was assigned as prefect to our group, who had begun to work on a dissertation on Newman's theology of conscience even before the beginning of the war. In all the years of his military service he had not lost sight of this theme, which he now turned to with new enthusiasm and energy.
We were soon bonded by a personal friendship, wholly centred on the great problems of philosophy and theology. Of course, Newman was always present. Alfred Läpple - the name of the above-mentioned prefect - published his dissertation in 1952 with the title: Der Einzelne in der Kirche (The Individual in the Church).
For us at that time, Newman's teaching on conscience became an important foundation for theological personalism, which was drawing us all in its sway. Our image of the human being as well as our image of the Church was permeated by this point of departure.
We had experienced the claim of a totalitarian party, which understood itself as the fulfilment of history and which negated the conscience of the individual. One of its leaders had said: "I have no conscience. My conscience is Adolf Hitler". The appalling devastation of humanity that followed was before our eyes.
So it was liberating and essential for us to know that the "we" of the Church does not rest on a cancellation of conscience, but that, exactly the opposite, it can only develop from conscience.
Precisely because Newman interpreted the existence of the human being from conscience, that is, from the relationship between God and the soul, was it clear that this personalism is not individualism, and that being bound by conscience does not mean being free to make random choices - the exact opposite is the case.
It was from Newman that we learned to understand the primacy of the Pope. Freedom of conscience, Newman told us, is not identical with the right "to dispense with conscience, to ignore a Lawgiver and Judge, to be independent of unseen obligations".
Thus, conscience in its true sense is the bedrock of Papal authority; its power comes from revelation that completes natural conscience, which is imperfectly enlightened, and "the championship of the Moral Law and of conscience is its raison d'être".
I certainly need not explicitly mention that this teaching on conscience has become ever more important for me in the continued development of the Church and the world. Ever more I see how it first opens in the context of the biography of the Cardinal, which is only to be understood in connection with the drama of his century and so speaks to us.
Newman had become a convert as a man of conscience; it was his conscience that led him out of the old ties and securities into the world of Catholicism, which was difficult and strange for him. But this way of conscience is everything except a way of self-sufficient subjectivity: it is a way of obedience to objective truth.
The second step in Newman's lifelong journey of conversion was overcoming the subjective evangelical position in favour of an understanding of Christendom based on the objectivity of dogma. In this connection I find a formulation from one of his early sermons to be especially significant today:
"True Christendom is shown... in obedience and not through a state of consciousness. Thus, the whole duty and work of a Christian is made up of these two parts, Faith and Obedience; "looking unto Jesus' (Heb 2: 9)... and acting according to His will.... I conceive that we are in danger, in this day, of insisting on neither of these as we ought; regarding all true and careful consideration of the Object of faith as barren orthodoxy, technical subtlety... and... making the test of our being religious to consist in our having what is called a spiritual state of heart...".
In this context some sentences from The Arians of the Fourth Century, which may sound rather astonishing at first, seem important to me: "...to detect and to approve the principle on which... peace is grounded in Scripture; to submit to the dictation of truth, as such, as a primary authority in matters of political and private conduct; to understand... zeal to be prior in the succession of Christian graces to benevolence".
For me it is always fascinating to see and consider how in just this way and only in this way, through commitment to the truth, to God, conscience receives its rank, dignity and strength.
I would like in this context to add but one sentence from the Apologia, which shows the realism in this idea of person and Church: "Living movements do not come of committees".
Very briefly I would like to return to the autobiographical thread. When I continued my studies in Munich in 1947, I found a well read and enthusiastic follower of Newman in the fundamental theologian, Gottlieb Söhngen, who was my true teacher in theology. He opened up the Grammar of Assent to us and in doing so, the special manner and form of certainty in religious knowledge.
Even deeper for me was the contribution which Heinrich Fries published in connection with the Jubilee of Chalcedon. Here I found access to Newman's teaching on the development of doctrine, which I regard along with his doctrine on conscience as his decisive contribution to the renewal of theology.
With this he had placed the key in our hand to build historical thought into theology, or much more, he taught us to think historically in theology and so to recognize the identity of faith in all developments.
Here I have to refrain from deepening these ideas further. It seems to me that Newman's starting point, also in modern theology, has not yet been fully evaluated. Fruitful possibilities awaiting development are still hidden in it.
At this point I would only like to refer again to the biographical background of this concept.
It is known how Newman's insight into the ideas of development influenced his way to Catholicism. But it is not just a matter of an unfolding of ideas. In the concept of development, Newman's own life plays a role. That seems to become visible to me in his well-known words: "...to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often".
Throughout his entire life, Newman was a person converting, a person being transformed, and thus he always remained and became ever more himself.
Here the figure of St Augustine comes to my mind, with whom Newman was so associated. When Augustine was converted in the garden at Cassiciacum he understood conversion according to the system of the revered master Plotin and the Neo-Platonic philosophers. He thought that his past sinful life would now be definitively cast off; from now on the convert would be someone wholly new and different, and his further journey would be a steady climb to the ever purer heights of closeness to God.
It was something like that which Gregory of Nyssa described in his Ascent of Moses: "Just as bodies, after having received the first push downwards, fall effortlessly into the depths with ever greater speed, so, on the contrary, the soul which has loosed itself from earthly passion rises up in a rapid upward movement... constantly overcoming itself in a steady upward flight".
Augustine's actual experience was a different one. He had to learn that being a Christian is always a difficult journey with all its heights and depths.
The image of ascensus is exchanged for that of iter, whose tiring weight is lightened and borne up by moments of light which we may receive now and then. Conversion is the iter - the roadway of a whole lifetime. And faith is always "development", and precisely in this manner it is the maturation of the soul to truth, to God, who is more intimate to us than we are to ourselves.
In the idea of "development" Newman had written his own experience of a never finished conversion and interpreted for us, not only the way of Christian doctrine, but that of the Christian life.
The characteristic of the great Doctor of the Church, it seems to me, is that he teaches not only through his thought and speech but also by his life, because within him, thought and life are interpenetrated and defined. If this is so, then Newman belongs to the great teachers of the Church, because he both touches our hearts and enlightens our thinking.
SOURCE : http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19900428_ratzinger-newman_en.html
MASS WITH THE BEATIFICATION
OF VENERABLE CARDINAL JOHN HENRY NEWMAN
OF VENERABLE CARDINAL JOHN HENRY NEWMAN
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
Cofton Park of Rednal - Birmingham
Sunday, 19 September 2010
Sunday, 19 September 2010
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This day that has brought us together here in Birmingham is a most auspicious one. In the first place, it is the Lord’s day, Sunday, the day when our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead and changed the course of human history for ever, offering new life and hope to all who live in darkness and in the shadow of death. That is why Christians all over the world come together on this day to give praise and thanks to God for the great marvels he has worked for us. This particular Sunday also marks a significant moment in the life of the British nation, as it is the day chosen to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the Battle of Britain. 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. 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. Yet there is another, more joyful reason why this is an auspicious day for Great Britain, for the Midlands, for Birmingham. It is the day that sees Cardinal John Henry Newman formally raised to the altars and declared Blessed.
I thank Archbishop Bernard Longley for his gracious welcome at the start of Mass this morning. I pay tribute to all who have worked so hard over many years to promote the cause of Cardinal Newman, including the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory and the members of the Spiritual Family Das Werk. And I greet everyone here from Great Britain, Ireland, and further afield; I thank you for your presence at this celebration, in which we give glory and praise to God for the heroic virtue of a saintly Englishman.
England has a long tradition of martyr saints, whose courageous witness has sustained and inspired the Catholic community here for centuries. Yet it is right and fitting that we should recognize today the holiness of a confessor, a son of this nation who, while not called to shed his blood for the Lord, nevertheless bore eloquent witness to him in the course of a long life devoted to the priestly ministry, and especially to preaching, teaching, and writing. He is worthy to take his place in a long line of saints and scholars from these islands, Saint Bede, Saint Hilda, Saint Aelred, Blessed Duns Scotus, to name but a few. In Blessed John Henry, that tradition of gentle scholarship, deep human wisdom and profound love for the Lord has borne rich fruit, as a sign of the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit deep within the heart of God’s people, bringing forth abundant gifts of holiness.
Cardinal Newman’s motto, Cor ad cor loquitur, or “Heart speaks unto heart”, gives us an insight into his understanding of the Christian life as a call to holiness, experienced as the profound desire of the human heart to enter into intimate communion with the Heart of God. He reminds us that faithfulness to prayer gradually transforms us into the divine likeness. As he wrote in one of his many fine sermons, “a habit of prayer, the practice of turning to God and the unseen world in every season, in every place, in every emergency – prayer, I say, has what may be called a natural effect in spiritualizing and elevating the soul. A man is no longer what he was before; gradually … he has imbibed a new set of ideas, and become imbued with fresh principles” (Parochial and Plain Sermons, iv, 230-231). Today’s Gospel tells us that no one can be the servant of two masters (cf. Lk 16:13), and Blessed John Henry’s teaching on prayer explains how the faithful Christian is definitively taken into the service of the one true Master, who alone has a claim to our unconditional devotion (cf. Mt 23:10). Newman helps us to understand what this means for our daily lives: he tells us that our divine Master has assigned a specific task to each one of us, a “definite service”, committed uniquely to every single person: “I have my mission”, he wrote, “I am a link in a chain, a bond of connexion between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do his work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place … if I do but keep his commandments and serve him in my calling” (Meditations and Devotions, 301-2).
The definite service to which Blessed John Henry was called involved applying his keen intellect and his prolific pen to many of the most pressing “subjects of the day”. His insights into the relationship between faith and reason, into the vital place of revealed religion in civilized 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. 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. The project to found a Catholic University in Ireland provided him with an opportunity to develop his ideas on the subject, and the collection of discourses that he published as The Idea of a University holds up an ideal from which all those engaged in academic formation can continue to learn. And indeed, what better goal could teachers of religion set themselves than Blessed John Henry’s famous appeal for an intelligent, well-instructed laity: “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 Present Position of Catholics in England, ix, 390). On this day when the author of those words is raised to the altars, 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.
While it is John Henry Newman’s intellectual legacy that has understandably received most attention in the vast literature devoted to his life and work, I prefer on this occasion to conclude with a brief reflection on his life as a priest, a pastor of souls. The warmth and humanity underlying his appreciation of the pastoral ministry is beautifully expressed in another of his famous sermons: “Had Angels been your priests, my brethren, they could not have condoled with you, sympathized with you, have had compassion on you, felt tenderly for you, and made allowances for you, as we can; they could not have been your patterns and guides, and have led you on from your old selves into a new life, as they can who come from the midst of you” (“Men, not Angels: the Priests of the Gospel”, Discourses to Mixed Congregations, 3). He lived out that profoundly human vision of priestly ministry in his devoted care for the people of Birmingham during the years that he spent at the Oratory he founded, visiting the sick and the poor, comforting the bereaved, caring for those in prison. No wonder 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. One hundred and twenty years later, great crowds have assembled once again to rejoice in the Church’s solemn recognition of the outstanding holiness of this much-loved father of souls. What better way to express the joy of this moment than by turning to our heavenly Father in heartfelt thanksgiving, praying in the words that Blessed John Henry Newman placed on the lips of the choirs of angels in heaven:
Praise to the Holiest in the height
And in the depth be praise;
In all his words most wonderful,
Most sure in all his ways!
(The Dream of Gerontius).
And in the depth be praise;
In all his words most wonderful,
Most sure in all his ways!
(The Dream of Gerontius).
© Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice VaticanaSOURCE : http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/homilies/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20100919_beatif-newman.html