Lead Kindly Light


The Life of John Henry Cardinal Newman, by Michael Davies


“The Mass must not be said…in any language but
that in which it has come down to us from the
early hierarchs of the Western Church.”

So said the venerable Cardinal Newman—that, and much else that would be indigestible to modern Catholic ears. The late Michael Davies captures his countryman in the most accessible biography ever written about Newman. Its twin themes:

Newman led an exemplary life and left an enormous body of evidence (powerful words, but deeds as well) supporting his canonization
Newman, though a man of broad knowledge and kindly disposition, liberally educated and steeped in Scripture, was anything but a liberal.

Davies  has marshaled a dazzling array of choice Newman quotes…30 rare photos & illustrations…convincing testimony from sometimesobscure sources…to debunk the myth of Newman’s liberalism. In the process, he introduces a new generation of Catholics who know little about their Faith and Church history to a giant— perhaps the giant—of the English-speaking Catholic world.

Facts are stubborn things. Meet the real John Henry Newman

  • Newman defends papal infallibility, and Cardinal Cullen, who wrote the Vatican I statement on the matter, defends Newman
  • Pope St. Pius X weighs in on Newman’s behalf
  • Newman’s dramatic conversion to Catholicism—farthest thing from an emotional “experience,” rooted instead where all conversions must be, in the intellect and the will
  • His early life and productive young career
  • How he began to doubt the central tenets of Protestantism…and the Anglican variation thereof
  • Exactly how he resolved them in favor of Rome
  • His founding of the Oratorians
  • His difficulties with leading Catholic churchmen of his time, some of whom manifested jealousy
  • His famous libel suit
  • How he handled friendships and the loss of them, as age began to intrude
  • Where liberals of today misunderstand him, and twist Newman’s clear thought, often bracing and even Reactionary
  • How liberal does this sound?

Among the scores of Newman quotes Mr. Davies produces in Lead Kindly Light:

“Protestants are always on the lookout for some loophole or evasion in a Catholic’s statement of fact….Protestantism is the dreariest of possible religions….”

“Every sin has a history: it is not an accident; it is the fruit of former sins in thought or in deed; it is the token of a habit deeply seated and widely spread; it is the aggravation of a virulent disease…”

“We may have sinned less than our next door neighbor, yet that neighbor may be reserved for repentance and may reign with Christ, while we may be punished with the evil spirit.”