Today we pray with BLESSED JOHN HENRY NEWMAN (1801- 1890)
Newman was born in 1801, grew up in London where his father was a banker, and came under the influence of the Evangelical revival in his teenage years. In later years he always looked back at this as the saving of his soul, yet came to believe that Evangelicalism, in rejecting the Church, opened the door to liberal interpreta- tions of the Christian faith. In 1821 he graduated from Trinity College, Oxford, and the following year was elected to a Fellowship at Oriel. In 1825 he was ordained a priest of the Church of England, and in 1828 became vicar of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. Various influences (reading the early Church Fathers, for example) played on Newman as he began to move away from the Low Church party of the C of E. On 14 July 1833 John Keble preached his famous sermon, ‘National Apostasy’, which Newman later judged to be the start of the Oxford Movement, which set about restoring to the C of E discipline and doctrine in accordance with the Book of Common Prayer. The publication of the Tracts for the Times caused a furore across the country, but in time Newman came to doubt whether the middle way of the C of E (between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism) could be upheld. In 1845 he was received into the Catholic Church and ordained priest the following year in Rome. He returned to England as an Oratorian, finally settling in Birmingham. His scholarship, from both his Anglican and Catholic days, has been widely revered, as has his mastery of the English language. It has been asserted that Newman’s theological thinking, not always appreciated in his lifetime, found its expression in the renewal of Catholic life with the Second Vatican Council.
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