Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  68 / 665 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 68 / 665 Next Page
Page Background

40 • Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890) often wrote about

faith and its implications. He was born and raised in England. As a

child, he was exposed to Protestant Christianity in a very general

sense. Around the age of fifteen, he had a conversion experi-

ence that led him ultimately to seek ordination as an Anglican

priest. Even before his ordination, which took place when he

was twenty-three, Newman served as a fellow at Oxford, where

his teaching, preaching, and writing caused him to reassess his

strong anti-Catholic position. He entered the Catholic Church in

1845, was ordained a priest in 1847, and eventually was named

a cardinal in 1879. He spent much of the rest of his life teaching

and writing about the Catholic faith and the Catholic Church. His

influence at the university level drew many others to follow him

into the Catholic Church. Because of Cardinal Newman’s university

work and the success of his efforts to teach the faith, centers of

Catholic faith and worship at secular colleges and universities are

often called Newman Centers.

In 1849, the then-Fr. Newman published an essay in which he

wrote of the necessity of trusting in God’s Word and submitting

in faith to the teaching authority of the Church. Newman’s words

can be read and reflected upon in light of contemporary trends

towards deciding for oneself what to believe:

[In the time of the Apostles] . . . A Christian was bound to

take without doubting all that the Apostles declared to be

revealed; if the Apostles spoke, he had to yield an inter-

nal assent of his mind. . . . Immediate, implicit submission

of the mind was, in the lifetime of the Apostles, the only,

the necessary token of faith. . . No one could say: “I will

choose my religion for myself, I will believe this, I will not

believe that; I will pledge myself to nothing; I will believe