As we count down the hours until Cardinal Newman’s beatification in Birmingham, England, it’s time to take a crash course in just who the Church is honouring. After all, this is the first Mass of beatification that Benedict XVI will personally celebrate during his pontificate. (While canonizations are held in the Vatican, the recent norm has been to proclaim Blesseds in their home country, without the Holy Father.)
In an earlier post, I wrote about Tony Blair’s hope that Newman would also be declared a Doctor of the Church
. The former British PM must be pleased that the pontiff has now echoed his sentiment.
During the Pope’s flight to Scotland on Thursday morning, a journalist asked the Holy Father
which aspects of the late Cardinal’s personality he most wanted to emphasize. He replied with three points:
The modernity of his life, with all the doubts and problems of our lives today. His immense culture; his knowledge of the great treasures of human culture and his permanent readiness to study and renew that knowledge. His spirituality; his spiritual life and his life with God.
Then the Pope added that Newman’s figure “appears as a doctor of the Church for us and for everyone.”
To get a sense of why Newman is so avidly revered by both Popes and Prime Ministers, watch the latest episode of Catholic Focus
. It airs tonight at 7 & 11 pm ET / 8 pm PT and is now available online (above).
Just hours away, S+L will bring you the live prayer vigil for Cardinal Newman at 1:15 pm ET / 10:15 am PT. Finally, we will broadcast Cardinal Newman’s beatification Mass
live Sunday morning at 5 am ET / 2 am PT, repeating at 8:30 pm ET / 5:30 pm PT. All events can be watched online via our live streaming