John Henry Newman
Saint or Sinner?
John Henry Newman
In September of this year (2010) the present Pope, Benedict XVI, will visit Britain at the invitation of Queen Elisabeth II, who is considered the Head of the Anglican Church; the National Church of England. This will be the first state visit by a pope to the United Kingdom and only the second visit by a pope to Britain since the days of Henry VIII.
During Benedict’s visit he plans the Beatification of a man called John Henry Newman, by decreeing him ‘blessed.’ This is a vital step toward making Newman an official Saint by ‘canonization’ after which all Catholic’s will be encouraged to pray to him.
It has been said by one of the archbishops that this will be the “central focus” and “major” event of the Pope’s visit. It is standard practice that a local cardinal performs this duty, but it is of such personal importance to Benedict that he has taken it upon himself to perform this task. Benedict has frequently praised Newman’s life and work, seeing in him a kindred intellectual spirit. If all this goes ahead Newman will be the first Englishman to be canonized since the 17th century.
This visit by the Pope will cost British taxpayers an estimated £112 million, which includes the price of policing the event! This alone is sufficient reason for people to ask who was John Henry Newman? Why will the Pope do this at this time and during this visit? What is the importance of making a saint of this Englishman who died over 100 years ago?
From the days of the Reformation a war has raged concerning England and its church in relation to its submission and loyalty to Rome. The Roman Catholic Church counts the conversion of England, and its National Church, as one of its most sought after achievements, and will not rest until it is fully complete.
This Papal visit seeks to strengthen ties between the British government and the Roman See. Naturally it also aims to remind Britain of its Catholic-Christian roots and seeks to strengthen ecumenical relations between churches.
We can be assured however that there will be no desire to remember or mention the Reformation which delivered England from the tyranny, superstition and bondage of Romanism. Also, we can be assured that there will be no mention of the many national revivals which have swept Britain over the past 450 years and brought millions to Christ through faith in His finished work on Calvary.
From Birth to Conversion
John Henry Newman was born in London on the 21st February, 1801, the eldest of six children, and one of three boys. His father was a banker and a freemason. His mother was of very devout Huguenot stock. She was the main influence behind his discipline in the reading of the Bible as God’s Word and the learning of the catechism. The family was Anglican, Evangelical (theologically) and Calvinistic.
From the age of seven John attended school at Ealing near London. During his school years he learnt to play the violin, enjoyed debates, established a school newspaper, founded a secret society with friends and soaked himself in reading religious books including the puritans and church history. His brother Charles revealed that during these years John ‘coveted to be a Grand Master of some Order.’ From youth he was noted not only for his religious nature but also for his superstitious nature. For most of his life he had a fascination for ghost stories.
In the autumn of 1816 at age fifteen he went through a terrible illness which led him into awful, intense internal experiences which finally led to his conversion. Speaking of his conversion he said it was "more certain than that I have hands or feet." At the same time he became convinced that it was God’s will for him to remain celibate (single) all his days. From this time on he began to think that God was preparing him for some special task on some foreign mission field.
Following the instruction of the church of his new birth, he received and accepted an evangelical-Calvinistic creed without question and was dogmatic in his proclamation of the pope being the Antichrist of prophetic Scriptures.
Moulded at Oxford
In June 1817 he took up residence at Trinity College at Oxford during which time it was normal for him to study between six and ten hours a day. He was a very intense and hard working student. His initial intension in attending Trinity was to study for the bar and a lifetime in the legal profession. A great many passing through Oxford as students were set for future service in government, law and church.
In these early years he had great ambition for himself and his future; he disliked the idea of church ministry but had set his sights upon studying law. Yet none of these things could really satisfy him. He said “longing after something, I know not what...”
Engrossed in studies he generally rose at five or six each morning to accomplish the desired results. When his exams finally came in November 1820 he had given himself little rest, relaxation or recuperation. He was unexpectedly called up a day earlier than expected. Having been expected by all to perform outstandingly he failed miserably. Even so his grades were still enough to earn him a degree.
This was decisive in turning his mind and heart from the practice of law as an occupation. He returned to Oxford in 1821 in order to teach private pupils as well as carry on various studies. He records during this year his constant fight against bad thoughts, pride, ambition, self-esteem and self-deception. He made his decision that same year that he would remain and study in Oxford in order to obtain Orders for Christian ministry in the Anglican Church.
At the age of 21 years in Easter of 1822 he sat exams for acceptance at Oriel Theological College at Oxford. His written papers greatly impressed the examiners and he was gladly accepted. For his first probation year he was entrusted to the care of Richard Whitely who was highly thought of in Oxford and Oriel. Whitely was the first of a number of persons who were to be moulding influences at Oxford upon his future life and ministry.
In June 1824 he was ordained deacon in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. Just ten days later he preached his first sermon. The provost of Oriel and local vicar of St. Mary’s church, Edward Hawkins, was to leave a profound mark on the young preacher. Hawkins had previously read the draft of Newman’s first sermon and strongly criticized its evangelical nature and message. For some years Hawkins had placed church tradition above Biblical authority and was a great defender of baptismal regeneration (saved by baptism). His sermon in 1818 on Tradition had stirred those in attendance at Oriel. Hawkins gifted Newman a copy of this sermon and a book called Apostolic Preaching by Sumner. Between this sermon and Sumner book, Newman’s evangelical foundation was irreparably broken up.
In 1824 while rearranging furniture in their accommodation his brother Frank, who was living with him, found a picture of the Virgin Mary on the wall. He confronted John about this who in response attacked the Protestant stance of making too little of the Virgin. Frank was also shocked when he realised that his brother now believed that the Bible was incomplete without church tradition.
In September of 1824 Newman’s father died leaving him with a greater sense of responsibility for the whole family. In May 1825 he was ordained as an Anglican priest and began a two year probation as curate of St. Clement’s in Oxford. He now held to a belief that “only” the sacrament of baptism could bring people “into the kingdom of grace.” His thoughts had moved from missionary burden to theological success; from biblical authority to church tradition; from evangelicalism to liberalism. He continued to see the faults of his own character. At this time he said “I am full of art and deceit, double dealing, display.”
While ministering in St. Clements he also became a tutor in Oriel in 1826. This now gave him access to young minds that were in preparation for the ministry and upon whom he could leave his mark. It was the following year that he was able to say that ‘he began to be known.’ This was the beginning of fame for which he strove incessantly. Between 1823 and 1827 it would have been hard for anyone to be sure what direction Newman was going in theologically and ecclesiastically but in 1827 he suffered his second great life changing illness. This time it woke him up from his drift to liberalism and set him upon a fixed course to Rome.
By 1830 he realised he could carry little weight in influencing the low churchmen (Evangelical) of the Anglican Church. He was removed in March of that year from the Church Missionary Society because of writing an anonymous letter suggesting ways to remove all non-conformists (those from independent churches) from its ranks. As a result he then removed himself from the evangelical Bible societies and set his full focus upon influencing those of high church views within the Anglican Communion.
In March 1828 John Henry Newman was installed by the bishop of Oxford as vicar of St. Mary’s. This was the big break he was looking for and which he needed if he was really to bring his thoughts to bare upon the church of his birth. By the early part of the 19th century, the centre of the Church of England was Oxford University. Half of the young clergymen of the nation were instructed in this one institution.
The fact that St. Mary’s church happened to be in the middle of Oxford gave it a place of prominence and importance not really due to it; it was just a typical church with normal functions. Although it was not the university church it was generally called the university church. By this time Newman had attained a following among the young men at Oxford who faithfully and regularly attended his ministry. The church was filled each Sunday afternoon with young university men and his fame in Oxford grew rapidly.
Friends and pupils at Oriel, upon his ordination, had gifted him a set of thirty-six volumes of the Church Fathers and so from the beginning of his ministry at St. Mary’s he became an earnest student of the early church fathers in their doctrine, practice and councils.
It was the great Scottish Protestant preacher Alexander Whyte who said “It was from the pulpit of St. Mary’s that he began to conquer and to rule the world.” There are some ten volumes of his messages still available from these years which amount to about 1,000 messages. They have the ability to convict but not to convert to Christ. They lack a message of redeeming grace, of salvation through faith alone and of the hope of eternal life in Christ but they do most certainly search the soul to its depths.
As the vicar of St. Mary’s, Newman would almost glide into the church, make his way to the pulpit, adjust the gas lamp, lay his prepared script upon the pulpit and read aloud his message in a penetrating musical voice. His appearance was likened to Julius Caesar; his nose being the chief comparison. His message was directed to the conscience. One young man said that the effect of his preaching upon him and the other young men was to “turn our souls inside out.”
One author, in describing his qualities noted his “enthusiasm, energy, driving power” and “controversial genius”; one such controversial case was that of refusing to marry a couple on the grounds that the bride-to-be had not been christened. In his own words she was an “outcast.” This caused a stir in the family as well as in local newspapers.
He remained in his pastoral office at St. Mary’s until 1843, attracting hundreds of students, university officials, and townspeople. After a fall-out with Hawkins at Oriel his supply of new students was cut off, so he was forced to resign his post as a tutor in 1832. This left him free to give himself completely to ministry at St. Mary’s as well as for the greatest task of his life.
The Oxford Movement
The beginning of the Oxford Movement goes back to 1833 when Newman and his very close friend Richard Hurrell Froude paid a five week visit to Rome at the end of their continental trip. Froude probably had a greater influence upon Newman than any other. Newman says of him, “He taught me to look with admiration towards the Church of Rome, and in the same degree to dislike the Reformation.”
Again Speaking of Froude many years later he said that he “professed openly his admiration for the Church of Rome, and his hatred of the Reformers. He delighted in the notion of an hierarchical system, of sacerdotal power, and of full ecclesiastical liberty. He felt scorn of the maxim, ‘the Bible and the Bible only is the religion of Protestants’; and he gloried in accepting tradition as a main instrument of religious teaching. He embraced the principle of penance and mortification. He had a deep devotion to the Real Presence in which he had a firm faith. He was powerfully drawn to the Medieval Church, but not to the Primitive.”
While in Rome Froude took Newman to meet Monsignor Dr. Nicholas Wiseman, Rector of the English College at Rome and later a cardinal, who had a passionate desire to see England return to the fold of Rome. Their main reason to meet was to discuss how they could be joined to Rome, without going against their conscience while remaining Anglicans. Wiseman made it very clear to them that they could in no way move forward in this without accepting the whole Council of Trent. Newman’s response was ‘there is work for me to do in England.’
Newman was captivated by the city of Rome. He called it the “first of cities.” He wrote home “Is it possible that so serene and lofty a place is the cage of unclean creatures? I will not believe it till I have evidence of it.” He also called the priesthood he met there, “a decorous, orderly body.” In the very same letters to family and friends he also called the religion of Italy “corrupt” and the Catholic Church a “cruel church.” As per usual he gave forth double-speak on the very same issue.
While on this continental journey Newman fell seriously ill (this was one of the three major illnesses that brought him to fundamental spiritual changes). Having recovered he made the decision that he must return immediately to England. Having made this decision he began to “sob violently.” His servant who had been his nurse during his sickness asked him what was wrong, he replied, “I have a work to do in England.”
Upon his return to England on the 9th of July 1833 he kept all knowledge and all details secret from many of his closest associates. What he was going to do must be done in secret. His friend John Keble preached a message on the 14th July, (which just happened to be the anniversary of the French Revolution), which he then published under the title “National Apostasy.” In it, amongst other things, he insisted that salvation was possible only through the sacraments. Newman considered that this message marked the beginning of their new movement.
That year societies in defence of apostolic succession within Anglicanism were set up in a number of areas across England. This movement began with the express purpose “to unite all the church, orthodox and evangelical.” Newman later wrote that It was meant ultimately to absorb "the various English denominations and parties" into the Roman Church, from which their ancestors had come out at the time of the Reformation. From the word go it was led by John Keble, John Henry Newman and Richard Hurrell Froude, all of whom were looking Rome-ward.
In September Newman formed what he called ‘friends of the church’ who were to operate out of Oxford. On the very same day he published the first of his tracts called Tracts for the Times. At the beginning no identifiable information was placed on the tracts such as authors name, movement details or place of publication; again secrecy was paramount. He called upon his closest personal friends of similar convictions to also write tracts. These tracts caught on like wildfire and spread in the land, churches and universities by young men who were caught up in this false zeal and excitement. In the first year more than 60,000 were sold. This won the Oxford Movement the nickname of Tractarians.
The year 1833 was a key year. In November Dr. Pusey, who later took up leadership of the movement and gave it the name of Puseyism, joined them in their cause. Again this was done secretly behind closed doors and was only revealed later. W.E. Gladstone, the politician, also joined them.
Just three months after July 14th Newman published his work Arians of the fourth century. In this book he made much of what he called the “Disciplina Arcane” or “secret teaching.” This was highlighted and taken from a few early church fathers like Clement of Alexander which was defined by Newman as “withholding the truth.” He went on to say that these “doctrines in question have never been learnt merely from Scripture.” He taught that the apostles had an oral tradition of doctrine and practice which they never placed in the written scriptures but only passed on to choice disciples.
Another closely related theory to this which he promoted in his book was the “economical” mode of teaching. Newman explained this again from the church father, Clement: to close, trusted friends your inward thoughts and outward speech could be harmonised and in agreement but to others, if you thought it good for the church, you could “lie, or rather utter a lie.” Some years later Newman wrote “there is some kind or other of verbal misleading, which is not sin.”, and again elsewhere “supposing I was driven up into a corner, I think I should have a right to say an untruth.” This is where we get our saying of being ‘economical with the truth.’ Both of these above principles were named by Newman as the “Doctrine of Reserve.” It was revealed by one ex-Tractarian that the “doctrine of reserve was both taught and acted upon to a wide extent by the Tractarians.”
This whole principle of deliberate deception and lack of honesty in personal opinion, belief, conviction, practice and doctrine was fundamental to the whole Oxford Movement. Froude named the movement the ‘Second Counter Reformation’ and wrote about it in a study called The Oxford Counter-Reformation. In the article he writes “In Oxford, reserve was considered a becoming feature in the religious character.” So this second Counter Reformation was marked by the above doctrine of reserve.
Reformation and Counter-Reformation
Just 35 years after Luther nailed his thesis to the door at Wittenberg on October 31st 1517 the Reformation was established in two-thirds of Europe. Germany, England, the Scandinavian countries, Holland and Switzerland had turned from the terrible darkness and superstition of Catholicism to the freedom of Biblical truth. The Catholic Church was in danger of utter loss. In response Ignatius Loyola formed the Jesuit order in 1534 and in 1540 it was officially approved by Pope Paul III who gave permission to their Counter-Reformation which was carried out with great success.
The Council of Trent which began in December 1545 was called by the pope in response to the devastating effect of the Reformation, and was dominated by Jesuit influence and genius which stood as the pope’s chief representatives. The first issue dealt with in the council was the authority of God’s Word. It was firmly established at the council that tradition and the word of the pope carried equal authority to God’s Word.
The Jesuits were to be a military order under the banner of Rome with Loyola as its first general who held an utter loyalty to the pope. The Dominican order was already carrying out a long war through the inquisition which began in the 13th century, which then revived in Spain in 1473, but centralized in Rome in 1542. Through means of persecution, torture and martyrdom it waged its war against true believers. The Jesuit order however would carry out a very different offensive.
The primary object of the Jesuits was to gain control of nations through infiltration of the colleges and universities as well as every other sector of life including politics. By 1582 the Jesuits dominated 287 colleges and universities in Europe. The motive and vision behind this was to destroy the work of the Reformation by an infiltration leading to an utter destruction of Protestant influence.
This is not the place to deal with their corruption and depravity. Sufficient to say that in the following centuries their manner of working was so devious and corrupt that popes disbanded them, European Catholic Kings had them cast out of their countries and Protestant kings, politicians and presidents counted them as national enemies.
The Jesuit’s greatest tools, straight down to our own day, have always been lying, deception, infiltration and compromise. Their beloved motto is “the end justifies the means.” They practised the belief that to accomplish a holy end it is ok to use unholy means. Even the term “Jesuitical” in our English dictionary is defined as the practice of equivocation (to mislead or hedge); it is subtle reasoning and intrigue; to be crafty and sly. One primary target for the Jesuit’s has always been England. Their goal of indoctrinating Catholicism into the minds of the future intellectual leaders of England has been uppermost in their plans.
For centuries England has been called Mary’s Dowry! The Catholic Herald explained this in 2008 in the following manner. “…there is only one country that entirely, as a country, is considered hers alone: England, the "Dowry" of Mary. The "Dowry of Mary" devotion is still widespread, summarised in the following prayer: "Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gracious Queen and Mother, look down in mercy on England thy Dowry”… England as Our Lady's Dowry is therefore the place set apart in perpetuity for her use alone…Is England's role as the Dowry of Mary to be found in being that particular place on earth where the truths of Mary's life and of her Son's, of the spiritual realm, are to be forever upheld? That is one reason, perhaps the reason, why England is Mary's Dowry.”
Dr. Desanctis who was a former parish priest of the Madellena in Rome, Professor of Theology and official Theological Censor of the Inquisition, was closely acquainted with the internal workings of Romanism and Jesuitism. He wrote and published a book in 1852 in London called Popery and Jesuitism in Rome in the Nineteenth Century. In it he gives some amazing information concerning the connection between the Tractarians and the Jesuits,
“Despite all the persecution they [the Jesuits] have met with, they have not abandoned England, where there are a greater number of Jesuits than in Italy; that there are Jesuits in all classes of society; in parliament; among the English clergy; among the protestant laity, even in the higher stations...it was no wonder, therefore, if a Jesuit should feign himself a protestant, for the conversion of protestants. But pay attention, I entreat you, to my discoveries concerning the nature of the religious movement in England termed Puseyism. The English clergy were formerly too attached to their articles of faith to be shaken from them...and so the Jesuits of England tried another plan. This was to demonstrate from history and ecclesiastical antiquity the legitimacy of the usages of the English church, whence, through the exertions of the Jesuits concealed among its clergy, might arise a studious attention to Christian antiquity. This was designed to occupy the clergy in long, laborious, and abstruse investigation, and to alienate them from their bibles.”
By 1836 because so much suspicion had arisen over Newman, Pusey and Keble being secret papist’s, if not Jesuit’s, these men decided that even though they had already written against Romanism in their own underhand and contradictory manner they must now increase their efforts in writing and publishing tracts against popery in order to try to throw people off the scent and so draw people further along the road with them to Rome.
Newman had written in 1833 that the Church of Rome was a “lost church”, heretical and antichrist. That same year he wrote about “the papal apostasy.” In 1834 he wrote of the “corrupt papal system” and called it profane, impious, blasphemous, gross, monstrous and deceived. Then in 1838 he wrote that “she may be said to resemble a demoniac.” All of this is strong if it had been sincere or truthful.
Later in 1843 he renounced all such statements by writing anonymously in the Oxford Conservative Journal in which he now tried to justify his previous actions and comments. “Such views, too, are necessary for our position. Yet I have reason to fear still that such language is to be ascribed, in no small measure, to an impetuous temper, a hope of approving myself to person’s respect, and a wish to repel the charge of Romanism.”
Writing of his retraction he said “I felt that I was taking people in; that they thought of me what I was not, and were trusting me when they should not...but so it was and is; people won’t believe I go as far as I do–they will cling to their hopes.” His reason for retracting publicly in writing was in order that he may be seen in his true colours–as a Romanist. As early as July 1834 in a personal letter Newman had repudiated the word “protestant” and in September 1836 wrote to Pusey that he now accepted the form of the mass presented by the Council of Trent.
In 1836 while publicly denouncing Rome he was privately moving Rome-ward. In September 1839 when writing to H.E. Manning, later a catholic cardinal, he wrote “I think that, whenever the time comes that secession to Rome takes place, for which we must not be unprepared, we must boldly say to the protestant section of our church—‘You are the cause of this; you must concede...you must meet the age’...Till then you will have continual secessions to Rome.”
Throughout these years under the influence of the church fathers he proclaimed to all his belief that church tradition was equal to biblical truth yet as years past and his reading of the Church fathers deepened he was to discover some shocking things which ought to have stopped him in his tracks and turned him back to biblical truth; he found that they upheld the authority of the Word of God over tradition.
Newman wrote to Froude in August 1835 “I am surprised more and more to see the Fathers insist on the scriptures as the Rule of Faith, even in proving the most subtle parts of the doctrine of the incarnation…I see that the ancients did make the scriptures the basis of their belief…They always went to scripture alone.” Again in 1837 he writes, “The Fathers do appeal in all their controversies to scriptures as a final authority.” But these are things he kept hidden from public knowledge.
Whilst Newman was a tutor at Oriel College and through his ministry at St. Mary’s, a number of young men were gathered around him whom he privately called “monks.” He had plans to set up a monastic order – again under great secrecy.
In 1840 he moved his operations to a building at Littlemore attached to nine acres of ground just three miles from Oxford. This was with the purpose of forwarding his plans for a monastic establishment with the hope of closely connecting it with the national Protestant University of Oxford. Privately he called it a monastery, but more openly called it a Hall of Learning.
In 1842 he withdrew to Littlemore. The order of life there was patterned after the strictest and most austere ancient religious orders of Rome. Into the life of this little monastery Newman introduced candles, a large crucifix and the keeping of catholic hours. These students made frequent trips to the continent where they indulged secretly in the full depths of Roman tradition and practice including the confessional, physical self punishment and the mass. Amongst them was bred an intense hatred of the Reformers and the Reformation. Many of these first inmates later became Roman Catholic priests.
The Anglican bishop of Oxford wrote to Newman in April 1842 politely inquiring concerning the constant flood of accusation that Newman was attempting to revive ancient monastic orders at Littlemore after the pattern of the Romanists without any communication with the Bishop. Newman immediately wrote back denying any such desire or work, “...no monastery is in process of erection...I am not attempting a revival of monastic orders, in anything approaching to the Romanist sense of the term.”
The true history of most, if not all, the key players of the Oxford Movement, was one of misleading through words; that is, lying. One of the leaders and close friends of Newman, Mr. W.G. Ward, is reported by his son as saying, “Make yourself clear that you are justified in deception, and then lie like a Trooper.” Ward also had a letter published in a catholic publication in Paris in March 1841 in which he revealed much of their hidden strategy, “We are destined, I am persuaded, to bring back many wandering sheep to the knowledge of the truth…Let us, then, remain quiet for some years, till, by God’s blessing, the ears of Englishmen are become accustomed to hear the name of Rome pronounced with reverence. At the end of this term you will soon see the fruits of our patience.”
Conversion to Rome
It was probably in the year 1839 that Newman realised he must leave the Anglican Church. In 1841 he wrote Tract 90 which was his last and unsuccessful attempt at removing the barrier between Catholicism and Anglicanism. This Tract aroused such a reaction that the tracts were finally and forcibly stopped. Tract 90 dealt with Newman’s theory that the Thirty-nine articles of Anglicanism were compatible and in harmony with the Roman Catholic Council of Trent.
The English Bishops responded by accusing the author of Romanizing and dishonesty. Young men were warned to have nothing whatsoever to do with this subversive movement and its leaders. Newman was accused of being the Guy Fawkes of Oxford and a traitor of the worst kind.
In 1842 he moved to his “Littlemore monastery” and then in 1843 he resigned from his ministry at St. Mary’s. His farewell sermon was called “The Parting of Friends.” During this whole time when accused of already being Roman Catholic in heart and action he totally denied it. He spent two years as a layman in residence in Littlemore.
Early in 1845 several of the Oxford Movement joined the Roman Catholic Church. It was later that year in October that Newman defected to Rome calling it “the One True Fold.” That night he was found at the feet of a Father Dominic begging him to hear his confession and to receive him into the Catholic Church. It was in October 1846 that he was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest at Rome. Within one year of his initial move 150 Anglican clergy and laymen also crossed over to follow him to Rome. By 1864 nearly one thousand ministers, theological leaders, and Anglican Church members followed his lead.
Finally when it came to the point of Newman’s departure from the Anglican Church the leadership of the Oxford Movement was handed over to Pusey and so earned itself the name Puseyites or Puseyism. He was as much a Romanist as Newman but he intended to stay within the Anglican Church and to do all within his power to bring it into union with Rome from the inside.
The abiding result of all their work was the rising tide and spread of the leaven of the Ritualistic movement within Anglicanism with the promotion and use of the Roman Mass, vestments and incense. These ritualists continued to work in secrecy by hiding their names, motives and purpose, and by raising up religious secret societies whilst all the time working under darkness for fear of discovery.
For the next 40 years Newman lived mostly in Roman obscurity in Britain with several hopes and plans coming to naught - such as a revision of the English Bible and a second Oxford Movement. But amidst his long obscurity he did experience a few dramatic heights as in 1878 when to his great delight after 32 years of absence he was elected to be an honorary fellow at Oxford and returned to the welcome of the president of Trinity College.
In February 1879 Pope Leo XIII conferred on Newman the cardinal’s hat and received him in audience at Rome. Although it is traditional for Cardinal’s to reside in Rome, Newman was granted an exception by being allowed to remain in Britain. He was mentally active and physically straight in stature to the end but his later years were lived in illness. In August 1890, his 90th year, he died.
The Pope’s Purpose...!
Why was Newman made a Cardinal and why is the present Pope doing all in his power to Canonize Newman? If not overtly, then surely subtly, the primary reason is to honour Newman’s work towards Romanizing the Anglican Church thus bringing England closer to the rejection of the Reformation and Protestantism and strengthening ecumenical ties. The latter is reflected in the following statement by Cardinal Martins when speaking of Newman in January 2008:“Personally I wish his beatification to happen very soon because it would be very important at this moment for the path of ecumenical dialogue.”
This next step in Canonizing Newman during the Pope’s visit is in tow with leading the British monarchy and Government to publically acknowledge the religious and secular dominion of the Pope over the peoples of the United Kingdom. Outwardly the Catholic Church is cunningly using and promoting Newman as an example for church unity but underneath they are all the while looking, not for unity, but for the subjugation of the Anglican Church and all other church denominations. The true greatness of England and Britain came by way of her honouring the English Bible, God’s written Truth, as the authority over every area of life. Her fall came when she rejected its authority in private and public life.
The process to Canonize Newman began in 1991 when he was proclaimed “venerable.” In order to progress to Beatification (to be pronounced a Saint) one proven miracle must be found and then to finalize the process in canonization a second confirmed miracle is needed. In May 2010 the Sunday Times carried an article under the title of ‘Why Cardinal Newman is no Saint.’ In this article the flawed facts of the claimed miracle was revealed. According to the rules of the Vatican it only takes one verified miracle attributed to the intercession of Newman for his beatification.
The actual miracle upon which Newman’s beatification rests, is that of Jack Sullivan of Marshfield near Boston USA. In June 2000 he was suffering badly from severe pain in the lower back caused by vertebrae and disc problems which pressed upon the spinal cord. At the time Sullivan was studying to become a deacon in the Catholic Church. On the 26th June he watched a catholic programme on TV concerning the life of Cardinal Newman. Viewers were asked to contact the station if they believed that they had experienced answers to prayer through praying to Cardinal Newman. Sullivan said “I then felt a strong compulsion to pray to Cardinal Newman with all my heart.” The next morning all the pain had gone and he could walk uprightly without any difficulty. He said “The joy of that first moment filled my heart with gratitude for Cardinal Newman’s intercession with God.” Ten pain free months followed.
His pain returned in May 2001. Then successful surgery was performed in August of that year. He was in much pain after the surgery, after six days of this he again prayed to Newman. “I felt a very warm sensation all over my body, and a sense of real peace and joy came over me…Then I felt a surge of strength and confidence that I could finally walk.” The pain again left and has thus far never returned.
In August 2006 the Archbishop of Boston passed this information on to the Vatican. In April 2008 the medical consultants at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints voted unanimously that Sullivan's recovery defies any scientific or medical explanation. In April 2009 the panel of theological consultants recognized the miracle as genuine. In July 2009 Benedict XVI recognised the healing of Jack Sullivan as a miracle resulting from the intercession of John Henry Newman. The Pope is so determined to canonize Newman that he bypassed the Vatican’s strict regulations of verification.
Sullivan’s pain relief was temporary, and it was the operation that rectified the problem not a miracle. This contradicts the standard test by the Vatican of an authentic miracle. Also, three top medical personnel could see nothing miraculous in such results. It just proves that the Pope and Vatican are determined to Canonize Newman as soon as they can in order to use him as a champion of ecumenical unity.
Saint or Sinner? - Conclusion
John Henry Newman was no saint in life and no dubious miracle can make him a saint in death.
Let’s finish with the verdict of Scripture concerning the life and times of John Henry Newman: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” (1Tim.4:1-3)
The so-called Doctrine of Reserve used by Newman and those of the Oxford Movement was in no wise used by the early church or tolerated by Christ. There is no secrecy in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in His doctrine or in His Church. Secrecy, secret societies, lies and hypocrisy are tools of Satan. The true church and true Christians rejoice in honesty, purity, uprightness and transparency. Jesus said, “I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.” (Jn.18:20)
Jesus speaking of the religious Pharisees of His own day that had every appearance of religiosity by their long prayers, long sermons, long titles and long robes were yet exposed and rejected by Him. “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (Jn.8:44) Again He said “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Mt.7:15).
Throughout the Scriptures the Bible reveals that men who say one thing but think or believe another thing are liars. Those who desire to be Deacons in the Church are disqualified if they are “double-tongued”, meaning a person who says something to one person but says something different to another. Men who live a religious outward life giving an appearance which is utterly false and deceptive to their true motives are called “hypocrites.”
Again Jesus said “Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Mt.23:28). “Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” (Lk.12:1). And finally concerning the end of such men John, the Apostle of love, says “…all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev 21:8)
The true Church of God has a very real responsibility to rise up in this hour of terrible darkness across the British Isles. We are not called to demonstrate but we are called to prevail in pray for a new spiritual revival in the nation and this can only come through a revived church. Again we need a David with a sling-shot to go out against this Goliath. We need men like Elijah who can make it rain. We need women like Hannah who can turn our barrenness into fruitfulness so as to raise up a prophetic voice in the land. A sudden, supernatural, sovereign revival will destroy a century of creeping compromise and bring this terrible national apostasy crashing down in a moment of time.
“Oh God, send us Revival”