Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cardinal Newman at Birmingham: Liturgical Items (Part 3 of 3)

John Henry Cardinal Newman is best known for his prolific writing of course. Works such as the Idea of a University, the Development of Christian Doctrine, the Grammar of Assent, his Parochial and Plain Sermons, essays such as the Second Spring and so forth. All of these titles and others will be very familiar to those interested in Newman, and in some instances, even to those who are not particularly familiar, and of course, this is why we began our consideration of the earthly remnants of Newman's life with his study. (Readers may be interested to know that the image to the right, recently released by the website for the Cause of Newman's canonization, shows Newman's own personal editions of his own books, found on the shelves of that same study.)

Of course, given that the NLM is a liturgical site, and given that Cardinal Newman was not only a profound writer and orator but also a priest, a Cardinal, an Oratorian and quite simply a Catholic, the liturgy too would have a great place and importance within his life.

In view of this, I thought it might be of interest to our readers to show some of the liturgical remnants of the Cardinal as well. These are items, of course, which are much more seldom seen, and so we are pleased to be able to present a sampling here today. Our Oratorian friends at the Birmingham Oratory were very helpful in helping us to put together a few unique views into the liturgical life of the Cardinal.

Let us begin with a view of the private chapel of Cardinal Newman, located within his rooms.

Above the altar is a portrait of St. Francis de Sales, painted by a fellow convert who became a Visitation sister. To the right can be seen a statue of the virgin and child. Various portraits are also visible and a variety of relics. One will note the small canopy above the altar.

To the left one will just see the top edge of a wooden cabinet and within this are found Cardinal Newman's personal vestments.

A feature we have often shown here, and which one will see in the vestments displayed in the Vatican museums, and still in use today by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, is the use of one's ecclesiastical arms on the personal vestments of many a bishop, cardinal and pope.

In this instance, we see that same here, with a number of these vestments bearing the Newman's cardinatial arms:

One will note to the left, that one can just see the burses that are part of these vestment sets.

A further detail shows more closely Newman's coat of arms:

* * *

Moving outside the confines of the chapel proper is this interesting liturgical item, a breviary:

One of the Birmingham Oratorians says this of the history of this breviary in relation to the person of Newman: "This is one of a set of Catholic breviaries that Newman used while still an Anglican. The set had belonged to Hurrell Froude, an Anglican friend of Newman's, and of his Oxford Movement associates one of those most attracted to Catholicism. Froude died in 1836, and when Newman subsequently had the chance to take some books from Froude's library, he chose these breviaries. Later, when at Littlemore but before his conversion to Catholicism in 1845, he used the breviaries to recite the Divine Office, rather than the Anglican prayer books."

* * *

Finally, very often the photos we see of the Cardinal show him in his day to day attire, but what is less seen is Newman in some of his fuller cardinatial wear:

I hope our readers have enjoyed this simple and short mini-series on some of the Birmingham remnants and relics of Cardinal Newman. I hope that it will help to bring the soon to be beatified Cardinal more to life for each of you, and perhaps for some of you, it will even inspire devotion to him, or inspire you to pick up some of the many important writings that he left to the Church.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: