Cardinal Newman on the Church: A Guide for the Perplexed by John Beaumont

A slighlty abridged version of this article appeared in the February, 1998 issue of Culture Wars magazine.

A Cardinal writes a reference

On 30th July 1884 Cardinal Newman wrote a letter to the Chief Inspector of the General Post Office in Birmingham. It was addressed from the Oratory in the same city, of which Newman was superior. In it he wrote in his own hand as follows:

Cardinal Newman has been asked to recommend Mr. William Louch for the office of letter carrier. He has much pleasure in doing so, inasmuch as he has known him from being in the choir since 1863, and he can certify that he has always been a most respectable, trustworthy, useful and punctual man1

Newman signed the letter "John Henry Cardinal Newman". It cannot have been often in the history of the Post Office that a man applying to be appointed as a postman has obtained a reference from a cardinal of the Holy Roman Church. History does not go on to record whether William Louch got the job, but with a testimonial like that the odds must have been heavily in his favour.2 Of course, there was at that time much anti-Catholic prejudice around, but the Cardinal was a well loved public figure at this late stage of his life.

It is entirely in Newman's character that he should write such a reference. Despite the many pressures he was under throughout his life, his collected letters contain not a few in which he remembers and takes care to deal with matters which cannot have seemed of the front rank in importance. And so J. W. Copeland, the benefactor who for several years supplied the fathers of the Oratory with their annual Christmas turkey, duly received each year a personal letter of thanks.3 The generous ladies who sent cakes (on the Feast of the founder of the Oratorians, St. Philip Neri) and greengages were treated likewise;4 whilst Newman never forgot to thank Jemima Mozley, wife of his good friend from Oxford days, John Mozley, for the regular gift of his favourite marmalade.5John Henry Cardinal Newman

In all, the 31 volumes of Newman's collected letters and diaries contain a fund of information about the life and times of the great cardinal and supply much testimony to his utmost integrity.6 Friends whose relatives' deaths had come to his notice (usually by way of the columns of The Times newspaper) were invariably sent a note of condolences and support. Individual achievements about which he had been informed were frequently the subject of a note to the fortunate person in question.

Although there are numerous examples of Newman's generosity of spirit, it is true to say that not all his correspondents were as fair to him in their turn. In reality, Newman had quite a lot to put up with from not a few of these people. For example, at regular intervals rumours would sweep round that he was unhappy in the Catholic Church and was about to return to Anglicanism. Now, it has always been a matter of some debate as to whether Newman's abilities were best used by Rome. Certainly a strong argument can be mounted to say that his treatment by certain official Catholic bodies left much to be desired. However, there is not a shred of evidence that he ever regretted leaving the Church of England7 or thought of returning to his earlier communion. In June 1862, after a whole series of newspapers had speculated on his future, Newman was forced to set the record straight.8 When one reads reports in the papers of that time that Newman was "living in Paris the unhappy life of a hopeless sceptic and a notorious scoffer at the Catholic Religion",9 one can understand the underlying frustration, and perhaps overstatement, in some of his letters. Here is an extract from one of them:

I have not had one moment's wavering of trust in the Catholic Church ever since I was received into her fold. I hold, and ever have held, that her Sovereign Pontiff is the centre of unity and the Vicar of Christ. And I ever have had, and have still, an unclouded faith in her creed in all its articles; a supreme satisfaction in her worship, discipline and teaching; and an eager longing and a hope against hope that the many dear friends whom I have left in Protestantism may be partakers of my happiness.

This being my state of mind, to add, as I hereby go on to do, that I have no intention, and never have had any intention, of leaving the Catholic Church and becoming a Protestant again, would be superfluous, except that Protestants are always on the look-out for some loophole or evasion in a Catholic's statement of fact. Therefore, in order to give them full satisfaction, if I can, I do hereby profess ex animo, with an absolute internal assent and consent, that Protestantism is the dreariest of possible religions; that the thought of the Anglican service makes me shiver, and the thought of the Thirty-nine Articles makes me shudder. Return to the Church of England! No; 'the net is broken and we are delivered'. I should be a consummate fool (to use a mild term) if in my old age I left "the land flowing with milk and honey" for the city of confusion and the house of bondage.10

To one over-enthusiastic correspondent Newman was led to say "I beg you not to publish any letter of mine. I can publish my own letters myself".11 Yet, as late as 1874 a newspaper was reporting that "at one time [Newman] was on the point of uniting with Dr. Dollinger and his party, required the earnest persuasion of several members of the Roman Catholic Episcopate to prevent him from taking that step".12 The reference is, of course, to Dr. Ignaz von Dollinger, the great ecclesiastical historian, who rejected the dogma of papal infallibility proclaimed by the First Vatican Council in 1870. The fact is that on a number of occasions Newman had made it quite clear that he did not agree with Dollinger's stance.

Since Newman's death, and particularly since the Second Vatican Council, it has sometimes seemed that there is nothing for which Newman's illustrious name cannot be put forward as a witness. It seems very often that he is treated as unfairly in death as he was on occasions in life. A remarkable instance is cited by Fr. Stanley Jaki in his contribution to a set of papers on Newman's contemporary influence.13 Jaki recounts how in a book by Charles Curran and his confreres14 Newman is quoted no fewer than six times in defence of dissent from the papal encyclical on birth control, Humanae Vitae!

Angel (c) Robert McGovern

Now, it is true that Newman is still thought of as something of a controversial figure. Those who wish to downplay the importance of papal authority regularly draw attention to the fact that he was certainly no ultramontane at a time when that view was fashionable. But, those who clutch at matters such as this are clutching at straws. We shall return to this issue, when it will be seen that there is nothing there to cast any doubt on Newman's orthodoxy and his loyalty to the see of Peter.

Newman as guide for today

Newman's writings, both his historical and theological works and his less formal responses to the hundreds of letters which he received, are in many respects as topical as when they were first written. What is more important in the present context is that they are of particular value to those trying to find a way through the crisis in the Catholic Church today. In respect of this crisis a lot has been written. Much has been done by a number of writers to show how it is part of a much bigger issue, namely the attack on the Catholic Church by what may be called the "new Enlightenment", an attack which is all the more serious in view of the role played by a fifth column in the Church itself, notably theologians who dissent from the teachings of the magisterium. A detailed analysis of this modern Kulturkampf can be found in the writings of E. Michael Jones, both in the pages of Culture Wars and Fidelity and elsewhere.15 The present writer has also considered these matters on a number of occasions.16 It is not the purpose of the present paper to look at them directly. Suffice it to say that Newman's writings provide no support for the modern version of the Enlightenment. On the contrary, even when Newman was battling in the realm of ideas against the anti-dogmatic principle as represented by liberalism, he avoided the opposite trap of rationalism; and, on a practical level, he foresaw "a spread of that plague of infidelity, that the Apostles and our Lord himself predicted as the worst calamity of the last times of the Church".17

The central focus of this paper is a related, if narrower, question, but one of equal importance in the present context. This is the question of how a good and faithful Catholic should react to the problems in the Church which have been created by this attack upon her. It is one thing to recognise the present culture war taking place in the Church; it is another to understand how one should react to it in a practical, day-to-day context. It is the purpose of this paper to explore this question and it is in this respect that Newman is of great assistance.

Even if we confine our enquiries to Newman's letters and diaries, there are many passages which are directly relevant to the problems of today. One might look at several areas of subject-matter to show this, but three are perhaps more important than the rest. These relate to the question of where the Church is to be found; of how corruption in the Church can be reconciled with the idea of the Church as holy; and the question of the papacy and its attributes. In all of these matters, if we follow Newman's wise counsel we shall be helped and strengthened in a way that will keep us faithful to the Church and her visible head on earth in these most difficult of times. Furthermore, the answers are not complex ones. That this should be the case will no doubt surprise some. Since the Second Vatican Council, attempts to explain the authentic Catholic approach to the problems in the Church have become more and more sophisticated. A minor industry of intellectual speculation has been created. But, the reference to "intellectuals" should already give us reason to hesitate. The true Catholic response to problems in the Church, and to the faith itself, is not something reserved for intellectuals to fathom.18 It just cannot be. As Elisabeth Anscombe puts it, in discussing some old forms of apologetics:

What about the 'faith of the simple'? They could not know all these things. Did they then have some inferior brand of faith? Surely not! And anyway, did those who studied really think they knew all these things?19

No, the answers to such questions have to be accessible to all by their very nature. They are ways of responding to difficulties in the Church, which flow naturally out of the very nature of the Church itself.

Newman and the location of the Church

In the last 30 years or so things have not been easy for those seeking to be faithful Catholics. The Church has been assailed from outside by the forces of secularism and indifferentism. As stated earlier, even from within the Church clerical witness to the faith has not always been as strong as it might have been. Having said this, one must always remember, of course, that in a very real sense the Church is always in crisis, as Our Lord himself stated that she would be. There will always be enemies ranged against her who wish to see her destruction. One has only to think, as Newman did, of the time in the tenth century when Marozia of the house of Theophylact was virtual ruler of the whole Latin Church; of the later period when Protestantism was dominant "from Scotland to the Gulf of Tarento";20 or of "when all religious as well as civil establishments had been overthrown and Napoleon kept Pius [VII] a close prisoner".21

Furthermore, the temptation has always been to think that one's own times are the worst that have ever been. Newman was also fully aware of this phenomenon:

In the times of Arianism the great men of the Church thought things too bad to last. So did Pope Gregory at the end of the 7th century; St. Romuald in the 11th; afterwards St. Vincent Ferrer, and I think Savonarola-and so on to our time.22

Even as an Anglican Newman saw clearly what has been referred to as a "theology of the vicissitudes of the Church, which, following the pattern of Crucifixion and Resurrection, dies in one place and one time only to rise to new life in another place and at another time":23

The whole course of Christianity from the but one series of troubles and disorders. Every century is like every other, and to those who live in it seems worse than all times before it. The Church is ever ailing...Religion seems ever expiring, schisms dominant, the light of truth dim, its adherents scattered. The cause of Christ is ever in its last agony.24

However, even allowing for this, it is almost certainly the case that there is today a coming together of a number of highly disturbing factors leading to problems rarely seen before in the history of the Church.25 The Dominican theologian, Fr. Aidan Nichols, has summed up the core of the problem in the following terms:

At the present time, the Catholic Church, in many parts of the world, is undergoing one of the most serious crises in its history, a crisis resulting from a disorienting encounter with secular culture and compounded by a failure of Christian discernment on the part of many people over the last quarter century-from the highest office-holders to the ordinary faithful. This crisis touches many aspects of Church life but notably theology and catechesis, liturgy and spirituality, Religious life and Christian ethics at large26

At long last, the progressivist attitude to the Church since the council can be seen for what it truly is: a spiritual break with the past in the Church, which leads to what is an inconsistent position for a Catholic to hold. As Nichols himself writes in another place:

[The] posture [of the progressives] is in fact spiritually schismatic vis-a-vis the past Church-a past Church which is the past of the present Church, and in that sense is the present Church, since the Church, if she be in truth the Church of the Word Incarnate and the Holy Spirit given at the first Pentecost, must be one and identical throughout her history.27

The persistent threat from progressivism or liberalism is, however, something which the Church has yet to deal with effectively in practice. What is certainly true is that the liberals would receive no support from Newman, who both predicted the havoc that they would cause and analyzed their errors.28There is, however, another form of error, one to which good Catholics are more likely to succumb.

Keys.gifThe point is that many good Catholics have been, not unnaturally, scandalized by all the problems in the Church. Some have reacted by taking steps which, for all practical purposes, have resulted in them cutting themselves off from the Church in their day-to-day activities. Some have attached themselves to one or other of various groupings, most of which have as a common theme the celebration of the old rite of Mass. The most notable of these is, of course, the Society of St. Pius X, which, at least according to its formal statements, states that it recognises the papacy of John Paul II. Other people have gone formally down the sedevacantist road in that they have ended up by denying that Pope John Paul II is a true pope. Amongst these are the Thuc-ites, the Kelley-ites and the not inconsiderable number of other such independent groupings. Some of these have even sought out their own new "pope".29 All of these groupings lay claim to the term "traditionalist Catholic" in describing themselves, a term which can be misleading.30

As we shall see, none of these alternatives is the way for a Catholic in the present situation. But, some good people, who have been appalled by some of the things that have gone on in the last thirty years, not unnaturally are worried and concerned. "Where is the Church to be found?" they ask. Now, one can certainly sympathise with those who have had to put up with the abuses that have taken place. However, this does not mean that those who purport to defend tradition can throw that tradition over, or pick and choose which parts of it they are going to accept, when things are going badly. In any case, as Newman says at one point in his correspondence:

[T]he infallible Church, while she always appeals to tradition, is the true judge and interpreter of it, not you or I.31

The tried and trusted Catholic method still applies in the most inauspicious of circumstances. And in truth there is a simple, and long standing, test of where the Church is. And this is where we come back directly to Newman.

In January 1870, Mr. S. S. Shiel, who was not a Catholic, wrote from Seacombe to Newman indicating that he had difficulties of faith.32 It is clear that these revolved around the question of the Church and how to identify it. Newman's answer is simple and clear as all good apologetics should be. In his letter to Mr. Shiel, Newman explains that in scripture and in the early Fathers we are told that we must join the church, which is shown to be a visible body. But, which of the available bodies is one to join?

As to the question "Which is the Church of Christ?" Of course it would puzzle anyone-but there is a question which would puzzle no one. In the Creed we profess belief in "the Catholic Church. "Now then go into any town, and ask for "the Catholic Church", and you know whither you would be directed33

What Newman is doing here is to apply the classic test insisted upon by the Fathers of the Church. He himself refers to the well-known words of St. Cyril of Jerusalem in the fourth century:

If you go into any city do not ask merely, "Where is the Church, or House of God?" because the heretics pretend to have this: but ask, "Which is the Catholic Church?" because this title belongs alone to our Holy Mother.34

To much the same effect are the words of St. Augustine of Hippo, writing in the early part of the fifth century:

Many things detain me in the bosom of the Catholic Church-the very name of Catholic detains me in it, which she has so happily preserved amidst the different heretics; that whereas they are all desirous of being called Catholics, yet, if any stranger were to ask them "Which is the assembly of the Catholics?" none of them would dare to point out his own place of worship.35

This line of argument is just as valid today as it was at the time of St. Cyril, St. Augustine, and Newman of course.36 Suppose then that a supporter of one of the independent groupings referred to earlier is on holiday in an unfamiliar town and looking for the Mass Centre served by priests of that group. He or she asks a policeman, or some passer-by, "Where is the Catholic Church in this town?" If he does he will be directed to the local Catholic Church within the Catholic diocese for the area in question, which itself of course is in communion with the Holy See. And this is something which none of these groupings can say about the church or Mass Centre for which they are looking. One only has to imagine the possible conversation with the aforesaid policeman, "No, we don't want that church, we want the real Catholic church, the one that has kept the traditions and not sold out to Vatican II, the one linked [say] to Archbishop Lefebvre." This just won't work. The implication which this sort of statement gives is that not only are there bad things in the Church, but that the Church has defected from the faith. When people say, as some do, that the magisterium officially teaches heresy, that the hierarchy commands and legislates in favour of heresy, and that the pope authorises a rite of Mass that is doctrinally flawed and intrinsically harmful to the faithful, this is what they are implying.

Now, if what they say is true, this would be far more serious than people who say these things probably appreciate. This is because it would mean that the promises of Christ have failed and therefore also that his body, the Church, has failed. If this position is adopted, then groups like the Society of St. Pius X, which purports to recognise the present pope and yet rejects his decisions and teaching, even when these are given with the apostolic authority of Peter, certainly cannot provide the solution. If the Church has defected, then the Lefebvrist position falls as well. Agnosticism, atheism, or some other religion, would be the only solution.

However, if in reality the Church has not defected, and we know as Catholics that she cannot, then one needs to be in communion with her-and groups such as the Society of St. Pius X are not. Of course, the Society will almost certainly deny this, but then so do such as the Anglo-Catholics, to whom in this respect they bear a singular resemblance. The problem which both have is that communion is a two-way process under which a person or organisation is in communion with the Pope and is recognised as such by him. In the case of the late Archbishop Lefebvre, the founder of the Society of St. Pius X, the evidence is very clear of this lack of recognition by the Holy See. Before the episcopal consecrations in 1988 Archbishop Lefebvre's name was in the official Vatican Yearbook as evidence that he was recognised as a Catholic bishop. However, his name was excluded from each of the editions of the Yearbook since that time up to his death in 1991. This shows clearly that after the schismatic consecrations he was regarded by the Apostolic See as no longer a Catholic bishop. Similarly, the exclusion of the co-consecrator in 1988, Bishop Castro de Mayer, and of the four bishops consecrated then (and the additional one consecrated in Campos in 1992), shows the non-acceptance of these by the Catholic Church.

The present writer has written on a number of occasions about the status of the Society of St. Pius X.37 All that it is necessary to say for present purposes is that the Society operates these days as a completely autonomous organisation with its own independent structures-independent, that is, from Rome. In this respect it would have gained no support from Newman.38

In respect of the indefectibility of the Church, the sedevacantist position at least takes seriously the Catholic teaching on this question. In doing so, however, it comes up against enormous problems of its own. If the pope and the bishops have lost office, as the sedevacantists maintain, what becomes of the Church? There are sedevacantist bishops in various places around the world, but these are not a united, hierarchical body visible as the Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ. Where then is the living Church and magisterium today? In addition, sedevacantists purport to decide (amongst a host of other questions) that John Paul II is not pope; that the teachings of Vatican II are false; and that the sacraments promulgated by Rome are either invalid or doubtful. But what or who gives them the authority and commission to decide these questions? The answer is clear: nothing and no one.39

Corruption and the Church

It may be, however, that those who keep close to the Church and remain in communion with her still consider that something has gone wrong today. What worries them (and it is understandable in the light of the seriousness of the problems in the Church) is not so much the question of where the Church is, but rather how the recognition of this Church as having been founded by our divine Lord can be squared with the bad things that sometimes go on there. Well, this is not a new question, but rather one that has been posed again and again throughout the history of the Church. Once again we can learn much by looking at the way this problem was tackled by John Henry Newman, when it was put to him. And this is where we come to the redoubtable Lady Chatterton.

Henrietta Georgina Marcia Lascelles Iremonger was the only child of Lascelles Iremonger, Prebendary of Winchester, and his second wife Harriett, youngest sister of Admiral Lord Gambier, whose sister was a close relative by marriage of Pitt the Elder. In 1824 Henrietta Georgina married Sir William Abraham Chatterton, baronet, of Castle Mahon, County Cork, who lost his rents in the Irish famine. During the rest of her life Lady Chatterton produced a series of stories, poems and translations of other works. Her husband died in 1855. Four years later she married Edward Heneage Dering, but continued to be known as Lady Chatterton. In June 1863 she wrote to Newman, stating that she possessed "a firm conviction of the truth of the Christian Revelation".40 However, one difficulty remained for her, best expressed by Newman himself in his reply to her: "Why the present Catholic Church should be in many respects so unlike what she should expect and wish it to be?".41

Now, this is a point made by many prospective converts. If the Church is, in the words of the creed, holy, then why does much that seems to be harmful and a world away from Christ come from Christians and seemingly from the Church herself. Now, this issue is not merely one of importance in respect of those who are not yet Catholics, but are contemplating converting to the faith, as was the case with Lady Chatterton. It is also of importance in respect of Catholics of all kinds who are tempted to leave the Church on the grounds that she is responsible for bad things and is not always a force for good.

This reaction can come from both sides of the spectrum of belief. One need only look at the famous example of Fr. Charles Davis, a leading English theologian in the '60s and one who was certainly no conservative, who suddenly left the Church in 1967, saying, amongst other things, that she was corrupt.42 However, there are also some amongst those who refer to themselves as "traditionalist Catholics" who, as we have seen, have reacted to abuses and scandals in the Church by moving away from communion with their local bishop and with Rome, joining up with independent groups, some avowedly sedevacantist, others maintaining that John Paul II is pope but refusing to obey him in some of his official acts. Such events are always sad and raise issues of fundamental importance in the life of the Church.

There are a number of ways of expressing the issues here. We know as a part of Catholic doctrine that one of the notes of the Church is that she is holy. By this is meant that the Church teaches a holy doctrine, offers to all the means to holiness and is distinguished by the holiness of so many of her faithful.

The held, as a matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy. This is because Christ, the Son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is hailed as "alone holy", loved the Church as his Bride, giving himself up for her so as to sanctify her; he joined her to himself as his body and endowed her with the gift of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God.43

How does Newman respond to the challenge put to him by Lady Chatterton? Certainly not by a refusal to face uncomfortable facts. There has on occasion been a tendency amongst Catholic apologists to attempt to argue that it was all a bit of a mistake, that many of these uncomfortable facts in the life of the Church simply did not take place or, if they did, they were grossly exaggerated. It has even been known for writers to attempt to argue that figures like Alexander VI in reality led lives of some sanctity and that all the stories against them were malicious falsehoods and some kind of Judaeo-Masonic plot. Not only is this kind of approach shortsighted. It also sins against the truth.

All of this Newman fully appreciated, as becomes immediately apparent in his reply to Lady Chatterton's inquiry. Newman does not deny that what she is saying is true. In fact, in his reply he himself asserts as a fact that the face of the visible Church is very often disappointing and, in a certain sense, a scandal. Here is what he says:

I do not believe that there was ever a time when the gravest scandals did not exist in the Church, and act as impediments to the success of its mission. Those scandals have been the occasion of momentous secessions and schisms; in the earlier times, of the Novatian, the Donatist, the Luciferian; in latter of Protestantism and Jansenism.44

Eucharist.gifIf one just concentrates on clerics, and leaves out the words and deeds of lay people, many appalling things have been said and done by them. At the Council of Constance, John Hus (who had presented himself after having been assured of safe conduct) was ceremonially condemned by the bishops and then burned alive, his body, after his death, being pushed further into the flames to ensure its complete reduction to ashes! I think that will stand as a fair example of bad behavior! As far as doctrine is concerned, priests have often said quite ludicrous things. Perhaps it is true that some of their statements are even sillier today than they have sometimes been in the past. All that this probably means is that, as they inevitably imbibe the spirit of the age (none of us is immune from this) they suffer more than in the past, since we live in an age wedded to trivialities. But, bad though it is, our time does not have a monopoly on such activities.

The point is, as Newman went on to explain in his letter to Lady Chatterton, that in spite of these scandals, much can be said in support of the Church. He highlights three points:

[1] It is also a fact that, in spite of them still, the Church has ever got on and made way, to the surprise of the world; as an army may fight a series of bloody battles, and lose men, and yet go forward from victory to victory. On the other hand the seceding bodies have sooner or later come to nought.45

[2] [O]ur Lord distinctly predicted these scandals as inevitable; nay further, He spoke of His Church as in its very constitution made up of good and bad, of wheat and weeds, of the precious and the vile. One out of His twelve Apostles fell, and one of the original seven deacons. Thus a Church, such as we behold, is bound up with the very idea of Christianity.46

[3] [A]t least from St. Augustine's day, the fact has been so fully recognised in the Church, as to become a doctrine, and almost a dogma, admitted by all; and never considered in consequence at all to interfere with that Sanctity which is one of her four Notes.47

What Newman said then is just as relevant now. I'm afraid that Our Lord made no promises that the apostolic succession would not include hireling shepherds, who would promote grossly unchristian attitudes, modes of behavior, and even beliefs. Only one guarantee was given and that is that if we kept the bond of unity with the Church we would be able to place entire confidence in the Church's solemn pronouncements on the content of the faith.48 Remember, of course, that the doctrine of the infallibility of the Church's magisterium is not affected by what individual priests or even whole groups of theologians may say.

All that is being stated here is, of course, what Catholic tradition says. The saints also testify in exactly the same way. Not a few of them were very badly treated by the Church at different times. Their response was always to remain within the Church and, in particular, to remain in communion with the Vicar of Christ. The idea that just when the barque of Peter is tossed by the roughest seas we should abandon ship and leave her would have been unthinkable for them.Flag Waver (c) Robert McGovern

In further correspondence with Lady Chatterton, Newman takes up another issue, which he analyses in more detail in his more formal writings, namely the way in which inevitably a divine system (the Church) becomes mixed up with human weakness and corruption.

Christianity was intended for whole populations; now a popular religion is necessarily deformed by the errors and bad taste of the multitude. As the religion of barbarous times will ever be fierce and superstitious, as the religion of the schools will ever tend to be subtle and pedantic, so the religion of a nation will ever partake of the peculiar faults of the national character. The most sublime truths take a vulgar shape and bear a forbidding aspect, when reflected back by the masses of human society-nay, often cannot be made intelligible to them, or at least cannot be made to reach them, till thrown into words or actions which are offensive to educated minds. The Church cannot countenance any such misstatement of the truth, much less any degradation or depravation of it-yet, when it has actually taken place, she may find it quite impossible to root out the tares without rooting out the wheat with them-and is obliged to let them grow together till the harvest. At least, she is obliged to be patient,and waits her time - hoping that an evil will at length die of itself-or again that some favourable opportunity may occur, when she may be able to do what she has no means of doing at present.49

In his lectures on Difficulties of Anglicans Newman gives some extremely amusing examples of the way that a people's religion will inevitably be one involving contrasts in behaviour. Here is one example:

You enter into one of the churches close upon the scene of festivity...there is a feeble old woman, who first genuflects before the Blessed Sacrament, and then steals her neighbour's handkerchief, or prayer book, who is intent on his devotions. Here at last, you say, is a thing absolutely indefensive and inexcusable. Doubtless; but what does it prove? Does England bear no thieves? Or do you think this...poor creature an unbeliever? Or do you exclaim against Catholicism, which has made her so profane?50

As Fr. Joseph Tolhurst has pointed out, "it is precisely because the Church must be a religion of the multitude, with all that the word implies, that it produces out of its net both good and bad".51

The point which Newman wishes to emphasise is that a people's religion is always by its very nature a corrupt religion in spite of the efforts of the Church. The treasury of the truth, which the Church possesses, is in the hands of corrupt human nature and therefore is used in a sacrilegious way. As St. Paul says, the treasure is in earthen vessels (2 Cor. 4:7). Far from adopting a triumphalist stance in this respect, Newman is prepared to assert that a Catholic is typically capable of much greater sin than a Protestant:

[S]ince the world is ever corrupt, therefore when it has poured into the Church, it has insulted and blasphemed the religion which it professed in a special manner, in which heathenism cannot insult it. I grant that a Protestant world cannot commit that sin which a Catholic world can-as Angels could sin with an intensity of their own because they saw the face of God, and as those who "have tasted of the heavenly gift and the powers of the world to come", can fall away as they cannot who have not fallen except in Adam (3 Heb. 6:4).52

As Fr. Ian Ker has expressed it in another place,53 this is an example of the old principle that the corruption of the best is the worst. From this it also follows, given the claims which the Catholic Church makes, that one should not be surprised to find the worst of scandals at high places in the Church. Newman himself expresses this in relation to the papacy:

[W]here you have power, you will have the abuse of power-and the more absolute, the stronger, the more sacred the power, the greater and more certain will be its abuse.54

A Corrupt World

Since a corrupt world pours into the Church it may be added at this stage that a particular malign influence of this corrupt world may come from politics. As Newman famously put it, "a large society, such as the Church, is necessarily a political power, and to touch politics is to touch pitch"55

The effect of fallen humanity on the Church in this way is at the heart of Newman's explanation of the fact that general councils of the Church are invariably accompanied by unsavoury behaviour and are often slow to produce fruits within the Church:

I suppose in all Councils there has been intrigue, violence, management, because the truth is held in earthen vessels [II Cor. 4:7]. but God over rules.56

Of course, in one's treatment of these questions one must not be excessively negative. One must speak the truth and in the case of the Catholic Church and its history the truth comprises also much that is positive. It is, of course, easy to take for granted the positive things that the Church gives us. There is the day-to-day administration of the sacraments, the dispensing of Christ to his people, plus the Christian witness given by so many unsung persons. It is easy also to concentrate on what is bad in the Church and ignore the good things. In his voluminous correspondence Newman does not fall into this trap. He never forgets to emphasise the true sanctity within the Church's life.

[T]he outburst of Saints in 1500-1600 after the monstrous corruption seems to me one of the great arguments for Christianity. It is the third marvellous phenomenon in its history; the conversion of the Roman Empire, the reaction under Hildebrand, the resurrection under Ignatius, Teresa, Vincent and a host of others. Think of the contrast between Alexander VI and Pius V, think of the Cardinals of the beginning, and then those of the end of the 16th century.57

It would easy show how Christianity has raised the moral standard, tone, and customs of human society; and it must be recollected that for 1500 years Christianity and the Catholic Church are in history identical. The care and elevation of the lower classes, the championship of the weak against the powerful, the abolition of slavery, hospitals, the redemption of captives, education of children, agriculture, literature, the cultivation of the virtues of piety, devotion, justice, charity, chastity, family affection, are all historical monuments to the influence and teaching of the Church.58

In a similar way Newman, whilst recognising the scandalous lives of some popes, albeit a minority, goes on to state that Catholics not only concede this, but actually "glory in it", since it shows "the Divine Care of the Church, that, even in the case of those very men, the See of Peter spoke truth, not falsehood".59 In other words, he shows how it is necessary to distinguish between doctrine and behaviour. Infallibility is one thing, impeccability another.60

Questions from correspondents about the darker side of the Church are very common in Newman's collected letters and diaries. This should be no cause for surprise, since such matters constitute real difficulties for earnest enquirers into the case for the Catholic Church, just as the problem of suffering and evil is frequently a stumbling block for those enquiring into the case for theism. Newman's method of dealing with the question of evil in the Church is utterly consistent, as can be seen in the following reply to an enquiry:

As to your not being able to see the splendours of the Church, as some persons represent them, I do not wonder-for 'the King's daughter is all glorious within -' the best of us have sin enough. The Bride of Christ is holy, but each of her children has a bad side as well as a good (if a good) and he wears his bad side outside. Do not forget the parable of the tares-of the net-and that 'many are called, few chosen'. Of course there is, and has ever been, an abundance of evil-and that in Popes as well as in others; and Popes have made great mistakes-and Popes have said and done heretical things-though they were not heretics, and did not say and do them as Popes. Pope Liberius, for instance, when he gave up St. Athanasius, did it under constraint, when he wished to get back from exile, and was in the hands of the Arians. This was not an act of his as Pope, ex Cathedra, but as an individual, and as an erring one.61

To sum up then, what we may learn here is that when someone cites a list of abuses that have taken place in the Church there is no need to rush into a denial of them. Newman is quite capable, when necessary, to make narrower points such as the way that the popes on the whole did their best to oppose the Spanish Inquisition, which was a government and national concern.62 But, from an apologetic point of view, it may be far more effective if one assumes for sake of argument that the critic of the Church is right on many of his complaints. After all, he may well be; and the line of response is not affected in principle by the fact that some of his statements may be exaggerated. The point is, however, that although the abuses referred to may be deplorable, they are in fact no argument against the claims of the Church.

The Papacy63

Unlike the case of some converts, the papacy did not figure as the central factor in Newman's conversion. As he pointed out to a number of correspondents, he did not become a Catholic directly as a result of a belief in papal infallibility or on the ground that "ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia".64 We shall have cause to say more about Newman's position vis-a-vis the papacy later, but for now what needs to be emphasised is that the papacy and its prerogatives did not act as the route into the Church for Newman. It was rather the other way round:

What I believe about the Pope, I believe, as I believe any other doctrine, - because the Church teaches it - but, for me, the Church directs me to the Pope not the Pope directs me to the Church65

Its communion with the see of St. Peter is not a 'Note of the Church'. How then do I know which is the true Church? I know it by the tokens of its unity, its apostolicity, its pretensions etc etc. I admit that there are able men who have been led into the Church through belief in the Pope's prerogatives. But a man need not believe in the jus divinum of the see of St. Peter in order to submit himself to the church which is in communion with it. This was my own case. I did not distinctly believe in the jus divinum of the Holy See till I joined the Church. I then believed in it as I believed in any other doctrine of the Church, because she was the Church, the oracle of Christ. I believed in the seven sacraments forthwith, because she taught them de fide; and for the same reason I believed in the jus divinum of the Papacy forthwith66

What brought Newman into the Church was not the infallibility of the pope, or union with Rome, but rather the visible identity of the ancient Church with the present Roman communion, something which, of course, he developed in his more formal writing.67

As to the dogma of the infallibility of the pope, it is well known that Newman thought its promulgation at that time (i.e., the First Vatican Council of 1870) to be inexpedient. This is, however, no reason whatsoever for suspecting Newman to have been some sort of progressive. On numerous occasions he made it clear that he had held the doctrine ever since he had become a Catholic and so had no difficulty in accepting it once it had been formally defined.68

My own reading before I was a Catholic strongly impressed me with the belief that as early as the 5th century St. Leo acted as no Pope could have acted unless he was infallible. Long before that, in the 3rd century, Pope Dionysius claimed to act and was obeyed, in matters in which he could not have acted unless he had been generally considered infallible. Of course it is a difficult thing to determine when it is that he acted ex cathedra - and whether a particular subject is one in which, from its nature, he is infallible - but these difficulties in detail do not interfere with the abstract truth69

Once again for Newman it was the Church that comes first, not the pope. The infallibility of the pope was something which must be derived from the infallibility of the Church.70

Where Newman remains particularly relevant today in respect of the papacy and the successor of St. Peter relates not to the infallibility of the pope, but to the question of obedience to him. There are many today, and not only in the liberal camp, who try to argue that it is only on matters touching upon faith and morals, and only where such things have been defined, that he must be obeyed. The argument goes on to assert that in relation to matters not involving faith and morals, and on matters of discipline, the pope need not be obeyed. This enables the liberals to encourage people to go their own way on a number of issues and generally to weaken the authority of the pope and thereby that of the Church. But, a similar approach enables those who purport to be of a conservative bent to promote Medjugorje and similar matters having a veneer of piety about them. It also allows those who call themselves traditionalists to go their own way in matters of liturgical practice. In reality, however, Newman would not have supported these people in any way and would have been appalled at their disobedience to authority. Ample evidence of this can be gleaned from his collected letters and diaries.

Deeply do I feel, ever will I protest, for I can appeal to the ample testimony of history to bear me out, that, in questions of right and wrong, there is nothing really strong in the whole world, nothing decisive and operative, but the voice of him, to whom have been committed the keys of the kingdom and the oversight of Christ's flock. That voice is now, as ever it has been, a real authority, infallible when it teaches, prosperous when it commands, ever taking the lead wisely and distinctly in its own province, adding certainty to what is probable and persuasion to what is certain. Before he speaks, the most saintly may mistake; and after it has spoken, the most gifted must obey...71

It should be clear that Newman is not here confining his remarks about the obligation to obey to things declared ex cathedra, but the point can be made even clearer (and in view of the crisis of authority in the Church today, it would be best to do so) by looking at another passage in the letters and diaries. It is with words that go straight to the heart of the issues confronting us today that Newman sets out the Catholic position:

I say with Cardinal Bellarmine whether the Pope be infallible or not in any pronouncement, anyhow he is to be obeyed. No good can come from disobedience. His facts and his warnings may be all wrong; his deliberations may have been biased. He may have been misled. Imperiousness and craft, tyranny and cruelty, may be patent in the conduct of his advisers and instruments. But when he speaks formally and authoritatively he speaks as our Lord would have him speak, and all those imperfections and sins of individuals are overruled for that result which our Lord intends (just as the action of the wicked and of enemies to the Church are overruled) and therefore the Pope's word stands and a blessing goes with obedience to it, and no blessing with disobedience72
All that Newman is doing here is to reflect the standard teaching of the Church, expressed most authoritatively in the teaching of the First Vatican Council:
We teach and declare...that by the disposition of the Lord, the Roman Church possesses preeminence of ordinary power above all the Churches; and that this power of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, which is truly episcopal, is immediate. This power obligates shepherds and faithful of every rite and dignity, both individually and collectively, to hierarchical subordination and true obedience, not only in matters pertaining to faith and morals, but also in those pertaining to the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world; so that by maintaining with the Roman Pontiff unity of communion and unity in profession of the same faith, the Church of Christ may be one flock under one supreme Shepherd. This is the teaching of Catholic truth. No one can deviate from it without danger to faith73

This means that faithful Catholics may not reject authentic Church teachings or disciplinary measures even though they may honestly believe them to be against the interests of the Church. They may not be infallible, but they are binding. So we cannot just reject the Pauline rite of Mass and go off and sign up with some independent priest dedicated to say only the old rite of Mass. It may be that aesthetically the old rite is superior, although questions of aesthetics are always difficult ones to answer. Certainly Newman's writings give us no warrant at all for picking and choosing amongst the conciliar texts or rejecting the present liturgical discipline. There is, of course, much confusion over the status of liturgical rites and the status of what many traditionalists blithely refer to as merely a "pastoral" council. These matters have been dealt with elsewhere.74

Those who wish to play down Newman's approach to the authority of the pope often refer to some oft-quoted words of his from the Letter to the Duke of Norfolk that "if I am obliged to bring religion into after-dinner toasts...I shall drink - to the Pope, if you please - still, to Conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards".75 Such people rarely go on to make the point that a person's conscience must first be properly formed; and examined in the light of the magisterium's teaching on a particular point. In addition to these points, made by Newman himself, it is also rarely stated that as well as referring to the toast "to conscience first and to the pope afterwards" Newman denounced in no uncertain terms that "miserable counterfeit [conscience]...which now goes by the name".76 With regard to those dissident theologians today who attempt to claim Newman's support, Fr. Stanley Jaki explains what Newman's answer to such people would be:

He would challenge them to appear with him in the Court of Conscience, which he rightly held high as the ultimate and supreme forum, provided it was not a mere fancy, whim, and social fashion. There he would ask them whether it was not he who wrote in connection with the See of Peter that even when it speaks outside its special province and errs 'it has in all cases a claim to our obedience'77

In a penetrating study of Newman's treatment of conscience in his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, John Finnis concludes as follows:

Newman's toast has made its way in the world quite divorced from its context - ...reverence for the truth of divine law disclosed by conscience; 'generous loyalty towards ecclesiastical authority' which 'a true Catholic...must have', 'accept[ing] what is taught him with what is called the pietas fidei'...; the horror of false consciousness, that 'miserable counterfeit'...masking self-will78

Those who put forward Cardinal Newman as opposing papal authority are skating on very thin ice indeed. Here is another text among many which might be cited:

In the midst of our difficulties I have one ground of hope, just one stay, but, as I think, a sufficient one, which serves me in the stead of all other argument whatever, which hardens me against criticism, which supports me if I begin to despond, and to which I ever come round, when the question of the possible and the expedient is brought into discussion. It is the decision of the Holy See; St. Peter has spoken, it is he who has enjoined that which seems to us so unpromising. He has spoken and has a claim on us to trust him. He is no recluse, no solitary student, no dreamer about the past, no doter upon the dead and gone, no projector of the visionary. He for eighteen hundred years has lived in the world; he has seen all fortunes, he has encountered all adversaries, he has shaped himself for all emergencies. If ever there was a power on earth who had an eye for the times, who has confined himself to the practicable, and has been happy in his anticipations, whose words have been facts, and whose commands prophecies, such is he in the history of ages, who sits from generation to generation in the Chair of the Apostles, as the Vicar of Christ, and the Doctor of his Church. These are not words of rhetoric, gentlemen, but of history. All who take part with the Apostle are on the winning side. He has long since given warrant for the confidence which he claims. From the first he has looked through the wide world of which he has the burden; and, according to the need of the day and the inspiration of his Lord, he has set himself now to one thing, now to another; but to all in season, and to nothing in vain79


Those who follow the way of Cardinal Newman, then, will know how to respond to the crisis in the Church today. They will keep the faith, stay in the Church, though aware of its human imperfections, and remain close to the successor of St. Peter who by the command of Our Lord is that centre of visible unity within the Church. If one could but add to this that deep spirituality evidenced so clearly by Newman throughout his life, then one would be blessed indeed. But, that is another story, perhaps for another time.

John Beaumont was until recently Head of the School of Law at Leeds Metropolitan University

Notes and primary sources:

1 Dessain et al (ed), The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman (referred to hereinafter as Letters and Diaries), Vol. XXX, p.387.

2 Newman's collected letters and diaries contain a recommendation of a similar kind in respect of one John Higgins who had looked after the Oratory's garden and later applied for a job as a caretaker (see Vol. XXXI, p.253). Again, we have no knowledge as to whether his application was successful.

3 See Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXIII, p.386; Vol. XXIV, p.393; Vol. XXV, p.449; Vol. XXVI, p.396.

4 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XX, p.452; Vol. XXI, p.218. In the case of the cakes, Newman sent a poem composed by William Neville, later to become his secretary and literary executor, as a form of thanks.

5 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XX, p.419; Vol. XXI, p.101.

6 It should not be thought that Newman was without faults. He could be unduly sensitive at times and was sometimes slow to forgive the faults of others. What is undoubtedly true, however, is that his virtues far outweighed any faults. For an example of a harsh verdict on Newman, see Gray, Cardinal Manning (1985), pp.54-55; 178-179. For a more balanced assessment, see Newsome The Convert Cardinals (1993), pp.368-374.

7 In fact evidence to the contrary is available in the Letters and Diaries. See, for example, Vol. XXIV, p.6; Vol. XXV, p.90; and Vol. XXVII, p.334.

8 See Letters and Diaries, Vol. XX, pp.202-203; 208-209; 215-221.

9 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XX, p.208, n.1; see also p.209.

10 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XX, p.216. For another example of the expression of similar sentiments, see Vol. XIX, p.111.

11 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXV, p.163.

12 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXVII, p.157.

13 Jaki, 'Newman's Assent to Reality', in Jaki (ed), Newman Today (1989), p.220.

14 Curran et al, Dissent in and for the Church: Theologians and Humanae Vitae (1969).

15 Jones, John Cardinal Krol and the Cultural Revolution (1995); see also, inter alia, Van Inwagen, 'Quam Dilecta', in Morris (ed), God and the Philosophers (1994), p.31, at pp.49-59; Van Inwagen, 'Non Est Hick', in God, Knowledge and Mystery (1995), p.191, at pp.206-207.

16 Beaumont, 'Kulturkampf and the Gospel', Culture Wars, Vol. 16, No. 1, December 1996, p.16; 'The Liturgy and the New Enlightenment', Culture Wars, Vol. 16, No. 3, February 1997, p.40; 'Bauhaus Architecture and the Catholic Church', Culture Wars, Vol. 16, No. 4, March 1997, p.26.

17 See Newman's sermon at the opening of St. Bernard's Seminary, Olton, 2nd October 1873, published in Dessain (ed), Catholic Sermons of Cardinal Newman (1957), p.117.

18 It is interesting to note that just after the promulgation of the dogma of papal infallibility by the fathers of Vatican I, Newman wrote as follows to a friend about the situation in Germany:

The bulk of the lower class people (Catholics) follow the Pope. The professors and literary men go much further than Dollinger - they either are for a schism or for simple indifferentism (Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXV, p.412).

19 Anscombe, 'Faith', in Collected Papers, Vol. III (1981), p.114.

20 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXVIII, p.91.

21 Ibid.

22 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXVII, p.256.

23 Ker, 'Newman and the Post Conciliar Church', in Jaki (ed), Newman Today (1989), p.121.

24 The Via Media, Vol. I, pp.354-355.

25 Still perhaps the most profound analysis of the problems faced by the modern Church is contained in the interview between Vittorio Messori and Cardinal Ratzinger, published as The Ratzinger Report (1985).

26 'A Catholic View of Orthodoxy', New Blackfriars, Vol. 77 (1996), p.264, at p.265.

27 Scribe of the Kingdom (1994) Vol. I, p.24.

28 See, amongst many other texts, O'Connell, 'Newman and Liberalism', in Jaki (ed), Newman Today (1989), p.79; Jaki, The Keys of the Kingdom (1986), pp.160-163.

29 See Beaumont, 'Sedevacantist Odyssey: Fr. Dan Jones Discovers a Pope', Fidelity, Vol. 14, No. 1, December 1994, pp.29-40.

30 Those using the term tend to divide into two different categories of people. There are those Catholics who are in full communion with the Holy See and are not associated with any schismatic movements, yet are spiritually attached to the previous liturgical forms. Such persons are to be distinguished from those who support groupings which in their day-to-day activities operate autonomously and retain no links with Rome.

31 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXIV, p.339.

32 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXV, pp.13-14.

33 Letters and Diaries, Vol. Vol. XXV, p.14.

34 Catech., XVIII, 26.

35 Contra Epist Fundamen., c.5.

36 The same argument was used by Newman on a number of occasions, cf. Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXIX, p.291.

37 See Beaumont and Walsh, 'Schism, Obedience and the Society of St. Pius X', Fidelity, Vol. 12, No. 10, October 1993, pp.30-44; Beaumont and Walsh, 'The Story of the Vanishing Schism: The Strange Case of Cardinal Lara', Fidelity, Vol. 13, No. 4, March 1994, pp.34-42; Beaumont, 'The Vanishing Schism Revisited', Fidelity, Vol.15, No.11, November 1996, pp.5-15.

38 It is interesting to note the judgment of Newman's most notable modern biographer, Fr. Ian Ker, stated, "Newman could have predicted the rise of both Archbishop Lefebvre and Professor Kung and he would have enthusiastically endorsed the condemnations by Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II of both "integralism" and "progressivism" ('Newman and the Post Conciliar Church', in Jaki (ed) Newman Today (1989), p.126).

39 See generally Newman's Apologia Pro Vita Sua, Part V.

40 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XX, p.464, n.4.

41 Ibid, p.465.

42 See A Question of Conscience (1967).

43 Lumen Gentium, para. 39.

44 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XX, p.465.

45 Ibid.

46 Ibid. See also Vol. XXVIII, pp.128; 223.

47 Ibid.

48 A clear analysis of many of the themes discussed here is to be found in Dummett, 'A Remarkable Consensus' in New Blackfriars, Vol. 68 (1987), pp.424-431.

49 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XX, pp.470-471.

50 Certain Difficulties felt by Anglicans in Catholic Teaching, Vol. 1, p.284.

51 Tolhurst, 'The Church of the Multitudes', The Downside Review, Vol. 111 (1993), p.273, at p.278.

52 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXVII, p.139.

53 Newman on Being a Christian (1990), p.80. The book contains a fine summary of Newman's approach to the problem of corruption in the Church. In particular, Fr. Ker draws attention to Newman's more formal writing on this question, notably his attempt to formulate a theology of the corruption of the Church in his Via Media (see on this pp.78-83).

54 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXV, p.204.

55 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXVII, p.265.

56 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXV, p.85. See also Vol. XXV, p.185.

57 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXX, p.264. See also Vol. XXV, p.204.

58 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXVII, p.262.

59 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXIV, p.328.

60 See Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXVI, p.164, in which Newman wrote to answer allegations published in The Times shortly after the Vatican I decree on papal infallibility that if the popes were infallible they could not disown responsibility for the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. Newman responded that "no pope can make evil good. No pope has any power over those eternal principles which God has imprinted on our hearts and consciences".

61 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXIV, p.325.

62 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXVI, p.379.

63 A stimulating summary of Newman's attitude towards the papacy at different periods of his life, together with some fascinating analogies for today, can be found in Ker, 'Newman and the Papacy', The Downside Review, Vol. 103 (1985), p.87.

64 See for example Letters and Diaries, Vol. XX, p.308; Vol. XXV, p.203.

65 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXII, p.95.

66 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XX, p.308.

67 Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, pp.97-98. There are references in the same vein in the letters and diaries themselves; see for example Vol. XIII, p.78 and Vol. XIV, p.366.

68 See for example Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXII, p.57; Vol. XXIV, p.325; Vol. XXVI, pp.33 and 136.

69 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXVI, p.33.

70 See Letters and Diaries, Vol. XIV, p.366; Vol. XXII, p.95.

71 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXVI, p.167. Newman is quoting here from his Discourses on the Scope and Nature of University Education (1852).

72 Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXIII, p.365. A similar sentiment was expressed by Newman in Sermons Preached on Various Occasions (1870), pp.263-298, where he stated that Catholics have the duty "to look at his [the Pope's] formal deeds, and to follow him whither he goes, and never to desert him, however we may be tried, but to defend him at all hazards and against all comers, as a son would a father, and as a wife a husband, knowing that his cause is the cause of God".

73 Pastor Aeternus, Ch. 3 (emphasis supplied). See also the Second Vatican Council Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, ch. 3; and Pius IX's encyclical Quanta Cura (1864). There are many other similar statements by the magisterium.

74 See Likoudis and Whitehead, The Pope, the Council, and the Mass (1982). The whole book is a fine analysis of the major controversies which have arisen since Vatican II. See pp.33-51 for the matters referred to in the text.

75 Letter to the Duke of Norfolk (1875), p.66.

76 Ibid, p.63. On this see Jaki, The Keys of the Kingdom (1986), pp.160-163.

77 Jaki, 'Newman's Assent to Reality', in Jaki (ed), Newman Today (1989), p.213. The reference is to the Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, p.104.

78 Finnis, 'Conscience in the Letter to the Duke of Norfolk', in Ker and Hill (ed), Newman after a Hundred Years (1990), p.418.

79 Ker (ed), The Idea of a University (1976), p.28. For a slightly different version of this text, see Newman's short essay, 'Cathedra Sempiterna' (1853), which is not readily available, but is reprinted in Jaki, 'Newman's Assent to Reality', in Jaki (ed), Newman Today (1989), p.213, at pp.221-223. See also the following insistence on the "unlimited" and even "despotic" jurisdiction of the pope:

[T]here is no use in a Pope at all, except to bind the whole of Christendom into one polity; ask us to give up his universal jurisdiction is to invite us to commit suicide...An honorary head...does not affect the real force, or enter into the essence, of a political body, and is not worth contending about. We do not want a man of straw, but a bond of unity...Now the Church is a Church militant, and, as the commander of an army is despotic, so must the visible head of the Church be (Letters and Diaries, Vol. XXIII, p.106).

80 On Newman's spirituality see, inter alia, Dessain, The Spirituality of John Henry Newman (1977); Ker, Newman on Being a Christian (1990), ch. 7; Fr. Zeno O.F.M., John Henry Newman: His Inner Life (1987); see also Bouyer, Newman, His Life and Spirituality (1958); and Dessain, Why Pray (1969). The general literature on Newman's life and thought is enormous. The classic biography is Ward, The Life of John Henry Cardinal Newman, 2 Vols. (1912). The two best modern biographies are Ker, John Henry Newman: A Biography (1988); and Gilley, Newman and His Age (1990). Also noteworthy are Trevor, Newman: The Pillar of the Cloud, and Newman: Light in Winter (1962). An interesting recent double biography is Newsome, The Convert Cardinals (1993), a study of Newman and Manning. Also of value is Ffinch, Cardinal Newman: The Second Spring (1991). The best modern short introduction to Newman remains Dessain, John Henry Newman (1966).

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