The Catholic Heart of St. John Henry Newman

In this course, Robert Royal examines some of Newman’s own writings on crucial questions such as Conscience, Consulting the Faithful, the Development of Doctrine, and much more.

This course includes:

  • Six 1-hour video lectures
  • Extra reading material related to the course (optional)
  • Unlimited access to the course

St. John Henry Newman has been cited lately by figures inside and outside the Church to support positions that he would clearly have rejected.

The Church has been in a state of no little confusion in recent years, leaving the impression for many Catholics that almost every teaching that is rejected by the secular world is now up for discussion. Even worse, the great St. John Henry Newman—perhaps the greatest theologian ever to have written in the English language—is being cited, often inaccurately, in support of  positions he would have summarily rejected. And at the same time, the bishops of England and America have been petitioning the Holy See to name Newman a Doctor of the Church. This is a dangerous time for the Church and responding to the perils we face is not helped by using one of the Church’s greatest modern minds to advance modernist agendas.

Newman’s work is vast and could easily provide material for multiple, lengthy courses. But in this course, we will focus on six main areas of Newman’s thought that are particularly relevant in our time. We will read medium sized selections from his works as well as some commentaries by distinguished Newman scholars in order to form a more accurate idea of the contributions this great theologian and saint can offer our time.

The six sessions will address:

I.  An Apology for His Life
II.  Church of the Fathers
III.  The Development of Doctrine
IV.  Conscience
V.  On Consulting the Laity
VI.  Heart Speaks to Heart

Newman is a beautiful and moving writer and does not require you to master a technical vocabulary to appreciate what he’s saying. At the same time, he ranges over the whole of the Church’s history and leads by accessible arguments to great depths of understanding. He saw with great clarity many of the currents that have troubled our days, and he offers some answers to our questions that all of us need to know if we wish to remain faithful—and sane—in the swiftly changing world in which we live.

Course books: Newman’s works are vast and rich. No one book or anthology can adequately cover even the six specific questions that we will cover in this course. We will provide PDFs of some key texts to enrolled students, but students are also encouraged to either purchase the affordable Kindle editions of the two optional books below OR access them at The Newman Reader in digital format for free.

  • Newman: His Life and Legacy, Fr. Ian Ker (2017) – Kindle edition available on Amazon
  • The Complete Works of John Henry Newman, John Henry Newman (2020) – Kindle edition available on Amazon

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Robert Royal


Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. Among his many books are The God That Did Not Fail,  Columbus and the Crisis of the West,  and A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century.