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John Henry Newman



Dates: 21 February 1801 to 11 August 1890

Nationality: English

Occupation: Academic, author, Evangelical Calvinist, then Anglican clergyman, and later a Catholic cardinal



John Henry Newman became known to a wider audience when he was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2010. He was an academic who held a fellowship at Oriel College, Oxford. Ordained as an Anglican vicar in 1825, he subsequently grew to doubt whether the Anglican position on certain theological issues was tenable. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1845, established the London Oratory and settled in Edgbaston. He was invited by the Catholic bishops in Ireland to be rector of what is now University College, Dublin. He became cardinal in May 1879.


Comments on Catholicism


“I came to the conclusion that there was no medium, in true philosophy, between Atheism and Catholicity, and that a perfectly consistent mind, under those circumstances in which it finds itself here below, must embrace either the one or the other. And I hold this still: I am a Catholic by virtue of my believing in a God.”

(History of My Religious Opinions, from 1841 to 1845, Pt. 6, page 291.)


“It is not from disappointment, irritation, or impatience, that I have, whether rightly or wrongly, resigned [from the Anglican] St. Mary's; but because I think the Church of Rome the Catholic Church, and ours not part of the Catholic Church, because not in communion with Rome.”

(Ibid, page 312.)


“I believe the whole revealed dogma as taught by the Apostles, as committed by the Apostles to the Church, and as declared by the Church to me. I receive it, as it is infallibly interpreted by the authority to whom it is thus committed, and (implicitly) as it shall be, in like manner, further interpreted by that same authority till the end of time. I submit, moreover, to the universally received traditions of the Church, in which lies the matter of those new dogmatic definitions which are from time to time made, and which in all times are the clothing and the illustration of the Catholic dogma as already defined. And I submit myself to those other decisions of the Holy See, theological or not, through the organs which it has itself appointed, which, waiving the question of their infallibility, on the lowest ground come to me with a claim to be accepted and obeyed. Also, I consider that, gradually and in the course of ages, Catholic inquiry has taken certain definite shapes, and has thrown itself into the form of a science, with a method and a phraseology of its own, under the intellectual handling of great minds, such as St. Athanasius, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas; and I feel no temptation at all to break in pieces the great legacy of thought thus committed to us for these latter days.”

(General Answer to Mr Kingsley – 2 June 1864.)


And I hold in veneration,

For the love of Him alone,

Holy Church, as His creation,

And her teachings, as His own.

(From The Dream of Gerontius.)



Further resources


A “Newman Reader” is available here. Numerous resources are available online regarding Newman, his life and his teachings.