Sunday, October 13, 2019

Will Newman Be Named a "Doctor of the Church" Today?

Pope Pius IX granted Father John Henry Newman an honorary Doctorate in Divinity (D.D.) in 1850; Trinity College (his alma mater) named Doctor John Henry Newman an honorary Fellow in 1877; Pope Leo XIII named him a Cardinal Deacon in 1879; Pope Benedict XVI beatified him in 2010; Pope Francis will canonize him today at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Rome--will Pope Francis also name him a Doctor of the Church?

His famed biographer Father Ian Ker thinks that St. John Henry Newman should be added to the roster of Doctors of the Church, which now numbers 36. Who are the Doctors of the Church and how did those 36 gain that title? According to Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio writing for the Crossroads Initiative:

The title “Doctor of the Church,” unlike the popular title “Father of the Church,” is an official designation that is bestowed by the Pope in recognition of the outstanding contribution a person has made to the understanding and interpretation of the sacred Scriptures and the development of Christian doctrine.

As of 2019, the official list includes thirty-six men and women who hail from all ages of the Church’s history. Of these, four are women (Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, Hildegard of Bingen) and twenty-four are quoted in the
Catechism of the Catholic Church (Those who are not quoted are Saints Ephraem, Isidore, “the Venerable” Bede, Albert the Great, Anthony of Padua, Peter Canisius, Robert Bellarmine, John of Avila, Hildegard of Bingen, Gregory of Narek and Lawrence of Brindisi).

There are three requirements that must be fulfilled by a person in order to merit being included in the ranks of the “Doctors of the Catholic Church”:

1) holiness that is truly outstanding, even among saints;

2) depth of doctrinal insight; and

3) an extensive body of writings which the church can recom­mend as an expression of the authentic and life-giving Catholic Tradition.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada also believes that St. John Henry Newman fulfills those criteria, according to this article in The Tablet:

John Henry Newman should be considered a Doctor of the Church who ranks alongside early Christianity’s great thinkers, a senior cardinal has argued.

In a powerfully argued speech ahead of Newman’s canonisation, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and a respected theologian, said the new English saint was eligible thanks to his contribution to the development of Christian teaching. Doctors of the Church are saints who have helped deepen understanding of the faith. Just 36 men and women have been elevated to the position in Christian history.

“It seems to me that the English master ranks among such Doctors of the Faith as Athanasius and Augustine, whose lives were confessions of faith at the cost of great sacrifice, and who provided decisive insights on either its content or its act,” the 75-year-old Canadian cardinal said during a speech at the Casino Pio IV, in the Vatican gardens.

Newman will be canonised in a ceremony in St Peter’s Square tomorrow, along with four others. To mark the event the British Embassy to the Holy See hosted an event to celebrate his life. . . .

The praise for Newman was echoed by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, who told the gathering that the Victorian priest as a “modern-day Saint Augustine”. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See’s Secretary of State, added that Pope Paul VI had described Newman as an “invisible presence at Vatican II”

Please read the rest there.

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