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John Henry Newman, the English gentleman who will be canonized next October 13


This was the moment when Pope Francis announced in Latin he would canonize English Card. John Henry Newman on Oct. 13 in Rome.

The famous scholar and theologian, Newman was born in London and baptized Anglican in 1801. He famously converted to Catholicism when he was 45 years old. This decision lost him his job in Oxford and many friends. 

However, this did not discourage him. He went on to be ordained a priest and fought for Catholic rights in England. His writings are still a source of inspiration for many people across the world.  

For the International Center of Newman Friends in Rome they have been waiting for years to hear this news. They have been promoting the spirituality and works of John Henry Newman since 1975.

According to Sr. Mary Birgit, secretary of the International Center of Newman Friends, although Newman's cause had been officially opened in 1958, it was Pope Paul VI who got the cause moving. 

SR. MARY BIRGIT
Secretary of the International Centre of Newman Friends
“So in 1973 Pope Paul VI asked the Birmingham Oratory how the cause was proceeding and they were quite surprised, even a little bit shocked, because in fact the cause had almost come to a standstill.” “And other popes' after him loved John Henry Newman very much John Paul II and of course Pope Benedict.”

In the past, one of their frequent visitors and cooperators at the center was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would later become Pope Benedict XVI. It was even him who beatified this now soon to be saint. 

SR. MARY BIRGIT
Secretary of the International Centre of Newman Friends
“For Pope Benedict it was a big joy that he could beatify Newman in England in 2010. I had the privilege to be there present at the beatification. I also went with the sister to greet him during the beatification and he then said personally it is a day of harvest today.”

According to Sr. Birgit, Newman's beatification had a big impact on England and increased devotion to him. For example, she notes how one non-baptized young man after watching the ceremony on television converted to Catholicism and later entered the seminary. 

Another part of England highly influenced by Card. Newman, is St. Mary's University in the UK. Its ethics is founded on his philosophy for education. 

According to Ruth Kelly, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the university and previously Secretary of State for Education and skills for the British government, says Newman's ideas for modern day universities is crucial. 

RUTH KELLY
Pro Vice-Chancellor, St. Mary's University (UK)
“A think it is absolutely at the core of what a modern University should be. It is trying to create an environment in which graduates are encouraged to think critically about questions, not to accept teaching without thought but to really question rigorously within their discipline but also open to the transcendent.”

In time the canonization of this Victorian gentlemen will show the great influence he still has on many people not only in England but across the world.