St. John Henry Newman 2 gold, 5/24/21, 7:10 PM,  8C, 7500x10000 (0+0), 125%, Repro 1.8 v2,  1/30 s, R123.9, G100.1, B122.6
20x16 Original, P9000 LYVE BC
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
A Guide to John Henry Newman, His Life and Thought

A Guide to John Henry Newman, His Life and Thought

Portrait by Mary Fotheringham

St. John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was a great thinker and writer, an educator and a saint. Many biographies and essays have been written about him since his death yet the richness of his life and thought invites further study.

In 1975, St. Paul VI, spoke of the “Hour of Newman” and described him a precursor of the Second Vatican Council. He wrote:

Many of the problems which he treated with wisdom-although he himself was frequently misunderstood and misinterpreted in his own time-were the subjects of the discussion and study of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, as for example the question of ecumenism, the relationship between Christianity and the world, the emphasis on the role of the laity in the Church and the relationship of the Church to non-Christian religions.”

 A Guide to John Henry Newman, His Life and Thought is a rich collection of chapters and essays which the Catholic University of America Press will publish in December of this year 2022. The cover portrait is a beautiful painting by Mary Fotheringham depicting the man of letters who was an avid reader of theology, literature and current events.

 This work presents many aspects of Newman’s life written in a scholarly manner yet accessible to students and an educated public. The twenty-three contributors are scholars from six different countries, and for the most part university professors. A few of them were converts to Catholicism like Newman.

 The topics were chosen to paint a picture of Newman’s life. He was an Anglican convert to Catholicism, he became an Oratorian priest; he was a student of the classics and of the Church Fathers. He was a priest, an educator, the leader of the Oxford Movement, a philosopher, a musician and a poet. Without being a biography, this first part of the volume gives a rounded picture of Newman’s life.

 The second part of the volume offers a wide range of Newman’s contributions to theology, for example, his teaching on faith and reason, development of doctrine, liturgy, the Church or ecclesiology and liturgy.

Oratorian Father Guy Nicholls has written about this book: “This is a generously conceived collection of insightful readings of Newman which will surely help to promote a well-rounded knowledge and understanding of his unique contribution to many areas of theory and praxis, notably to theology, philosophy, patristics, education, ethics, ecclesiology, spirituality and to the pastorally effective exercise of the Catholic priesthood.”

One of the characteristics of the volume is that the contributions represent a wide range of methodologies according to the field of learning of each contributor. While attention is paid to history, the approach is broader than a historical-critical study of Newman’s writings.

In addition, throughout the volume a favorable view of Newman is presented. The honesty of his life and writings is not brought into question as some recent volumes have done. Some chapters offer discussion of such scholarship but it is done in a respectful tone which invites future study.

It will be clear to the reader of this volume that Newman was an intellectual whose thinking developed, and someone with a personal history, limitations and strengths. At the same time, it will be evident that he was more than a great thinker; he was a very good friend, a dedicated teacher, a pastor of souls and a man who lived for others.

As editor of this volume, I congratulate the authors of the various chapters and express the lively hope that this work will be a point of reference and stimulus to future Newman scholars, and instructive to the general readers. I also thank those of you, who listening or reading these words, will tell others of the forthcoming volume: A Guide to John Henry Newman, His Life and Thought.


Like this article?

Newman lays down a firm rule in the light of life's abundant blessings: the Christian is not allowed to be gloomy.

Newman wrote, “I have been accustomed to consider the action of the creator on and in the created universe, as parallel in a certain sense to that of the soul upon the body.”

Leave a comment

We need to remember our mortality, so that we may be ready to meet Our Lord each and every day. Lent and lenten mortifications have a role in this preparation. We must die to self daily, so that we may be brought to the glory of His resurrection. 

Our Books

About Cardinal John Henry Newman

Purchase Book

A Guide to John Henry Newman will interest educated readers and professors alike, and serve as a text for college seminars for the purpose of studying Newman.

Review by Catherine Maybanks
(Catholic Herald, April 1, 2023)

Review by Serenheed James
(Antiphon, April 2023)

Purchase Book

Fr Peter Conley takes us on an exciting journey into the spirituality and inner life of Saint John Henry Newman.

Purchase Book

Endorsement by Neyra Blanco (Amazon)
I bought this book for my son and he loved it, he wrote this review and urged my to submitted: “I think this book has a very beautiful message, because it shows how the young Newman was so determined to achieve his dream of becoming a priest, but even after his dream he continued to work in the church with passion until the day he died, it’s so admirable that even Newman so old and so weak still had that urge to continued his work of being a priest. And the book is well written with words not too complicated with very enjoyable texts and well illustrated pictures. I highly recommend this book for a 5th grader.  

Purchase Book

What is a Classical Liberal Arts Education? Why is it so important for the development of a person?

Fr. Juan R. Vélez answers these and more questions you might have about University Education in the 21st century. This book is aimed for parents, prospective University students, and educators. It will help you discern why adding Liberal Arts electives to your education will help it form it better, and help the student learn to reason, and not just learn.

He also explains how many Universities have changed the true meaning of Liberal Arts, and the subjects, and gives advise on how to choose College Campus, Subjects, and Teachers.

A wonderful book that every parent should also read way before your children are College bound. A Liberal Arts education can start earlier in life, even from home.

Purchase Book

Endorsement by Christopher Moellering (Goodreads, September 14, 2019)
In Passion for Truth Fr. Vélez gave us an outstanding biography of Cardinal Newman. In this work, he provides a concise overview of his thought and his devotion. This is a great work for someone who, perhaps hearing of Newman for the first time because of his beatification 13 October, 2019, wants to know more about this English saint.Vélez is a wonderful writer in his own right, and the frequent quotations from Newman round out the work nicely. I especially appreciated the frequent citing of Newman’s Meditations and Devotions, which show a different side of his spirituality than his more well-known works, Development of Christian Doctrine and the Grammar of Assent.

Purchase Book

Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman, endorsement by Illow M. Roque (Amazon, September 3, 2010)
“There is a time to put direct inquiry on hold and give ourselves to prayer and practical duties.” Sound advice from one of the earlier, thought-provoking reminders in this sparkling gem of a book: Take Five | Meditations with John Henry Newman, written by Mike Aquilina and Fr. Juan R. Vélez and published by Our Sunday Visitor. This particular paragraph, referenced above, which begins with a direct quote from soon-to-be canonized priest, cardinal and poet, John Henry Newman: “Study is good, but it gets us only so far . . .” is actually the 15th in a series of 76 concise, logically organized meditations moving from the elementary to the sublime. Each meditation–one per page–is built upon the great man’s writings and remarkably rich spirituality. Whether taken whole in one reading or in part page-by-page over a course of weeks and months, these wonderfully insightful meditations will open up, even to the busiest reader in the midst of the world, a unique pathway into prayer and contemplation. My advice to spiritual inquirers at all levels, from the novice to the spiritually adept, is to follow the authors’ recommendation to use this book as a guide for daily prayer and meditation. The structure of the book itself is ideal: first, the authors introduce us to Cardinal Newman, the man, where we are given the opportunity to get to know him through a brief sketch of his life and spirituality at the beginning of the book. This is something readers will likely find themselves referring to again and again, prompting many, I suspect, to even wider explorations of this most gifted Christian leader. Then comes the meditations, consisting of a short summary of Newman’s thoughts on subjects taken, as the authors explain, from various salient points for which Newman is justly remembered: The pursuit of objective religious truth; Teaching on the Virtues; Defense of the Catholic Church; A devout spiritual and moral life; and Generosity and loyalty in his friendships, which sets the topic and tone for each meditation to follow. Each meditation consists of an excerpt taken from Newman’s thirty-plus volumes of writings and diaries. Next comes three brief and extremely useful sections entitled: “Think About It,” which establishes a prayerfully resonant tone throughout the book; “Just Imagine,” which provides a vivid, prayerful experience of the Scriptures that tie in, and finally, “Remember,” a pithy summation which the authors suggest may be used as a daily aspiration. Each meditation is given its own page, which makes it ideal for daily reflection for readers on the go. This book is a must have for every serious Catholic who wants to take their faith to the next level, which is to respond appropriately to the universal call to holiness and seek interior union with God.
About Newman
Fr. Peter Conley

Slopes, Popes and Newman

Newman wrote, “I have been accustomed to consider the action of the creator on and in the created universe, as parallel in a certain sense to that of the soul upon the body.”

Read More »
Sermon Blog
David Warren

Endurance, the Christian’s Portion

Today, on Good Friday, we remember our Lord’s crucifixion, not as though it was a wrinkle in His otherwise peaceful earthly life, but rather as the focus and the pattern of His life.

Read More »
About Newman
Fr. Juan Velez

Fasting and Holy Week

In Fasting a Source of Trial, Newman reminds that we must not forget its main purpose: to unite ourselves with Christ.

Read More »