What are Newman Centers

Newman Centers

Statue of Venerable Cardinal John Henry Newman by Donny MacManus

Young John Henry Newman  (painting at Keble College, Oxford)

Reblogged from John Henry Newman with permission from Fr. Velez

Newman spent much of his life working in educational endeavors, first as a tutor and a mentor at Oriel College, Oxford University, and later as founder and rector of the Catholic University of Ireland, now University College Ireland. He also founded the Oratory School for boys at Birmingham.

His ideas in education are contained in the Idea of a University which is a rich source of inspiration for many. In this work Newman vindicated the role of theology as an indispensable part of university education. He explained the complementary relationship between faith and reason, theology and science. In this book he also articulated the importance of the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. And at the same time he invited future medical doctors to use their knowledge and skill as a “link” between religion and science.

During his life time some Oxford students started a Catholic Club which in 1888 they renamed the Oxford University Newman Society, later commonly referred to as “The Newman.” This club and Newman’s writing inspired the foundation of similar clubs, known as Newman Centers, in other English speaking countries. The first Newman Center in the United States was established in 1893 at the University of Pennsylvania.

Newman Centers are centers for Catholic life and thought at non-Catholic universities. The study of Newman’s life and writings at these centers can contribute to the needed evangelization of culture and the world of science and technology. Newman was aware of the vital role that educated laymen and university students have in shaping the culture and laws of society. Today, Newman not only inspires Newman Centers but he challenges them to be an effective leaven for the Gospel in the university world and society at large.

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