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Blast From the Past: John Henry Newman


No one should read the Apologia Pro Vita Sua without first reading the correspondence between Newman and Charles Kingsley that gave rise to its publication. Newman was, amongst other things, a great controversialist. As the following letter he wrote to the editors of Macmillan's Magazine demonstrates, I suspect Newman would be a great blogger if he were to live in our time, and hereby recommend that he be declared the patron saint of bloggers once he is eventually canonized. Here is the letter:

Dr. Newman to Messrs. Macmillan and Co.
The Oratory, Dec. 30, 1863,


I do not write to you with any controversial purpose, which would be preposterous; but I address you simply because of your special interest in a Magazine which bears your name. That highly respected name you have associated with a Magazine, of which the January number has been sent to me by this morning's post, with a pencil mark calling my attention to page 217.

There, apropos of Queen Elizabeth, I read as follows:-

Yahoo Watch: John Cornwell


John Cornwell has delivered himself of an essay about Cardinal Newman that, unsurprisingly, tells us more about Cornwell than it does about Newman. Cornwell hates the Pope. Is that news?

Rarely does one discover such a perfect example of published idiocy as Cornwell’s essay. The burden of his argument is that Newman was a liberal, Pope Benedict is not, and the pope is “hijacking” Newman’s reputation to his own ends. John Henry Newman was many things, but a liberal is not one of them, if by liberal you mean someone who is unconcerned with the dogmatic content of the faith, or someone who values that dogmatic content less than contemporary intellectual fads, or someone who rejects the supernatural in favor of a rationalistic faith, or someone who ascribes to any one of a number of contemporary political concerns, all of them more or less rooted in a hyper-individualistic view of the human person. If by liberal you mean “broad minded,” well who isn’t a liberal? And, Newman was never so “broad minded” that he valued his mindedness, broad or otherwise, above the teaching authority of the Church.

Postcard from Bishops meeting in Rome


"Distinctly Catholic" is pleased to present a "postcard" from the annual meeting of new bishops, which is currently being held in Rome. Bishop David M. O’Connell, newly ordained coadjutor bishop of Trenton, New Jersey, sent this report:

The meeting of the new bishops of the world is taking place these days at the house of formation for the Legionaries of Christ, Regina Apostolorum, on the outskirts of Rome. Well over 100 recently ordained bishops have gathered together from all over the world at the invitation of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops to study and discuss the roles and responsibilities attached to episcopal service in the Catholic Church. The United States has the largest group in attendance with 25 bishops, two of whom were ordained only within the last week. The meetings will last until September 17.

Beginning with morning prayer and Mass each day at 7:30 am, the bishops are assisted by hundreds of seminarians belonging to the Legion. The facilities and grounds are spectacular and the Legionaires have been superb hosts. Meals are well prepared and served by members of the community who have demonstrated an uncanny ability to anticipate virtually every need.

Q & A: Archbishop Nichols


Later this week, Pope Benedict XVI will visit the United Kingdom. The highlight of the trip will be the beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman. This week at Q & A we will explore what Newman's life and legacy mean for the Church of the 21st Century and we will ask several Newman scholars what Newman would say to the church today. But we begin with some thoughts about what Newman's beatification means for the church in the UK from the Archbishop of Westminster and Primate of England, Archbishop Vincent Nichols.

Election Time: Ohio-16


UPDATE (10/25): Congressman Steve Boccieri is facing an uphill battle to retain this seat he won two years ago. His district tilts towards the GOP and his vote in favor of health care has come back to haunt him, not least because he initially voted against the reofrm bill that passed the House in the fall, and supporting the Senate-passed bill in the springtime.
Still, his opponent, Jim Renacci, is ethically challenged and the race has not blown open: The most recent polls actually showed a bit of tightening. In a state that is always a bellweather, it is clear that Democrats Mary Jo Kilroy and Steve Driehaus are unlikely to win re-election. Boccieri could be the only happy surprise for the Dems in Ohio this year.
ORIGINAL POST: Few races appear as tailor made for a GOP pick-up as Ohio’s 16th Congressional District. The Democratic incumbent John Boccieri is completing his first term in Congress, having won the Republican leaning district in 2008 with 55% of the vote. This year, he is challenged by a businessman, Jim Renacci.

Q & A: James Roberts


We finish our week of interviews with editors of the British Catholic weekly The Tablet here at Q & A with the comments of James Roberts, assistant editor.

The question: What is the most important thing Pope Benedict must say or do when he is in the UK next week?

James Roberts: The Pope has one job, ultimately, and that is to save souls by spreading the Gospel message. On a pastoral visit, it is in order to focus primarily on strengthening the faith of the flock, but a state visit is to the whole country, and the focus must be different. Large swathes of Britain have forgotten the Gospel message, or have never heard it. The Pope’s viisit must therefore be a missionary one.

Blast From the Past: Leo XIII


Leo XIII was an outstanding Pope and Benedict XVI was right to commemorate his birth last weekend. But, there was a blemish on his record and it directly involved the Church in the United States. In early 1899, Leo dispatched an apostolic letter to Cardinal Gibbons entitled "Testem benevolentiae" in which he condemned the heresy of "Americanism."

America was not the first country to be singled out for papal condemnation, although as far as I can tell, we were the first to have a heresy named for us. Gallicanism had long haunted the Vatican's efforts to influence the Church in France, but it was never condemned as a heresy.

Yahoo Watch: Phil Davison


Not every day you see a public official meltdown so thoroughly in their own passion. But, Phil Davison, a Republican in Ohio, had such a meltdown the other day and, thanks to the good folks at Youtube, it has gone viral.

It brought to mind Gov. Howard Dean's famous speech the night he lost the Iowa caucus in 2004. Dean lost the caucus, but his meltdown afterwards cost him any chance at a recovery in the subsequent nomination battle. I post both videos below.


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