John Henry Newman.

Addresses to Cardinal Newman with his replies, etc., 1879-81 online

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men, as well as many members of the Roman
nobility and dignitaries of the Church, as-
sembled to witness the ceremony. Soon after
midday the consistorial messenger was an-
nounced. He handed the biglietto to Dr.
Newman, who, having broken the seal, gave
it to Dr. Clifford, Bishop of Clifton, who read
the contents. The messenger having then in-
formed the newly-created Cardinal that his
Holiness would receive him at the Vatican the
next morning at ten o'clock to confer the
berretta upon him, and having paid the
customary compliments, his Eminence re-
plied in what has become known as his
44 Biglietto Speech" as follows:

Vi ringrazio, Monsignore, per la
participazione che m'avete fatto dell'



62

alto onore che il Santo Padre si e
degnato conferire sulla mia umile per-
sona

And, if I ask your permission to
continue my address to you, not in
your musical language, but in my
own dear mother tongue, it is because
in the latter I can better express my
feelings on this most gracious an-
nouncement which you have brought
to me than if I attempted what is
above me.

First of all then, I am led to speak
of the wonder and profound gratitude
which came upon me, and which is
upon me still, at the condescension
and love towards me of the Holy
Father in singling me out for so
immense an honour. It was a great
surprise. Such an elevation had never
come into my thoughts, and seemed
to be out of keeping with all my
antecedents. I had passed through
many trials, but they were over; and
now the end of all things had almost
come to me, and I was at peace.
And was it possible that after all I
had lived through so many years for
this?

Nor is it easy to see how I could
have borne so great a shock, had not
the Holy Father resolved on a second



63

act of condescension towards me,
which tempered it, and was to all who
heard of it a touching evidence of his
kindly and generous nature. He felt
for me, and he told me the reasons
why he raised me to this high posi-
tion. Besides other words of en-
couragement, he said his act was a
recognition of my zeal and good
service for so many years in the
Catholic cause ; moreover, he judged
it would give pleasure to English
Catholics, and even to Protestant
England, if I received some mark of
his favour. After such gracious words
from his Holiness, I should have been
insensible and heartless if I had had
scruples any longer.

This is what he had the kindness
to say to me, and what could I want
more ? In a long course of years I
have made many mistakes. I have
nothing of that high perfection which
belongs to the writings of Saints, viz.,
that error cannot be found in them ;
but what I trust that I may claim all
through what I have written, is this,
an honest intention, an absence of
private ends, a temper of obedience, a
willingness to be corrected, a dread of
error, a desire to serve Holy Church,
and, through Divine mercy, a fair



6 4

measure of success. And, I rejoice to
say, to one great mischief I have
from the first opposed myself. For
thirty, forty, fifty years I have re-
sisted to the best of my powers the
spirit of liberalism in religion. Never
did Holy Church need champions
against it more sorely than now,
when, alas ! it is an error overspread-
ing, as a snare, the whole earth ; and
on this great occasion, when it is
natural for one who is in my place to
look out upon the world, and upon
Holy Church as in it, and upon her
future, it will not, I hope, be con-
sidered out of place, if I renew the
protest against it which I have made
so often.

Liberalism in religion is the doc-
trine that there is no positive truth in
religion, but that one creed is as good
as another, and this is the teaching
which is gaining substance and force
daily. It is inconsistent with any re-
cognition of any religion, as true. It
teaches that all are to be tolerated,
for all are matters of opinion. Re-
vealed religion is not a truth, but a
sentiment and a taste ; not an objec-
tive fact, not miraculous ; and it is
the right of each individual to make
it say just what strikes his fancy.



65

Devotion is not necessarily founded
on faith. Men may go to Protestant
Churches and to Catholic, may get
good from both and belong to neither.
They may fraternise together in spiri-
tual thoughts and feelings, without
having any views at all of doctrine
in common, or seeing the need of
them. Since, then, religion is so per-
sonal a peculiarity and so private a
possession, we must of necessity ig-
nore it in the intercourse of man with
man. If a man puts on a new reli-
gion every morning, what is that to
you ? It is as impertinent to think
about a man's religion as about his
sources of income or his management
of his family. Religion is in no
sense the bond of society.

Hitherto the civil Power has been
Christian. Even in countries separ-
ated from the Church, as in my own,
the dictum was in force, when I was
young, that : " Christianity was the
law of the land ''. Now, everywhere
that goodly framework of society,
which is the creation of Christian-
ity, is throwing off Christianity. The
dictum to which I have referred, with
a hundred others which followed upon
it, is gone, or is going everywhere ;
and, by the end of the century, unless
5



66

the Almighty interferes, it will be for-
gotten. Hitherto, it has been con-
sidered that religion alone, with its
supernatural sanctions, was strong
enough to secure submission of the
masses of our population to law and
order ; now the Philosophers and
Politicians are bent on satisfying this
problem without the aid of Christian-
ity. Instead of the Church's author-
ity and teaching, they would substi-
tute first of all a universal and a
thoroughly secular education, calcu-
lated to bring home to every indivi-
dual that to be orderly, industrious,
and sober, is his personal interest.
Then, for great working principles to
take the place of religion, for the use
of the masses thus carefully educated,
it provides the broad fundamental
ethical truths, of justice, benevolence,
veracity, and the like ; proved experi-
ence \ and those natural laws which
exist and act spontaneously in society,
and in social matters, whether physi-
cal or psychological ; for instance, in
government, trade, finance, sanitary
experiments, and the intercourse of
nations. As to Religion, it is a pri-
vate luxury, which a man may have
if he will ; but which of course he
must pay for, and which he must not



6 7

obtrude upon others, or indulge in to
their annoyance.

The general character of this great
apostasia is one and the same every-
where ; but in detail, and in character,
it varies in different countries. For
myself, I would rather speak of it
in my own country, which I know.
There, I think it threatens to have
a formidable success ; though it is
not easy to see what will be its ulti-
mate issue. At first sight it might
be thought that Englishmen are too
religious for a movement which, on
the Continent, seems to be founded
on infidelity; but the misfortune with
us is, that, though it ends in infidel-
ity as in other places, it does not
necessarily arise out of infidelity. It
must be recollected that the religious
sects, which sprang up in England
three centuries ago, and which are so
powerful now, have ever been fiercely
opposed to the Union of Church and
State, and would advocate the un-
Christianising of the monarchy and
all that belongs to it, under the no-
tion that such a catastrophe would
make Christianity much more pure
and much more powerful. Next the
liberal principle is forced on us from
the necessity of the case. Consider



68

what follows from the very fact of
these many sects. They constitute
the religion, it is supposed, of half
the population ; and, recollect, our
mode of government is popular.
Every dozen men taken at random
whom you meet in the streets has a
share in political power, when you
inquire into their forms of belief, per-
haps they represent one or other of
as many as seven religions ; how
can they possibly act together in
municipal or in national matters, if
each insists on the recognition of his
own religious denomination ? All ac-
tion would be at a deadlock unless
the subject of religion was ignored.
We cannot help ourselves. And,
thirdly, it must be borne in mind,
that there is much in the liberalistic
theory which is good and true ; for
example, not to say more, the pre-
cepts of justice, truthfulness, sobriety,
self-command, benevolence, which, as
I have already noted, are among its
avowed principles, and the natural
laws of society. It is not till we
find that this array of principles is
intended to supersede, to block out,
religion, that we pronounce it to be
evil. There never was a device of
the Enemy so cleverly framed and



69

with such promise of success. And
already it has answered to the ex-
pectations which have been formed
of it. It is sweeping into its own
ranks great numbers of able, earnest,
virtuous men, elderly men of approved
antecedents, young men with a career
before them.

Such is the state of things in Eng-
land, and it is well that it should be
realised by all of us ; but it must not
be supposed for a moment that I am
afraid of it. I lament it deeply, be-
cause I foresee that it may be the ruin
of many souls ; but I have no fear at
all that it really can do aught of seri-
ous harm to the Word of God, to Holy
Church, to our Almighty King, the
Lion of the tribe of Judah, Faithful and
True, or to His Vicar on earth. Chris-
tianity has been too often in what
seemed deadly peril, that we should
fear for it any new trial now. So far
is certain ; on the other hand, what is
uncertain, and in these great contests
commonly is uncertain, and what is
commonly a great surprise, when it is
witnessed, is the particular mode by
which, in the event, Providence res-
cues and saves His elect inheritance.
Sometimes our enemy is turned into a
friend ; sometimes he is despoiled of



that special virulence of evil which was
so threatening ; sometimes he falls to
pieces of himself; sometimes he does
just so much as is beneficial, and then
is removed. Commonly the Church
has nothing more to do than to go on
in her own proper duties, in confidence
and peace ; to stand still and to see
the salvation of God.

Mansucti hercditabunt terrain,

Et delectabuntur in multitudinc pads.

His Eminence spoke in a strong, clear voice,
and although he stood the whole time, he
showed no signs of fatigue. After taking his
seat, those present went up in turn to compli-
ment him, Monsignor Stonor, at the request
of Monsignor Cataldi, Master of the Ceremonies
to His Holiness, presenting those with whom
His Eminence was unacquainted. Among the
many present were Dr. Moran, Bishop of
Ossory ; Monsignor Lenti, Vice-Gerent of Rome ;
Dr. O'Callaghan, Rector of the English Col-
lege ; Dr. Giles, Vice-Rector of the English
College ; Monsignor Kirby, Rector of the Irish
College; Dr. Campbell, Rector of the Scotch
College ; Dr. Smith, of the Propaganda ; Dr.
O'Bryen ; Dr. Hostlot, Rector of the American
College ; F. Mullooly, Prior of St. Clement's ;
Dr. Maziere Brady, Lady Herbert of Lea,
Marchioness Ricci, Baroness Keating, Prince
and Princess Giustiniani Bandini, Commenda-
tore de Rossi, Count de Redmond, General
Kanzler, Professor Blackie, Sir Hungerford
Pollen, Monsignors Folicaldi, Rinaldi, de Stac-
poole and others, and nearly all the English
residents now in Rome, both Catholic and
Protestant.



71

[This Reply was telegraphed to London by the cor-
respondent of The Times and appeared in full in that paper
the next morning. Moreover, through the kindness of
Fr. Armellini, S.J., who during the night translated it
into Italian, it was also given in full in the Osservatore
Romano of the following day.]



The Presentation to Cardinal Newman
of vestments, etc., etc., by the Eng-
lish-speaking Catholics in Rome,
which took place at the English
College, May 14, 1879.

[The Holy Father, among other kind attentions to the
Cardinal, dispensed him from the traditional retirement
observed by Cardinals at their creation, by himself arrang-
ing impromptu for this presentation at the English College.
His kind interest extended as far as to settle the day, and
the details of attendance, and of the Cardinal's dress for
that day.]

At eleven o'clock on Wednesday, May 14,
his Eminence Cardinal Newman, accompanied
by Mgr. Cataldi, Master of Ceremonies to his
Holiness, and the Fathers of the Birmingham
Oratory who are with him, went to the
English College to receive the address and the
gifts of the English, Irish, Scotch and Ameri-
can residents in Rome. He was received at
the College by Dr. O'Callaghan, the rector,
Dr. Giles, the vice-rector, and Mgr. Stonor,
and conducted into a large upper chamber,
already crowded by ladies and gentlemen. At
the further end were exposed the complete set
of vestments, rich as becoming the intention,
but plain in accordance with the Cardinal's
desire, a cloth-of-silver cope and jewelled mitre,
a Canon of the Mass book, a pectoral cross
and chain, and a silver-gilt altar candlestick,
for which the English-speaking Catholics at
Rome have subscribed as a present to his



72

Eminence, together with a richly illuminated
address. On each vestment was embroidered
his Eminence's coat-of-arms in proper heraldic
colours, with the motto " Cor ad cor loqui-
tur". The Cardinal having taken his seat,
with Mgr. Moran, Bishop of Ossory, Mgr.
Woodlock, Bishop elect of Ardagh, Mgr.
Siciliano di Rende, Archbishop of Benevento,
and Mgrs. Stonor, Cataldi, and de Stacpoole
on either side, Lady Herbert of Lea read the
following address :



From the English, Irish, Scotch, and
American residents in Rome.

MY LORD CARDINAL,

We, your devoted English,
Scotch, Irish, and American children
at present residing in Rome, earnestly
wishing to testify our deep and affection-
ate veneration for your Eminence's person
and character, together with our hearty
joy at your elevation to the Sacred
Purple, venture to lay this humble offer-
ing at your feet. We feel that; in making
you a Cardinal the Holy Father has not
only given public testimony of his ap-
preciation of your great merits and of
the value of your^ admirable writings in
defence of God and His Church, but has
also conferred the greatest possible
honour on all English-speaking Catholics,
who have long looked up to you as their
spiritual father and their guide in the
paths of holiness. We hope your Emin-
ence will excuse the shortness and



73

simplicity of this Address, which is but
the expression of the feeling contained in
your Eminence's motto, " Heart speaking
to Heart," for your Eminence has long
won the first place in the hearts of all.
That God may greatly prolong the years
which have been so devoted to His ser-
vice in the cause of truth is the earnest
prayer of your Eminence's faithful and
loving children.



To the English, Irish, Scotch, and
American residents in Rome.

MY DEAR FRIENDS,

Your affectionate Address, in-
troductory to so beautiful a present, I
accept as one of those strange favours
of Divine Providence which are
granted to few. Most men if they do
any good die without knowing it ; but
I call it strange that I should be kept
to my present age an age beyond
the age of most men as if in order
that, in this great city, where I am
personally almost unknown, I might
find kind friends to meet me with an
affectionate welcome and to claim me
as their spiritual benefactor. The
tender condescension to me of the
Holy Father has elicited in my be-
half, in sympathy with him, a loving



74

acclamation from his faithful children.
My dear friends, your present, which
while God gives me strength I shall
avail myself of in my daily Mass, will
be a continual memento in His sight
both of your persons and your several
intentions. When my strength fails
me for that great action, then in turn
I know well that I may rely on your
taking up the duty and privilege of
intercession, and praying for me that,
with the aid of the Blessed Virgin
and all saints, I may persevere in
faith, hope, and charity, and in all
that grace which is the life of the
soul till the end comes.

A great improvement was manifested in the
Cardinal's appearance since the day before
yesterday.



From Fr. Weld, S.J.
SAN GIROLAMO, FIESOLE, May 3, 1879.

MY DEAR LORD CARDINAL,

. I feel that it is right that I
should be the last to send my congratu-
lations to your Eminence on occasion
of the dignity which our Holy Father
has conferred on you. Indeed I have
felt ashamed of joining my little voice in
the chorus which it has been such a real
pleasure to me to hear, and in the senti-
ments of which I so heartily concur: but



75

I could not deny myself the pleasure of
at least letting you hear it. Allow me
then to express my very sincere joy at an
event which I feel to be a source of con-
gratulation to English Catholics for ever.

These are my simple thoughts ; but I
still have a simple duty to perform. It is
to convey to your Eminence from our
Rev. Father General, at his special re-
quest, his sincere congratulations on your
elevation to the sacred dignity of Cardi-
nal, and to express his prayer that God
will preserve you yet long among us, that
you may continue to serve Him by leading
many souls to His love. The kindness
which your Eminence has always shown
to our Society is deeply appreciated by
us all and most of all by him who has
the interests of us all most at his heart.
With the greatest respect,

I remain your very humble and
devoted servant in Christ,
A. WELD, S.J.



To Fr. Weld, S.y.
VIA SISTINA, ROME, May 19, 1879.

MY DEAR FATHER WELD,

It is a great satisfaction to
me to receive so kind a letter from
you, and you have increased my obli-
gation to you by adding so friendly a
message from your Father General.
I have always admired and honoured



7 6

your Society, though I have felt that
its grandeur and force of action was
so much above me.

Excuse a short letter, for I write
from my bed by the help of an
amanuensis.

Begging your good prayers and
those of the Father General and all
your Community,
I am,

Most sincerely yours,

JOHN H. CARD. NEWMAN.



THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE CATHOLIC
UNION OF GREAT BRITAIN AT THE
MEETINGS HELD IN FEBRUARY,
MARCH, AND JUNE, 1879.

[For what took place in May, 1880, see pp. 262-74].
I.

The first half-yearly Meeting of the Catho-
lic Union for the present year, 1879, was held
at Willis's Rooms on Thursday, Feb. 20.

His Grace the Duke of Norfolk (President) was in
the Chair ; and among the members present were the
Marquis of Ripon, K.G., the Lord Petre, the Rev.
Dr. Laing, Col. Fletcher Gordon, and Messrs. F. R.
Wegg-Prosser, S. Segrave, F. P. Round, Major Gape,
T. H. Meynell, H. W. Southwell, General Allan, J.
Dowling, F. H. Pownall, T. Rawlinson, F. E. Kerr,
H. Stourton, Hon. F. Stonor, Thompson Cooper, E.
W. J. Temple, A. Newdigate, E. B. Gudgeon, W.
Smith, C. I. Manning, Chas. Goldie, Allan Roskell,
S. Taprell Holland, Colonel Prendergast, Stuart Knill,
M. J. Ellison, T. W. Allies, L. Biale, R. M. Carr, C.
Kent, Alex. Fletcher, and B. Fitzherbert.



77

Resolutions regarding the Very Rev.
Dr. Newman.

His Grace said, that doubtless they had all
heard that it had pleased the Holy See to
offer the dignity of the Cardinalate to Dr.
Newman. (Applause.) The matter had be-
come the subject of general conversation, and
had been alluded to in the newspapers. This
removed one difficulty he would otherwise
have felt in alluding to the subject. It was
now many years since Father Newman had
himself joined the Catholic communion, into
which he had been the means of bringing so
many other souls. There were many in that
room to-day who had felt the great power of
his writings and of personal intercourse with
him. He was a very great champion of the
Truth, ever ready to step forward to defend
the Holy See and the religion of his Catholic
fellow-countrymen in every way in his power.
(Applause.) This high mark of recognition by
the Holy See of Dr. Newman's exertions
must be felt and be deeply prized by all
English-speaking Catholics, and doubtless was
very highly valued by Dr. Newman. He had
much pleasure, therefore, "in proposing the fol-
lowing resolutions :

I. "That the Catholic Union of Great
Britain has received with profound gratification
intelligence of the desire of His Holiness Pope
Leo XIII. to confer upon the Very Reverend
John Henry Newman the dignity of a Cardi-
nal of Holy Church ".

II. "That the Catholic Union desires to
lay before the Apostolic Throne an expression
of unfeigned gratitude for the honour thus
shown to one whose name is especially dear
and precious to the Catholics of the British
Empire, and also justly venerated and cherished



78

by his countrymen generally for his high
moral and intellectual endowments."

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

IV. * That copies of these resolutions be
submitted to His Holiness the Pope and to
the Very Rev. Dr. Newman."

The Marquis of Ripon said that it was a
source of deep gratification to himself to be
permitted to second the resolution which had
just been moved. His Grace had approached
the consideration of these resolutions from the
point of view of one who had the happiness
of possessing an old Catholic name, and
naturally looked upon Dr. Newman's career
from a point of view somewhat different from
that from which he (Lord Ripon) must ap-
proach it. For himself, he felt that in second-
ing the proposition, he was only discharging
a deep debt of gratitude to one whose writ-
ings had been the main earthly cause of con-
ferring upon him the greatest blessing of his
life, the blessing of now being happily brought
within the fold of the Catholic Church.
(Cheers.) He would not go over, step by
step, those services which Dr. Newman
had rendered to the cause of the Catholic
religion. They all knew that he was among
the foremost of our living champions. They
all knew the great influence which he wielded,
not among Catholics alone, but among his
countrymen of every creed. Therefore, it well
became them who had the great privilege of
claiming him pre-eminently as their own, that
upon that occasion they should offer their
humble expressions of deep gratitude to the
Holy See, and their hearty congratulations to
Dr. Newman upon an event in which every



79

man in that room and every Catholic through-
out these realms must feel the deepest and
most heartfelt interest. (Applause.)

The resolutions were carried with acclama-
tion.



II.

The Address to the Holy Father, em-
bodying the Resolutions from the
Catholic Union, and, with the
Resolutions, submitted to His
Holiness Pope Leo XIII., and to
Dr. Newman :
BEATISSIME PATER,

Catholica Britannorum Societas
faustae electionis Tuae die nuper congre-
gata valde gavisa est Sanctitati Tuae
consilium placuisse Virum venerabilem,
Johannem Henricum Newman, S. T. P.
ad Sacrum Cardinalium Senatum elevandi.
Sedi Apostolicae impensas ex animo
gratias agit quod tali honore Virum affi-
cere decreverit tarn Catholicis omnibus in
toto quam late patet Britannorum imperio
eximie carum quam ceteris quot Anglo-
rum linguam colunt morum sanctitate
ingenii excellentia insignem.

Ipsi gratulatur amorem pariter et reve-
rentiam testatur quern Sedes Apostolica
tanquam strenuum Catholicae Ecclesiae
militem coronavit.

Studium hoc suum grati animi indi-
cium tarn Sanctitati Tuae quam venera-
bili Viro nuntiari volebat.

NORFOLK,

Praeses.



8o

(TRANSLATION.)

HOLY FATHER,

The Catholic Union of Great
Britain, lately assembled on the auspicious
day of your election, rejoiced greatly to hear
that it pleased your Holiness to raise the
venerable man, Dr. John Henry Newman,
to the Sacred College of Cardinals.

It desires to express to your Holiness its
warm and heartfelt thanks that you have
resolved to clothe with this honour a man
who is not only most dear to all Catholics
in the wide-spread British Empire, but
esteemed by all other Englishmen for the
holiness of his life, and the pre-eminence of
his genius.

It would also congratulate and renew the
expression of its love and reverence towards
him whom the Apostolic See has crowned
as an unwearied champion of the Church,


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