Five Letters by Cardinal Newman

[to John Rickards Mozley, son of Newman's sister, Jemima—NR.]

[from The Contemporary Review, 76, Sept. 1899. Also available in Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, vol. 27.]

{357} THE following letters of my uncle, the late Cardinal Newman, written in the year 1875 (three years before he was made Cardinal), form one—that is, the defensive—side of a correspondence which I had with him in the course of that year. I had ventured to put to him certain questions, to which he (as I felt sure would be the case) was willing to reply. I had asked whether the real conduct of the visible Church—i.e., in his view, of the Church of Rome—had been in accordance with that spirit of morality and goodness which should mark a divine example and a divine teacher. I pointed to facts in the history of the Church which appeared to me to be symptoms of a faulty nature. I referred to the condition of the countries most obedient to Rome—Spain under Philip II., France up to the first Revolution, Italy up to the middle of the nineteenth century—as exhibiting a tremendous total of misdoing, partly traceable directly to the influence of the highest authorities of Rome, partly permitted by them without protest or repudiation. How came it that the visible happiness and harmony of the several countries of Europe should be almost in the reverse proportion to the degree of their belief in the authority of Rome? How came it that the members of an organization, to which the divine promises were believed to have been entrusted, should not only have committed such grave offenses in the past, but should be so unwilling to confess them in the present, except as bare facts, and without any sense of the disrepute thereby attaching to themselves, and to the society they looked upon as divine?

The Cardinal's answers to the questions of which the above is a summary will certainly be found extremely interesting.

With respect to my own share in the correspondence I have but one regret; that, however, is a serious one: it is that in relying to the Cardinal's last letter (that dated December 3, 1875) I was overpowered by the magnitude of the subject, and perhaps also by the personality of my opponent in argument, and missed the true point. Hence, this was the end of continuous and sustained argument between us; though, of the letters which I had from him in later years, two certainly are of very high interest.

Let me, as far as is possible, repair my error by indicating the central point in the Cardinal's letter of December 3, 1875, from which, were the {358} opportunity ever to offer, the argument might be resumed. It lies in the following sentence: "The ethos of the Catholic Church is what it was of old time, and whatever or whoever quarrels with Catholicism now, quarrels virtually, and would have quarrelled if alive 1800 years ago, with the Christianity of Apostles and Evangelists."

The question, it will be seen, is this—and truly it is an important one—whether the spirit of St. Peter and St. Paul can be shown to differ, in any material respect, from the spirit of the Church of Rome at the present day.

J. R. MOZLEY.

———————

[See also letter of April 19, 1874, in Ward, vol. 2, pp. 572-574—NR]

THE ORATORY,
April 1, 1875.
MY DEAR JOHN,
You open a subject too large to be dealt with in one letter; but I shall be able to get a certain way in it today.

I consider your letter to be addressed to me personally, as if you said, "I am perplexed and even curious to understand how a man like you, who have had time and opportunities for observation and thought, should be able to put up with a one-sided view of the Church of Rome—nay, with an abstract view and a paper representation of it, a mere conclusion, congruous or compulsory, from premises dependent on certain first principles, such as 'there must be a visible Church,' instead of going into the world of facts, and seeing and judging of the Roman Church by what it is seen to have been in history."

My reply to your objections, then, shall take the shape of accounting for my own insensibility to them as objections. But anyhow, as I can only answer you in my own way and from my own standpoint, the substance of what I shall say would be the same, whether I argued with you directly or explained to you the arguments which convince me.

First, then, I grant that I do assume certain first principles as the starting points from which my convictions proceed, and I don't see who can arrive at any conviction without making assumptions. I assume that there is a truth in religion, and that it is attainable by us: that there is a God, to whom we can approve ourselves and to whom we are responsible. On the other hand, I find, in matter of fact and by experience, that there are great difficulties in admitting this first principle; but still, they are not such as to succeed in thrusting it out from its supremacy in my mind. The most prominent difficulty of Theism is the existence of evil: I can't overcome it; I am obliged to leave it alone, with the confession that it is too much for me, and with an appeal to the argumentum ab ignoranti‚, or, in other words, with the evasion or excuse, not very satisfactory, that we have not the means here of answering an objection, which nevertheless, if we knew more, we should doubtless have the means of answering: that we can at least make hypotheses to help the difficulty, {359} and, though all those which we can make be wrong, still they open a possibility and prospect of other hypotheses as yet unknown, one of which may be the true explanation.

When I come to Christianity I find this grand difficulty untouched, yet fully recognised. This coincidence is to me an argument in favour of Christianity, if Theism be true, as falling under the argument from analogy. And, though Theism were not yet proved true, still, from the fact of the coincidence, an argument in some sort is to be drawn in favour of both systems, that is, supposing the coincidence is independent of themselves—I mean, if Theists and. Christians have not borrowed their recognition and non-explanation of the fact of evil from each other.

Our Lord's death to destroy evil is as tremendous and appalling a confession of the (its?) existence and of its power as can be conceived.

From this central doctrine of the Gospel, the Atonement, may be drawn two contrary conclusions. The first is that from the moment of our Lord's death upon the cross all evil would be annihilated; or secondly, that since He did not in His own Person destroy it instantaneously, no wonder if He should take time in destroying it in the world or in His Church. The former of those conclusions is perhaps the more natural; but the interval of gloom and sadness which overwhelmed His followers on His death, and still more their history, as contained in the Acts of the Apostles, is sufficient to show that it is not the right conclusion.

I confess, then, that it was natural, very reasonable, to expect that an annihilation of sin and a millennium period would commence with our Lord's Sacrifice; but, unless we unravel our convictions and run back to belief in nothing, I must give this thought up, and must admit, on the contrary, the pregnant conclusion that evil will pass away from this world and from the Church very slowly—nay (if we are to imagine that the moral system advances after the analogy of the advance in the physical system of the universe), so slowly that one or two generations or centuries afford no available measure for calculating the rate of advance. I own I should have fancied, a priori, that the lamb and the lion would lie down together from the date of the Crucifixion; that at least that Elect Society which our Lord left behind Him would show forth in its extension as a kingdom of righteousness from the first, simple and absolute holiness extending with its extension, whereas, in fact, the history of the Church contains in it the history of great crimes.

I allow, then (and for argument's sake I allow more than facts warrant), the existence of that flood of evil which shocks you in the visible Church; but for me, if it touched my faith mortally in the divinity of Catholicism, it would, by parity of reason, touch my faith in the Being of a Personal God and Moral Governor. The great {360} question to me is not what evil is left in the Church, but what good has energised in it and been practically exercised in it, and has left its mark there for all posterity. The Church has its sufficient work if it effects positive good, even though it does not destroy evil except so far forth as it supplants it for good.

Of its greatest and best achievements it cannot, from the nature of the case, leave memorials, that "hidden man of the heart" of which I spoke in that former letter to which you refer. It is not necessarily seen in school teachers or in every specimen of a secular priest, even though, did you know them, you might find that your first impressions had been unjust to them. Nay, I have always laid great stress on St. Paul's words, "I endure all for the elects' sake"; they lead me to reflect that, even though there were no high religious fruits of the Church's special sacraments generally, ordinarily and prim‚ facie visible to the world, that would not necessarily be a refutation of its claim to come from God. The Church would indeed, if it had no visible tokens at all, be a secret society; but, since it is a light set on a hill, I grant it must have visible tokens that it is divine, and, contrariwise to what you hold, I think that it and its tokens are visible for the very reason that God is invisible—viz., because they are to manifest Him. However, though I grant that there must be visible tokens of sanctity in the Church if the Church is to be considered divine, still, as the Spirit bloweth as it listeth, so its manifestation in works is according to no law and cannot be reckoned on.

As to the virtues of Catholics, I have lately been reading the following words of Lord Russell, an impartial witness, from his "Essay on the Christian Religion": "There is among Roman Catholics, in their relations to each other, a pure essence of affection which does not appear in the moral writings of Greece and Rome. The Roman Catholics, who have never practised or have relinquished the vices of erring youth, are humble, loving, compassionate, abounding in good works, kind to all classes of their fellow creatures, ever ready to say, 'God be merciful to me a sinner,' ready to give of their substance to the needy, ready to forgive others their trespasses, and kneel in humble devotion to their Maker." He speaks as if there were no middle class among us; but, if we were not living in sin, we were almost saints.

But leaving the highest and truest outcome of the Catholic Church and descending to history, certainly I would maintain firmly, with most writers on the Evidences, that, as the Church has a dark side, so (as you do not seem to admit) it has a light side also, and that its good has been more potent and permanent and evidently intrinsic to it than its evil. Here, of course, we have to rely on the narrative of historians, if we have not made a study of original documents ourselves. It would be a long business (assuming their correctness), but an easy business too, to show how Christianity has raised the moral {361} 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 of the influence and teaching of the Church. Turn to the non-Catholic historians, to Gibbon, Voigt, Hurter, Guizot, Ranke, Waddington, Bowden, Milman, and you will find that they agree in their praises, as well as in their accusations, of the Catholic Church. Guizot says that Christianity would not have weathered the barbarism of the Middle Age but for the Church. Milman says almost or altogether the same. Neander sings the praises of the monks. Hurter was converted by his historical researches. Ranke shows how the Popes fought against the savageness of the Spanish Inquisition. Bowden brings out visibly how the cause of Hildebrand was the cause of religion and morals. If in the long line there be bad as well as good Popes, do not forget that long succession, continuous and thick, of holy and heroic men, all subjects of the Popes, and most of them his direct instruments in the most noble and serviceable and most various works, and some of them Popes themselves, such as Patrick, Leo, Gregory, Augustine, Boniface, Columban, Alfred, Wulstan, Queen Margaret of Scotland, Louis IX., Vincent Ferrer, Las Casas, Turibius, Xavier, Vincent of Paul—all of whom, as multitudes besides, in their day were the life of religion.

I have hardly begun my answer to your question, yet I have written all this—but it is hard to be short on such a subject. I shall stop here, and hope in a few days to come to closer quarters with your main difficulty.

Yours affectionately,
JOHN H. NEWMAN.

THE ORATORY,
April 4, 1875.
MY DEAR JOHN,
Thank you for your letter of this morning, which leads me to say that I did not use the word "curious" in a sense inconsistent with earnestness in inquiry, though I cannot be sorry for an accident which has been the occasion of your sending me so frank and ex animo an explanation.

I wish I could be shorter, but it is easier to ask than to answer questions. In what I wrote to you the other day I said that both good and bad were to be expected in the Catholic Church, if it came {362} from our Lord and His Apostles, whereas you had ignored the good altogether, and had insisted there was in it an actual tradition or abiding system of bad, forming a whole and giving the Church a character; and worse, that, though it was so, Catholics would not confess it and renounce it. Now I do confess that bad is in the Church, but not that it springs from the Church's teaching or system, but, as our Lord and His Apostles predicted it would be, in the Church, but not of it. He says, "It must needs be that scandals come;" "many are called, few are chosen;" "the kingdom of heaven is like a net which gathereth of every kind." Good men and good works, such as we find them in Church history, seem to me the legitimate birth of Church teaching, whereas the deeds of the Spanish Inquisition, if they are such as they are said to be, came from a teaching altogether different from that which the Church professes.

It is on the Inquisition that you mainly dwell; the question is whether such enormity of cruelty, as is commonly ascribed to it, is to be considered the act of the Church. As to Dr. Ward in the Dublin Review, his point (I think) was not the question of cruelty, but whether persecution, such as in Spain, was unjust; and with the capital punishment prescribed in the Mosaic law for idolatry, blasphemy, and witchcraft, and St. Paul's transferring the power of the sword to Christian magistrates, it seems difficult to call persecution (commonly so called) unjust. I suppose in like manner he would not deny, but condemn, the craft and cruelty, and the wholesale character of St. Bartholomew's Massacre; but still would argue in the abstract in defence of the magistrate's bearing the sword, and of the Church's sanctioning its use, in the aspect of justice, as Moses, Joshua, and Samuel might use it, against heretics, rebels, and cruel and crafty enemies.

I think such insane acts as St. Bartholomew's Massacre were prompted by mortal fear. The French Court considered (rightly or wrongly) that if they did not murder the Huguenots, the Huguenots would murder them. Thus I explain Pope Gregory's hasty approbation of so great a crime, without waiting to hear both sides. After a period of luxury and sloth, the sudden outburst of the Reformation frightened the Court of Rome out of its wits, and there were those who thought the one thing needful was to put it down anyhow, as the destruction, at least eventually, of all religion, morality, and society. Perhaps they were right in this fear; and thus they got mixed up with mere politicians, unscrupulous men, and became in the eyes of posterity answerable for deeds which were not properly theirs. I was reading the other day a defence of Pius V. against Lord Acton, the point of which was that in no sense was it the Pope who sanctioned the plot for assassinating Elizabeth, but, the Duke of Alva. Yet who can deny, true as this may be, still that to readers of history the Pope and the Duke are in one boat? Then, again, their agents, or the sovereigns {363} who sought their sanction for certain courses or measures, went far beyond the intention of the Popes, who nevertheless, from their political entanglements, could not resume the powers that they had once given over to them. A large society, such as the Church, is necessarily a political power, and to touch politics is to touch pitch. A private Catholic is not answerable for the Pope's political errors, any more than the shareholder in a railway in 1875 is answerable for the railway's accidents in 1860, nay, or in 1875.

You say that at least the Popes ought publicly to confess, when it is proved they have gone wrong. Does Queen Victoria confess the sins of George IV.? Do principals feel it generous to abandon their subordinates, or loyal children acquiesce in attacks on their parents? As to controversialists, they are pleaders at a bar, and are afraid to make admissions lest these should be turned against them. To speak out is in the long run the wisest, the most expedient, the most noble policy; seldom the possible, or the natural. Why are private memoirs kept back from publication for thirty or sixty years? No party can be kept together if there is no reticence. But in fact, except among controversialists, there is no want of candour and frankness among us; witness the fact that Protestant attacks on us generally are drawn from the admissions of Catholics. Baronius, writing under the Pope's eye, speaks in the strongest terms of the evil state of the Popedom in the dark age; Rinaldus, his continuator, speaks against Alexander VI.; St. Bernard, St. Thomas, and many others speak against the conduct of the Roman See in their own times. So do Pope Adrian VI., Paul IV., &c. So do holy women in their writings, such as St. Bridget.

As to the state of Catholic Europe during these last three centuries, I begin by allowing or urging that the Church has sustained a severe loss, as well as the English and German nationalities themselves, by their elimination from it; not the least of the evil being that in consequence the Latin element, which is in the ascendant, does not, cannot know, how great the loss is. This is an evil which the present disestablishment everywhere going on may at length correct. Influential portions of the Latin races may fall off; and if Popes are chosen from other nationalities, other ideas will circulate among us and gradually gain influence.

As to the unbelief of France, Italy, and Spain, allowing it to the extent facts warrant, still I had fancied that England, the most fiercely Protestant country of Europe, had begun the tradition of infidelity in Europe in its school of Deists in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; and that Germany, the native soil of the Reformation, was now the normal seat of intellectual irreligion. Is it not something the case of the pot and the kettle?

Next, as to the bad government in the Papal States, I allow, or {364} rather argue, that an ecclesiastical world-wide sovereign has neither time nor thought to bestow on secular matters, and that such matters go to rack and ruin, and cause great scandal in public opinion, as surely as would happen if I undertook to be Chancellor of the Exchequer. The shortness of the reigns of the Popes, an advantage ecclesiastically, and their political troubles, increase this evil. Another thing—till of late there was no science of government, and the Papal administration was not worse than its neighbours; but now we have a dozen sciences, political, economical, sanitary, social, agricultural, municipal, and the like, all tending to the tranquillity and prosperity of States, which secular Governments can carry out and profit by, but which ecclesiastics and theologians have no head for.

Further, all States have their course, their beginning and their end. It is not wonderful that those which were great three centuries ago should be waning or dying out now; while England, which then was barbarous compared with the Continent, and much more Prussia, Russia, and the United States, should be in the ascendant. There is nothing to show what the state of England will be two centuries hence. Its want of coal may be its ruin; or, before that want is felt, Protestantism, which has made it great, may, by running into democracy, make it small again. At present the Catholic Church is encumbered by its connection with moribund nations, and, so far, Keble's application of the "Mortua quinetiam," &c., may be transferred to it. Catholics are certainly taken at great disadvantage now; but, as a loyal servant of Alfred or Bruce, knowing the greatness of his master's soul and the splendour of his gifts, might have no temptation whatever to mistrust his ultimate success, in spite of temporary disaster, so we feel about the defects and humiliations of the Papacy.

You see all along I have kept to my purpose of describing my own view of the difficulties of Catholicity on which you fasten, instead of attempting to deal with them controversially. The temporal prosperity, success, talent, renown of the Papacy did not make me a Catholic, and its errors and misfortunes have no power to unsettle me. Its utter disestablishment may only make it stronger and purer, removing the very evils which are the cause of its being disestablished.

I was rejoiced to be told by you that you recognised the truth of the power of prayer. Nothing else will clear our religious difficulties.

Yours affectionately,
JOHN H. NEWMAN. {365}

THE ORATORY,
April 21, 1875.
MY DEAR JOHN,
There is nothing ungenerous, as you fear, in your new questions; and, if you had asked them distinctly before, I should have answered them to the best of my power.

You now ask me whether I agree or disagree with your judgment "that the Church of Rome, as a society, has sometimes done, more often sanctioned, actions, which were wrong and injurious to mankind." I find no difficulty in answering you. I should say that the Church has two sides, a human and a divine, and that everything that is human is liable to error. Whether, so considered, it has in matter of fact erred must be determined by history, and, for the very reason that it is human as well as divine, I am disposed to believe it has, even before the fact has been proved to me from history. At the same time I must add that I do not quite acquiesce in the wording of your question. It sounds awkward to ask, e.g., "Has the Kingdom of England done or sanctioned wrong?" It would be more natural to say, "Has the nation done wrong, or the sovereign, or the legislature done wrong, or all of these together"? I have no difficulty in supposing that Popes have erred, or Councils have erred, or populations have erred, in human aspects, because, as St. Paul says, "We have this treasure in earthly vessels," speaking of the Apostles themselves. No one is impeccable, and no collection of men.

I grant that the Church's teaching, which in its formal exhibitions is divine, has been at times perverted by its officials, representatives, subjects, who are human. I grant that it has not done so much good as it might have done. I grant that in its action, which is human, it is a fair mark for criticism or blame. But what I maintain is, that it has done an incalculable amount of good, that it has done good of a special kind, such as no other historical polity or teaching or worship has done, and that that good has come from its professed principles, and that its shortcomings and omissions have come from a neglect or an interruption of its principles.

The question that remains is, Has that which claims to be divine in the Church sanctioned that which is human and faulty in it? I maintain, No: and, in alleged cases brought in proof of the affirmative, I should contend either that its sanction of the act in question had no claim to be considered divine, or that the act itself was not faulty. Thus St. Paul says, "I wist not that he was high priest, for it is written," &c., and some commentators say that he was ignorant—that is, his act did not proceed from the divine inspiration with which he was gifted; others that his act was not wrong, for the man whom he reviled, in fact, was not high priest.

However, I cannot simply grant to you, as you assume, that mere {366} omission to pronounce upon a faulty act is necessarily itself a fault. Things are so constituted in this world, that the power of doing good has a maximum. The Church, viewed as a political body, has always been in advance of the age; up to 1600 most men would grant this; but, as the Jews were allowed divorce as practically a necessity in order to avoid worse evils, so it has not always been possible for the Church to do upon the spot that which was abstractedly best, as Elisha shirked the question of Naaman about bowing in the house of Rimmon. Nor am I disposed to deny that, as time goes on, the authoritative view of moral and religious truth becomes clearer, wider, and more exact.

I do not know how I can answer your question more closely than in what I have now said, and as, I think, I did answer it in my former letter.

As to the last three centuries, the Church's great battle has been against the various forms of error to which Protestantism has opened the door. The work of the Church has on every side been met and thwarted by the opposition of rival religions. In India the work, begun by St. Francis Xavier, has been brought to a stand by the variety and discordance of Christian sects. Still, if it is a great work to preserve Christianity in the world, this I think the Church has done and is doing: and at this moment Christianity would be dying out in all its varieties were the Catholic Church to be suppressed.

I hope I need not say I shall always feel a pleasure and interest in hearing whatever you are moved to tell me about yourself—pray do, for I am always
Yours affectionately,
JOHN H. NEWMAN.

P.S.—I hope you are out of anxiety by this time about your little boy.

THE ORATORY,
May 16, 1875.
MY DEAR JOHN,
I am very glad to have so long a letter from you, but you must let me wait, and be patient with me, as to my answering it, for I have received a very heavy blow in the sudden and alarming illness of the greatest friend I have—an illness, the issue of which will take some time to show itself, and which has almost turned my head [Note].

Thank E—— for wishing to send me, and you for sending, her love—and tell her that I am very grateful to her, and send her a double measure in return—one in reciprocity, and one from gratitude.

Yours affectionately,
JOHN H. NEWMAN. {367}

Dec. 3, 1875.
MY DEAR JOHN,
Your letter puts me into a great difficulty. It is my heart's desire to bring you nearer to me in opinion, and so to explain my own religious views as to excite in you interest and sympathy for us; to reduce difficulties, and to inspire hope that Catholics and Protestants are not so far apart from each other as is commonly said; in a word, to throw myself into the sentiment which has led you to write, and to co-operate with it. But I cannot feel you have gone to the bottom of the matter, and it would not consist with that truth and frankness due to all men, and especially to one with whom I am so united in affection as yourself, not to say so.

I agree with you, then, but I go far beyond you in holding, that the difference between Catholics and Protestants is an ethical one; for I think that in pure Catholics and pure Protestants (I mean, by so speaking, that most Protestants are tinged with Catholicity, and most Catholics with Protestantism) this difference is radical and immutable, as the natures of an eagle and a horse are, except logically, two things, not one. Opposition to physical science or to social and political progress, on the part of Catholics, is only an accidental and clumsy form in which this vital antagonism energises—a form, to which in its popular dress and shape, my own reason does not respond. I mean, I as little accept the associations and inferences, in which modern science and politics present themselves to the mass of Catholics, as I do those contrary ones, with which the new philosophy is coloured (I should rather say, stained) by great Professors at Belfast and elsewhere.

Dealing with facts, not with imaginations, prejudices, prepossessions, and party watchwords, I consider it historically undeniable—

1. First, that in the time of the early Roman Empire, when Christianity arose, it arose with a certain definite ethical system, which it proclaimed to be all-important, all-necessary for the present and future welfare of the human race, and of every individual member of it, and which is simply ascertainable now and unmistakable.

Next, I have a clear perception, clearer and clearer as my own experience of existing religions increases, and such as every one will share with me, who carefully examines the matter, that this ethical system ([ethos] we used to call it at Oxford as realised in individuals) is the living principle also of present Catholicism, and not of any form of Protestantism whatever—living, both as to its essential life, and also as being its vigorous motive power; both because without it Catholicism would soon go out, and because through it Catholicism makes itself manifest, and is recognised. Outward circumstances or conditions of its presence may change or not; the Pope may be a subject one day, a sovereign another; primus inter pares in early {368} times, the episcopus episcoporum now; there might be no devotions to the Blessed Virgin formerly, they may be superabundant of late; the Holy Eucharist might be a bare commemoration in the first century, and is a sacrifice in the nineteenth (of course I have my own definite and precise convictions of these points, but they are nothing to the purpose here, when I want to confine myself to patent facts which no one ought to dispute); but I say, even supposing there have been changes in doctrine and polity, still the ethos of the Catholic Church is what it was of old time, and whatever and whoever quarrels with Catholicism now, quarrels virtually, and would have quarrelled, if alive, 1800 years ago, with the Christianity of Apostles and Evangelists.

2. When we go on to inquire what is the ethical character, whether in Catholicity now or in Christianity in its first age, the first point to observe is that it is on all hands acknowledged to be of a character in utter variance with the ethical character of human society at large as we find it at all times. This fact is recognised, I say, by both sides, by the world and by the Church. As to the former of the two, its recognition of this antagonism is distinct and universal. As regards Catholicism, it is the great fact of this very day, as seen in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. On the other hand, we know that in the Apostolic Age Christians were called the "hostes humani generis" (as the Quarterly called Catholics within this two years), and warred against them accordingly.

This antagonism is quite as decidedly acknowledged on the side of the Church, which calls scciety in reprobation "the world," and places "the world" in the number of its three enemies, with the flesh and the devil, and this in her elementary catechisms. In the first centuries her badge and boast was martyrdom; in the fourth, as soon as she was established, her war-cry was, "Athanasius contra mundum"; at a later time her protests took the shape of the Papal theocracy and the dictatus Hildebrandi. In the recent centuries her opposition to the world is symbolised in the history of the Jesuits. Speaking, then, according to that aspect of history which is presented to the eyes of Europeans, I say the Catholic Church is emphatically and singularly, in her relation to human philosophy and statesmanship, as was the Apostolic Church, "the Church militant here on earth."

3. And, what is a remarkable feature in her ethos now and at all times, she wars against the world from love of it. What, indeed, is more characteristic of what is called Romanism now than its combined purpose of opposing yet of proselytisiug the world?—a combination expressed in our liturgical books by the two senses of the word "conterere," that of grinding down and of bringing to contrition. How strikingly, on the other hand, does this double purpose come out in the Apostles' writings? We have three primitive documents, each {369} quite distinct in character from the other two, differing in accidents and externals, but all intimately agreeing in substantial teaching, so that we are quite sure of the genius and spirit of Christian ethics from the first: I mean, (1) the Synoptical Gospels, (2) St. Paul's Epistles, (3) St. John's Gospel, Epistles, and Apocalypse. Now, the first of these says, "Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. The disciple is not above his Master. Fear them not. I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword." "I pray not for the world," says the third, "the world hath hated them because they are not of the world. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. The world lieth in wickedness." And the second, "In time past ye walked according to the course of this world, and were by nature the children of wrath even as the rest." And yet, "Preach the gospel to every creature," says the first; "God so loved the world, that," &c., says the third; and "He will have all men to be saved," says the second. After avowals such as these in our primary authorities, it will be a hard job to discover any Irenicon between Catholicity and the moral teaching of this day.

4. This will be still clearer as we examine the details of our ethics, as developed from our fundamental principles. The direct and prime aim of the Church is the worship of the Unseen God; the sole object, as I may say, of the social and political world everywhere, is to make the most of this life. I do not think this antithesis an exaggeration when we look at the action of both on a large scale and in their grand outlines. In this age especially, not only are Catholics confessedly behindhand in political, social, physical, and economical science (more than they need be), but it is the great reproach urged against them by men of the world that so it is. And such a state of things is but the outcome of apostolic teaching. It was said in the beginning, "Take no thought for the morrow. Woe unto those that are rich. Blessed be the poor; to the poor the gospel is preached. Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent. Not many wise men, not many mighty, not many noble are called. Many are called, few are chosen. Take up your cross and follow me. No man can have two masters; he who loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. We walk by faith, not by sight; by faith ye are saved. This is the victory that overcometh the world, our faith. Without holiness no man can see the Lord. Our God is a consuming fire." This is a very different ethical system from that whether of Bentham or of Paley.

5. I am far from saying that it was not from the first intended that the strict and stern ethics of Christianity should be, as it was in fact, elastic enough to receive into itself secular objects and thereby secular men, and secular works and institutions, as secondary and subordinate to the magisterium of religion—and I am far indeed from thinking {370} that the teaching and action of the world are unmixed evil in their first elements (society, government, law, and intellectual truth being all from God), and far from ignoring the actual goodness and excellence of individual Protestants, which comes from the same God as the Church's holiness; but I mean that, as you might contemplate the long history of England or France, and recognise a vast difference between the two peoples in ethical character and national life, and consequent fortunes, so, and much more, you can no more make the Catholic and Protestant ethos one, than you can mix oil and vinegar. Catholics have a moral life of their own, as the early Christians had, and the same life as they—our doctrines and practices come of it; we are and always shall be militant against the world and its spirit, whether the world be considered within the Church's pale or external to it.

6. Coming back to your letter, I should not wonder if you think I have mistaken its drift, and have been beating the air. I do not think I have, though I have thought it best to fall back upon the previous question.

I have meant to say that, though our opposition to science, &c., ceased ever so much, we should not thereby be more acceptable in our teaching to the public opinion of the day.

Ever yours affectionately,
JOHN H. NEWMAN.

P.S.—Thank you for what you tell me of your new abode. On reading this over I find it more difficult to follow its course of thought than I could have wished.

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Ambrose St. John—NR.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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