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Fr. David Anderson's class on John Henry Newman.
For details about joining the class, please see here
1 - First Class: September 23, 2010
2 - Second Class: September 30, 2010
3 - Third Class: October 7, 2010
4 - Fourth Class: October 14, 2010
5 - Fifth Class: October 21, 2010


Fr. David 1rst class on John Henry Newman (Sept. 23, 2010)

(On the first night of the class, on 9/23/2010, we met in the usual classroom in Kentfield; there were about 20 of us, most of us returning students, but some new people came down from Ukiah. Since a few people have told me that they would not be able to come to the first class but will join us later on, I am posting my notes below).


First, Fr. David tells us about his trip to England for the Beatification.

He just got back 2 days ago, Tuesday. His time in England, the whole visit, was really a "pilgrimage". He went with an old friend from his hometown. They hired a guide to visit Oxford and had the opportunity to visit rooms and places not opened to the public. One of the book he brought back is "From Newman to converts" which came out 9 years ago, and which has very good insights that he will mention later on, it is by Fr. Jaki and gives a picture of Newman which completes what is presented in the other books. He visited "the farm" where Newman lived. He lived there in austerity. At present the buildings and grounds are made into a pilgrimage place and maintained by a new order: the congregation of the work, which was started by one mother from Holland, to further the cause for beatification (done now) and canonization (soon) and spread his writings. Newman's writings have been responsible for more people entering the Church (in the English language) than anyone else. All religious congregation and orders have their uniqueness. This order, the congregation of the Oratory, also called the Oratorians, is a new one; they are parish priests and do not take a monastic vows; they devote their energy to preach particularly thru the liturgy and they are also assigned to one specific parish; and they run schools too. The French Oratorians have their own history; it is an order which started with St. Philippe Neri.

Fr. David was able to concelebrate at the Beatification mass and if you look really hard on WETN, there is one minute where you can see him! He also said that even the BBC became more "pro" Pope by Sunday evening because of the crowds and the responses to the visit. Fr. David talked about the spectacular concert in Birmingham, in early evening.

For the Beatification Mass, he got up at 4 am. It was raining. When he arrived, he saw that there was an "accreditation" center but he did not know what it was for (he thought it might be for the press) and he kept walking with the flow of the crowd. But when he asked a lady where was the clergy supposed to go, she asked him if he had got his accreditation! And he thought "Oh! No, do I have to go back there?" walking against the crowd? But she helped him. He said the place was PACKED with people and it was still 3 hours before the mass! With hundreds and hundreds of priests … He said it was a very reverend atmosphere. He met some French priests and a group from Africa. He was looking for another priest from the Byzantine rite but there were not many. It was still raining. An hour before the mass, the clergy were all asked to go next to the canopy. The Bishops were under the canopy (sheltered from the rain) but the priests were near the canopy.

The Mass began with the Holy Father processing. Fr David say that it was Catholic liturgy at its best, it was Western Liturgy at its best. Did you know that Newman wrote many hymns and 3 especially are very popular? A "Beatification process" is very simple. After the Kyrie comes the beatification. It is the final step before being declaring a saint. The only difference is that the Blessed have not been put yet on the universal calendar. The rite is simple: there is a "summary" read by the local Bishop and the Pope makes the declaration. The Beatification is in response to the miracles judged to be authentic.

Then Fr. David tells us about the miracle. This American man had a severe case of spine degeneration. He was watching EWTN and there was a show on Newman. At the end of the show, they asked everyone to report it if they had received a favor. This American was in such pain that he could barely get out of bed and he prayed to Newman to be healed and he was instantly cured! He walked out of the hospital on his own. Going back to the Beatification mass, Fr. David laughed and said that at that exact moment the rain stopped and the sun came out. Fr said that in the past he has wondered about huge gathering for mass but this one was truly beautiful, during communion, you could hear a pin drop, it was filled with peace and reverence and joy. The outpouring of joy was amazing, people were weeping from joy.

At the end, before leaving, the Pope greeted each group of priest. Fr. David says he was just 2 rows from the Bishops, he really had a good spot. He told us about the relic which is only 2 hairs, everything else is dust; he made sure to go see the relic before leaving, actually he was the first one there, then there was this huge surge of priests behind him coming to pray in front of the relic. One thing that surprised him is that the Provost (the superior of the Oratory order) and the order in Birmingham could not come to the beatification, they had to stay in Birmingham because the Pope went there right away (by helicopter) after the Beatification mass.

Fr. David said it was a long day, it started at 4am and went till 4pm: 12 hours. A day of fast too since in his tradition, you fast before mass. But when he got back to Birmingham, it was a full English high tea. Then they had the very first service after the beatification mass: it was a wonderful singing of vespers. Beautiful singing. On Monday, there were masses of thanksgiving and he went to the Monday mass of thanksgiving but he could not concelebrate because his vestments were trashed with mud from the previous day and he had only brought one set so he did not concelebrate. He came back to California on Tuesday.

Now let's speak about what we are going to do in this class:

It will go for 12 Thursdays with one break for Thanksgiving. During these 12 weeks, he says that first, he'll give some introductory talks to acquaint us with the life and times of Newman, about his biography and insights into the period in which he lived. He spanned the entire 19th century. He lived all thru "modernity" as we have come to know it, that is when it really began; he faced the same questions and issues we continue to face now.

Darwin had wrote Origin of species. Newman read it. He saw no conflict between the faith and his theory. But he had to confront the increasing loss of faith of the times. What is called the beginning of the tragedy of the 20th century thru the un-natural exaggeration of the reason, the mis-use of reason; reason used as an end. "Out of shadows and images and into truth" as is mentioned in the prayer we all said at the beginning of the class. Objectives truths do not depend on what you or I think. Such a popular movement, which began in the 19th century, and which is what Pope BXVI called "the tyranny of relativism".

Fr David says that he would like to begin not as the beginning of Newman's life but at the middle, at his conversion. He said that he'll make a comparison between the Lord and Newman. Of course, anytime you do this, between the Lord and a human person, it is only an analogy. But the Creed begins with the Resurrection. Everything proceeds from the Resurrection. The Lord's life, including his Passion and Death, can only be known thru the light of the Resurrection, thru the doorway of the Resurrection. If not for the Resurrection, no one would be interested in the life of Jesus. Likewise, you cannot be interested in the life of Newman without his conversion to the Catholic faith. He had had other conversions: at 15: a conversion to a personal faith. He was a believer and a devout child. But at 15, it became deeply personal. Later in Sicily he got very ill, he experienced a sort of second conversion where he completely entrusted his life into God's hands.

Fr. David says that you can see one's life passing thru the 4 seasons: the spring, summer etc. He says that he is in the autumn of his life. He knew when summer began and when it passed. When winter begins, he expects to be able to recognize it. For Newman, his spring and summer lead up to his conversion into the Catholic faith. At 40 years old, he converted. So his life was really 50% in the Anglican church and 50% in the Catholic church. The spring (of his life) ended with that illness where he did not die. His summer time began when he gave himself completely to the renewal of the church of England.

Fr. David said he chose deliberately not to start in his spring/summer. Newman underwent lots of difficulties when he became Catholic. He voluntarily renounced the fellowship at the College, when he resigned 2 years before. He lost many of his friends. He did not go alone, he was blessed with many who preceded him or followed him. But many chose not to and it affected their relationships. The Newman was a very tight family. But there was all sort of tension there too. He had 5 siblings. With his brothers, as he became more Catholic, one of his brother became more protestant. Another younger brother became a free thinker. But he was able to reconcile with Charles. But for another one, he actually went on foot to where he was living but his brother would not see him. One of his sisters was sympathetic to his sincerity but she had no sympathy for his conversion; the other one would not talk to him. This is a central factor: we often speak today from our own more "tolerant" and superior position nowadays but perhaps these tensions happens less now because we are less fervent.

So, on the one hand Newman suffered great loss. Most people who know something of Newman call him a great intellect. People who know him a little more know his writings, the development of doctrines, the Grammar of Ascent. But it was none of these books that were the most popular. It was a novel "Loss and gain", that's what everybody was reading, even people who had no sympathy for him. The reason for that is that in that book, in a fictional manner, he gave a defense of his conversion. The gain is the fullness of the faith, which he always described as "the way" in which he could obtain salvation.

What was the Catholic church in England to do with him? Who was the Catholic church in England at the time? A small number of old English Catholic, who had never given up the faith. Then there had been some immigration of Irish. They were usually prejudiced against. And into this enters this great figure. They did not know what to do with him. Before the Catholic emancipation of 1820s it was illegal to practice Catholicism. Bishops only came in the 1840's. And then we have all these shining lights from Oxford = the Oxford movement. There was a time where they were at a loss on what to do with him. There were a number of failed attempts: they sent him to Ireland; they were going to make him a Bishop, but it was blocked. He was going back to Oxford but that did not happen. So he continued to return to Birmingham, in the run-down oratory. He was ministering to a lot of poor people. When the bell rang, when someone died, he was always the first one there.

The Autumn of his life transitioned into Winter, with the publication of Apologia, then he became revered in England. Then later he was made Cardinal. Then we have this calm and peaceful winter.

Class Break.

Someone ask about the protesters and he said he did not see any…. And I said isn't it interesting how your account, from the inside, is so inspiring and different from the main stream media! There is such a gap between "our reality" and what they present "as reality".

Fr. David went to St Mary's Church which is where Newman preached and Fr. David touched the altar.
A student asks about Newman's novel: Is it a good read? He said Yes.

Fr. David said that we are going to begin with his conversion on Oct 9 1845 and that is the day the Holy Father has selected for his feast. Normally, we keep the day of the Saint's death. He died on August 11, 1890 which is (now) the feast of St Clare. But in Newman's days, it was the next day. So it is artificial to say he died on St Clare day. But the general practice followed now (since the 60's) is that they don't want more than one commemoration on one day (unlike the Eastern Church) for the sake of simplicity, one commemoration per day. So the Pope decided that his Feast day would be the day of his conversion (for instance that's what we do for St. Ambrose). The day before Newman was received into the Church, by a priest of the Passionist order, who had dedicated his priesthood to the conversion of the English. This was an old priest. Newman had heard from an old friend that Fr. Barberi was going to come thru Littlemore. At this time, he had decided to enter the Catholic church but the date was not decided yet. So they brought this little priest who had to ride for hours in an open carriage under the rain. When he arrived, Newman immediately kneeled down and say: "I beg you Fr, receive me in Christ true fold". He made a life time confession which took several hours. The day before, Newman had written 18 letters to 18 people closest to him, his sister, his fellow companion in the movement for the renewal of the Church. In all these letters, he said he was "to enter Christ true fold". The only time he used another words (to Puny), he said (not to lessen the blow!) "into Christ one and only true church". He was utterly convinced it was a matter of salvation.

Then Fr. reads one of the letters… "the one and only true faith".

We will study how he got there. It was a long road. And how he travelled that road, the road into "the one true fold", that is central to understanding his journey. There are converts here in this class, there are cradle Catholics too, but this particular story to the one true fold has something to say to each one of us.

End of first class.

Recommended readings:
John Henry Newman: His Inner Life Fr Zeno here
Newman to converts, by Stanley Jaki here
An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine here
Meriol Trevor 2 volumes; his other writings: Apologia, his Sermons,Discourses to Mixed Congregation; for the Newman reader, see here

Fr. David 2nd class on John Henry Newman (Thursday September 30, 2010)


Fr. David talks about the books he recommended. One by Fr. Zino. From the image of the season, from his birth to his mid twenties, when he went to Sicily, he got sick and almost died, he abandoned himself to the providence of God, it would still be another 10 yrs before his conversion to the Catholic faith, but in the next 10 yrs he dedicated himself to the renewal of the faith in England. Newman would always speak of the years where he labored for the renewal of the faith in England as the "happiest of his life". He did not speak of the years after his conversion as the happiest. For Newman, happiness is not what matters most. Years after he converted, he wrote "how forlorn and lonely…. When I was a protestant my faith was empty. But my life was full of hope. Now that I am a Catholic my faith is full of hope but my life is empty". Fr. David says he'll come back to that. Since the first half of his life he lived in the Church of England, we need to know what his life was like. We need to know how was the church of England was in the first half of the 19th century. Why did the Church of England need to be renewed ? Why was the Oxford movement needed?

Henry the 8th, Catherine Marie Tudor = bloody Mary, the Puritans, Elizabeth the 1rst, Calvin, Luther, Zwigli, the Book of Common Prayers, the Liturgy, the stripping of the altar, the anti-Catholicism, the heresies. Fr David speaks about Newman's family, where they came from. He speaks about Newman's father resistance to "enthusiasm". But (later) Newman "became convinced the Catholic Church mediates the supernatural and that is why he is convinced it is necessary for him to be a Catholic".

(Fr David spoke for 2 hours about the Church in England, going back to the 16th century and all through Newman's life, but my notes are a mess and I'm not sure if I'll be able to clean them and post them, which is too bad, it was quite a remarcable overview of the Church in those days).

2 Margaret sent me her notes, transcribed from her tape of the second class! Thank you, Margaret!

…last week, about how it is beyond question that the center of Blessed JHN life was his conversion to the Catholic faith and that's why Pope Benedict chose October 9th as his feast day. Yet, paradoxically, Bl. JH would always speak of the years in which he labored, with very few friends, for the renewal of the Church of England as the happiest time of his life. But, he did not speak of his Catholic years as the happiest time of his life. We will see why that is - it would be going ahead of ourselves to say why now. Suffice it to say, obviously, for Bl. JH being happy is not the most important thing. In fact, you know I do this all the time, do what I say I wouldn't do… and give you a little quote to reflect on. It will come up again. But, he wrote at one point some ten years after his conversion.. He said, "Oh how forlorn and lonely my life has become". And then he added this to it: he said "when I was a Protestant, my faith was empty, but my life was full of hope. Now that I am a Catholic, my faith is full of hope and my life is empty". We'll come back to that. Those few sentences reveal to us a man of great sensitivity.

I thought that I would begin this evening, since the first half of Bl. JH's life is lived as a member of the C of E, it will not do to simply see that in some sort of vacuum. We have to know what his life was like as a member of the C of E. In order to do that, we have to know something about the C of E in the first half of the 19th Century. I hope to do this quickly but I think we have to know what Bl. JH was dealing with he entered the springtime of his life, abandoned his life as a Protestant. Why did the C o E need to be renewed?

In order to do this, I will give a brief summary of the ups and downs of the C of E and deliberately focusing on a few things. Since it began in the 16th Century, during the time of Henry VIII in the first half of the 16th Century (1530). I think you know that Henry VIII declared himself the Supreme Head of the C of E, therefore breaking communion with the Pope. He did this because the Pope would not grant him an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. He wanted this marriage annulled because he wanted a male heir and Catherine did not seem able to produce one - or maybe it was he who wasn't able to produce one…but, nevertheless, there was no living male heir forthcoming. And, Henry claimed that this was because Catherine, who had been the wife of Henry's brother (who died) was given a dispensation to marry her by the Church and then Henry went on to claim that the dispensation that he was given to marry his brother's widow was not lawful to begin with since she had produced no heirs and God had cursed him. So he wanted that initial permission annulled. The Pope declared the marriage lawful. This was a long process, with a number of trials. The consequence was that Henry declared himself to be the Supreme head of the C of E. He married Anne Boleyn and married a succession of wives. The only one who gave him a male heir was the third, Jane Seymour.

In declaring himself to be the Supreme head of the C of E, Henry VIII imagined that he would be the head of the Catholic Church without the Pope. He did not see communion with the Pope necessary. However, one must not conclude from that that Henry was sympathetic to the theology of the Protestant reform. He was not. In fact, he had been named before the whole marriage business "Defender of the Faith" by the Pope for a treatise he wrote on the Seven Sacraments, contesting the theology of Luther. England, all through the reign of Henry VIII, both while he was Catholic and after he had broken with the Church was not a safe place for Protestants. There were heresy laws on the books. And even while Henry began pilling Catholics, like faithful Catholic St. Thomas More and Thomas Fisher and the Carthusian martyrs and many others, he was also, simultaneously burning Protestants. This is sometimes not known. Obviously, the Catholics that Henry was executing were not be executed for heresy. There were being executed for treason. But Protestants were executed for heresy. It was a capital crime, considered to be as much a threat to the welfare of the kingdom as treason would be. And so, unrepentant heretics went ___? So, Henry did not foresee that the C of E would become a Protestant church. He opposed Protestant theology. As a matter of fact, this is where the trouble begins, because the archbishop of Canterbury is Thomas Cranmer. Thomas Cranmer is very much influenced by the Reformation. In fact, he was influenced by one of the most radical friends of the Reformation - not Luther, not Calvin, but by Ulrich Zwingli (from Switzerland). Cranmer was a "closet Zwingli". He had to be very careful. But what does that mean to be a Zwingli? Zwingli went much further than Luther and Calvin. Zwingli denied the sacraments completely, denied the Apostolic succession of the Church, denied any notion of the Eucharistic Presence. And in the churches that were influenced by Zwingli - for example, the communion service was no longer even celebrated at an altar. A table was set up and people sat around it. Whereas Luther and Calvin differed in their approach to the Holy Eucharist, did not go anywhere near as far as Zwingli. In fact, Luther was at a meeting with Zwingli and they parted company over the matter of the Eucharistic Presence. Luther said "we are not of the same theory". So, as Bp. Cranmer is a secret Zwingli. That's going to be an important factor later.

Henry VIII, it seems, took a certain enjoyment in ordering AB Cranmer to do very "Catholic" things. Two examples: In the English church, on Good Friday, people would not only make the 3 genuflections but they would walk up to the Cross on their knees, to venerate the Cross. Henry insisted that this practice be followed. Cranmer detested it, thought it idolatry. But Henry himself did it and Cranmer had no choice! Then, Cranmer, whenever he could get away with it, every year or so, would remove another Feast Day. But then, he would come to court, to the Royal Chapel, and Henry would say "I haven't remover it from the calendar here".

As long as Henry is alive, in parishes in the C of E, the place in the missals where the Pope was prayed for was scratched out, but the Latin missal remained the same. Also, Henry had a particular dislike of St. Thomas of Canterbury, the medieval martyr who died at the hands of Henry II, for interfering with the royal power in the government of the Church. So his feast day was removed from the calendar and the pages of the missal that had the proper of the Mass for him were torn out. But otherwise, things remained the same, the service remained in Latin, the Mass to the people looked the same. There was no suggestion that there was a change in doctrine. However, Henry died and his male heir, Edward VI, is not yet of age. There has to be a regent (?). Who's the regent? It's the archbishop. And now there is no restraining hand of Henry VIII with his Catholic sympathy to prevent Cranmer from beginning to "Zwinglinize" the English Church. So, during the brief reign Edward VI, it's only a few years because he died young, that is when a distinctly Protestant influences from the European continent begin to enter into the Eucharist of the English church. That's when Thomas Cranmer puts together the book that has been central (there are now several editions of lit) for Anglican worship - the Book of Common Prayer. Also during this time, there is a period of iconoclasm. A study of it is written by Edmund Duffy called "The Stripping of the Altar". That is precisely what happened: a destruction of altar, shrines. The communion service that was devised by Cranmer in the book of 1541 presented a distinctly Protestant looking communion. The Mass was no longer referred to as a sacrifice. All mention of the celebration of the Eucharist making present again the Lord's once for all sacrifice was omitted. Also, the reference to receiving the Body and Blood of Christ at communion time was changed. Up until that time, in that part of the Mass as it still exists in the traditional Mass today, the priest when giving communion to the faithful, would say: Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen. "May the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ keep (or protect) your soul unto life everlasting." That is what the people in England were accustomed to hearing when they received Communion. The "Black Rubric" in the Book of Common Prayer said that people were to receive communion kneeling. With Cranmer, though, he said this is not an indication of any sign of adoration. Instead of traditional formula for giving communion, it was replaced with: "Take this, in remembrance that Christ died for Thee and feed on Him in thy heart with thanksgiving". At the same time there is a stripping down of the Liturgical calendar, the removal of feasts of the Mother of God and many saint feast days. During those few years when Cranmer had free rein, begins the Protestantization of the English church. At the beginning, for the most part, it was detested by the people. King Edward dies and he is replaced by Mary Tudor (Henry and Catherine's daughter). Successive generations have come to know her as Bloody Mary. She is a faithful Catholic and wishes to restore England to Catholic faith. Her reign is short, she is sickly, she is unable to bear an heir and she dies. But, during the years of her reign, the celebration of the Mass is restored. Ultimately, Cardinal Pole, the papal legate returns to England and absolves the English nation from schism from the Pope. At the time this was done it was received very well, except by the Protestant minority. Unfortunately, Mary had become known for the execution of heretics. While this is true, and not to excuse this, these executions went on everywhere. What is perhaps the most unfair about speaking of Mary Tudor as Bloody Mary, is that far, far more Catholics were executed under Henry and under Elizabeth and under James than under Mary executed. Edmund Duffy has written a book about this, called "The Fires of Faith". Of course, the fires of faith are those that burned up the heretics… He wrote the book to show the effort during that period to return England to the Catholic faith and mostly welcomed. The desire of the Church was for the conversion of heretics.

If the heretics desired repentance, they had to do 3 things:
- Admit that the Mass was a true sacrifice
- Believe the true Presence of Christ in the Eucharist
- Pope is the visible head of the Church.

If you were willing to confess 1 and 2, they kind of let you fudge on 3. The reason I mention this is to relay how grave the concern was for the confession of the Eucharistic Presence. In fact, those who did repent and accept being brought back into communion with the Church, were given the same penance: you had to go to your parish church and during Sunday Mass in the English Church, and kneel in the chancel (the part of a church near the altar, reserved for the clergy and choir, and typically separated from the nave by steps or a screen) and at the elevation had to make a prostration. And, in addition to that, the penance for someone who had reconciled that they were to receive communion on 4 successive Sundays. The reason that why this was chosen is because, during this time, people received communion once a year, on Easter.

Then Mary died and was succeeded by Elizabeth I, who is the daughter of Henry and Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth has a long reign and immediately after Elizabeth is made Queen, the celebration of Mass in England and the prayer book is returned, there is no more communion with Rome and from that time on, the C of E becomes increasingly vulnerable to Protestant influence. Now, during the reign of Elizabeth, there is an attempt that has become really a signature characteristic of the Anglican church called the Elizabethan Settlement or the Anglican Compromise, an attempt to become the middle path between Catholic and Protestant tradition to avoid what is considered the "extremes of both". A new addition, in 1552 during Elizabeth's reign, of the Book of Common Prayer comes out. What do we have? We have both the Catholic tradition and Cranmer's Eucharistic statement to communicants.

So, during the Elizabethan time in England, it becomes illegal to celebrate the Mass, be a Catholic priest (and many are martyred). The desire of the Reformers is if the English population is denied access to the traditional Mass for a generation, they will gradually forget it and will accept the "new religion" in contrast to the "old religion". There would naturally be some very stubborn people who would hand on to it would be very few and their influence would be very small. Elizabeth is succeeded by James I and then by the Stuarts line begins. Elizabeth is the last of the Tudors. After James, comes Charles and it is during the reign of Charles that the Puritans party in England succeeds temporarily in putting an end to the Monarch. Charles is executed as the archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud is ___. All this is foundational in coming to know JHN better, because he is the heir of all this.

During the 17th Century, increasingly there is a polarization in the Church. There are those who want to remain faithful, to at least certain strands of the ancient tradition: the Creed, the sacraments and the apostolic succession.

In America as well, the Puritan Movement was very formational. Who were the Puritans? It was a movement that sought to purify the C of E from any remaining taint of "Romeish" superstitious, idolatrous practice. They were concerned with such things as kneeling during communion, too frequent celebrations of Holy Communion, the remnants of Church artifacts. They wanted the churches to basically be empty buildings. They even objected to having a cross and candles on the altar. So all of this had a considerable influence in the C of E. When the King, Charles I, was executed and Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth took the place of the Monarchy, that was a temporary triumph for Puritanism. Though that period was short-lived and the Monarchy was restored under Charles II, who was married to a Catholic and was most likely received back into the communion of Catholic Church on his deathbed, and his brother James II was a professed Catholic. Puritanism becomes out of favor during the Restoration, but its influence was very difficult to erase after the so-called Glorious Revolution and at that time it became no longer possible for a Catholic to become a Monarch. The Hanoverians, originally from Germany, beginning with George I, William of Orange comes into England and his successors. Then we can say that the English Church has become decidedly Protestant and all compromises eventually unravel.

However, in the 18th Century, the century before JHN's birth, there was a period of stagnation in the English Church. This period was characterized by a kind of tension between two parties that were referred to as either "high and dry" or "Latitudinarians". The "high and dry" group wished to keep the English church as it had been - loyalty to the Crown. There became an increased distance between the established C of E and the poorer people. The Latitudinarians regarded doctrinal elements as irrelevant. This is the beginning of modern relativism.

The C of E becomes more associated with the Tory party through the high and dry --high meaning the Tory Anglican, which would defend most vigorously all the usages of the C of E. In the 18th Century it was presumed, according to the Book of Common Prayer, that Holy Communion would be celebrated every Sunday, and feast days. In practice, it was celebrated very few times.

When JHN was ordained to the Anglican priesthood, he said the Church has become everything. When his brother Frank was ordained, he said the Church is nothing.

Beginning of 19th Century, JHN is born. Two anecdotes:
- Description of Easter Sunday service at St. Paul's Cathedral. Morning prayer with readings and sermon. No decoration (remnants of Popery to have flowers, etc.). Clergy wore academic gowns. It was a rainy day and the clergy used the altar for their umbrellas. The altar had no meaning. After the dismissal, the communion service took place and "6 people remained". " Altars were built into the wall during Queen Mary. Services were not done at the altar. They did not face the altar, and they could not go behind the altar. So, he would stand on the right side and that was to show that there is nothing mystical happening. Everything must be seen at all times, or it smacks of the superstition of Popery. It was called the celebration at the "North Apse". All the days of JHN's days as an Anglican had to be celebrated that way.

JHN's companion, Edward Pusey, began the movement to celebrate facing East. Standing at the side of the altar had never been ordered but once started was accepted as the norm. (Father made the parallel to the Roman church in the 1960's, when no decree had ever been made for the priest to face the people). It happened with Liturgy Committees in each Diocese who decided that it was ordered that the priest face the people, but it is not written anywhere that this is so.

JHN was born in 1801. His grandfather was a farmer who had 3 acres of land when he died in Cambridge which he left to his oldest son and ½ crown apiece to his other sons. His father went to London and became a successful banker and their fortune rose. During the Napoleonic War, the fortunes of the bank failed. JHN's father had to move again and this time tried his hand, at age 50, at being a brewer. He was largely unsuccessful and died at 59. Henry IV, in France, had originally given some tolerance to the French Protestants, the Huguenots (French Calvinists). He was a Protestant himself, but converted to Catholicism and as a sign he was now a loyal Catholic he revoked the Edict of Nantes and threw all the Calvinists out of France. They didn't all go, but they were supposed to :. Many of them went to England. Among those that did would be JHN's mother. So, his parentage was the English side of his father and the French Huguenots of his mother. His parents were ordinary Anglicans. JHN described the C of E of his childhood as a "bibleism", meaning that what mattered was a reading of the bible. In pious homes, children and their parents read the bible - the focus of everything. My kind and pious parents not only taught me but trained me, that I should not only know my duty but do it.

The one thing to avoid was "enthusiasm". John Wesley preached in the same pulpit that JHN would preach in at St. Mary's Church in Oxford. When Wesley preached he was kicked out of the pulpit because his sermon was "enthusiastic". When he was called on the carpet by his bishop, he was told that his "pretending to the extraordinary revelation and the gifts of the Holy Ghost is a most horrid thing"! NO ENTHUSIASM!

One of the things Pope JP I criticized about Padre Pio was the way people reacted to him. "They run after him like he is some sort of new Messiah, and what they need are the Scriptures, the sacraments and the catechism. - not Padre Pio". That is the kind Catholic version of what Wesley's bishop said. It is fearful of the influence of too much uncontrolled emotion. Too much imagination.

JHN's father stated that he was "not a religious man". In marrying JHN's mother, he had married above his class always tried to support her and the family at a level that she was used to. He had a problem with the Bible. He thought the bible sounded as if God was vengeful. "Vengeance is mine I will repay…" The bible in those days was not read in context but each verse was its own field unit. Perhaps if he had experienced the bible in a more balanced and traditional way he would not have such problems.

As JHN became more formed by the evangelical movement in his youth and "accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior", that made him a member or the "elect". By making this personal act of faith you have a guarantee of salvation. This is a classic Calvinist expression of faith. This caused very harsh words from his father. "It is a disease of the mind". There was a warm relationship between father and son, though, and every provision for JHN's education was made - to the best of their ability for financing. JHN started at Trinity College and his father was very proud.

(end of Margaret's notes for the second class)


Fr. David 3rd class on John Henry Newman (Thursday October 7, 2010)

(Disclaimer: If you can, please come to class! My notes are a poor substitute for Fr. David's teaching. He is very eloquent and enlightening and quite fascinating. And my notes do no contain all what was said, I'm lucky if I can catch ¾ of what he said. Once in a while, I miss little bits here and there, because I started pondering something in my head or because I got distracted…. But if my notes can be useful to some students, I'll gladly post them).


Today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, of the battle of Lepanto. Fr. David speaks about the Rosary devotion in the West and the difference with the East, where it is not as known/used.

This is a math class room and there is lots of formulas written on the board and Fr. David said he left them there to remind us that John Henry Newman's degree was in math, never in theology.

Then Fr David speaks about the university of Oxford, with 20 colleges, independent, from the early Middle Ages. In John Henry Newman time, there were not coed… Each one had a chapel and the daily services were held. Some are famous for their choirs. When he was there recently (for the Beatification), he went to the Christchurch College, he went to an evening service there. There is also St Mary's church, the University church. The Rector was always appointed by Oriel's college (and that's where John Henry Newman was). He later was appointed Provost of St. Mary's church.

Fr David's goal this evening is to look at the first sermon in St Mary's church: "Holiness necessary for future blessedness".

But first Fr David reads from Newman's diary at 15 years old re: the "power of love", of God's love, who held him "captive". He asked what does it sound like? And a student says: Augustine. Exactly! It sounds very much like "St Augustine writings". Thanksgiving and praise and utter dependence on God's grace. It is not a "dour" spirituality. But there is always "Without that, where would I go? I would go to hell!".

But Newman had not read Augustine yet, he will read the Fathers of the Church later, once he gets into Oxford. He was first an evangelical and a Calvinist. Later, he "shed" his Calvinist tendencies. Because, without the grace of God, the only possibility is for things to get darker and darker. There is no "presumption of salvation". Fr. David speaks about the contrast between Augustine and the Greek Fathers. All thru Newman, this contrast will be over and over again emphasized. At Oxford, he realized that "faith is not a feeling" and that will provoke a crises. Because originally, he was presented "faith" in Christ as a "feeling".

"What must I do to be saved"? For the evangelicals, it is answered in a particular way. And it is very much as the hymn "Amazing Grace": I was lost and now I'm found. The conversion is genuine. What happened is that he (Newman) was under the influence of someone who presented a conversion as a sign of the elect and as a feeling. Faith is not an acceptance of a revealed doctrine, it's not about teachings … but it is an affection, an appetite.

For a few years, he "relied" on that. Perseverance of the saints, eternal security, once saved, always saved, as the evangelicals or Calvinist say. Don't misinterpret them: they understand that there is the necessity to pursue a Godly life. But in this way of understanding faith: God did it all, a long, long time ago. That's why there is a resistance to the sacraments.

Fr. David mentions something to illustrate this: in Toronto, there was as split between 2 groups (and they shared a church), the chapter of the High Church practiced many things of the Catholic tradition, the reservation of the Eucharist in the Tabernacle and the Eucharist formula was engraved, in Latin, on the altar. In the Evangelical chapter, there was no reservation of the Eucharist and on the "table" (it is not an altar anymore…) they had carved: "He is risen, he is not here". Fr David and many students laugh. (By the way, this verse is in scriptures) but what a way to use it...

In this first stage, because of God's mercy, Newman accepted the doctrine of eternal salvation for the elects. The evidence (of faith) is (for them, for the Evangelicals) that they have had this emotion, this feeling, this "appetite" and that they have accepted what God has done for them.

One student says that the evangelicals have lots of experience to bring young people to the edge of this experience and then let God do the rest. And Newman went thru that. For instance, Fr David says that one of the way to do it is to make very real the possibility of damnation. And simultaneously with that, to offer an intense encounter with "For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son…." So with the evil, there is the grace of God who paid the debt I could not pay. The atonement presented in terms of satisfaction. The student says: in the university, teenagers see the world very much in black and white and it is pleasing to them (to be offered this interpretation of salvation).

Fr David remarks that the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius have this theme (of our fallen condition and then redemption): same thing. An horrifying encounter with evil from which one is rescued. Being "saved" does mean something. The great vacuum is that we say "for our salvation, he came down from heaven" we forget that the essential is to be rescued from drowning. What God has done thru the Incarnation and Redemption is the salvation of the human race, which was lost. This awakening that happens, we should accept it as he (Newman) accepted it. Some of the conclusions that were drawn from it, that's another story.

Newman is 15 yrs old when he experienced his "first conversion". From Aug 1 to Dec 21, 1815, he made a promise that for the rest of his life, he would do special acts of charity during those months. Two things happen: the first is that he made a firm determination to avoid any kind of gathering of entertainments. It is not so surprising. If you look at the life of the saints, many pious children made that kind of decision. He is one of them. Why is it done? Fr David says that it is a disservice, in our age, to emphasize "that the saint was just like everyone else". It is the opposite of extreme hagiography. Where is the truth?

Among the young, when there is an early and deep experience of the presence of God, everything else is seen to be in competition. Not only among the young, many of the saints experience the same. St John of the Cross who loved the beauty of nature, said that, unless in every case, these things become transparent, the can so easily become an end in themselves. The pleasure they provide can become their own little idol. The gatherings are, even if not sinful, they are worldly, they are for their own sake.

The second thing he did, if he had been a Catholic, would not have been so exceptional, but in his circles it was, he made a life long decision to be celibate. It would not have been encouraged in his circles. This came from his feelings to be isolated from the world. He had a great capacity for friendship and intimacy. Fr David says that, now, for some for whom intimacy means only one thing, they have accused him of things that would have been unimaginable in Newman days. In his later period he got to know the Fathers of the Church who spoke of celibacy (as in monasticism), but at that time, in his youth, it is from his own experience of God that he developed this desire of "holy alone".

We need to go on with the next chapter when he was an undergraduate. His works was in Mathematics and Classics. He did very well. He won a scholarship. Great intellectual capacities. His parents were not wealthy and this scholarship provided relief.

In his 3rd year at Oxford, he decided to "sit" the schools, to take your degree exams. This shows another pattern in his life, he works so much that he had a breakdown (he had 3 altogether). Later on, he had another one when he had tutorials responsibilities and pastoral responsibilities he so worked himself out that he had to, for a while, not do anything. Later on in 1832, or 33, he went on the trip to Sicily and got sick and nearly died. He was prone to these physical and nervous breakdowns. At the result of the first one, he obtained a second instead of a first, and as far as an academic career, that's a catastrophe. But when he came out of the breakdown, he said that it was the grace of God, to learn more humility and more dependence on God. Remember, he is still in his late teens. And he decides to go for the fellowship, which had just opened. Which began on Holy Saturday, 5 days of written or oral examinations before the entire faculty of Oriel's college. He succeeded. It was highly competitive. On the 3rd day, the examiners were so impressed that they sent informal spies to his college. His tutor backed him. All his fellow students say he was crazy.

Fr David reads about his exam. He was so exhausted after Holy Sat he had to practically "crawl" to church. But he went on. What consoled him was that in the examination room, there was a stained glass "In quietness, you will find rest". On April 12, the Provost came to his room and told him he had been elected. All the bells rang (he said he had to pay for it!).

One student mentions that his experience of Grace was "necessary but not sufficient".

Fr David says that the Fathers of the Church, Origen, etc said Everyone has to pass from the law to grace to salvation. In no way negating this, even though I live in the dispensational grace, the only thing that has not happened is the return of the Lord in Glory. Nevertheless, it is necessary for me to pass thru all of this, being under the law, even though I am not damned and I trust that I am on the way to salvation, I must have an encounter with what it is to be lost.. in a most poignant way, everybody has to pass thru all the stages of purification, illumination and union with God. How it is worked out in everybody 's life is different.

Break time.

Now Newman is a fellow at Oriel College. His father has died. His elderly aunt has debts and he has to assume these responsibilities. He took them very seriously. His mother later came to live with him at Oxford. He showed great generosity and loving duty, with his family, with his pastoral responsibilities. To be a Fellow meant you were a man and unmarried. It came from the old monastic days. In those days (but not anymore) the Fellow and all the students had to attend all the services. The only position that could be held by a married man was the President. The Fellows were later on ordained in the church of England, they had various responsibilities as tutors. It was expected they would held their fellowship for some time and they would later marry and become a pastor in the Anglican church. Some were given pastoral responsibilities for the church around. This was a source of disputes with his Provost. The tutor was responsible for the intellectual and spiritual development of the student. People were afraid. Later on, in the 30s and 40s, he resigned his Fellowship to retire more outside of Oxford. Towards the end of this Oxford period, he was famous. But he still lived in his old undergraduate apartment.

So Newman is elected Fellow. Fr David searches for a passage in a book to read to us.

They were worried they had taken someone who "did not really fit"…. In 1823 … he is called a "troglodyte"… a rabid evangelical with tracts stuffed into his pockets, objecting to the theater. No drinking, no dancing. He played the violin and the viola. Considering drunkenness as a crime as big as murder. The "gaudy", the drinking party, the day after the Trinity day. They entrusted him to one of the Fellows, to Blakely (do I have the correct spelling?) who took him under his wings and tried to open him up. Newman responded to him. One of the good things, it is the beginning of the long process that was going to bring him to the doors to the Catholic Church.. Blakely reads to him the opening verses of St Luke…

Fr. Reads the verses. What does it mean? "they have been given to us (they would have read it in Greek, "hand it over" to us). Blakely asks him about Oral Tradition and it was the beginning of his understanding that there is more to Scriptures than just quoting them. They were men of Faith and Piety. Newman begun to immerse himself in the Fathers of the Church. He writes happy letters to his mother and sister immersing himself in the Apostolic Fathers. Later on he said: "to immerse oneself in the Fathers is to cease to be a Protestant. "

The first thing to go is Calvinism. He sees it is not compatible with the Fathers of the Church. The notion that you can make a clear distinction between the elect and the damned. He is to say, later, that he was "in error" about elects and damned. Once ordained, he is given pastoral care of the church in Oxford, the one attached to the college, St Clemens (it is not there anymore). That is when he does this revolutionary thing of being concerned with the spiritual needs of the undergraduates. He visits them, all of them, unbelievers, skeptics, he visits them all. It is, at the time, utterly not done. There is no precedent.

You see this contrast, in one hand, he has no sociability, no social grace. But on the other hand he is not avoiding people at all. Many are quite poor. He is not coaxing them into coming into the Church, many of them don't. But he provides basic medicine, teaching them about hygiene and proper diet, and tries to include basic church. He is only in his 20s. He was ordained deacon.

One student asks why he thought having lunch with the Provost was "Not keeping Sunday holy"? Fr David says that although not many did receive communion at each mass (in those days) but still that they would not "eat" beforehand.

End of class

Here is a link to: Sermon 1. Holiness Necessary for Future Blessedness
"Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Hebrews xii. 14.
{1} IN this text it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit to convey a chief truth of religion in a few words. It is this circumstance which makes it especially impressive; for the truth itself is declared in one form or other in every part of Scripture. It is told us again and again, that to make sinful creatures holy was the great end which our Lord had in view in taking upon Him our nature, and thus none but the holy will be accepted for His sake at the last day. The whole history of redemption, the covenant of mercy in all its parts and provisions, attests the necessity of holiness in order to salvation; as indeed even our natural conscience bears witness also. But in the text what is elsewhere implied in history, and enjoined by precept, is stated doctrinally, as a momentous and necessary fact, the result of some awful irreversible law in the nature of things, and the inscrutable determination of the Divine Will.

Read more here: here

I can't recommend enough The Newman Reader site:


Fr. David 4th class on John Henry Newman (Thursday October 14, 2010)

click here to hear a tape of the 4th class

If you have Windows Media Player, it will ask you if you want to Open or Save, click on Open, it will download the file to a temp folder then you will hear the tape of the class...



Fr. David 5th class on John Henry Newman (Thursday October 21, 2010)

click here to hear a tape of the 5th class

If you have Windows Media Player, it will ask you if you want to Open or Save, click on Open, it will download the file to a temp folder then you will hear the tape of the class...

Here is the beginning of my notes:

Father David says he wants to spend the first 10 minutes or so on The Apologia. He wants to read one introduction to the Apologia because it gives an assessment of the time which is is quite remarkable. It will make more clear the overall fabric of the time... Even though the Apologia is written long after Newman entered the Church, we are still in the period before this event but Fr. David says that, by next class, normally (!), we should get into the period of when he entered the Church. The subtitle of Apologia is: "The history of my religious opinions".

Another new book about Newman (who was referred to him by a scholar, a recluse, in Eureka): "The Oxford Conspirators" from Marv O'Connor. In this book, the emphasis is on Newman as a pastor. So much is written about Newman as an academic, as someone with a remarkable spiritual journey, but one does not understand him if, despite the fact that he is continually writing and preaching, one understands that he is spending more time in the care of people than anything else. This is the period from the return of his trip (1842 till 1855) to when he entered the Church. He spoke of these as the happiest years of his life. Before he went into "retirement" in the little hamlet of Livermore. He had been walking there every day for years. Until he got there, this little hamlet had not gone any pastoral care. Half of the people had gone to the dissenters and the other half did not go to church. They were poor country people and they did not go the 2 ½ miles away to Oxford, to the "city".

Fr David makes a chart on the board: a pie divided in 3 slices, the 3 basic grouping in the Church of England in the 19th century:
- The Evangelicals
- The High Church
- The "Liberals"
Then Fr David makes an outside circle - of the tension at the gates:
   - Outside the Evangelicals: the Dissenters
    - Outside the High Church: the Catholic Church.
    - Outside the Liberals: the Unitarianism, the Utilitarianism, the Indifferentism Atheist
Then Fr David makes an additional outside circle - of the enemy at the gates:
      - The enemy outside the Evangelicals: the Romantics, Emotions
      - The enemy outside the High Church: the Roman Catholic Church wedded to the Pope, legalistic…
      - The enemy outside the Liberals: the Utilitarians, Science ... listen to the tape for the rest of the class....

Newman collage

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