Appeared in Winter 1989, Vol. XV, No. 4
Most people who frequent the world of the universities, or who read scholarly books and learned reviews have heard of Cardinal Newman. His influence and the fecundity of his thought have spread far beyond Christianity, and many of those who have read his work have no particular interest in his Catholicism. Some know him as a great nineteenth century controversialist, others as a theorist on educational questions; some are attracted by his style, others by his contribution to the idea of development and to his theories of belief. Then, of course, there are those for whom Newman is almost one of the Fathers of the Church, a great Catholic apologist, and a brilliant expositor and defender of the Faith.
It cannot, however, be said that St. Philip Neri is either widely known or greatly valued by many people today. The historian may know something of him, and those Catholics who retain an interest in and devotion to the Saints of the Calendar may have a dim recollection of this contemporary of St. Theresa of Avila and of the other Counter-Reformation Saints. Yet the Counter-Reformation is hardly in great vogue today, and neither for that matter is the cult of the Saints. What point is there, then, in trying to understand Newman, about whom so much is known, by comparing him to someone of whom so much has been forgotten?
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