John Henry Newman

1801-1890

John Henry NewmanJohn Henry Cardinal Newman was a leading figure in the Church of England prior to his conversion to Catholicism in 1845. He was a scholar at Oxford who possessed brilliant speaking and writing abilities. His Parochial and Plain Sermons (1834-42) are considered by many to be the best sermons in the English language. He was one of the prime movers of the Oxford (or Tractarian) movement that sought to find communion between the various branches of the Christian Church. From 1851 to 1858, Newman founded and presided over the Catholic University of Ireland justifying Catholic liberal education in the now classic Idea of a University. He became a cardinal in 1877. A man of solitude and action, Newman possessed tremendous capacity for friendship and human sympathy. Among the many things he was interested in were the sacred duty of developing one’s gifts and liberal education as the cultivation of a healthy mind. His ideas had significant influence at the Second Vatican Council, particularly his ecclesiology, ecumenical sensitivities, theory of doctrinal development, defense of conscience and theology of the laity. Pope John Paul II declared him “venerable” in 1991.