Cardinal John Henry Newman becomes first saint of the modern era

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Cardinal John Henry Newman has been declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church at a ceremony in Rome that was attended by tens of thousands of people.

Newman was a 19th-century theologian, poet, Catholic priest and cardinal. Cardinal Newman was born in London in 1801, and he was a well-known Oxford academic, Anglican preacher, and public intellectual.  He is the first Briton to be canonised since 1976.

The Prince of Wales, who represented the UK at the ceremony, has praised the cardinal as a man of principle, highlighted his work championing Catholicism and paid tribute to his enlightened thoughts on faith, education and conscience. The Prince of Wales has also paid tribute to the saint’s celebrated ability to disagree without anger. His Royal Highness wrote: “Whatever our own beliefs or tradition, we can be thankful for the gifts, rooted in his Catholic faith, which Newman shared with wider society.”

In his address, Pope Francis said the cardinal had left a “lasting legacy'” as an educator, and the Catholic community owed “an incalculable debt to his tireless work”.

Newman attended Trinity College, Oxford, and later became a fellow of  Oriel College between 1826-1845. Oriel describes Newman on the college website as “among the most famous figures associated with Oriel College. He is remembered as a preacher, pastor, controversialist, educational visionary, and one of the most significant modern theologians of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches.” In celebration of Newman’s canonisation, Oriel invited alumni to attend a lunch, and will host a conference on Newman as “Scholar, Sage and Saint” in September 2020. Neil Mendoza, the college’s provost, represented the college at the canonisation mass.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons


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