giovedì, settembre 25, 2008

The importance of Cardinal Newman today

From Times Online

September 17, 2008

Peter Jennings

Father Paul Chavasse, the Provost of the Birmingham Oratory, preached on "The Importance of Cardinal Newman Today", at a special Mass held in Westminster Cathedral, on Wednesday, September 10.

At the end of Mass, the cathedral administrator, Canon Christopher Tuckwell, blessed a new mosaic of Cardinal Newman by the artist Tom Phillips RA.

In his homily, Father Chavasse, Postulator of the cause for the beatification and canonisation of the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman, emphasised that: "Our culture, our civilisation, is often described as suffering from a crisis of truth. John Henry Newman shows that the search for truth is a vital search and each one must make it in order to come to that harbour of peace and tranquillity where the human spirit can be at rest and where the integrity and truthfulness of a human life can find full expression."

Speaking of Newman's profound understanding of conscience, Father Chavasse said: "His teaching is of great importance in a day and age like ours which completely misunderstands the notion of conscience and which often uses conscience in the way Newman saw happening in his own time - an expression of self-will, a counterfeit which has but little to do with the voice of God given to all men and women."

Cardinal Newman's sarcophagus to be placed in Birmingham Oratory Father Chavasse also stressed how Newman's approach was personal, "not abstract, legalistic or authoritarian. The life of God's grace in the soul of an individual believer was what mattered to him"

Dwelling on Newman's motto Cor ad cor loquitur ("heart speaks to heart"), Father Chavasse explained that: "Cardinal Newman had a great gift for friendship, inspiring deep love and loyalty in the hearts of others. This is another thing he can teach us in an age where true friendship is so often undervalued or misunderstood: he teaches us the importance of earthly friendships as a preparation for, a foreshadowing of, the supreme friendship we are called to have with our Saviour."

The postulator concluded: "Newman's importance for today is to enable people to raise their eyes from the materialistic, secular society in which they live, and look instead at the counter-fascination of God's truth, purity and beauty - to seek instead for true holiness of life.
Holiness of life is what united all Newman's gifts and talents and it is the supreme thing which he teaches us to strive for."

Father Chavasse, Mgr Anthony Stark, Chairman of the Friends of Cardinal Newman, and Father Ignatius Harrison, Provost of the London Oratory, were among the concelebrants.

Speaking about the Newman Mosaic, the artist Tom Phillips said: "I went to Trinity College in Oxford where there is a bust of Cardinal Newman and drew inspiration from that. In the mosaic his eyes are closed as I think of him as a man of inwardness and prayer and that echoes the words on the mosaic that read: Prayer is a Vital Act of Faith."

Mr Phillips added: "To portray the eyes as closed, I used a real person. They are taken from Lord May of Oxford, President of the Royal Society, 2000-2005."

The cathedral administrator, Canon Christopher Tuckwell, said: "We're delighted to have this new mosaic of Cardinal Newman in Westminster Cathedral. This is a very exciting time for those who are looking forward to his beatification."