Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Newman & the Catholic Revival

His work in England revived the Church there and helped inspire it in America, as this article from the Miami Herald by one of the Church’s foremost writers, Joseph Pearce, notes.

An excerpt.

“The beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman on Sunday during the pope's visit to England is a timely reminder of Newman's monumental importance to the revival of Catholicism in his native England and the United States. His 1845 reception into the Catholic Church heralded a new dawn for Catholicism in the English-speaking world.

“Before Newman, England's Catholic presence had withered to such a degree that only remnants of the old recusant families still carried the faith. These adherents to the ``Old Faith'' bore Catholicism in their hearts and in their homes, but they were effectively excluded from bringing it into public life. After Newman's conversion, Catholicism became a major intellectual presence in English cultural life. Thousands of British citizens followed him and converted to Catholicism. This phenomenon crossed the Atlantic, heralding a similar revival in the United States.

“If Newman's historical importance is beyond question, so is the great legacy he bequeath-ed to posterity. In theology, philosophy, education and literature his influence on both sides of the Atlantic is remarkable.

“Newman's famous February 1843 sermon on Development in Christian Doctrine has become the benchmark for doctrinal-development study.

“His discourses on liberal education, delivered to Catholic audiences in Dublin in 1852 as he prepared to become rector of the new Catholic University of Ireland, were published two years later as The Idea of a University, a book that remains one of the finest and most eloquent works advocating the efficacy of an integrated liberal arts education.

“To this day, Newman's influence can be seen in the founding of new Catholic centers of higher education such as Florida's Ave Maria University, Virginia's Christendom College and California's Thomas Aquinas College.”