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Canonization of CN Patron, John Henry Cardinal Newman


Our very own patron is now a canonized saint. We have always recognized John Henry Cardinal Newman’s special contribution to the Catholic Church, in particular his pursuit of truth at all costs. He grew up in the United Kingdom during a time when being Catholic was discriminated against and therefore off limits to those persons respectable in the world’s eyes.  After centuries of persecution, the British ruling classes began to feel embarrassed by their intolerance of Catholicism and took a first step in 1778 to legalize Catholicism, provoking the Gordon Riots. The movement to further reform religious laws bore fruit in 1829, with the Roman Catholic Relief Act, allowing Catholics to sit in Parliament and take government jobs.  

Newman felt a strong attraction to the truth and was pulled gradually by the Holy Spirit toward the historical roots of Christianity. Though he had previously practiced types of Christianity that are strongly separated from the history of the Church and the development of Christian doctrine, he eventually came to recognize this as a mistake. In his life as an Anglican minister, he still saw that something was missing from his Christian faith. Though the Church of England incorporated aspects of historical and apostolic Christianity, it also forgot certain aspects of the integrity of the Christian faith. The Oxford Movement, which he helped to found to renew and reinvigorate the Church of England, moved him further to a deeper understanding of truth. This helped lead his progress towards the Catholic faith. Newman pursued the Christian faith in its entirety and became Catholic in 1845.

As a Roman Catholic, Newman taught and wrote. Much of his teaching focused on the nature of Christian truth and the development of doctrine. In the opinion of many people in the nineteenth century, doctrine did not change and therefore was seen as being static. Newman points out in many of his writings that though the truth of a doctrine does not change, the way in which it is expressed and understood does go through changes. Doctrines may have once been small and simple, but they become bigger and more complex over time. We see examples of this concept in the teachings regarding the Incarnation of Christ, the Real Presence in the Eucharist, and the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in salvation history. 

Newman died in 1890, beloved as a great Victorian intellect and supporter of the urban poor. His commitment to faith and a legacy of intelligent Catholic scholarship from which we benefit immensely in the twenty-first century. He was canonized on October 13, 2019.  

Below follows a link to a news article from the Holy See.