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.
FR. JUAN R. VÉLEZ grew up in Medellin, London and Philadelphia. As a physician specialized in internal medicine, he obtained a licentiate in theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and a doctorate in theology at the University of Navarre. In 1998 he was ordained a priest for the Prelature of Opus Dei. A resident of Chicago, he has published academic articles on medical ethics and on Cardinal John Henry Newman. He is author of Passion for Truth, the Life of John Henry Newman as well as A University Education for the 21st Century: The Opening of the American Mind.