Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blessed John Henry Newman a Year Later

The Catholic Church in England is remembering the beatification of John Henry Newman last year by Pope Benedict XVI with a Mass of Thanksgiving at Westminster Cathedral today.

In Christ Church Cathedral at Christ Church in Oxford, a new setting of Blessed John Henry Newman's The Dream of Gerontius was presented yesterday (H/T to Once I Was a Clever Boy). Robert Hardy, who is a great actor and student of medieval warfare (English use of longbow his speciality) portrayed Gerontius (a speaking part). Neil Nisbet played the Guardian Angel and the chorus Vox Humana sang the parts of the angels, demons, and the solos (the Priest and the Angel of the Agony, etc). More description here. This is the second performance of the work.

The composer is Julien Chilcott-Monk, author of John Henry Newman: The Path to Sainthood, which is:

". . . based on Newman's great poem, The Dream of Gerontius. Through its seven movements, it traces Newman's path through life-his lasting influence in the Church of England, his building of the church at Littlemore, his conversion, his vision and his founding of an English Oratory, the writing of the Dream, and the course of his beatification. Throughout, Newman's own words and advice on sanctity will be featured offering a timeless guide to holy living today."

On the Oriel College website, there is an instruction to pilgrims to contact the chaplain if they want to visit Newman sites. I wonder if the college has seen an increase in visitors? And Christ Church, with its Oxford Movement connections, including a memorial to E.B. Pusey, one of Newman's colleagues, would certainly be part of a Newmanian Oxford pilgrimage.


  1. One year already? Time is flying by. As open and courteous as the Bishops of England & Wales were to the Pope and Anglicanorum Coetibus, they apparently have failed to follow through on the Holy Fathers other examples and in fact have made official proclamation that 'business as usual' will continue. No Altar Rails being restored, reception standing not kneeling,versus populum instead of ad Orientum (or ad Dominum) for the celebrants and so forth. Very sad. Blessed John Henry Newman intercede for the Pope and the Catholics of England! Amen.

  2. The bishops made more announcements of their goals and objectives this weekend:

  3. Thanks for the link, I just finished reading it. It is a small start but my question to them would be, how do you expect this to even proceed ahead when most Catholics (I am assuming Catholics there are like Catholics over here) don't know even the rudiments of the Faith. I think the Bishops in England & Wales as well as Scotland are as wishy washy as the Anglican Bishops. Very, very depressing.

  4. Here's another link, to Rich Leonardi's view of how the bishops in England have responded--I don't know if it will be helpful, or may be even more depressing, because he points out the English responded better than the bishops in the USA!