The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) has launched a project to help preserve the handwritten manuscripts of the nineteenth-century convert and theologian John Henry Cardinal Newman, whom Pope Benedict XVI will beatify later this month. One organizer praised Newman’s “courageous faith” and his “thorough” critique of secularism.
During his visit to the United Kingdom, Pope Benedict will visit the Birmingham Oratory where Cardinal Newman lived and died. He will also view the archive of his works which contains letters, sermons, essays poetry and other works. Some of the works have never been published, the Virginia-based CNS reports.
In his general audience in Rome last week, Pope Benedict called Newman a “truly great Englishman” who lived “an exemplary priestly life.” He said Newman’s writings made “a lasting contribution to Church and society, both in his native land and in many other parts of the world.”
CNS has launched the Newman Legacy Project to make the cardinal’s writings more accessible to scholars and to help introduce his ideas to the American public. The group hopes to raise more than $1 million for the project, which will primarily help build a climate-controlled, fireproof facility for the Newman archive at the Birmingham Oratory.
“Newman has much to offer the Catholic Church in America: a strong dose of courageous faith, a commitment to reason and a thorough critique of secularism,” commented CNS president Patrick J. Reilly. “It is fitting that Americans would help preserve Newman’s legacy, just as Americans generously supported Newman during his lifetime more than a century ago.”
Other activities will include lectures, media outreach, and fellowships for Newman scholars. The project will also distribute short films about Cardinal Newman in cooperation with the Texas-based cultural non-profit Corpus Christi Watershed.
Progress on fundraising has already advanced, with Scott and Lannette Turicchi of California pledging 10 percent of the goal.
“Blessed Newman’s contributions to the Faith and especially higher education need to be preserved, accessible and made available for research and the sake of future generations,” the Turicchis said.
The project has the endorsement of Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, Archbishop emeritus of Baltimore Cardinal William Keeler, former Vatican ambassador James Nicholson and Archbishop Raymond Burke of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome.
CNS is leading the official U.S. pilgrimage to the Sept. 19 beatification of Cardinal Newman. The pilgrimage departs for Birmingham on Wednesday. Its participants include bishops, priests and laity who will have exclusive opportunities to see the Newman archive and to attend the first Mass in the new Newman Shrine at the Birmingham Oratory.
More information on the Newman Legacy Project is available at the CNS website www.CardinalNewmanSociety.org.