John Henry Cardinal Newman

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If you want to be happy for a year, plant a garden; If you want to be happy for life, plant a tree.
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John Henry Cardinal Newman

The Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman (February 21, 1801 – August 11, 1890) was an English convert to Catholicism, later made a cardinal.


  • Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
    Lead Thou me on!
    The night is dark, and I am far from home—
    Lead Thou me on!
    Keep Thou my feet: I do not ask to see
    The distant scene,—one step enough for me.
  • And with the morn those angel faces smile
    Which I have loved long since and lost awhile.
  • May He support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done! Then in His mercy may He give us safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last!
  • Firmly I believe and truly God is Three, and God is One;
    And I next acknowledge duly Manhood taken by the Son.
  • So living Nature, not dull Art,
    Shall plan my ways and rule my heart.
  • Ex umbris et imaginibus in vertitatem!
    • Translation: From shadows and symbols into the truth!
    • His own epitaph at Edgbaston
  • Flagrant evils cure themselves by being flagrant.

Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England (1851)

  • After he had gone over the mansion, his entertainer asked him what he thought of the splendours it contained; and he in reply did full justice to the riches of its owner and the skill of its decorators, but he added, "Lions would have fared better, had lions been the artists."
    • Lecture I, Section 1
  • Nothing would be done at all, if a man waited till he could do it so well, that no one could find fault with it.
    • Lecture IX

The Idea of a University (1873)

  • There is a knowledge which is desirable, though nothing come of it, as being of itself a treasure, and a sufficient remuneration of years of labor.
    • Discourse V, pt. 6
  • Knowledge is one thing, virtue is another.
    • Discourse V, pt. 9
  • The world is content with setting right the surface of things.
    • Discourse VIII, pt. 8
  • A great memory does not make a philosopher, any more than a dictionary can be called grammar.
    • Discourse VIII, pt. 10

An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (1878)

  • To be deep in history is to cease to be protestant.
    • Introduction, Part 5


  • Where good and ill together blent,
    Wage an undying strife.
    • A Martyr Convert.
  • There is in stillness oft a magic power
    To calm the breast when struggling passions lower,
    Touched by its influence, in the soul arise
    Diviner feelings, kindred with the skies.
    • Solitude.


  • Ability hits the mark where presumption overshoots and diffidence falls short.
  • To live is to change, and to perfect life is to have changed often.

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