Volume 13, Issue 1, Spring 2016
Rev. Joseph Roby Alencherry
Newman, The Liturgist
An Introduction to the Liturgical Theology of John Henry Newman
A reading of Newman’s life and writings in a liturgical perspective is an innovative and pertinent task. This article analyses six of Newman’s sermons, preached between 1829 and 1831, in their liturgical context. It offers us, in germ, an outline of his liturgical theology. Newman persistently subordinated sermons to public prayer. Every church activity, primarily preaching, is directed toward liturgical worship. He defines liturgy etymologically as “public service.” “Public” refers to the ecclesial nature of liturgy, within its two dimensions: corporate and pneumatic. “Service” refers to two aspects, which are always intertwined: it denotes the sacrificial and thanksgiving character of liturgy. Liturgy is our self-sacrifice and our praise to God. In Newman's view, liturgy is the primary repository of apostolic teaching and Church tradition. Consequently, it is the best teacher of faith formation. Thus, in Newman, there is constant interaction between liturgy and life of faith.