MESSAGE FROM THE POPE FOR SYMPOSIUM ON CARDINAL NEWMAN

November 23, 2010

VATICAN CITY, (VIS) - Benedict XVI has written a Message to Fr. Hermann Geissler F.S.O., director of the International Centre of Newman Friends, for a symposium the group has organised in Rome on the theme: “The Primacy of God in the Life and Writings of Blessed John Henry Newman”.

In the text the Pope recalls how Newman, having experienced a youthful period of difficulty and doubt (which eventually concluded with the grace of conversion) and while still an Anglican, allowed himself to be guided by two fundamental criteria which “fully express the primacy of God in his life”. The first of these was that of “holiness before peace”, evidence, the Pope said, “of his unshakeable will to adhere to the inner Master with his conscience, to abandon himself trustingly to the Father, and to live in accordance with recognised truth”. The second criterion, that “growth is the only evidence of life”, expresses “his predisposition to continuous conversion, transformation and interior growth, while always resting trustingly on God”.

“Thus”, the Holy Father adds, “did he discover his vocation at the service of the Word of God and, drawing greater clarification from the Fathers of the Church, proposed an authentic reform of Anglicanism, ultimately joining the Catholic Church”.

“For Newman, then, primacy of God translates into primacy of truth, a truth that must be sought above all by conforming one’s own inner life to acceptance, in an open and sincere dialogue with everyone that reaches its culmination in the meeting with Christ, ‘way, truth and life’”.

“In presenting and defending Truth, Cardinal Newman was always careful to use suitable language, correct form and an appropriate tone. He never sought to offend, and attempted to bear witness to the kindly inner light, striving to convince people using humility, joy and patience”.

“To Blessed John Henry Newman, the master who teaches us that primacy of God is also primacy of truth and love, I entrust the reflections and work of this symposium”, the Holy Father concludes.

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