Henry Edward Cardinal Manning

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Henry Edward Cardinal Manning (July 15, 1808 - January 14, 1892) was an English Roman Catholic Archbishop and Cardinal.


Early Life

He was born at Totteridge, Hertfordshire, the third and youngest son of William Manning, a West India merchant, who served as a director and (1812 - 1813) as a governor of the Bank of England, and who sat in Parliament for some thirty years, representing in the Tory interest Plympton Earle, Lymington, Evesham, and Penryn consecutively. Henry's mother, Mary, daughter of Henry Leroy Hunter, of Beech Hill, Reading, came of a family said to be of French extraction. Manning spent his boyhood mainly at Coombe Bank, Sundridge, Kent, where he had for companions Charles and Christopher Wordsworth, later bishops of St Andrews and Lincoln respectively. He attended Harrow School (1822 - 1827) during the headmastership of Dr G. Butler, but obtained no distinction beyond playing in the cricket eleven in 1825.

He matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford, in 1827, and soon made his mark as a debater at the Oxford Union, where Gladstone succeeded him as president in 1830. At this date he had ambitions of a political career, but his father had sustained severe losses in business, and in these circumstances Manning, having graduated with first-class honours in 1830, obtained the year following, through Viscount Goderich, a post as a supernumerary clerk in the Colonial Office. From this, however, he resigned in 1832, his thoughts having turned towards a clerical career under Evangelical influences, which affected him deeply throughout life.

Anglican Clergyman

Returning to Oxford, he gained election as a fellow of Merton College, and received ordination; and in 1833 he became rector of Lavington-with-Graffham in Sussex due to the patronage of Mrs Sargent.

Manning married Mrs. Sargent's granddaughter, Caroline,November 7 1833, in a ceremony performed by the bride's brother-in-law, Samuel Wilberforce, later Bishop of Oxford and Winchester. Manning's marriage did not last long: his young and beautiful wife came of a consumptive family, and died childless (July 24, 1837). When Manning died so many years later, for decades a celibate Catholic clergyman, a locket containing his wife's picture was found on a chain around his neck.

The lasting sadness that overshadowed him facilitated his acceptance of the austere teaching of the Oxford Movement; and though he never became an acknowledged disciple of John Henry Newman, the latter's influence meant that from this date Manning's theology assumed an increasingly High Church character, and his printed sermon on the "Rule of Faith" signalled publicly his alliance with the Tractarians. In 1838 he took a leading part in the Church education movement, by which diocesan boards were established throughout the country; and he wrote an open letter to his bishop in criticism of the recent appointment of the ecclesiastical commission. In December of that year he paid his first visit to Rome, and called on Dr Wiseman in company with Gladstone.

In January 1841 Shuttleworth, Bishop of Chichester, appointed him archdeacon, whereupon he began a personal visitation of each parish within his district, completing the task in 1843. In 1842 he published a treatise on The Unity of the Church, and his reputation as an eloquent and earnest preacher being by this time considerable, he was in the same year appointed select preacher by his university, thus being called upon to fill from time to time the pulpit which Newman, as vicar of St Mary's, was just ceasing to occupy.

Four volumes of Manning's sermons appeared between the years 1842 and 1850, and these had reached the 7th, 4th, 3rd and 2nd editions respectively in 1850, but were not afterwards reprinted. In 1844 his portrait was painted by Richmond, and the same year he published a volume of university sermons, omitting the one on the Gunpowder Plot. This sermon had annoyed Newman and his more advanced disciples, but it was a proof that at that date Manning was loyal to the Church of England as Protestant. Newman's secession in 1845 placed Manning in a position of greater responsibility, as one of the High Church leaders, along with Edward Bouverie Pusey, John Keble and Marriott; but it was with Gladstone and James Hope-Scott that he was at this time most closely associated.

Conversion To Catholicism

Manning's belief in Anglicanism was shattered in 1850, when the Privy Council successfully ordered the Church to institute a clergyman whom many, including Manning, considered a heretic. The following year he was received into the Roman Catholic Church and soon after was ordained a priest. Given his great abilities and prior fame, he quickly rose to a position of influence, and, in 1865, was chosen as Archbishop of Westminster,

Among his accomplishments as head of the Roman Catholic Church in England were the building of Westminster Cathedral and a greatly expanded system of Catholic education. In 1875, he was made a cardinal and he participated in the conclave that elected Leo XIII in 1878.

Influence on Social Justice Teaching

Cardial Manning was very influential in setting the direction of the modern Roman Catholic Church.His warm relations with Leo XIII and his ultramontane views gained him the trust of the Vatican. He was among the strongest supporters of the doctrine of papal infallibility, unlike Cardinal Newman, who was somewhat suspect in this regard. Manning used this goodwill to promote a modern Catholic view of social justice. His evangelical Anglican background gave him enlightened views on the social responsibilities of the Christian Church. These views are reflected in the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum issued by Leo XIII. It is the beginning of modern Catholic social justice teaching.

So it can be said that modern Catholic social doctrine comes partly from John Wesley, via Cardinal Manning and Leo XIII.

Cardinal Manning was instrumental in settling the London dockworkers strike of 1889.He had a significant role in the conversion of notable figures, including Elizabeth Belloc, the mother of the famous British author, Hilaire Belloc, upon whose thinking Manning had a profound influence.

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