he very much valued-not, indeed, from a Catholic quarter, but from his old College, Trinity, the place where he began the battle of life,' he calls it. He wrote to the Bishop of Birmingham that it was perhaps the greatest compliment he had ever received.' He was elected an Honorary Fellow of his beloved domus-the one and only seat of my affection at Oxford '-and at the invitation of the President and Fellows went to pay them a visit.

There was something tenderly pathetic [writes Mr. Bryce] to us younger people, in seeing the old man come again after so many eventful years, to the hall where he had been wont to sit as a youth, the voice so often heard in St. Mary's retaining, faint though it had grown, the sweet modulations Oxford knew so well, and the aged face worn deep with the lines of thought, struggle, and sorrow. The story of a momentous period in the history of the University and of religion in England seemed to be written there."1

In 1878 the stormy Pontificate of Pius the Ninth came to an end, and Leo the Thirteenth was elected to the Papal throne. The new Pope took occasion in the first year of his reign to send Newman a picture from his own Breviary, a token of goodwill which was warmly appreciated. Newman was in good health-'I am well,' he wrote to me, but I am not strong '--and in the revision of his works for the uniform edition, which had for some time been appearing, he had reached the final volume, Athanasius-a specially cherished writing of his, to go over which again was a labour of love to him. It was a labour destined to be interrupted. There was a widespread feeling in England-and it was not confined to Catholics-that the time had come when Newman should receive some signal mark of approbation from Rome. The Catholic laity naturally were foremost to move in this matter. Had he not been for years their courageous and consistent advocate, suffering rebuke for their sake? I remember long discussions on this subject at the Catholic Union, a society of Catholic gentlemen existing since 1872 for the promotion of Catholic interests, of which the Duke of Norfolk, Lord Ripon, and Lord Petre were leading members. What would more effectively promote those .Catholic interests, it was asked, than to honour Newman? It was decided that an effort should be made to secure his elevation to the Sacred College and Cardinal Manning was approached on the subject. He was silent for a short time, but then he rose to the occasion, and expressed his willingness to aid in the matter by submitting it to the Holy Father. Shortly afterwards the Duke of Norfolk had occasion to visit Rome, and determined to lay before the Pope some considerations in support of the request which he thought had been submitted by Cardinal Manning. But he found

1 Ward, vol. ii. p. 430.

that it had not as yet been submitted. The burden of explaining it fell therefore on him, and in an extremely interesting letter, published by Mr. Wilfrid Ward, he gives an account of what he said to the Pontiff. Leo the Thirteenth listened with cordial attention to the Duke's representations, and acceded to his request. Of all this Newman knew nothing; but in due time, a letter from Cardinal Nina came, through Cardinal Manning, to the Bishop of Birmingham, expressing the wish of the Pontiff to confer the Hat upon him. He was-to use the words of the Bishop of Birmingham - profoundly and tenderly impressed by the goodness of the Holy Father.' The difficulty was that Cardinals who are not Diocesan Bishops are expected to reside in Rome, a rule to which few exceptions had been made. Newman felt that at his age this would be impossible for him. But he felt, also, that he could not, so to speak, bargain or make terms with the Pope. So he wrote. a very guarded letter simply putting before the Bishop his position. This letter the Bishop forwarded to Cardinal Manning with one of his own, explaining fully what Newman's mind was. Extraordinary as it must seem, Manning read Newman's gentle and modest letter, which might certainly have been construed as a declension, but paid no attention to Dr. Ullathorne's, which clearly, and indeed emphatically, explained that it was not.32 On the 18th of February the following paragraph appeared in The Times:

Pope Leo the Thirteenth has intimated his desire to raise Dr. Newman to the Cardinalate, but, with expressions of deep respect for the Holy See, Dr. Newman has excused himself from accepting the purple.

Newman was greatly pained by this paragraph, and wrote to the Duke of Norfolk, pointing out in singularly temperate and dignified language that, as this statement did not come from him, and could not have come from Rome, it must have come from someone who had not only read his letter, but, instead of leaving to the Pope to interpret it, took upon himself to interpret it, and published that interpretation to the world. The Duke immediately wrote to Cardinal Manning, who meanwhile had started for Rome, enclosing the letter which he had received from Newman, and making strong representations.' 33 On the 20th of February a general meeting of the Catholic Union was held, at which representatives of the leading Catholic families were present, and the four following resolutions were enthusiastically adopted on the

[ocr errors]

32 This letter was dated the 3rd of February, 1879. But in order to make the matter absolutely clear, Dr. Ullathorne wrote on the next day another strong letter to the same effect.

"The phrase is Mr. Wilfrid Ward's: I did not see the letter.

[ocr errors]

motion of the President, the Duke of Norfolk, seconded by Lord Ripon :

[ocr errors]

I. That the Catholic Union of Great Britain has received, with profound gratification, intelligence of the desire of his Holiness Pope Leo the Thirteenth to confer upon the Very Reverend John Henry Newman the dignity of a Cardinal of Holy Church.'

II. That the Catholic Union desires to lay before the Apostolic Throne an expression of unfeigned gratitude for the honour thus shown to one whose name is especially dear and precious to the Catholics of the British Empire, and is also justly venerated and cherished by his countrymen generally for his high moral and intellectual endowments.'

III. That the Catholic Union begs permission to congratulate Dr. Newman, with the deepest reverence and regard, upon this marked recognition by the Holy See of his eminent services to the Catholic Church.'

IV. That copies of these resolutions be submitted to his Holiness the Pope and to the Very Rev. Dr. Newman.'

These resolutions were very acceptable to Newman, who expressed his gratitude to the Catholic Union for having done him so great a service.' 34 They were sent with a letter from the Duke of Norfolk to The Times, and they were telegraphed to Rome, where Cardinal Manning at once explained the whole situation to the Holy Father, who gladly acceded to Newman's wish that he might continue to live at the Oratory. Manning communicated this information, by telegram and letter, both to the Duke of Norfolk and to the Bishop of Birmingham. So ends this curious episode. On the 8th of March 1879 Manning wrote to Newman what purported to be an explanation, but it is what Swift calls an explanation where nothing is explained.' Newman, however, was far from cherishing rancour on account of this business. On the 12th of March he wrote to me :

I wish to give a contradiction to any idea which may be afloat as to any dissatisfaction on my part with any steps taken by Cardinal Manning. He has been kind enough to go out of his way to write to me: and I wish every such report swept away for good and all.

There is one thing about which there should be no mistake. The great, the supreme value of the Cardinalate to Newman was that it set the seal of Papal authority upon his writings. So he wrote to Dean Church: All the stories which have gone about of my being a half-Catholic, a Liberal Catholic, under a cloud, not to be trusted, are now at an end.'

[ocr errors]


4 Ward, vol. ii. p. 581.
as Ibid. vol. ii. p. 452.

Eleven years of life remained to Cardinal Newman: years spent in peace, in nidulo meo,' as he affectionately called the Birmingham Oratory. He came to town in 1881, chiefly for the sake of sitting to Millais for the portrait in the possession of the Duke of Norfolk. Millais, whose habit it was to paint in silence, with his pipe in his mouth, desired that someone should accompany and talk to his illustrious sitter, whose face he desired to see animated; and at the Cardinal's request, I gladly consented to be of use in this way. Millais told me he had great difficulty in catching the likeness there is so much in that face.' One morning he suddenly exclaimed in the middle of a sitting, 'I've got him!': and so he had. This portrait of Millais-he said it was the one which he wished to go down to posterity by-is certainly the best of those which exist of Cardinal Newman. It has been engraved; but, of course, in the engraving the colouring which gives it its splendour is lost.

At his home in Birmingham the Cardinal received many visitors. Distinguished people came from all quarters to see the 'old man of sweet aspect,' ‚'36 and departed feeling that it had been good for them to be there. As time went on he found it increasingly difficult, and at the last impossible, to write. But to the end his mental faculties were unclouded: a little lapse of memory, a slight deafness, were the chief drawbacks to his intercourse with his friends. So passed the days until the end came, and he passed -as the inscription which he caused to be put on his tomb witnesses-ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem.'

Mr. Wilfrid Ward-I think wisely-has abstained from concluding his book with anything in the way of a general summingup. His object was to delineate Newman and Newman's life-work, so sorely foiled for long years, so signally crowned at the last. A question, however, arises-it has, indeed, arisen-as to which I may perhaps be expected to say a few words: a very few will suffice. Finis coronat opus. But was the end, after all, a definite triumph for Cardinal Newman and for the cause which he represented? A very able writer in The Times Literary Supplement observes:


To many it has seemed that the seal set on Newman's work by Leo the Thirteenth has been roughly broken by the famous Encyclical Pascendi, directed in 1907 against the Modernists-not that Newman was a Modernist -by Pope Pius the Tenth.

They are words which he applies to St. Philip Neri in his beautiful poem, St. Philip in Himself.

27 Of the 25th of January 1912.

Is this so? It appears to me that the person competent, beyond all others, to answer that question is Pope Pius the Tenth himself. And he has answered it in an autograph letter to the Bishop of Limerick, dated the 10th of March, 1908. The following is a translation 3 of the letter-the original is in Latin:

VENERABLE BROTHER, HEALTH AND APOSTOLIC BENEDICTION.-We would have you know that your pamphlet, in which you show that the writings of Cardinal Newman, so far from differing from Our Encyclical Letter Pascendi, are in closest harmony with it, has Our strongest approval. You could not, indeed, have done better service alike to the cause of truth, and to the eminent merit of the man. There appears to have been established amongst those whose errors We have condemned by that Letter, as it were a fixed rule that for the very things which they themselves have invented they seek the sanction of the name of a most illustrious man. Accordingly, they freely claim that they have drawn certain fundamental positions from that spring and source, and that, for this reason, We could not condemn the doctrines which are their very own, without at the same time, nay, in priority of order, condemning the teaching of so eminent and so great a man. If one did not know what a power the ferment of a puffed-up spirit has of overwhelming the mind, it would seem incredible that persons should be found who think and proclaim themselves Catholics, while in a matter lying at the very foundation of religious discipline they set the authority of a private teacher, even though an eminent one, above the magisterium of the Apostolic See. You expose not only their contumacy, but their artifice, as well. For if, in what he wrote before he professed the Catholic Faith, there may perchance be found something which bears a certain resemblance to some of the formulas of the Modernists, you justly deny that they are in any way supported thereby; both because the meaning underlying the words is very different, as is also the purpose of the writer; and, the author himself, on entering the Catholic Church, submitted all his writings to the authority of the Catholic Church herself, assuredly to be corrected, if it were necessary. As for the numerous and important books which he wrote as a Catholic, it is hardly necessary to defend them against the suggestion of kindred with heresy. For amongst the English public, as everybody knows, John Henry Newman, in his writings, unceasingly championed the cause of the Catholic Faith in such a way that his work was most salutary to his countrymen, and at the same time most highly esteemed by Our predecessors. Accordingly, he was found worthy to be made a Cardinal by Leo the Thirteenth, undoubtedly an acute judge of men and things; and to him thenceforward, throughout all his life, he was deservedly most dear. No doubt in so great an abundance of his works something may be found which may seem to be foreign to the traditional method of the theologians, but nothing which could arouse a suspicion of his faith. And you rightly state that it is not to be wondered at if at a time when no signs of the new heresy had shown themselves, his mode of expression in some places did not display a special caution, but that the Modernists act wrongly and deceitfully in twisting those words to their own meaning in opposition to the entire context. We, therefore,

38 I do not know by whom this translation has been made, but I have com pared it with the Latin and find it literally correct.

« VorigeDoorgaan »