Chapter 31. After the Council (1871-1874)

{371} THE Vatican Council was a crisis in the history of the Church. It was the culmination of a drama. The battle between Liberals and Ultramontanes had been raging—more especially in France and Germany—for nearly twenty years. Now Pius IX. had carried his intervention in the contest—an intervention which had begun with the Syllabus of 1864—to its furthest possible limit. Pius stood before his generation as an heroic figure amid his misfortunes, a singularly lovable personality; and loved doubly for the persecution which had realised St. Malachi's prophecy that his reign would be signed by the cross [Note 1]. Masterful in action, filled with a sense of his Divine mission, he had now brought to bear his great personal influence in rallying to his standard all the forces of Catholic loyalty. The result had been that the Liberals were routed. The grave fears of wise men as to the consequences of the Pope's action had no driving power which could compete, in influencing Catholic opinion, with the appeal of the saintly successor of Peter, persecuted, speaking with the single-heartedness of a martyr and the assurance of a prophet. One of the most influential of the opponents of the definition—Bishop Hefele of Rottenburg, himself a saintly man—for a time withheld his submission, avowing his hope that the Bishops of the minority would take concerted action. Other Bishops, too, preserved for some months an attitude of hesitation and expectancy. Newman, though himself accepting the definition, did not at once regard it as obligatory on others. The Council was not yet terminated. Its resumption {372} might give opportunities for explanations of importance which should be waited for. Will the minority act together as a constitutional body? Will the Council, in deference to their attitude, in any way qualify its decision? Such were the questions which at first occurred to him.

But the Council was not to reassemble in that generation. The enemy at the gates of Rome entered by the Porta Pia in September. Pius directed that not a blow should be struck. Victor Emmanuel took up his residence at the Quirinal. Rome became the capital of the new Italian kingdom. Henceforth no longer a temporal sovereign, Pius did not set foot outside the Vatican. A fresh and intense wave of sympathy was evoked from Catholic Christendom. It was not a moment when Catholic feeling was ready to tolerate any action which was even in appearance opposed to the cherished ideals of the martyred Pontiff.

And in point of fact the only firm stand taken up against the definition was made, not by holy men like Hefele or Dupanloup, not by powerful Bishops of the minority acting in concert as rulers of the Church, but by extreme and fanatical Liberals like Professor Friedrich and his friends. When the opposition to the definition was organised by the Congress at Munich in 1871 the 'old Catholic' community (as it was called) was founded on a schismatical basis, against the express wish of Döllinger, who held aloof from the movement, though he rejected the dogma. The old Catholics had henceforth their own separate churches. Their Bishop, Dr. Reinkens, was consecrated by the Jansenist Bishop of Deventer. The German Government gave him a salary and patronised the schismatics. Protestant and Erastian in its character from the first, the old Catholic sect bore rapidly the fruits whereby its character was manifested. The laws of the Church on fasting and confession were tampered with or set aside. A married clergy was instituted. Professor Friedrich himself eventually withdrew from the movement, from which Döllinger had all along consistently held aloof.

On the other hand, Hefele, confronted with the prospect of a schism, submitted in 1871 and promulgated the Vatican decrees in his diocese. It was not doubtful on which side of such opposing powers Newman would be found. The dogma {373} of Papal Infallibility he had always held. Submission to authority had ever been the corner-stone of Catholic loyalty in his eyes. He very soon treated the dogma as of obligation, and urged on all his friends the duty of submission. Nevertheless, like Bishop Hefele and others who had opposed the definition, Newman was very anxious as to its probable consequences. This anxiety was greater, not less, because, as the Bishops of the minority took no concerted action, he so soon came to regard the acceptance of the definition as obligatory. It was, therefore, a very great relief to him when Monsignor Fessler, the Secretary-General of the Vatican Council, published with Papal approval his book on 'True and False Infallibility,' in which he took a view of its extent even more moderate than that advocated in Father Ryder's pamphlet against W. G. Ward. It was true that works containing more stringent interpretations also received Papal approval. But the liberty which Newman judged to be necessary was secured by Fessler's view being admitted as allowable. The official countenance of Fessler's weighty theological judgment was a reminder that the co-operation of theologians of different views—the theological Schola—secured the constitution of the Church against absolutism and the excesses of individuals. The Holy Father was ruler, and to him it appertained to declare what was in conformity with the revelation of which he, as head of the Church, was guardian; but he did not set aside or oppose the theological school, and the reconciliation of details of his declarations with other authoritative dicta, their interpretation so as to leave such dicta intact—in a word, the assimilation of a single Papal utterance to the rest of the Church's teaching—appertained again to the discussions of the Schola. So, too, lawyers had to interpret new Acts of Parliament and reconcile their working with that of already existing Acts—all emanating from the Legislature, which had supreme jurisdiction over the lawyers themselves as the Pope had over the theologians. Thus even if a Pope or Council should issue a decree with insufficient theological elaboration, the Schola would supply in its interpretation what might have been wanting in its preparation. The theological life and teaching of the Church based on so large a body of authoritative dicta was not disturbed {374} or materially changed by a single Papal utterance, which rather presupposed that life and teaching, as governing its interpretation.

'The Catholic Church,' Newman wrote to Lord Blachford, 'has its constitution and its theological laws in spite of the excesses of individuals.

'It is this which, if I understand your letter, is a novel idea to you,—and it is this, which Acton means (I consider), though he is unlucky in his language, as not being a theologian, when he says it is no matter what Councils or Popes decree or do, for the Catholic body goes on pretty much as it did, in spite of all—the truth being that the Schola Theologorum is (in the Divine Purpose, I should say) the regulating principle of the Church, and, as lawyers and public offices (if I may thus speak coram te) preserve the tradition of the British Constitution, in spite of the King, Lords, and Commons, so there is a permanent and sui similis life in the Church, to which all its acts are necessarily assimilated, nay, and under the implied condition of its existence and action such acts are done and are accepted. I think, when you were here last, I said to you our great want just now was theological schools, which the great French Revolution has destroyed. This had been the occasion of our late and present internal troubles. Where would Ward have been, if there had been theological schools in England? Again, the Archbishop is not a theologian, and, what is worse, the Pope is not a theologian, and so theology has gone out of fashion. This is the only reason which made me regret not going to Oxford,—and this is why Ward did all he could at Rome, and successfully, to hinder me going. I don't profess to be a theologian, but at all events I should have been able to show a side of the Catholic religion more theological, more exact, than his. Where there is such a lack of theological science, I must not take it for granted as yet that I am out of the wood, for I may still receive some cuff from the political ultra-devotional party,—but I don't think it can be very bad.' [Note 2] {375}

Such was the view which the events of the Council led him to express a few years after its suspension. At the time itself he was intent on making the position tolerable to those who were most tried by the doctrine or by the circumstances which issued in its definition. 'Exert a little faith,' he writes to Miss Bowles, 'God will provide,—there is a power in the Church stronger than Popes, Councils, and theologians, and that is the Divine Promise which controls against their will and intention every human authority.'

With those who seceded—Döllinger and his friends, Pčre Hyacinthe and others—while he condemned their action, he showed a measure of sympathy, and he spoke of them tenderly. 'I will never say a word of my own against those learned and distinguished men,' he wrote of the German seceders in his 'Letter to the Duke of Norfolk.' 'Their present whereabout, wherever it is, is to me a thought full of melancholy ... They have left none to take their place.' 'You may understand,' he wrote to Lord Acton, in 1871, 'how keenly distressed I am about what is going on in Germany as regards religion. The prospect of taking a middle line there seems so forlorn and hopeless. No one could feel more grieved than myself at the proceedings of the Council,—but the question is in the present state of things what is to be done?'

To Pčre Hyacinthe, who wrote to him on the state of affairs in the very year of the Council, he replied as follows:

'The Oratory: November 24th, 1870.
'My dear Father Hyacinthe,—I am always glad to hear from you and of you. {376}

'It grieved me bitterly that you should have separated yourself from the One True Fold of Christ; and it grieves me still more to find from your letter that you are still in a position of isolation.

'I know how generous your motives are, and how much provocation you, as well as others, have received in the ecclesiastical events which have been passing around us. But nothing which has taken place justifies our separation from the One Church.

'There is a fable in one of our English poets, of which the moral is given thus:

"Beware of dangerous steps; the darkest day,
Live till tomorrow, will have passed away."

'Let us be patient; the turn of things may not take place in our time; but there will be surely, sooner or later, an energetic and a stern Nemesis for imperious acts, such as now afflict us.

'The Church is the Mother of high and low, of the rulers as well as of the ruled. Securus judicat orbis terrarum. If she declares by her various voices that the Pope is infallible in certain matters, in those matters infallible he is. What Bishops and people say all over the earth, that is the truth, whatever complaint we may have against certain ecclesiastical proceedings. Let us not oppose ourselves to the universal voice.
'God bless you and keep you.
'Yours affectionately,

On the other hand, Newman for months busied himself in so explaining the definition to those who consulted him, as to show its reasonableness, and to distinguish it from the extreme opinions of some of its most zealous promoters. He wrote on the subject to Mrs. Froude in March 1871:

'As to your friend's question, certainly the Pope is not infallible beyond the Deposit of Faith originally given—though there is a party of Catholics who, I suppose to frighten away converts, wish to make out that he is giving forth infallible utterances every day. That the Immaculate Conception was in the depositum seems to me clear, as soon as it is understood what the doctrine is. I have drawn out the argument in my "Letter to Dr. Pusey." The Fathers from the beginning call Mary the Second Eve. This has been the dogma proclaimed by the earliest Fathers. There are {377} three especially witnesses to [it] in three or four or five countries widely separated. St. Justin Martyr speaks for Syria, St. Irenaeus for Asia Minor and Gaul, and Tertullian for Rome and Africa. Nothing is included in the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception which is not included in the Eve character of Mary—nay, not so much, for Eve in Paradise did not need redemption, but Mary was actually redeemed by the blood of her Son so much as any of us, and the grace she had was not like Eve's grace in Paradise, but simply a purchased grace.

'Certainly we all hold the "Quod semper, quod ubique" &c., as much as we ever did, as much as Anglicans do. It is a great and general principle, involving of course a certain range of variation in the fulness in which it has been, here and there, now and then, received and exemplified. For instance, the eternal pre-existence of the Divine Son was taught far more consistently after the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325, than before it, and in some cases, as, for instance, the validity of baptisms by heretics, and the like, there have been remarkable differences of opinion; but the Rule is a great and useful one on the whole. There is no rule, against which exceptions cannot be brought. As to the question of development in the doctrines of the depositum, that is provided for in the Rule expressly. You know the Rule comes from Vincentius Lerinensis, who wrote at the end (I think) of the 4th century, and who illustrates and enforces it with great eloquence. He says (I use Charles Marriott's, as I think it is, translation), "Let the religion of our souls imitate the nature of our bodies, which, although with process of time they develop and unfold their proportions, yet remain the same that they were. The limits of infants be small, of young men great, yet not diverse, but the same. No new thing doth come forth in old men, which before had not lain hid in them, being children. The Christian doctrine must follow these laws of increasing, to wit, that with years it was more sound, with time it became more capable, with continuance it became exalted, yet remains incorrupt and entire. Lawful indeed it is, that those ancient articles of heavenly philosophy be, in process of time, trimmed, smoothed and polished; unlawful that they be mangled and maimed. And, albeit they receive perspicuity, light and distinction, yet they necessarily must retain their fulness, and soundness, and propriety. Keep the deposit, quoth he, O Timothy, O Priest, O Teacher; that which men before believed obscurely, let them by this exposition understand {378} more clearly. Let posterity rejoice for coming to the understanding of that by thy means, which antiquity without that understanding had in veneration, yet for all this, in such sort deliver the same thing which thou hast learned, that, albeit thou teachest after a new manner, yet thou never teach new things." I have written down not consecutive sentences, but as they have caught my eye.

'As to Eugenius 4th's Letter to the Armenians about the form and matter of the Sacraments, I think it is a difficulty certainly. It is one of those points, which made me earnestly desire that the definition should not be made last year; for, though it does not weigh with me myself, yet it is very trying to a great many people. It is common, I think, to say that it was not a doctrinal decree—but a practical instruction to the Orientals, and therefore not included in the cases, in which infallibility is claimed for the Holy See.

'John the XXII. is nothing to the purpose. He put nothing forward in any formal way, and, I think, repented of his private sentiments before his death. Of course, if he had been called upon to speak ex cathedra, he would (humanly speaking) have defined an error, but he did not. And this will just illustrate what is meant by the gift of infallibility. As Balaam wished to curse, but opened his mouth with blessings, so a Pope may all his life be in error, but if he attempts to put it forth, he will be cut off, or be deterred, or find himself saying what he did not mean to say.

'I have no hesitation in saying that, to all appearance, Pius IX. wished to say a great deal more (that is that the Council should say a great deal more) than it did, but a greater Power hindered it. A Pope is not inspired; he has not an inherent gift of divine knowledge. When he speaks ex cathedra, he may say little or much, but he is simply protected from saying what is untrue. I know you will find flatterers and partisans, such as those whom St. Francis de Sales calls "the Pope's lackies," who say much more than this, but they may enjoy their own opinions, they cannot bind the faith of Catholics.

'As to St. Cyprian's quarrel with the Pope, strong letters came from the Pope to him. He certainly did not think the Pope infallible in those letters. I cannot tell without hunting them up, whether they look like ex cathedra letters. I should think not. I doubt very much whether the point of the Infallibility of the Pope was clearly understood, as a dogma, by the Popes themselves at that time; but then I also doubt whether the Infallibility of a General Council was at that time {379} understood either, for no General Council as yet had been. The subject was what Vincentius calls "obscurely held." The Popes acted as if they were infallible in doctrine—with a very high hand, peremptorily, magisterially, fiercely. But, when we come to the question of the analysis of such conduct, I think they had as vague ideas on the subject as many of the early Fathers had upon portions of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. They acted in a way which needed infallibility as its explanation.'

While he held that the newly defined dogma had its roots in the past, he looked to the future for a formal disclaimer of exaggerated interpretations of its scope. On this subject he wrote to Miss Holmes on May 15, 1871:

'As to the definition, I grieve you should have been tried with it. The dogma has been acted on by the Holy See for centuries—the only difference is that now it is actually recognised. I know this is a difference—for at first sight it would seem to invite the Pope to use his now recognised power. But we must have a little faith. Abstract propositions avail little—theology surrounds them with a variety of limitations, explanations, etc. No truth stands by itself—each is kept in order and harmonized by other truths. The dogmas relative to the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation were not struck off all at once—but piecemeal—one Council did one thing, another a second—and so the whole dogma was built up. And the first portion of it looked extreme—and controversies rose upon it—and these controversies led to the second, and third Councils, and they did not reverse the first, but explained and completed what was first done. So will it be now. Future Popes will explain and in one sense limit their own power. This would be unlikely, if they merely acted as men, but God will overrule them. Pius has been overruled—I believe he wished a much more stringent dogma than he has got. Let us have faith and patience.' [Note 3]

Döllinger's action he condemned unequivocally, though he felt for the German historian acutely.

'I know nothing of the German party,' he wrote (October, 1871) to Mrs. Froude. 'Doubtless there are many good religious people who agree with Döllinger—but I much suspect they are all private persons, of the Upper Middle or higher ranks, and I suspect that he, as a public man, is by himself. {380}

'It is a most cruel position both for him and them. They seem to me powerless. The bulk of the lower class people (Catholics) follow the Pope. The Professors and literary men go much further than Döllinger—they either are for a schism or for simple indifferentism. I don't see how he can keep his ground, or, if he does, will have more than a handful with him.'

The fall of the Papal sovereignty in Rome afforded matter for reflection, and Newman intimated his view of the past and the future in another letter to Mrs. Froude.

'As little as possible,' he writes, 'was passed at the Council—nothing about the Pope which I have not myself always held. But it is impossible to deny that it was done with an imperiousness and overbearing wilfulness, which has been a great scandal—and I cannot think thunder and lightning a mark of approbation, as some persons wish to make out, and the sudden destruction of the Pope's temporal power does not seem a sign of approval either. It suggests too the thought, that to be at once infallible in religion and a despot in temporals, is perhaps too great for mortal man. Very likely there will be some reaction for a time in his favour, but not permanently—and then, unless the Council, when re-assembled, qualifies the dogma by some considerable safeguards, which is not unlikely, perhaps the secularly defenceless state of the Pope will oblige him to court the Catholic body in its separate nations with a considerateness and kindness, which of late years the Holy See has not shown, and which may effectually prevent a tyrannous use of his spiritual power. But all these things are in God's hands and we are blind.'

Newman's work from 1871 to 1874 was mainly the revision of his writings—including those published while he was still an Anglican, to which he added notes and appendices which supplied what he considered necessary to make them orthodox, or to answer the criticisms on the Catholic Church which they contained. Much of this work was done at Rednal, and he rejoiced in the interludes of country life thus afforded him.

His Journal shows that he had at this time some recurrence of the feeling that Catholics looked at him askance owing to his opposition to the Vatican definition. On the other hand he notes that he is far more read and better understood among Anglicans than of old. This led him perhaps {381} to cleave more closely to such old Anglican friends as R. W. Church and Sir Frederick Rogers, with whom he kept up a constant correspondence.

In February 1871 Rogers lost his mother, and Newman wrote to sympathise. His letter is printed below, together with his reply to an announcement by Rogers some months later that he was going to visit Rome in the course of a summer holiday.


'The Oratory: Feb. 18, 1871.
'My dear Rogers,—I guessed the sad intelligence of your letter from its outside. Someone told me, I think Wilson, that your dear mother was sinking gradually. One can but once lose a mother. I don't forget, I never have, how kind you were to me when I lost mine. How many years have passed, how many events, since then, but it seems to me like yesterday. What a dream life is! It does not make it a less sorrow to you that you must have all expected it so long. The freshness of her mind and the continuance of her strength, for so long, which will be so pleasant to look back upon, perhaps have made the gradual changes of the last year more sad to your sisters. I hope to say Mass for her on Monday morning.

'You know that on Tuesday I am 70. By fits and starts I realise it; but usually it seems incredible to me.
'Ever yours affectionately,

'The Oratory: Aug. 1, 1871.
'My dear Rogers,—I am glad you are going abroad, and hope you will be as much delighted and refreshed by the beauties of Italy, as you were the first time you saw it. Also, it is pleasant to think that you and your wife will have a quiet month with your sisters at Lucerne. I say "quiet," for such, I think, Lucerne is especially, with its broad silent lake, and its graceful mountains on either side, neither of them frightening one's eyes with snowy peaks.

'There is one thing I want to ask you before you go. I want to ask your brother's acceptance of my new edition of "The Arians," the brother who was so kind as to go to the British Museum for "One Tract more"—But I have got into a puzzle whether it is Edward or John. I thought it was the one I knew at Oxford, the Clergyman. {382}

'I know no one, I have no acquaintance whatever, at Rome. No wonder—Rome changes its (ecclesiastical) inmates as much as Oxford does, where three years is an undergraduate's life, and seven years a Fellow's. Besides I have not been there for more than 23 years, except once (in 1855-6) for a fortnight. Moreover, just now, I suppose, everything is topsy turvy and nobody is anywhere.

'Thank you for your offer of fetching and carrying for me thither or thence—but I can think of nothing, even if I try.

'I wonder what you will be able to prophesy about the future of the city. That in this generation the Pope and the Italian power cannot get on together, I should have thought certain. Perhaps before the future comes, there will be fresh revolutions one way or the other, which make present conjecture impossible, as destroying present data.
'Ever yours affectionately,

'P.S.—I congratulate you on your new "Honours."'

These last words refer to the peerage which Rogers had just been offered and accepted.

Both Rogers and R. W. Church at this time received promotion from Mr. Gladstone's Government—the one being raised to the House of Lords with the title of Lord Blachford, the other named Dean of St. Paul's. There is in Newman's incidental references to these honours—in his letters to Rogers—just a touch of that unsympathetic attitude towards official rank which was so general in the old Tractarian party; and it must be remembered that this was also the tradition of the Oratorians, who were restrained by rule from accepting ecclesiastical dignities except by command of the Pontiff.

'The Oratory: Dec. 3, 1871.
'My dear Rogers,—I cannot screw myself up yet to call you anything else. Give me time. However I most heartily congratulate you on your title, and it is a shame to say it takes away my breath, for you have done more to deserve it than all but a few who gain it, and it is particularly gratifying that you should be the first to open what is a new path to the highest honours that the State can give.

'To my mind the only drawback is that your mother did not live just long enough to witness it. She always seemed {383} to me to live in the desire that you should have full justice done you in the world, and I think she would have allowed that her desire was now granted her ...
'Ever yours affly,

Of Church's promotion he wrote thus to Lord Blachford:

'June 14, '72.
'I don't and didn't doubt at all that Church would do the Dean well. I was marvelling at him two years ago at the Frome Station, at his dealings with the railway porters about my luggage—he showed such quiet calm decision—but I want him to write more than he can at St. Paul's—(though Milman did write there)——and therefore I am sorry he is not at Winton or Salisbury or the like. And I grieve at dignities which have a tendency to rub off the bloom of the peach, which a country life preserves, and which London life, which the dome of St. Paul's, which the aurata laquearia of the House of Lords, destroy. I suppose it is in the nature of things that blushing honours are the death of blushing. I know that high ecclesiastics, too, may have donnishness as others—also I know and understand that age has a gravity and dignity of its own, and that even the stiffness of joints and the dimness of the senses induce a dull and unlovely soberness of manner in country people also, and I know too that my own ingrained contemptible shyness makes me irritable at the sight of self-possession—but still after all I have an animosity and antipathy to the effect of London on the character, which is almost a moral sense with me.'

'I hope,' he writes to Church himself, 'you are not suffering from your banquetings. I sincerely feel for you. They would, I think, kill me.' A year earlier Newman had dedicated to Rogers his republished 'Essays on Miracles,' and now he was sending each fresh volume as it was published to his more intimate acquaintance. In 1872 he republished 'Present Position of Catholics' and sent a copy to R. W. Church. They exchanged letters, and Church pressed Newman to come and see him at the Deanery. Newman in return urged both the Dean and Rogers to come for a day or night to Rednal.


'The Oratory: June 7, 1872.
'I never come to town except under dire necessity, for many reasons—because it is sure to knock me up from the {384} mere "fumus strepitusque" of London—because there are so many persons I am simply obliged, both by propriety and by friendship, by duty and by true attachment, to call upon—because I am sure to make a fool of myself, being so shy, and go away gnawing my heart at the thought of the many gaucheries and absurdities I have committed.

'I had thought of coming to you for a day or two at the beginning of June; but now I have got to go to Rednal with a host of papers, which occupy five baskets, tin cases and bags, and which will take me weeks ...

'I suppose you never could run down here for a night, if the weather becomes summerly. I would take you over to Rednal for an hour or two.'

A week later he writes from Rednal to Lord Blachford urging him to accompany Church and spend a 'happy day' at the Oratory.

But Church was on the point of leaving England for a holiday, and a visit to Rednal was anyhow at the moment difficult. Still the idea was not abandoned. Newman's letters on the subject have something of the minuteness and anxiety which we have noted in those which prepared the way for the visit to Keble at Hursley seven years earlier.

A visit from Newman to the Deanery at St. Paul's did come off before Church left England; and a visit to Lord Blachford's house in London was arranged for July.

Newman, still feeling acutely the events of the Vatican Council and the sadness of the estrangements to which it led, welcomed Blachford's proposal that he should on the occasion of his visit meet Lord Acton at dinner.

'The Oratory: July 6th, 1872.
'My dear sive Blachford malueris vocari sive Rogers, may I not thus accost you, as Horace would accost plane presentem Deum? I shall be most happy to meet at dinner anyone you please, especially Lord Acton—but I suppose Monday morning when you get this will be late for an invite. I have had the greatest liking for Acton ever since I knew him near 20 years ago; but, alas, we have never quite hit it off in action. And now I don't know where he stands as regards this sad Vatican question. There is only one locus standi—and I think in time he will see that; but mind I shall rejoice to meet him—So should I to meet Liddon, whom I don't know—I believe he is a champion for dogma, which is {385} the backbone of religion, and, as such, I wish him God-speed in this evil day.

'My love to Church—I rejoice I shall not be too late for him.
'Ever yours affectionately,

Newman read in this year with great interest and admiration Dean Church's 'Gifts of Civilisation,' especially the part which dealt with his own favourite subject, the Christianising of the Roman Empire [Note 4]. In return for the 'Gifts of Civilisation' he sent Church the 'Grammar of Assent,' hoping that it would not 'bore him'—an expression to which naturally the Dean in his letter of thanks demurred, forwarding to him at the same time the following paragraph from a Somersetshire paper with inquiries as to the truth of its contents:

'ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL. A few weeks since one of the vergers of the Cathedral accosted a poorly clad, threadbare looking individual who stood scanning the alterations of the sacred edifice with "Now then move on, we don't want any of your sort here!" It was Dr. Newman!'

Newman confessed the substantial accuracy of the paragraph:

'St. Stephen's day, 1872.
'My dear Dean,— ... Yes, I was morally turned out and I told you at the time. I did nothing but what you might have done at Chester or Carlisle, where you might not be known. I stood just inside the doors listening to the chanting of the Psalms, of which I am so fond. First came Verger one, a respectable person, inquiring if I wanted a seat in the {386} choir, half a mile off me. No, I said,—I was content where I was. Then came a second, not respectful, with a voice of menace—I still said No. Then came a third, I don't recollect much about him, except that he said he could provide me with a seat. Then came No. 2 again in a compulsory mood, on which I vanished.

'I am sure if I was a dissenter, or again one of Mr. Bradlaugh's people, nothing would attract me more to the Church of England than to be allowed to stand at the door of a Cathedral—did not St. Augustine, while yet a Manichee, stand and watch St. Ambrose? no verger turned him out.

'Of course, knowing the nature of those men, I was amused, and told you and Blachford in the evening. You were annoyed, and said it was just what you did not wish, and that you would inquire about it.

'I have not a dream how it got into the Papers—as mine is a Somersetshire one, I thought the paragraph had trickled out from Whatley.       Ever yrs affly,
J. H. N.

'All Xmas blessings to you and yours.'

But the paragraph in the Somersetshire paper, while relating a fact which was substantially true, had spoken of Newman's costume as 'threadbare.' This serious inaccuracy he corrected with some emphasis in a subsequent letter:

'Dec. 28, '72.
'My dear Dean,—On the contrary, it was simply a bran new coat, which I never put on till I went on that visit to you—and which I did not wear twice even at Abbotsford—I thought it due to London. Indeed, all my visiting clothes are new, for I do not wear them here, and I am almost tempted, like a footman of my Father's when I was a boy, who had a legacy of clothes, to leave home, as he his place, in order to have an opportunity of wearing them. They (the clothes) must wish it, I am sure—for they wear out a weary time themselves in a dark closet, except on such occasions, few and far between.

'Don't fancy when I talked of a "bore," that I had any other than that general feeling, which I ever have, that giving away one of my books is an impertinence, like talking of the shop. I used to say at Oxford that lawyers and doctors ever talked of the shop—but parsons never—now I find priests do—I suppose that, where there is science, there is the tendency {387} to be wrapped up in the profession. An English clergyman is primarily a gentleman—a doctor, a lawyer, and so a priest is primarily a professional man. In like manner the military calling has been abroad a profession, accordingly they never go in mufti, but always in full military fig, talking as it were, always of the shop. Now I have a great dislike of this shoppism personally. Richmond told some one that, when he took my portrait, I was the only person he could not draw out.

'Now have I not really been talking of the shop enough for a whole twelvemonth, having talked of my dear self? But you see I have a motive—viz. lest you should dream you have trod on my toes, and so elicited from me the complaint that you have been bored by me.
'Ever yrs affly,

From the middle of 1872 onwards began in earnest for Newman the great trial of those who live to be old—the death of friends, many of them dear and lifelong friends. His letters are full of the sad thoughts which such partings brought. Death visited the Dominican Sisterhood at Stone in the spring. Amelia Mozley went in August, John Mozley in October, and Hope-Scott's illness was soon after pronounced to be mortal. Serjeant Bellasis died at the beginning of 1873, Henry Wilberforce followed, and then Hope-Scott died. Another great friend, the Duchess of Argyll, passed away a little later. Newman was in constant dread that others would follow, and the renewed illness of Pusey and Church led to anxious inquiries. 'What a year this has been of deaths,' he wrote to Sister Mary Gabriel on his own patron's feast, St. John's Day, 1873: 'The shafts have been flying incessantly and unexpectedly on all sides of us and strewing the ground with friends. It makes one understand St. John's dreary penance in living to be 90. Well might he say: "Amen, veni Domine Jesu."'

The loss of his Mozley relations recalled the dear associations of early home life to which he clung so closely; while the death of his tried and faithful friends struck him no less hard.

In the course of letters at this time we find the record of these losses. {388}


'Easter Monday 1872.
'I grieve indeed at our news. I said Mass for dear Sister Mary Agnes this morning, and propose to do so every week. I am sure I owe a great deal to her prayers, and am very grateful to her.

'I cannot grieve for her. She is going to the reward of her long service to our dear Lord and His Blessed Mother. She is going to the company of those great Saints, whose traditions and whose work she has done her part, with such loyal fidelity, to uphold and continue in this her day.

'Of course it is for all of you that we must feel. And we feel it the more from that sympathy which arises from our own prospective anxieties. Not indeed, God be praised, that we have any immediate cause of anxiety here; but so many of us are getting old, that one is tempted to ask "O Lord, how long?" How long are we to enjoy that calm and happy time which Thou hast granted us so long? When is it to be, that that tranquil unity is to be broken up which we have so long enjoyed, and we are to be parted one from another till that day, if we are vouchsafed it, when we meet again never to be separated in the Kingdom of our Father? As we suffer with you now, do not forget us when our time comes.'

'So dear Amelia Mozley is gone,' he writes to Dean Church on August 22. 'I knew her from her birth.'

To Blachford, the intimate friend of Hope-Scott, he communicated the sad tidings of his breaking health:

'The Oratory: Nov. 4th, 1872.
'My dear Blachford,—I sent to you a message by Church, in case he wrote to you, about Hope-Scott ...

'I suppose, humanly speaking, he is at what is called the beginning of the end, though the time may be sooner or later ... He has never held up his head since his wife died. When I saw him here last spring, 16 months after his loss, he could not command his feelings—and there is no doubt that it was his distress that developed his complaint. His little boy is not two years old.

'You know my sister has lost her husband; after 36 years of happy uneventful married life—after his five sons have started in life—and with a painless gradual decay. How different are our fortunes—what a contrast is this to {389} Hope-Scott's career, so brilliant externally, yet with such domestic affliction.
'Yours affectionately,

The new edition of the University Sermons, with its dedication to Dean Church, appeared early in 1873.

'The Oratory: Jany. 29, 1873.
'My dear Dean,—Will you look at the Dedication in the inclosed pages, and, if I have worded it rightly, send them on as directed.

'I felt your kindness in informing me about Pusey. The latest and best news is very anxious. It is now more than forty years since he lay in bed and could not speak, and I advised Mrs. Pusey to send for Dr. Wootten, who brought him round.

'Serjeant Bellasis has been taken from us. He was one of the sweetest-tempered, gentlest, most affectionate persons I ever knew.
'Ever yours affly,


'The Oratory: April 21st, 1873.
'Before you receive this, I suppose dear H. Wilberforce will have left us. I went over to see him 3 weeks ago. It is well I did not wait till after Easter, as at one time I thought of doing. I found him looking like a man of 80, and so unlike himself, and so like his father, that I did not know how to speak to him, when I first saw him. His mind was quite his own, but he slept a good deal—he had very little pain. I took leave of him, as if for good, as it will be.'


'The Oratory: May 2, 1873.
'My dear Dean,—Thank you for your kind considerateness. When I got back from H. W.'s funeral, I found a telegram telling me that Hope-Scott was just gone. He went, just as I was getting into the train at Woodchester to return home, 7 P.M.

'He had fallen off a day or two before—but at last he took every one by surprise. He had blessed his daughter and sent her away for the night—but at the end of the hour, she returned to witness his death. {390}

'There were to be great doings at Arundel Castle. He had lingered so long, that the Duke had fixed the Wednesday (April 30) for the opening of his new Church there, which is said to be the finest in the kingdom. A large party had assembled the evening before, and were just sitting down to dinner, when a telegram came, which caused the Duke, his mother, his sisters, and the children all to go to town at once. They were too late. He died just as they started. To the Duchess this was especially trying. The doctors had not allowed her to see him, it so affected his heart—so he died without taking leave of her. I don't know when they had met—perhaps not for months. Lord Howard was left to receive and to despatch the guests at the Castle. It was to have been a great event. [The Duke] has spent great sums upon the Church—and it is to be dedicated to St. Philip Neri. He had asked me to preach the Sermon—but, though I had declined, some of our party were there.

'[Hope-Scott's] daughter ... tells me that, after death till the time she wrote, he looked most beautiful, just (she is told) as he used to look thirty years ago.

'She adds "He loved you so." I know he did, and I loved him. His death was most "peaceful and calm." So was H. Wilberforce's—so was Bellasis', as sunny as his life. May I be as prepared as they when my time comes.
'Ever yrs affly,


'The Oratory: May 25, 1873.
'It is very kind in you to write to me about Church. A paragraph in the paper startled me, and I was on the point of writing to Mrs. Church to ask about its meaning. The worst penance of men in office or station, is that they cannot nurse, but must be taking part in meetings and at dinners, when they ought to keep at home. I dare say this has been Church's case.

'It is almost like an Epicurean in me to feel thankful for my own freedom from such troubles.

'Also I thank you for your kind sympathy. These successive losses have been, and are, a great trial to me—but they are the necessary penalty of living long. Scripture says David died "at a good old age" and I used even to think so. But now it comes upon me that after all he was only 70, and that that is the "age of man"—and I am two years beyond it.' {391}


'The Oratory: March 6, 1874.
'As for my personal friends, I never have had such a time for losses, ever since my brother-in-law died. Decr. 1, Jany. 1, Feb. 1 each was marked with the death of an intimate friend, close to us, and of 20 years intimacy, prematurely and unexpectedly. And now the Duchess of Argyll is gone, not prematurely nor unexpectedly, but she was an intimate friend, and always spoke of her being of the same age as myself—and now Woodgate, an aequalis, is ill too, and will never get well—(this ought not to be repeated)—I went to take leave of him about a fortnight ago.

'I am quite well myself;—which is the sadder, to die before, or to live after, one's friends? The latter is the sadder, but it is very sad too not to know the fortunes in time to come of those you leave behind. For instance, Woodgate has ten children—hardly one of them seems to me settled in life; but I don't know much about his sons. One of them is in the Gold Coast War—I saw him here last September with his family at the Triennial Music Meeting—what a contrast—woods, savages, bivouacs & fevers in January, and a country parsonage and a circle of sisters in the last August!'

It was at this time that Lady Coleridge executed her well-known drawing of Newman. Lord Coleridge, the son of the judge who had passed sentence on him at the Achilli trial, had been for years a faithful admirer and friend.

'I could not,' Newman writes to Church, 'in common gratitude decline Coleridge's proposal, even if it had been an onerous one, instead of being at once so light and so complimentary. And Lady C. had actually advanced in what I felt to be so kind, and only wanted my presence to be able to complete it. But I use the word "gratitude" with a special and more positive meaning,—for 21 or 22 years, from the time of his Father's speech over me, when so many gave me up, he took me up, and has not ceased from speaking of, and to me kind things all that long time—and this is a thing one can't forget.'

The loss of so many old friends bound Newman the more closely to those who remained.

The invitation to Church and Blachford to spend a day at the Oratory was renewed in the summer of 1874, with a note of pathetic anxiety lest they should find it a bore: {392}

'Rednal: June 12, 1874.
'My dear Church,—I do so much fear we may be at cross purposes—you and B. finding yourselves unwilling to refuse me, and I on my part fearing I should seem to decline you.

'There seems to me a great difficulty in your or his finding time. I can't bear the thought of his hurrying down after you—I can't bear the supposition, (which never entered into my head) of your finding your way here from Birmingham, not only without him, but without me.

'Should weather be good, and both of you at liberty, and you could come together, then I can fancy it pleasant to you and to me—but for you to make an effort, would be cruel.

'No—do as I wish you to do. You can't take me by surprise between this and July 15, if you give me 24 hours notice. If you see the way clear before you, for any time the next 6 weeks, telegraph to me "we, or I, shall be at the Birmingham station at such an hour tomorrow—" and I will meet you there—but the idea of Blachford putting himself into a train after the trouble of a Privy Council meeting!

'However, if after my saying all this, you still mainly keep to your proposal, I modify it thus:—Come both of you on Wednesday afternoon or evening; drive from the Station to the Oratory. I will give you beds there. (I could not give beds at Rednal.) Next morning, Thursday, we would drive over to Rednal, lunch, and then return by a midday train to London, in time for 7.30 dinner.

'If you assure me that such an absence from London will be a refreshment to you, not a fatigue, you will remove the only difficulty to it (and it is a great one) which I have—but till you say so yourselves, I don't know how to believe it.
'Ever yrs affly,

The visit did come off in July, though I have no record of its exact date.

'I have not yet got over my refusal to play the fiddle to you and Blachford,' Newman writes to Church on July 20—'I think I should have played had I had time—but we felt we had not a minute to spare, and I could not screw up my courage as I could my pegs, that is, all at once.'

Newman had in these years an interesting correspondence with Principal Brown, of Aberdeen, on the great subject of the desirableness of union among Christians in view of the {393} spread of infidelity. Principal Brown in the first instance sent Newman his life of Dr. Duncan, and Newman's expression of his thanks led to a further interchange of letters. In the first two, Newman urged that the study of the Gospels was the best road both to union and to faith in an evil day.


'The Oratory: October 24th, 1872.
'Pray do not suppose that my delay in answering your very kind letter has arisen from indifference to it. I feel extremely and thank you for the warmth of your language about me, and I wish to return it to you. What a mystery it is in this day that there should be so much which draws religious minds together, and so much which separates them from each other. Never did members of the various Christian communions feel such tenderness for each other, yet never were the obstacles greater or stronger which divide them. What a melancholy thought is this,—and when will a better day come? …

'It seems to me the first step to any chance of unity amid our divisions, is for religious minds, one and all, to live upon the Gospels.'

'The Oratory: January 11th, 1873.
'I thank you for the copy of your Lecture, which I was glad to have. It seems to me to take the true and the normal way of meeting the infidelity of the age, by referring to Our Lord's Person and Character as exhibited in the Gospels. Philip said to Nathanael "Come and see"—that is just what the present free thinkers will not allow men to do. They perplex and bewilder them with previous questions, to hinder them falling under the legitimate rhetoric of His Divine Life, of His sacred words and acts. They say: "There is no truth because there are so many opinions," or "How do you know that the Gospels are authentic?" "How do you account for Papias not mentioning the fourth Gospel?" or "How can you believe that punishment is eternal?" or, "Why is there no stronger proof of the Resurrection?" With this multitude of questions in detail, they block the way between the soul and its Saviour, and will not let it "Come and see." [Note 5] {394}

'We act otherwise in matters of this world,—a judge says: "I am not satisfied with affidavits—I want to see the witnesses face to face." In the novel, the Duke of Argyll thought nothing better than to introduce Jenny Deans to her Majesty, and let her speak for herself. Such was the effect of Our Lord's presence that His hearers said: "Never did man speak like this man." But this is just what we should not be allowed to do at all, if these new lights had their way. All one can say is, that, miserable as it is, it is so unnatural, that I should think it cannot have success for any long time, but common sense will assert its sway over men's minds.

'I hope you will excuse me for thus running on. As to the remarks in your letter, I wish I saw as hopefully as you do the prospects of Christendom, relative to its mutual divisions. I can understand that infidelity has no vitality. But what will kill the vigorous life whereby those whom I agree with hold the Catholic Church to be the work of God and whereby other men consider it the work of the evil one? [Note 6] {395} God's grace can do all things—but how is either party to give up their own tenet on the point without losing their Christianity?'

But, though not hopeful as to the prospect of external union, Newman did see something hopeful in the growing desire for it.

'Sad as it is to witness the ineffectual yearnings after unity on all hands, of which you speak,' he writes in the following November, 'still it is hopeful also. We may hope that our good God has not put it into the hearts of religious men to wish and pray for unity, without intending in His own time to fulfil the prayer. And since the bar against unity is a conscientious feeling, and a reverence for what each party holds itself to be the truth, and a desire to maintain the Faith, we may humbly hope that in our day, and till He discloses to the hearts of men what the true Faith is, He will, where hearts are honest, take the will for the deed.'

There is a strain of similar hopefulness in the last letter of the correspondence which I have found, written a little more than a year later:

'Jan. 14, '75.
'It is indeed to me strange that, being as the world would say at your antipodes, still in those all-important points, about which you write, I should be one with you; and I rejoice in it as one compensation of the cruel overthrow of faith which we see on all sides of us, that, as the setting of the sun brings out the stars, so great principles are found to shine out, which are hailed by men of various religions as their own in common, when infidelity prevails.

'It rejoices me to find you insisting that emotions cannot stand of themselves and but presuppose an object, also that no man can worship, love, or trust in a probable God. Also, as you seem to argue in the case of Dr. Martineau that we cannot cut off half of Scripture, and believe the other half, when it is only the chance of our personal criticism taking this or that direction that has left that other half standing— {396} and your argument against him, as brought out in your letter, seems to me very strong, nor does he attempt to answer it in his.' [Note 7]

Thus Newman passed the time between 1871 and 1874, in writing to old friends and correspondents who sought his advice; in receiving occasional and welcome visits from them; in mourning and praying for those who year by year passed away, and preparing to join them when the inevitable summons should come; in reviewing and editing early writings and inserting comments and corrections [Note 8] so that he could leave them with a safe conscience to be read by the generations which would come after him. Of adding anything new to his published works he had no thought.

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1. 'Crux de cruce' was St. Malachi's motto for Pius IX. Leo XIII. was 'Lumen in Coelo'; Pius X. 'Ignis ardens'; his successor 'Religio depopulata.'
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2. The same view is presented in the Preface to the Via Media, published in 1877. Religion, Newman writes, is 'never in greater danger than when, in consequence of national or international troubles, the Schools of theology have been broken up and ceased to be ... I say, then, Theology is the fundamental and regulating principle of the whole Church system. It is commensurate with Revelation, and Revelation is the initial and essential idea of Christianity. It is the subject-matter, the formal cause, the expression, of the Prophetical Office, and, as being such, has created both the Regal Office and the Sacerdotal. And it has in a certain sense a power of jurisdiction over those offices, as being its own creations, theologians being ever in request and in employment in keeping within bounds both the political and popular elements in the Church's constitution,—elements which are far more congenial than itself to the human mind, are far more liable to excess and corruption, and are ever struggling to liberate themselves from those restraints which are in truth necessary for their well-being. On the one hand, Popes, such as Liberius, Vigilius, Boniface VIII., and Sixtus V., under secular inducements of the moment, seem from time to time to have been wishing, though unsuccessfully, to venture beyond the lines of theology; and on the other hand, private men of an intemperate devotion are from time to time forming associations, or predicting events, or imagining miracles, so unadvisedly as to call for the interference of the Index or Holy Office.'
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3. Some more letters on this subject will be found in the Appendix at p. 556.
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4. He had already written an important letter on another line of thought, touched on by its author in this volume and in a sermon:
'You indirectly touch upon what is so wonderful,' he wrote, 'and which men ought to consider more than they do, our Lord's clear announcement of what His religion was to do, and what it was not. It was to be a light upon a hill—it was to be a leaven—but it was to gather of every kind—it was to be the occasion of great scandals—it was to be a cause of discord—but it was never to fail; and so on. Put the gospels as late as the Antonines (for argument's sake), you cannot destroy the prophecy. Even if these were its realized initial characters before the gospels were written, yet how is it they continue to be such to this day? And so about the Old Testament, I want to see Davison's line of argument applied on a large scale to its books. There is an orderly growth of revelation, and a structure in the prophecies. Can any one believe that the books were all written after Ezra, or great part of them, so as to exhibit the scheme of progress intentionally? How is it, for instance, we do not find the doctrine of a future life in the Pentateuch, if it was garbled, interpolated, enlarged, at a late date?'
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5. Writing to another correspondent in the following year Newman carefully guards this view from possible exaggerations. 'Protestants maintain,' he writes, 'that Our Lord Himself is all in all—evidence and proof, as well as Object, of our faith; that we desire no better assurance that He is God Incarnate than is conveyed in His own voice, "It is I." This I put into their mouths, nor have I, as I think, said anything in the pages which follow in disapproval or depreciation of such an answer to my question.
'I may be wrong, but I think it is this that you mean in your letter by "experience"—or an experimental knowledge of Christ—and so far from at once putting it aside, I should myself consider that this personal hold upon Him is the immediate evidence of divine truth to every true consistent Christian, who has no need of having his answer in hand to every one of the multiform, many headed objections which from day to day he may hear urged against his faith.
'But I consider too that the Lover of Souls and Searcher of hearts has not thought it enough for us, has not felt it safe for our poor nature, to have no other safeguard for our faith than this. Religious experiences and convictions, when right, come from God—but Satan can counterfeit them, and those may feel assurances to which they have no claim, and, in matter of fact, men who have professed the most beautiful things and with the utmost earnestness and sincerity believed in their union with Our Lord, have often slipped away into one or other form of error on the grounds of their new inward experiences and convictions;—not only into one or other form of misbelief, but into scepticism and infidelity. Looking over the letters of acquaintances or strangers of past years, who are now unbelievers, I have before now come upon the expression of their faith and hope in Christ so simple and fervent, and of their experimental certitude so vivid, as to fill me at once with awe and tearful pity at the vision of such a change.
'Here it is that I see the wisdom and mercy of God in setting up a Catholic Church for the protection of His elect children. But it is enough to have carried my explanation thus far.'
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6. Newman opposed consistently an unreal ignoring of differences between the various confessions. 'You need not be afraid of hurting me by what you may say in contrariety to my own religious belief,' he writes a week later; 'I may think, as of course I do, that I am right and those who differ from me wrong—but it does not  mend matters for us to conceal our mutual differences—and nothing is more unmeaning, as well as more untrue, than compromises and comprehensions. Of course unreal, and but verbal differences do exist between religious men—but such are not the differences which exist between Catholics and their opponents. It would be best, if they did not exist—it is next best to confess them, plainly though in charity.'
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7. Some further letters indicating Newman's thoughts at this time on the prospect of a spread of infidelity and of the desirability of co-operation on the part of all Christians against it will be found at pp. 415 seq.
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8. The Plain and Parochial Sermons were Newman's first republication of his Anglican works. They were, at his request, edited by W. J. Copeland. His subsequent republications were edited by himself, but with notes when he considered that the text called for correction. 'You have been of the greatest use to me,' he writes to Copeland in April 1873, 'in the matter of the Sermons, and I only regret you have had so much trouble: but you have not had it for nothing. Unless you had broken the ice, I could have republished nothing which I wrote before 1845-6. The English public would not have borne any alterations—and my own people would have been much scandalized had I made none. They murmured a good deal at the new edition of the Sermons, as it was—but, since you, not I, published them, nothing could be said about it. After this beginning, I took courage to publish my Essay on Miracles, and the British Critic Essays, uncorrected, but with notes corrective of the text. This too made some disturbance, but very little. And then I published at Rivington's my University Sermons; and then I went on to mix Anglican and Catholic Essays together; and now I hear no criticisms on these measures at all—and I have even dedicated a volume of my Historical Sketches, half of it written as an Anglican, to an Irish Bishop.'
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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