The Cardinal Newman Society has officially launched an ambitious new project to help preserve more than 10,000 manuscripts handwritten by the 19th
-century theologian John Henry Cardinal Newman and to promote Newman’s thought on Catholic education and doctrine.
The timing could not be better: Just hours before Newman’s beatification this Sunday in Birmingham, England, Pope Benedict XVI will visit the Oratory where Newman lived and died, and he will view Newman’s important archive of letters, sermons, essays, poetry and other works. Some of it has never been published.
“This truly great Englishman lived an exemplary priestly life and through his extensive writings made a lasting contribution to Church and society, both in his native land and in many other parts of the world,”
Pope Benedict said during last Wednesday’s general audience in Rome.
Making those writings more accessible to scholars and introducing Newman’s ideas to the American public is the purpose of the Newman Legacy Project. The Cardinal Newman Society hopes to raise more than $1 million for the project, primarily to help build a climate-controlled, fireproof facility for Newman’s papers at the Birmingham Oratory.
Several bishops and others have endorsed the project, including the Vatican’s Archbishop Raymond Burke, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, Cardinal Emeritus William Keeler of Baltimore, and former Vatican ambassador James Nicholson.
The fundraising effort got off to a great start last week, with a pledge from Scott and Lannette Turicchi of California for 10 percent of the goal.
“Blessed Newman’s contributions to the Faith and especially higher education need to be preserved, accessible and made available for research and the sake of future generations,”
Other activities of the Newman Legacy Project include lectures, media outreach, fellowships for Newman scholars, and distribution of short films about Newman in cooperation with Corpus Christi Watershed of Corpus Christi, Texas.
The Cardinal Newman Society is leading the official U.S. pilgrimage to Newman’s beatification by Pope Benedict, which departs Wednesday for Birmingham. About 40 participating bishops, priests and lay pilgrims will have exclusive opportunities to see the Newman archive and to attend the first-ever Mass in the new Newman Shrine at the Birmingham Oratory.
Real-time reports on the pilgrimage to Birmingham, Oxford and London from September 16-20 will be available atwww.CardinalNewmanSociety.org
and on Twitter
The Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman was a prominent 19th
-century convert, priest and scholar who authored The Idea of a University
, defining the liberal arts and Catholic higher education for more than a century. Newman’s other important works—concerning faith and reason, papal authority, doctrine, conscience and Liberalism—have led many to refer to him as the “Father of Vatican II.”
“Newman has much to offer the Catholic Church in America: a strong dose of courageous faith, a commitment to reason and a thorough critique of secularism,”
said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society. “It is fitting that Americans would help preserve Newman’s legacy, just as Americans generously supported Newman during his lifetime more than a century ago.”
For more information about the Newman Legacy Project, see www.CardinalNewmanSociety.org
Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.