Ezekiel 9:1-7; 10:18-22
This is the day of the death of Blessed John Henry Newman, a day to celebrate the life of a man who revitalized Catholicism in England. He was a 19th century Anglican priest and intellectual, who became the leader of the Oxford Movement, an effort to restore the Church of England to its catholicity.
Newman began a study of the development of Christian doctrine to prove that the Anglican Church had maintained the faith in contrast to the doctrinal distortions of the Catholic Church. Instead, in his classic text, "An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine," published in 1845, Newman concluded it was the Catholic Church that was faithful to its primitive origins.
Shortly thereafter, on October 9, 1845, Fr. Dominic Barberi, a Passionist, himself beatified a few years ago, received Newman into the Church. In1879, at the age of seventy-nine, he was made a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII.
In his day, Newman was frequently misunderstood and misinterpreted. In our day, however, he is seen as a man ahead of his time. The issues he wrote about became the subjects of discussion of Vatican II, such as the question of ecumenism, the relationship between Christianity and the world, and the role of the laity in the Church. His ideas so much anticipated those of our time that he has been called "The Father of Vatican II."
Pope John Paul II praised him saying: "John Henry Newman belongs to every time and place and people." And Pope Benedict XVI honored him by traveling to the United Kingdom to beatify Cardinal Newman on September 19, 2010.
Deacon Manuel Valencia is on the staff at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.