Our November meeting gave us a chance to talk about how glad we are to have come to know more about Blessed John Henry Newman from our current book, and how impressed we have been with his holiness. He gave up so much to convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism–family, friends, reputation, income, occupation, and personal comfort, but he did it with joy, relying completely on God. He is, or will be when officially declared, a modern saint, one for our own time.
Moving from the subject to the book itself, one member declared that the author, Zeno, takes it very easy on members of the Catholic clergy who were distrustful of Newman and caused a great deal of trouble, particularly Cardinal Manning and Father Faber. In her opinion, Zeno tends to whitewash them, declaring that they acted in good faith and therefore were not at fault for the miseries, hardships, and misunderstandings they caused. She feels that a truer picture is given by Meriol Trevor in her classic two-volume biography of Newman. Another member, however, felt that the particular focus of Zeno’s book, Newman’s inner life, was exactly what he was looking for and gave him the insight into Newman’s character that he valued.
We adjourned for tea and the dessert brought by ‘bookgetaway’, which was a great hit, prompting seconds (and maybe some thirds), as well as a request for the recipe. Over our goodies we demonstrated to contributing members how to post to this blog, and discussed what book we would like to read for our January meeting. Our decision was Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI. We are eager to read the Pope’s insights into Scripture and into theological as well as historical studies of Jesus. Since the Pope has been working on a second volume to this work, it seems that this will be a good time for us to become familiar with this initial work.