by Fr. Juan R. Velez
Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801–1890), a
pre-eminent English intellectual and convert to Catholicism, was brought up in
a low Church Anglican home where his grandmother and an aunt first nurtured his
love for the Bible. At the age of 15, after a short period of entertaining
religious doubts, he had a first conversion to Evangelical Christianity. For a
few years he was influenced in his piety and biblical reading by evangelical
authors, and later in the sacramental and ecclesial life by Anglican theologians.
Then in 1845, through the study of the Church Fathers, he came to a profound
understanding of authentic development of doctrine, in particular the exercise
of the Pope’s office; it was then that he became Roman Catholic.
He lived during a period similar to ours: one
of economic and technological progress that was accompanied by an embrace of
materialism and a subsequent loss of faith and moral breakdown. Newman’s
writings challenge us, contemporary men and women, living in a world beset by
these similar ills.
His writings on the subject of holiness, the
practice of the Christian virtues, the objective nature of truth and its
relationship to the moral conscience, university education, and the role of the
laity in society and the Church are very much needed today. Individuals, parish
groups, and students at Newman Centers will benefit and learn from Blessed
Newman’s life example, insights, and teachings found in this book.”
Beatified by Pope
Benedict XVI in 2010, his canonization is imminent.