Tuesday, 14 September 2010
His Holiness the Pope arrives in Edinburgh on Thursday for the first ever state visit by a reigning pontiff, the culmination of which will be the beatification of John Henry Newman, an Anglican cleric and later Catholic convert and cardinal. What do you know about him? Not a lot? Fear not, I direct you to the excellent site
which contains all of his major writings and sermons. Highly recommended reading; no less a personage than James Joyce called him the greatest prose writer in the English language. Judge for yourself. I leave you with the words of the great Dubliner himself:-
"...nobody has ever written English prose that can be compared with that of a tiresome footling little Anglican parson who afterwards became a prince of the only true church..."
"I have read him a great deal... [in the 'Oxen of the Sun' chapter of Ulysses] where all the other authors are parodied, Newman alone is rendered pure, in the grave beauty of his style. Besides, I needed that fulcrum to hold up the rest... The Church will surely decide to make a saint of him, if only for the numerous conversions that have followed in the wake of his own. At least a Blessed, if they don't succeed in finding a miracle."