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.

Tuesday 10 October 2023

St John Henry Newman

Yesterday was the feast of St John Henry Newman.

St John Henry Newman

Image: thejesuitpost.org

He is one of those religious and historic figures of whom there seems to be no end of the making of books and articles composed about him - in part because he himself wrote so much and engaged with so many topics over his long and remarkable life. 

Saints are men or women very much of their own time but who also stand outside their own time so as to communicate with the faithful of succeeding centuries. St John Henry is very much in that tradition. His long life from 1801 to 1890 not merely included most of the nineteenth century but reflected so much of what happened and developed in those often tumultuous years. At the same time his knowledge of the Biblical and patristic tradition gave him a timeless perspective on them. From that stemmed his legacy in his writings and, one may believe, his legacy of intercession for us today as a man of profound insight into matters of faith and personal conduct.

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