Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A thought for the week from Cardinal Newman

Sunday, 9 November is the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. This is the Cathedral of the Pope as Bishop of Rome. In celebrating this Feast we are celebrating our unity with the Apostolic See of Rome. This week’s reflection from Cardinal Newman comes from a Sermon he preached in the Birmingham Oratory in 1866.

We in this country owe our highest blessings to the See of St. Peter,—to the succession of Bishops who have filled his Apostolic chair. For first it was a Pope who sent missionaries to this island in the first age of the Church, when the island was yet in pagan darkness. Then again, when our barbarous ancestors, the Saxons, crossed over from the Continent and overran the country, who but a Pope, St. Gregory the First, sent over St. Augustine and his companions to convert them to Christianity? And by God's grace they and their successors did this great work in the course of a hundred years. From that time, twelve hundred years ago, our nation has ever been Christian. And then in the lawless times which followed, and the break-up of the old world all over Europe, and the formation of the new, it was the Popes, humanly speaking, who saved the religion of Christ from being utterly lost and coming to an end, and not in England only, but on the Continent; that is, our Lord made use of that succession of His Vicars, to fulfil His gracious promise, that His Religion should never fail. The Pope and the Bishops of the Church, acting together in that miserable time, rescued from destruction all that makes up our present happiness, spiritual and temporal. Without them the world would have relapsed into barbarism—but God willed otherwise; and especially the Roman Pontiffs, the successors of St. Peter, the centre of Catholic Unity, the Vicars of Christ, wrought manfully in the cause of faith and charity, fulfilling in their own persons the divine prophecy anew, which primarily had related to the Almighty Redeemer Himself: "I have laid help upon One that is mighty, and I have exalted One chosen out of the people. I have found David My servant, with My holy oil have I anointed him. "

No comments: