Cardinal Newman – To Be Canonised in October – Traditionalist or Liberal?

Cardinal Newman – To Be Canonised in October – Traditionalist or Liberal?

From the “liberal” – i.e. anti-Catholic – Tablet, the following predictable commentary: 

“…Given the context, it is appropriate that the English priest will be declared a saint by a pope who has sought to implement Vatican II, and during the synod of bishops assembly on the Amazon, a structure established by Paul VI as the council drew to a close. Newman’s writing on the primary [sic] of conscience, which he described as “the aboriginal Vicar of Christ”, is also echoed in Francis’ family life teaching, Amoris Laetitia, which opens the door for remarried divorcees to receive communion. The pope has said Amoris Laetitia is an attempt to move away from legalistic casuistry, and canonical manuals to a deeper understanding of applying moral laws…”   Source

Typically, by quoting Cardinal Newman’s words on conscience out of context, The Tablet and other liberal outlets omit the following, wholly orthodox, conclusion reached by the Cardinal on the subject: 

“…I observe that conscience is not a judgment upon any speculative truth, any abstract doctrine, but bears immediately on conduct, on something to be done or not done. “Conscience,” says St. Thomas, “is the practical judgment or dictate of reason, by which we judge what hic et nunc is to be done as being good, or to be avoided as evil.” Hence conscience cannot come into direct collision with the Church’s or the Pope’s infallibility; which is engaged in general propositions, and in the condemnation of particular and given errors.” Source

Indeed, the Cardinal’s own words of opposition to the spirit of liberalism, taken from his famous “Biglietto Speech”, make absolutely clear that he detested liberalism in religion…

“…For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted 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 overspreading, 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 considered out of place, if I renew the protest against it which I have made so often…”  Click here to read the rest of this speech


Prepare, in the months leading up to the canonisation in October, to hear plenty of propaganda about the “liberal” Cardinal Newman from the mainstream “Catholic” media,  with emphasis on his alleged (i.e. non existent) belief that conscience reigns supreme.  Conscience, as peddled by the liberals, of course, is no such thing;  it’s simply the self-centred human mind telling the self-centred human person to do whatever he/she wants, as long as he/she “feels” it’s OK.  Really deep thinking.  But, manifestly, not the thinking of Cardinal Newman.  Just how deceitful does a so-called liberal have to be to twist the Cardinal’s beliefs asbout conscience to mean the precise opposite? 

Your views on that question welcome, but keep the answers (reasonably!) polite. ..If necessary, check out the House Rules before you begin typing 😀

Also, if you have any favourite quotes from the writings of Cardinal Newman, or titles about his life which you would recommend, feel free to post them here.  

Comments (29)

  • editor Reply

    I recommend Newman Against the Liberals 25 Classic Sermons by John Henry Newman, Selected with a Preface by Michael Davies.

    Here’s a taster, from the recommendations on the back cover…

    … The sermon ‘Toleance of Religious Error’ is a severe reminder to our generation that it is not just any kind of truth that is going to save us.” – Catholic Register, Canada.

    I’ve just checked Amazon and it’s listed as “currently unavailable” but it’s well worth searching for a copy. Preferably before October!

    July 20, 2019 at 11:05 pm
    • Josephine Reply

      This Canadian bloggers quotes from Newman Against the Liberals – it’s a great quote.

      It’s obviously not true to say that Newman was a liberal – it’s a downright lie when you look at the mountain of evidence showing the opposite.

      He would have offered the traditional Latin Mass and, as all the quotes here show, he was totally orthodox in his beliefs, so there’s no way Cardinal Newman was a liberal.

      July 21, 2019 at 10:43 pm
    • Laura Reply

      I’ve got a copy of that book and I thought I would add this from the back page, as well.

      “Mr Davies has drawn 25 sermons which expose the moral and psychological roots of religious ‘liberalism’ and with which many contemporary Catholics have made a painful acquaintance.” (Faith and Reason).

      I think it’s a must-read, so I agree that it’s well worth searching for a copy.

      July 22, 2019 at 2:20 pm
  • Pat McKay Reply

    This is one of my favourites, from Discourses to Mixed Congregations, no. 8 ‘Nature and Grace’…

    …..’Does not the world scoff at all that is glorious, all that is majestic, in our holy religion? Does it not speak against the special creations of God’s grace? Does it not disbelieve the possibility of purity and chastity? Does it not slander the profession of celibacy? Does it not deny the virginity of Mary? Does it not cast out her very name as evil? Does it not scorn her as “a dead woman,” whom you know to be the Mother of all the living, and the great Intercessor of the faithful?

    Does it not ridicule the Saints? Does it not make light of their relics? Does it not despise the Sacraments? Does it not blaspheme the awful Presence which dwells upon our altars, and mock bitterly and fiercely at our believing that what it calls bread and wine is that very same Body and Blood of the Lamb, which lay in Mary’s womb and hung on the Cross?

    What are we, that we should be better treated than our Lord, and His Mother, and His servants, and His works? Nay, what are we, if we be better treated, but friends of those who thus treat us well, and who ill-treat Him?’….

    July 21, 2019 at 10:04 am
    • editor Reply


      Thank you for that profound quote from Cardinal Newman’s Discourses to Mixed Congregations.

      If he were alive today and living through the modernists posing as Catholics “scoffing at all that is glorious in our holy religion” he would be wiping the floor with them.

      The sheer nerve of those who insult his memory (and his intelligence) by claiming that he had been a “liberal” – as I say, he’d be wiping the floor with them, if he were with us today.

      July 21, 2019 at 8:03 pm
  • RCAVictor Reply

    I can’t comment on Cardinal Newman’s writings, since I’ve never read him other than a powerful excerpt on the Agony in the Garden, contained in the book “The Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” by Rev. Alban Goodier, SJ, but I sure would like to let off a little steam about The Tablet’s (AKA “The Bitter Pill”) lies:

    1. Pope Francis cannot “implement Vatican II,” because the real Vatican II is hidden behind its deliberately vague documents. Vatican II is invisible except to those who interpret it according to their own evil agenda. Implementing Vatican II would be like stating that a construction company is building a building based on a blueprint which is hidden behind the visible blueprint.

    2. Pope Francis’ “family life teaching” is actually a subversion and destruction of family life, and therefore a subversion of the Christian civilization of which the family is the foundation.

    3. The Magisterium does not engage in “legalistic casuistry.” On the contrary, it is Pope Francis who engages in legalistic casuistry, under the perfidious guise of “mercy,” to justify his revolution.

    We know from repeated experience that the Revolution always eats its own. Therefore, the revolution and the Tower of Heretical Babel of Pope Francis will end up destroying him, and all those who support him, and especially the professional liars whose casuistry attempts – and fails – to prop him up.

    May it happen soon.

    July 21, 2019 at 6:36 pm
    • editor Reply

      RCA Victor,

      Well said. The Tablet is the most dreadful rag imaginable. Some years ago they published a load of lies about my unworthy self and refused to give me a right to reply, i.e. they refused to publish the short letter I’d submitted to correct the falsehoods, on the grounds that, when they’d published the false information, they believed it to be true. Can you believe the sheer stupidity that would come up with such a non-“defence”? And they are regarded as an intellectual publication! Hilarious. About as intellectual as The Beano – with sincere apologies to The Beano…

      So, I’ve no time for The Tablet (or The Pill as it was called at the time of the controversy surrounding Humanae Vitae, when they openly and publicly encouraged dissent) and am happy to affirm that your analysis is spot on. I repeat – well said!

      July 21, 2019 at 7:57 pm
      • Josephine

        The Beano, LOL! That brings back memories!

        July 21, 2019 at 10:43 pm
      • RCAVictor


        I’d never heard of The Beano magazine, but I certainly have heard of a product with the same name, which purports to reduce certain gastrointestinal problems. I wonder if the magazine is named after the product??

        Perhaps someone with a fertile imagination could invent a product that would reduce toxic intellectual vapors emitted from faulty liberal minds….


        July 22, 2019 at 2:24 pm
  • Miles Immaculatae Reply

    I read some modernist nonsense about Cardinal Newman being the ‘grandfather’ of Vatican II. I am not quite sure what that means. I am convinced that Cardinal Newman is a saint, but I just don’t take these new canonisations seriously anymore.

    July 21, 2019 at 8:22 pm
    • Margaret Mary Reply

      Miles Immaculatae,

      I was thinking the same thing about not taking modern canonisations seriously any more, but then I remembered it being said here (I think or maybe on the Remnant site) that eventually all these canonisations will be re-examined and only the ones which would have passed the test before JPII removed the office of Devil’s Advocate will survive. I’m certain that two will survivie – Padre Pio and Cardinal Newman.

      July 21, 2019 at 10:32 pm
      • Miles Immaculatae

        Perhaps St Maximilian Kolbe as well

        July 21, 2019 at 11:56 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        Definitely Maximillian Kolbe – he was a real hero and not just because of his heroic death. His love for Our Lady among other things makes him an inspirational saint for the 20th / 21st century.

        July 22, 2019 at 9:50 am
      • Miles Immaculatae

        The three greatest male Saints of the 20th century were all Franciscan. Pius X, Padre Pio, and Maximilian Kolbe. (Third order, Capuchin, and Conventual, respectively)

        Makes sense since God said he would use St Francis to rebuild his Church.

        July 22, 2019 at 3:05 pm
  • editor Reply

    And, of course, our own martyr, Saint John Ogilvie – he was canonised by Pope Paul VI, so the Devil’s Advocate was still in use. His canonisation wouldn’t, then, come under renewed scrutiny. Just as well – he’s the only post-Reformation saint/maryr we have!

    July 22, 2019 at 2:11 pm
  • Laura Reply

    It’s notable that the date chosen for this canonisation (Cardinal Newman) is 13 October, 2019 – the anniversary of the last of the Fatima apparitions, and the miracle of the sun! I don’t see this as accidental – because he’s so often regarded as a liberal when he’s not, and he’s being canonised by a pope who is worsening the crisis foretold at Fatima. I see it all as tying up.

    BTW, I can’t help wondering if he’s being canonised to help the liberal cause, because they have built him up to be a liberal – how dishonest would that be?

    July 22, 2019 at 2:16 pm
    • Miles Immaculatae Reply

      I think that this is a politically motivated canonisation. For example, John Paul II was canonised at the same time as John XXIII, supposedly to appease both liberal and neo-conservative Catholics in one stroke. Likewise, Newman appears to have a following among opposing factions of Catholics and the canonisation is therefore not likely to provoke criticism from the different factions. Newman will therefore not attract the controversy that Pope Paul VI did.

      If Newman is canonised and should this encourage people to read Newman then it might have the effect of bringing people closer to Tradition. As long as they read Newman proper and not modernist interpretations of Newman.

      July 22, 2019 at 3:02 pm
      • editor

        Miles Immaculatae,

        Just to clarify, for the sake of non-Catholic or “liberal” Catholic readers, there is no such thing as “opposing factions of Catholics”. There are those who ARE Catholics – that is, who, by definition, accept all that the Church teaches. and there are dissenters. The latter are not “an opposing faction” – they simply do not believe all that the Church teaches and so, by definition, cannot be considered “Catholics”.

        July 22, 2019 at 5:10 pm
  • Miles Immaculatae Reply

    Newman was a great writer, the English are lucky to have him. Pugin was also a great English Catholic, but Pugin and Newman used to get into silly squabbles.

    July 22, 2019 at 2:52 pm
    • editor Reply

      A bit like Petrus and my unworthy self 😀

      July 22, 2019 at 5:11 pm
      • Petrus


        When was the last time we squabbled? I think it’s been at least a couple of days!

        July 23, 2019 at 12:51 am
  • Fidelis Reply

    One of the things the liberals do is try to make out that Newman was happy to change doctrine. They twist his writings on the development of doctrine to make it seem that he would change teachings. I am hopeful that the discussions prior to the canonisation will force them to realise their error. The quote on conscience in the intro really nails the lie that Newman was a liberal. He said: “- conscience cannot come into direct collision with the Church’s or the Pope’s infallibility”

    He could not be clearer, IMHO.

    July 22, 2019 at 10:27 pm
  • Theresa Rose Reply

    Until this thread I realise now how little I know of Cardinal Newman. Yes, I was aware of his conversion to the Catholic Faith and entering the priesthood. I have no recollection of reading any of his writings, but wish to thank you everyone for recommending some of his material – to search it out and learn something.

    July 22, 2019 at 11:03 pm
  • crofterlady Reply

    We sent one of our sons to an Oratorian school and he certainly came out a believing and intelligent Catholic. Mmm… some of that would have been our input but, nevertheless, he was impressed at the formation he received there.

    July 22, 2019 at 11:20 pm
  • gabriel syme Reply

    I think it’s nonsense to say Newman was a liberal – he was a convert, if he had only wanted to “play at Catholicism” he would have remained in the Church of England.

    That he converted to and became a Saint of, the pre-conciliar Church, tells you all you need to know.

    And as he established the London Oratory, he was obviously very serious about liturgy and music – another refutation of liberalism.

    July 23, 2019 at 9:40 pm
  • editor Reply

    It most certainly is nonsense to claim that Newman was a liberal. Here’s my own all-time favourite Newman quote – decidedly squashing any claim that he was a liberal:

    “Christ has so willed it that we should get at the Truth, not by ingenious speculations, reasonings or investigations of our own, but by teaching. The Holy Church has been set up from the beginning as a solemn religious fact… as a picture, a revelation of the next world, as itself the Christian Dispensation.” (in a sermon dating from 1833, quoted in Ian Ker: Newman On Being a Christian, p.73)

    As Ian Ker goes on to say: “It is hard to imagine a “higher” view of the Church than one in which the Church and Christianity are synonymous.

    I could go on and quote more from Ker, but no need – everything that follows merely confirms the fact that John Henry Cardinal Newman was no liberal. Far from it. Were he alive today, he’d be dubbed a “traditionalist” – prior to 1962, the only “type” of Catholic known to man (and woman, of course!)

    July 24, 2019 at 11:09 am
  • TradCathKnight Reply

    More from the Libs claiming Newman

    July 26, 2019 at 4:34 pm
    • editor Reply

      Thank you for that link where the author completely misses the real legacy of Cardinal Newman which is his fidelity to the teaching authority of the Church – as quoted in my previous comment.

      July 27, 2019 at 12:42 pm
  • Miles Immaculatae Reply

    Absurd news regarding the cause of G.K. Chesterton. The cause is closed. Apparently, there is no local cult. And concerns have been raised over supposed anti-Semitism. What a slanderous thing to say about one of the greatest traditional Catholic English-speaking man if letters. And as a matter of fact, he had an international cult.

    I am now convinced that there is a political motive behind the canonisation of Newman.

    August 2, 2019 at 8:59 pm

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