John Henry Cardinal Newman
5 November 2008
The venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman, patron of our high school, and
champion of educational practices, is in the process of being canonized. At this moment
he is being considered for the third of the four steps in the canonization process,
beatification. If obtained the next step for Cardinal Newman is sainthood. Many in the
local Cardinal Newman High School community wonder how this would effect the
educational institution and the Catholic Church in general. Some wonder if Newman’s
practices would become more popular around the world. Others contemplate smaller
changes such as that of Cardinal Newman High School changing its name, mascot, and
even colors. Without-a-doubt if Newman becomes a saint it will enlighten many to his
beliefs, practices, and ideas that until now have remained veiled to most of the public.
Before considering Newman for beatification one must examine his life.
Newman once said, “To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.” It
seems as if Cardinal Newman lived by this quote. His life contained an abundant amount
of change. However, the most prominent transformation of Newman’s life was his
conversion from Anglicanism to Catholicism in 1845. He faced many hardships because
of this action and ended up being discriminated against by both Anglicans and Catholics.
But, because of his works, he is now remembered by both religions as a great and
honorable man who worked his entire life to better the process of instruction throughout
the educational system. After his death his life long friend Richard W. Church said:
“Cardinal Newman is dead, and we lose him…one of the very
greatest masters of English style…a man of singular purity and
beauty of character...an eminent example of personal sanctity…He
will be mourned by many in the Roman Church, but their sorrow will
be less than ours, because they have not the same paramount reason
to be grateful to him.”
If Cardinal Newman were to obtain his beatification and sainthood the magnitude
of his ideas and practices would undoubtedly become more recognizable throughout the
church and Christian world. Cardinal Newman remains, although familiar to some,
highly anonymous to most of the world. His involvement in the Oxford movement and
his books such as Apologia Pro Vita Sua, have gained him some recognition, however
most people simply do not study the Catholic clergy. Saints are another matter. In many
Catholic schools, churches, and in most Catholic households children are taught about the
saints. Newman’s beliefs, or at least his life-style and general practices, would be taught
to most Christian children. He would be immortalized in tradition and practice while his
achievements in the educational field would egress out of unfamiliarity and progress into
If Newman were to become a saint the Cardinal Newman High School
community would become susceptible to some changes. The changing of the schools
name and mascot should transpire. The Saint Newman Saints might be acceptable. The
high school might also want to consider a day honoring Newman and all his works.
Holding a liturgy in his name once every year that reflects on his teachings and his life
would be a conventional way of remembering him. Cardinal Newman High School
would not change its original teachings however. Their philosophy of Christian
Gentlemen, originally created by Newman, would remain intact and their style of
teaching, also created by Newman, would not alter. Newman’s elevation to the Holy
Communion of Saints would be a wondrous event. Our high school community would
recognize his life long dedication to education and religion.
Cardinal Newman was a man of piety, dedication, and character who deserves to
join the ranks of the Holy Communion. His devotion to the church and to education was
astounding. Sainthood would undoubtedly change the way many people perceive him
and his teachings on education and faith. Changes in Cardinal Newman High School
would occur, but Newman’s teachings and thus the faculties teachings would not.
However, no matter his rank, he will be remembered at Cardinal Newman High School.
“Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead thou me on;
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead thou me on.”