Appeared in Summer 2001, Vol. XXVI, No. 2
On April 22, 1862, John Henry Newman wrote to his friend of twenty-five years, William George Ward:
I have to endure, in spite of your real affection for me, a never-dying misgiving on your part that I am in some substantial matter at variance with you-while I for my part sincerely think that on no subject is there any substantial difference between us, as far as theology is concerned.
Newman was responding to Ward’s admission that he was “greatly distressed” to hear, from a third party, of Newman’s supposed intention to support a liberal Catholic journal, the Home & Foreign Review. In fact, Newman was not associated with this journal. But the rift with Ward, his most illustrious disciple from Oxford days and a prominent lay theologian, continued to fester, and it was generally understood at the time that Newman had Ward in mind when he complained, in his Apologia Pro Vita Sua in 1864, of “a violent ultra party, which exalts opinions into dogmas, and has it principally at heart to destroy every school of thought but its own.” Contemporary historians, who have the benefit of many volumes of Newman’s published correspondence, are also privy to his more private thoughts, as when in March of 1864 he wrote to Sir John, later Lord Acton, “It seems impossible that active and sensible men can remain still under the dull tyranny of Manning and Ward.”
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