Newman describes the virtue of detachment as a pure, self-less service of God which he considers the characteristic common to most popes.

Popes owe a lot to secular power, especially stability and peace, but a pope does not serve the state and political interests. He has a higher end. Newman explains, “Hence at this very moment the extreme violence against the Holy See, of the British legislature and constituency and their newspapers and other organs, mainly because it will not identify the cause of civil government with its own, because, while it ever benefits this world, it ever contemplates the world unseen.”

There exists, however, the temptation to an over-attachment to the ecclesiastical establishment, as such;—to the seats of its power, to its holy places, its sanctuaries, churches, and palaces, to privileges, and possessions, to precedent, and discipline, to rules and customs of long standing. But a great Pope must be attached only to “the deposit of faith, the tradition of the Apostles, and the vital principles of the divine polity.”

While praising this selflessness, Newman notes that although they are old men they have been open to new lines of action when it has seemed needed. He returns to the example of St. Gregory, the Great who having enough troubles of his own looked to the future of the Church and the preservation of learning from the quarter least expected.

“Why, I repeat, was it not easier, safer, and more feasible for him to have made much of the prosperous, secure, and long established schools of Alexandria, when the enemy went about him plundering and burning? He was not indeed on the best terms with Constantinople; Antioch was exposed to other enemies, and had suffered from them already; but Alexandria was not only learned and protected, but was a special ally of the Holy See; yet Alexandria was put aside for England and Ireland.”

St. Gregory (540-604) rejoiced with the news from Augustine of the reception of the faith in England. He told Queen Bertha and Ethelbert King of Kent how their conversion brought great joy to the See of Peter and to the Imperial Court of Constantinople. In a letter to Patriarch Eulogius, who had told Gregory of the winning of heretics in Alexandria, Gregory spoke of the conversion of the English as comparable to that of educated and wealthy persons won over by Eulogius.

In 668, Pope Vitalian, who followed closely the ecclesiastical affairs of England, consecrated Theodore of Tarsus, a highly educated monk living in Rome for the see of Canterbury. He wished to unite the people of England and maintain a close tie with Rome. The Pope sent with him Adrian, another learned monk to be the head of the monastery at Canterbury.

Newman writes how “Passing through France, in their way to their post of duty, they delayed there a while at the command of the Pope, to accustom themselves to the manners of the North; and at length they made their appearance in England, with a collection of books, Greek classics, and Gregorian chants, and whatever other subjects of study may be considered to fill up the interval between those two.” These men founded schools for both secular and sacred learning in the south of England.

According to Newman, men taunt the figure of the Pope: “He inherits the earth, but is not certain of a roof to sleep under, or a grave to be buried in. How is he better off, because his name is mentioned in Mass in the Brazils, and his briefs are read in the Churches of Cochin China?” Men would think the Popes of the seventh century would have fallen back on Constantinople and reached some agreement with the Imperial Court, and left the Barbarians to their own fate. Instead, the Pope thought of the Church rather than himself. Also in his time Newman saw this “heroic detachment of Popes” when Pius IX was exiled to Gaeta (1849).

This characteristic behavior of Popes has had profound influence on many aspects of the spiritual and moral lives of peoples; as Newman indicated, one of these aspects is the field of education with the preservation and transmission of learning.

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About Cardinal John Henry Newman

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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)

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

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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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.
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