T J Newman Biography & Facts
John Henry Newman (21 February 1801 – 11 August 1890) was an English theologian, scholar and poet, first an Anglican priest and later a Catholic priest and cardinal, who was an important and controversial figure in the religious history of England in the 19th century. He was known nationally by the mid-1830s, and was canonised as a saint in the Catholic Church in 2019.
Originally an evangelical University of Oxford academic and priest in the Church of England, Newman became drawn to the high-church tradition of Anglicanism. He became one of the more notable leaders of the Oxford Movement, an influential and controversial grouping of Anglicans who wished to return to the Church of England many Catholic beliefs and liturgical rituals from before the English Reformation. In this, the movement had some success. After publishing his controversial "Tract 90" in 1841, Newman later wrote, "I was on my death-bed, as regards my membership with the Anglican Church". In 1845 Newman, joined by some but not all of his followers, officially left the Church of England and his teaching post at Oxford University and was received into the Catholic Church. He was quickly ordained as a priest and continued as an influential religious leader, based in Birmingham. In 1879, he was created a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII in recognition of his services to the cause of the Catholic Church in England. He was instrumental in the founding of the Catholic University of Ireland (CUI) in 1854, although he had left Dublin by 1859. CUI in time evolved into University College Dublin.Newman was also a literary figure: his major writings include the Tracts for the Times (1833–1841), his autobiography Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1865–1866), the Grammar of Assent (1870), and the poem The Dream of Gerontius (1865), which was set to music in 1900 by Edward Elgar. He wrote the popular hymns "Lead, Kindly Light", "Firmly I believe, and truly" (taken from Gerontius), and "Praise to the Holiest in the Height" (taken from Gerontius).
Newman's beatification was officially proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI on 19 September 2010 during his visit to the United Kingdom. His canonisation was officially approved by Pope Francis on 12 February 2019, and took place on 13 October 2019.He is the fifth saint of the City of London, behind Thomas Becket (born in Cheapside), Thomas More (born on Milk Street), Edmund Campion (son of a London book seller) and Polydore Plasden (of Fleet Street).
Early life and education
Newman was born on 21 February 1801 in the City of London, the eldest of a family of three sons and three daughters. His father, John Newman, was a banker with Ramsbottom, Newman and Company in Lombard Street. His mother, Jemima (née Fourdrinier), was descended from a notable family of Huguenot refugees in England, founded by the engraver, printer and stationer Paul Fourdrinier. Francis William Newman was a younger brother. His younger sister, Harriet Elizabeth, married Thomas Mozley, also prominent in the Oxford Movement. The family lived in Southampton Street (now Southampton Place) in Bloomsbury and bought a country retreat in Ham, near Richmond, in the early 1800s.At the age of seven Newman was sent to Great Ealing School conducted by George Nicholas. There George Huxley, father of Thomas Henry Huxley, taught mathematics, and the classics teacher was Walter Mayers. Newman took no part in the casual school games. He was a great reader of the novels of Walter Scott, then in course of publication, and of Robert Southey. Aged 14, he read sceptical works by Thomas Paine, David Hume and perhaps Voltaire.
At the age of 15, during his last year at school, Newman converted to Evangelical Christianity, an incident of which he wrote in his Apologia that it was "more certain than that I have hands or feet". Almost at the same time (March 1816) the bank Ramsbottom, Newman and Co. crashed, though it paid its creditors and his father left to manage a brewery. Mayers, who had himself undergone a conversion in 1814, lent Newman books from the English Calvinist tradition. It was in the autumn of 1816 that Newman fell under the influence of a definite creed and received into his intellect impressions of dogma never afterwards effaced. He became an evangelical Calvinist and held the typical belief that the Pope was the antichrist under the influence of the writings of Thomas Newton, as well as his reading of Joseph Milner's History of the Church of Christ. Mayers is described as a moderate, Clapham Sect Calvinist, and Newman read William Law as well as William Beveridge in devotional literature. He also read The Force of Truth by Thomas Scott.Although to the end of his life Newman looked back on his conversion to Evangelical Christianity in 1816 as the saving of his soul, he gradually shifted away from his early Calvinism. As Eamon Duffy puts it, "He came to see Evangelicalism, with its emphasis on religious feeling and on the Reformation doctrine of justification by faith alone, as a Trojan horse for an undogmatic religious individualism that ignored the Church's role in the transmission of revealed truth, and that must lead inexorably to subjectivism and skepticism."
Newman's name was entered at Lincoln's Inn. He was, however, sent shortly to Trinity College, Oxford, where he studied widely. His anxiety to do well in the final schools produced the opposite result; he broke down in the examination, under Thomas Vowler Short, and so graduated as a BA "under the line" (with a lower second class honours in Classics, and having failed classification in the Mathematical Papers).
Desiring to remain in Oxford, Newman then took private pupils and read for a fellowship at Oriel College, then "the acknowledged centre of Oxford intellectualism". He was elected a fellow at Oriel on 12 April 1822. Edward Bouverie Pusey was elected a fellow of the same college in 1823.
On 13 June 1824, Newman was made an Anglican deacon in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. Ten days later he preached his first sermon in Holy Trinity at Over Worton, near Banbury, Oxfordshire, when on a visit to his former teacher the Reverend Walter Mayers, who had been curate there since 1823. On Trinity Sunday, 29 May 1825, he was ordained a priest in Christ Church Cathedral by the Bishop of Oxford, Edward Legge. He became, at Pusey's suggestion, curate of St Clement's Church, Oxford. Here, for two years, he was engaged in parochial work, and wrote articles on Apollonius of Tyana, Cicero, and Miracles for the Encyclopædia Metropolitana.Richard Whately and Edward Copleston, Provost of Oriel, were leaders in the group of Oriel Noetics, a group of independently thinking dons with a strong belief in free debate. In 1825, at Whately's request, Newman became vice-principal of St Alban Hall, but he only held this post for one year. He attributed much of his "mental improvement" and partial conquest of his shyness at this time to Whately.
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