John Henry Newman

In the Culture of Death, Abortion is a Sacrament

The feminist writer Florynce Kennedy once said, “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.” She didn’t give the left enough credit. Abortion has become a kind of “sacrament” because women can get pregnant. Abortion has morphed from a taboo tragedy to a constitutional right: a sine qua non of the Democratic Party, [...]

Liberalism and Idolatry Go Hand in Hand

“Considered in itself, idolatry is the greatest of mortal sins.” So begins the old Catholic Encyclopedia’s entry on the topic. I was surprised to read that this is the greatest of all mortal sins. Was it worse than murder? Worse even than the sexual abuse of minors? “For it is, by definition,” the entry continues, [...]

Why Ireland Snubbed St. John Henry Newman

Ireland, particularly its government, is now in the strange position of being simultaneously hostile and indifferent to Catholicism. An indication of the seemingly indifferent attitude toward the Catholic Church by Irish officialdom occurred in connection with the recent canonization of John Henry Cardinal Newman. Newman was the founding rector (or president) of University College Dublin. [...]

Newman Among the Pachamamas

What would Newman say about the Pachamamas? That’s not actually a question which anyone who studied Newman carefully would ask. It reflects a lack of understanding of the workings of practical intelligence, which Newman took great pains to delineate—as if one could take a proof text out of Newman, and that would give you the [...]

The Model Priest for a Church in Crisis

In his spiritual autobiography, Apologia pro Vita Sua, Blessed John Henry Newman informs us: “When I was fifteen (in the autumn of 1816), a great change of thought took place in me. I fell under the influences of a definite Creed, and received into my intellect impressions of dogma, which, through God’s mercy, have never [...]

John Henry Newman: Catholic Revivalist

The canonization of John Henry Newman in Rome on October 13 will be a triumph for the light of life and love amidst the gloom and darkness of the Culture of Death. It will signify the way in which the Church transcends and outlives the evil forces that assail her, whether such assailants are the [...]

A Grammar of Dissent

Analytical psychology provided a virtually limitless opportunity for Carl Jung to play with the canonical vocabulary, expanding it to describe what he thought to be wider realms of human consciousness. An example of his creativity was his concept of Synchronizität. This “synchronicity” described what he perceived to be “meaningful coincidences,” by which he meant events [...]

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 [...]

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