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June 03 , 2011

Apologia Pro Vitâ Sua [Christmas Summary Classics]


Christmas Summary Classics
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Apologia Pro Vitâ Sua
That most remarkable ecclesiastic of the nineteenth century, John Henry Newman, born in London on February 21, 1801, was of Dutch extraction, but the name itself, at one time spelt "Newmann," suggests Hebrew origin. His mother came of a Huguenot family, long established in England as engravers and paper manufacturers. His early education he obtained at a school at Ealing, where he distinguished himself by diligence and good conduct, as also by a certain aloofness and shyness. The only important incident Newman connects with this period is his "conversion," an incident more certain to him "than that he had hands and feet." In 1820 he graduated at Trinity College, Oxford. The various phases of his religious career are amply set forth in his famous "Apologia pro Vitâ Sua" ("Apology for His Life"), afterwards called "A History of my Religious Opinions." The work was called out by an attack, in January, 1864, by Charles Kingsley, in a review of Froude's "History of England." Kingsley wrote: "Truth, for its own sake, had never been a virtue with the Roman clergy. Father Newman informs us that it need not, and, on the whole, ought not to be." Challenged to withdraw or substantiate this charge, Kingsley did neither, whereupon Newman, after much correspondence, wrote his "Apologia," which was published in bi-monthly parts. Newman died on August 11, 1890.

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