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Newman Suspect in Rome

Even though he had some differences regarding method with the team of the liberal journal the Rambler, for a time Fr. Newman was its official editor. Even after his resignation, he continued to edit some of its articles and offer general orientation.

One of Newman's articles published in the Rambler on the infallibility of the ordinary teaching of the Hierarchy was brought to Rome's attention as suspect. It followed the general line of the journal, whose liberal spirit was raising increasing discontent among the English Bishops. In view of an imminent public condemnation by the latter, the Rambler changed its name to the Home & Foreign Review.

Fr. Newman supported this new review also. When it was publicly criticized by Cardinal Antonelli, Sir John Acton, its editor, considered closing it. Fr. Newman strongly opposed this step, and recommended that he make a public response to the Cardinal in a moderate tone in order to calm suspicions. In the letter he wrote to Acton, it is quite clear that he did not want the writers to change their liberal views, but only to be more careful in expressing them.

Below we present a photocopy of a summary of the Rambler situation by Wilfrid Ward (p. 519 of his book), and then a photocopy of Newman's letter to Acton encouraging him to continue the Home & Foreign Review (pp. 539-540, marked with an orange bar).

The source for these documents is the book The Life of John Henry Newman Based on His Private Journals and Correspondence (London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1912, 2 volumes). The author is Wilfrid Philip Ward, the son of a William George Ward, a close friend of Cardinal Newman.

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Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted on February 6, 2010

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