John Henry Newman has been declared the first non-martyr English saint since the 14th century.
At a Mass of Canonisation in the Vatican, Pope Francis announced that Newman and four women were now recognised as saints.
Newman was beatified by Benedict XVI in 2010. Last year Pope Francis approved the judgment of the Vatican’s theological and medical experts that Newman had healed Melissa Villalobos, an American woman who nearly died of bleeding during pregnancy.
In his homily, Pope Francis said that the goal of life is a transforming encounter with Jesus, the Catholic News Agency reported. He then read a quotation from one of Newman’s sermons: “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.”
What the papers said
The canonisation made the front page of the Telegraph and the Times of London, both of which pictured Prince Charles in his role as head of the British delegation to Rome. It was, however, only a short item in the Guardian and the Daily Mail.
The press made much of Prince Charles’s presence. The Times also picturing him with Melissa Villalobos and her children.
The Prince said, in remarks published in the Vatican newspaper and widely reported, that Newman had enriched British society and culture, and that his work “impressed even his opponents with its fearless honesty, its unsparing rigour and its originality of thought
Freddie Sayers at UnHerd suggested that Prince Charles, who praised Newman for his ability to “see differences as places of encounter rather than exclusion”, sees the saint’s career as a blueprint for his own reign. “Expect this celebration of difference – respecting the particularity of different cultures while celebrating our own heritage – to be a big theme of the Prince’s reign when it eventually begins. If he can take public opinion with him, he could make a significant contribution,” Sayers wrote.
In the Daily Express, the Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg wrote: “The success today of the Brompton Oratory, which is full every weekend and benefits from many vocations, derives from Cardinal Newman, whose first Oratory was at Birmingham. This continuing benefit of his work shows how the lives of the saints influence others for generations. Newman spent his life searching for the truth and wanted to help others to find it too.”
What Catholic websites said
In the National Catholic Register, Fr Juan Vélez compared Newman to other major saints, namely Athanasius, Philip Neri, Francis de Sales, Josemaría Escrivá and John Paul II. Newman was, for example, attracted by the universal call to holiness that St Josemaría preached to wide audiences. “As consummate educators, writers, pastors and spiritual guides, they both taught countless persons that God calls each one of us to personal holiness in everyday life and work.”
Tracey Rowland, in Catholic World Report, highlighted Newman’s views on education, which, she said, are still far too far removed from what we have today. He believed in a liberal education where the intellect is trained without being sacrificed to a particular trade or profession.
At the Catholic Thing, Robert Royal said that Newman’s legacy had been watered down in some recent commentary, which emphasised “living peaceably with one another in a superficial, public sense”, rather than “the importance of truth”. A large part of Newman’s contribution, Royal argued, was to explain “how we come to religious certitude, which – unlike many people inside and outside the Church today – he thought something invaluable”.
At One Peter Five, Peter Kwasniewski said that “two of Newman’s great concerns – the link of conscience to objective truth and the immense danger of setting society loose from its religious foundations – feature prominently in encyclicals of recent decades (eg Humanae Vitae, Veritatis Splendor, Evangelium Vitae)” – making him “an increasingly vital presence at the heart of the Church, , one who is an ally and an intercessor for all that we hold dear”.
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