John Henry Newman was converted to
Christianity at age 15 and developed views close to
Calvinism in his early life. He was ordained an Anglican
priest after attending Oxford, and became the leader of
the Oxford Movement, a push to return to Catholic roots in Anglicism.
After much debate, he resigned from the Church of England and later
converted to Catholicism, where he was appointed Cardinal. This
interesting turn of events and roller-coaster of emotion is related in
Newman's autobiography, Apologia Pro Vita Sua ("a defense of
life"). He was prompted to write the book after what he felt to be
unfair accusations were levied against him. It is, indeed, a spiritual
autobiography, detailing Newman's religious opinions over the course of
his life. The Cardinal's story is regarded on the same level as St.
Augustine's Confessions, and almost any reader will develop
Newman's zealous apologetics followed by periods of confusion. Coupled
with his eloquent prose and well-formed logic, Newman's testimony is an
inspiring read that, in the words of one reviewer, "explains all,
apologizes for nothing."