The Cardinal Newman Society and I: The Adventure Begins

Joseph Pearce

Having worked in Catholic education at the college level for the past sixteen years, I have long admired the work of The Cardinal Newman Society. During those years I have witnessed at first hand the powerful work that the Society has done to protect and preserve authentic Catholic education and its equally important mission to restore the liberal arts tradition to its rightful place at the core of Catholic culture. I am, therefore, delighted and honoured to be a part of this veritable powerhouse of orthodoxy.

At Patrick Reilly’s invitation, I have accepted the position of Senior Fellow and have taken on the role of Journal Editor. We are still finalizing exactly what the full range of my responsibilities will be, but they will include writing regular articles and soliciting articles from other writers to grace the Society’s website.

Perhaps it would be good were I to introduce myself.

As a writer I have authored biographies of Shakespeare, Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Oscar Wilde, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, as well as works of literary criticism. I have served as editor of the St. Austin Review since its launch in 2001 and am the series editor of the Ignatius Critical Editions and Executive Director of Catholic Courses. I am Senior Editor with the Augustine Institute and have written and hosted two thirteen-part TV series on Shakespeare for EWTN, as well as writing and hosting documentaries on EWTN on the Catholicism of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

As an educator I have been honoured to teach at several Newman Guide colleges. Having arrived in the United States from my native England in September 2001 (four days before 9/11) to teach at the newly-founded Ave Maria College in Michigan, I moved to Florida in 2004 to teach at Ave Maria University, where I remained until 2012. I then taught at Thomas More College in New Hampshire and Aquinas College in Tennessee before accepting my current position as Tolkien and Lewis Chair in Literary Studies at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Connecticut. During this time, as a professor of literature, I have taught the full spectrum of literature, from classical epic to twentieth century literature. Although most of my teaching has been at the undergraduate level, I also teach high school level classes for Homeschool Connections and have taught a graduate level class for the Institute for Pastoral Theology. I hope, therefore, that I have the experience necessary to serve as a writer and editor for The Cardinal Newman Society.

As for the vision for the new-look Newman Society website and journal, Patrick Reilly and I have many exciting plans for the future. Our hope is to assemble a gifted team of writers who will contribute regular articles on the mission, curricula, methods, and value of faithful Catholic education at all levels. We would also like to send a general invitation to all prospective writers, soliciting articles of between 600 and 1,200 words in length which should be sent to me at jpearce@cardinalnewmansociety.org. Please do consider being a part of this exciting new initiative, helping us safeguard the true essence of Catholic education and joining us as in the fight to extend its presence throughout our beleaguered and besieged culture.

As the culture of death seeks a total eclipse of the light of Christ from the world of education, it is up to all of us to keep the flame of goodness, truth, and beauty ablaze. I am delighted that Patrick Reilly has invited me to join The Cardinal Newman Society in this exciting and life-affirming crusade. Please join us in this noble struggle to dispel the doom-laden gloom of secular fundamentalism with the unquenchable torch of faith and reason.

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