Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Cornwell on Newman

It was with a slightly sinking feeling of "Oh dear, here we go again" that I saw that John Cornwell had been writing in the Sunday Times Magazine about the impending beatification of Cardinal Newman. Others agreed with me - one friend said that whatever reservations he might personally have had about Newman were negated by the fact of Cornwell's criticism.
Fr Blake has posted an excellent riposte to it which is well worth reading, not just for its being a specific reply, but for its wider summary of points that are raised about JHN.

One thing struck me about Cornwell's article, reinforcing a notion I have had for a while. It was in the Sunday Times, which with The Times seems very much to the fore in criticising the Church at the moment. Merely ascribing it to latent or active anti-Catholicism smacks to my mind ever so slightly of being, in part at least, knee-jerk Catholic paranoia. I suspect there is a more direct agenda here, and stems from an Establishment response to initiatives such as Anglicanorum coetibus. Think of me as a suspicious ex-Anglican if you like, but Anglicanorum coetibus has certainly touched a sensitive nerve with some Anglican clergy - including some who, outwardly, profess friendly or fraternal feelings towards Rome - and the Thunderer is their instrument with which to whimper.

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