May 4, 1843 … At present I fear, as far as I can analyze my own convictions, I consider the Roman Catholic communion to be the Church of the Apostles, and that what grace is among us (which, through God’s mercy, is not little) is extraordinary, and from the overflowings of His dispensation. I am very far more sure that England is in schism, than that the Roman additions to the Primitive Creed may not be developments, arising out of a keen and vivid realizing of the Divine Depositum of Faith.” Apologia Pro Vita Sua, 300-301

Newman sought truth in religion at all cost. From an early age he made it a point to examine the truth claims of his religious beliefs and leave behind beliefs that he did not think were true. As he became a college Tutor at Oxford, he studied religious truths with particular attention to the content of Biblical revelation, study of the Church Fathers and logical reasoning.

From his youth, Newman adopted a doctrinal principle in religion. This principle holds that religion has set truths and rules inspired by God or derived from the former. These beliefs do not admit of subjective changes. Newman resisted changes in religion for any reason such as personal comfort, an easy agreement with other religious groups or political expediency.

Newman dedicated his life to discern which Christian beliefs were orthodox and which were not.  As an Anglican Newman believed that the Catholic Church had three Branches: Anglicanism, the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholicism. He thought that each of the branches are true members of the Catholic Church. Initially he thought that Antiquity in religious beliefs was the proof of the orthodoxy of beliefs and evidence that a given Church was the one established by Jesus Christ. He later came to realize that Antiquity was not sufficient proof; it required additional proofs.

Newman accepted the teaching that Apostolic Succession or the direct connection with the Apostles was a requirement for doctrinal orthodoxy. Studying the early Church history, Newman realized that the doctrinal disputes of the fourth-sixth centuries were eventually settled by the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of the Apostle Peter. The Anglican Church was lacking in this important source of doctrinal and spiritual unity provided by the Bishop of Rome.

The Oxford Tutor also came to realize that the Anglican Church had removed itself, like other Christian bodies in the first centuries, from the comm with the Church. The Anglican Church lacked in Catholicity, the sacramental and ecclesial unity with Christians throughout the world. Furthermore, the Anglican Church failed to act as a divinely instituted body independent of civil government. Newman was appalled by the usurpation of episcopal authority by the English government.

The voice of the Church Fathers, whom Newman had studied extensively urged him to follow the Church of Rome which possessed all the notes of the Church established by Christ: Antiquity, Apostolic Succession, Catholicity and Holiness. For some time, due to the errors and abuses of Catholics, Newman thought that the Roman Catholic Church lacked the note of Holiness, but he finally overcame this prejudice by which he had unjustly looked at the Church.

After six years of prayerful consideration, Newman decided to be received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. On October 9, 1845, Fr. Dominic Barberi heard Newman’s confession at Littlemore and received him in the Church. Newman was 43 years old.

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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.”

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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. 

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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.
About Newman
Fr. Peter Conley

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