Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blessed John Henry Newman on the Liturgy

EWTN's National Catholic Register featured an article by Father Timothy Byerley about Blessed John Henry Newman and liturgical reverence last month:

The great English convert and Cardinal Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was convinced that the issue of liturgical reverence was of decisive importance in every age of the Church.

In fact, he contended that the presence or absence of this virtue distinguished true believers from fraudulent Christians.

With audacious verbiage, Newman declared, “There never was a time since the apostles’ day when the Church was not; and there never was a time but men were to be found who preferred some other way of worship to the Church’s way. These two kinds of professed Christians ever have been — Church Christians and Christians not of the Church; and it is remarkable, I say, that while, on the one hand, reverence for sacred things has been a characteristic of Church Christians on the whole, so, want of reverence has been the characteristic on the whole of Christians not of the Church.”

As Pope Benedict XVI reminded us at the beatification Mass in September, 2010, Blessed John Henry Newman spent most of his life as a pastor, first in the Church of England and then in the Catholic Church. The reverent celebration of the Liturgy would be a significant aspect of that pastoral work. Newman's commentary on Liturgy and reverence includes his common theme of real and unreal, true and false.

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