As the sanctity of John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890) finally receives formal recognition by the Church, there is ever more interest in this very English of priests. Based on extensive study of Newman's letters, diaries and private journals, this highly readable biography reveals much about the man who became a Cardinal, but particularly Newman's role in the regeneration of English Catholicism. Newman's intellectual and spiritual fecundity, his radical approach to understanding doctrine and his championship of the laity was of enormous importance. It profoundly influenced the Second Vatican Council and continues in its impact on the Church today. In this book full weight is given to Newman's formative Oxford and Anglican years, of which his Catholic life and Oratorian ministry was in so many ways a fulfilment. Newman's many roles are thoroughly explored - as preacher, theologian, hymn writer, educationalist, controversialist, champion of the laity, and, above all, as priest and man of prayer. The need for a popular introduction and work of synthesis to Newman scholarship for the non-specialist was never greater than it is today. Professor Chisnall has provided just such a work. While this is not primarily a study of Newman as a thinker or writer, Chisnall has produced an admirably balanced and exhaustive biographical survey of Newman's long life and religious journey, with all its drama and vicissitudes ... The great strength of Chisnall's work is his mastery of and extensive citations from the vast corpus of Newman's extant letters. Newman himself would have fully approved of this approach, being convinced that 'a man's life lies in his letters'. Some commentators on Newman hardly let him 'speak', so anxious are they to parade their own interpretations and to make Newman 'relevant'. In happy contrast to this, Professor Chisnall's full, though judicious use of quotation from Newman's letters, allows the reader to catch something of Newman's authentic voice during the many controversies in which he was involved during his long and sometimes painful religious journey. Peter Nockles Dr Peter M. Chisnall has worked in industry and consultancy, and held academic posts in both Manchester and Dublin. He has previously published books on enterprise development, the health and social needs of the disabled, and consumer and corporate behaviour. He has made a special study of the life and writings of Newman.
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