Sunday, August 25, 2013

This Week's Reading Assignment

I'm almost to Italy in this book by Jo Anne Cammarata Sylva from Newman House Press--by that I mean that John Henry Newman is discussing that essential Mediterranean journey with Richard Hurrell Froude. Of course, Italy, including his visits to Rome and Sicily on that trip in 1833 are important sign posts on Newman's way to the Catholic Church. He would return to Rome as a seminarian preparing for the Catholic priesthood after his conversion in 1846, and then briefly on Oratory business in  1856, and finally in 1879 when he received his cardinal's hat. Sister and Dr. Brigitte Maria Hoegemann FSO wrote about Blessed John Henry Newman's visits to Rome particulary in the June 2008 Newsletter of the International Centre of Newman Friends:
Long before the Anglo-Catholic Oxford don actually saw the city, its name must have resonated with John Henry Newman, evoking not just images of the ancient city, kingdom, republic and empire, its history of three thousand years, its rise and the fall, but also its huge claim to power and its unique culture of antiquity both pagan and Christian. Rome was not only a subject of special interest to the young Oxford student, but also the visible centre of the Catholic Church from the time of the apostles. Yet the don still had the conviction, learned as a boy at Ealing, that the Christian faith in Rome had over time become so corrupt as to be the work of Antichrist. The mere name of the city aroused in Newman notions, emotions and convictions both happy and painful. He describes an Anglican looking down on the city, who remarked: “the Christian can never survey (it) without the bitterest, the most loving and the most melancholy thoughts.”[1]
In the course of time and his personal development, Newman’s attitude to Rome became simpler and more distinct. He visited the eternal city four times, in the early third, fourth, fifth and late seventh decade of his life. These are used as biographical stepping-stones to trace something of what “Rome” meant in Newman’s life, pointing out some of the main changes in his attitude to the city and the Church. When he visited Rome for the first time, in the spring of 1833, invited by friends to accompany them on a long voyage to Southern Europe, he was a young Oxford scholar, an already famous don of Oriel College, an ordained minister of the Church of England, whose preaching and teaching were influenced by his studies of the Early Christians.

Professor Sylva goes beyond Rome, of course, in this book, and looks at other crucial Italian influences in Newman's life--and pride of place must surely be Blessed Dominic Barberi, whose memorial we celebrate tomorrow! I'll let you know. Here is an interview with the author of How Italy and Her People Shaped Cardinal Newman: Italian Influences on An English Mind (a title I think should have been reversed!)

No comments:

Post a Comment