During his trip to the United Kingdom this weekend, Pope Benedict XVI put Cardinal John Henry Newman on the path to sainthood with the act of beatification. What's interesting is that Newman might have been gay.
Newman was a scholar of Catholicism on the order of St. Thomas Aquinas who lived in the 1800's. NPR
reports that he wrote more than 60 scholarly articles, hymns, and books on the Catholic faith.
The question is what sort of relationship, exactly, Newman had with fellow priest Ambrose St. John. Newman called St. John "my earthly light.
They lived together for 32 years, and when St. John died, Newman was inconsolable.
"I have always thought no bereavement was equal to that of a husband's or a wife's," he wrote, "but I feel it difficult to believe that anyone's sorrow can be greater than mine."
NPR quotes a Newman scholar, John Cornwall, who writes: "Even doing things like packing his bags before he went away, making sure he was taking his medicine, making sure he kept dental appointments, that sort of thing."
Newman makes no overt mention of any sexual relationship with St. John in any of his voluminous writings. But after St. John died, he insisted in three separate letters that they be buried together. They were.
Even if you're not Catholic, you probably walked past a building on your old college campus that named after Newman; many U.S. colleges have "Newman Centers" for Catholic students.