Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Newman: "Authentic Theologian of the Tradition"

Continuing our coverage of the pilgrimage of the Rev. Mr. Jack Sullivan, the permanent deacon healed by the intercession of Cardinal Newman, we are pleased to reprint this story posted on the site of his cause.

There are various points of interest here for NLM readers, particularly as it relates to the Second Vatican Council and the hermeneutic of continuity.

Lecture at the Brompton Oratory: Newman, authentic theologian of the tradition, he tells us that heaven is real

At the Brompton Oratory in London, hundreds of people from all over England came yesterday (10th November) to hear the powerful testimony of Deacon Jack Sullivan, whose healing through Newman’s intercession will culminate in his Beatification next year.


Yesterday afternoon Jack Sullivan was welcomed to the Oratory by Provost Father Ignatius Harrison. Sullivan’s historic lecture was given in the large and beautiful Oratory church, in which John Henry Newman himself preached.


... Father Ian Ker, the Newman scholar, gave an introductory address, speaking about the power and meaning of miracles. He said: “In the past I have often been asked why it was that Newman had not been canonised. I was asked this especially when Josemaría Escrivá was canonised: why not Newman? The answer I was inclined to give was that Escriva’s followers actually prayed for his Canonisation, whereas Newman’s enthusiasts perhaps prayed less. Well now it seems that the praying had been left to Jack Sullivan: he is the one in whose hands God had placed the prayer needed for Newman’s Cause to make progress.”


Father Ker concluded: “I have long been convinced that Newman should be declared a Doctor of the Church. The word Doctor means ‘Teacher’: for a person to be a Doctor of the Church means that the faithful can approach his or her teaching as a reliable guide to Christian truth. And Newman is perhaps especially suited to be a Doctor of the troubled times in which we live. He undoubtedly inspired much of the thinking of the Second Vatican Council (October 1962 – December 1965). But his theology was also deeply informed by history, and this means that he gives us the resources we need for understanding the continuity of Vatican II with tradition. So often since the Council, its theological and pastoral developments have been treated as creating a rupture with the past. Newman, the great theologian of development, can show us that they do not. In this, he is pre-eminently the theologian of what Pope Benedict XVI has called the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’.”

Jack delivered his lecture in the sanctuary of the Oratory church. Behind him was the original High Altar, on which the London Oratorians celebrate Mass ad orientem, just as at the Oratory in Birmingham. This contemporary testimony in London and Birmingham to the liturgical tradition of the Church gives concrete focus to Fr Ker’s characterisation of Newman as a collaborator with the Holy Father in the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’.
[NLM emphasis]

To read the whole article, see: Lecture at the Brompton Oratory: Newman, authentic theologian of the tradition, he tells us that heaven is real

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