Two Cardinals: John Henry Newman, Henry Edward Manning and the Victorian Catholic Church
September 9, 2010
I want to assure you, first of all, that I appreciate the irony of my position. I am speaking to you as we gather to mark the up-coming beatification by Pope Benedict XVI of John Henry Newman. My only real claim to do so is a certain familiarity with Newman's contemporary and nemesis, the other great Victorian convert cardinal, Henry Edward Manning, who was Archbishop of Westminster and head of the English Roman Catholic Church from 1865-1892.
I like to think that John Henry would appreciate the irony; I'm not so sure about Henry Edward. Irony was not his metier.
The irony of my position is more, even, than you would be likely to know. If there was any individual or group whom Manning disliked as much if not more than Newman, it was the religious order to which I have the honor of belonging. To have his side of the conflict with Newman presented by a Jesuit is an irony that even old Manning might have appreciated.
I also appreciate the delicacy of my position. Most of you, I imagine, are fairly well acquainted with Newman's life: at least I'll be presuming you are in what follows. And I suppose that you have conceived an admiration for him. Well, I will be telling you about the perception of Newman of one who did not admire him; who believed that Newman's influence on English Catholicism was almost wholly detrimental.
Now there was a time in the Church's history when we would have tried to paper over the disagreement between two great contemporary Churchmen. We would have talked about personality differences, or differences in perspective: anything to avoid the conclusion that two important church leaders had differed over substantive issues. There were, indeed, significant differences between the personalities of Newman and Manning that can explain, as we shall see, some of the conflict between them. And the disparity in the offices they occupied within the Church in England, one a theologian and arguably the greatest writer of English prose in the nineteenth century, the other an activist archbishop and a political actor of consummate skill, can account, again, for some of their different perceptions of the Church's needs and wants. But I shall presume that we are now grownup enough as Catholics to face the possibility of real, substantive disagreement between church leaders about authority in the Church and the mission of the Church in the world. God knows, we should be used enough to such disagreement by now!
John Henry Newman is shortly to be beatified, declared a "blessed," and will probably be declared a saint. The same is unlikely to happen to Henry Edward Manning. It would be a mistake, however, to allow the beauty and attractiveness of Newman's personality or the uncongeniality of Manning's, to stand in the way of an effort to understand and evaluate their disagreements over the direction of the Church in their day. Saints are not always the best leaders, and powerful leaders who manifest little tolerance for opposition are not always wrong. Similarly, Newman is popularly thought to have been vindicated by the Second Vatican Council, whose father he is often acclaimed to be. Manning's paternity with regard to Vatican I - where he earned from his enemies the sobriquet "il diablo del concilio" - earns him little admiration today. And yet, the concerns and debates in the Church of our day are not, perhaps, the best initial guides to understanding what was at issue between Newman and Manning a hundred and forty years ago.
There is an influential book in the field of historiography called "The Past is a Foreign Country," and as a sometime history professor, I'm beginning to think the past becomes alien after only about a generation. After a hundred and forty years since Vatican I, we need to make a conscious effort to recapture a world very different from our own. The controversies between Manning and Newman were not the same ones we are engaged in now. But it is possible that the effort to comprehend their disagreement will help us understand how we got to where we are as Catholics today.
I mentioned that it is possible to account for some, at least, of the difference between Manning and Newman on the basis of conflict of personality. Newman was not the only eminent Victorian who started out as a friend of Manning's, but with whom the archbishop clashed later in life. William Gladstone, the great nineteenth century prime minister, and Manning had been intimates as undergraduates at Oxford and friends for years after that, but broke off contact twice: once over Manning's conversion to Catholicism, once over Gladstone's attack on the Vatican Council. Reflecting later in his life on the inevitability of these clashes, Manning commented, "Mr. Gladstone is a substantive, and likes to be attended by adjectives. And I am not exactly an adjective." (Quoted in Gray, p. 249)
This was a rare moment of self-knowledge on Manning's part, and without committing myself on Newman as a substantive, it was certainly the case that Henry Edward Manning was no adjective. Perhaps the most useful incident in illustrating the way in which personalities contributed to misunderstanding and, indeed, antagonism between Newman and Manning is the notorious affair of Newman's cardinalate in 1878, and the perception that Manning had sought to deny him this honor. It is certainly not my intention, nor my role as a historian, to defend or condemn Manning's conduct in this affair except, perhaps, to state my opinion that Manning was not guilty of deliberately trying to block the honor. Had he wished to do this, he could have achieved his purpose far more effectively and with far less embarrassment to himself than the clumsy way he handled the affair. He was, after all, the master of the well placed word in the appropriate curial ear in Rome.
Manning, who despite his talent for intrigue, was no master of subtlety when it came to human relations, had several times been burnt in his dealings with Newman precisely when he had sought to honor him. There was, for example, Manning's attempt in 1865, just after he himself had been named Archbishop of Westminster, to have Newman made a bishop, a move he undertook at the urging of one who ought to have known Newman's mind, his own bishop, W.B. Ullathorne, bishop of Birmingham. Manning made this attempt for no sinister motive that I have been able to discover. Yet Newman took the offer as an attempt to kick him upstairs and so muzzle him, and, in a rather ungracious letter to Manning on the occasion of an invitation to the latter's consecration, laid down as the condition of his attendance that the offer should not be renewed.
This was only one of a number of instances in which Manning had extended invitations to Newman that he thought would be gratifying to him only to be rebuffed in terms that gave Manning to understand that in so doing he had misread Newman's probable reaction and been heedless of his sensibilities. There is no question that Newman distrusted Manning's motives towards him. On the occasion of an effort by Manning in 1867 to heal the rift between them that had arisen over whether or not Newman would be permitted to establish a house of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, the religious congregation to which Newman belonged, at Oxford in order to minister to Catholic undergraduates there, Newman let him know as much: "You must kindly bear with me," Newman wrote, "although I seem rude to you, while I give you the real interpretation of (my feeling toward you). I say frankly, then, and as a duty to friendship, that it is a distressing mistrust, which now for four years past I have been unable to dismiss from my mind, and which is but my own share of a general feeling (though men are slow to express it, especially to your immediate friends) that you are difficult to understand. I wish I could get myself to believe that the fault was my own, and that your words, your bearing and your implications, ought, though they have not served, to prepare me for your acts. (Newman, quoted in Gray, p. 217)
This was plain speaking indeed from Fr. Newman to the Archbishop of Westminster, nor did anything in the subsequent history of their relationship modify neither Newman's distrust, nor Manning's awareness that he was mistrusted. It is against this background that we return to Manning's role in the affair of the cardinalate. Manning had offered no resistance at all to the proposal by a group of Catholic noblemen, led by the Duke of Norfolk, to suggest to the new pope, Leo XIII, that Newman be honored with a red hat. In fact, Manning drafted the letter to the papal Secretary of State, and conveyed to Ullathorne the news of the pope's approval. The response Manning received to this was a letter from Newman to Ullathorne in which Newman expressed his gratitude for the pope's gesture, which he said he considered "altogether above me"; and an entreaty that the pope would consider the diffidence of his mind, his health, his age, the retired course of his life, his ignorance of foreign languages and his lack of experience in business, "to let me die where I have so long lived." "Since I know now and henceforth that his Holiness thinks kindly of me," Newman concluded, "what more can I desire?" In this letter there is no indication of Newman's wish to accept the honor, and, indeed, the tenor is such that an honest person might fairly conclude that Newman wished not to be made to accept it.
Accompanying Newman's letter was a letter to Manning from Ullathorne, expressing Ullathorne's belief that Newman would, indeed, accept the cardinalate if exempted from the requirement that cardinals who were not diocesan bishops reside in Rome. At this point, Manning, who was himself about to set out for Rome, sent the letter of Newman on ahead to Rome and carried Ullathorne's letter along with him. At the same time, there was what we would call a "press leak," either from Manning himself or from someone in his entourage, that Newman had declined the honor, which, indeed, Manning believed he had.
The publication of this leak set wheels in motion, with Newman writing to Norfolk, Norfolk to Manning, and Ullathorne to the Secretary of State, all stating that Newman would accept the honor. As soon as Manning arrived in Rome and received the Duke's letter, he went directly to the pope to set matters right. Immediately the pope made his decision to create Newman a cardinal, exempting him from the residential requirement. Manning both telegraphed and wrote the news to Ullathorne for communication to Newman. These are the bare facts of the affair, upon which I would like to offer a few observations. One can only speculate why Manning initially sent only Newman's ambiguous letter ahead to Rome while carrying Ullathorne's gloss along with him: there is no explanation from Manning himself on this question. My own theory is that Manning, remembering the imbroglio over the bishopric in 1865, when he had been ill served by accepting Ullathorne's interpretation of what Newman wished; aware of Newman's previous refusal to accept honors; and conscious of the distrust he knew Newman felt for him, decided to let Roman authorities make what they would of Newman's ambiguities, without any other gloss, either from Ullathorne or from himself.
A more puzzling question is how Manning himself, in light of his own poor record in interpreting Newman's mind, could so quickly have come to the conclusion that Newman declined the honor, and allowed this to become public. Here the issue of personality enters in, for Manning was simply not the man to abide in suspended judgement on any question, to entertain doubts once he had decided a question, nor to keep his beliefs to himself. The best explanation I have come across of how Manning's mind must have worked in this affair is from Manning's most recent biographer, Robert Gray, who is, on the whole, quite well disposed to his subject. "The key to (Manning's) conduct (in this instance)," says Gray, "lies in his infinite capacity for self-illusion. Newman's equivocating letter gave him grounds for believing what he wanted to believe, that Newman had refused; and thereafter Newman's refusal was his version of reality. Ullathorne's covering letter could be discountenanced because Manning never permitted extraneous facts to interfere with fundamental beliefs." (Gray, pp. 266-73)
The only other comment I feel needs to be made, admittedly from the perspective of an age and a culture that has different tastes in these matters, is that none of this trouble would have arisen if Newman had been straightforward and less delicate in accepting what, in fact, he really wanted. But now we are dealing with Newman's personality. If Manning misinterpreted him, it was because there was nothing in Manning's makeup that enabled him to comprehend such diffidence.
Besides differing personalities, I mentioned different perspectives as another way of coming to terms with the disagreement between these two great Victorian churchmen over the needs and wants of the Church in their day. Here the best illustration I know of what I mean by different perspectives involves an attempt on Manning's part to enlist Newman's support for temperance reform. It became one of Manning's deepest convictions, after he became head of the Catholic Church in England, that the most serious problem faced by the great majority of Catholics in England, who by this time were poor Irish in urban slums, was drunkenness and its devastating effects on family life. We may find this simplistic as a diagnosis of social ills, but in an age before a more profound social analysis, most friends of the working class and of the Irish poor, both at home and in Ireland, would have agreed with Manning. Manning was, therefore, a supporter of the Protestant United Kingdom Alliance, of Fr. Matthew's temperance campaign in Ireland, and he started his own Catholic temperance organization in England, the League of the Cross.
One of the objects of temperance organizations in England was to pass a licensing bill which embodied what was called local option, giving communities the right to control, or, if they desired, to suppress, public houses. When Manning, as one of those principally involved in the public agitation for this legislation, wrote to enlist Newman's support for the campaign, Newman declined, replying "As for me, I do not know whether we have too many public houses or not enough." (Quoted in McClelland, p. 22)
Manning's reaction to this reply is not recorded, but it would not have been hard to guess. Newman may have wanted to make a point about not depriving the poor of the means to drown their sorrows. But that a Catholic priest who lived in one of the great industrial cities of England, with a significant population of Irish poor, should seem indifferent, or flippant over what Manning considered the greatest social evil of the day, must have been deeply shocking to him. This little incident illustrates a difference between Manning and Newman of which Newman himself seems to have been aware, at least in his own regard. Newman was not a political person, at least so far as great public issues were concerned. In a letter to Ullathorne, he once said, "I have been indoors all my life, whilst you have battled for the Church in the World." (Quoted in McClelland, p. 22)
Had he and Manning been in any way sympathetic, he might have realized the same thing about the Archbishop of Westminster, who, even more than Ullathorne, spent his life in the welter of national politics. Newman's lack of interest in public affairs, and Manning's absorption in them, were, of course, consequences of the different offices they occupied in the Church, which were in turn a function of different talents and ambitions. Newman's interests, as he stated, were intramural, mainly intellectual, although he was not without his own skill in organizing political parties within the Church. Of Manning it had been said before he entered the ministry of the Established Church that he might have been prime minister of England. Their different positions gave Newman and Manning very different perceptions of the same Church to which both belonged, and it would be hard to overemphasize the importance of this difference of perspective in explaining some of the more notable contentions between them.
For Manning, when he assumed the archbishopric of Westminster in 1865, the Catholic Church in England was above all the million or so Catholics of Irish birth or descent who had flooded into English cities, especially in the years after the Famine. This number contrasted with perhaps 150,000 English or "Old Catholics" as they are sometimes called, descendents of the recusants, among them some quite wealthy noblemen, and a miniscule number of converts, like Manning and Newman themselves. The needs of the Irish, who were thus the vast majority of the Catholic population in England, are not hard for us to imagine: they were not unlike the needs of the Irish who came to the United States in the same period, only affected by the more advanced urban and industrial character of England. They needed churches and schools, presbyteries and convents, orphanages and refuges for unwed mothers, chaplains for the prisons, reformatories and the armed forces, where the Irish were overrepresented and underserved: all of this in a context of desperate poverty, appalling living conditions, indifference of the government to their claims, hostility of the great majority of the populace to their religion.
Most of Manning's long reign as archbishop of Westminster and head of the Roman Catholic Church in England was spent in building up the infrastructure of church life, finding money to pay for it, pressing on government the claims for fair treatment of his mostly poor and despised flock. As here in the United States, education was the greatest concern of church leadership in England; and it was in matters relating to education that Newman and Manning had one of their most serious disagreements. Given the socioeconomic condition of the great majority of Catholics in London and England, it is not hard to predict that Manning's interest in education would focus on the primary and secondary level. Here we can only note in passing that Manning played a decisive role in negotiating with government for the passage of a series of education acts that eventuated in a rate-aided dual system of elementary education. The chief beneficiaries of this system were the children of the Catholic Irish poor, who would now be educated in England in Catholic schools. At the level of secondary education, where voluntary efforts were more necessary, Manning found himself in frequent conflict over priorities with the Old Catholics, who were, of course, the Church's main source of voluntary contributions. The great desire of the Old Catholics in regard to secondary education was the establishment and support of Catholic equivalents of the ancient public schools, of which a number, like Stonyhurst, Ampleforth, Downside or Newman's Oratory School in Birmingham, existed before Manning became Archbishop.
These schools offered a classical education, similar to that which, in the English public schools, prepared young men for matriculation at Oxford and Cambridge - an issue we shall come to in a moment. Manning's priorities in regard to secondary education were very different. He recognized the need above all for a scientific, commercial education for the benefit of the just beginning to emerge Catholic middle classes. Conflicting priorities came to a head in Manning's own diocese, when the Jesuits, with strong financial backing from Old Catholics, attempted to open a grammar school at the same time that Manning was trying to raise funds for a middle class school. Manning blocked them, with the result of much ill feeling on the part of Old Catholics, and, of course, the closing of their purses against the Archbishop's projects. If Manning's great concern in education was primary and secondary training for the great majority of poor and middle class Catholics, Newman's, as you will know, was the intellectual culture of Catholics at the level of university studies. The beneficiaries of this concern, given the composition of the Catholic community and the economics of higher education in that day, could only be a small number of the sons of the wealthy among the English Old Catholics and converts. It was this concern of Newman's for higher education that led him in 1851 into the ill fated project of the Catholic University in Dublin, and gave us along the way the masterpiece of The Idea of a University. Manning, only just recently a convert himself, was certainly well disposed toward this project, and attempted to assist Newman in recruiting professors, although he declined Newman's invitation to become vice rector because Cardinal Wiseman had advised him as a new convert to spend some time in Rome. It is interesting to note that while he was in Dublin, Newman strongly lobbied the English bishops not to permit Roman Catholics to attend Oxford, which had recently dropped its exclusive tests, lest such permission injure the Catholic University. (See Ker, p. 432-4)
The failure of the Catholic University, partly due to lack of support on the part of the Irish bishops, partly due to the reluctance of well off Catholics on both sides of the Irish Sea to send their sons, led to Newman's withdrawal in 1858. But with the demise of the university in Dublin, the question of higher education for Catholics in the British Isles remained unsolved. Manning, in 1863, two years before his elevation as archbishop, issued a call for reexamining the possibility of a Catholic university, in England this time, on a broader base; while Newman, reflecting on his Dublin experience, was slowly coming to the conclusion that nothing but a Catholic college at one of the ancient universities would answer the problem of providing university education for Catholics. In this conclusion, he was certainly influenced by his extensive contacts in the Old Catholic community, where the sentiment for sending their sons to Oxford or Cambridge, for social as well as for educational reasons, was growing strong.
It is my own opinion that in the 1860's, the choice between the alternatives of a Catholic university and a Catholic hall at Oxford was a foregone conclusion. Both Rome and the English bishops were consistently opposed to "mixed education" (educating Catholic and Protestants together, or, even worse in a clearly Protestant environment like Oxford and Cambridge), and the great mystery to me is why Newman never seemed to grasp this. In their spring meeting of 1864 and, again, this is before Manning's elevation, the English bishops both condemned the idea of a Catholic college at Oxford or Cambridge, and said that Catholic parents should be discouraged by all means from sending their sons there. And yet that fall, Newman bought five acres for an Oratory in Oxford in the private hope of establishing a college there, and with the announced intention of ministering to Catholic undergraduates. At their next meeting in December, the bishops once again condemned both college and attendance, and applied to Rome for ratification of their decision. When Newman realized the strength of the bishops' opposition, he sold the property. Why Newman should have imagined that prospects for a Catholic presence at the University would improve after Manning's elevation in 1865 is part of the mystery. And yet in 1866, he once again bought property in Oxford and requested permission to establish an Oratory, telling Ullathorne that authorities in Rome should "clearly apprehend that I feel no calling to go to Oxford except it be in order to take care of Catholic undergraduates or to convert graduates". (Quoted in Gray, p. 213)
Authorities in Rome were certainly made to apprehend this - with help from Manning - and when permission was given from Rome to establish a house of the Oratory at Oxford, it was on condition that Catholics should not be attracted to the University, and with a private instruction to Ullathorne that, to ensure this, Newman himself was not to go. In 1867, the Holy See affirmed the prohibition of Catholics going to Oxford, but this time instructed the bishops to provide alternative higher education for Catholics. By 1873, somewhat delayed because of the Vatican Council, the bishops adopted a proposal of Manning's to establish a freestanding Catholic university college. Newman's cooperation in this venture was personally solicited by Manning, but it will not surprise you to hear that Newman declined. The Catholic University College opened in Kensington, in Manning's archdiocese, in October, 1874. It had a promising beginning, especially in light of the distinguished, almost exclusively lay, faculty that Manning was able to attract to it. One of the interesting distinctions about the place was the emphasis given to science over classical studies, a function of Manning's own educational priorities and sense of what would be most useful to the Catholic population as a whole. But like the university in Dublin, Kensington never caught on with the Old Catholics as a place to send either their sons or their money, and closed after four years. That neither Newman nor the Jesuits would have anything to do with the University College is understandable in the circumstances. But their refusal did not aid its survival, nor diminish Manning's feeling that Newman, the Jesuits and the Old Catholics had cooperated in frustrating his efforts to provide higher education for the Catholic community.
Personality and perspective can, as I have said, account for some of the difference between church leaders like Newman and Manning, and I have tried to offer illustration of how some of their differences arose from such causes. But there is no avoiding the conclusion that there were also deep and conscious disagreements between these two men about significant issues regarding authority in the Church and the mission of the Church in the world. These disagreements came to a head over the issue of papal infallibility. I will not presume to lecture you on Newman's vision of authority in the Church. Suffice it to say that that vision is rich, complex and deeply appealing to Catholics today. The operation of authority in the Church, according to Newman, involved not only the hierarchy: the pope and the bishops; but also what Newman called the "schools," i.e., theologians; and the laity, whose recognition and acceptance of Christian doctrine was an important part of its authoritative character. I would venture to say that Newman's interest in authority, like so many of his interests, was intramural. That is to say, it concerned the authentic development of Christian doctrine within the Church, for the Church's life of holiness.
Obviously, from what I have just been saying, you can tell how very influential Newman's ideas on authority have been on thinking in the Church today. But I also ask you to note what, in this context, I have only been able to assert: that for Newman, authority functioned within the Christian community, for the community of the Church. Manning's view of authority in the Church was, from our point of view - choose your terms! - traditional and classical, or reactionary and authoritarian. It was certainly firmly institutional, rigidly hierarchical, and highly centralized. But, and here again you will have to take my word for what would otherwise require a long and somewhat complex argument, it was outward looking. That is to say, the operation of authority for Manning was for the sake of the Church's encounter with the world: what, in contemporary church language I think we would call the social ministry of the Church in the world. Now the world could at times be a very hostile place for the Church, as, indeed, Manning believed it was in the nineteenth century, where the Church would need to stand firm and sometimes suffer for what it believed. On the other hand, the world was also where the Church realized its mission through social action. Manning thought there were many encouraging developments in nineteenth century Britain that facilitated this mission, like the growing religious neutrality of the state, the emergence of public opinion, and the rise of mass democratic politics. And there were few ecclesiastical politicians who showed more talent for exploiting those developments than Manning. In either case, however, whether in persecution or in social and political activism, the Church needed unity and a firm sense of direction. It was the role of authority, Manning believed, to provide this unity and direction.
Now although I have oversimplified the positions of Newman and Manning on authority in the Church, I hope I have not misrepresented them. The very first conflict that marred what up until then had been the amicable relation between the two Oxford converts occurred in 1861 over an issue of authority in the Church: not infallibility, but the temporal power. The temporal power of the pope was, you will recall, the Church's government of the Papal States in central Italy. The pope's control of these domains was being gradually eroded in the process of Italian unification between 1848 and 1870, when Pius IX lost the city of Rome itself and withdrew to become the Prisoner of the Vatican. Most Catholics, Manning included, considered the seizure of the Papal States to be an act of sacrilege perpetrated by enemies of the Church. Manning had been one of the most articulate defenders of the temporal power, arguing that these states were essential for the freedom of the Church to carry out its mission in the world. The temporal power was necessary, he maintained, for the independent, unimpeded action of papal authority, not just within the Church, but especially in areas of public life and international affairs where the Church must be involved. Newman's very different understanding of the purpose of authority in the Church led him to the conclusion that the Church was better off without the Papal States.
The purpose of authority for Newman, as we have said, was to build up the life of faith within the Church, through a process of what we today would call discernment and consultation. The strong, centralized authority and unquestioning obedience that was demanded by the existence of the temporal power and the role to which it committed the papacy in public and international life seemed to him a real distraction from this task. Of course, from Manning's point of view, Newman's indifference to the temporal power placed him alongside those who were the Church's declared enemies. It requires only a small leap of understanding from what they believed about the temporal power to see why Newman and Manning came down on such different sides of the infallibility debate. Manning, together with so many other ultramontane Catholics, believed that the Church was under serious threat from its enemies in the nineteenth century. Both conservative nationalists and radical revolutionaries wished to eliminate the Church's independent role in public and international life, and either crush it or reduce it to a tame creature of the state. Against these threats, Manning believed it was imperative that the Church speak and act with a single voice.
Infallibility, which was only a part and probably not the most important part of the consolidation of papal authority over the Church carried out at the First Vatican Council, was, in the first instance, a response to this threat. It would be a mistake, however, to think that the ultramontane program was only defensive or reactionary. I have mentioned the fact that Manning found some developments in nineteenth century Britain, like the authentic religious neutrality of the state and the emergence of public opinion and mass democratic politics, to be very advantageous to the Church's mission in the world: more advantageous, in fact, than its official relationship with so called Catholic states, which often restricted the Church's freedom of movement. But social action in the sometimes dangerous, sometimes promising environment of the new secular democratic world order required a high degree of discipline and unity on the part of Catholics, or so Manning believed. It was, therefore, most opportune that the Church take the occasion of the Council to define infallibility and to strengthen the pope's normal authority over the Church. Newman did not dispute the truth of papal infallibility: he always insisted that as a private individual he believed it. But he did think the definition at this time was inopportune. In his famous letter of January, 1870 to Bishop Ullathorne at the Council, also somehow leaked to the press, Newman stated his opinion. It was only, he said, when some great evil or heresy impended that the Church was justified in defining a doctrine and binding the faithful to believe. But, "no impending danger is to be averted." "What have we done," Newman asked, "to be treated as the Faithful never were treated before? When has the definition of doctrine de fide been a luxury of devotion and not a stern and painful necessity? Why should an aggressive and insolent faction (Manning and the other ultramontanes) be allowed to make the hearts of the just to mourn whom the Lord hath not made sorrowful?" (Quoted in Ward, II, p. 288)
Of course, it was precisely Manning's conviction that great evil and danger did impend, and that the definition was, indeed, a stern and painful necessity. You would think that Manning and Newman lived in different Churches, as, in a sense, they did, that they should see things so differently. Only one who lived, as Newman admitted he had, "very much indoors all my life" could imagine that the Church in 1870 was at rest and unthreatened. Whereas Manning, who "battled for the Church in the World," perceived a necessity that escaped Newman. I said at the beginning of this talk that the effort to comprehend the disagreement between Manning and Newman on its own terms might still help us understand how we got to where we are as Catholics today. Obviously, Newman or Manning can stand for the different ways we see the Church.
Newman was fearful that an undue emphasis on the authority of the pope would imbalance the delicate relations that existed in the Church between pope and bishops, hierarchy and faithful, magisterium and theologians. He was concerned, we would say today, about subsidiarity and collegiality; freedom of thought within the Church and the role of the laity. Given the history of the Church in the century between Vatican I and Vatican II, and even afterwards, many would say his fears were well grounded. Manning, on the other hand, was most concerned about how the Church could carry out its mission in the world. He was, we would say today, concerned about issues of evangelization, of social justice, even of the liberation of peoples from the oppressive structures of nineteenth century state and society.
Manning was, like our late pope, John Paul II, convinced that internal cohesion was necessary for the Church to be an effective witness for Christian values against the statism and materialism - communist or capitalist - that were the false gods of his day as they still are of ours. Today we live in either or both of the Churches for which Newman and Manning can stand as symbols. I'm not sure we have succeeded any better than they in resolving the tensions between them. But with that statement, I find I have left the province of the historian for that of the theologian, and so any right I have to lecture you on the basis of my competence!
Jeffrey von Arx, S.J.
Professor of History