No voice from beyond the grave speaks to us powerfully as Newman does; because there is no one who speaks more directly to the heart, as there is no one who speaks more directly from the heart.”
– Louis Bouyer
John Henry Newman, recently Beatified by Pope Benedict XVI, was a famous Anglican convert to the Catholic Church, an Oratorian priest, a brilliant author of novels, poems and acclaimed spiritual works, and a renowned preacher. Newman had a great impact on the intellectual and spiritual journey of the author, Fr. Louis Bouyer, who became a famous theologian and spiritual writer. His exchange with the thought of Newman over the years is a model of theological dialogue as Bouyer understood it: the passionate engagement with and free assimilation of all that can illuminate Catholic truth.
Bouyer does not see in Newman the eminent Victorian, but a “potential contemporary”; not the subtle philosopher, but a Christian of integrity who sought all his life to follow Christ and did so with an edifying fidelity.
Bouyer studied important unpublished documents by Newman at the Birmingham oratory and addressed the delicate question of Newman’s sensitive temperament, the key to entering the world of this great theologian. For Bouyer, one of the principle elements of the spiritual universe of Newman is a genuine mysticism of Christ: “Irreplaceable mirror outside of which God’s radiance eludes fallen man and only appears as shadow.”
Bouyer shows that as St. Augustine was the great apostle to the early Church, and St. Thomas Aquinas was to the Middle Ages, so is Newman that for modern times. A work of major significance for anyone who wants to approach the towering figure of John Henry Newman.