John Henry Newman’s legacy


Sir, – Bishop Fintan Monahan writes that if Blessed John Henry Newman were alive today, he might well not see any need to convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism but instead would work “happily in dialogue between the two Churches” (“Newman might well be the patron saint of ecumenism”, Rite and Reason, October 8th).

As a former Anglican who five years ago was motivated in part by Newman’s writings to follow his example and seek to be received into the church, I am baffled by this statement. In his Apologia Pro Vita Sua, Newman paid tribute to the divines of the Church of England who had influenced him in his days as an Anglican. But he also wrote of how he had come to realise that the position of the Church of England in his own time was analogous to that of the semi-Arians in the fourth-century controversy over the divinity of Christ; in his studies he came also to realise “that Rome now was what it was then” (that is, the guardian of orthodox truth ). The problems may have changed – no Anglican bishop in 1845, the year of Newman’s conversion, supported abortion but not a few do today – but the principle remains the same.

Disaffected Anglicans see today in the magisterium what Newman did 174 years ago.

May I suggest that the Bishop of Killaloe should look again at the Apologia? – Yours, etc,



A chara, – Further to “UCD says it will be represented at Cardinal Newman canonisation” (News, October 10th), to paraphrase a famous hymn by the soon to be Saint John Henry Newman,UCD did not take the lead but they have kindly seen the light! – Is mise,


Clichy, France.