Bishop and Cardinal – What should we make of Bishop Sanborn’s condemnations of Cardinal Newman? (Part I)

Is it true to say ‘that [Newman’s] idea of conscience is precisely modernist’?

Image: Wiki Commons

This is Part I. See Part II here and Part III here.

Recently, Bishop Donald Sanborn published, via his seminary’s YouTube channel, a reaction video to an interview between Bishop Robert Barron and Ben Shapiro. This reaction video featured some critical remarks about Cardinal Newman.[1]

Out of respect for Newman himself, as well as for…

  • Pius IX, who entrusted him with the foundation of the Oratory in England
  • Leo XIII, who appointed him cardinal (and was ‘undoubtedly a shrewd judge of men and affairs’ according to St Pius X when discussing this appointment)[2]
  • St Pius X himself, who praised Newman, and defended him against the modernists’ cynical co-opting of his name to add prestige to their agenda[3]
  • Pius XI and Pius XII, who both publicly praised him[4]
  • Many other churchmen, such as Bishop Ullathorne, who took his part in the face of attacks…

… let’s look at these remarks, and address the criticisms, made against this great man and Prince of the Holy Roman Church.

Supporting The WM Review through book purchases
As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases through our Amazon links. See also The WM Review Reading List (with direct links for US and UK readers).

Letter to the Duke of Norfolk

In the reaction video in question, Bishop Sanborn referred to two famous comments made in Newman’s 1875 Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, a book defending the papacy against the attacks the prominent Anglican politician, William Gladstone. Gladstone had been Prime Minister between 1868 and 1874, and would later serve a further three terms in the years between 1880 and 1894.

Newman’s book was polemical in nature, and was not welcomed by all Catholics, but the vast majority saw it as a successful vindication of the doctrine of papal infallibility in relation to the civil obedience of the Catholic population of the United Kingdom. It was not intended as a treatise of theology, and it has been a source of misunderstanding that some later writers have taken it as such.  

Here is one of the two texts mentioned by Bishop Sanborn:

‘I add one remark. Certainly, if I am obliged to bring religion into after-dinner toasts, (which indeed does not seem quite the thing) I shall drink—to the Pope, if you please,—still, to Conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards.’[5]

As is clear from the text above, Newman was not recounting an actual event.

Many do not know what to make of this passage, presented, as it so often is, in isolation (and as Bishop Sanborn has done) from the rest of the chapter and his work.

Let’s start with some general points.

General points

Newman’s comments about conscience have indeed been used by modernists – and were indeed being abused in Bishop Barron video to which Bishop Sanborn was responding.

However, being co-opted by heretics is not equivalent to being suspect oneself. If it were, we might be forced to conclude that all the men and women canonised or beatified by the post-conciliar papal claimants (such as even Pius IX) were suspect. But we know that many, who died long before Vatican II, were exemplary Catholics. We might also have to suspect St Augustine, who was recruited by Protestants and Jansenists to justify their heretical positions.

Heretics can try to co-opt whomsoever they like, and (all things being equal) it is as gratuitous to assume that this reflects badly on Newman as it does on St Augustine.

The co-opting of Newman started a long time ago. In his letter to Bishop O’Dwyer of Limerick, St Pius X rebuked modernists for this, and ordered them to desist:

‘It is clear that those people whose errors We have condemned in that Document had decided among themselves to produce something of their own invention with which to seek the commendation of a distinguished person. […]

‘Not only do you fully demonstrate their obstinacy but you also show clearly their deceitfulness.’[6]

He then chastises the modernists for ‘being addicted to their own prejudices’, and orders them to desist from ‘abusing his name and deceiving the ignorant.’[7]

It would be well for some traditionalist critics of Newman to do the same.

With that in order, let’s see how Bishop Sanborn treats Newman and his understanding of conscience.

‘Someone offered a toast to the pope’

In this video, we find the following exchange:

Bishop Sanborn: ‘But conscience – You know Newman, the famous story of Newman? They toasted the pope – he was with some people, and they, there was someone offered a toast to the pope, and he said – “Yes – but to conscience first.”’

Interviewer: [Laughing] ‘And you were very bothered by that.’

Bishop Sanborn: [Laughing, then disgusted] ‘Urgh, that made me sick, and it, you know, it shows that his conversion was more of a dragging the Church to himself, rather than dragging himself to the Church.

‘He loved Catholicism so he thought he would buy it and have it in his garage. He remained a Protestant down deep, but he acquired some Catholicism. That’s my opinion of Newman.’

These statements of Bishop Sanborn are indefensible. It is worth taking some time to address them in depth.

But before so doing: Bishop Sanborn presents the text as if it recounts an event which actually happened, and which even made him sick. In fact, it did not happen at all.

It is unfortunate to have to ask this, but we cannot help wondering whether the bishop has actually read the book (or even the section) upon which he bases his condemnation, or has merely forgotten what it says. Either way, condemnations and criticisms made on the basis of a text which one has not read, or about which one has forgotten, are not of very great weight.

However, perhaps the bishop has reached the right conclusions about Newman, despite inadequate arguments and reasoning. To see whether this is so, let’s consider the chapter as a whole – recalling that it is normal to understand a passage in light of a chapter, rather than the other way around.

What is conscience?

Bishop Sanborn starts his discussion of Newman with a definition of conscience, implying that he is thereby preparing the ground for a critique of the late cardinal’s views:

Interviewer: [Laughing] ‘So, I know you never want to miss an opportunity to talk about your challenges with Cardinal Newman, your Excellency. Why don’t you start there?’

Bishop Sanborn: [Laughing] ‘Well first of all, let me explain conscience.’

Interviewer: [Laughing] ‘OK.’

Bishop Sanborn: ‘What conscience is, is simply your intellect applying the law to something that you are about to do, or have done. The law that – the moral law. That’s all it is. It’s not some special faculty in your brain or in your intellect or something like that where you get signals from heaven. Some sort of telephone to Heaven about what’s true and what’s false. It is simply, it concerns morality. It is simply the application of the law as you know it.’

As far as I can see, in the chapter in question, Newman lays out the same doctrine of conscience which Bishop Sanborn accuses him of rejecting:

‘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.”’[8]

Now, Bishop Sanborn says of Newman’s views:

‘That idea of conscience is precisely modernist.’

Obviously, Bishop Sanborn is not condemning himself. We must therefore conclude that he is condemning Newman, as a modernist, on quite mistaken grounds.

Divine and natural law

At the start of the chapter, Newman states that one cannot deal with the topic of conscience without starting with God, and the divine and natural law.

‘… [N]ow I must begin with the Creator and His creature, when I would draw out the prerogatives and the supreme authority of Conscience.

‘I say, then, that the Supreme Being is of a certain character, which, expressed in human language, we call ethical. He has the attributes of justice, truth, wisdom, sanctity, benevolence and mercy, as eternal characteristics in His nature, the very Law of His being, identical with Himself; and next, when He became Creator, He implanted this Law, which is Himself, in the intelligence of all His rational creatures. The Divine Law, then, is the rule of ethical truth, the standard of right and wrong, a sovereign, irreversible, absolute authority in the presence of men and Angels.

‘”The eternal law,” says St. Augustine, “is the Divine Reason or Will of God, commanding the observance, forbidding the disturbance, of the natural order of things.”

‘”The natural law,” says St. Thomas, “is an impression of the Divine Light in us, a participation of the eternal law in the rational creature.”’[9]

He then relates this to conscience:

‘This law, as apprehended in the minds of individual men, is called “conscience;” and though it may suffer refraction in passing into the intellectual medium of each, it is not therefore so affected as to lose its character of being the Divine Law, but still has, as such, the prerogative of commanding obedience.

‘”The Divine Law,” says Cardinal Gousset, “is the supreme rule of actions; our thoughts, desires, words, acts, all that man is, is subject to the domain of the law of God; and this law is the rule of our conduct by means of our conscience.”’[10]

Newman proceeds to consider some faulty views of conscience, held by naturalists and by the various protestant sects, and points out that many of his contemporaries held ‘a counterfeit’ understanding of conscience:

‘[L]et us see what is the notion of conscience in this day in the popular mind. There, no more than in the intellectual world, does “conscience” retain the old, true, Catholic meaning of the word. There too the idea, the presence of a Moral Governor is far away from the use of it, frequent and emphatic as that use of it is.

‘When men advocate the rights of conscience, they in no sense mean the rights of the Creator, nor the duty to Him, in thought and deed, of the creature; but the right of thinking, speaking, writing, and acting, according to their judgment or their humour, without any thought of God at all.

‘They do not even pretend to go by any moral rule, but they demand, what they think is an Englishman’s prerogative, for each to be his own master in all things, and to profess what he pleases, asking no one’s leave, and accounting priest or preacher, speaker or writer, unutterably impertinent, who dares to say a word against his going to perdition, if he like it, in his own way. Conscience has rights because it has duties; but in this age, with a large portion of the public, it is the very right and freedom of conscience to dispense with conscience, to ignore a Lawgiver and Judge, to be independent of unseen obligations.

‘It becomes a licence to take up any or no religion, to take up this or that and let it go again, to go to church, to go to chapel, to boast of being above all religions and to be an impartial critic of each of them. Conscience is a stern monitor, but in this century it has been superseded by a counterfeit, which the eighteen centuries prior to it never heard of, and could not have mistaken for it, if they had. It is the right of self-will.’[11]

Let’s note that in this passage, Cardinal Newman also rejects the concept of religious liberty. In fact, elsewhere in the same work, he defends the teaching of Pius IX’s Quanta Cura and Gregory XVI’s Mirari Vos on the matter of liberty of conscience and religion:

“It seems a light epithet for the Pope to use, when he calls such a doctrine of [liberty of] conscience deliramentum: of all conceivable absurdities it is the wildest and most stupid.”[12]

So we have seen Newman’s idea of conscience is correct, and that he correctly distinguishes it from those which are false, and from ‘absurdities’ that arise from these false ideas. It is not true to say, as the bishop does, that ‘that idea of conscience is precisely modernist’. In fact, it seems identical to Bishop Sanborn’s own explanation of conscience.

To understand this matter even further, let’s consider Newman’s reason for writing this book in the first place.

(Article continues below)

Sorry to interrupt! We would like to keep providing our articles free for everyone. If you have benefitted from our content, then please do consider supporting us financially.

A monthly donation helps ensure we can keep writing and sharing at no cost to readers. Thank you!

Gladstone and mental slavery

As mentioned, the immediate context of the Letter itself was Gladstone’s own pamphlet, which accused English Catholics of being the mental slaves of the pope, absolved from independent responsibility, and incapable of being trustworthy subjects of the state.

For instance, he suggests that the Vatican I definition of infallibility meant that English Catholics would be obliged to obey a papal command to burn down Portsmouth. Newman quotes him:

‘[Gladstone] says, p. 35,

‘”It may be sought to plead that the Pope does not propose to invade the country, to seize Woolwich, or burn Portsmouth. He will only, at the worst, excommunicate opponents … Is this a good answer? After all, even in the Middle Ages, it was not by the direct action of fleets and armies of their own that the Popes contended with kings who were refractory; it was mainly by interdicts,” etc.’[13]

Newman answers this objection:

‘What have excommunication and interdict to do with Infallibility? Was St. Peter infallible on that occasion at Antioch when St. Paul withstood him? was St. Victor infallible when he separated from his communion the Asiatic Churches? or Liberius when in like manner he excommunicated Athanasius?

‘And, to come to later times, was Gregory XIII., when he had a medal struck in honour of the Bartholomew massacre? or Paul IV. in his conduct towards Elizabeth? or Sextus V. when he blessed the Armada? or Urban VIII. when he persecuted Galileo? No Catholic ever pretends that these Popes were infallible in these acts.

‘Since then infallibility alone could block the exercise of conscience, and the Pope is not infallible in that subject-matter in which conscience is of supreme authority, no deadlock, such as is implied in the objection which I am answering, can take place between conscience and the Pope.’[14]

(Let’s note that in this section, Newman both explicitly notes that the exercise of infallibility could indeed ‘block the exercise of conscience’, and shows that he has the same conception of the subject-matter of conscience as Bishop Sanborn, namely, acts here and now, rather than doctrine.)

‘You would be obliged to burn down Portsmouth’ represents the sorts of argument Newman is addressing – and he is correct that both Catholic teaching and sound philosophy hold that conscience may prevent a man from obeying such commands.

But we all know this already. We know that the pope’s non-universal commands (as opposed to actual universal ecclesiastical laws and decisions) are not infallibly protected from running counter to conscience in all cases, or even being evil in themselves. This same point is made with admirable clarity by Fr Damien Dutertre, a priest of Bishop Sanborn’s Roman Catholic Institute, in a paper from November 2022:

‘The particular commands, and the personal actions of the pope, are not the object of the special assistance promised by Christ to His Church through the divine institution of the papacy. They may sometimes be legitimately resisted and denounced.’

‘What cannot be resisted, and what is always guaranteed by the assistance of the Holy Ghost are decisions on faith and morals, imposed on the universal Church, as well as universal disciplinary and liturgical laws, such as the promulgation of a new rite of the Mass.’[15]


But even having made the relevant distinction, Newman gives a clear warning against rashly concluding that a given papal command, of the kind discussed – which we all agree would not be infallible – actually contradicts the strictures of conscience, and thus can be resisted or disobeyed:

‘… I have to say again, lest I should be misunderstood, that when I speak of Conscience, I mean conscience truly so called.

‘When it has the right of opposing the supreme, though not infallible Authority of the Pope, it must be something more than that miserable counterfeit which, as I have said above, now goes by the name. If in a particular case it is to be taken as a sacred and sovereign monitor, its dictate, in order to prevail against the voice of the Pope, must follow upon serious thought, prayer, and all available means of arriving at a right judgment on the matter in question…’[16]

(Note again that there is nothing there to suggest that he is talking about rejecting papal teaching or speculative truths, which he has already explicitly excluded from the discussion.)

‘And further, obedience to the Pope is what is called “in possession;” that is, the onus probandi of establishing a case against him lies, as in all cases of exception, on the side of conscience. Unless a man is able to say to himself, as in the Presence of God, that he must not, and dare not, act upon the Papal injunction, he is bound to obey it, and would commit a great sin in disobeying it. Primâ facie it is his bounden duty, even from a sentiment of loyalty, to believe the Pope right and to act accordingly.

‘He must vanquish that mean, ungenerous, selfish, vulgar spirit of his nature, which, at the very first rumour of a command, places itself in opposition to the Superior who gives it, asks itself whether he is not exceeding his right, and rejoices, in a moral and practical matter to commence with scepticism. He must have no wilful determination to exercise a right of thinking, saying, doing just what he pleases, the question of truth and falsehood, right and wrong, the duty if possible of obedience, the love of speaking as his Head speaks, and of standing in all cases on his Head’s side, being simply discarded. If this necessary rule were observed, collisions between the Pope’s authority and the authority of conscience would be very rare.

‘On the other hand, in the fact that, after all, in extraordinary cases, the conscience of each individual is free, we have a safeguard and security, were security necessary (which is a most gratuitous supposition), that no Pope ever will be able, as the objection supposes, to create a false conscience for his own ends.’[17]

He then gives a set of Catholic authorities proving, against Gladstone, that we believe that conscience must be obeyed against any sinful command. This is a long section, and he cites Cardinal Gousset, the Salmanticenses, as well as ‘St. Thomas, St. Bonaventura, Caietan, Vasquez, Durandus, Navarrus, Corduba, Layman, Escobar, and fourteen others’ – ‘two of whom’, he says, ‘even say this opinion is de fide’.[18]

He cites one Cardinal Jacobatius making clear, if it were necessary to do so, that this teaching also applies to such a command (as opposed to a universal disciplinary law) that may hypothetically come from the Roman Pontiff.[19]

But there should be no need to prove this point, which we all know is true, and which (given the text from Fr Dutertre) Bishop Sanborn would surely concede.

Preliminary Conclusion

So far, we have considered whether Bishop Sanborn accurately and fairly portrays Cardinal Newman and his ‘idea of conscience’, which he condemns as being ‘precisely modernist’. We have seen, through looking at the chapter in question, that he does not so portray the late Cardinal – and that he does not even portray the grounds of his condemnation correctly.

It is quite clear from the context of the Letter that Newman is by no means addressing how we attain knowledge of divine revelation, but rather considering – with a correct definition of conscience – whether papal infallibility renders Catholics the moral and mental slaves of the pope in the face of evil commands.

So much for that. But what of the bishop’s wider criticisms about the language used by Newman?

What did Newman mean by toasting ‘conscience first’, and by calling it ‘the aboriginal Vicar of Christ’? Did this mean that he really believed, perhaps on other grounds, that conscience was ‘some special faculty in your brain or in your intellect or something like that where you get signals from heaven’, or ‘[s]ome sort of telephone to Heaven about what’s true and what’s false’ – as Bishop Sanborn suggests?

We have already begun to answer these questions, and shall continue in the next part.

Further Reading:

Newman – Letter to the Duke of Norfolk
Newman – An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine
Newman – The Idea of a University
Bishop E.T. O’Dwyer – Cardinal Newman and the Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis
Fr E.D. Benard – A Preface to Newman’s Theology

John Henry Newman, Anti-Modernist – Defending his name against the accusers
Part I
Part II
Part III
John Henry Newman, Anti-Ecumenist
Bishop and Cardinal (Part I) – Bishop Sanborn and Newman’s understanding of conscience
Bishop and Cardinal (Part II) – Bishop Sanborn, Newman, conscience as voice of God and aboriginal vicar of Christ, and after-dinner toasts
Bishop and Cardinal (Part III) – Final thoughts on Newman’s supposedly ‘very friendly’ relationship with Baron Friedrich von Hügel
Newman on “The Eternal See”
Did Cardinal Newman want to “rethink” the papacy?
Bishop Ullathorne’s vindication of Newman’s writings on Our Lady

Newman’s Views
Should converts set themselves up as teachers? Newman’s answer


As we expand The WM Review we would like to keep providing our articles free for everyone. If you have benefitted from our content please do consider supporting us financially.

A small monthly donation, or a one-time donation, helps ensure we can keep writing and sharing at no cost to readers. Thank you!

Monthly Gifts

Subscribe to stay in touch:

Follow on Twitter and Telegram:

Also on Gab!

[1] MHT Seminary, ‘Questions for the Rector | Ep. 5: The Barron/Shapiro Interview’, YouTube, 7 Nov 2023. The comments start around the 12 minute mark. I will not be continually offering references and timestamps – this should be sufficient.

We could also note in passing that in this video, Bishop Sanborn states that “most theologians” held the position that only two dogmas (God’s existence and his judgement) needed to believed explicitly as a necessity of means for salvation, rather than four (the Holy Trinity and Christ’s incarnation/redemption). Mgr Joseph Clifford Fenton disagrees, stating:

‘Now most theologians teach that the minimum explicit content of supernatural and salvific faith includes, not only the truths of God’s existence and of His action as the Rewarder of good and the Punisher of evil, but also the mysteries of the Blessed Trinity and the Incarnation.’

We could also note that the Holy Office has stated that the safer position (four dogmas) must be followed in practice in relation to the administration of baptism. For example, in 1703, it answered a dubia submitted by the Bishop of Quebec:

‘Whether a minister is bound, before baptism is conferred on an adult, to explain to him all the mysteries of our faith, especially if he is at the point of death, because this might disturb his mind. Or, whether it is sufficient, if the one at the point of death will promise that when he recovers from the illness, he will take care to be instructed, so that he may put into practice what has been commanded him.

‘Resp. A promise is not sufficient, but a missionary is bound to explain to an adult, even a dying one who is not entirely incapacitated, the mysteries of faith which are necessary by a necessity of means, as are especially the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation.’ (Denzinger 1349a)

It gave a similar answer to a similar question later that year:

‘Resp. A missionary should not baptize one who does not believe explicitly in the Lord Jesus Christ, but is bound to instruct him about all those matters which are necessary, by a necessity of means, in accordance with the capacity of the one to be baptized.’ (Denzinger 139b)

While the administration of baptism is not exactly the same question, it is instructive – and the Holy Office’s explanation also shows that they held that belief in the Holy Trinity and Incarnation were ‘necessary by a necessity of means.’

A detail: Edmund Voit SJ, a moral theologian writing in 1769, who himself seems to lean towards the laxer position, states (as is typical) that the stricter position ‘must be held in practice precisely because the question concerns the essentials necessary for salvation with the necessity of means’. But from this he draws an interesting, and yet obvious, conclusion about how these matters should be presented in catechesis and sermons:

‘[I]n catechesis, it is preferable to teach that the knowledge of the mystery of the Trinity and the incarnation of Christ is absolutely necessary […] Pope Benedict XIV advises that this explicit faith regarding the necessary means and precepts should be explained primarily in catechisms and sermons.’

It does seem that the frequent presentation of the laxer position (especially as a ‘default’) is not conducive to evangelisation or indeed the salvation of souls. Further, while many clerics may well act on the stricter position in certain respects (such as when it comes to administering the sacraments), the tenor of many discussions of the topic makes it hard to see that it is ‘held in practice’. If it was, then surely fewer would talk to the faithful about the laxer position at all, let alone present it as if it were the ‘default’ or more probable opinion. This issue extends very far, and naturally is not limited to Bishop Sanborn or the RCI.

Mgr Joseph Clifford Fenton, ‘The Holy Office Letter on the Necessity of the Catholic Church’, p 459. In The American Ecclesiastical Review, Dec. 1952, Vol. 127, No. 6, pp 450-461. Available at

Denzinger, Sources of Catholic Dogma’, taken from

Edmond Voit SJ, Theologis Moralis, Pars Prima, p 226-7. Stahel, Wirceburgi, 1769.

[2] Pope St Pius X, March 1908. Available at – which gives the following reference: English translation, provided by Michael Davies, also included in Davies’ Lead Kindly Light: The Life of John Henry Newman, Neumann Press, 2001.

[3] Ibid.

[4] In discussing a text of St Augustine, which Newman took as his motto as a cardinal, Pius XI called Newman ‘a man of high fame and noble nature.’

As for Pius XII, he wrote a letter to the Archbishop of Westminster commemorating the centenary of Newman’s conversion. In this letter, he said of Newman:

  • ‘The pride of Britain and of the universal Church’
  • ‘One quality especially seems to Us to call for close attention and study in the career of the great man whose happy return to the Christian fold you are commemorating. He ‘gave up his whole life to the truth’ (Juvenal. Sat. iv. 91); all his efforts, all his untiring labours, were dedicated to that end […] He held to it ever afterwards with unshaken consistency, made it the guiding principle of his whole life, found in it, as in nothing else, full contentment of mind.’
  • ‘There can be no doubt that the evocation of so great a memory will have great value for those who already rest in the bosom of the Catholic Church, already enjoy Christian teaching in its entirety. But We think it will be equally valuable to those persons, not rare in your own country, who are in search of the uncontaminated tradition of heavenly truth.’
  • ‘Towards all these Our heart goes out in fervent love; what heavenly joys of consolations can We best ask for them, foresee for them? The same, surely, in which John Henry Newman, resting now from all those troubles, cares and anxieties, found at last, even in this earthly exile, happiness, and refreshment, and content.’

Pius XI text taken from Rev. Thomas A. Becker, S.J., in The Catholic Mind, vol. 28, No. 17, September 8, 1930, p. 342, taken from

Pius XII, Letter to the Archbishop of Westminster, in The Tablet, 13 October 1945, Vol. 186. Available at

[5] John Henry Newman, Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, 1875. Published in Certain Difficulties felt by Anglicans in Catholic Teaching Considered, Vol. II, p 261. Longmans, Green, and Co., London, 1900. Available at

[6] St Pius X, ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Newman 1875, p 256

[9] Ibid., 246-7

[10] Ibid., 246

[11] Ibid., 249-50

[12] Ibid., 275.

[13] Ibid., 256-7

[14] Ibid. 257.

[15] The point continues:

‘These have always been recognized as infallible by the doctors of the Church, and on that account, could never become the object of a “resistance.” For in these the faithful cannot be mislead, lest the words of Pope Leo XIII become true:

‘If it could in any way be false, an evident contradiction follows; for then God Himself would be the author of error in man. “Lord, if we be in error, we are being deceived by Thee.”’

Fr Damien Dutertre, The Errors Of The “Recognize And Resist” System, 2022. Now included without authorial attribution as Chapter XI on, accessible at

[16] Newman 1875, 257-8.

[17] Ibid., 258.

[18] Ibid., continuing with considerable length, pp 258-261.

[19] ‘The word “Superior” certainly includes the Pope; Cardinal Jacobatius brings out this point clearly in his authoritative work on Councils, which is contained in Labbe’s Collection, introducing the Pope by name:—”If it were doubtful,” he says, “whether a precept [of the Pope] be a sin or not, we must determine thus:—that, if he to whom the precept is addressed has a conscientious sense that it is a sin and injustice, first it is duty to put off that sense; but, if he cannot, nor conform himself to the judgment of the Pope, in that case it is his duty to follow his own private conscience, and patiently to bear it, if the Pope punishes him.”’ Ibid., 261.

2 thoughts on “Bishop and Cardinal – What should we make of Bishop Sanborn’s condemnations of Cardinal Newman? (Part I)

  1. Please, why do you name Mr. Sanborn with his falsely self-attributed title “Bishop” ?

    The WM Review:

    Because, aside from anything else (like whether it is “falsely” attributed), we believe in calling people what they call themselves, and how they are commonly known – and that the alternative is pedantry, without any serious gain.

  2. Darrell Wright

    I guess the comment I submitted was considered too controversial.

    The WM Review:

    Thanks for your comment Darrell – and your ongoing support.

    Regarding what you say: there are arguments that website administrators are responsible for the content allowed in such comments, both morally and legally. It’s not about controversy, but whether we are prepared to be responsible for the content and implications of a comment, and (for example) the effect that they may have on other readers.

    We are happy to publish comments which propose many things with which we disagree, but not all things. It can sometimes be difficult to decide whether to remove parts for which we do not want to be responsible (which may seem insulting to the commenter), or not publish it at all. Which, incidentally, do you prefer?

    Also: we’re not always able to publish comments immediately or quickly, so there will nearly always be a delay.

    But as we said: we appreciate your ongoing support, Darrell. Thank you.

Leave a Reply