Irish bishops mark Canonisation of Cardinal John Henry Newman

Yesterday (11 October), Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin delivered an address on Blessed John Henry Newman at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. This event was jointly organised by college staff and the Ambassador of Ireland to the Holy See, His Excellency Derek Hannon.

Bishop Brendan Leahy is leading thirty pilgrims from Limerick to the Mass of Canonisation and Bishop Francis Duffy of Ardagh & Clonmacnois, Bishop Fintan Monahan of Killaloe and Bishop Emeritus Philip Boyce OCD of Raphoe, will also attend the Mass. Veritas has published a book by Bishop Fintan Monahan (details below).


John Henry Newman was born in 1801, the son of a London banker. Both his parents were practising members of the Church of England. He had five siblings.

From an early age he exhibited remarkable intelligence and went up to Oxford in 1816. He became a Fellow and tutor in Oriel College and was ordained a priest of the Anglican Church in 1825. After ministering in a parish he became vicar of St Mary’s University Church in 1828.

At St Mary’s Newman and a number of colleagues set out to reform the Anglican Church. To this end they conducted an intensive study of the writings of the early Church fathers, such as Origen, Tertullian, Athanasius, Chrysostom, Augustine and Jerome. In so doing they were attempting to justify the claim by the Anglican Church to apostolicity and authenticity. More explicitly they were seeking to establish is as a Via Media (middle way) between the ‘errors of the Roman Catholic Church’ and Luther’s Protestantism. They published their sermons and lectures in Tracts or pamphlets, hence their movement became known as the Tractarian Movement. It was also known as the Oxford Movement because so many of those involved were associated with the University.

Newman consistently insisted on the necessity of being led both by scripture and tradition in order to attain the whole of revealed truth. Thus, as a result of his extensive research, he discovered that the Catholic Church not the Anglican Church was the same as the early Church – the Church of the Fathers. He converted to Catholicism in 1845 and was ordained a year later. Pius IX gave him the authority to set up, with some of his fellow-converts, a community of the Oratorians of St Philip Neri in a Birmingham parish. Leo XIII created him a cardinal in 1879. He died in 1890.

Newman was a prolific author, a well-known controversialist and was regarded as one of the leading intellectuals of his time. In 1851 he accepted an invitation from Cardinal Paul Cullen to come to Dublin to set up a Catholic University. He delivered a series of lectures on university education in Dublin in 1852 and these were to become part of his The idea of university education, universally regarded as the classic monograph on third level education. On the establishment of the university, Newman served as its rector form 1854-1858. The university did not fulfil all expectations. Its main deficit was its failure to achieve appropriate recognition of its degrees, with the exception of those granted by the university’s medical school. However, it was the beginning of the process which ended in the establishment in 1908 of the National University of Ireland with its constituent interdenominational colleges at UCC, UCD and UCG.

While in Ireland Newman with his friend John Hungerford Pallen, the professor of fine arts in the university, planned and designed Catholic University Church. It was built in less than two years and Newman provided half its cost out of money subscribed for his defence in a defamation case taken against him.

A Perfect Peace – Newman Saint for Our Time

To celebrate the canonisation of John Henry Newman, Veritas published a special commemorative book by Bishop Fintan Monahan which includes a short biography of the great scholar and theologian, alongside key excerpts from his writings.

About the book and author

In this timely new book, Bishop Fintan Monahan explores key moments from Newman’s life, including his years at Oxford, his conversion to Catholicism and his time spent in Ireland where he spearheaded the foundation of the Catholic University. He also explains why Newman’s writings continue to resonate and provides an inspiring selection of extracts from his works that highlight his genius.

Bishop Fintan Monahan is Bishop of Killaloe and is based in Ennis, Co. Clare. He has a great interest in John Henry Newman and has been collecting Newman’s work for over thirty years.

The book is available from Veritas for €7.99. Click here for more information –
[[] https://www.veritasbooksonline.com/a-perfect-peace-a-short-introduction-to-st-john-he-9781847309341-44606/ ]