Engaging the Liberal State: Cardinal Manning and Irish Home Rule

By | August 29, 2019

[music playing]>>DEAN THOMAS STEGMAN,
S.J.: Tonight’s presenter, Jeffrey von Arx, S.J.,
is the Thomas I. Gasson, S.J., Professor for 2018-2019. Funded by a gift from the Jesuit
Community at Boston College, the Gasson Chair is the
oldest endowed professorship at Boston College and is held
by a distinguished Jesuit scholar in any discipline. We are pleased that Father
von Arx has been affiliated with the School of
Theology and Ministry this year in his role
as Gasson Professor. It’s been a real
privilege for us. A graduate of
Princeton and Yale, as well as the Weston
Jesuit School of Theology, Father von Arx began
his academic career at Georgetown University
and taught history there for 16 years. And during his
tenure at Georgetown, he served as chair of
the history department and was the founding director
of Georgetown’s Center for Australian and
New Zealand Studies. Father von Arx later served
as dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill, and
in 2004, was elected president of
Fairfield University, serving in that role until 2017. Father von Arx is a historian
who has written or taught in the areas of British
and Irish history, Australian history, Church
history, and historiography. In 1999, he was elected a
Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and he is
the author of the book Progress and Pessimism:
Religion, Politics and History in Late Nineteenth
Century Britain. He’s also the editor
and contributor to Varieties of Ultramontanism. Currently, Father von
Arx serves as superior and director of John
LaFarge House in Cambridge, an independent Jesuit
community and house of studies for Jesuits
doing graduate work in the Boston area. He is also currently
working on a book project on Cardinal Manning featured
in this evening’s presentation. So I ask that you please join
me in welcoming the 2018-2019 Gasson Professor, Jeffrey von
Arx, a distinguished Jesuit university administrator
and history scholar. [applause]>>JEFFREY VON ARX,
S.J.: Thank you, Tom. It’s always nice
to hear yourself introduced so glowingly. Okay. Who’s that? That’s Cardinal Manning, okay? That’s what an
English archbishop looked like in the
19th century– probably an Anglican archbishop, as well,
because they kind of imitated each other. And on your right, that is
Charles Stewart Parnell, right, who will figure
prominently in this talk. Very good. Both by the noted
caricaturist spy who published many caricatures
of important British political, cultural,
social figures in Vanity Fair through
the 19th century. Google him at some point. You’ll see pretty much everybody
who is anybody in 19th century Britain has a caricature by him. If you didn’t, you were nobody. Okay. So this is a story about how
the Roman Catholic Church came to terms with democratic
party politics– that’s with a small d– in Great
Britain in the second half of the 19th century. It’s a story that interests
me, and it may interest you, because that’s still the way
the Catholic Church engages with the liberal state in
the United States today. And of course,
that’s liberal state from the point of view
of political theory, not liberal versus conservative. I got interested in this
subject because it seemed to me that Cardinal Henry Edward
Manning, the Archbishop of Westminster and head of
the English Roman Catholic hierarchy from 1865 to 1892,
worked this engagement out and, in many ways, anticipated
in practice the thought of the great Jesuit philosopher
and political thinker John Courtney Murray. I took a course on Murray
from Father Bryan Hehir at St. John’s Seminary,
just across the street, about 40 years ago. Is Bryan here tonight? He sometimes comes to these. We hope that he will. Cardinal Manning worked out
this engagement in relationship to Irish Home Rule,
about which you’ll be hearing a lot in this paper. A bit of background– in the 19th century, Ireland
was ruled directly from London as an integral part
of the United Kingdom. The Irish sent 100 M.P.s to the
U.K. Parliament in Westminster. The majority of those
Irish M.P.s, about 90– the other 10 were Protestant
Ulster Unionists– were elected for majority
Catholic constituencies, and they favored greater
autonomy for Ireland within the United
Kingdom, basically the reestablishment of an
Irish Parliament in Dublin– it had been abolished in 1801– to deal with Irish
domestic affairs. This goal was referred
to as Home Rule, and it was the policy objective
of the Irish Parliamentary Party, also known as
the Nationalist Party, under the leadership of the
charismatic Charles Stewart Parnell, who was,
interestingly enough, himself a Protestant landlord,
although, as we shall see, not a very prudent one. Home Rule would become the
political issue not only in Ireland but also in the
United Kingdom as a whole, where it roiled British politics
and preoccupied the two great British political
parties, the Liberals– this time with a capital L– and the Conservatives
for three decades, from the mid-1880s
until the Easter Rising put an end to the question. On more than one
occasion, as we shall see, British governments
were made and unmade by the Irish Parliamentary
Party with its bloc of 90 votes, switching sides in Parliament
according to which party was more favorable to their cause. A bit about Cardinal
Manning’s situation as we begin this story. The death of his patron
Pius IX and the election of Leo XIII as pope in 1878
meant for Manning not only the loss of a friend and
patron but, as a consequence, a considerable loss of his
once-powerful influence in Rome. It was, therefore, without the
benefit of Manning’s advice that the new pope
and his advisors began to formulate
and carry out what one modern historian
of the Church has called the World
Plan of Leo XIII. The impetus for
the new departure in the international
politics of the Vatican was the need to assure the
position of the Church, and especially of the papacy,
after the loss of the Papal States to the Italian
kingdom in 1870. Pius IX, who had suffered the
loss of the Patrimony of Peter, had attempted to
compensate by strengthening the internal cohesion of
the Church and ultramontane control over national churches. In this enterprise,
Manning had been an enthusiastic and
effective collaborator. This he had achieved
through active engagement in the campaign for the decrees
on papal primacy and papal infallibility in the
Dogmatic Constitution Pastor aeternus at the First
Vatican Council. The new departure
of the papacy was to secure its role
through the restoration of its international position. For Leo, the restoration
of that position meant not so much
the repossession of the geography of
the Papal States, if that could not, as seemed
unlikely, be accomplished, but instead the reestablishment
of the authority of the papacy as a key player in
international affairs, in Europe most importantly,
and throughout the world. Here, the most representative
and, from Leo’s point of view, the most momentous of the
very limited successes of this policy,
was the invitation of the German Chancellor
Otto von Bismarck in 1885 to have the pope mediate
a dispute between Germany and Spain over possession
of the Caroline Islands in the South Pacific. This invitation, the pope
optimistically but rather ingenuously took to be
an implicit recognition by Bismarck of his
temporal sovereignty. For the Leonine papacy’s
vision of itself as a referee or arbiter
in international affairs to become a possibility,
it was necessary that the papacy should attempt
to resolve outstanding disputes and overcome animosities
that were a source of discord between it and the
great European powers and show itself
accommodating insofar as this was possible to their concerns. It was for this reason
that early in his papacy, Leo sought, through direct
negotiations with Bismarck, to bring to a close the
Kulturkampf, the conflict over the role of the
Church in the German Empire that had followed the Vatican
Council and German unification. In this, he succeeded. Bismarck’s invitation
to him was his reward, even if it meant that the pope
sometimes acted over the heads and against the advice and
interests of the Centre Party in Germany– the main Catholic political
party in the new empire– and, indeed, the
German episcopate. Diplomatic relations were
central to Leo’s project of having the papacy
recognized as a player in international affairs, not
only with the Catholic powers but also with
non-Catholic powers like Germany, Russia,
and Great Britain. In the case of
Britain, the question of diplomatic
relations was complex. The Irish hierarchy
was strongly opposed to the possibility that the
affairs of the Irish Church might pass through the hands
of a nuncio resident in London or a British ambassador
at the Vatican, rather than through
direct dealing between the Irish
bishops and the pope. And it is not surprising to
learn that Cardinal Manning, as well, was opposed to diplomatic
relations between England and the Holy See. Manning’s attitude
on this question is best reflected in a letter to
Cardinal Cullen, the Archbishop of Dublin, in 1878. There, Manning stated that
a nuncio, and I quote, “would probably produce
conflict between us, the bishops of England and
Ireland, and the government, and greatly relax the close
intimacy of the bishops with the Holy See. Such a nuncio would, I believe,
be a center of intrigue and a source of incorrect
information in Rome.” And he continues. “In Rome, they do not seem to
realize that nuncios belong to the period when governments
and public laws of Europe were Catholic. At this day, the governments are
powerless to help the Holy See. The real governments
are the people, and the true nuncios
are the bishops.” It is the last part
of his statement to Cullen that we can
recognize as offering Manning’s characteristic
point of view on the actual state of relations
between church and state. It was a mistake for
the papacy to rely on official relations
with governments to advance the
mission of the Church. Such a policy
represented a failure of political understanding
because secular governments no longer could or
should be expected to enter into special relations
with the Roman Catholic Church through concordats and
confer unique benefits on it. To do so would violate
the first principle of the secular character
of the liberal state, as Manning had come
to understand it, that the state
should be evenhanded among religious groups and
not confer special privileges on any of them. The appropriate way
for the churches to interact with
the liberal state was at the level of popular
or democratic politics. This meant that political
leadership in the churches must be local. In the Catholic
community, Manning believed this meant the bishops. The degree of cooperation of
the papacy in matters of concern to the English government
varied with the prospects of the establishment
of official relations. The culmination of
the Roman policy of placating the
English government in the hopes of
diplomatic recognition, was the Roman condemnation
in May of 1883 of Archbishop Croke of Cashel’s
role in the Parnell Testimonial Fund. Croke, perhaps the most
advanced nationalist of the Irish hierarchy, had
been skating on thin ice for some time, in what more
cautious Catholics in Ireland and Rome, and certainly
the British government, regarded as encouragement
of agitation and tolerance of disorder in Ireland. When Croke was foremost in
contributing a large sum to a testimonial fund for
the rescue of Charles Stuart Parnell’s heavily
mortgaged estate, Rome reacted with
the publication of a circular letter
to the Irish bishops condemning the
Parnell Testimonial and admonishing any bishop who
should take any part whatsoever in recommending or promoting it. Clearly, they were
referring to Croke. The affair of the Roman
circular provoked a crisis in the papacy’s relation
with the Irish Church, as it was met with silence
from the hierarchy, restiveness and resentment among
the lower clergy, and denunciation from certain
quarters of the laity. In the nationalist
press, the papacy was accused of having entered
into an unholy alliance with England against
the Irish who would know how to
stand for their rights against both England and Rome. The intensity of Irish
reaction, coupled with a growing realization that
the British government was not seriously interested in
diplomatic relations, led Roman authorities
to recognize the need for a reassessment of
their policy toward Ireland. Rome’s need to restructure its
power and influence in Ireland after the disaster of
the Roman circular, was the occasion of Cardinal
Manning’s rehabilitation there. Apart from his brief
attendance at the conclave that elected Leo XIII
in 1878, Manning had not been to Rome
since 1876 when, in the declining
years of Pius IX, he already found the
atmosphere changed. When he went to Rome,
therefore, in October of 1883 to pay the regular visit
expected of a diocesan bishop, he went, as he recorded,
“with no anticipation of satisfaction. An absence of four years and the
industrious misrepresentation of many people had, as I know,
created strong prejudices against me. I am told that it
was intentional that I was not consulted about
Ireland or our government. For the last two years,
I have been silent, and I did not look for
what has happened.” What happened was a strong
desire on the part of Leo XIII to have Manning’s
advice, especially on Ireland and the question
of diplomatic relations with England. “He”– I’m quoting Manning– “the Pope, desired me
to come every Wednesday so that in five weeks, I
had more than six audiences of more than one hour each. There is no subject on which
he did not speak or allow me to speak. We spoke on the religious
state of England three times; on relations
with Russia, Austria, Berlin, France, very fully; on
the two notes of his own pontificate– the intellectual
and the diplomatic; and most fully on Ireland
and our government. I do not think I could have
had a more complete admission into the knowledge which,
for the last two years, seemed to be withheld.” Manning’s successful
visit to Rome in 1883 marked a turning point not
only in his own fortunes and reputation in
Leonine Rome, but also in the policy of the papacy,
especially toward Ireland, for that policy now began
moving along the lines that Manning recommended. As we have seen,
Manning was convinced that in a democratic
age, strong bishops were the key to the
Church’s ability to relate to the people. And he had been concerned
for several years about the weakness of
the Irish episcopacy after the death of his friend
and collaborator, Cardinal Cullen. By trying to deal with
governments instead of with the people
through their bishops, Manning believed that
the papacy had further weakened the Church’s
position in Ireland. After Manning’s
October 1883 visit, however, things began to change. A number of vacancies
in the Irish episcopate were filled against
the recommendation of the British government. In March of 1884, the pope
summoned a representative group of Irish bishops to meet with
him later in the year in Rome. Buoyed by these
indications that Rome was prepared to
respect their judgment, the Irish bishops launched a
major initiative of their own at their annual general
meeting in October of 1884. The Irish bishops had
long been frustrated by the failure of the
British government to address adequately
the issue of education for Catholics in Ireland. They therefore used the
occasion of their meeting to call on Parnell’s
Irish Parliamentary Party to take up the education
question in the British Parliament. The bishop’s vote of
confidence in Parnell’s party represented an understood
alliance between church and the national movement,
which the Church had betimes held at arm’s length and
the final step in Parnell’s consolidation of his leadership
of nationalist Ireland. Certainly, it
caused consternation in the British government,
where the Church had always been regarded as a
counterpoise and brake on the national movement. But the initiative apparently
took the pope by surprise, as well, and so offered
the British government a last opportunity to attempt
to recoup their losses if they could once again convince Rome
to reign in the Irish Church. In the midst of these
important developments, the Archbishop of
Dublin, Cardinal MacCabe, died on February 11, 1885. The appointment of
MacCabe’s successor, who would occupy the key see at
the heart of the Irish Church, was recognized by all concerned
as of critical importance. MacCabe had been well regarded
by the British government as a moderating and restraining
force on the Irish scene. And with the new departure on
the part of the Irish bishops, represented by their alliance
with the nationalists, the British government
was deeply concerned about his replacement. From the beginning, the
government’s unofficial agent in Rome, George Errington,
identified William Walsh, president of Maynooth, the
national Catholic seminary, as the candidate
most to be avoided. “Walsh was a violent
and dangerous man,” Errington told the foreign
minister, Lord Granville, “where the British
government had a right to wish and expect that
as important a post as the See of Dublin
should be occupied by a man of loyal
and moderate views.” The dynamic element of the Irish
hierarchy, on the other hand, recognized the need
for a leader in Dublin, which MacCabe had not been. Walsh was the favorite of the
nationalists among the bishops, Archbishop Croke of
Cashel commending him as a young, active, zealous,
earnest, and wonderfully gifted man. It was clear that both
sets of influences– that of the government and that
of the activist Irish bishops– would be brought to bear in Rome
around the candidacy of Walsh. And so the stage was set
for a contest of wills. Cardinal Manning,
as we have seen, had certain predispositions that
would operate in this contest prior to any consideration
of particular candidates. In the first place,
he was opposed to the interference of
the British government at Rome, especially
if this should lead to formal relations
between London and Rome. This was not only because that
way of conducting relations between the Church and the
state would bypass him, but because he was
convinced that it was incompatible with the way
in which the Church should function in a democratic
political order. Second, he shared with the
more advanced nationalists in the Irish hierarchy the
opinion that the Irish Church had, for some time,
lacked, and now required, strong leadership in key
positions in the hierarchy. This was not only,
however, as the historian of the Irish Church at
this period would have it– I’m talking about Emmet Larkin– a matter of Manning’s usual
emphasis on clerical power. Manning believed that the
strong local leadership in the Church,
inevitably conceived at this stage of the
Church’s history as clerical, and close union between
priests and people were essential to responsible
and active participation of the Catholic community
in national political life. It is not surprising,
therefore, that as the contest between the British government
and the Irish Church developed, and as the candidates for the
vacant See of Dublin emerged, Manning became an
enthusiastic backer of William Walsh, the candidate of the
majority nationalist bloc within the Irish hierarchy
and, as we have seen, strongly opposed by
the British government. Manning had an
opportunity to consult with a group of Irish
bishops when, in April 1885, Archbishop Croke, their leader,
and six of his colleagues stopped with Manning in
London on the way to Rome for their visit to the pope. Immediately after this meeting
with the Irish bishops, Manning wrote to the pope. He emphasized the need for
unity among the Irish episcopate and the importance of their
effective and responsible leadership of the Irish people. Although Walsh was not
mentioned in this letter, one has the sense from the
themes of unity and leadership that he chose to
emphasize that Manning was preparing the way for
a campaign on his behalf. Later in the summer, Manning
wrote to Croke, now in Rome, asking for news and
offering his assistance. Croke responded that it
was imperative to warn the pope of the danger at
this point of appointing anyone but Walsh,
and begged Manning to do so as the only
person who could offer the pope this advice. Manning obliged
and wrote a letter to the pope, which he then
paraphrased for Croke. He had stressed
with the pope, he reported to Croke, “the danger
of even seeming to be swayed in this choice by the
English government, the united wish of the
Irish bishops for Walsh, and the worthiness of
Walsh, in that order. You may confide,”
Manning assured Croke in the conclusion,
“in my leaving nothing– nothing– undone that I can do.” On June 23, the pope
announced the decision to appoint William Walsh to
the vacant See of Dublin. Errington, the English agent in
Rome, was deeply disappointed and recognized correctly
that the decision put an end to any chance
of relations with Rome. Manning’s reaction on receiving
the news from Bishop Herbert Vaughan, his protege then in
Rome, was happy but surprised. “Your letter of the 24th was a
relief to me,” Manning wrote. “I thought my letter to Pope
Leo would have vexed him. We have been on the brink
of a very great scandal. Rightly or wrongly, the
feeling in Ireland about Dublin was full of danger.” For Manning, the significance
of the Walsh appointment was the following. At one level, the point
at issue for Manning was the same as it was
for the Irish bishops– would the power of the
papacy be exercised through the bishops
on their advice, or would the British
government have its own access to the pope and an
ability to influence his decisions independent
of the Irish hierarchy? For Manning, of
course, the notion of a divided authority
within the Church, especially when the state
was behind that division, was anathema. It was, after all,
the reason that he had left the Anglican
Church in the first place. A church in which authority
was divided and shared with the state was, to
Manning, inconceivable. Manning saw the appointment
of a strong figure like Walsh as essential, not
just for the unity but also for the mission of
the Catholic Church in Ireland. If the Church were
to provide leadership that the people would trust
in the complex and potentially dangerous future that
Irish Catholics faced, they must be able to look to
their Church for guidance, with confidence that
the Church was not compromised by a
prior engagement to the British state. But Manning would not
have, and did not, in fact, look on the alliance
between the Catholic Church and the Irish
Parliamentary Party as a falling away of
Catholic power in any sense. Given Manning’s position,
first, on the relationship of church and state,
that the Church must, in the first instance, engage
peoples and not governments, and second, on the appropriate
level of the Church’s encounter with the political order at the
level of democratic politics, there is every reason to
believe that Manning approved the Irish hierarchies’ decision
to enter into a compact with the Irish Parliamentary
Party, as it had done in 1884, and considered the
arrangement not a falling away of Catholic power, but rather
its appropriate and responsible exercise. Manning’s relations with Charles
Stewart Parnell and the Home Rule Movement he epitomized, are
more significant and revealing of his position on the role
of the Church in politics than any other episode
in his long career. I’ve argued elsewhere
that by 1885, Manning had long since accepted, and
even embraced, the implications for religious bodies
of the secularization of the liberal state and the
rise of democratic politics. The chief of those
implications, as far as the political activity
of the Church was concerned, was the need to relate to
the structures of government at the level of
popular politics. But the turn to popular politics
on the part of the churches raised a number of
important issues. What role should the Church
play in the organization of popular politics as it
involved Roman Catholics? A related but separate question
was, how would leadership– that is to say, the bishops– function within the Catholic
community in relation to popular politics
when it was a matter of issues like
education that were of concern to Roman Catholics? Both of these questions
and, of course, the history of popular
politics more generally, raised the issue of mass
democratic political parties and what the Church’s attitude
toward those bodies would be. The possibility of a
Catholic political party had been raised more than once
in the history of the English Catholic community
since the restoration of the hierarchy in 1851, and
it was raised again in 1885. In August, in anticipation of
the upcoming general election, and with the education
question very much in mind, the English Catholic Bishop of
Nottingham, Edward Bagshawe, suggested in a letter to The
Tablet, the English Catholic monthly, that English Roman
Catholics abandon the two major political parties– the Liberals and the
Conservatives– and form a party of their own. Bagshawe proposed an
alliance between an English and an Irish Catholic party in
which English Catholics would support Home Rule and
Catholic education in Ireland, and Irish Catholics
make common cause with English Catholics
in Parliament for causes like denominational
education in England. A possible model
for such a party was, of course, the Catholic
Centre Party in Germany. Manning was well aware
of the Centre Party and of its role in standing up
for the Church against Bismarck during the Kulturkampf. But it is significant that he
manifested no public enthusiasm for Bagshawe’s proposals for
a Catholic political party in England and
deprecated it in private. In October, Manning issued
an election manifesto, his “How Shall Catholics Vote
at the Coming Parliamentary Election?” which was
published in The Dublin Review and a number of other
Catholic journals. This would have been the
occasion, had he wished, to say something in
favor of an initiative to form a Catholic party. At the beginning
of the article, he acknowledged the
interest that had been expressed in the
possibility of such a party. But it is significant that in
the remainder of the article, he did not return
to the subject. Manning confined himself
to advising Catholic voters in England to put questions to
parliamentary candidates that had to do with denominational
education in England, then Manning’s greatest
domestic concern. Beyond this, it was
rather pointedly stated that Catholics were free
to vote as they saw fit. Now, while it was true that
these instructions favored the conservatives who supported
denominational education in the interests of
the Anglican Church– more of whom could and did give
the required assurances than liberals who, by and large,
favored non-denominational education– they assumed that Catholics
would vote for candidates of existing parties, and
gave no indication of support for anything like a
separate Catholic party. The question of the
Church’s relation to popular politics in the
concrete circumstances of 1885, as even Bagshawe, in
his way, recognized, raised, inevitably, the issue
of the Irish Parliamentary Party led by Charles Stewart Parnell. This party, while it was
not confessionally Catholic, was overwhelmingly Catholic
in its popular constituency and predominantly
Catholic in the numbers it returned to Parliament. Indeed, its members were
often the only Catholics in Parliament. And everyone recognized
that the party would become even stronger
in its parliamentary representation as a result of
the recent franchise expansion. How did the existence
of this party affect the Church’s
role in the organization of popular politics
and leadership within the Catholic community
on issues of Catholic concern? It’s important to recognize that
as head of the English Roman Catholic hierarchy,
Manning could only approach these questions
as having been, to some extent,
already determined. The Irish Parliamentary Party,
as Parnell had molded it, was a very solid
historical given. And the stance of the
Roman Catholic Church toward the party
was less a matter of Manning’s choosing than
that of the Irish hierarchy. But Manning was not without
choice in his attitude, or without influence
in his policy, toward the givens of the
situation that he faced. And the choices he
made are revealing. It may be that in his
dealings with the Irish Party and the Irish Church, Manning
made a virtue of necessity. But by now, it should
be obvious that part of what was distinctive
and original in Manning’s political approach
was his belief, with the turn toward democracy,
that the Church, at least in England and Ireland,
was well placed to engage, and so could be
confident in entering into positive and
constructive relations with popular political
movements as it found them. The two most significant givens
that Manning faced with regard to the Irish dimension of
the Church’s engagement with popular
politics were, first of all, of course, the
commitment of Parnell’s party to Home Rule for Ireland,
and second, the decision that had been taken by the Irish
bishops in October of 1884 to place their confidence in
the Irish Parliamentary Party to achieve the goals
of the Irish Church in the field of education. Manning seems to have
made no statement, either publicly or in
his correspondence, on the clerical-nationalist
alliance of 1884. It is probably significant,
however, that The Tablet– published, again, by his
protege, Bishop Herbert Vaughan of Salford– and as the voice of the
English Old-Catholics, not otherwise noted for being
well disposed to Irish causes, applauded the new
departure, observing that the Irish
bishops really had no other course
open to them if they wanted to achieve their goals. On the education
question, at least, both the English
and the Irish Church had experienced such high
levels of frustration with the existing government
that even the mouthpiece of the English Old-Catholics
was willing to contemplate new departures in
popular politics on the part of their
Irish co-religionists. Much more significant
of Manning’s attitude toward the
clerical-national alliance, however, was the fact, as we
have seen, that in 1885, he strongly supported William
Walsh for the See of Dublin. Walsh was the candidate of that
wing of the Irish Church, then led by Archbishop Croke, that
was supposed to be nationalist and was certainly behind the
new opening to the party, as was Walsh himself. Had Manning not approved
of the initiative taken by the Irish Church in placing
the cause of Catholic education in the hands of Parnell’s party,
with all that that implied for the mutual relationship
of party and church, he would have had a
very effective way of communicating
that disapproval and even bringing the
alliance to an end. He could have scuttled
Walsh’s nomination and ensured the
appointment of what the British government would
have considered a moderate. The close political relationship
that immediately grew up between Manning and
Walsh, and continued until Manning’s death, always
assumed the Irish Church’s commitment to the party. Not even the
Parnell divorce case led either man to question
that political given. On Home Rule, Manning
underwent an education that changed both his position
on that particular issue and, through the process of
that change, his attitude toward the more general
question of how leadership would function within the Catholic
community in relationship to popular politics. Manning’s position on Irish
self-government was as follows. He opposed the separation
between England and Ireland, and so was opposed to
an Irish parliament because he believed
that the creation of a separate
parliament in Dublin, with the withdrawal of the
Irish M.P.s from Westminster, would lead to separation. Certainly, apart
from what might have been Manning’s genuine concern
for the indissolubility of the United
Kingdom, the reason for his opposition
to a settlement that would see the Irish
M.P.s leave Westminster is not hard to imagine. It would have meant
the near complete loss of Catholic members from
the House of Commons, who might be counted on to support
the causes of the Catholic Church in England. Manning never
changed his position, opposing the exclusion of the
Irish members at Westminster. But of course, others did. When the Liberal Prime
Minister William Gladstone introduced the First
Home Rule Bill in 1886, it was with the provision
that the Irish members would be excluded from
the Imperial Parliament. By the time the bill reached
its second reading in June, the government, responding
to widespread criticism on the issue, and in order
to win support for the bill, let it be known that they
would abandon this point and consider schemes
for retention. Parnell, too, after
strongly favoring exclusion, eventually came around on the
issue, although more slowly, announcing for
retention in 1888. Retention of the Irish
M.P.s at Westminster would eliminate Manning’s
most serious objection to a separate Irish parliament
and so facilitate a conversion to Home Rule as Irish
nationalists understood it, although one could argue that
it was not Manning who converted but the politicians
who came around to his way of seeing things. It was not, however, Manning’s
conversion to Home Rule as understood by the
Irish nationalists that is most significant in
terms of his attitude toward Irish popular politics. Indeed, there is a
problem reflected in the historical
literature in saying just when, or even whether, Manning
decisively declared for Home Rule understood in this way. Such a lack of
definiteness on the part of the otherwise neither
reticent nor ambiguous Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster is
both surprising and revealing. The truth is that, while
Manning had views of his own about Home Rule, which
he was willing to express to private correspondence,
when it came to public pronouncements
and public policy, Manning was determined
to follow a lead given to him from Ireland. This lead came principally from
Archbishop Walsh of Dublin. But Manning was astute
enough an observer to realize that Walsh’s
lead, in its turn, grew out of a
complex relationship between the Irish Church and
the popular political movement which was Parnell’s party. The first indication
of willingness to follow the Irish lead
is the most important one. We’ve seen that in
October of 1885, Manning had offered advice
to Roman Catholic voters in the English
constituencies on how they should vote in the
coming parliamentary election. They were to pose
certain questions to candidates that had
to do with their support for denominational
education in England, and their willingness to see
a royal commission summoned to review the operation
of the 1870 Education Act. On November 21, Parnell
issued a manifesto to the Irish voters of
Great Britain on his behalf, calling on them to vote
against all Liberals then in power because
the Liberals would not support Home Rule. In most cases, of
course, the effect of these dual instructions
to Irish Catholic voters in Great Britain
would be the same– support for the Conservatives. So the question of a conflict
between the English Catholic agenda for
denominational education and the Irish agenda for
Home Rule did not arise. But with the so-called
Hawarden Kite– K-I-T-E– Hawarden was
Gladstone’s country estate, and the kite was a
announcement that he made– the Hawarden Kite, which
announced Gladstone and, thus, the Liberal’s party conversion
to Home Rule in December of 1885, the political
situation, as you can imagine, changed dramatically. Given the prospects of the Irish
party swinging their votes back to the Liberals, who
were not to be counted on to support denominal
education in England, conflict between
these two agendas– that of the Irish and that
of the English Church– could and did arise. It was suggested in a number
of English Catholic newspapers that the interests
of the Irish movement should be subordinated to the
interests of English Catholics in the question of education. Walsh wrote to Manning
protesting these proposals, as well as attacks
that had been made on the Irish bishops
for their alliance with the Irish
Parliamentary Party. Manning responded immediately:
“I will say at once that I know of no
one who desires to subordinate
the Irish movement to any English question.” This was perhaps less
true than a reflection of the policy Manning himself
had determined to follow, on which he proceeded
to reassure Walsh. “And you may rely
on me for refusing to subordinate
the Irish movement to any English
question, as I believe you would refuse to
subordinate the Irish movement to your own education.” This was a perceptive
observation on Manning’s part of
the constrained position that the Irish hierarchy now
found itself in in relationship to the Home Rule Movement. Manning would follow the
policy of publicly backing the Irish bishops in
their arrangements with the Parliamentary Party,
even though, at this point, he still remained convinced that
a separate parliament in Dublin was not necessarily a good idea. Nor was Manning’s deference
to Walsh and the Irish bishops in the matter of subordinating
English education to Irish Home Rule only for their
own consumption. When the First Home Rule Bill
was defeated in June of 1886, and Gladstone’s government
fell, meaning that there’d be a new general
election, Manning wrote to Herbert
Vaughan, who was probably not eager to receive
them, with instructions for the coming election. I quote, “The dissolution
is on one issue. We cannot evade it. We cannot put
education before it. The Irish vote in England
would be lost by doing so. We should seem to
oppose Ireland. We should hopelessly
divide our own people. The education question
would not be listened to, apart from Ireland. We can speak on both but
not on education alone. Education cannot be
helped at this election, nor do I think it
will be hindered. This will need much thought and
counsel, but it is inevitable.” Given what we know of the
intensity and duration of Manning’s campaign for
voluntary education in England, his willingness to subordinate
this cause to an Irish Home Rule that he did not
entirely agree with, is quite significant. It may well be, as
Manning himself indicated, that this subordination
was inevitable. But the inevitable is
only so on the basis of certain assumptions. In the present case,
the operative assumption for Manning was that
the Catholic Church in the whole United Kingdom
was ineluctably committed to popular politics. And it was committed to popular
politics not in the abstract, but to the popular politics of
the mass Democratic Political Party with the exigencies
that such a commitment brought with it and
subject to the dynamics that a close engagement with
a political party entail. More concretely
still, the Church, both in England as
well as in Ireland, was committed to the
Irish Parliamentary Party of Charles Stewart Parnell. This was the party to
which the vast majority of Roman Catholics in the United
Kingdom gave their allegiance. And if the Roman
Catholic church was to have an impact and
effect in the country, it must work in and
through that party. The decisive and conclusive
character of the Church’s turn toward democratic
politics as it actually existed in England and
Ireland was the reason why a Catholic party on the
model of the German Centre Party never got off the ground. Popular politics, by
definition, can only be organized from the top
down, to a limited extent. And even if the
bishops had wished to establish a Catholic party,
most Catholics, by 1885 anyway, were already taken up
in a political party– Parnell’s party. This party, while composed
almost entirely of Catholics and including most
of the Catholics in the United Kingdom,
was certainly not, despite the allegations
of Protestants and secularists, a
Catholic confessional party even in the sense that the
Centre Party in Germany was Catholic and confessional. The Church, in the
person of its bishops, could influence the
party to reinforce, for example, the
party’s commitment to non-violence and
constitutionalism. It could use the party for
its own ends, as, for example, the standard-bearer
in the Church’s fight for denominational education. It could criticize and even
attempt to correct the party, as it did on the issue
of moral leadership in the Parnell divorce scandal. But it certainly could not
control or lead the party. Its ability to use the party
for its own ends was limited. And in some areas– the whole national
question, for example– the Church had to follow or
acquiesce in the party’s lead. Any effort to use the Church to
control the national movement, as the papacy would
discover a few years later when it futilely condemned the
nationalist Plan of Campaign, a boycott of Irish
landlords– was bound to fail, as indeed it did in that case. All of this, the Irish bishops– certainly Walsh– understood. And clearly, Manning
understood it as well. That understanding
was demonstrated not simply in Manning’s
deference to Walsh’s lead but in his strong support
for Walsh’s policy in regard to the national movement
in England, in Ireland, and, indeed, in Rome, for
the rest of Manning’s life. By 1886, the Catholic Church
was committed decisively to popular politics in the
United Kingdom, with all the complexity and ambiguity that
such a commitment entailed. We have argued that it
is not adequate to see this commitment of the church by
leaders like Walsh and Manning as a matter of bowing
to the inevitable. The commitment was
inevitable only because Church
leaders like Manning believed that it was
necessary and appropriate. Manning’s approach
to an engagement with the liberal state
contrasts sharply, obviously, with that of Leo XIII that
we have described above. Leo negotiated with Bismarck
over the Kulturkampf as a head of state, which was
the recognition he desired to solidify the position of the
papacy in international affairs after the loss of
the Papal States. This he did, as
I have indicated, over the heads of the German
hierarchy and the Catholic Centre Party and,
arguably, sometimes against their interests. There is a line to
be drawn, sadly, between Leo’s policy
and that of later popes, with another German
leader that effectively quashed any prophetic
voice on the part of the German hierarchy and
emasculated the Catholic Centre Party as an effective
opposition to the Nazi regime. Cardinal Manning,
on the other hand, was completely committed to
the engagement of the Catholic Church with the liberal
state in the only way it could be engaged– at the level of
democratic party politics in which the Church sought no
advantage or special privilege but sought to be treated fairly
on a level playing field. This entailed, in its term,
the hands-on engagement of the Church and
Church leaders– clerical, and then,
increasingly lay– with political
parties as complex and even as messy as that
engagement could sometimes be. One of the reasons I
became so interested in Cardinal Manning’s
political involvement, as I indicated at the
beginning of this talk, is because it reminded me so
much of John Courtney Murray’s later thinking on
Church-state relations in We Hold These Truths and elsewhere. Manning was working
out in practice what Murray would later
articulate as a theory– the essential compatibility
between Catholicism, properly understood,
and the institutions of a democratically
structured modern state. If there is a line between
Leo XIII’s policy in regard to the Kulturkampf and the
Reichskonkordat of 1933, so is there a line between
Manning’s policy in regard to Irish Home Rule, the thought
of John Courtney Murray, the Church’s engagement
with democratic politics in the United States
and elsewhere, and Dignitatis Humanae,
the Second Vatican Council Declaration on
religious liberty. Thank you. [applause]>>FR. VON ARX: Okay, folks,
any questions, comments? I know that was a lot to digest. I think I had a sense that we
covered a lot of Church history and Irish history
and English history in the course of 50 minutes. So any questions? Anything that wasn’t clear
that I can clarify for you?>>PARTICIPANT: Was Cardinal
Manning looking for–>>FR. VON ARX: Ah– mics. Yeah, use the mics, please. Thank you.>>PARTICIPANT:
Cardinal Manning was looking for publicly supported
Catholic schools, basically?>>FR. VON ARX: So, yes yes. So the Act of 1870 set up
a dual system of education in which denominational
schools were supported, to a certain extent,
by government grants, and non-denominational schools
were basically fully supported. He didn’t think that was fair. And so he was looking
to get that changed. So that was his agenda over
education in the elections that we’re talking about.>>PARTICIPANT: And
one other question. Did English Catholics
tend to vote as a bloc in English elections?>>FR. VON ARX: Well, of course, the
English Catholic community was somewhat diverse. There were the Old-Catholics. They tended to be
Conservatives, by and large. The majority of the English
Catholic population were Irish. And so they tended to
support the Liberals, whom they thought were more likely
to adopt Home Rule than not. But typically, they
voted in whichever way Charles Stewart
Parnell told them to.>>PARTICIPANT: Jeff, thank
you for a wonderful talk. I was hoping you might
say a little bit more about the more juicy story
of Parnell’s fall from grace, but that’s for
another day, I’m sure. My question is, you
mentioned in passing the Roman Circular apropos
Archbishop Croke of Cashel. And I just didn’t quite
catch what that meant. And of course, you know–>>FR. VON ARX: Oh, the Roman Circular. So the Roman Circular
was a statement from the Vatican condemning
participation in the Parnell Testimonial.>>PARTICIPANT: And was
that defensive of Parnell?>>FR. VON ARX: No. I’m sorry. I’m sorry if I wasn’t
clear about that. No. It said anybody who supports
the Parnell Testimonial should stop, and any bishop who’s
supporting the Parnell Testimonial should withdraw. And clearly, Croke was
the object of that. So Rome was condemning,
at the instigation of the British Government,
support of the Parnell Testimonial by
nationalists in general, but particularly by
members of the Church and particularly by bishops.>>PARTICIPANT: Okay. Thank you.>>FR. VON ARX: And that got such
a strong negative reaction from Catholics in Ireland– the episcopacy, the clergy,
and the people– that it really screwed up relations
between Ireland and Rome until Manning and
Walsh set them right. One person mentioned to
me their sense of the– I’m sorry, go ahead. You had your hand up. Jim, please. Oh.>>PARTICIPANT: So a
question on Walsh. You’re right that the British
prevented him from being– sorry, they didn’t prevent
him from being appointed as Archbishop of Dublin.>>FR. VON ARX: Tried to.>>PARTICIPANT: But
they did prevent him from be made a cardinal.>>FR. VON ARX: Correct.>>PARTICIPANT: And I’m just
wondering if Leo did that, as well as condemning
the Plan of Campaign, on the naive hope that
giving in to the British might reconfigurate the
circumstances under which ambassadors could be exchanged
between the Vatican and London, despite the fact that
in 1848, a bill did pass through the Lords and the
Commons to facilitate that? But because of an amendment
in the Lords at the very end, which stipulated that the
pope couldn’t be referred to as the Supreme Pontiff and
that the pope’s ambassador had to be a layman– so that’s already on
the statute book– was Pope Leo XIII naive?>>FR. VON ARX: Well, of course,
in 1848, the papacy is still controlled territory. So it was clear that
the papacy was a state. By the 1880s, that
was not the case. And so part of the objection,
in a number of quarters, to diplomatic relations between
London and the Vatican was, who are we recognizing? He’s not a head of state. He’s a clergyman. And about the cardinal, yes, I
believe that that’s the case. That’s not a story
I’m as familiar with. But clearly, the Archbishop
of Dublin should have been a cardinal, and Walsh wasn’t. Yes?>>PARTICIPANT: This is, maybe,
a left-field kind of question, but as between
Manning and Parnell, I’m wondering who’s
outmaneuvering who. It sounds to me
as though Parnell is getting an awful
lot out of this bargain without giving up an awful lot. Is that the case? And what would be
the reasons for that? Are Manning’s views
about liberal democracy well enough known that,
for example, Parnell can just kind of presume them
and act politically on them?>>FR. VON ARX: Yeah, well, actually,
a story I didn’t tell, because I couldn’t fit
it in in a paper that was long enough already,
was a fairly complex set of negotiations between Manning,
Chamberlain, and Parnell over local government. So Chamberlain, who was
a Liberal and a radical– and unsympathetic with Manning
over the education issue– had a scheme for
local government which he wanted
to see implemented throughout the United
Kingdom so that there’d be local government for
Wales, for Scotland. And his proposal to
solve the Irish problem was to institute
local government in Ireland that
would basically deal with every aspect of Irish
domestic affairs, except. And so there was a long series
of negotiations mediated by Manning between Parnell and
Chamberlain over whether or not they could work something out. Now, Parnell was probably
simply never going to be willing to
accept anything short of a parliament in Dublin. And so it was probably a fool’s
errand in a certain sense. But it’s intriguing. If Chamberlain, who later
became one of the strongest opponents of Home
Rule and brought down the Liberal government
by splitting away the Liberal Unionists,
if he and Parnell had been able to work out
some kind of an agreement about local
government in Ireland that satisfied all parties, the
history of the United Kingdom and its relationship
with Ireland would be quite different,
and Queen Elizabeth would be visiting not just
as a foreign head of state but as a head of state
of her own country. Okay. Yes? Yes, ma’am?>>PARTICIPANT: Thank you. Mine is just an observation. From what you have been talking
about, Bishop Cardinal Manning, he was a very strong fighter
for peace and justice, not just for Ireland but in
other corners of the world. I’m just wondering if your
next presentation could be moving towards
canonizing him, like Cardinal Newman is
going to be canonized.>>FR. VON ARX: You would be very
well aware that Manning was a strong supporter of
working men and of the Union Movement and famously defended
and supported the London dockworkers at the
very end of his life, and so was quite popular
with the working class. And when he died, he had one of
the largest funeral processions through London in the second
half of the 19th century.>>PARTICIPANT: It seems
from your presentation that, during this period of time, the
relationship between Ireland and London was pretty dialogic– I don’t know– pretty civil. And 35 years later, or
less than 40 years later, was the uprising. What happened?>>FR. VON ARX: They couldn’t
get Home Rule through. They tried and tried and tried. They tried three different
times to get Home Rule through. And actually, it passed right
before the First World War. And of course,
Ulster was promising to resist with force of arms
if need be to prevent Home Rule from being implemented. But when the war broke out,
the British Government, with the agreement of the
Irish Parliamentary Party, put it on hold. And in the meanwhile– you
know, 1916– and at the end of the war, sentiment for
a moderate constitutional settlement like Home Rule
that would have kept Ireland, in some way or another,
within the United Kingdom, was at an end. It was not going
to happen anymore. So yeah, it’s basically a
story of missed opportunities to reconcile England and
Ireland in the course of the 19th century.>>PARTICIPANT: Is
there a single book that you would recommend that
would cover these issues?>>FR. VON ARX: Unfortunately, I
can’t recommend a single book. But I mentioned the
name of Emmet Larkin. Emmet Larkin, he died
a couple of years ago. He is the historian of the
Catholic Church in Ireland, and he has a series of
books about the relationship between the Catholic Church
and the Nationalist Movement, the Parliamentary Party, and,
eventually, the Irish State. So he’s who I recommend. An old friend of mine
came up to me afterwards and said, “is there something
about this story that helps us understand
the relationship between Irish people and
the Catholic Church today?” And I hope you all see that
the answer to that question is absolutely. Because an alliance was
concluded between the Catholic Church and the
Nationalist Movement in 1884 that basically
tied the Church and what would be Irish
political leadership, and eventually the
Irish State, together in a way that helps
explain, in a certain sense, the history of the
relationship and some of the tremendous conflict
and hostility that has emerged as Church and state
in Ireland, or Church and society in Ireland,
try to redefine themselves. But part of the reason
for the closeness in the identification of being
Irish with being Catholic and the difficulty of
pulling all of that apart in some
appropriate way has to do with this alliance
between the Church and the National Movement in the
period that we’re looking at.>>PARTICIPANT: I wonder if
you could comment on the line that you drew, rightly,
to the Third Reich, how it developed from what
you’ve been talking about.>>FR. VON ARX: Sure. Well, in the simplest
terms, Francine, the contrast is between a way
of dealing with governments at the highest levels
and the counter, in a sense, example
that Manning offers and the counter example that
the United States, for example, offers. But because of
Leo XIII’s concern to reestablish the international
position of the papacy, he wanted to, again,
negotiate at the highest governmental levels. And especially over
the Kulturkampf, which was bad for
the Church, he dealt directly– not person to person
but pretty directly– through nuncios and intermediaries
with Bismarck to achieve this. But that became
the model, at least of governmental
Holy See relations, in Germany through the
rest of the Empire. And it obviously continued
in the 1930s, as well. So in a sense, negotiating
a concordat with Hitler was not that different than
negotiating a concordat with Bismarck, right? They’d done it before. And that’s the way
they did these things. And let’s do it again
and see if we can assure the Church’s position.>>PARTICIPANT: I think
I can be loud enough.>>FR. VON ARX: No. For recording purposes,
we need you to– so everyone will benefit
from your wisdom.>>PARTICIPANT: Oh, no– my
ignorance, asking questions. Is there any comparability
between Leo’s efforts to work out arrangements
with Germany, for instance, and England
and today’s efforts to work with China?>>FR. VON ARX: Yes. I hate to do this. But if you will Google my
name and America magazine, you will find an article
precisely on that question.>>PARTICIPANT: Thank you.>>FR. VON ARX: But actually, in that
case, it goes back to Napoleon. So what Francis
has done in China is effectively modeled
on the resolution of the conflict in France
after the French Revolution and the concordat that was
concluded between Pius VII and Napoleon in
1881, which involved, among other things,
the wholesale removal of all of the bishops in
France that already existed and the appointment of a
whole new batch of bishops. So it’s a fascinating story. Okay. Any last shots from anybody? Thank you all for
your attention. [applause] [music playing]

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