John Henry Newman

LA Times_Watts Riots

Black Crime and White Flight

The recent events in Ferguson, MO, in which a “gentle giant” was shot and killed after assaulting a policeman, leading to demonstrations and riots, brought back to me memories of the August 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles, which likewise developed in the aftermath of assaults on a policeman after a young black man was [...]

Catholics, Liberals and Tories

Late nineteenth-century English Catholic politics may be characterized by the fluctuating party sympathies of John Henry Newman. Despite his identification with nineteenth-century liberalism, Newman supported the Tories in 1865: I have no great love of the Conservatives, as being Erastians of a type which I do not think you can admire—but I speak of them [...]

What Have We Learned from Universities?

The recent news that Pope Francis has appointed a commission of prelates to reevaluate a former Pontifical university in Peru has elicited a few sardonic remarks, and perhaps even some earnest hopes, that the Vatican might take a similarly incisive interest in the condition of certain Catholic institutions in the United States. As unlikely as [...]

On Barbarism and Benedict

For those who have the courage to plunge headlong into the great sea of history, their minds accustomed to taking long views, the attractions of Protestantism are few and never fatal.   But for those who know nothing of the past, whose minds are unwilling to travel to such places, the allure of Protestant piety with [...]

Moving to a Smaller House Means Shedding Books: Should I Throw Out My Bertrand Russell?

Later this year, now that the value of property is picking up a little, my wife and I shall be putting our house on the market. Our family has grown up; we do not, strictly speaking, need a house of this size; and more compellingly, when we bought it, the plan was that in due [...]

Is Lying Ever Justified?

"The problem is not that we are sinners: the problem is not repenting of sin, not being ashamed of what we have done." In his homily at his daily Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae on May 17, 2013, Pope Francis was discussing, and commending, the example of Saint Peter, who, having denied Christ, was now [...]

Saving the Uncommon Core of Catholic Education

As Catholic institutions have come under unprecedented pressure from government to trim their religious and social mission, it seems incredible that Catholic educators would consider voluntarily placing their schools under an onerous federal yoke.  But that incongruous prospect may be nearing reality as over one hundred Catholic dioceses have signed onto the Common Core Standards [...]

Blessed John Henry Newman: Our Guide and Inspiration

In 2010, I was honored to be among the official press commentators for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Britain. It was indeed a joy and a privilege to follow the Pope as he visited venues in London that resonated with Catholic significance. He visited Westminster Hall, in which St. Thomas More had stood trial, and [...]

Sign of Hope: Anglican Nuns Become Catholic

I have had, as we all have, many good moments in my life as a Catholic (greatly outweighing the inevitable bad ones); but yesterday was one of the very best. Have I ever, I try to recall, had such a vivid sense of how glorious it is to be a Catholic, of the transcendent splendor [...]

Finding God with Basil, Gregory, and Newman

The advantage that tragic poetry has over historical narrative seems to lie in the way individual deeds are portrayed: they are enacted. The confrontation of Angelo by Isabella in the second act of Measure for Measure, culminating in her speech against “man, proud man,” does something far better than naming the heroine’s courage, it invites [...]

Latest Liberal Catholic Claims on Newman Mislead

I am very sorry that Professor Eamon Duffy should have seen fit so immoderately to spring to the defense of Professor Tina Beattie, an invitation to whom to take up a fellowship has been withdrawn by the (Catholic) University of San Diego, following that institution’s discovery of her public support for gay unions. “It is [...]

Submerged in the Ocean: Challenges Often Arise After Catholic Conversion

By the time I was received into the Catholic Church 15 years ago I had already read a number of stories of conversions to the faith—Newman’s Apologia, Avery Dulles’ A Testimonial to Grace, Scott Hahn’s Rome Sweet Home, and many others in essay or book form. I still love reading conversion stories, not just from [...]

Teacher of Teachers: Blessed John Henry Newman

If John Henry Newman should be declared a Doctor of the Church, the honor will be in large part due to his work as an educator. As Benedict XVI has pointed out, the “definite service” that he gave to the Church was to apply “his keen intellect and prolific pen to many of the most [...]

The Zeal of a Convert: Father Frederick Faber

When Father Frederick Faber died in September 1863 after a long illness, there was an outpouring of grief for this Oxford Movement convert.  The Freeman’s Journal in Dublin remarked that Faber’s death, “though so long expected, has come with a seeming suddenness…. [T]he name of Father Faber has become a household word as his beautiful [...]

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