Mortimer, John Hamilton; St Paul Preaching to the Ancient Britons; Wycombe Museum; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/st-paul-preaching-to-the-ancient-britons-26914
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
The Fellowship of the Apostles
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One of the most beautiful, if perplexing, facts about the sacrament of baptism is that anyone, including an atheist, can baptize if he does so in the way the Church prescribes. In willing all men to be saved, God opens the path to Himself. To accomplish His will, He uses anyone who will say yes. And there are all sorts of people who say yes, at least in some sense, despite the fact that they don’t have the whole truth and refuse to call the Church their mother. What should we think of them, some of whom are even hostile toward Catholics? St. John Henry Newman poses and answers this question in his sermon, “The Fellowship of the Apostles.” 

There are many people who claim to follow Jesus. Besides the thousands of Protestant denominations, there are heretical sects not recognized as Christian that claim to be so (Mormons, for example) and many more individuals who do not recognize any spiritual authority. All these are in varying degrees dissenting from the Church, even while upholding elements of the truth. 

This is not a new problem, Newman says. It was present from the beginning of the Church, as we can see when we read the New Testament. In the Gospel of Mark, the disciples tell Jesus that they saw a man exorcizing demons in His name, but he wasn’t a disciple. In Acts, St. Paul baptizes some who were only baptized according to John’s baptism but not Jesus’. In the letters of Ignatius of Antioch (an early Church father writing around 110 A.D.), believers are told they must follow the bishop in everything: “and such is your practice that you do nothing without the bishop, and that you be subject also to the presbytery, as to the apostles of Jesus Christ.” 

In each of these instances, the Church responds differently. In the first, the disciples are told to leave the man alone; in the second, St. Paul preaches and persuades men to convert; in the third, believers are compelled to follow the bishop. And this is fitting, as Newman points out, because the Church must treat even the same case differently at different times. Commenting on the man who exorcized demons apart from the disciples, Newman says, “The truth is, while a system is making way against an existing state of things, help of any kind advances it; but when it is established, the same kind of professed help tells against it. Before the Gospel was received, those who did not oppose the Apostles actually aided them; when it was received, the very same parties interfered with them.” After the Church was established, it’s entirely possible that Jesus may have commended the disciples for silencing the exorcist.

We live many centuries after Christ, after the Protestant Reformation, after the many bloody conflicts between Catholics and Protestants. If we have learned anything, it’s that Jesus’ prayer that we might all be one has yet to be answered. It will begin to be answered when we take Newman’s counsel seriously: “But in all cases, whether they preach true doctrine or not, or whether they oppose us or not, so much we may learn, viz. that we must overcome them, not so much by refuting them, as by preaching the truth [sic].” When we preach or speak the truth, we lift up the Person of Truth – Jesus Christ – who said that if He were lifted up would draw all men to Himself. 

Newman says, “Let us be far more set upon alluring souls into the right way than on forbidding them the wrong.” To do this, to draw souls to Christ, the life of Christ must inhabit us. Like St. John the Baptist said, we must decrease and He must increase. It’s a lifelong project, but that’s no excuse for us not to begin today, perhaps by repeating the simplest of prayers composed by St. Teresa of Calcutta: Lord, help me to get out of your way.

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What is the doctrine of the Trinity? The Athanasian Creed, in common use around the sixth century, formulates it this way: "We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance; for the person of the Father is one, the Son's is another, the Holy Spirit's another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal."

The true light of Christ’s divinity was made visible to the Apostles at the Transfiguration.

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What is the doctrine of the Trinity? The Athanasian Creed, in common use around the sixth century, formulates it this way: "We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance; for the person of the Father is one, the Son's is another, the Holy Spirit's another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal."

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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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