John Henry Newman

1801-1890. Tractarian and cardinal. He was born into a family with Evangelical sympathies, and this was the strongest influence upon him until entering Oxford University in 1817. In 1822 he was elected to a fellowship at Oriel College, then a center of influence. He gradually relinquished Evangelicalism under the influence of R. Whateley,* who impressed upon him the divine appointment of the church, and Hawkins, who taught him to value tradition. E.B. Pusey,* J. Keble,* and above all R.H. Froude* took him further in High Church beliefs.

In 1828 he was appointed vicar of St. Mary's, the University Church in Oxford. The aim of Newman and his friends was to show that the Church of England was a via media between Protestantism and Romanism, a position based upon the teaching of the early “undivided church.” His pulpit and the wider distribution of his sermons under the title of Parochial and Plain Sermons with the publication of Tracts for the Times provided the means for disseminating these views. The tracts came to an end when Tract 90-attempting a reconciliation between the Thirty- Nine Articles* and Romanism-came under widespread criticism. His researches into the early church had resulted in a book, The Arians of the Fourth Century, and also led to doubts about the Church of England which were raised again in 1839 while he was studying the Monophysite controversy. In 1843 he resigned St. Mary's and in 1845 was received into the Roman Church.

At first his career in the Roman Church seemed destined to be a succession of failures. Although the rectorship of the newly founded university in Dublin led to another book, Idea of a University, this scheme was to founder. The editorship of The Rambler was short- lived; a scheme to build a hostel for Catholics in Oxford in which Newman would have been warden was forbidden. But in 1864, in response to a personal attack upon him by Charles Kingsley,* Newman replied in an autobiographical sketch, Apologia Pro Vita Sua. This once again brought him into prominence. In 1870 he published the Grammar of Assent in defense of religious belief, and in 1879 he was made a cardinal.

His influence, within both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, has been immense. In the former it is seen in the subsequent influence of the Anglo-Catholic tradition within the Church of England, and in Rome particularly in regard to theories about the development of doctrine (cf. his Development of Christian Doctrine, 1845).

See W. Ward, The Life of John Henry, Cardinal Newman (2 vols., 1912), and C.S. Dessain (ed.), The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman (1961).