The death has been announced of Fr Ian Ker, cuius animae propitietur Deus.
An acute obituarist recalls the description of Fr Ian as the greatest biographer of England's greatest Saint. I believe that is remarkably true. I do not think we have ever had a greater Saint than S John Henry Newman. And all the woffle we used to hear about his influence on, or relevance to, Vatican II, completely missed the point.
And the point about Newman is not that he was a brave liberal heroically witnessing to unpopular liberal truths which, only in the years after 1962, have received due recognition.
If anything, the diametrical opposite is the Truth. Saint John Henry bore witness, even when he received a 'calvinist' conversion, to the heretical nature of indifferentist liberalism; in effect, of our current Bergoglianity.
Reviewing Ker's book, Henry Chadwick wrote "[Newman] is an unsurpassed master of English prose. Deeply sensitive and subtle (some of his contemporaries thought too much so), stamped with high culture so as to give the lie to the venerable myth that unreformed Oxford was intellectually torpid, he was a formidable controversialist, as supreme a master of irony and satire as any in our literature."
I would add to that an appreciation of Newman's precision. In his treatment of the Syllabus of Errors, he beautifully demonstrates the necessity for painstaking accuracy necessary in the analysis of Magisterial documents and their status.
Is Fr Ker's book still in print? The paper-back copy on my shelves has practically fallen apart.
Its glory rests in the utterly tolerant way Ker permitted Newman to speak for himself.