Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Saint and the Hero: Newman's Journey

AGED Saint! far off I heard
    The praises of thy name;—
Thy deed of power, thy prudent word,
    Thy zeal's triumphant flame.

I came and saw; and, having seen,
    Weak heart, I drew offence
From thy prompt smile, thy simple mien,
    Thy lowly diligence.

The Saint's is not the Hero's praise;—
    This I have found, and learn
Nor to malign Heaven's humblest ways,
    Nor its least boon to spurn.

Bay of Biscay.
December 10, 1832.

St. John Henry Newman wrote this poem while he was an Anglican during that eventful trip to Italy and the Mediterranean. As he commented to his mother in a letter on December 11, 1832, he had been writing verse nearly every day of his voyage.

He was travelling with Richard Hurrell Froude and Froude's father as they hoped that a better climate would be beneficial to Richard, who was suffering from consumption (tuberculosis). Newman describes Froude's religious influence on him in the Apologia pro Vita Sua:

Hurrell Froude was a pupil of Keble's, formed by him, and in turn reacting upon him. I knew him first in 1826, and was in the closest and most affectionate friendship with him from about 1829 till his death in 1836. He was a man of the highest gifts,—so truly many-sided, that it would be presumptuous in me to attempt to describe him, except under those aspects in which he came before me. Nor have I here to speak of the gentleness and tenderness of nature, the playfulness, the free elastic force and graceful versatility of mind, and the patient winning considerateness in discussion, which endeared him to those to whom he opened his heart; for I am all along engaged upon matters of belief and opinion, and am introducing others into my narrative, not for their own sake, or because I love and have loved them, so much as because, and so far as, they have influenced my theological views. In this respect then, I speak of Hurrell Froude,—in his intellectual aspect,—as a man of high genius, brimful and overflowing with ideas and views, in him original, which were too many and strong even for his bodily strength, and which crowded and jostled against each other in their effort after distinct shape and expression. And he had an intellect as critical and logical as it was speculative and bold. Dying prematurely, as he did, and in the conflict and transition-state of opinion, his religious views never reached their ultimate conclusion, by the very reason of their multitude and their depth. His opinions arrested and influenced me, even when they did not gain my assent. He professed openly his admiration of the Church of Rome, and his hatred of the Reformers. He delighted in the notion of an hierarchical system, or sacerdotal power, and of full ecclesiastical liberty. He felt scorn of the maxim, "The Bible and the Bible only is the religion of Protestants;" and he gloried in accepting Tradition as a main instrument of religious teaching. He had a high severe idea of the intrinsic excellence of Virginity; and he considered the Blessed Virgin its great Pattern. He delighted in thinking of the Saints; he had a vivid appreciation of the idea of sanctity, its possibility and its heights; and he was more than inclined to believe a large amount of miraculous interference as occurring in the early and middle ages. He embraced the principle of penance and mortification. He had a deep devotion to the Real Presence, in which he had a firm faith. He was powerfully drawn to the Medieval Church, but not to the Primitive.

Newman also comments on the verses he wrote during this journey:

We set out in December, 1832. It was during this expedition that my Verses which are in the Lyra Apostolica were written;—a few indeed before it, but not more than one or two of them after it. Exchanging, as I was, definite Tutorial work, and the literary quiet and pleasant friendships of the last six years, for foreign countries and an unknown future, I naturally was led to think that some inward changes, as well as some larger course of action, were coming upon me. At Whitchurch, while waiting for the down mail to Falmouth, I wrote the verses about my Guardian Angel, which begin with these words: "Are these the tracks of some unearthly Friend?" and which go on to speak of "the vision" which haunted me:—that vision is more or less brought out in the whole series of these compositions.

Here is that poem about his Guardian Angel:

ARE these the tracks of some unearthly Friend,
His foot prints, and his vesture-skirts of light,
Who, as I talk with men, conforms aright
Their sympathetic words, or deeds that blend
With my hid thought;—or stoops him to attend
My doubtful-pleading grief;—or blunts the might
Of ill I see not;—or in dreams of night
Figures the scope, in which what is will end?
Were I Christ's own, then fitly might I call
That vision real; for to the thoughtful mind
That walks with Him, He half unveils His face;
But, when on earth-stain'd souls such tokens fall,
These dare not claim as theirs what there they find,
Yet, not all hopeless, eye His boundless grace.

December 8, 1832.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Triduum of the Dead

Tomorrow is Halloween--All Hallow's Eve--and the Liturgical Arts Journal has a post from the publisher of a prayer booklet for the day and evening of the beginning of these days of special remembrance for the faithful departed:

Halloween is a liturgical holiday. Anyone would be forgiven for not knowing that, because almost nobody keeps it that way anymore—to such a degree that some Catholics are of the opinion that we should wash our hands of the whole business. But Halloween has always belonged properly to the Church, and as such it should be made a key strategic objective in a cultural Reconquista. To help illustrate why, I’d like to walk through the day of October 31st, not as the world celebrates it now, but as the Latin Church celebrated it for centuries, listed in the Martyrology as Vigilia omnium Sanctorum.

The Thirty-first of October would traditionally have begun with the office of Matins before sunrise. Traditionally, weekdays in October Matins featured readings from the Books of Maccabees. But on the 31st, the readings switch to Luke 6 and Ambrose’s homily on the Beatitudes. These lessons appointed for Halloween come from the common “Of Many Martyrs”, and we will see this theme of the Beatitudes reappear not only later in the vigil day but also in the feast of All Saints to follow. . . .

Please read the rest there.

The booklet I referred to, published by Ancilla Press, helps restore Halloween as a liturgical holiday:

Traditional Catholic devotions for Halloween? Yes, you read that right! As neopagans try to co-opt this vigil day for themselves, we’re taking All Hallows Eve back for Holy Mother Church with this fantastic collection. It features liturgical propers of the Mass and the Divine Office for All Hallows Eve, including the full version of "Black Vespers", an old Breton tradition for the afternoon of Halloween. Combat the occult worship of the secular holiday with three powerful prayers against evil spirits, witchcraft, and spells. And transform your childrens' Halloween or All Saints trick-or-treating from mere indulgence to a spiritual work of mercy with the venerable practice of "souling"—praying for the dear departed of benefactors. Combining Celtic, English, and Latin traditions, this unique booklet provides adults and children with an unashamedly Catholic and  historically authentic way to celebrate the beginning of Hallowtide.

* Traditional Mass propers for All Hallows Eve
* Black Vespers (Vespers of the Dead)

* Little Vespers of All Saints
St. Patrick's Breastplate
* Long form of the St. Michael Prayer by Pope Leo XIII
* A Deliverance Prayer
* Prayer for Those for Whom We are Bound to Pray
* Prayer for Those who Repose in a Cemetery
* Chaplet for the Souls in Purgatory, adapted for Halloween Souling

* Traditional Soul-Cake Recipe
* Cheshire Souling Song (music and lyrics)
* Another Souling Song (lyrics)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Decollation of Sir Walter Raleigh

The History website tells us why Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded on October 29, 1618:

He was a celebrated soldier, a hero on land and sea. He was responsible for the first ever English colonies in the New World. And he wrote poetry that ranks with some of the finest in early modern England. Yet at the age of 54 Sir Walter Raleigh was executed for treason. What caused the downfall of this beloved Renaissance courtier?

For a court favorite, Raleigh actually spent quite a bit of his life locked up in the Tower of London. The first time, in 1592, it was because he’d secretly married his lover, Elizabeth ‘Bess’ Throckmorton, a lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth I. Bess was already pregnant, which explained both the marriage and the secrecy. Enraged by their plotting behind her back, Elizabeth dismissed Bess and imprisoned both of them in the Tower.

Raleigh did regain the Queen's favor eventually and then explored the New World, founding the Roanoke colony in Virginia, and returning from El Dorado (Guyana) promising more gold every time he visited.

While he remained in Elizabeth’s favor until her death, James VI’s of Scotland’s accession to the English throne as James I meant that Raleigh’s fortunes plummeted. This was largely because James was attempting a diplomatic rapprochement with Spain, England’s longstanding enemy, against whom Raleigh had been a formidable foe. England’s funds were depleted by their endless struggles against Spain’s richer, mightier forces, so James decided it was time to end the rivalry. . . .

So Raleigh was tried in a sham trial--never allowed to face his accuser and question him--and imprisoned again:

But James, in his determination to get on Spain’s good side, locked up Raleigh once again in the Tower—this time for 13 years. . . .

It was likely Raleigh’s promises of gold that got him released from prison before his sentence could be carried out: in 1617 he was pardoned so that he could once again travel to Guyana in search of El Dorado. But that quest would ultimately prove fatal: during the expedition a detachment of Raleigh’s men (against his orders) attacked a Spanish outpost, an action that directly contravened the conditions of his pardon.

Because Raleigh's men, led by Lawrence Keymis, had violated the 1604 Treaty of London, the Spanish Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Diego Sarmiento de Acuña, Count of Gondomar, demanded Raleigh's execution (Keymis having committed suicide--Raleigh's namesake eldest son had died in the attack) and James I complied. Raleigh was executed at Whitechapel in London.

In addition to being an explorer, soldier, and courtier, Raleigh was a poet:

WHAT is our life? The play of passion.
Our mirth? The music of division:
Our mothers’ wombs the tiring-houses be,
Where we are dressed for life’s short comedy.
The earth the stage; Heaven the spectator is,
Who sits and views whosoe’er doth act amiss.
The graves which hide us from the scorching sun
Are like drawn curtains when the play is done.
Thus playing post we to our latest rest,
And then we die in earnest, not in jest.

He also wrote The History of the World, in which he was rather critical of Henry VIII:

NOW for King Henry VIII. If all the pictures and patterns of a merciless prince were lost in the world, they might all again be painted to the life out of the story of this king. For how many servants did he advance in haste (but for what virtue no man could suspect), and with the change of his fancy ruined again; no man knowing for what offence! To how many others of more desert gave he abundant flowers from whence to gather honey, and in the end of harvest burnt them in the hive! How many wives did he cut off and cast off, as his fancy and affection changed! How many princes of the blood (whereof some of them for age could hardly crawl towards the block), with a world of others of all degrees (of whom our common chronicles have kept the account), did he execute! Yea, in his very deathbed, and when he was at the point to have given his account to God for the abundance of blood already spilt, he imprisoned the Duke of Norfolk the father, and executed the Earl of Surrey the son; the one, whose deservings he knew not how to value, having never omitted anything that concerned his own honour and the king’s service; the other, never having committed anything worthy of his least displeasure: the one exceeding valiant and advised; the other no less valiant than learned, and of excellent hope. But besides the sorrows which he heaped upon the fatherless and widows at home, and besides the vain enterprises abroad, wherein it is thought that he consumed more treasure than all our victorious kings did in their several conquests; what causeless and cruel wars did he make upon his own nephew King James the Fifth! What laws and wills did he devise, to establish this kingdom in his own issues! using his sharpest weapons to cut off and cut down those branches, which sprang from the same root that himself did. And in the end (notwithstanding these his so many irreligious provisions) it pleased God to take away all his own, without increase; though, for themselves in their several kinds, all princes of eminent virtue.

Monday, October 28, 2019

A Hidden Head of St. Christopher

When old Catholic churches that are now Church of England parishes are renovated and restored, some surprises may occur. The parish church of St. Mary's in Lydiard Tregoze near Swindon in Wiltshire is restoring the wall paintings, etc. According to the BBC, they found something unexpected: a hidden head of St. Christopher:

Paul Gardner, from the project, described the find as "very exciting".

He said a wall plaque was removed which revealed an "amazing niche" that was "very ornate for its time" and "stuffed full of rubble and muddy lime-wash".

"The workers pulled a piece of innocuous rubble out and could see a little face staring back at them. It revealed a head thought to be that of a statue of St Christopher."

Mr Gardner thinks it was hidden by a stonemason ordered to destroy religious artefacts as part of the Reformation era which saw churches vandalised and desecrated.

"They must have been upset to have to break these things up," he said.

The church's website has this note on the restoration project:

A Grade I listed building, St. Mary’s church is a unique and important part of our national heritage. Now, a major conservation project – the first in a century – will preserve its beauty for future generations. The St Mary’s Lydiard Tregoze Conservation Project aims to renovate and conserve the church, to tell its story to a wider audience and to develop its potential as an inspiring educational resource.

Read more here. The church also has a Tudor connection as Henry VII's maternal grandmother, Margaret Beauchamp was first married to Sir Oliver St. John, a great benefactor to the church. By her second marriage to John Beaufort, the 1st Duke of Somerset, she was the mother of Margaret Beaufort, who would marry (her second marriage) Edmund Tudor, the 1st Earl of Richmond and king Henry VI's half-brother.

Saint Christopher was a very popular saint--and still is, even though his feast is not on the Roman Calendar--as the patron saint of travelers. He was invoked as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers starting in the 14th century as the bubonic plague spread in Europe:

The existence of a martyr St. Christopher cannot be denied, as was sufficiently shown by the Jesuit Nicholas Serarius, in his treatise on litanies, "Litaneutici" (Cologne, 1609), and by Molanus in his history of sacred pictures, "De picturis et imaginibus sacris" (Louvain, 1570). In a small church dedicated to the martyr St. Christopher, the body of St. Remigius of Reims was buried, 532 (Acta SS., 1 Oct., 161). St. Gregory the Great (d. 604) speaks of a monastery of St. Christopher (Epp., x., 33). The Mozarabic Breviary and Missal, ascribed to St. Isidore of Seville (d. 636), contains a special office in his honour. In 1386 a brotherhood was founded under the patronage of St. Christopher in Tyrol and Vorarlberg, to guide travellers over the Arlberg. In 1517, a St. Christopher temperance society existed in Carinthia, Styria, in Saxony, and at Munich. Great veneration was shown to the saint in Venice, along the shores of the Danube, the Rhine, and other rivers where floods or ice-jams caused frequent damage. The oldest picture of the saint, in the monastery on the Mount Sinai dates from the time of Justinian (527-65). Coins with his image were cast at Würzburg, in Würtemberg, and in Bohemia.

His statues were placed at the entrances of churches and dwellings, and frequently at bridges; these statues and his pictures often bore the inscription: "Whoever shall behold the image of St. Christopher shall not faint or fall on that day." The saint, who is one of the fourteen holy helpers, has been chosen as patron by Baden, by Brunswick, and by Mecklenburg, and several other cities, as well as by bookbinders, gardeners, mariners, etc. He is invoked against lightning, storms, epilepsy, pestilence, etc. His feast is kept on 25 July; among the Greeks, on 9 March; and his emblems are the tree, the Christ Child, and a staff. St. Christopher's Island (commonly called St. Kitts), lies 46 miles west of Antigua in the Lesser Antilles.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church he is honored as Saint Christopher of Lycea on May 9th.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Frederick Apthorp Paley and Father John Morris

I posted yesterday the story of Father John Morris, SJ, a convert to Catholicism influenced by Newman and other Anglicans becoming Catholic. In that story there was a note about Frederick Apthorp Paley (F.A. Paley) having to leave Cambridge because it was supposed that he had influenced Morris--rather like the Pearson Integrated Humanities Program at the University of Kansas being disbanded because students became Catholic!

Here's Paley's notice in the Catholic Encyclopedia. I find the parts I've put in bold type rather poignant:

Classical scholar, born at Easingwold near York, 14 Jan., 1815; died at Bournemouth, 9 December, 1888, son of the Rev. Edmund Paley and grandson of William Paley who wrote "Evidences of Christianity". He was educated at Shrewsbury School and St. John's College, Cambridge, where he taught and continued to study for eight years after his B. A. degree (1838). His studies were mainly classical; but, despite an incapacity for mathematics, he was interested in mechanics and in natural science and was an enthusiastic ecclesiological antiquary. In 1846, being well known as a Cambridge sympathizer with the Oxford Movement, he was expelled from residence in St. John's College, on suspicion of having influenced one of his pupils to become a Catholic. He was himself received into the Church in this year. For the next fourteen years he supported himself as a private tutor in several Catholic families successively (Talbot, Throckmorton, Kenelm Digby) and by his pen. From 1860, when Tests began to be relaxed, he again lived at Cambridge until 1874; from 1874 to 1877 he was professor of classical literature at the abortive Catholic University College at Kensington. From 1877 till his death he continued to write assiduously. But the interruption of his university career, the want of a settled competence, and his banishment from the place, the society, and the learned facilities which might best have improved his talents and industry, had the effect of rendering nearly all his voluminous production ephemeral. His many classical editions which had a great and not undeserved vogue and influence in their day became soon obsolete and marked no decisive epoch in classical philology. Yet his work on Euripides and Aeschylus in particular may still be consulted with profit, at least as a monument of protest against the Victorian mock-archaic convention in translations from Greek poetry; and it is easy to underrate now the merits of work which met a great demand for school and college use, and itself did much to evoke the more scientific scholarship which has superseded it.

His works number more than fifty volumes, besides numerous magazine articles and reviews contributed to the "American Catholic Quarterly", "Edinburgh Review", "Journal of Philology" etc. The first of his classical publications, and the one which established his reputation as a scholar, was the text of Aeschylus (18447); during the next forty years he edited with the commentaries, Propertius (1853); Ovid's "Fasti" (1854); Aeschylus (1855); Euripides (1857); Hesiod (1861); Theocritus (1863); Homer's "Iliad" (1866); Martial (1868); Pindar (transl. with notes) 1868; Aristophanes' "Peace" (1873); Plato's "Philebus" (1883); "Private Orations of Demosthenes" (l874); Plato's " Thaetetus " (1875); Aristophanes' "Acharnians" (1876); Medicean Scholia of Aeschylus" (1878); Aristophanes' "Frogs " (1878); Sophocles (1880). To these must be added many critical inquiries, especially on the Homeric question, and most of his Commentaries ran through three or four editions, of which Marindin remarks that "every new edition was practically a new work". He found leisure to issue books on architecture; his "Manual of Gothic Mouldings", first published in 1845, went into a fifth edition in l891.

That was that writer's view in the early 20th century. I would hope that Paley, like Newman, would have rejoiced in his spiritual consolations of being part of the one, true fold of Christ. He may have been very happy with all his projects and his achievement in reading those great works, translating, editing, and publishing the results! Cambridge University Press still has his Euripides in print: perhaps Paley's work isn't as obsolete as his biographer supposed.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

"Render to God the things that are God's."

John Hungerford Pollen, SJ appropriately wrote the biography of Father John Morris, SJ, for the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Canon, afterwards Jesuit, F.S.A., b. in India, 4 July, 1826; d. at Wimbledon, 22 Oct., 1893, son of John Carnac Morris, F.R.S. He was educated partly in India, partly at Harrow, partly in reading for Cambridge with Dean Alford, the New Testament scholar. Under him a great change passed over Morris's ideas. Giving up the thought of taking the law as his profession, he became enthusiastic for ecclesiastical antiquities, took a deep interest in the Tractarian movement, and resolved to become an Anglican clergyman. Going up to Trinity College, Cambridge, in October, 1845, he became the friend, and then the pupil of F.A. Paley, grandson of the well-known divine, and already one of the leading Greek scholars of the university. 

The conversion of Newman, followed by the receptions of so many others, deeply impressed him, and he was reconciled by Bishop Wareing, 20 May, 1846. A storm followed, beginning in the "Times", which made itself felt even in Parliament. Paley had to leave Cambridge (which led to his subsequently joining the Church), while Morris was practically cast off by his family. 

He then went to the English College, Rome, under Dr. Grant, and was there during the revolution of 1848. Soon after the restoration of the English Hierarchy in 1850, he was made Canon of Northampton, and then returned as vice-rector to Rome (1853-1856). He now became postulator for the English Martyrs, whose cause owes perhaps more to him than to any other person. Returning to England, he took part in the third Synod of Westminster, became secretary to Cardinal Wiseman, whom he affectionately nursed on his death-bed, and served under Archbishop Manning, until he became a Jesuit in 1867. 

He taught Church History from 1873-1874; he was Rector of St. Ignatius' College, Malta, from 1877-78; master of novices in 1879; and director of the writers of the English Province in 1888. Always remarkable for his ardent affectionate nature, his untiring energy and earnest holiness of life, he was also an excellent scholar, an eloquent speaker, and a high-principled leader of souls. 

His death befitted his life; for he expired in the pulpit, uttering the words, "Render to God the things that are God's." 

His principal works are: "The Life and Martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket" (London, 1859 and 1885); "The Life of Father John Gerard" (London, 1881), translated into French, German, Spanish, and Polish; "Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers" (3 vols., London, 1872-1877); "Letter-books of Sir Amias Poulet" (London, 1874); and many contributions to "The Month", "The Dublin Review", "Archæologia", and other periodicals.

He is buried in the Gap Road Cemetery in Wimbledon.

I say it's appropriate that Pollen wrote about Morris because he had written a book-length biography of his Jesuit colleague, including his letters. Pollen describes the influence of St. John Henry Newman's conversion on Morris in 1845 when he just arrived at Cambridge:

John Morris went up to Cambridge in October, 1845, carrying with him the high expectations which Alford had formed of his future progress, and the proud hopes which his father entertained of his distinguishing himself at the University. His stay there was destined to be brief, though pregnant with important issues. It resulted in a cruel disappointment to his father, while it permanently affected his tutor’s position. As regards himself, it ended in his embracing the true faith, and receiving the further great grace of a vocation to the religious life. Before he had time to settle down in his rooms in the New Court at Trinity, the whole country was talking of John Henry Newman’s reception into the Catholic Church. Thousands of Anglicans besides Morris felt that their own adherence to the body in which they were born might soon become a point for serious consideration, and they set about examining anew the grounds of safety for their own position. In Morris’s case, the Anglican theory of the Church, to which he had hitherto clung, began slowly to lose its force with him. At first, indeed, with inborn loyalty, he tried his best to preserve his confidence in the beliefs which he had so ingenuously accepted. His state of mind at that time reveals itself in a series of letters, which he wrote from Cambridge, to Mr. Ambrose Lisle Phillipps, and which show that he held out as long as he conscientiously could, against the ever deepening conviction, that the Roman Church was after all the one and only Church.

In chapter 8 of that biography, Pollen describes Morris's efforts to promote the causes of the English Catholic martyrs of the Reformation era, beginning with this description of their status before Morris (and he) worked so diligently to document their sufferings:

As Father Morris’s conversion and religious vocation were the most important events, of which we are cognizant in his interior life, so the chief external work of his life is connected with his efforts in behalf of the English Martyrs. In this cause he was engaged for forty years, not continuously indeed, but with interruptions due to the delays of others or to the pressure of conflicting occupations, not to any want of perseverance on his part. Fifty years ago the names and the fame of the splendid line of witnesses to England’s lost Faith were in danger of falling into hopeless oblivion. They had already faded away into mere distant, indistinct memories, the long but inevitable silence of ecclesiastical authority concerning them having given rise to a feeling of uncertainty in the minds of Catholics. If the sufferers had really died for the Faith, why did they not receive the honour due to martyrs? Could it possibly be that there was something more than false accusation in the treason with which they had been charged by their persecutors ? Hence had arisen timidity in speaking and writing of them, a timidity which was natural in those who had so long languished under a cruel proscription, and were now looking for fairer treatment from their former oppressors.

St. John Henry Newman, pray for us!
Holy Catholic Martyrs of England and Wales, pray for us!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Confessions, Surprises, and Apologies

On Saturday evening last, Jessica Hooten Wilson, Associate Professor at John Brown University, presented "'Maddened Beauty': Imagination as Knowing in C. S. Lewis" at the Inklings Festival for Eighth Day Institute. It was an interesting lecture, but did not seem to fulfill all the promise of the abstract:

All over C. S. Lewis’s work (fictional and nonfiction), Lewis speaks of imagination as a way of knowing. We’ll consider The Abolition of Man, Experiment in Criticism, The Discarded Image, Reflections on the Psalms, and even Lewis’ biography Surprised by Joy to understand what this means for us. How might poetry and Norse mythology offer knowledge that arguments will never grasp? What’s the difference between irrational, rational, and transrational? Lewis compels us to cultivate our imaginations not as a path of escape but as a deeper road to understanding reality and as a higher road towards the knowledge, ultimately, of God.

We really did not "consider The Abolition of Man, Experiment in Criticism, The Discarded Image, Reflections on the Psalms", although she mentioned the Experiment in Criticism and The Discarded Image. Her focus was Surprised by Joy and how to understand the role of imagination in Lewis' conversion and his conversion story. She began by citing an important hint in the Preface to Surprised by Joy: "The book aims at telling the story of my conversion and is not a general autobiography, still less "Confessions" like those of St. Augustine or Rousseau." She noted that if Lewis told us that we should know what not to expect in Lewis' book.

Then she read the beginning of Rousseau's Confessions:

I have entered upon a performance which is without example, whose accomplishment will have no imitator. I mean to present my fellow-mortals with a man in all the integrity of nature; and this man shall be myself.

I know my heart, and have studied mankind; I am not made like any one I have been acquainted with, perhaps like no one in existence; if not better, I at least claim originality, and whether Nature did wisely in breaking the mould with which she formed me, can only be determined after having read this work.

Whenever the last trumpet shall sound, I will present myself before the sovereign judge with this book in my hand, and loudly proclaim, thus have I acted; these were my thoughts; such was I. With equal freedom and veracity have I related what was laudable or wicked, I have concealed no crimes, added no virtues; and if I have sometimes introduced superfluous ornament, it was merely to occupy a void occasioned by defect of memory: I may have supposed that certain, which I only knew to be probable, but have never asserted as truth, a conscious falsehood. Such as I was, I have declared myself; sometimes vile and despicable, at others, virtuous, generous and sublime; even as thou hast read my inmost soul: Power eternal! assemble round thy throne an innumerable throng of my fellow-mortals, let them listen to my confessions, let them blush at my depravity, let them tremble at my sufferings; let each in his turn expose with equal sincerity the failings, the wanderings of his heart, and, if he dare, aver, I was better than that man.

Contrasting the beginning of St. Augustine's Confessions:

Great art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Thy power, and Thy wisdom infinite. And Thee would man praise; man, but a particle of Thy creation; man, that bears about him his mortality, the witness of his sin, the witness that Thou resistest the proud: yet would man praise Thee; he, but a particle of Thy creation. Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praise; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee. Grant me, Lord, to know and understand which is first, to call on Thee or to praise Thee? and, again, to know Thee or to call on Thee? for who can call on Thee, not knowing Thee? for he that knoweth Thee not, may call on Thee as other than Thou art. Or, is it rather, that we call on Thee that we may know Thee? but how shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? or how shall they believe without a preacher? and they that seek the Lord shall praise Him: for they that seek shall find Him, and they that find shall praise Him. I will seek Thee, Lord, by calling on Thee; and will call on Thee, believing in Thee; for to us hast Thou been preached. My faith, Lord, shall call on Thee, which Thou hast given me, wherewith Thou hast inspired me, through the Incarnation of Thy Son, through the ministry of the Preacher.

And how shall I call upon my God, my God and Lord, since, when I call for Him, I shall be calling Him to myself? and what room is there within me, whither my God can come into me? whither can God come into me, God who made heaven and earth? is there, indeed, O Lord my God, aught in me that can contain Thee? do then heaven and earth, which Thou hast made, and wherein Thou hast made me, contain Thee? or, because nothing which exists could exist without Thee, doth therefore whatever exists contain Thee? Since, then, I too exist, why do I seek that Thou shouldest enter into me, who were not, wert Thou not in me? Why? because I am not gone down in hell, and yet Thou art there also. For if I go down into hell, Thou art there. I could not be then, O my God, could not be at all, wert Thou not in me; or, rather, unless I were in Thee, of whom are all things, by whom are all things, in whom are all things? Even so, Lord, even so. Whither do I call Thee, since I am in Thee? or whence canst Thou enter into me? for whither can I go beyond heaven and earth, that thence my God should come into me, who hath said, I fill the heaven and the earth.

Tracing Lewis' encounters with "Joy" in his childhood imagination, Hooten Wilson developed the theme of that longing for "Joy" that Lewis tried to describe and hold on to--the yearning, aching, desire for something beyond himself:

The first is itself the memory of a memory. As I stood beside a flowering currant bush on a summer day there suddenly arose in me without warning, and as if from a depth not of years but of centuries, the memory of that earlier morning at the Old House when my brother had brought his toy garden into the nursery. It is difficult to find words strong enough for the sensation which came over me; Milton's "enormous bliss" of Eden (giving the full, ancient meaning to "enormous") comes somewhere near it. It was a sensation, of course, of desire; but desire for what? not, certainly, for a biscuit-tin filled with moss, nor even (though that came into it) for my own past. [Greek: Ioulian pothô] --and before I knew what I desired, the desire itself was gone, the whole glimpse withdrawn, the world turned commonplace again, or only stirred by a longing for the longing that had just ceased. It had taken only a moment of time; and in a certain sense everything else that had ever happened to me was insignificant in comparison.

The second glimpse came through Squirrel Nutkin; through it only, though I loved all the Beatrix Potter books. But the rest of them were merely entertaining; it administered the shock, it was a trouble. It troubled me with what I can only describe as the Idea of Autumn. It sounds fantastic to say that one can be enamoured of a season, but that is something like what happened; and, as before, the experience was one of intense desire. And one went back to the book, not to gratify the desire (that was impossible--how can one possess Autumn?) but to re-awake it. And in this experience also there was the same surprise and the same sense of incalculable importance. It was something quite different from ordinary life and even from ordinary pleasure; something, as they would now say, "in another dimension".

The third glimpse came through poetry. I had become fond of Longfellow's
Saga of King Olaf: fond of it in a casual, shallow way for its story and its vigorous rhythms. But then, and quite different from such pleasures, and like a voice from far more distant regions, there came a moment when I idly turned the pages of the book and found the unrhymed translation of Tegner's Drapa and read

I heard a voice that cried,
Balder the beautiful
Is dead, is dead----

I knew nothing about Balder; but instantly I was uplifted into huge regions of northern sky, I desired with almost sickening intensity something never to be described (except that it is cold, spacious, severe, pale, and remote) and then, as in the other examples, found myself at the very same moment already falling out of that desire and wishing I were back in it.

Then Lewis describes how that joy left him through bad education and poor choices for achievement (reading the right books, knowing the right people, etc) and how he rediscovered it when he began to read Norse mythology again, drawn by Arthur Rackham's illustrations for Siegfried and the Twilight of the Gods.

But I admit that when she started talking about Lewis' childhood experiences of Joy, I thought of the beginning of another story of a conversion, Newman's Apologia pro Vita Sua--also a work unlike either Rousseau's or Augustine's Confessions or Lewis' Surprised by Joy--but one that begins in imagination:

IT may easily be conceived how great a trial it is to me to write the following history of myself; but I must not shrink from the task. The words, "Secretum meum mihi," keep ringing in my ears; but as men draw towards their end, they care less for disclosures. Nor is it the least part of my trial, to anticipate that, upon first reading what I have written, my friends may consider much in it irrelevant to my purpose; yet I cannot help thinking that, viewed as a whole, it will effect what I propose to myself in giving it to the public.

I was brought up from a child to take great delight in reading the Bible; but I had no formed religious convictions till I was fifteen. Of course I had a perfect knowledge of my Catechism.

After I was grown up, I put on paper my recollections of the thoughts and feelings on religious subjects, which I had at the time that I was a child and a boy,—such as had remained on my mind with sufficient prominence to make me then consider them worth recording. Out of these, written in the Long Vacation of 1820, and transcribed with additions in 1823, I select two, which are at once the most definite among them, and also have a bearing on my later convictions.

1. "I used to wish the Arabian Tales were true: my imagination ran on unknown influences, on magical powers, and talismans … I thought life might be a dream, or I an Angel, and all this world a deception, my fellow-angels by a playful device concealing themselves from me, and deceiving me with the semblance of a material world."

Again: "Reading in the Spring of 1816 a sentence from [Dr. Watts's] Remnants of Time, entitled 'the Saints unknown to the world,' to the effect, that 'there is nothing in their figure or countenance to distinguish them,' &c. &c., I supposed he spoke of Angels who lived in the world, as it were disguised."

2. The other remark is this: "I was very superstitious, and for some time previous to my conversion" [when I was fifteen] "used constantly to cross myself on going into the dark."

Newman displays some of the same diffidence that Lewis does about disclosing so much about himself and risking irrelevance. But for both Newman and Lewis, those childhood glimpses of something beyond themselves lasted for a lifetime. Newman's recollections of fairy stories and a dream world, and angels in disguise in the real world did have a bearing on his later convictions, so much so that they inform his chosen epitaph: Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem (From shadows and images into truth).

Jessica Hooten Wilson is an elegant and winsome presenter; it was good of her to fill in when the scheduled speaker could not come because of his wife's illness; I look forward to her participation in the 2020 Symposium: For I Am Holy: The Command to Be Like God!!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Father George Rutler on Saint John Henry Newman

Father George Rutler, who presented at a Newman School of Catholic Thought at the Newman Center in 1995 (the 150th anniversary of Saint John Henry Newman's becoming a Catholic), wraps up my Octave of celebration on Newman's canonization with this message:

Last week’s canonization of Saint John Henry Newman will have universal influences that I trust will include our own parish. It should be remembered that his achievements, for the most part, hardly seemed successful at the time. He might even be called a patron saint of the disappointed.

Newman was so nervous in his university examinations that he got a “Lower Second Class” degree. He played the violin to relax, but the chords of his mind were taut, and he later suffered a nervous breakdown. He failed to attain a professorship of Moral Philosophy. Many Oxford dons derided his views, and eventually he resigned.

When Newman became a Catholic, former friends thought he had wasted his talents, and some Catholics questioned his free spirit and innovative genius. Not least among these were bishops. In Ireland, Archbishop Cullen impeded his foundation of a Catholic University there and opposed making Newman a bishop. In England, Cardinal Manning, a great man in some ways but not innocent of envy, regularly thwarted numerous projects. The English-language secretary of Pope Pius IX prejudiced the pope’s opinion of Newman, and with no little subtlety, Manning tried to prevent the new Pope Leo XIII from vindicating him with a Cardinal’s red hat.

Newman left a legacy of 32 volumes of letters, and in some of them he confided his frustrations. But his amiability and patience won over many. In old age, Newman’s Oxford college made him an honorary Fellow, and at Newman’s death Manning himself said, “The history of our land will hereafter record the name of John Henry Newman among the greatest of our people, as a confessor for the faith, a great teacher of men, a preacher of justice, of piety, and of compassion.”

Newman kept his balance by a steady faith in the uncompromising truth of Christ. This boldly defied the pastiche of true Christianity that was spreading in his time and which he prophesied would become endemic in our own age:

"What is the world's religion now? It has taken the brighter side of the gospel, its tidings of comfort, its precepts of love; all darker, deeper views of man's condition and prospects being comparatively forgotten. This is the religion natural to a civilized age and well has Satan dressed and completed it into an idol of the Truth. . . . Our manners are courteous; we avoid giving pain or offence . . . religion is pleasant and easy; benevolence is the chief virtue; intolerance, bigotry, excess of zeal are the first of sins. . . . [I]t includes no true fear of God, no fervent zeal for His honour, no deep hatred of sin, no horror at the sight of sinners, no indignation and compassion at the blasphemy of heretics, no jealous adherence to doctrinal truth . . .—and therefore is neither hot nor cold, but (in Scripture language) lukewarm.” (Sermon 24. Religion of the Day)

That sort of “Catholic-Lite” does not make saints, and Newman proved that.

In 2011, my late husband Mark and I visited the Church of Our Saviour in New York City, then under Father Rutler's care, and I took the picture of the first shrine to then Blessed John Henry Newman in the USA, created and installed with the typical Rutler style and finesse. Father Rutler has been pastor at the Church of Saint Michael the Archangel in Hell's Kitchen since 2013 and on the church's website you can see a photograph of the bust of St. John Henry Newman created by Christopher Alles:

The image of the newly canonized Saint John Henry Newman, which will be blessed at the 10 o'clock Mass on Sunday, October 13, is the work of our parishioner Christopher Alles, who also sculpted the angels atop the new baldacchino and has completed other artistic projects for the parish. He took inspiration from classic photos of John Henry Newman, along with reference to previous artists, to complete his portrait of this great Saint. The sculpture is deliberately designed to increase the sense of presence, with one hand holding a book and the figure paused in contemplation. The piece was cast in bronze by Independent Casting in Philadelphia. Mr. Alles is a New York-based artist who specializes in sacred art and architectural sculpture. We are grateful to friends of the parish who have so kindly and generously donated funds for the completion of this work, and to Christopher for his time and labor in providing this artistic and devotional addition to our church. He and his wife Emma are expecting their first child in December.

More views of the bust are available at the artist's website.

O God, who bestowed on the Priest Saint John Henry Newman the grace to follow your kindly light and find peace in your Church; graciously grant that, through his intercession and example, we may be led out of shadows and images into the fulness of your truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

St. John Henry Newman, pray for us!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

A Pause for Lewis and Eighth Day Books

As I continue to observe my personal Octave of celebrating Newman's canonization, I make brief pause to consider one of the leaders of another Oxford Movement, C.S. Lewis. This evening, the Eighth Day Institute, as one of the events of its Fifth Annual Inklings Festival presents Jessica Hooten Wilson, Associate Professor at John Brown University, lecturing on "'Maddened Beauty': Imagination as Knowing in C. S. Lewis."

The abstract:

All over C. S. Lewis’s work (fictional and nonfiction), Lewis speaks of imagination as a way of knowing. We’ll consider The Abolition of Man, Experiment in Criticism, The Discarded Image, Reflections on the Psalms, and even Lewis’ biography Surprised by Joy to understand what this means for us. How might poetry and Norse mythology offer knowledge that arguments will never grasp? What’s the difference between irrational, rational, and transrational? Lewis compels us to cultivate our imaginations not as a path of escape but as a deeper road to understanding reality and as a higher road towards the knowledge, ultimately, of God.

After her presentation, we'll proceed to celebrate Eighth Day Book's 31st (THIRTY-FIRST) anniversary at the book store. I'm bringing cupcakes and congratulations!

Of course, there's a Newman connection here, for he also "speaks of imagination as a way of knowing". For example, this famous quotation from the Tamworth Reading Room, his argument against Sir Robert Peel's library without any books of "controversial divinity":

The heart is commonly reached, not through the reason, but through the imagination, by means of direct impressions, by the testimony of facts and events, by history, by description. Persons influence us, voices melt us, looks subdue us, deeds inflame us. Many a man will live and die upon a dogma: no man will be a martyr for a conclusion. A conclusion is but an opinion; it is not a thing which is, but which we are "certain about;" and it has often been observed, that we never say we are certain without implying that we doubt. To say that a thing must be, is to admit that it may not be. No one, I say, will die for his own calculations; he dies for realities. This is why a literary religion is so little to be depended upon; it looks well in fair weather, but its doctrines are opinions, and, when called to suffer for them, it slips them between its folios, or burns them at its hearth.

Newman specialists like Gerard Magill, Bernard Dive, and Ian Ker have authored studies of Newman and the religious imagination through the years (Magill focused on religious morality). This article from America Magazine summarizes various aspects of Newman's view of imagination as a way of knowing. As Father Robert P. Imbelli writes, Newman wants us to know Jesus Christ above all:

At the heart of Newman’s religious faith and theological vision stands the person of Jesus Christ. Here human yearning finds its consummation, and “all the providences of God” cohere around this vivifying center. Thus Incarnation is the central idea or principle that grounds and sustains Christian life and imagination. Moreover, Cardinal Newman views Incarnation not merely as remedy for sin, but as fulfillment of God’s creative and sanctifying purpose. In this he consciously resembles his great Oxford predecessor Duns Scotus.

But in Newman’s thought, the idea of Incarnation is no impersonal notion. It has all the concrete particularity of its historical embodiment in Jesus Christ. In Jesus men and women encounter the Word of God in person and are called to genuine newness of life.

O God, who bestowed on the Priest Saint John Henry Newman the grace to follow your kindly light and find peace in your Church; graciously grant that, through his intercession and example, we may be led out of shadows and images into the fulness of your truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

St. John Henry Newman, pray for us!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Newman the Briton: Saint John Henry Newman

Note that The Catholic Herald will have another issue highlighting Newman's canonization, reactions to it, and the celebrations thereof. In the meantime, The National Catholic Register has an article by K.V. Turley, "John Henry Newman: A New Saint and a New Joy for England and Beyond".

He summarizes HRH Prince Charles's stunning praise of St. John Newman and then quotes the British Ambassador to the Holy See, Sally Axworthy:

“This is the first British saint to be canonized in 40 years,” she said, “so we are celebrating this weekend.” She went on to say that the canonization marks “a high point in the relationship between the U.K. and the Holy See.”

The U.K. delegation for the canonization was led by Prince Charles and included two cabinet ministers, the special envoy for freedom of religion or belief, the lord mayor of Birmingham, and representatives of the Anglican communion and Newman’s Oxford colleges. Ambassador Axworthy sees such a varied delegation as a reflection of “Newman’s roots,” but she added that the occasion was one for “celebrating the impact of this quintessential Englishman on the wider world, recognizing the importance his writings still have for many individuals around the world today.”

Reflecting on the preparation for Newman’s canonization, Axworthy said it had meant for her “a lot of work! But also an opportunity to get to know the writings of John Henry Newman. From my student days, I was familiar with his role in the Oxford Movement, but now I have read much more about him, visited the three English oratories and been to Littlemore. I can see why he is such an influential figure. The way he wrote about his own faith, and the seriousness with which he explored his faith, seem unique.”

I thought it was impressive that she took such pains to know more about Newman, reading his works, visiting the oratories and the College at Littlemore.

The Vatican News website excerpted additional remarks from Axworthy, also showing her historical (she "read history at university") knowledge:

Ambassador Axworthy recalls that “the emancipation of Catholics came in 1829”, and the restoration of the hierarchy in England and Wales came about in 1850. After that, she says, there was a “return to respectability,” and as Cardinal Newman was around for most of the 19th century, he was “very much a part of that”.

She then goes on to say that Cardinal Newman was a “towering intellect” in the 19th century and that, though he was “initially vilified for it”, in time he wrote some “very reasoned accounts”. If you read the history around that period, continues Ambassador Axworthy, you can see that his "vilification turned to acceptance, and not just of him, but of Catholics in general."

So, she says, though he was “very important for Catholics in the UK”, both as an historical figure and for the history of English Catholicism he is also important to many Catholics worldwide.

Newman's canonization, like his death, is not the end of the story; it is the beginning. How this greater acceptance of Newman in England--as it leads to people reading his works, understanding his life, and following his example--will develop is important to the growth of holiness and virtue among the people of England, especially Catholics.

O God, who bestowed on the Priest Saint John Henry Newman the grace to follow your kindly light and find peace in your Church; graciously grant that, through his intercession and example, we may be led out of shadows and images into the fulness of your truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

St. John Henry Newman, pray for us!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Tracey Rowland Searches for Newman's University

She searches for it, but doesn't find it very often.

Speaking at the Newman the Prophet: A Saint for Our Times conference held at The Angelicum in Rome before the canonization of St. John Henry Newman and the four women saints, Tracey Rowland, the St. John Paul II Chair of Theology at the University of Notre Dame (Australia) and a Member of the International Theological Commission, commented on what she sees:

First I would argue that most of our universities are what Newman would call factories, mints, and treadmills, that is, places where thousands of students, known to the university only by their student numbers, pass exams to qualify for employment in a particular field. Some small number of institutions do however retain an interest in the liberal arts and these cater mostly for students from upper middle class families where there is less concern about being trained for a particular job. However for many of these elite institutions the liberal arts are no longer linked to the transcendentals of truth, beauty and goodness, all of which are regarded as ‘bourgeois nonsense’. Instead in so many of these institutions the liberal arts have morphed into social theory subjects like gender studies and the objective is no longer to produce gentlemen but to form social activists, people who act like trained assassins against the last vestiges of Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian civilisation.

This leaves us with only a very small number of academic institutions anywhere in the world where something like Newman’s vision has any possibility of success. Most of these institutions operate at the level of liberal arts colleges that are specifically Catholic and have been established by visionary lay people who wanted their children and grandchildren to receive the kind of formation Newman set out in his Idea of a University. Some extremely small number of such institutions can be found at the higher university level. Excluded are numerous institutions with the adjective Catholic in their title where no attempt is made to offer a specifically Christian formation of every aspect of the soul, or a specifically Christian integration of the various disciplines, but where there are merely buildings named after local Catholic worthies, a chapel, a chaplain who is a priest if you are lucky, and lots of opportunities to improve the welfare of minority groups. The accountants who normally run such institutions might be members of the Catholic Church but the institutions themselves, their ethos, the content of their curricula, their marketing strategies, the beliefs of their faculty members, administrators, janitors and librarians and the bureaucratic idioms found in their policies are not only not Christian but in many cases simply the outcome of corporate ideology. Newman would not recognise these institutions as in any sense consistent with his own vision.

Sadly enough, Newman University, our local Catholic university--which has formed a partnership with the Diocese with its School of Catholic Studies to offer undergraduate degrees to the young men in the Diocesan House of Studies before they go off to seminaries in other dioceses--announced the need to eliminate degree programs to confront a budget shortfall. Where do they look for cuts? Theology and Philosophy. among other undisclosed majors:

At their September meeting, the board of trustees at Newman University approved cutting four majors and also decided to realign two other departments.

This comes after the board approved cost cutting recommendations from their financial task force. In an update from the university's newspaper, the Vantage, they confirmed the cutting of four majors while realigning theology and philosophy. . . .

No final decisions have been made regarding which majors are going to be cut, according to Clark Schafer, the Director of University Affairs at Newman University, but classes will still be offered for those particular subjects.

What will that mean for the School of Catholic Studies? What will that mean for Newman University's efforts to fulfill the vision of its patron, whom it just celebrated so joyfully when he was canonized last week?

St. John Henry Newman, pray for us!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

My Saint John Henry Newman Octave

Just as I prepared for the canonization Sunday with a Novena of Rosary decades and prayers, I am going to celebrate Newman's canonization with an Octave! I am praying the Collect from his feast day Mass and continuing to read reactions to his being officially named a saint, and noting celebrations.

The Venerable English College in Rome, for example, hosted a brief exhibit highlighting Newman's trips to Rome:

The exhibition includes personal items used by John Henry Newman, a lock of Pope Leo XIII's hair, original letters and documents, and one of the first and most famous portraits of Newman when he was made cardinal.

The free exhibition is hosted by the British Embassy to the Holy See and the Venerable English College, explores blessed John Henry Newman's four visits to Rome. These were in 1833 as an Anglican clergyman, in 1846 as a seminarian, in 1856 as Provost of the Birmingham and London Oratories, and in 1879 in order to be made cardinal.

Taking place from Thursday the 10th of October until Monday the 14th, the exhibition includes items loaned by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, the Pontifical Urban College of Propaganda Fide, the International Centre of Newman Friends, the Anglican Centre, the Beda College, and the Venerable English College.

Here's a video of the exhibit. This CNA article describes his first visit to Rome as an Anglican and his mixed feelings:

Newman’s first time setting eyes on Rome was in 1833. An Anglican clergyman still years away from conversion, he wrote that he found the city to be “the most wonderful place in the world,” and said even his “dear Oxford” is dust compared with Rome’s “majesty and glory.”

Newman also saw the Vatican Museums during the trip and was impressed by the beauty of Rome’s churches, art, and sculpture.

But his anti-Catholic views also worked against his enjoyment of the Christian aspects of the city. He called Rome “cruel,” because though he was awed by walking in the footsteps of the Apostles and saints martyred in Rome, he found the experience to be overshadowed by what were called Catholic “superstitions.”  

This visit, which lasted five weeks, also marked Newman’s first time at a Mass. He attended a Mass said by Gregory XVI for the feast of the Annunciation at the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.

O God, who bestowed on the Priest Saint John Henry Newman the grace to follow your kindly light and find peace in your Church; graciously grant that, through his intercession and example, we may be led out of shadows and images into the fulness of your truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

St. John Henry Newman, pray for us!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

St. John Henry Newman and Ireland

From Dermot Quinn, associate professor of history at Seton Hall University, in First Things:

Ireland has produced many saints, and John Henry Newman is the latest. Newman was not Irish, of course, but his canonization is as much an Irish as an English event, an opportunity to reflect on the state of Catholicism in a country where he intermittently spent several years between 1851 and 1858.

Newman’s time in Dublin was unhappy and has been generally reckoned a failure. He was rector of a university that divided the Irish bishops, he thought naively that Oxford could be recreated on St. Stephen’s Green, and he fell out with his patron, Archbishop Paul Cullen. Yet he wrote that his “dear friend” Charles Russell of Maynooth had “more to do” with his conversion “than anyone else.” His university eventually flourished in other hands. He built what is still one of the loveliest churches in Dublin, and his most mature account of higher education, The Idea of a University, was delivered as a series of lectures in the Irish capital. Newman left a mark on Ireland, and Ireland on him.

Newman arrived in Ireland in the middle of one devotional revolution and is being canonized in the middle of another. In 1851, Ireland was rediscovering its Catholic faith. Now, it seems to be losing it. In 1851, the institutional foundations were being laid (Newman’s university among them) for a century and a half of evangelical triumph: churches built, parishes formed, schools opened, seminaries packed, priests ordained, missionaries dispatched, hospitals established, nuns veiled, and rulers at the ready.

Please read the rest there.

Re: Newman's comment about Father Charles Russell of Maynooth: he dedicated Loss and Gain: The Story of a Convert to him. In the Apologia pro Vita Sua, Newman commented on how Father Russell had helped him:

The last letter, which I have inserted [Note 1], is addressed to my dear friend, Dr. Russell, the present President of Maynooth. He had, perhaps, more to do with my conversion than any one else. He called upon me, in passing through Oxford in the summer of 1841, and I think I took him over some of the buildings of the University. He called again another summer, on his way from Dublin to London. I do not recollect that he said a word on the subject of religion on either occasion. He sent me at different times several letters; he was always gentle, mild, unobtrusive, uncontroversial. He let me alone. He also gave me one or two books. Veron's Rule of Faith and some Treatises of the Wallenburghs was one; a volume of St. Alfonso Liguori's Sermons was another; and to that the letter which I have last inserted [Note 2] relates.

See Section 1 of that chapter at the Newman Reader for the letter.

BTW, the Notre Dame-Newman Centre for Faith and Reason at Newman's University Church, Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, will celebrate its founder's canonization next Sunday:

Please join us for the first of many events in the year ahead as we celebrate Ireland’s newest saint. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will preside at our 6:15pm mass on Sunday, 20th October, with uplifting music by the Newman Vocare Ensemble and the Carolan String Quartet. Following the mass, Declan Kiberd will give a talk entitled “A Saint for Today” beginning around 7:30pm. The evening will wrap up with a festive reception in the rear of the church. All are welcome!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Son Rise Morning Show "Santo Subito" Wrap Up

As promised, Matt Swaim and I will wrap up our Son Rise Morning Show Santo Subito series this morning at 7:50 a.m. Eastern/6:50 a.m. Central. 

I celebrated the day by ordering holy cards, which happily for me feature the prayer I said so often while attending St. Paul's Parish-Newman Center at Wichita State University! I also attended a Solemn Mass in the evening at Newman University! Students there had been in a lock down Saturday night to watch the canonization live (3:00 a.m.!) after an period of Eucharistic Adoration under the stars. Ah, youth!

I prayed the Glorious Mysteries with St. John Henry Newman's meditations, the CD from Aid to the Church in Need UK package having arrived on Saturday! and listened to one of my late husband's favorite devotional CDs, Heart Speaks to Heart!

The BBC reports that thousands of Britons attended the ceremony (video from the Vatican)held in the square of St. Peter's Basilica and that tens of thousands of pilgrims were there. The booklet for the Mass and canonizations may be accessed here.

Pope Francis gave a homily on the Gospel (Luke 17:11-19, the story of the ten lepers) at Sunday's canonization Mass, mentioning the five new saints only at the end. Pope Francis's allusions to St. John Henry Newman were indirect in his homily, quoting one of his Parochial and Plain Sermons, a passage from the Meditations and Devotions, and a phrase from "The Pillar and the Cloud/Lead, Kindly Light"; he mentioned the three religious sisters briefly and highlighted St. Marguerite Bays most directly, though also briefly:

To cry out. To walk. To give thanks. Today we give thanks to the Lord for our new Saints. They walked by faith and now we invoke their intercession. Three of them we religious women; they show us that the consecrated life is a journey of love at the existential peripheries of the world. Saint Marguerite Bays, on the other hand, was a seamstress; she speaks to us of the power of simple prayer, enduring patience and silent self-giving. That is how the Lord made the splendour of Easter radiate in her life. Such is the holiness of daily life, which Saint John Henry Newman described in these words: “The Christian has a deep, silent, hidden peace, which the world sees not… The Christian is cheerful, easy, kind, gentle, courteous, candid, unassuming; has no pretence… with so little that is unusual or striking in his bearing, that he may easily be taken at first sight for an ordinary man” (Parochial and Plain Sermons, V,5).

Let us ask to be like that, “kindly lights” amid the encircling gloom. Jesus, “stay with me, and then I shall begin to shine as Thou shinest; so to shine as to be a light to others” (Meditations on Christian Doctrine, VII, 3). Amen.’

Before the canonization, Charles, the Prince of Wales, praised Newman, as excerpted in this CNA story:

The Prince of Wales said Saturday that the canonization of Cardinal John Henry Newman is a cause for celebration among all Britons, those who are Catholic and those who “cherish the values by which he was inspired.”

“His faith was truly catholic in that it embraced all aspects of life. It is in that same spirit that we, whether we are Catholics or not, can, in the tradition of the Christian Church throughout the ages, embrace the unique perspective, the particular wisdom and insight, brought to our universal experience by this one individual soul,” Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, wrote in an Oct. 12 column for L’Osservatore Romano 
(in Italian).

“Whatever our own beliefs, and no matter what our own tradition may be, we can only be grateful to Newman for the gifts, rooted in his Catholic faith, which he shared with wider society: his intense and moving spiritual autobiography and his deeply-felt poetry,” the prince wrote.

He even quoted The Dream of Gerontius!

Vatican News provides the entire text. Prince Charles highlighted Newman's Englishness: 

That confidence was expressed in his love of the English landscape and of his native country’s culture, to which he made such a distinguished contribution. In the Oratory which he established in Birmingham, and which now houses a museum dedicated to his memory as well as an active worshipping community, we see the realisation in England of a vision he derived from Rome which he described as ‘the most wonderful place on Earth’. In bringing the Oratorian Congregation from Italy to England, Newman sought to share its charism of education and service.

He loved Oxford, gracing it not only with passionate and erudite sermons, but also with the beautiful Anglican church at Littlemore, created after a formative visit to Rome where, seeking guidance on his future spiritual path and pondering his relationship with the Church of England and with Catholicism, he wrote his beloved hymn, ‘Lead Kindly Light’. When he finally decided to leave the Church of England, his last sermon as he said farewell to Littlemore left the congregation in tears. It was entitled ‘The Parting of Friends.’

As we mark the life of this great Briton, this great churchman and, as we can now say, this great saint, who bridges the divisions between traditions, it is surely right that we give thanks for the friendship which, despite the parting, has not merely endured, but has strengthened.

You might recall that Prince Charles represented Queen Elizabeth II at Pope St. John Paul II's funeral, postponing his wedding with Camilla Parker Bowles! His understanding of Newman--or his speech writers--seems just as extraordinary. He attended Newman's canonization Mass yesterday.

Saint John Henry Newman, pray for us!