John Henry Newman

Biden vs. Bork, 1988: Democrats Smear a SCOTUS Nominee

Editor’s note: this article originally appeared in the May 1988 print edition of Crisis. It has been edited for brevity. Many people have asked me what it was like to live through the nomination and hearings of my husband, Robert Bork. I usually answer that it was like being besieged in a battle where the reinforcements [...]

Protestantism Made Me Catholic

First Things has been running a fascinating and provocative series of articles that question the principles and beliefs of most of its readers. In May, it published “Why I Became Muslim” by one Jacob Williams, a Brit who grew up Anglican and then converted to Islam. More recently, the magazine published “Catholicism Made Me Protestant,” [...]

Small Graces Can Lead to Abundant Blessings

"In the end, the only memorable stories, like the only memorable experiences, are religious and moral.  They give men the heart to suffer the ordeal of a life that perpetually rends them between its beauty and its terror." ∼ Whittaker Chambers, Witness Evil loves the spotlight. It is exceedingly easy to perceive the chain reaction [...]

Christopher Dawson on 19th-Century Critics of Liberalism

As Christopher Dawson attempted to discover the sources of the ideological disruptions of the twentieth century as well as solutions to the death and terror they caused, he often produced some of his most impassioned work. Indeed, he often comes across, for lack of a better way of putting it, as inspired, a prophet, ready [...]

What Newman Can Tell Us About the Cardinal Pell Verdict

The scene in the London courtroom in 1852 might have been out of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, with the defendant in simple clerical black standing in the dock before the bewigged representatives of ancient justice. But one of the judges, John Coleridge, a great-nephew of the poet, saw behind the stooped figure of John [...]

Why Valentine’s Day Is Named After a Saint

With the bustle associated with Valentine’s Day we often forget that February 14 is about love. True love, that is. We also forget that it is the celebration of the martyrdom of a saint who points the way to true love. Yes, Valentinus (anglicized, Valentine) was a priest of the third century Roman empire. Heavy [...]

Newman’s Message for Those Leaving the Church

In 2018, we saw many Catholics, including some prominent ones, head for the exits in the wake of the latest sex abuse scandal. No doubt we’ll see more of this in 2019, especially if the New York Times and The Washington Post are to be believed. Some prominent Protestant scholars, smelling blood in the water, [...]

The Clarity of Cardinal Cupich

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago is all for clarity. It has been a consistent theme, as when in September of 2017 he issued a decree banning guns in all parishes, schools and other facilities across the archdiocese “so there would be absolute clarity on our position.” His official statement put “clarity” in italics. When he [...]

The Idea of a Catholic University 50 Years After Land O’Lakes

William Inge (1860-1954), Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University and Dean of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, was frequently in the literary crosshairs of G.K. Chesterton for his anti-Catholic polemics and strident promotion of eugenics. Fortunately, Chesterton also rejected his advocacy of nudism. Given Dean Inge’s eclectic version of progressivism, one is struck by his cynicism about [...]

Newman and Neri: A Spiritual Kinship

As rewarding as it is to study the life of a great saint, it is doubly rewarding to study the influences and connections among saints. Take, for example, Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890): his journey toward the Catholic priesthood in Victorian England was lit by the fire of St. Philip Neri (1515-1595), the exuberant Italian [...]

Two Newmans and Two Catholic Springs

On a Tuesday in 1852, the thirteenth of July for the literary record since it was a day important for English letters, Blessed John Henry Newman mounted the pulpit of Oscott College, its halls relatively new though designed by Joseph Potter and Augustus Pugin to recall the best of the Tudor times before the depredations [...]

Fanatical Ideas and Reasonable Convictions

A fanatic is a person obsessed with one idea, a monomaniac ruled by one dominant compulsion that governs all his thoughts and actions. He is enslaved by one predominant passion that dictates all his motives and decisions. Ruled by revenge, Captain Ahab in Moby Dick is determined to hunt and kill the white whale that [...]

Friendship: A Pillar of Catholic Education

Editor’s note: The following address by Bishop James Conley was delivered to teachers of the Diocese of Lincoln, at a day of prayer and formation, on February 15, 2016. This morning, I’d like to talk with you about the virtue of friendship, as it relates to the mission of Catholic schools, and especially your work [...]

Can Dissenters Alter the Course of Doctrinal Development?

With the New Year and the Year of Mercy begun, last year's Synod of the Family seems like old news. In a way, it's business as usual for the Church. No new teaching was proclaimed (as if a Synod even had the authority to do that!), no radical changes to Church discipline were announced concerning [...]

Religious Joy: A Christmas Sermon

"And the angels said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke ii. 10, 11.) There are two principal lessons which we are [...]

God is With Us

Near the end of a long and distinguished life, spanning nearly the entire nineteenth century, John Henry Cardinal Newman (declared Blessed by Pope Benedict in 2010), was asked about something he’d written. Now Newman, who was no slouch by any standard, had written a great many things, all of them of a very high order, [...]

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 [...]

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