John Henry Newman was one of the two men I studied in my Ph.D. dissertation (Illative Sense and Tacit Knowledge: A Comparision of the Theological Implications of the Epistemologies of John Henry Newman and Michael Polanyi--cf. Personal Catholicism ). He lived from 1801 to 1890, converting from the Anglican Church in 1845 to Roman Catholicism and becoming a Cardinal in 1879.

Newman argued for many years with an agnostic scientist about the nature of belief. After decades of struggling with the material, he finally was able to express himself to his own satisfaction in An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent. In this book, Newman develops the idea of the "illative sense," which is his name for that element of reason that watches over all of our reasoning processes and helps us to come to a conclusion. If faith is a reasonable act, and if reason depends upon the illative sense to guide its operations, then the faith ultimately depends upon the illative sense.

My parents met and became engaged at the Newman Center at the University of Toronto. I had the pleasure of praying at the same center when I was in seminary at Regis College 1978-1982.

Penn Newman Catholic Center

Caltech Newman Center