Patterson's purpose in this book is to explain and examine Cardinal Newman's contribution to the subject of the role of the laity in the Church -- a point on which the Cardinal was considerably ahead of his time. Newman's position is evident in the title of the seminal essay in which he expressed his thoughts on the question (to the consternation of his contemporaries): ""On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine."" Simply put, Newman believed that the laity should be consulted, and the author explains at length the genesis and background of that belief; its meaning and import; its dogmatic, social, and devotional applications: and its significance for the Church today. The subject, obviously, is a ""special"" one, of interest -despite the ""laity slant"" -- almost solely to Newmanologists. and the author's style and presentation are appropriately dull. Granted those limitations, it remains to be said that Patterson's research has been careful and thorough and his explication is critical and objective. The book is, in a word, an uninspired, but quite solid, contribution.