Friday, July 03, 2009

Newman Miracle Approved

The Holy Father approved a miraculous healing by the intercession of Cardinal Newman today, opening the way to his beatification, but in order for this to go ahead there needs to be a cultus. Am I being cynical, but where is the cultus, the popular devotion to him in England and Wales?


gemoftheocean said...

Does the cultus by definition have to be just in the UK? Many Anglophiles world wide think Cardinal Newman ROCKS!!! I'd brake for him!

motuproprio said...

There is the annual pilgrimage walk from Oxford to Littlemore in commemoration of his reception into the Catholic Church.
There are the many institutions named after him both in the US and the UK.
There are the statues outside the London Oratory, the London Oratory School, and the Oratory School, Reading, amongst others.
There is the constant stream of pilgrims to the College at Littlemore, and his rooms in Edgbaston.
There is the mosaic recently installed in Westminster Cathedral.
There are the numerous blogs that display his portrait.
I don't think the cult is hard to demonstrate, and it will certainly grow following his beatification.

Thom said...

There isn't any to speak of outside the Birmingham Oratory. I suspect, though, that there will soon be highly placed figures jumping on the bandwagaon.

I pray that the beatification takes place in Rome, not England. We don't deserve it - and Newman and the faithful Oratorians deserve Rome.

Monica said...

The various matters that motuproprio lists (with the exceptions of Littlemore and Edgbaston) are not really of the status of what is normally regarded as a cultus - more like memorials and commemmorations.

The mosaic in Westminster Cathedral is barely recognisable as Newman - looks more like Hume with a bit of Manning pasted in for good measure.

I'm with Thom - the Beatification should be in Rome.

motuproprio said...

My understanding is that formal 'cultus', i.e. dedication of churches and chapels, formulas for mass and office, shrines etc. are forbidden before the act of beatification. It may be that I am prejudiced as a convert, but I think the informal cultus is irrefutable.

Anonymous said...

Maryvale turns them out in numbers.


Michael Clifton said...

I have a problem over CArdinal Newman. He was a great priest and theologian I do not doubt, but there are points about him that I find very difficult to accept. He received many setbacks in his life as a priest and seems to have taken these setbacks rather badly. He seems to have had no real sense of humour, and worst of all when members of his congregation left the oratory or disagreed with him he would not speak to them again. This happened to Fr Faber, Fr Coffin (later Bishop), Cardinal Manning, and fellow oratorian Dalgairns. In the case of Cardinal Manning, the latter tried his best through the intermediary of Fr Oakley who had joined Newman in the early days but left to become a secular priest, but managed to maintain friendly contact with both Newman and Manning.

Fr Ray Blake said...

He hasn't caught the popular imagination. There are no pilgrimages to his grave or his tomb. I know of very few people who ask his intercession regularly. There no great popular movements that bear his name, no institutions. He is not loved here, nor is he exempla.
I think things are slightly different in the US than in the UK. If there is a cultus it is amongst a tiny group of intellectuals, even his writings are popularly read.

Catholic Mom of 10 said...
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motuproprio said...

St. Paul’s Last Journey – Newman Pilgrimage Tracing the steps of St. Paul and also of Cardinal Newman, from Sicily to Naples and Rome as Paul came to Rome to stand trial and Newman in his Anglican years came to learn more about Italy and the Catholic Church.
NEWMAN IN ROME PILGRIMAGE A look at the city of Rome through the eyes of John Henry Newman can give us new insights into both the man and the cityOur visit will take in all the major sites, together with those particularly associated with Newman, including the English College, the Roman Oratory, the College of Propaganda Fide, and Santa Croce.
Newman Pilgrimage to Littlemore Oxford - 7th October MASS FOR THE BEATIFICATION Of John Henry Cardinal Newman The Annual Pilgrimage to mark the reception of the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman into the Catholic Church. The Chief Celebrant and Preacher will be Monsignor Anthony Stark, Master of the Guild of Our Lady of Ransom. Intending pilgrims please sign lists in our Churches.
ANNUAL NEWMAN PILGRIMAGE TO LITTLEMORE takes place on Saturday 4th October. The trip will include a tour of the College, Confessions, Mass at the Church Of Blessed Dominic Barberi (Celebrant and Preacher: Bishop Kenney), a talk on “Newman and St Paul”, and Benediction at the Carmelite Priory at Boar’s Hill, Oxford.
INSTITUTIONS Newman Catholic Community at Sacramento State (CSU Sacramento) Oxford University Newman Society Cardinal Newman Society (US) Holy Cross Cardinal Newman Society Newman Catholic Student Center (University of North Carolina) McGill Newman Students Society University College Dublin Newman Society Venerable John Henry Newman Association (USA) Bucknell University Newman Society Cardinal Newman College, Preston, England The John Henry Newman Roman Catholic School, Stevenage, England Cardinal Newman Catholic school, Brighton, England. Cardenal Newman College, Buenos Aires, Argentina Newman University College, Birmingham, England Newman Centre, St. Thomas More College (University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CAN) Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School, (Stoney Creek, Ontario) International Centre of Newman Friends. On an international level we seek: • to make the life, spirituality and thought of this great English Cardinal (1801-1890) known. • to promote the study and veneration of Newman as a shining example of Christian life, scholarship and holiness. • to offer centres of authentic faith inspired by Newman’s Motto ‘Cor ad Cor Loquitur’. • to offer to students and friends our specialised Newman libraries. • to organise special Newman events: talks, conferences, exhibitions, liturgical celebrations, devotions. • to publish an annual Newsletter in various languages. The International Centre of Newman Friends is present in the following countries: Italy: Rome England: Littlemore (in Oxford) Austria: Bregenz Hungary: Budapest
ARGENTINA The Friends of Newman in Argentina AUSTRALIA The Friends of Newman in West FRANCE Association Française des Amis de Newman L’Association est ouverte à tous ceux qui s’intéressent à Newman GERMANY Internationale Deutsche John Henry Newman Gesellschaft e.V. im Arbeitsbereich Pädagogik und Katechetik der Universität Freiburg IRELAND The Newman Society of Ireland. Academic Research Centre of University College Dublin in partnership with the Newman Foundation of Ireland. UK The Friends of Cardinal Newman c/o The Oratory Hagley Road Edgbaston, Birmingham B16 8UE USA The Venerable John Henry Newman Association St. Joseph’s College Rensselaer, IN Administration Office 161 North Dithridge St. Pittsburgh, PA 15213 The National Institute for Newman Studies
( I suspect that the sour attitude comes from the way Newman has been adopted by some liberal Catholics, when Newman himself execrated the 'Liberal Agenda'. Michel Clifton's allegations were all thoroughly investigated and discounted before he was declared to be 'Venerable'.)

Richard Duncan said...

I mentioned your comment to one of the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory this lunchtime. The response was "Why doesn't he come and read the evidence for himself?"

Quite so. Why don't you? You might start to see things differently if you did.

Fr Ray Blake said...

As I say things are different in the US.
I expect something at Birmingham but can you really identify devotion elsewhere in the UK?

motuproprio said...

From Newman’s ‘Biglietto’ Speech, Rome, May 12, 1879
For thirty, forty, fifty years, I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of Liberalism in religion. Never did Holy Church need champions against it more sorely than now, when, alas! it is an error overspreading, as a snare, the whole earth; and on this great occasion, when it is natural for one who is in my place to look out upon the world, and upon Holy Church as in it, and upon her future, it will not, I hope, be considered out of place, if I renew the protest against it which I have made so often.
Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy. Devotion is not necessarily founded on faith. Men may go to Protestant Churches and to Catholic, may get good from both and belong to neither. They may fraternise together in spiritual thoughts and feelings, without having any views at all of doctrines in common, or seeing the need of them. Since, then, religion is so personal a peculiarity and so private a possession, we must of necessity ignore it in the intercourse of man with man. If a man puts on a new religion every morning, what is that to you? It is as impertinent to think about a man's religion as about his sources of income or his management of his family. Religion is in no sense the bond of society.
Hitherto the civil power has been Christian. Even in countries separated from the Church, as in my own, the dictum was in force, when I was young, that 'Christianity was the law of the land.' Now, everywhere that goodly framework of society, which is the creation of Christianity, is throwing off Christianity. The dictum to which I have referred, with a hundred others which followed upon it, is gone, or is going everywhere; and, by the end of the century, unless the Almighty interferes, it will be forgotten. Hitherto, it has been considered that religion alone, with its supernatural sanctions, was strong enough to secure submission of the masses of our population to law and order; now the Philosophers and Politicians are bent on satisfying this problem without the aid of Christianity. Instead of the Church's authority and teaching, they would substitute first of all a universal and thoroughly secular education… As to Religion, it is a private luxury, which a man may have if he will; but which of course he must pay for, and which he must not obtrude upon others, or indulge in to their annoyance.
..At first sight it might be thought that Englishmen are too religious for a movement which, on the continent, seems to be founded on infidelity; but the misfortune with us is, that, though it ends in infidelity as in other places, it does not necessarily arise out of infidelity. It must be recollected that the religious sects, which sprang up in England three centuries ago, and which are so powerful now, have ever been fiercely opposed to the Union of Church and State, and would advocate the unChristianising of the monarchy and all that belongs to it, under the notion that such a catastrophe would make Christianity much more pure and much more powerful. …There never was a device of the Enemy so cleverly framed and with such promise of success.
"Mansueti hereditabunt terram,
Et delectabuntur in multitudine pacis."
[Psalm 36:"The meek shall inherit the earth,
and shall delight in the abundance of peace"]

Michael Clifton said...

To Catholic Mom and others, I am e xplaining my reservations about Cardinal Newman in greater detail on my own blog (Mildew) today.

Richard Duncan said...

1. Apologies Fr. I should have made it clearer that by looking at the evidence, I meant the evidence accumulated in the course of the Process and presented to the Congregation in Rome. This is basis on which the Church has declared Newman to be Venerable and his virtues heroic, and it needs to be taken seriously by anyone wishing express a contrary opinion.

2. I'm afraid I think that your point about the geographical spread of the cult is a red herring. One wouldn't wish to call the holiness of St Cuthman of Steyning into question because his cult is localised, and neither should one do so with Newman, even if we grant for the sake of argument that your assertion is true.

3. One of the problems with Newman these days is that most people know him mainly through his writings, whereas holiness in an individual is something that can only really be attested by those who know or knew him personally. This is why I think that the evidence of the Process and of the tradition in Birmingham is important, and needs to be given more weight than you appear to be willing to give it.

4. Finally, I suspect that the cult of Newman will now start to grow. If it does, will that satisfy you?

Tom said...

"As for Fr Faber, well, he was inconsistent and , I am afraid to say, for all his admirable qualities as a writer and theologian, he was not always straight with people, especially JHN".

Any Newman versus Faber debate always strikes me as being highly partisan. I'd like to see a balanced, scholarly, academic study of the real issues between the two, then we might be able to make informed opinions.

Newman usually seems to get the upper hand, perhaps because of the academic status he has. However, Faber strikes me as being no slouch either. Let's get some balance and perspective.

Some of us are ardent followers of both - despite their mutual faults.

Anonymous said...

Dear Father,

You allude to a lack of cultus, but these things always beging locally (and are meant to ). Why not place a photo of the Venerable in your church, with flowers and candles, and with a suitable prayer. If you see it being used for prayer, if you see candles lit, then there will be your evidence of cultus. Shrines like this were popular for S.Therese before her Beatification and subsequent Canonisation; and see where all that ended. Another Doctor of the Church! And may JHN soon be also so declared.

Fr Christopher Back

Independent said...

If only the perfect were canonised then Heaven would perhaps be somewhat bare of people. Certainly Newman had his faults ,but unlike the blinkered ultramontanists such as Ward, Manning, and Faber, he did realise that the Christian Religion had to be made not relevant but intelligible to the modern world. Ward was a great and pugnacious contoversialist, Manning a great social reformer much respected by Gladstone, and Faber brought a sense of piety and devotion to many by his hymns, but it is Newman who has come to be respected by intellectuals of all beliefs. Well before others he wrestled with problems such as biblical inspiration, with evolution, with the development of doctrine, and with the primacy of conscience. There are so many problems now on which he can shed light.He was no liberal, but neither had he any time for obscurantists.It is not surprising that Pope Benedict is said to think highly of him. Of religious authorities Newman urged that they should always be treated be with respect even when one disagreed with them.

Ma Tucker said...

Ever since Peter Tatchell made a claim for him I have been asking for his intercession for the conversion of Peter. Is this a cultus? I figured that if Peter were converted it would be an additional miracle for his cannoisation AND Peter's soul could be saved to boot. Two birds with the one stone if you will.

Riccardo said...

Well you seemed to have stirred up a hornet's nest with some of the Oratorians devotees. However, the truth is that there is scant public cultus. The Newman cause is only on the verge of beatification because of the hundreds of thousands of pounds that the Oratory Fathers have ploughed into this over the last five years. It began with the Provost taking six months off from his duties to study a course at the Congregation for Saints in Rome which dealt with the complex juridical process. This also allowed him to meet the right people 'conoscenza' as the Italians like to call it. This was followed by instructing a very expensive lay Rotal advocate to take up the juridical process and act as postulator. Without this investment of time and money I doubt we would be at this point. It's sad that the cause for the canonisation of King Henry VI has not taken precedence over Newman. There is well documented evidence of miracles and a strong cultus attributed to him. I am sure his postulator, the late Fr David Woodard, would have suceeded had he access to the same funds as the Birmingham Oratory. The meek and good King Henry VI, who stuggled with mental health issues, would certainly inspire more people to a life of virtue than Newman.

Catholic Mom of 10 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard Duncan said...


As Fr Nichols pointed out in his homily this morning, the words of today's Gospel - a prophet is not without honour, except in his own country - do seem singularly apt when applied to Newman.

The attitude of those who calumniate Newman and the Oratory - together with those who permit or acquiesce in it - probably explains why the beatification miracle took place in the US and not in England.

Still, the judgement of the Church has been made, and I'm sure it won't be too long before we will all be celebrating the Mass and Office of Blessed John Henry Newman ... even in Brighton.

Tom said...

Catholic Mum of 10 - if what Riccardo has writen is true, why be horrified? He should be able to supply suitable evidence. If it's not true, then let him recant and publicly apologise to the Provost and the Oratorians generally. I'd keep an open mind for the time being.

Fr Blake is providing a great service for the Church and allowing these matters to be raised on his blog allows for healthy discussion. At the end of the day, the truth will out. And, for the record, I speak as a great supporter of the Oratorians - all of them, not just the Newman supporters.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Some of the recent comments are becoming hysterical, there is no place for that here.

Brightonliberalcatholic said...

Father, what's the name of the only Catholic Secondary School in

They recently dug the poor fella up didn't they? That's gotta count surely!

Fr Ray Blake said...

I think they drop the "Cardinal" bit.
I remember being a little shocked when I asked a student about its name and being told it had something with becoming "a new man"!
Sadly, I don't think they were joking.

Crux Fidelis said...

motuproprio, you can add Cardinal Newman High School in Bellshill near Glasgow to your list.

Riccardo said...

I don't know why people have taken exception to what I have said regarding the amount of money that has been spent on Newman's cause. The Rotal Advocate is Dr Andrea Ambrosi who even has his own website
I am sure that the provost will be willing to admit that he attended a course at the Congregation for Saints in Rome, and also confirm how much Dr Ambrosi charges for his services. I am not blaming the Oratory - Canonisation, I am afraid to say, has become a very costly affair. Dr Ambrosi has a very good reputation for winning his cases - and naturaly can command higher fees.

Norah said...

The Newman cause is only on the verge of beatification because of the hundreds of thousands of pounds that the Oratory Fathers have ploughed into this over the last five years.

If Riccardo doesn't/can't supply evidence for the 'hundreds of thousands of pounds' I think that the post should be removed.

Fr Ray Blake said...

One of the Fathers of the Birminhgam Oratory informs me, in a private communication, it is considerably less, presumably the precise figure is in the public domain and is accessible if you really want to find out.
I have published the figure given by the Postular for the cause of St Jose Maria a decade ago elsewhere.

Norah said...

Father, possibly information is in the public domain but it is not up to me to find it surely. The person who made the claim should be the one to provide the source for the claim and if he can't then the post should be removed IMO.

Fr Philip Cleevely Cong. Orat said...

'Riccardo' isn't as well-informed as he would like us to believe. With time spent back in his community for Christmas and pastoral duties, it was more like 3months than 6 that the Provost spent studying in Rome, together with about 70 others. Nor did 'it all begin' with this, but with the healing of Jack Sullivan. The Provost's studies, and our appointment of a Roman Postulator, were required by the ecclesiastical process itself. Riccardo's implication that these were special devices adopted by the Cause to ensure the approval of the miracle is absurd; I am afraid his insinuations impugn the Church herself, not the Cause or the miracle. Riccardo's 'hundreds of thousands of pounds' is also a significant exaggeration. But what is his point? Does he think the undoubted expense of investigating the miracle (which has not been easily borne) was in some sense improper? If so, why? And if not, why has he chosen to be so recklessly acidic? Whatever his motives, it is disingenuous of him, in his most recent post, to portray himself as having merely neutrally remarked that ecclesiastical investigations of miracles cost money: his first post clearly implied that the approval of the Newman miracle is the fruit of money and influence. This was a foolish and unworthy intervention.

Ponte Sisto said...

Riccardo's add nothing to the debate, but debase the cause and the Church. The Futurechurch theology of envy is alive and well.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Riccardo, I suggest you take your latest contribution up with the people concerned, or reveal you identity if you want it published here.