John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890) was perhaps the most prominent English theologian of the nineteenth century. Born in London, he became an Anglican priest and was named Vicar of St. Mary's at Oxford, where he exercised a profound spiritual influence on his students and parishioners. He became leader of the Oxford Movement of spiritual renewal from 1833 to 1841.

While at his peak at Oxford, his writings began to reflect his Catholic upbringing, and he resigned. Received back into the Catholic Church in 1845, he became a priest in 1847. He worked tirelessly for the poor, and did much to restore the dignity of Catholics in England. His religious autobiography is detailed in Apologia Pro Vita Sua, published in 1864. England applauded when Pope Leo XIII named him Cardinal in 1879.

Among his writings are his 1865 poem The Dream of Gerontius, from which comes the following famous vignette, "Firmly I believe and truly."

Firmly I Believe and Truly

Firmly I believe and truly
God is Three, and God is One;
And I next acknowledge duly
Manhood taken by the Son.
And I trust and hope most fully
In that Manhood crucified;
And each thought and deed unruly
Do to death, as He has died.
Simply to His grace and wholly
Light and life and strength belong,
And I love, supremely, solely,
Him the holy, Him the strong.
And I hold in veneration,
For the love of Him alone,
Holy Church, as His creation,
And her teachings, as His own.
And I take with joy whatever
Now besets me, pain or fear,
And with a strong will I sever
All the ties which bind me here.
Adoration aye be given,
With and through the angelic host,
To the God of earth and heaven,
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

John Henry Cardinal Newman