The Personalist Project

Accessed on September 26, 2023 - 6:22:54

Newman’s influence

Katie van Schaijik, Oct 28, 2010

Reading a great Crosby article on Newman and personal influence (I wish there were a link!)—on his deep conviction that a person’s living by a given value or principle, embodying it in his own way of being, is the most effective way to advance in the world—much more effective than argument. The point is not unlike St. Francis’ famous saying: “Preach the gospel always; when necessary, use words.”

Newman himself exercised powerfully the personal influence of which he speaks. At his death in 1890 the Times of London said, speaking in the vein in which so many Protestants spoke as they took leave of Newman, ‘Of one thing we may be sure, that the memory of his pure and noble life, untouched by worldliness, unsoured by any trace of fanaticism, will endure, and that whether Rome canonizes him or not he will be canonized in the thoughts of pious people of many creeds in England.” The writer of these lines is remembering not Newman’s arguments, not his accomplishments, not the institutions he founded, but rather the purity of his personality…