I just learned that Pope Francis has announced the canonization of John Henry Cardinal Newman on 13 October. Although Roman Catholicism is not my particular brand of Christianity, I have a great deal of respect for the faith and its traditions — I don’t think one could be a medievalist without that happening, or at least not a very good medievalist. I frequently joke about being the world’s only Latin Mass Presbyterian.
But I’ve been keen on Newman’s work since the first time I read his Idea of a University. He’s the heavy artillery for my defenses of the liberal arts, whether to my students, their parents, or the world at large. Indeed, though Aquinas is the patron saint of scholars, I’ll take all the help I can get.
Now all we need is to see Chesterton canonized so that crime writers can have a patron saint as well. In any case, I was happy to see today’s news, and any of my Catholic friends will be welcome to ask Newman’s intercession on my behalf. As I said, I’ll take all the help I can get.