John Henry Newman, the world-renowned convert from Anglicanism and founder of the Oxford Movement, was declared a saint today by Pope Francis in Rome. He is now the first non-martyr Englishman to be canonized since the Reformation. Not only is he a confessor, he may well one day even be declared a Doctor of the Church.
Today is a day of celebration by both Anglicans and Catholics. Prince Charles has written an article in Osservatore Romano, which was published in abbreviated form in the Times as well. As His Royal Highness writes, “As we mark the life of this great Briton, this great churchman and, as we can now say, this great saint, who bridges the divisions between traditions, it is surely right that we give thanks for the friendship which, despite the parting, has not merely endured, but has strengthened.”
Jacob Rees Mogg has an article of his own on Cardinal Newman out today, writing “The creation of a new saint is important because it keeps alive the hope of salvation for all.”
Much has been and will be written about the life and legacy of John Henry Newman, but suffice it to say here that, for those of us Catholics of the Anglican tradition, today is a day of rejoicing as a member of our Anglican family – and patron of our cherished ordinariates through which we have become Catholic – is recognized by the Catholic Church as a saint, interceding for us in Heaven.
As Newman wrote in response to a proposal by Ambrose Philip de Lisle for an Anglican Uniate Church (akin to the Anglican ordinariates that Providence held in store), “Nothing will rejoice me more than to find that the Holy See considers it safe and promising to sanction some such plan….” Thanks be to God for the life, ministry, and ongoing influence of John Henry Newman.