In Honor of the Canonization of John Henry Newman

People often say that John Henry Newman anticipated the work of the fathers in the Second Vatican Council in calling for a renewal of the universal call to holiness and the full and active participation of the laity in the mission of the Church. Newman had confidence both in the impact of the witness of the laity and knew that to be effective, lay men and women need to know their faith. Newman’s desire ought to be the desire of all church leaders as he writes:

I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men [and women] who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it. I want an intelligent, well-instructed laity – I wish [them] to enlarge [their] knowledge, to cultivate [their] reason, to get an insight into the relation of truth to truth, to learn to view things as they are, to understand how faith and reason stand to each other, what are the bases and principles of Catholicism.’

(Sermon 9, Duties of Catholics towards the Protestant View, 1851)

Susan TimoneyComment