Tonight is the eve of the joyous beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman in Birmingham, the highlight of what has been an historic and incredibly successful visit for Pope Benedict to the island of Britain. Newman was an inspirational figure to countless Christians, not least Fr. Jaki, who penned no less than five books and a collection of essays concerning Newman's books and letters.
Newman also contributed greatly to the foundation of the Catholic University of Ireland (which became University College Dublin) and its University Church, pictured above, where I had the privilege of attending lunchtime Mass on Friday. The parish community has a series of events to celebrate his beatification, which can be viewed on its website here.
It is most fitting to quote from Fr. Jaki's conclusions on Cardinal Newman's life and conversion on this most special day. Let us remember them both in our prayers along with the individual Anglican converts and groups of Anglicans availing of Pope Benedict's Anglicanorum Coetibus..
Since the purity of Newman's life had for some time been attested by many, he was not a modern Saint Augustine. There is however, a close parallel between Augustine's Confessions and Newman's Apologia. The Confessions contains many pages about Augustine's struggle to extricate himself from the many traps set by man's mind in his search for truth. In his Apologia Newman "apologizes" to his Anglican contemporaries for having waged an uncompromising struggle with himself, background, and circumstances to gain a grasp of the Catholic truth. Had he chosen for the Apologia's motto, "I have not sinned against light", he would not have exaggerated.