2 December 2018

"Saint John Henry Newman, Doctor of the Church"

It looks as if our kindly and most erudite Patron may have a second miracle recognised enabling him to be canonised in October, during this present ecclesiastical year of 2019.

Great news!! It is reassuring to see the divine Hand powerfully at work in His Church.

But at the same time, we should remember the enormous skill with which the Enemy uses what is good and skilfully perverts it to his own ends.

The months leading up to the canonisation will be a time of enormous danger. The teaching of this great Doctor will be corrupted and misrepresented. The Eminent Graf von Schoenborn has already had a swipe at doing this (at the News Conference 'launching' Amoris laetitia). B John Henry, who spent his whole life opposing liberalism and indifferentism, and opposing cruel and corrupt ultrapapalist  'factions' in Rome, is likely to be repackaged as a forerunner of ultrapapalist and ethically dubious Bergoglianism; not to mention inevitable attempts to attribute to him the silly claim that X can "develop" not only into Non-X and but even into Contra-X.

Even PF's actual words at the ceremony of canonisation may quite possibly be painful to us, if he indulges his recurrent need to hurt people.

We should ensure that we know what Newman taught and how he lived so that we can detect and expose the sophistical falsehoods which will abound as we approach the canonisation.

It is likely that those in the Church who are promoting the acceptance of homosexual genital activity will revive the old claim that, in orientation if not in physical activities, Newman was homosexual. They will carefully ignore evidence such as entries in his Diary recording temptations he felt meeting girls at parties when, as a 15-year old schoolboy, he returned home for Christmas. Our age, which knows nothing of warm friendships between men because it is preoccupied so exclusively with genital fumblings, is not the best age to understand Victorian mores. My own subjective impression, for what it is worth, is that there is something extremely masculine about Dr Newman's calmly ruthless controversial methods.

The best biography I know of Blessed John Henry is the big fat one by Dr Ker, which quotes masses of Blessed John Henry's own words. I venture to suggest that, if anybody wants to know what they can buy you for Christmas, suggest this book ... then make the study of it one of your Lenten Exercises.

The next aim, surely, must be to secure him the title Doctor of the Church. S Edith Stein received that title pretty soon after her canonisation. Then, perhaps, "Patron of the Third Millennium".


Dr. Adam DeVille said...

Our hope and prayer for Newman is very much the same, dear Fr H, as I tried to suggest here: https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2018/11/28/john-henry-newman-conversion-and-the-papacy/

Thomas Student said...

Father, St. Teresa Benedicta was named a co-patroness of Europe, but not a Doctor of the Church. The women doctors remain Catherine & Teresa (Paul VI), Therese (JPII), and finally Hildegard thanks to Pope Benedict. The marvelous example she gives of philosophical and theological studies is strongly Thomistic but with hints of Scotism. I have no understanding of how these things are discerned but I imagine that any consideration of St. Edith being named a Doctor of the Church would have to be balanced with consideration of the current status of the doctrines of the Subtle Doctor, so it's probably caught up in those larger questions.

Bl. John Henry Newman has had a larger impact on theology in the contemporary period than perhaps any other; his declaration as Doctor of the Church seems to me to be necessary and almost inevitable. Interestingly, St. Edith translated many of the writings of Bl. JHN into German in translations which as I understand it are still used today.

rick allen said...

I am glad to hear that Newman's canonization is moving forward. Though a pure amateur I have always loved him and found him an inspiration, and began reading him in earnest the year of my entry into the Church, in 1983. Though no expert, I have been through his Apologia, The Idea of a University, his essay on the Development of Doctrine, the University Sermons, a fairly decent selection of the Parochial and Plain Sermons, and many other shorter pieces happily available at Newman's Works on the Web.

Of course he will be mischaracterized (though I don't share your deep distrust of Pope Francis). He was indeed a life-long foe of theological liberalism, the idea that human reason and criticism can stand in judgment on revealed truths. But he also, in his idea of development of doctrine, gave reason a lesser role in teasing out new implications and applications of the Faith, a proposition that leads some extreme traditionalists to call him a heretic, and the less extreme to argue that he has banished liberalism at the front door but given it a back way in.

Which is only to say, perhaps, that I have always considered him larger than our current, more prominent factions. Just as there are a wide variety of Augustinians and Thomists, so there are already different schools of--"Newmanians"? In that respect, I hope he will continue to challenge and inspire us, and lead us to Christ, rather than become an occasion to exacerbate our present divisiveness.

lynn said...

Father, how right you are. The Newman sainthood cause is a setup by the Schonborn faction (recall Bergoglio calls him his theologian) to co-op the Development of doctrine thing. They will use Newman to proclaim all their perversities and novelties as "development." Newman is a saint...may he intercede to stop this bunch from declaring him so.

Pulex said...

Given that traditional Catholic websites have been very critical about the current canonization procedure, incl. investigation of the proposed miracles, it is difficult to see how this criticism could be applied to the recent Popes or some other persons (Mother Teresa, Escriva, Romero) and then forgotten in the case of Newman.

Dr. Eric said...

Martyrs are not named as Doctors. The designation of Doctor was to give special honor to non-martyred saints.