Faith / Newman’s Conversion

The Significance of Newman’s Conversion

Ian Ker

"The conversion of the Venerable John Henry Newman 150 years ago had a remarkable prophetic significance which is only becoming clear in our time."

Newman's reception into the Roman Catholic Church on 9 October 1845 was received at the time in three different ways. For many Tractarians, it was a devastating blow that seemed to spell the end of the attempt to assert or restore the Catholic character of the Church of England. To the average Protestant Englishman it seemed a confirmation that Tractarianism was nothing but a Romanizing movement as had all along been suspected, and that Newman was, if not in the pay of Rome, at least an unwitting pawn in the hands of the pope, ever anxious to subvert the Protestant independence of the English people. To Nicholas Wiseman, who was to be the first Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster in the restored hierarchy, it appeared to be the beginning of the return to the Catholic faith.

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