6th September 2009 – Pope Benedict XVI at Viterbo, Italy: Newman, ‘celebrated intellectual and man of luminous spirituality’ Pope Benedict XVI described the Venerable John Henry Newman as a “celebrated intellectual” and a “man of luminous spirituality”, in a homily during his recent pastoral visit to Viterbo.
During his visit to the city, which is about 65 miles north of Rome, the Pope celebrated an outdoor Mass, visited the conclave room of the Papal Palace and went to nearby Bagnoregio, where St Bonaventure was born in 1217. The Papal visit to Viterbo, where five Popes were elected in the thirteenth century, took place on Sunday 6 September. The visit also brought the Pope to the region of Blessed Dominic Barberi, the passionist priest, who became famous through his contact with John Henry Newman. [...]
Pope Benedict went on: “I would also like to mention another citizen of Viterbo, Blessed Dominic Barberi [1792-1849], the Passionist priest who, in 1845, welcomed John Henry Newman – who later became a cardinal – into the Catholic Church.” The Pope continued: “Newman was a celebrated intellectual and a man of luminous spirituality.” Elsewhere in his homily, speaking of Christ’s healing of the deaf mute in the Gospel of Mark, Pope Benedict declared the need to “confront, lucidly and coherently, the current and inescapably pressing ‘crisis in education’, a great challenge for every Christian community and for society as a whole, requiring precisely a process of ‘Ephphatha,’ of opening the ears, loosening the tongue and opening the eyes [to God].”