Skip to comments.'Saint' Cardinal Newman's relics (what's left of them) removed from the grave of his friend.
Posted on 10/04/2008 6:06:57 PM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
It was Cardinal Newman's dying wish that he be buried with his closest friend in the grounds of the house they had shared as priests.
But now, nearly 120 years after his death, Britain's most famous convert to Roman Catholicism is to be reinterred in a sarcophagus in preparation for his becoming a saint, leaving the remains of his friend behind.
The decision to separate the remains of John Henry Newman and Ambrose St John has upset figures in the Church and led some to question whether it is embarrassed about their relationship.
They are buried in a grave in a secluded cemetery on the outskirts of Birmingham. But Newman is being moved to the Birmingham Oratory in preparation for his beatification.
Elena Curti, deputy editor of The Tablet a respected Catholic journal expressed regret that the cardinal's final request was not being observed.
"It's clearly documented that he wanted to be buried with his close friend and it's a pity that his dying wish is not being respected," she said.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
Minor point but, the article reads...
"...Cardinal Newman's dying wish that he be buried with his closest friend..."
Not that there's anything wrong with that!
The idea that he wanted to be buried with his "friend" is creepy.
“making him an idolatrous object of veneration”
I’ve never looked at the practice like that before, but thinking about it now...
2. The BBC reported that Cardinal Newman's body was not found. That makes it sound like somebody stole it -- but a wooden coffin in damp ground is not going to impeded total decomposition. Nothing about 'scraped out what was in his coffin regardless', unless you simply mean the bits of wood & coffin plate remaining from his coffin. Source?
3. Exhumation is S.O.P. when a cause for sainthood is pending. Certain phenomena such as incorruptible corpses, odor of sanctity, inexplicable preservation of parts of the body (e.g. St. Anthony of Padua's tongue), are observed in the case of some saints.
4. Since they didn't find his body, he wasn't moved, so he got his wish after all.
5. Preservation of the relics of a saint is not idolatrous. Nobody's worshipping the saint's mortal remains! I know plenty of folks find it odd (it's more common in Latin than Northern European countries, but then again Germany has the astounding spectacle of the bejeweled skeleton of St. Munditia, Virgin Martyr, in the Peterskirche.)
I still think digging up the grave was tacky.
Mostly only to those shallow folks to whom "close friendship" equates to "[forbidden] sexual relationship" -- but I'm willing to allow for other interpretations. And yours is...?
Male friendships are now viewed with suspicion, but that's a relatively recent development (and has a lot to do with homosexual campaigners like the man slandering Cdl. Newman and Fr. Ambrose St. John - and you ought to see the story in the Daily Mail!)
As C.S. Lewis commented in his book The Four Loves,
To say that every Friendship is consciously and explicitly homosexual would be too obviously false; the wiseacres take refuge in the less palpable charge that it is really unconsciously, cryptically, in some Pickwickian sense homosexual. And this, though it cannot be proved, can never of course be refuted. The fact that no positive evidence of homosexuality can be discovered in the behaviour of two Friends does not disconcert the wiseacres at all: That, they say gravely, is just what we should expect. The very lack of evidence is thus treated as evidence, the absence of smoke proves that the fire is very carefully hidden. . . .
Hrothgar embracing Beowulf, Johnson embracing Boswell (a pretty flagrantly heterosexual couple) and all those hairy old toughs of centurions in Tacitus, clinging to one another and begging for last kisses when the legion was broken up...all pansies? If you can believe it you can believe anything.
There’s something wrong with honorable friendship? I suggest that you read Aristotle and Cicero on the subject.
De Amicitia was especially influential.
Is Aristotle a FReeper, too?
“Can anyone explain to me how it is justified to violate a man’s last will and testament like this for the sake of making him an idolatrous object of veneration?”
Since venerating the saints is not idolatrous, your question is based on a false premise. Try again, this time maybe with a little more respect for the dead as well as for Christianity.
Is Aristotle a FReeper, too?
No he was a Greek and Greeks know all about male friendship. I saw it on their vases.
To Roman Catholics: Am I wrong for thinking that as soon as I pass on what happens to my body after my departure is irrelevant to my soul? Do saints' remains acquire some special magic, maybe sometime after their death? (I don't see this in the Bible, though I remain puzzled by the Turin shroud -- which among many things tells me indirectly that I do not have all the answers.)
We read Aristotle’s “Poetics” in high school. It provided a useful theoretical framework for understanding “Gilligan’s Island” and “Monty Python.”
Thank you for this!
Am I wrong for thinking that as soon as I pass on what happens to my body after my departure is irrelevant to my soul?
No, you are correct.
Do saints' remains acquire some special magic, maybe sometime after their death?
The relics of the saints have been used by God as a channel of grace to work miracles. The remains of the prophet Elisha are an Old Testament example. Many of the saints, like Elisha, worked miracles when they were alive, too.
I think it's often just an example of the Cool Old Stuff phenomenon, though. Mummy of Rameses II? Cool! Corpse of Lenin? Eeeew? Varina Davis picked out those curtains herself? TACKY!
And I was fascinated as a child by the preserved corpse of one Mr. Hogenboom, who died in the Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic in the 1790s and was buried in a corner of the graveyard that was saturated with limestone water . . . so he was saponified, i.e. turned to soap. They have taken him off exhibit in a fit of political correctness since I was a kid, though.
But if you don't get dug up, eventually you get excavated by a bulldozer or paved over for a subdivision . . . .
For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and in the last day I shall rise out of the earth. And I shall be clothed again with my skin, and in my flesh I will see my God. Whom I myself shall see, and my eyes shall behold, and not another: this my hope is laid up in my bosom.