Portrait of John Cardinal Newman by John Everett Millais

Recently various Catholic colleges have permitted political candidates that expound on beliefs contrary to Catholic Church teaching to use Catholic college campuses as their stumping spot. In the past day, it has been announced from the Congregation for Saints that Beatification for John Henry Cardinal Newman might be an immanent event. Such a proclamation is Cardinal Newman promoted a welcome relief that shows clear support and confidence in the message of Catholic scholastic unity and identity that during his lifetime.

Key to Cardinal Newman’s is the appreciation of the intellectual sovereignty Catholic theology and beliefs should hold on Catholic college campuses. That is basically, there cannot be any deviation from authentic teaching and expression of Catholic beliefs in higher educational circles for faithful Catholics. The movement advocated by Cardinal Newman is best summarized in the Apostolic Constitution, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, pronounced by John Paul II, which clearly defined the responsibility of Catholic educators engaged in teaching theology with the requirement of, a Mandatum to teach authentic Catholic theology in a Catholic educational environment.

If in fact political candidates wanted to use Catholic colleges as opportunities to spread secularism and humanistic philosophies, Cardinal Newman would be the loudest voice heard in the outcry against such acts of political subversion. His writings and teachings clearly show Catholic higher education is called to a higher and transcendent appreciation of Catholic ideals and applications in the educational life and subsequently our daily practical applications as well.

Precisely the inclusion of Catholic theology and political ideology that is contra Catholicism is not something Cardinal Newman would permit or even tolerate. It is a great thing his cause for sainthood is at the point of beatification…Catholic higher education needs the mediation and inspiration of John Henry Cardinal Newman. Catholic higher education needs his advocacy to save our Catholic educational institutions from developing into campuses of purely secular intellectual establishments without the soul of Catholic thought or theology.

While we experience the process of electoral debates in the United States through November, faithful Catholics need to pray for the cause of Cardinal Newman. His road of personal conversion in both intellectual capabilities and his journey of spirituality make him a necessary resource for all contemporary American Catholics. The most significant point in the entire witness of Cardinal Newman’s life is the complex desire for intellectual and spiritual integration of our Catholic beliefs through appropriate Catholic education.

Clearly, there is no example of a mentor for Catholic education than Cardinal Newman. During the political season, hopefully Catholic college campuses and indeed Catholics everywhere will subscribe to his academic and spiritual beliefs that proclaim Catholicism as the ultimate and highest ideal. Throughout the world and the United States, there are Newman Societies that cultivate and inspire college students to emulate Cardinal Newman’s aspirations of faith. Now more than ever, his legacy is critical to the pursuit of Catholicism as the synthesis of faith and reason towards God’s glory.

Perhaps soon we can pray in earnest, Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, pray for us!

Hugh McNichol is a Catholic author and journalist that writes on Catholic topics and issues. He writes daily at http://verbumcarofactumest.blogspot.com & http://pewsitter.com “Nothing Left Unsaid!” is his daily column @ http://catholicnewsagency.com Comments are always welcome @ hugh.mcnichol@trinettc.com

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