FAITH magazine is glad to add its voice to the
welcome given to Bishop Robert Barron,
from the USA, to Britain for the 2018 Eucharistic
Congress. Bishop Barron has a strong and welldeserved
reputation as an evangelist – he has taken
seriously the challenge of teaching the Catholic
Faith in new ways across the New Media – DVDs,
twitter, blogs, and websites with glorious images
and music - and in talks and lectures to groups
large and larger.
There are certain words or terms in the Church’s vocabulary for explaining her beliefs
and practices which I have always found especially enlightening, and perhaps more
than any others, those which I have given as the title of this article; the deposit of faith and
the development of doctrine.
“In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God and the Word was God”,
(Jn. 1:1) so begins the beautiful prologue of St. John’s Gospel, a favourite passage
of Fr. Holloway, a passage which places the Incarnation of the Eternal Word within the
context of creation rather than solely redemption. The Word is described as life, the life
that is the light of men, the supernatural life, which God, in His mercy, willed to share with
mankind irrespective of the fall, and which as a result of the fall became incarnate as the
“light which shines in the darkness”. It is a profound text in which St. John, soaring like an
eagle, gazes down from the heights of eternity at the humanity of the Incarnate Word and
the hope, the promise, that those who are made for Him might become one with Him as
co-heirs in His glory.
St Mary’s University has been known to generations of Catholics in Britain as a teachertraining
college. Those who studied here knew it – and know it still – as Simmeries.
Founded in 1850 at Hammersmith, it moved to Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, in the 1920s,
and a visit there on a summer’s day is an agreeable experience: green lawns, pleasant
wooded walks, a sense of history. It adjoins Strawberry Hill House, Horace Walpole’s
gothick folly mansion now run by an independent Trust and open to visitors. The University
itself occupies modern buildings and the site is dominated by an imposing chapel built
after World War II. Pope Benedict came here in 2010 and the Centre that bears his name
was founded following the visit.
It is obviously untrue that Newman made his submission to the Church of Rome because
he was a tortured and insecure soul looking for spiritual sanctuary. He was too great in
intellect and in spiritual power for that. He could not, as he prayed in communion with
God, allow the breath of uncertainty and the corrosion of
imperfect human pride to lessen the lustre of Christ, as God
revealed to be followed as Way, Truth and Life. Newman
expressed doubts about the expediency of the definition of
Papal Infallibility by the First Vatican Council. He did accept it
but was always more interested in the seat of the infallibility
of the Church as the word of The Word to the People of God
over the ages.