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Michael Davies

Lead Kindly Light: The Life of John Henry Newman

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“The Mass must not be said…in any language but
that in which it has come down to us from the
early hierarchs of the Western Church.”

So said the venerable Cardinal Newman—that, and much else that would be indigestible to modern Catholic ears. The late Michael Davies captures his countryman in the most accessible biography ever written about Newman. Its twin themes:

  • Newman led an exemplary life and left an enormous body of evidence (powerful words, but deeds as well) supporting his canonization
  • Newman defends papal infallibility, and Cardinal Cullen, who wrote the Vatican I statement on the matter, defends Newman
  • Pope St. Pius X weighs in on Newman’s behalf
  • Newman’s dramatic conversion to Catholicism—farthest thing from an emotional “experience,” rooted instead where all conversions must be, in the intellect and the will
  • His early life and productive young career
  • How he began to doubt the central tenets of Protestantism…and the Anglican variation thereof
  • Exactly how he resolved them in favor of Rome
  • His founding of the Oratorians
  • His difficulties with leading Catholic churchmen of his time, some of whom manifested jealousy
  • His famous libel suit
  • How he handled friendships and the loss of them, as age began to intrude

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Michael Davies