Friday, March 04, 2005

On March 4, 1879...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., received a letter....

As it is no longer doubtful that the Holy Father has offered to you a place in the College of Cardinals, and he has done this so as to secure acceptance on your part, you will allow me, I am sure, to offer you for myself and for the English Province of the Society of Jesus our affectionate and respectful congratulations. The news has been to us a source of singular and unmixed pleasure, and we have many reasons to thank God and the Holy Father for the wise and graceful act by which you are chosen for the highest dignity in the Church.

I don't think anything less than this would satisfy the great body of Catholics in England and Ireland that the character and greatness of the services you have rendered to the Church and to the Holy See were understood in Rome. We have at length reason to know that they are understood, and their recognition and approval will win the hearts of many to the Vicar of Christ and bind more closely to him those that are already his.

I hope that God will spare you long to guide the hearts of many that are turning towards you, and to use the great influence that he has given you for the honour and service of our Mother, the Church.

Believe me,
Yours most respectfully,

He replied:

Your letter was as great a surprise to me as a pleasure.

I know we must look elsewhere for the true approbation of our doings; but in sincerity I say that there could not here below be a notice of me, favourable to my attempts in past times to serve religious objects, which is more grateful to me, or has given me more deep satisfaction, than the congratulations sent at this time by a body of men so highly endowed as your Fathers.

I am very conscious of the great imperfection of those attempts; but it is a great thing to know how kindly your Fathers think of the upshot of them, and how warm an interest they take in me personally.

That their generosity may be returned in blessings on themselves is the sincere prayer of
Yours most truly in Christ,


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