On Affairs of Ireland

In reply to an address of congratulation on his elevation to the Sacred College, read by Lord O'Hagan, in 1880, "on behalf of the Catholics of Ireland,"

HIS EMINENCE said: My Lord O'Hagan, I should be strangely constituted if I were not deeply moved by the address which your Lordship has done me the honour of presenting to me on the occasion of my elevation, by the grace of the Sovereign Pontiff, to a seat in the Sacred College. It almost bewilders me to receive an expression so warm, so special, so thorough, from men so high in station, ecclesiastical and civil—speaking too, as they avow, in behalf of a whole Catholic people; and, in order to this, giving themselves the inconvenience and fatigue of a long journey in the midst of their serious occupations. But while I reply to their commendation of me with somewhat of shame from the consciousness how much more I might have done in life than I have done, and how much better, still my reverence for them obliges me to submit myself to their praise as a grave and emphatic judgment upon me, which it would be rude to question, and unthankful not to be proud of, and impossible ever to forget. But their address is not only an expression of their praise, it also conveys to me from Ireland a message of attachment. It is a renewal and enlargement of a singular kindness done to me a year ago, and even then not for the first time. I have long known what good friends I have in Ireland; they in their affection have taken care that I should know it, and the knowledge has been at times a great support to me. They have not been of those who trust a man one day and forget him the next; and though I have not much to boast of in most points of view, I will dare to say that if, on my appointment to a high post in Ireland, I came there with the simple desire and aim to serve a noble people who I felt had a great future, deeply sensible of the trust, but otherwise, I may say, without thought of myself—if this creates a claim upon your remembrance, I can, with a good conscience, accept it. And here I am led on to refer to a special circumstance, on which you touch with much delicacy and sympathy, and which I can hardly avoid since you mention it, namely, the accident that in past years I have not always been understood, or had justice done to my real sentiments and {41} intentions in influential quarters at home and abroad. I will not deny that on several occasions this has been my trial, and I say this without assuming that I had no blame myself in its coming upon me. But, then, I reflected that whatever pain that trial might cost me, it was the lightest that I could have; that a man was not worth much who could not bear it; that, if I had not this, I might have a greater; that I was conscious to myself of a firm faith in the Catholic Church, and of loyalty to the Holy See; that I was, and had been, blessed with a fair measure of success in my work; and that prejudice and misconception did not last for ever. And now my wonder is, as I feel it, that the sunshine has come out so soon, and with so fair a promise of lasting through my evening. My Lord and Gentlemen, in speaking so much of myself, I feel I must be trying your patience; but you have led me on to be familiar with you. I will say no more than offer a prayer to the Author of All Good, that the best blessings may descend from Him on all those who have taken part in this gracious act exercised towards one who has so faint a claim on their generosity.

In reply to another address from Ireland presented by the Bishop of Ardagh at the Birmingham Oratory, on behalf of the Catholic University of Ireland, His Eminence made the following reply in writing to the Rector and Senate of the University:

MY DEAR FRIENDS,—This is not the first time that I have had the gratification of receiving from you a public expression of your attachment to me, and of your generous good opinion of my exertions in behalf of the University. Many years have passed since then; and now I receive your welcome praise a second time, together with the additional gratification that it is the second. And I notice further, with great gratitude, that whereas in most cases the sentiments which lead to such an act of kindness become, as time goes on, less lively than they were at first, you, on the contrary, use even stronger and warmer language about me now than that which cheered and gladdened me so much, and was so great a compensation of my anxieties in 1858. And there is still another pleasure which your address has given me. Of course, a lapse of time so considerable has brought with it various changes in the constituent members, in {42} the ruling and teaching body of the University. I consider it, then, to be a singular favour conferred upon me that those whom I have not the advantage of knowing personally should join in this gracious act with those who are my old friends. No earthly satisfaction is without its drawbacks, and my last remark naturally leads me on to one sad thought, which you yourselves towards the end of your address have suggested. A great Prelate has been lately taken from us, to whose simple faith and noble constancy in the cause of the University it is owing that the University maintains its place amid the many obstacles by which its progress has been beset. I ever had the greatest, the truest reverence for the good Cardinal Cullen. I used to say of him that his countenance had a light upon it which made me feel as if, during his many years at Rome, all the Saints of the Holy City had been looking into it, and he into theirs. And I have cause to know from the mouth of Pope Pius himself, that on a very critical occasion he promptly, emphatically, and successfully stood my friend. That was in the year 1867. How sincere would have been his congratulations to me at this time! I am deprived of them; but by thus expressing my sense of my loss I best relieve myself of the pain of it. I cannot bring these acknowledgments to an end without tendering in turn my congratulations to you, that the serious loss which you have lately sustained by the elevation to the Episcopate of my dear friend your Rector [Note 1], who has laboured for the University so long and with such devotion, has been so happily repaired by the appointment in his place of an ecclesiastic whose antecedents are a guarantee for its prosperous advance in that enlarged field which is now opened to its activity and its usefulness. And now, thanking you from a full heart for your indulgence and abundant kindness towards me, I will make no further claim upon your time.

On Young Australia and Old England

On behalf of the Catholics of Australia, led by the Right Hon. W. Bede Dalley, a gold salver was presented to His Eminence by the Duke of Norfolk, at a meeting in Willis's Rooms, May, 1880.

HIS EMINENCE, acknowledging the gift, said: It has been a great and a most welcome surprise to me to find that I, dwelling {43} in England, should have succeeded in gaining friends at the other side of the earth—friends so many and so warm, friends whom I seem to myself to have done so little to deserve, yet who have been so resolute in making known both their warmth and their numbers to the world at large. Besides the address, which high and low have with such wonderful unanimity joined in sending to me, they have made me a beautiful and costly and singularly artistic present, which speaks of their country, by virtue of the rich indigenous material of which it consists, and of their kind hearts in the flattering and touching words which are engraven upon it. And that these words may be the more grateful to me, the donors have been at pains to gain in the choice of them the aid of a well-known and highly distinguished scholar, who had known me years ago when he was an inhabitant of the great metropolitan centre in which my lot is cast. I must make a further remark. It is well known that in conferring on me my high dignity, the Sovereign Pontiff, in consideration of my age and delicate health, suspended in my case the ordinary rule, and condescended to allow me, by a rare privilege, to remain, though a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, in my own country, nay, in my own place in the Oratory; and this being so, I notice it as a happy coincidence that, as if in anticipation of his Holiness's indulgence to me, his Australian children have engraven on their gift—with a true instinct of what would please me as regards it, in looking on to the time when others must be owners of it—not only my own name, but the names of those Fathers whom, by search into one of my publications, they found to have been for so many years my intimate friends and brothers in the Oratory of Birmingham. There was just one other act of kindness open to them, and they have not let it slip. When the time came for my receiving their gift, they did not choose that it should be presented to me by the mere mechanical appliances of the steam-vessel and the railway-van, but it is now placed in my hands by a great person, by one whom I have been allowed to know, love, and take an interest in even from his very childhood, whom the Catholics of England recognise as their hereditary chief, and whose participation in this act of grace associates in my honour the fresh life and bright future of Colonial England with the grand memories of the past and the romance of the mediŠval period. {44}

To Boys, about the Rosary

Preaching at Oscott College, on Sunday, October 5th, 1879, from the text "They found Mary and Joseph, and the Infant lying in a manger,"

THE CARDINAL said: I am not going to make a long address to you, my dear boys, or say anything that you have not often heard before from your superiors, for I know well in what good hands you are, and I know that their instructions come to you with greater force than any you can have from a stranger. If I speak to you at all, it is because I have lately come from the Holy Father, and am, in some sort, his representative, and so in the years to come you may remember that you saw me today and heard me speak in his name, and remember it to your profit. You know that today we keep the Feast of the Holy Rosary, and I propose to say to you what occurs to me on this great subject. You know how that devotion came about; how, at a time when heresy was very widespread, and had called in the aid of sophistry, that can so powerfully aid infidelity against religion, God inspired St. Dominic to institute and spread this devotion. It seems so simple and easy, but you know God chooses the small things of the world to humble the great. Of course it was first of all for the poor and simple, but not for them only, for everyone who has practised the devotion knows that there is in it a soothing sweetness that there is in nothing else. It is difficult to know God by our own power, because He is incomprehensible. He is invisible to begin with, and therefore incomprehensible. We can in some way know him, for even among the heathens there were some who had learned many truths about Him; but even they found it hard to conform their lives to their knowledge of Him. And so in His mercy He has given us a revelation of Himself by coming amongst us, to be one of ourselves, with all the relations and qualities of humanity, to gain us over. He came down from Heaven and dwelt amongst us, and died for us. All these things are in the Creed, which contains the chief things that He has revealed to us about Himself. Now the great power of the Rosary lies in this, that it makes the Creed into a prayer; of course, the Creed is in some sense a prayer and a great act of homage to God; but the Rosary gives us the great truths of His life and death to meditate upon, and brings them nearer to our hearts. And so we contemplate all the great mysteries of His life and His birth in the {45} manger; and so too the mysteries of His suffering and His glorified life. But even Christians, with all their knowledge of God, have usually more awe than love of Him, and the special virtue of the Rosary lies in the special way in which it looks at these mysteries; for with all our thoughts of Him are mingled thoughts of His Mother, and in the relations between Mother and Son we have set before us the Holy Family, the home in which God lived. Now the family is, even humanly considered, a sacred thing; how much more the family bound together by supernatural ties, and, above all, that in which God dwelt with His Blessed Mother. This is what I should most wish you to remember in future years. For you will all of you have to go out into the world, and going out into the world means leaving home; and, my dear boys, you don't know what the world is now. You look forward to the time when you will go out into the world, and it seems to you very bright and full of promise. It is not wrong for you to look forward to that time; but most men who know the world find it a world of great trouble, and disappointments, and even misery. If it turns out so to you, seek a home in the Holy Family that you think about in the mysteries of the Rosary. Schoolboys know the difference between school and home. You often hear grown-up people say that the happiest time of their life was that passed at school; but when they were at school you know they had a happier time, which was when they went home; that shows there is a good in home which cannot be found elsewhere. So that even if the world should actually prove to be all that you now fancy it, if it should bring you all that you could wish, yet you ought to have in the Holy Family a home with a holiness and sweetness about it that cannot be found elsewhere. This is, my dear boys, what I most earnestly ask you. I ask you when you go out into the world, as you soon must, to make the Holy Family your home, to which you may turn from all the sorrow and care of the world and find a solace, a compensation, and a refuge. And this I say to you, not as if I should speak to you again, not as if I had of myself any claim upon you, but with the claims of the Holy Father, whose representative I am, and in the hope that in the days to come you will remember that I came amongst you and said it to you. And when I speak of the Holy Family I do not mean Our Lord and Our Lady only, but St. Joseph too; for as we cannot separate Our Lord from His Mother, so we cannot separate St. Joseph from them both; for who but he was their protector in all the scenes of Our Lord's early life? And with Joseph {46} must be included St. Elizabeth and St. John, whom we naturally think of as part of the Holy Family; we read of them together and see them in pictures together. May you, my dear boys, throughout your life find a home in the Holy Family; the home of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, St. Elizabeth, and St. John.

On the Relations between Catholics and Protestants in England

At the Catholic Re-union held in Birmingham in January, 1880, Cardinal Newman presided, and delivered an address.

HIS EMINENCE said: It was natural, my dear friends, when I found myself honoured by your request to preside at this great annual meeting of Catholics, being aware that, according to custom, I should have to address them, that I should be anxious to find some subject which was both seasonable in itself and interesting to my hearers. But how could I hope to hit upon any topic which had not been anticipated by those who have preceded me in this chair? It has for more than twenty years been filled successively by men conspicuous in various lines of eminence—by great ecclesiastics, by noblemen and statesman, by men of high position and distinguished name, by country gentlemen, by men of high talent or wide experience, who have made this one of the most remarkable Catholic gatherings in the country. And these former presidents have had the pick of all subjects, and the judgment and tact to select those which were most suitable to the occasion. The reflection came to me with great force, and I felt that it would serve as my apology if I failed in finding a subject equal to the duty which lay upon me. However, I am not so badly off as it may appear at first sight. The lapse of time is itself a subject, and I shall find one tonight far larger than I need—nay, one which rather is embarrassing from its very largeness, if I remind you of the circumstances under which you began these social meetings, and the great change which has taken place in our condition as Catholics since then. Not long before these annual gatherings commenced, and close upon thirty years ago, Catholics had suddenly become very unpopular both in Birmingham and through the whole country. I am not proposing to enter into the history of an {47} unhappy time. The misfortune to us arose from a singular misunderstanding, which Catholics would have hindered by anticipation could they have conjectured that it would take place. It was generally fancied that in some way or other our authorities at Rome were conspiring together against the religious liberties of England; and that, by appointing an English Cardinal and English Bishops, they intended or hoped, in some unjustifiable way or other to propagate in this country the Catholic religion. It was thought also to be a great insult to the religion of the country not to recognise that there was established here already a Christian hierarchy, and that to set up another, as if in its stead, was a great offence. And when the Government of the day, or at least some very distinguished statesman, took the same view, the excitement became extreme. We were thought very ill of, and very unmindful of the tolerance already extended to us; and then, as it will happen at such a time, all the old stories against us were brought out anew and put into circulation, and, as we have lasted 1,800 years and the Protestant sects around us only three hundred, it need not surprise anyone if more could be said by our enemies against us—truths or falsehoods, exaggerations or misstatements—than could be said against them even if we tried, especially since from our very greatness we have vastly more temptations and opportunities to act wrongly than they have had. And since (bad luck for us) we had never kept a register of Protestant scandals, as our enemies had kept of ours, and in consequence were in no condition to show that what there had been evil or faulty in times past in our body was to be laid to the charge, not of our religion, but of depraved human nature, we were at a great disadvantage; and even good and well-meaning Protestants got to entertain a bad opinion of us, and a great prejudice, distrust, and dislike of us was diffused through the country, and all animosity leading in many cases both to cruel and to violent acts. Things are very different now with us, and we have cause to be grateful to the inhabitants of this great town that so it is. Not that the ill opinion of those among whom one lives is the worst of trials. There are others far worse than it; bad words break no bones, and calumny is generally short-lived; but though popular disfavour, if it does not go further, is not an extraordinary trial, the good opinion of others—their respect, their good wishes, their sympathy, their kindness—is a very great pleasure, a very great gain; and therefore I think it quite a point to be remembered and recorded, a matter for congratulating {48} each other upon and rejoicing in, so far as we have it. And certainly there is a very striking contrast in the sort of welcome given by Englishmen to the late Cardinal Wiseman when he came as Cardinal in Michaelmas, 1850, and their conduct towards us at the present time. The contrast is striking, and I may be allowed, perhaps, to set before you one or two causes of the change of which that contrast is the evidence; and in the remarks which I am about to make, and especially in any criticism I may incidentally pass on some acts of my countrymen, I hope I may say nothing which can be taken as inconsistent with the true affection and esteem I feel for them, or with my gratitude to that great aggregate of ranks and classes which constitute what is called the public, from whom, though sometimes unfair to me, I have of late years, and now again recently, received such abundant marks of goodwill. First, the adverse sentiment was too violent, too unjust, sometimes too extravagant, to last. No wonder there was so widespread an alarm, and no wonder again it was of such short continuance, when we recollect what it was that was said about us. For instance, in a village which I happened to know, it had been prophesied even at an early date that if the Papists got the upper hand, the street of the village would flow with blood. A statement of a less prodigious character, but one far more cruel in its action on an unoffending and defenceless class, came from a high ecclesiastical quarter in the Establishment, and was to the effect that Protestant families would do well to be on their guard against Catholic servants, for these were spies on their masters and mistresses, and told all that happened indoors to their priest. Such extreme sayings—and they were not few—would necessarily lead to a reaction, and thereby do us a service, though not so intended; and, in fact, in a little time the public did begin to be ashamed of saying them and believing them. Englishmen are a kind-hearted people at bottom, when they have not gone mad, which, alas they do every now and then. Accordingly, in a little time, after passing an Act of Parliament against us, and against the Catholics of Ireland—who had nothing to do with the cause of the quarrel, for they had no need of a hierarchy of Bishops, having had one from time immemorial—after the Act of Parliament, I say, they felt a satisfaction and relief, and calmed down. And then a generous feeling came over them, that perhaps they had been hard upon us. This is the first cause how we come to be in happier relations with our countrymen now than we were thirty years ago. It is an {49} instance of the operation of the psychological law that reaction of mind follows on great excitement. There was a second reason for a change, which followed close upon the first, and that was the experience which came to the nation, as time went on, that, after all, their alarm somehow had been unnecessary. Their Act of Parliament did not hinder our having diocesan Bishops and Chapters, Cardinals, and Orders of religious men. How could it? It could only hinder our using certain names, calling our Bishops Bishops, and carrying out the duties of our religion with certain solemnities. But Holy Church is intangible; nor could they touch her children, unless, indeed, they meant to proceed to actual persecution. This they did not dream of; and soon they made the second discovery that, as they could not touch us, neither could we touch them; that we and they belonged to different spheres of life, that their objects were secular and ours religious. I don't mean to say that there could not be usurpations on our side and on theirs; but, while what might be called a concordat was observed between temporals and spirituals, there might indeed be small collisions between the regal and pontifical. They might injure us indirectly, as by now and then troubling us by their legislation; and we might employ our civil rights in a way they did not like, in the interest of the rights of conscience, as other religious bodies do; but this was all. There was no reason for the grave prophecies of danger, and the panic fright, and the stringent measures on the part of the Executive and the country, of which we had been the subjects and the victims. We wished to live in peace with our countrymen, and there was no reason why they, too, should not be friendly, and cherish goodwill and act charitably towards us. As time went on this was felt more and more by candid minds; and even those who had been prejudiced against us began to see that there was no reason that the Church of Rome should not have clergy for its people in England any more than that the Protestant missionary bodies of England should refrain from sending their clergy and ministers to Africa or New Zealand, which is sometimes a great offence to the English Establishment in foreign parts, and causes great quarrels, as in Ceylon now. But you may say that in thus speaking I am not mending matters, because this was just one of our greatest offences in the eyes of our countrymen thirty years ago, viz., the insult of proposing to convert Englishmen, as if they were heathen; and such intention was a great source of irritation. This was, I need hardly say, a great misunderstanding; {50} and thus I am brought to what I consider to be a third and most remarkable instrument in the change of feeling in our favour which has taken place of late years among Protestants. That change has arisen in good part from that very consequence which they anticipated and so much dreaded, and which has actually taken place—the conversions—which have not been few. Of course it would be very absurd in us, and, I may say, very wicked, if we said that this was a heathen country, and needed conversion as a heathen country needs it. There is a widespread knowledge of Christianity among us, a love of the main truths, a zeal in their behalf, and an admirable prodigality, as I may call it, of contributions in furthering them. There are a great many religious, a great many actively benevolent men among Protestants. This is not inconsistent with our holding that they know only half the Gospel; and, as we are sure that we have the whole, not merely the half, this is a good reason why we should wish to make them Catholics, even though they be not heathen. We never conceal that we would make them Catholics if we could by fair and honest means. On the other hand, it is but natural that they should oppose us, be angry with us, and be afraid of us. True; but what I wish to show, and what I believe to be the remarkable fact, is that, whereas there have been many conversions to the Catholic Church during the last thirty years, and a great deal of ill-will has been felt towards us in consequence, nevertheless that ill-will has been overcome, and a feeling of positive goodwill has been created instead, in the minds of our very enemies, by means of those conversions, which they feared from their hatred of us; and I will say how. The Catholics in England fifty years ago were an unknown sect among us. Now there is hardly a family but has brothers, or sisters, or cousins, or connexions, or friends and acquaintances, or associates in business or work, of that religion, not to mention the large influx of population from the sister island; and such an interpenetration of Catholics with Protestants, especially in our great cities, could not take place without there being a gradual accumulation of experience, slow indeed, but therefore the more sure, about individual Catholics, and what they really are in character, and whether or not they can be trusted in the concerns and intercourse of life. And I fancy that Protestants, spontaneously and before setting about to form a judgment, have found them to be men whom they could be drawn to like and to love quite as much as their fellow {51} Protestants might be—human beings whom they could be interested in and could sympathise with, and interchange good offices with, before the question of religion came into consideration. Perhaps they even got into intimacy and fellowship with some one of them before they knew he was a Catholic, for religious convictions in this day do not show themselves in a man's exterior; and then, when their minds turned back on their existing prejudices against the Catholic religion, it would be forced upon them that that hated creed, at least, had not destroyed what was estimable and agreeable in him, or at least that he was a being with human affections and human tastes, whatever might be his inner religious convictions. Perhaps the particular specimen of a Catholic which I have supposed might only go half way in possessing this sort of ethical appeal to the goodwill of others, or a quarter way, but he would have enough to destroy their imaginary notions of what a Catholic, and, much more, a priest, must be, and to make short work, and once for all, of that Guy Faux or Duke of Alva sort of Papist who hitherto stood in their minds for the normal representative of a Roman Catholic. I have been speaking of those ordinary and visible traits of character, of what is human merely, what is social in personal bearing, of what, as a moral magnetism, unites men to each other—of those qualities which are the basis, the sine quÔ non of a political community—of those qualities which may be expressed by the word "neighbourly;" and I say that Catholics, as a body, are, to say the least, quite as neighbourly as Protestants, as attractive, as capable of uniting in civil society; and I say that in consequence, their multiplication in England, by making them visible, tangible, sensible, must, as an inevitable consequence, create a more kindly feeling to them than has existed hitherto; and it has done. I have not spoken of social virtues such as make a man respected and honoured, for that was not necessary for my purpose, though, whatever our failings may be as sons of Adam, I trust that at least we do not fall below that standard which is received in our country as the condition of a good name. And I might have enlarged on this—that, much as members of a Protestant country may dislike their relations being converted to a religion not their own, and angry as they may be with them at first, yet, as time goes on, they take their part when others speak against them, and anyhow feel the cruelty as well as the baseness of the slanders circulated against Catholics when those slanders include those dear to them; and they are indignant at the slanderer and feel {52} tender towards the slandered from the very fact that among the subjects of such calumnious treatment are persons who, as their experience tells them, so little deserve it. And now, had time admitted, I might have gone on to other distinct causes of that change which I have taken for my subject; but, since this cannot be, I will content myself with referring to another kind of knowledge of Catholics which has operated in their favour—a knowledge not to any great extent experimental and personal, but public, coming to the population at large from special witnesses—perhaps few and only on special occasions—and by means of the periodical press, and the trustworthy informants, of whose testimony it is the vehicle. And as an instance of what I mean, I will notice the great figure presented in this way to the whole world by the late Pope Pius IX., and its effects in favour of Catholics. This, surely, is a fair and striking instance of knowledge of Catholics, telling in their favour. If there is any representative of the Roman Church from whom Protestants ought to shrink, it is her head. In their theory, in their controversial publications, in their traditions, the Pope is all that is bad. You know the atrocious name they give him: he is the embodiment of evil, and the worst foe of the Gospel. Then, as to Pope Pius, no one could, both by his words and by deeds, offend them more. He claimed, he exercised larger powers than any other Pope ever did; he committed himself to ecclesiastical acts bolder than those of any other Pope; his secular policy was especially distasteful to Englishmen; he had some near him who put into print just that kind of gossip concerning him which put an Englishman's teeth on edge; lastly, he it was who, in the beginning of his reign, was the author of that very measure which raised such a commotion among us; yet his personal presence was of a kind which no one could withstand. I believe one special cause of the abatement of the animosity felt towards us by our countrymen was the series of tableaux, as I may call them, brought before them in the newspapers of his reception of visitors in the Vatican. His misfortunes, indeed, had something to do with his popularity. The whole world felt that he was shamefully used as regards his temporal possessions. No foreign power had a right to seize upon his palaces, churches, and other possessions; and the injustice shown him created a wide interest in him; but the main cause of his popularity was the magic of his presence, which was such as to dissipate and utterly destroy the fog out of which the image of a Pope looms {53} to the ordinary Englishman. His uncompromising faith, his courage, the graceful intermingling in him of the human and the divine, the humour, the wit, the playfulness with which he tempered his severity, his naturalness, and then his true eloquence, and the resources he had at command for meeting with appropriate words the circumstances of the moment, overcame those who were least likely to be overcome. A friend of mine, a Protestant, a man of practised intellect and mature mind, told me, to my surprise, that at one of the Pope's receptions at the Vatican he was so touched by the discourse made by His Holiness to his visitors that he burst into tears. And this was the experience of hundreds. How could they think ill of him or of his children when his very look and voice were so ethical, so eloquent, so persuasive? Yet, I believe, wonderful as was the mode and the effect with which Pius preached our holy religion, we have not lost by his being taken away. It is not decorous to praise the living, it is not modest to panegyrise those whom rather one should obey; but in the successor of Pius, I recognise a depth of thought, a tenderness of heart, a winning simplicity, a power answering to his name which keeps me from lamenting that Pope Pius is no longer here. But I must cut short what has been already too long, though I have not reached the end. I will only say, in conclusion, that, though Englishmen are much more friendly to us as individuals, I see nothing to make me think that they are more friendly to our religion. They do not, indeed, believe, as they once believed, that our religion is so irrational that a man who professes it must be wanting either in honesty or in wit; but this is not much to grant, for the great question remains to decide whether it is possible for a country to continue any long time in the unnatural position of thinking ill of a religion and thinking well of believers in it. One would expect that either dislike of the religion would create an unfriendly feeling towards its followers, or friendliness towards its followers would ensure goodwill towards the religion. How this problem will be solved is one of the secrets of the future [Note 2]. {54}

In response to a vote of thanks proposed by Bishop Ilsley, and seconded by the Earl of Gainsborough,

HIS EMINENCE said if he were to speak till tomorrow he could not say one thousandth part of what he felt at their kindness and at the honour which had been conferred upon him. He felt the great and enormous kindness that had been shown to him, and it was a great surprise to him as well as a blessing, that he should have been so honoured with the Pope's recognition. He never felt in his life, nor did he now feel, that he deserved such an honour. At the same time he could not help feeling very pleased as well as grateful for it. From his heart he returned them his thanks.

In an Oxford Pulpit again

On Saturday, May 22nd, 1880, Cardinal Newman arrived at Oxford about five o'clock in the afternoon, and proceeded to Trinity college, where he had been made an Honorary Fellow two years earlier, and where he was cordially welcomed as a guest. His Eminence, having been entertained at dinner by the President and Fellow's of Trinity, attended the College "gaudy" in the evening, at which there was a large and distinguished company, the conversazione taking place in the college gardens, which were illuminated by limelight. The Cardinal, whose voice had not been heard from any pulpit in Oxford since his secession from the Church of England, preached on Sunday in the then new Church of St. Aloysius, both in the morning and in the evening, to crowded congregations. In the morning,

HIS EMINENCE said that during the last half-year they had been engaged in tracing out the first steps of Our Lord's coming on earth. They began with Advent, and it might be said that they began with November, because, November being the month given to the memory of the dead, they were reminded of the cause of the death of the Son from which a series of doctrines began. They started from Advent; firstly, they adverted to Our Lord's coming upon earth, to His {55} incarnation, His taking the flesh, and then they went on to trace Him into the wilderness, and the wonderful truths that were taught concerning Him were commemorated. So they were led on through His history to His resurrection, to His ascension, and then to the coming of the Holy Ghost. They were led on to contemplate the facts and details of those great events. They began naturally and suitably with tracing Almighty God Himself, who was indeed their Lord. To Him they came Who was the beginning and the end. Such was the course of the half-year which was full of change. It was the ruling of the economy of the Son of God upon earth, and the other half of the year was a time of rest and peace and contemplation, and, looking upon this part and that part in detail, they could see all the great things which He had done for them. They commemorated the most glorious mystery and the most joyous mystery. They commemorated what they did not understand, but what they understood sufficiently well to be thankful for. It was a mystery which must ever be before them, which they ever enjoyed, and which they could never understand here. And not even in Heaven, for Almighty God alone understood Himself. Sometimes the great mystery was compared, and with great reason, to the sun in this physical world. The sun, they knew, was the cause of all good to them; the sun was the source of heat, light, and growth, and of all they were in a certain sense. They could not look at it. If they attempted to look at it they were blinded, and so it was in respect to that great mystery of the Holy Trinity in Unity. They could take it as presented to them. If they attempted to decide upon the point; if they attempted by their own skill and wit to come to a conclusion about it, other or beyond what Almighty God had told them by Revelation, they were as if they blinded themselves. That blindness was what they meant by heresy. They attempted to do that which they could not do. They knew that certain great truths were told them by that mystery. They must take them and use them, but if they attempted to compare them, and so to unite them into one another, or to add anything more than what the Church had done, or what had been done for them by the Apostles themselves, more than what was put into them, or had grown up in such fulness in the past, then they in fact blinded themselves, and their faith became heresy. They blinded themselves because they attempted what was beyond human reason. Such was the heresy of Arius. There were certain truths, and he wished to unite them in his own {56} way; whereas the great defence of the Catholic faith was that they did not understand it, but they must take what was given them. If they looked into what was told them they found certain great characteristics. To those who took it as the Church's truth it was perfectly intelligible for all practical or devotional purposes for which it was given them, but if they attempted to go beyond that they failed. God had given them certain truths which were useful and needful, but which could not be compared. One of the first duties of the Church was when a man became a Catholic to put that truth among other truths before him, and it was most irrational in him to become a Catholic and not accept it. He must take the truth as it was given. Those who were familiar with Greek and Latin knew that there were modes of expression for which they had no English, and therefore he could not use the words which were there used. They were accustomed to use the words of Him Who bore witness that there were in Heaven the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and they believed that the Father was God, and that was intelligible enough. Anyone who believed in a God could on that account fully understand those words. The Father was God—the poorest, the least educated, the dullest, could take in the truth that the Father was God, and could point out and contemplate what was told him. That the Son was God was perfectly intelligible. All Catholics, not to say any others, knew what it was to believe in the Son of God, and to obey Him; and, then, again, to say, thirdly, the Holy Ghost was God, and to worship Him as such, was perfectly intelligible, and they had no difficulty in believing it. In these propositions there were no difficulties. It was only when they compared them together one with the other, when they wanted to know how this was true, and how the other two were true too, that there was a difficulty. When men wanted to try and find out something which would make it simpler they drifted into error, commonly called heresy, as against the words given them from the beginning. So also they could see how it was—that it was quite as clear why those great truths, those mysteries, were given them. It would be impossible for them to understand what was told them about an Infinite Being without a certain knowledge. They must partly comprehend what they were led to. They could not do more than to submit in the nature of things. They would recollect that they were speaking of an Infinite Almighty God, and how could they reason about infinities? Directly they began to attempt it they found {57} out how insurmountable it was. Their only resource was to take what was given them, and then there was no difficulty in believing what clearly from the nature of things was above them. But if he were asked why it was that God in His mercy—in His great love for them—had told them so much, he could but answer that it was cruelly ungrateful in those who believed that He had spoken to refuse to accept it. The difficulty was that Almighty God should not have spoken to the whole world. After He had spoken to them it had been as well that, for a time, great parts of the world should be in darkness, but if He could be with them He must tell them something of Himself. How could He come to them in the way of knowledge except He did so in their way? Supposing God withheld Himself from them; supposing He left them when they departed this life, how awful was their position. They knew what were their feelings in the presence of strangers, and they knew how great the trial was of going into an unknown world. If they did not learn to accustom themselves to the idea of an Infinite Father, an Infinite Son, and an Infinite Holy Ghost, what a loss it was in the prospect of the next world. It was a great mystery of God, and miserable were those who did not feel it. Therefore, in order that they might not come to an unknown place those truths were mercifully told them. First of all was knowledge of God and love of God. If they abused their reason, if they got habits of unbelief or complaints, or despair, or of those heresies and dreadful imaginings concerning Almighty God, how terrible was the prospect. Was it possible that anything could be true which was against the constitution of their minds? They could not deny that religion was required of them. It was part of themselves. The spirit was part of themselves; and, therefore, it was consistent with their nature to believe and to rejoice in believing. It was the attributes of Almighty God that ought to be to them solace and strength. Where should they be without love of God? They knew here how miserable it was to live alone. He knew that many people in a certain measure could be happy in themselves, but to the individual society of some kind was quite a necessity. To be alone was a punishment so severe that though it was once given to culprits or criminals, it was now not so given. Solitary confinement would drive a man mad. So now they must think what would be the state of their souls hereafter if they had nothing to rely upon, if they had nowhere to go to, if they had no one to pray to, if they had withheld prayer in this life, and they could not free themselves from {58} the moral responsibility of those dreadful things in which they had indulged; they could not think of Him, they could not pray, they could not remember, and if they did they had formed in their minds such very different ideas of truth and holiness that they could not love Him. They knew bold men would say, "We will go to hell rather than believe this," but where would such sayings be when the Almighty God Himself came? His Eminence quoted several passages from the Psalms and Holy Writ, and in conclusion remarked that the word "Eternity" was often on their lips, but they did not recollect that eternity itself was a dreadful, an awful thing to contemplate. It was Almighty God Who was the strength of eternity, and if they lived without His Word—without the vision of God—if they were without the love of God, what was eternity but misery? Let them take care that immortality might be a mercy to them and not a curse. Man might live a long life, but when he looked back upon it he thought nothing of it all. He besought them to beg of Almighty God to touch their hearts, and to create in them the beginning of a new life. He hoped God would bless them.


In the evening Cardinal Newman took his text from the 10th chapter of the Gospel according to St. John, the 14th and following verses.

HIS EMINENCE said they knew that Almighty God not only created them in His mercy, which they expected from Him, but with a still greater mercy did not leave them to themselves. He did not leave the world to itself, but He watched over those whom He had made; there was His providence and His covenant. He showed by the workings of their nature what was right, and what was holy and true, and by His grace He enabled the whole human race of man to do enough for its own salvation. Such was the mercy and providence for the whole world, but besides that they knew that He had from the beginning a chosen people. He had chosen them Himself whom He had decreed to be brought closer unto Himself, and to receive greater privileges. They read the record and history of that very abundant grace of His, in Scripture, and of that providence and that careful moral governance which He exercised over His own. He had called Him Whom He had elected a characteristic name by which was signified that {59} more intimate mercy and love which He had for His people—that was the name of "Shepherd." He called Himself in the Holy Scriptures "the Shepherd of Israel." They were the sheep of the Pastor. They could recollect many passages of the Old Testament to the same effect. There was that beautiful Psalm, the 23rd. David said: "The Lord is my Shepherd, and I want nothing. He hath set me in a place of pasturage. He hath turned me out to the water of refreshment. He hath comforted my soul. He hath led me on to the paths of justice for His name's sake; for, although I should walk into the midst of the shadow of death, I will not fear, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff they have comforted me." That is the special character which Almighty God took upon Himself with regard to His chosen people. It was the gracious continuation of His mercy and providence. He spoke of them as knowing them, and hence it was that it showed a remarkable love for those who were proved by their works. The preacher referred to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, as pre-eminently shepherds. Again, Moses was a shepherd. David when a youth was a shepherd. God thus singled them out as if peculiar to Him—those who were entitled to that office; and, of course, He thus in His great providence, in His mercy, showed that He meant to extend His mercy upon those whom He chose to guide others. He called them shepherds. They knew that in the prophet Ezekiel a great deal was said about shepherds. The Bishop was specially called a shepherd. But the infinite fulness of the title was in Almighty God Himself. When Our Lord came He called Himself the Good Shepherd; and if they had read that, not having heard about God—supposing that it was not the teaching of the Church; supposing they were left to conjecture when they found Our Lord calling Himself especially the Shepherd—it would be obvious to them to consider that it was a title which was peculiar and characteristic of Almighty God. When David was called a shepherd, he was one of those who were chosen to be a representative by Divine grace, a Vicegerent, a Vicar of the True Shepherd; and they knew that was the case, though in another aspect of his character he was a man of blood. There was One only holy, only the Almighty God Himself; therefore, though David was thus chosen, and honoured, and raised by God, he, of course, was not necessarily what a shepherd ought to be. He brought not good, but evil upon his people. When the pestilence took place on account of David's sin, he said, "These sheep, what {60} have they done?" He felt that he had not fulfilled his office of being a true and faithful shepherd of the sheep, it still being true that he was a shepherd, and that he was a man after God's own heart. Now, that being the state of the case in the Old Testament, in the old dispensation, yet He appointed others to take His place. When they came to the New Testament there a Man appeared who was Almighty God. Almighty God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, assumed the title Himself. The preacher did not recollect that He anywhere spoke of all the Apostles as being shepherds, though, of course, in one sense they were shepherds, too; but He did not give the name to all of them. When in St. Matthew He spoke of St. Peter as the rock, He did not speak—it was not His will then to speak—of St. Peter as the shepherd, but he thought it very remarkable, and a point demanding very great consideration, that there was one passage they knew, in which Our Lord committed His sheep to one of His Apostles. He says, "Feed My sheep." He said it to St. Peter. He (His Eminence) did not on consideration find anything parallel to that in the case of the other Apostles. There was that great characteristic title of Almighty God, that office which He exercised towards His elected people, towards those whom He described as His sheep. That title, that office, He delegated on His going away to one of His Apostles, and he was St. Peter. He saw nothing like such a delegation of so especial and so peculiar an office to any other Apostle. The Church acknowledged St. Peter as the Pastor, and according to the law of the Church, the rule of the Church, the Shepherd; and when they came to look back upon the passage in which He thus delegated His office, which made St. Peter what he might call a Vicegerent or Vicar, there seemed to be occasion for it, for He was going away; therefore, He did it. When He was going away they knew that He said, "All power is given to Me in Heaven and earth." He would be with His Apostles till the end of time—always. It did not seem to accord. St. Peter had not neglected his sheep, for the sheep had not yet been given. It was sometimes said it was the restoration of St. Peter after his fall; his fall was the denial of his Lord, and had no connexion with the bringing of others into the Church, which Our Lord emphasised three times in those words in which He gave him the charge, and which had some correspondence to St. Peter's three denials; but still there was involved, notwithstanding the circumstances of his denial, the charge to St. Peter, and not to the {61} Apostles generally. Then it seemed remarkable that that high gift should have been given in the Old Testament. They knew that it was given by God to David, who became the Vicegerent of Almighty God. It seemed to him that that passage was parallel to that which regarded St. Peter. They knew that Our Lord had a treble office: He was the king, the prophet, and the priest, and the word shepherd combined all these things, and was explained in the Psalm that he had read to them. He had the office of ruling, He had the office of feeding, because they knew that a shepherd fed his sheep; and thirdly, in those countries they knew that the shepherd's office was one full of great danger. He had to defend his sheep from the wild beasts. As in the case of David, he had to take care of his pastorate, and to defend his sheep from the inclement weather. In the case of Jacob, there was a great deal of danger in the office of shepherd. It was an office which would really be given to the representative of Our Lord. It was something that seemed to him different from any other office which was given to anyone else under the new covenant. They were all there Catholics, and they all believed it, and there was no need to say this in order to strengthen their faith; but it was pleasant and a cause of thanksgiving that they could contemplate and consider this, which was a matter of faith. The Apostles died off; and, therefore, there must in the nature of things be a succession, and then he wanted to know, if Bishops were to succeed, why was not the head of the Apostles to have a succession? Somewhere they must look for that succession; that seemed plain. When they had reason to believe a thing it was a great confirmation to find from the nature of the case that it must be according to their apprehension. It must be considered that no large body could exist without a head. There were small republics, but when a small polity became large, the tendency was, from the necessity of the case, to have a head. They knew that when the great Roman Empire had conquered the known world it could not get on without a head. There must be a centralisation of power. The great Republic on the other side of the world could not get on without a head and humanly speaking, unless Almighty God moved by miracles, he did not see how the Catholic Church could possibly get on without a central authority. From the nature of the case this seemed to be as clear as possible to the eye of reason. He had no need to say those things to Catholics such as they were, but {62} they all had various necessities of, he was going to say, controversy; they might be asked questions, and St. Peter told them that they should have an answer for questions. They all had to do good if they could, and they could not do more good than by bringing souls into the ark of salvation. They knew the blessedness, beyond measure, of the principles of the Church. In conclusion, His Eminence said, "Your faith depends not upon reason, but upon the Word of God; and may God bless you."

On the Conversion of England

At a meeting of the Catholic Union, held in Willis's Rooms in May, 1880, under the presidency of the Duke of Norfolk,

HIS EMINENCE (who on rising was greeted with cheers again and again repeated) delivered the following address: When I say to you, Gentlemen, that the question to which I shall ask your attention bears upon the subject of the conversion of England to the Catholic faith, you will think, perhaps, I am venturing without necessity upon difficult and dangerous ground—difficult because it relates to the future, and dangerous from the offence which it may possibly give to our Protestant brethren. But a man must write and speak on such matters as interest and occupy his mind. At the time when you paid me the great compliment of asking me to address you, you were aware what it was that you were asking; you were aware what I could attempt and what I could not attempt; and I claim in consequence, and I know I shall obtain, your indulgence in case you should be dissatisfied, whether with my subject or with my mode of treating it. However, I am not going to consider the prospect of this country's becoming Catholic, but to inquire what we mean when we speak of praying for its conversion. I cannot, indeed, say anything which will strike you as new, for to be new is to be paradoxical; and yet, if I can bring out what is in my mind, I think something may be said upon the subject. Now, of course it is obviously an act of both simple charity and religious duty on our part to use our privilege of intercession on behalf of our own people: of charity, if we believe our religion is true, and that there is only one true religion; and of strict religious duty in the case of English Catholics, because such prayer is expressly enjoined upon them by ecclesiastical authority. There is a third reason which comes to us all, {63} accompanied with very touching and grateful remembrances. Our martyrs in the sixteenth century, and their successors and representatives in the times which followed at home and abroad, hidden in out-of-the-way nooks and corners of England, or exiles and refugees in foreign countries, kept up a tradition of fervent prayer for their dear England down almost to our own day, when it was taken up from a fresh beginning. It was a fresh start on the part of a holy man, Father Spencer, of the Passionists, himself a convert, who made it his very mission to bring into shape a system of prayer for the conversion of his country; and we know what hardships, mortifications, slights, insults, disappointments he underwent for this object. We know, too, how, in spite of this immense discouragement, or rather, I should say, by means of it—for trial is the ordinary law of Providence—he did a great work—great in its success. That success lies in the visible fact of the conversions which have been so abundant among us since he entered upon his evangelical labour, coupled as it is with the general experience which we all have in the course of life of the wonderful answers which are granted to persevering prayer. Nor must we forget, while we bless the memory of his charity, that such a religious service was one of the observances which he inherited from the Congregation which he had joined, though he had begun it before he was one of its members; for St. Paul of the Cross, its founder, for many years in his Roman monastery had the conversion of England in his special prayers. Nor, again, must we forget the great aid which Father Spencer found from the first in the zeal of Cardinal Wiseman, who not only drew up a form of prayer for England, for the use of English Catholics, but introduced Father Spencer's object to the Bishops of France, and gained for us the powerful intercession of an affectionate people, who in my early days were considered, this side of the Channel, to be nothing else than our national enemies. The experience, then, of what has actually come of prayer for our country, in this and the foregoing generation, is a third reason, in addition to the claim of charity and the duty of obedience, for steadily keeping up an observance which we have inherited. And now, after this introduction, let us consider what it is we ask when we ask for the conversion of England. Do we mean the conversion of the State, or of the nation, or of the people, or of the race? Of which of these, or of all these together? —for there is an indistinctness in the word "England." And, again, a conversion from what to what? This, too, has to be {64} explained; yet I think that at all times, whether in the sixteenth century or in the nineteenth, those who have prayed for it have mainly prayed for the same thing; that is, I think they have ever meant, first, by conversion, a real and absolute apprehension and acknowledgment as true, with an internal assent and consent, of the Catholic creed and an honest acceptance of the Catholic Roman Church as a Divinely-ordained exponent; and next, by England, the whole population of England—every man, woman, and child. Nothing short of this ought to satisfy the desire of those who pray for the conversion of England. So far our martyrs and confessors and their surroundings of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and nineteenth centuries are at one with each other. But so abstract an object is hardly all they prayed for. They prayed for something concrete, and so do we; but, as times and circumstances have changed, so has what is possibly desirable, assignable, changed as regards the object of their and our prayers. It must be recollected that the sixteenth and following centuries have been a period of great political movements and international conflicts, and with these movements and conflicts and their issues religion has been intimately bound up. To pray for the triumph of religion was, in time past, to pray for the success in political and civil matters of certain sovereigns, governments, parties, nations. So it was in the fourth century, when Julian attempted to revive and re-establish paganism. To pray for the Church then was to pray for the overthrow of Julian. And so, in England, Catholics in the sixteenth century would pray for Mary, and Protestants for Elizabeth. But those times are gone. Catholics do not now depend for the success of their religion on the patronage of sovereigns—at least, in England—and it would not help them much if they gained it. Indeed, it is a question if it succeeded here in England, even in that sixteenth century. Queen Mary did not do much for us; in her short reign she permitted acts as if for the benefit of Catholics which were the cause and the excuse for terrible reprisals in the next reign, and have stamped on the minds of our countrymen a fear and hatred of us, viewed as Catholics, which at the end of three centuries is as fresh and keen as it ever was. Nor did James II. do us any good in the next century by the exercise of his regal power. The event has taught us not to look for the conversion of England to political movements and changes, and, in consequence, not to turn our prayers for it in that direction. At a time when priests were put to death, or forced out of the country {65} if they preached or said Mass, there was no other way open for conversion, but the allowance or sanction of the Government; it was as natural, therefore, then to look for political intervention, to pray for the success of dynasties, of certain heirs or claimants to thrones, of parties, of popular insurrections, of foreign influence on behalf of Catholics in England, as it would be preposterous and idle to do so now. I think the best favour which sovereigns, parliaments, municipalities, and other political powers can do us is to let us alone. Yet though we cannot, as sensible men—because times have changed—pray for the cause of the Catholic religion among us with the understanding and intention of those who went before us, still, besides what they teach us ethically as to perseverance amid disappointment, I think we may draw two lessons from their mode of viewing the great duty of which I am speaking—lessons which we ought to lay to heart, and from which we may gain direction for ourselves; and on those I will say a few words: and, first, they suggest to us that in praying for the conversion of England we ought to have, as they had, something in view which may be thrown into the shape of an object present or immediate. An abstract idea of conversion—a conversion which is to take place some day or other, without any conception of what it is to be, or how it is to come about—is to my mind very unsatisfactory. I know, of course, that we must ever leave events to the Supreme Disposer of all things. I do not forget the noble lines

Still raise for good the supplicating voice,
But leave to Heaven the measure and the choice.

But this great precept does not interfere with our duty of taking pains to understand what we pray for, what our prayer definitely means. And the question is, not what we shall get, but for what we shall ask. The views of our predecessors were clear enough. On the other hand, a want of distinctness is not only unjust to our object, but is very likely, very apt, to irritate those for whom we pray, as if we had some secret expedient and method against them; or else, as if we were giving expression to a feeling of superiority and compassion for them, and thus betrayed ourselves to the resources alone left to men who have been beaten in argument. Now certainly those who prayed for the accession of Mary Tudor or Mary Stuart to the Throne of England did not lay themselves open to this charge. They were definite enough in their petitions, and would have been quite satisfied with the ordinary acts of {66} Providence in their favour, such as are the staple of the world's history. And this is the point as to which I think they give us a second lesson for our own profit. I consider, then, that when we pray we do not ask for miracles, and that this limitation of our prayers is neither precisely to Divine mercy, nor to any want of faith. I do not forget the displeasure of the prophet Eliseus with the King of Israel, who smote the ground only three times with his arrow, instead of more times. "If thou had smitten five, six, or seven times," says the prophet, "thou hadst smitten Syria even to utter destruction, but now three times shalt thou smite." But in this case there is no question of miracles. Nor will it be to the purpose to refer to the parable of the importunate widow, and that has nothing to do with miracles either. What I would urge is this. The Creator acts by a fixed rule, which we call a system of laws, and ordinarily and on the whole He honours and blesses His own ordinance and acts through it, and we best know Him when we follow His ordinance in looking for His presence where He has lodged it. Moreover, what is very remarkable, even when it is His will to act miraculously, even when He outstrips His ordinary system, He is wont to honour it even while overstepping it. Sometimes, indeed, He directly contradicts His own laws, as in raising the dead; but such rare acts have their own definite purpose, which makes them necessary for their own sake; but for the most part His marvels are rather what may be called suggestions or carryings out to an extreme point of the laws of nature than naked contrarieties to them. And if we would see more of His wonder-working hand we must look for it as thus mixed up with His natural appointments. As Divine aid given to the soul acts through and with natural reason, natural affection, and conscience, so miraculous agency is in many, nay, in most cases a co-operation with the ordinary ways of physical nature. As an illustration, I may take the division of the waters of the Red Sea at the word of Moses. This was a miracle; yet it was effected with the instrumentality of a natural cause acting according to its nature, but at the same time beyond it. "When Moses," says the sacred writer, "had stretched forth his hands over the sea, the Lord took it away by a strong and burning wind, blowing all the night, and turned it into dry ground." The coincidence that it happened at so critical a time, and in answer to prayers, and then the hot wind's abnormal and successful action—all this makes it a miracle; but still it is a miracle co-operating with the laws of nature, and recognising while it surpasses them. If the {67} Almighty thus honours His own ordinances, we may well honour them too; and, indeed, this is commonly recognised as a duty by Catholics in the case of mediŠval wonders, not to look to miracles until natural means had failed. I do not say that they neglect this rule in regard to their prayers for conversion, but they have not it before their minds consistently and practically. For instance, prayers for the conversion of given individuals, however unlikely to succeed, are, in the case of their relations, friends, benefactors, and the like, obviously a sacred duty. St. Monica prayed for her son. She was bound to do so, and, had he remained in Africa, he might have merely exchanged one heresy for another. He was guided to Italy by natural means, and was converted by St. Ambrose. It was by hoping against hope, by perseverance in asking, that her wish was gained, that her reward was wrought out. However, I conceive the general rule of duty is to take likely objects of prayer, not unlikely objects, about whom we know little or nothing; but I have known cases where good Catholics have said of a given Protestant—"We will have him," and that with a sort of impetuosity, and as if, so to say, defying Providence, cases have always reminded me of that doctrine of Hindu theology represented in Southey's poem, that prayer and sacrifices had a compulsory force on the Supreme Being, as if an implicit act of resignation were not necessary in order to make our intercession acceptable. If, then, I am asked what our predecessors in the Faith, were they on earth, would understand now by praying for the conversion of England, as two or three centuries ago they would have understood by it the success of those political parties and measures with which that conversion was bound up, I answer that they would contemplate an object present, immediate, concrete, and in the way of Providence; and it would be, if worded with strict correctness, not the conversion of England to the Catholic Church, but the growth of the Catholic Church in England. They would expect again, by their prayers, nothing sudden, nothing violent, nothing evidently miraculous, nothing inconsistent with the free will of our countrymen, nothing out of keeping with the majestic march of slow but sure triumph of truth and right in this turbulent world. They would look for the gradual, steady, and sound advance of Catholicity by ordinary means and scenes, which are probably acts and proceedings which are good and holy. They would pray for the conversion of individuals, and for a great many of them, and out of all ranks and classes, and those especially who are, in faith and devotion, nearest to the Church, and seem, if {68} they do not themselves defeat it, to be the objects of God's election, for a removal from the public mind of all prejudices about us, for better understanding of what we hold and what we do not hold, for a feeling of goodwill and respectful bearing in the population towards our Bishops and priests, for a growing capacity in the educated classes of entering into a just appreciation of our characteristic opinions, sentiments, ways, and principles; and in order to effect all this, for a blessing upon our controversialists, that they may be gifted with an abundant measure of prudence, self-command, tact, knowledge of men and things, good sense, candour, and straightforwardness, that their reputation may be high, and their influence wide and deep, and as a special means, and most necessary for our success, for a larger increase in the Catholic body of brotherly love, mutual sympathy, unanimity, and high principle, rectitude of conduct, purity of life. I could not have selected a more important subject to bring before you; but in proportion to my sense of its importance, is my consciousness that it deserves a treatment far superior to that which I have given it. I have done as well as I could, though poor is the best.

In reply to a vote of thanks moved by the Earl of Gainsborough, and supported by Mr. Charles Langdale and Canon Macmullen,

HIS EMINENCE said he was sure they would not take the few words he might use as the measure of his feelings on such an occasion. Their words had given him great consolation, and he thanked them all from his heart. He did not stand to weigh how far all that had been said in his favour, and all the kind thoughts and feelings that had been expressed, were such as he could in his own conscience take entirely or not. They must all endeavour to do their duty, and try to do good to those around them, and God would reward them. {69}

On the Need of Discipline

Preaching at St. Bernard's Seminary, Olton, June 21st, 1880, the Cardinal said:

MY DEAR CHILDREN,—I wish I were quite the person to speak upon that subject to which I am drawn to say a few words. I say I wish I were the person, because I have not that experience of seminaries which alone could enable one to do so properly and perfectly. And yet I do wish to say a few words, and if they are in any respect not appropriate, I must be pardoned if I do my best; and they will not be many words. I should like, if I could, to bring out what I conceive to be some of the moral advantages of a seminary such as this. But, of course, the obvious, and what seems the first, object of such seminaries is that those who go forth to fight the battles of God, and to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ, may be prepared to teach. The idea of teaching comes first in the idea of a minister of God, and without a knowledge of theology we cannot teach. And, therefore, theological teaching may be said to be the obviously first and primÔ facie idea of a seminary. But still I conceive that the moral advantages are not less to be estimated, and that, too, for the sake of the objects which we all have in teaching and knowing theology, for the sake of impressing the Faith and discipline of the Holy Church upon our people. Of course, nothing can be said strong enough about the advantage of having it set forth by those who are properly prepared to do so. Now there are a great many advantages such as this, and though I daresay I shall not name those which are the most important, I would name some of those which strike me. And first, to take a large sense of the word, a seminary is a place of discipline. We all need discipline. We want discipline for this world even. And we know that this idea is felt so strongly in the world, even by those who are not Catholics, that the experience and discipline of schools are necessary for getting on in this world. We know what great advantage accrues to our own country by its particular scholastic system, and how foreign nations are looking to try, if they can, to transplant our own rules and principles and practices which so succeed in England. Now, of course, the bringing of a number of boys together is only in itself a misery and a deceit if it is nothing more than to prepare them for this world. We are all sons of Adam, and we {70} know that evil bursts forth of itself when any number of persons come together, and we call such a number of persons "the world." For that is the real idea of the world. There is a natural impulse and principle of our heart exemplified in the fact that persons are drawn together, and enabled to hold converse, so to say, with each other; and, therefore, to form a rule, a moral rule; not the right rule, but still an ethical rule holding a sort of principle for admiration. Those great schools that are merely secular have such great evils attending them that it is difficult to pronounce an opinion upon them. And all that I can say about them is, that, perhaps, things would not be better if the boys who went there remained at home. It has been so, I do not know what it is now. There is a great advantage, I say, in the mere fact of a number of young people coming together, putting aside the other aspect of the evil of it. Now, in a seminary there are great advantages which overcome that evil, and, therefore, we may look upon it only on its good side. It is truly good because it has great safeguards—the safeguards not only of the Catholic religion—but the safeguards of the personal piety of those young people who come and devote themselves to God, in the flower and springtide of their youth. They give up themselves and all they are to the glory of God and His service, and that will, of course, be seen and blessed by God from Whom it comes. I need not go through the other safeguards. Now I think the first advantage that strikes one is the collision of mind with mind. Let us be ever so well inclined, ever so good and holy, and acting ever so well, and with a view to please God, and with a rule of life such as we ought to have; still there is a great deal to do in the way of disciplining our hearts, which we only gain by being brought together. Everyone likes his own way; and, of course, it becomes an impossibility for everyone to have his own way when there are a great many to be consulted. And, therefore, the very collision of mind with mind is a great advantage. And though it brings a soul into a certain degree of temptation, yet it is a temptation which turns to good from its being wrestled with and overcome. And another advantage is that we all have our own tastes, our likes and dislikes; and no number of minds can come together without having their likings and dislikings overcome. We have to look at things in a higher light. And then, again, I have not said anything yet about the necessity of obedience to superiors. There again is a great field of Christian virtue. And we know—to take an instance, of which I could {71} say much—of my own dear Father, St. Philip Neri—how it was that he tried exceedingly his people merely from principle, to prove if they were obedient, without reference to whether the things were great or little. And so there is one large field, which I think is a most obvious one to put before us as to the advantages of a seminary; and I do not think it can be exaggerated. And then, again, I think there is a great gain which can be gained only by belonging to a body. I do not mean theology strictly, but that settled fundamental basis of viewing things morally and religiously, which we get by habitual contact with others who are of the same profession with ourselves. Men of the world who know very little about religion—I mean Protestants—do not know what they do believe or what they do not; or if they do, they do not understand whether it is important or not. But with a Catholic not only everything is mapped out, but everything is a part of his mind almost. And that is a great gain which those have who by God's mercy are brought into the Church from the beginning. Their minds are framed in a particular way. The whole plan, both of faith and knowledge, becomes part of themselves, and on that I think a great deal might be said. Well, then, I come to a fourth point. There was a poor wanderer, one not in the Church, who when God was good to her said "Thou art He that seest me." This is the case of Agar. She ran away from her mistress, without a friend in the world; she was in despair; and when the angel of God appeared to her and said, "Whence comest thou? and whither goest thou?" she was so overcome with the thought that in her misery there was One who had His eye on her, that she called the name of the Lord that had spoken, "Thou the God Who hast seen me." Then she called the well there (a well being a most important mercy in that country, which we cannot estimate now), "The well of Him that liveth and seeth me." Now it is exceedingly important for all of us to live in the presence of God; and that, I think, is distinct from the moral advantages and safeguards of which I have been speaking. In the minds of people without religion the idea of God seeing them is quite a thing out of comprehension. They are haunted, possessed with the things that are—things that come before them, with their worldly aims, their worldly duties day by day, with no notion of living in the presence of an Unseen Being; and one would say that everything would go right with God's mercy if a man got that simple gift, that great grace. In the lessons for today, you {72} recollect how, when the medical men told St. Aloysius to think less of God, he said that the thought of God pursued him. There you find what it was in the case of a Saint. Well, it is what all holy people feel in a degree. This is pretty much what St. Paul urges upon us when he says, "Pray without ceasing"; and that, according to my idea, is one especial mercy and gift of a seminary—that you are living in the presence of God, and therefore must believe in the interest of Our Lord and Saviour for you. Without great fault, and miserable neglect of oneself, in spite of the great field of temptation into which any priest goes, there is around him an armour; and St. Paul speaks so much of the armour we are to put on. Well, that is what I say is one work of the seminary, to put on "the armour of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect" (Ephes. vi. 13); and if I were to turn the whole object of the seminary into that channel it would be quite sufficient, for it includes in it faith, hope, and charity, according to our measure. I must not be long, but there are one or two things I would just mention. As to theology itself—I think it is a great indirect advantage in this way: I do not mean theology merely as such; but principally because it is our duty, our profession in a certain sense, our occupation in the service of God. When a priest goes into the world, he is usually taken up with so much work that he has no time for anything else. And that is a reason why he should now be taking advantage of those years which he has in the seminary, where the time may be spent profitably, theology thoroughly soaking the mind, so that it is a resource to turn to. Well, I say, he must have a certain degree of theology. He may have no time afterwards; but still from not being strong, or so on, priests may be thrown upon circumstances when they have time upon their hands. Now there is nothing more dangerous than leisure. We have very crafty and subtle enemies; we have enemies within us and enemies without us; St. Paul says that a spirit of evil surrounds us; we have the world, the flesh, and the devil; and it is a great thing if we have acquired the love of theology, so that we may take it up and be interested in it, when we do not know exactly what to do. It requires, of course, more experience than I can have, to speak worthily of such a subject, for it is a great one. That leads me to notice a kind of objection (and it is the last remark I shall make) that it all leads only to a very narrow sort of education, that it is much better with the Churches around us that are not Catholic churches, to have a knowledge {73} of the world; that it is a good thing for those who are going into a religious life—into a ministerial life—to have mixed with the world—that it is good for religion, that it has a certain influence on the laity, and so on. The present day seems to think that those who have a professional education are narrow; they are not fit to cope with others in religious controversy; they do not know anything of the people they have to address. And that is all true. I am not denying that; but still I would say one thing on that point. Of course, I do not see why theology should not so far open the mind as to lead afterwards, at fitting opportunities, to a priest's getting that knowledge of controversy, and so on, which he had not at the seminary. We cannot do everything at once. We begin with the most important, and go on with others. And therefore, in the proper time, and in the proper place, the study of controversy and kindred subjects, and of secular knowledge, becomes very opportune. But still one must remember that there is an innate power, blessed by Almighty God, in a straightforward, well-educated priest, though he knows nothing of the world, or is likely to make mistakes in it. And I think really that many persons are converted by the simplicity of a Catholic, and especially of a Catholic priest, and his straightforwardly going about his duty, and honestly speaking out what the Church teaches, better than if he were ever so good a controversialist. I am not denying, of course, the great advantage of a knowledge about people, and of a knowledge of their arguments, and the harm that is done by imprudently ventilating a subject when one is not perfectly informed upon it. And bad arguments do a great harm; but a holy life is only a source of good to all who come near it: "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in Heaven." May we all enter more into the great responsibility which is put upon us all. How much we can do for God, and how much He will enable us to do, if we put our simple trust in Him. {74}

On Mr. Ouless's Portrait of him

On Sunday, June 19th, 1881, the portrait of Cardinal Newman by Mr. W. W. Ouless, R.A., which had attracted much interest at the previous yearly Exhibition of the Royal Academy, was presented to His Eminence at Edgbaston. The picture had been subscribed for by members of the congregation, and the presentation was made by Mr. Wilson, who read an address on behalf of the committee appointed for the purpose.

THE CARDINAL replied: My dear Children,—I wish I could return an answer worthy of your acceptable present and of the affectionate words with which you have accompanied it. It is indeed most acceptable to me, and a very thoughtful kindness that you should have proposed to provide a memorial of me for time to come, and a memorial so specially personal, which years hence will bring back vividly the remembrance of the past to those who have known me, and will carry on into the future a tradition of what I was like, to the many who never saw me. It is a second kindness that you wish to leave it as an heirloom to this house, for by doing so you associate my brothers, the Fathers of this Oratory, in your loving thoughts of me, and thereby recognise what is so true, so ever-present to my mind, that you never would have had cause to show affection towards me but for the zealous co-operation of dear friends, living and dead, for the acts and works of whom I get the credit. It is a third kindness that in carrying out your purpose you have had recourse to a man of widely-acknowledged genius, whose work, now finished, is generally pronounced to be worthy of his reputation, and is found by competent judges to claim more and more admiration as a work of art the more carefully it is studied. Nor must I omit a fourth gratification which your address suggests to me. When friends and well-wishers in years past have paid me the like compliment, I have asked myself what I had done to merit it; but now the Sovereign Pontiff has singled me out for his highest mark of favour; and thus while you in 1878 may be considered to have only been anticipating by the honour you proposed to me the coming to me of his act of grace, so now in 1881 I can for the same reason receive it of you without the appearance or the fear of arrogance or presumption. You ask for my blessing, and I bless you with all my heart, as I desire to be blessed myself. Each one of us has his own individuality, his separate history, his antecedents and his {75} future, his duties, his responsibilities, his solemn trial, and his eternity. May God's grace, His love, His peace, rest on all of you, united as you are in the Oratory of St. Philip, on old and young, on confessors and penitents, on teachers and taught, on living and dead. Apart from that grace, that love, that peace, nothing is stable. All things have an end, but the earth will last its time, and while the earth lasts Holy Church will last; and while Holy Church lasts may the Oratory of Birmingham last also, amid the fortunes of many generations, one and the same, faithful to St. Philip, strong in the protection of Our Lady and all Saints, not losing as time goes on its sympathy with its first fathers, whatever may be the burden and interests of its own day, as we in turn now stretch forth our hands with love and with awe towards those our unborn successors whom on earth we shall never know.

At the London Oratory

On the last Sunday in June, 1881, Cardinal Newman, who was accompanied from Birmingham by Father Bellasis, preached at the London Oratory, after reading from a Pastoral from the Cardinal Archbishop on Catholic education.

THE CARDINAL testified to the great work done by the Cardinal Archbishop for Christian education, and said that an objection commonly made was that, man being a double being, composed of body and soul, and having relations with this world and with the next—why, then, should he not be trained in those things which concern this world by men of this world, and in those which concern the next world by men of the next world? In answer to this objection, he answered that, in fact, it is impossible to separate body and soul, and that the whole tone and drift of the teaching of the Apostles and of our Blessed Lord Himself is, that even the things of this world are to be ordered in reference to God and to the next world; and he quoted the injunction of St. Paul "Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God;" and "All whatsoever you do in word or in work, all things do ye in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him;" and also the command of Our Lord himself: "Seek ye, therefore, first, the Kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you." {76}

A characteristic of this little discourse was the Cardinal's habit of looking out the texts of Holy Scripture which he quoted, and reading them from the Bible.

For the last Time

In reply to an address presented to Cardinal Newman by the Catholic Truth Society, on the occasion of a Conference at Birmingham in July, 1890, His Eminence said:

MY DEAR FRIENDS,—I wish, both in thought and language, as far as I can, to thank you, as I do very heartily. I thank you for your affection—it is the affection of great souls. You are not common people. I could say a great deal, but I will only pray that God may sustain and put His confirmation upon what you do. I give you every good wish. Your Society is one which makes us feel the sadness of the days through which we have passed, when the Church of Christ wanted those assistances of publication which Protestants possessed in such abundance. I envied both the matter and the intention of those publications. It is a cruel thing that our Faith has been debarred from the possibility of lively action, but it was no fault of Catholics. They have been so pressed and distracted from the formation of any policy, that the Church has had to depend on only a few heads and the management of a few. This has been the cause of the absence of interest and popularity in publications among Catholics. But now there is no reason why we should not have the power which has before this been in the hands of Protestants, whose zeal, however, I have always admired. But the reward is at hand for us, and we must thank God for giving to us such a hope. I may say of myself that I have had much sorrow that the hopes and the prospects of the Church have shown so little sign of brightening. There has been—there is now—a great opposition against the Church; but this time, and this day, are the beginnings of a revolution. I have had despondency; but the hour has come when we may make good use, and practical use, of the privileges which God has given us. We must thank God and ask for His best blessing and mercy. May He sustain you. God is not wanting if we are ready to work. I beg you to pardon and to forget the weakness of my words. I am content to pray for you and for your works. God bless you.

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1. Monsignor Woodlock, now Bishop of Ardagh.
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2. Even the Times, commenting upon this address, said: "The truth of much in Cardinal Newman's explanation of the amended relations between English Protestants and English Roman Catholics cannot be denied. No Englishman would wish to deny it. It must be acknowledged, also, that Protestants confronted with Catholics in the communication of daily life were unable to continue to think the religion they professed immoral and debasing."
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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