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Luke Coppen's Catholic Herald Blog

We will present Newman as a great Englishman and priest, says Archbishop Nichols

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Photo: Archbishop Nichols celebrates Mass in the Chapel of the Three Kings in Rome, where Newman was ordained a Catholic priest (Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

There’s an interesting interview with Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster in the latest English edition of L’Osservatore Romano.

The interview, which took place during the ad limina visit, is wide-ranging. But the section about the beatification of Cardinal Newman caught my eye.

The Archbishop sets out, in more detail than ever before, how the Church in England and Wales intends to present Newman to the wider British public.

If I read the Archbishop correctly, it seems the Church will not present Newman primarily as a theologian and Catholic convert, but as an Englishman and a parish priest. See if you agree.

The Archbishop said:

We are looking forward very much to the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, who everybody knows as a scholar, as a famous convert to the Catholic Church, and we would very much want to present him as a man of English culture, as a man who has great stature within the cultural and literary life of our country.

We would very much want him to be appreciated as a parish priest because for over 30 years he was a parish priest and his beatification comes at the end of the Year for Priests. So we have the beatification of an English parish priest just as we close the Year for Priests. We hope that will lead to a greater understanding of the role of the Catholic faith, how it is really part of an English way of life, and perhaps a flowering of new vocations to the priesthood.

I think our hopes would go wider than that as well, because we hope for continuing fruitful dialogue with the Church of England and other Christian partners, and we are very pleased to see the announcement of the third set of International Anglican Roman Catholic Dialogue, ARCIC III, and obviously the outflowing of that into a refreshing of a vision about what a good modern society stands for.

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Written by Luke Coppen

February 10, 2010 at 6:35 pm

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