Revelations of the Beatified

Rev. David Lewis Stokes’s reflections upon the failed exhumation of Cardinal Newman is a rewarding read:

What really makes Newman our contemporary was his life-long sense that at the heart of modernity churns a moral vortex that promises to consume us all. Writing in 1875, Newman captured the century and a half to come:
“To consider the world in its length and breadth, its various history, the many races of man, their starts, their fortunes, their mutual alienation, their conflicts; and then their ways, habits, governments, forms of worship; their enterprises, their aimless courses, their random achievements and acquirements, the impotent conclusion of long-standing facts, the tokens so faint and broken of a superintending design, the blind evolution of what turn out to be great powers or truths, the progress of things, as if from unreasoning elements, not towards final causes, the greatness and littleness of man, his far-reaching aims, his short duration, the curtain hung over his futurity, the disappointments of life, the defeat of good, the success of evil, physical pain, mental anguish, the prevalence and intensity of sin, the pervading idolatries, the corruptions, the dreary hopeless irreligion, that condition of the whole race—all this is a vision to dizzy and appall; and inflicts upon the mind the sense of a profound mystery, which is absolutely beyond human solution.”
Newman always sensed that we live out our lives in spiritual exile, pretending all-the-while to be at home. And he came to see in most political wrangling a wrestling with smoke and fog, having little relevance to the “aboriginal calamity” that has marred the human soul. For Newman, here we have no abiding city. We belong elsewhere.

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Pragmatist
Pragmatist
12 years ago

How ironic that both you and the writer of the original column failed to even mention the fact that Newman was buried, at his insistence, with his long-time male companion. Newman was gay, by the standards of the day, and that proved an extraordinarily inconvenient fact for the Vatican. So, in keeping with Vatican tactics, change the facts and the problem goes away.

Justin Katz
12 years ago

“gay, by the standards of the day”
Is that your phrasing for gay activists’ strategy of claiming every non-sexual male bond in history as background for radical redefinition of central cultural planks such as marriage?

Pragmatist
Pragmatist
12 years ago

I never mentioned the marriage issue. Remember, that is your obsession.
You don’t find it curious that the Vatican decided that he should be exhumed? As for whether he was gay, I suppose we will never know for sure. But the circumstances of his life certainly lead to that presumption.
Frankly, I think it would be pretty shocking to assert that an Oxford don from the early 20th century who was also a cleric was anything but gay. Leave aside his fervent desire to be buried with his male companion and his long history of close male associations and relative paucity of female relationships.

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