On Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI officially beatified one of the greatest writers of English prose. John Henry Newman has now taken three of the four steps toward canonization by the Church of Rome. Till now only Thomas More among great English writers has been recognized as a saint, although he wrote his greatest books in Latin.
In his homily, the Pope dwelled on what he called Newman’s
Replying to this article in September’s American Spectator by the English philosopher Roger Scruton, who seeks to recover Newman’s vision of a liberal arts education “liberated from the phony subjects and dubious social mores that have occupied the American campus,” Burstein observes that
What Burstein does not say is whether Newman’s conception of education must be abandoned as a relic of the past (and the peculiar treasure of Catholics), or whether it can be adapted at all to a secular setting like her own state university. The Pope claims that “all those engaged in academic formation can continue to learn” from Newman—all, not just nineteenth-century Catholics. I’d be interested to hear what Burstein thinks.