The idea of Christendom in the writings of Henry Edward Cardinal Manning

Barry Hugh Sargent, Marquette University


"Christendom," understood as that complex relationship between Christianity and culture, Church and State, that was considered normative in Europe before and even after the Reformation, constituted a religio-political ideal for many Christians long after the secularization of public life had set in. This ideal was strong among conservative church people, particularly in the Ultramontane movement within the Roman Catholic Church that was such a prominent feature of religious history in the nineteenth century. The name Henry Edward Manning (1808-1892) stands out as one of the foremost representatives of Ultramontane ecclesiology. Before he became a champion of both the temporal power and papal infallibility (First Vatican Council, 1870), he had been a promising leader in the Church of England (converted to Catholicism, 1851). He succeeded Cardinal Wiseman as Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster in 1865. He is considered ultra-conservative in his Ultramontane policies by prominent liberals, and considered a reformer and quasi-socialist in his social justice activity and in his strong identification and association with the working class poor. In light of these dissonant judgments, a problem arises as to the appropriate context in which Manning should be seen, so as to understand how the various causes that he championed relate to each other. No attempt has previously been made to understand the significance of Christendom thinking in Manning's Anglican and then Ultramontane ecclesiology. In this dissertation I test the hypothesis that Manning's Ultramontanism was not simply or even essentially a matter of reactionary politics, but was a type of nineteenth century "populist" Catholicism which attempted to stem the tide of secularization. Manning understood the question of infallibility in terms of the social and political world in which Christians were to carry out their daily lives--a means of conserving Christian belief and Christian society in the midst of social and political upheaval. That in this endeavor, the Christendom ideal of cooperation between Church and State had to be modified, but was not abandoned, is the thesis presented in this dissertation.

Recommended Citation

Sargent, Barry Hugh, "The idea of Christendom in the writings of Henry Edward Cardinal Manning" (1997). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9811403.