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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Beatification of John Henry Newman - "I Want a Laity Not Arrogant..."



The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, presided over the beatification of John Henry Newman in England today.  As both were professors and teachers of the faith, it seems that the pope and Blessed Newman have much in common.  One of the Newman quotes cited by the pope in his homily today jumped out at me:
"I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it" (The Present Position of Catholics in England, ix, 390).
 It echoes the words of St. Peter in his first letter: Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope...(1st Peter 3:15)

Not to entirely excuse my own sinfulness, but one of the reasons for my drifting away from the faith during college and early adulthood was the complete shipwreck that Catholic religious education had become in the late 1960s and 1970s.  Problems continue up to today, but hopefully those teaching the faith to children will first make sure that they are well educated themselves.  That way all of us will be able to provide an explanation for our hope and truly be able to defend the faith.

May Blessed John Henry Newman pray for all of us and especially for catechists and teachers of the faith.

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