Cardinal's chapel, Copyright Birmingham Oratory, IMG_4652As an Anglican John Henry Newman began to pray for Christian unity in 1841 at the urging of Fr. Spencer, a Catholic priest. At first he did so with hesitation because he held that Anglicans already prayed weekly for Christian unity. In the following years Newman continued acting in his characteristic manner: always studying to reach the truth on doctrinal matters and praying for light from the Holy Spirit. Little by little his prejudices against Roman Catholics and their beliefs fell away, especially as he understood and distinguished Catholic beliefs from the practice of individual Catholics.

Newman became a Roman Catholic on October 9, 1845. This final step in a long process of deliberation and prayer was the result of his passion for truth and the grace of God acting in his soul. He regretted his earlier prejudices for Catholics and his errors regarding Christian doctrine.

Blessed John Henry Newman’s life is an example of love for religious truth and a sincere heart. His fortitude in adhering to the truth and docility to the motions of the Holy Spirit make him a good intercessor for Christian unity. Let us pray as Jesus taught us “that all may be one” and work harder for that unity by striving to live with greater charity with all fellow Christians.

(For further reading please see the article on this website titled Christian Unity, a prayer of the ages under articles)

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