John Cornwell's essay in the Financial Times, The papal hijacking of Cardinal Newman, is creating quite a stir. Cornwell's biography of Newman, Newman’s Unquiet Grave: The Reluctant Saint, is the book of choice this week in the NCR Book Club, with a review by Jesuit Fr. Peter L’Estrange.
Cornwell's thesis in his essay is that "John Henry Newman has always been a source of inspiration to Catholic liberals for his tendency to see both sides of every question and to follow conscience wherever it may lead," and this makes his imminent beatification "paradoxical."
Cornwell says that the case for Newman's beatification was "dragging on fitfully" until Pope Benedict XVI put it on the fast-track two years ago.
... Addressing the bishops of England and Wales in Rome this February, [Benedict] declared that Newman was an example to the world of opposition to "dissent." It was like saying that Churchill had been a Trotskyite all along.
Read the full essay here: The papal hijacking of Cardinal Newman.
John Allen will be filing reports throughout the Papal visit to the U.K. Sept. 16-19. Stay tuned to NCR Today for updates.