Editor’s Note: On October 15, 2019, a reception was hosted in honor of The Cardinal Newman Society and the canonization of St. John Henry Newman at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See in Rome. Dignitaries present included ambassadors to the Holy See from England (Sally Axworthy), Honduras (Carlos Avila Molina) and South Korea (Joseph Lee Baek Man); Joan Lewis, EWTN Rome Correspondent; and Kent Hill, co-founder of the Religious Freedom Institute.
“Tonight we’re gathered to honor the Cardinal Newman Society,” said U.S. Ambassador Callista Gingrich. “Named in honor of Saint John Henry Newman, the Cardinal Newman Society supports education that is true to the teaching and tradition of the Catholic Church.”
Ambassador Gingrich also recognized Major General Patrick Brady, one of America’s most decorated living veterans, who was present at the event. She thanked him for his service and said that it “speaks well of the Cardinal Newman Society to have someone like General Brady as a member.”
In her remarks, Ambassador Gingrich reflected on how St. John Henry Newman was a devoted teacher and “lifelong advocate for education, reason, and the discovery of truth.” Newman’s legacy is “preserved through organizations like the Cardinal Newman Society, which work diligently to promote Saint Newman’s vision for Catholic schools and colleges in the United States and around the world,” she continued.
Ambassador Gingrich’s full address can be read here.
Newman Society President Patrick Reilly also made the following remarks at the special event:
Thank you, Ambassador Gingrich and Mr. Gingrich, for graciously welcoming us to Rome.
We are Catholic pilgrims from the United States, under the sponsorship of The Cardinal Newman Society, which promotes and defends faithful Catholic education at all levels—elementary, secondary, and higher education.
We are delighted to be here to celebrate the canonization of Saint John Henry Newman, who championed faithful Catholic education and had a wonderful relationship with American Catholics during his lifetime.
It was 140 years ago, when many Americans came here to Rome to celebrate Newman’s elevation to cardinal. Today we are grateful to once again represent American Catholics in celebrating Cardinal Newman, upon his canonization and together with our Ambassador to the Holy See.
Ambassador Gingrich, as you know, Catholic education is important to America. It prepares young people to be valuable and virtuous citizens. And for Catholic families, it is much more. It is our means of teaching our faith and forming young people for sainthood.
But Catholic education today faces increasing attacks on the freedom of Catholic educators to teach and witness to the Catholic faith. Religious freedom is a natural freedom, and it is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
I hope therefore that you will convey to President Trump and his Administration our gratitude for standing strong in defense of religious freedom. We applaud President Trump’s recent address to the United Nations, as well as Attorney General William Barr’s address last Friday, defending religious freedom. We also applaud the Administration’s strong stand before the U.S. Supreme Court against forcing the redefinition of human sexuality, even to the point of violating the religious freedom of authentic Catholic education.
Thank you Ambassador Gingrich! It is a great honor and privilege for us to be welcomed into your home.
May God bless America. Thank you!