|Henry Edward Cardinal Manning in 1883, photo|
Alexander Bassano (source: Facebook)
Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to write three posts on Cardinal Manning's social work - concentrating specifically on: a) his pioneering efforts within the temperance movement; b) his efforts to save poor Catholic children from the horrors of the Protestant workhouses; and c) his campaigning efforts for workers' rights.
This latter aspect of the Cardinal's concern for justice led to his hero status amongst London's dockers, and also a helped ensure a prominent place for the Catholic Church in England and Wales within the political sphere of the time. Not only did men like Gladstone warm to Catholicism's social teachings through the influence of Manning, but Pope Leo XIII even based his ground-breaking encyclical, Rerum Novarum, on the Cardinal's speeches and writings in support of a just and living wage for working men. This papal document is now lauded as the Church's first encyclical that concerns itself with modern Catholic social teaching.
Today, though, I would simply like to introduce Cardinal Manning to a wider audience. From reading the facts of his life many will probably wonder how it was that Manning's contemporary, Newman, was beatified before him. Although both were subtle rivals in life, it is possibly true to say that Manning was by far the more popular of the two at that time. On the practical and theological level, too, it is true to say that Manning had far more influence on both on the society of his time and on the Church's subsequent teachings. One wonders, then, why it is that he remains largely forgotten. Many agree, then, that it is time now that these two great men were equally honoured in death.
|Father Henry Manning as he appeared in|
Harper's Bazarre (source: Facebook)
Henry Manning attended Harrow School from 1822 and subsequently went up to Oxford in 1827 - where he was a student at Balliol College. As an undergraduate, Manning soon earned a reputation for his debating skills, and even rose to become the president of the Oxford Union before graduating with a 1st class degree in Classics - he was immediately followed in this post by the future Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone. After briefly considering a career in politics, Henry Manning eventually became a rather lowly civil servant within the Colonial Office. Within two years, though, the young Manning had left this job and was back in Oxford with the intention of being admitted into holy orders within the Church of England.
In 1832, Manning was elected a fellow of Merton College, Oxford, and was ordained into the diaconate. He became an Anglican priest one year later. His rise through the clerical ranks was swift. In part, this was due to his personal holiness and extraordinary intelligence, but it also reflected Manning's prodigious work ethic. He never stopped preaching, campaigning, lecturing and visiting his flock. By the late 1830s, Henry Manning had made a name for himself as the country's leading voice in defence of Christian education. In successfully opposing attempts by the then Government, which wished to convert parochial schools into state schools, Manning became an early champion of what we would nowadays call faith schools. In later life, he was just as vocal, if not more so, in campaigning for Catholic education.
|Chichester Cathedral (source: Wikimedia Commons)|
Five years after Newman's conversion, Manning also left the Church of England to become a Catholic and enter into full communion with Rome. He did so soon after the state had intervened in 1850 to reinstate an Evangelical Anglican clergyman who denied the regenerative effects of baptism. The fact that the Anglican communion could be forced to accept heresy through the interference of the representatives of the Queen was too much for Manning. He realised then that the Church of England was unable to be a guarantor of the truth - it was based on Parliament and man-made laws, not the divine mandate of Jesus Christ.
Unlike Newman, though, Manning's conversion to Roman Catholicism seemed more complete (if I can put it like that). He embraced Rome with both arms. Whilst John Henry Newman seemed averse to what is now termed ultramontanism, and to the later doctrine of Papal Infallibility, Manning was a great supporter of the papacy and of the pope as point of unity and ultimate authority. In fact, Manning became a key-player in helping to define the doctrine of Papal Infallibility during the First Vatican Council.
In concentrating on his ecclesial journey, I seem to have forgotten another hugely important part of Manning's early life - his marriage, which I shall now cover. After being admitted to the College of Cardinals in 1875, Manning gained the unofficial and slightly affectionate title: "The Cardinal of the Seven Sacraments." He was called this by his priests because he had once been married - so had by the time of his death been granted all seven sacraments of the Church, including holy matrimony.
His wife was the beautiful Caroline Sargent, daughter of John Sargent, Manning's first rector when he was first made curate of Lavington-with-Graffham in 1833. His marriage to Caroline was a loving and happy one, even if it was tragically cut short. She died childless of consumption (tuberculosis) in 1837. Upon his death as Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster in 1897, a locket was found around Manning's neck. It contained a miniature portrait of Caroline. He had worn this loving memento throughout his life, even as a Catholic Archbishop and a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church.
Now that he no longer had a wife or family to care for and having decided that the Church of England was no real Church, Manning was free to seek full communion with Rome. After spending a long holiday in Rome in 1850, during which time he personally met with Pope Pius IX, Manning decided that it was time to take the plunge. One of the deciding factors in his conversion was the knowledge, after speaking with the Pope, that Anglicans were practically "unknown ... to the Vicar of Jesus Christ." This fact made him realise how "isolated" the Church of England really was.
|Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman, first Archbishop of Westminster|
(source: The Far Sight blog)
Soon after his ordination as a Catholic priest, Manning was sent to Rome to complete his Catholic theological and philosophical studies. Whilst there, his fellow students included his own successor as Archbishop of Westminster, the future Cardinal Hubert Vaughan. Another student, Edward Henry Howard, a relative of the Duke of Norfolk, would also become a cardinal - from the late 1870s until the 1890s there were three great and distinguished English cardinals living concurrently: Manning, Newman and Howard. Vaughan, another towering-figure in the history of the English Church, was created cardinal in 1893.
Although based in Rome for the first few years of his priesthood, Father Manning would exercise his pastoral office in London during the Summer holidays - often hearing confessions in the Jesuit church at Farm Street. In fact, it was at this church that he celebrated his first Mass on 16 June 1851. After his Roman sojourn, it seems that Manning was more happy to resume the life and ministry of a simple parish priest.
In 1857, Father Manning was asked to found a new parish and was therefore appointed the first parish priest of St Mary of the Angels in Bayswater (some people now refer to this parish as 'Notting Hill'). At this time, Manning also founded a community of the Oblates of St Charles to help him care for the parish. He was also appointed provost of the Westminster Metropolitan Chapter by Pope Pius IX around the same period. Needless to say, his sudden rise through the ranks of the clergy was both a surprise to him as well as a cause of concern for his enemies or those who had expected some form of clerical promotion for themselves after having laboured faithfully in the Westminster vineyard for several decades.
During this next few years, Manning's time was largely taken up with visiting the poor, teaching the catechism, lecturing at the local seminary, acting as superior to the Oblates and helping Cardinal Wiseman to run his Chapter. But his main priority at St Mary of the Angels seemed to have been the welfare of his poor and troubled parishioners - whom he referred to as: "my little ones, little by suffering or helplessness, or pitiable because of sin." In fact, it is obvious that he was in his element amongst the poor and dispossessed of that area of London which is now known for being affluent and fashionable. Whilst reflecting on his time in Bayswater, Manning wrote: "Hard years and full of anxiety but full of high peace and independence of the world - the happiest of my life."
|St Mary of the Angels Bayswater|
(source: Ancient Richborough blog)
Needless to say, many secular clergy openly accused Manning of ambition during this time. Some even alleged that he had somehow arranged Archbishop Errington's humiliation. This led to an unfair and simmering resentment by some against Manning throughout the rest of his life. One positive result of this unfortunate episode was the way Father Manning dealt with these malicious men. The fact that throughout this time his primary concern remained the welfare of his flock ensured Cardinal Wiseman's increasing support for him. Manning's obvious skills of diplomacy were also noted by Rome during this period.
|Blessed Pope PIus IX in 1873 (source: |
Henry Manning was consecrated bishop by Archbishop Ullathorne at St Mary Moorfields - Westminster's pro-Cathedral - on 8 June 1865. After receiving the pallium from Rome, the new Archbishop of Westminster was solemnly enthroned in November of that year. He immediately went about working for the relief of the poor within his Diocese and also began building schools, churches and setting up various types of charities. He also bought a plot of land on the site of an old prison, where Westminster Cathedral now stands. Instead of spending money to build a cathedral for his Diocese, though, Manning poured funds into education for the poor. The building of Westminster Cathedral was left to his successor, Cardinal Vaughan.
As I will shortly be covering Cardinal Manning's immense contributions to welfare projects and the Church's social teaching in other posts, I will not go into too much detail concerning these important aspects his tenure as Archbishop of Westminster. Suffice to say that Manning made an enormous contribution to the temperance movement, to Catholic education and saving children from a sort of forced conversion in the Protestant Dr Barnardo's homes. He also had a significant influence on Pope Leo XIII and the Church's modern social teaching.
His writings and speeches on social justice were an orthodox and holy response to poverty and society's oppression of its most vulnerable, unlike the Marxist inspired movements that have infiltrated the post-Conciliar Church of our own day. Having said that, though, Cardinal Manning's image was often carried aloft by London's workers alongside banners depicting Karl Marx. He also reputedly said: "What you call socialism, I call Christianity." Needless to say, he meant that Catholic teaching places a greater emphasis on justice and freedom from oppression than that which is found within the truncated and often atheistic pages of Marx's Das Kapital. In that sense, with its divine and fully human aspects, Christianity is ultimately more radical than socialism could ever dream of being.
For now, though, I would like to reflect mainly upon Henry Manning's role as defender of the papacy and promoter of the doctrine of Papal Infallibility.
|The First Vatican Council with Pope Pius IX enthroned|
(source: Ite ad Thomam blog)
On his return to England, Manning had to deal with the exaggerated and frankly over the top response of the British Government to the First Vatican Council's decree on Papal Infallibility. The Prime Minister and Manning's contemporary at Oxford, William Gladstone, had even threatened to send a British gun-boat down the Tiber to stop the Council when he heard about Pastor aeternus. Gladstone had also openly questioned the loyalty of those Catholics throughout the British Empire whom he now thought would be drones of the Pope.
|Prime Minister William Gladstone|
(source: Wikimedia Commons)
A few years before his own death Pope Pius IX raised Archbishop Manning to the cardinalate. Manning received the red hat in 1875, after being summoned to Rome by the saintly Pope. He was also given the titular church of SS Andrew and Gregory - which had once been the home of Pope St Gregory the Great. It was from this church that St Augustine of Canterbury had been sent with the mission of converting the English.
After Pius IX died, Cardinal Manning took part in the 1878 conclave that elected Pope Leo XIII. It seems that he himself had also been also been one of the contenders for the Throne of St Peter, and it is known that he received at least a few votes. As I will discuss in a later post, Pope Leo greatly admired Manning. He would often rely on his counsel and he himself referred privately to his greatest encyclical as really being "Manning's". At the time, Bishop John Hedley OSB of Newport and Menevia even declared openly that Rerum Novarum "owes something to the counsels of Cardinal Manning."
|A poster from the 1889 London Dock Strike|
(source: Wikimedia Commons)
|Manning's tomb, Westminster Cathedral|
photo taken this afternoon
One of the Church's lesser known traditions is that cardinals are often buried with their galeros (red hats) hanging above their tombs. The idea being that the disintegrating symbol of ecclesiastic honour mirrored the rotting of the man's corpse sealed within the sepulchre below. A little tradition also arose that the interred cardinal's soul would have completed his time in Purgatory and entered Heaven once his hat had turned to dust. It is interesting to note that of all the galeros that hang in Westminster Cathedral, Manning's is the only one whose tassels have practically completely rotted away.
Next: Cardinal Manning, the dockers of London and the Church's social teaching
More pictures to follow.
Link: There is now a Facebook page dedicated to Cardinal Manning.
Sources: The main sources used for this post are: the New Advent Catholic Encyclopaedia's article on Henry Manning; the Wikipedia entry on Cardinal Manning; Lytton Strachey 's Eminent Victorians (1918); the Sequere Me blog; and Fr A B Swift's article on "Manning and his Social Work", Westminster Chronicle (1951).