The First of the Cardinal Manning Sermon Series is Now Available!

Finally the first in the Cardinal Manning Sermon Series is now available! Manning’s Sermon on Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors has been dusted off and put back into print. The publication is 40 pages and includes an introduction to the sermon by Matthew J. Bellisario as well as a Cardinal Manning time-line and a brief introduction to his life. You can go directly to the Blurb store and purchase the book, and they will ship it out as they are able to print it. (Note the Blurb store may charge additional shipping. The book is $6.95 plus their shipping cost) For any questions on ordering you can email to

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Plugging into Manning’s ‘Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost’

One of Cardinal Manning’s greatest works is his ‘Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost,’ penned in 1866, one year after his appointment to Archbishop of Westminster. If you really want to get down to the nuts and bolts of what constitutes true Christian faith, and how reason should serve it, then this book is indispensable. In fact, this is one book that will be retype set and re-published by the Cardinal Manning Society in the near future, with an all new introduction and chapter commentaries as well. Right now we are making some final changes to the Society’s first publication, ‘The Syllabus.’ Hopefully it will be ready for purchase by the end of November. Stay tuned for that. Now back to the ‘Temporal Mission.’

Manning gives an outline at the beginning of this work which neatly lays out how the Holy Spirit works in the life of the Christian who remains in the Church. The Divine Teacher never abandons his flock, this Teacher is infallible. For Manning there is no compromise as to where the truth of Christianity remains. He says simply, “Christianity is Catholicism.”  The scope of the book is laid out to prove the core tenets of accepting the Catholic faith, which focus on the Living Voice of the Divine Teacher, faith in that Teacher, and man’s proper use of reason to understand and serve this Teacher. He outlines this in the introduction of the book, which I have produced below.

Object and method of the work. A Divine Teacher always present. Reason either a disciple or a critic. Rationalism true and false. In the former sense it signifies the use of the reason in testing the evidence of a revelation alleged to be divine, or in perceiving the harmony of the Divine Revelation with the human reason. In the latter sense defined to be an abnormal and illegitimate use of like reason. Divided into perfect Mid imperfect, or fully developed and incipient.

1.The former assumes reason to be the fountain of all knowledge relating to God and to the soul, and therefore the source, measure, and limit of what is credible in the theology of natural religion, to the exclusion of all supernatural revelation.

2. The latter assumes reason to be the supreme test or judge of the intrinsic credibility of” revelation admitted in the main to be supernatural. Both kinds of Rationalism are one in principle: both lower the reason, incipient Rationalism hi the Anglican Church. The Church teaches that Faith is an infused grace which elevates and perfects the reason.

Object of the present work to show :

1. That to believe in Revelation is the highest act of the human reason.

  1. That to believe in Revelation, whole and perfect, is the perfection of the reason.

  1. That to submit to the Voice of the Holy Spirit in the Church is the absolute condition to attain a perfect knowledge of Revelation.

  1. That the Divine Witness of the Holy Spirit in the Church anticipates the criticism of the human reason, and refuses to be subject to it.

The four bases or motives of Faith are:

  1. That it is a violation of reason not to believe in the existence of God.

2. That it is a violation of our moral sense not to believe that God has made Himself known to man.

  1. That the Revelation He has given is Christianity.

  1. That Christianity is Catholicism.

Each of these four truths certain by its own proper evidence, and each also confirmatory of the other.

An interesting note here is that in Manning’s eyes, the Holy Spirit will not be subject to human reason. This is the fundamental problem with Protestantism. The intellect becomes one’s compass for truth, instead of the Living Voice of the Holy Ghost. The proper use of reason is to believe in and serve the Divine Revelation revealed by the Holy Ghost in the Church, not to criticize what is revealed endlessly until you satisfy your intellect. The intellect is only perfected after it has accepted the divine truths that God reveals to it. This is a constant theme that runs through much of Manning’s work pertaining to ecclesiology. One cannot separate oneself from the Living Voice of the Holy Ghost in the Church, and remain faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For Manning, the Holy Spirit lives and breathes within the one Church, and it is only in that one Church that one can arrive at a perfect knowledge of Divine Revelation.

Manning was also a great lover of Saint Thomas, and so we frequently see him make reference to basic Thomistic principles in his writings. He clearly tells his readers that it is a violation of reason to deny the existence of God. This is classic Thomism. If you are familiar with Thomas’ Summa Theologica, Prima Pars, Article 3, and the five ways of knowing God’s existence, then these propositions are easily spotted. It was starting to become in vogue during Manning’s lifetime for theologians to shun Thomistic philosophy in favor of modern philosophical systems. Cardinal Newman was one of these theologians who shied away from classic Thomism, and you can see it in his writings. Manning however was not one of these avant-garde theologians. He often wrote in his personal letters of how great a treasure he considered Saint Thomas’ writings to be for him. This characteristic makes Manning’s writings very clear and easy to understand once you have a grasp on some basic Thomistic principles. I believe that Manning was one of the last of dying breed of theologians, and we are in his debt with the treasure trove of writings he has left us, this book being one of them. Manning was a down to earth, bread and butter type of guy and it shows in his life and in his writings. You can find the text of the complete book online here. Hopefully it will tide you over until we can reproduce a more readable copy for you.

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New Manning Publication in Final Stages

I have made some final editing changes on the new Cardinal Manning publication which will be available soon online. The publication contains Manning’s Ecclesiastical Sermon on Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors in all new typeset, as well as an introduction to the sermon, a timeline of Manning’s life and a brief introduction to his life. This will be the first in an ongoing series of publications promoting Cardinal Manning’s sermons.

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Manning’s Harrow School

Henry Manning entered Harrow school for boys somewhere between 1818 and 1820 depending on what source you use. He was born in 1808 and most biographies say that he went to to Harrow when he was 10. He spent his youth at Harrow and left in 1826.  The following year he entered Oxford University.  Harrow school is located in Middlesex, which is now part of northwest London. The school was founded in 1572 so there is quite of bit of history surrounding it. Below are a couple of pictures of the Harrow School to give you an idea of where he spent his youth. If you want more details visit

Manning in his Harrow uniform 1820. Taken from the biography by Shane Leslie.


Harrow School: Original Building

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Book List New

Compiled here is a growing list of in print books relating to Cardinal Manning in one form or another.

Cardinal Manning: From Anglican Archdeacon to Council Father at Vatican I- James Pereiro

Pius IX- Roberto de Mattei

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The Cardinal Manning Society’s First Publication

In the coming weeks the Cardinal Manning Society will be printing its first publication promoting Manning’s Ecclesiastical Sermons. The first of the series will feature his sermon on Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors. Stay tuned for more information on how to get your copy.

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Welcome to the launching of the Cardinal Manning Society website.

Welcome to the new Cardinal Manning Society website! Everything you wanted to know about the great Henry Edward Cardinal Manning, can now be found in one convenient place. We have provided links to his works, of which almost all are in the public domain, and we are also in the process of digitizing his books into audio form so you can take the Cardinal with you everywhere you go! Below is my written introduction on the Cardinal. You can read it, or have my digital English friend Henry read it to you! I hope that the great Cardinal’s work will be a blessing to you as it has thus far been for me.

Matthew J . Bellisario. Oct 8th, 2010


About Cardinal Manning

Henry Edward Cardinal Manning is sadly a well kept secret in the Catholic world today. Although well known throughout England in the mid to late 19th century for feeding the poor, educating children of lesser means, resurrecting Catholicism in England, being one of the instrumental theologians at Vatican I, and standing up for the Catholic faith against the new wave of modernism, he was quickly dismissed by the following new crop of modern theologians as being rigid and Ultramontane. When the great Cardinal went to his repose on Jan 14th, 1892, Victorian London had never witnessed such a large funeral. What happened in the short time after his death that virtually erased his memory from the minds of the Catholic world? How did his reputation become so controversial? Often accused of being self centered, Ultramontane and rigid, he quickly fell under the shadows of other English converts such as John Henry Newman, who had nowhere near the influence or reputation that Manning had when the two were alive.

Manning unfortunately fell prey to a biographer who did not like Manning, and his reputation was quickly scarred by his biased attitude towards the Cardinal. As Fr. James Pereiro writes in his book ‘Cardinal Manning-From Anglican Archdeacon to Council Father at Vatican I,’ “Manning was unfortunate in having Edmund Sheridan Purcell as his first biographer.” It seems that Purcell published his biased work which painted Manning as Pereiro writes, “in the mould of the ambitious authoritarian and unscrupulous schemer,…” At least two authors read Purcell’s work before it was published who knew Manning, and they tried to convince Purcell to rewrite his scathing mischaracterization. Unfortunately Purcell persisted and it was his biography that took hold in the imagination of the masses concerning the Cardinal. Since then there have been a few other biographies written to correct Purcell’s work, but the sands of time seem to have already covered the life and thought of Cardinal Manning, and has seemingly sealed it off forever in the dusty annals of history, only to be discovered by blessed few who may accidentally stumble upon him when researching that era of English history.

Despite this heavy cloud that now hangs over the great Cardinal, it is the light of God that will eventually break through the obscuring cover. Fortunately for us, we have all of the Cardinal’s formal works available to us today, many in the public domain which are easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection. We also have most of his written correspondence that he had with many people like Gladstone, the Wilberforces and Newman. We have many testimonies to the great heart and spirit of Manning from the lips of both Protestants and Catholics, applauding his work in the realm of social justice, that is the social justice in the true sense of the term. Likewise they recognized his efforts to feed the poor and educate the children of England. He rightfully believed that education was not only for the elite class, but for everyone. Manning always tried to bring the Catholic faith into action in the lives of working men and women, that is he sought to bring it to the “average Joe.” What impresses me about the Cardinal as a theologian was, he did not write theology for an elite class in an ivory tower to be discussed among some haughty inner circle of theologians who shared in some cryptic language that only they could understand. He wrote theology for the enrichment of all Catholics so they could live their lives in the love of God, not for the pride of theological knowledge. Manning did not set out to stretch the boundaries of the theological realm to make a name for himself as so many have done after him. He wrote simply to communicate the known Catholic faith to anyone who sought to understand it, embrace it and live it.

What other testimony is greater than that of Pope Pius IX who welcomed Manning with open arms, having him ordained a priest just 10 weeks after coming into the Church. Later Pope Pius IX would reject the opinion of other bishops to appoint someone else other than Manning to Archbishop of Westminster, and instead moved Manning straight from priest to Archbishop. By the conservative orthodox Catholics, he was viewed as a champion of the faith, by the later arrogant “New Theologians” he was viewed as a simpleton, who was too rigid in his thoughts. Yet who’s ideas were used at the Vatican Council I when the dogma of infallibility was defined? Who was appointed to the Committee “De Fide” to help define the dogma? No it was not John Henry Newman, it was Henry Edward Manning.

When Manning’s writings and life are closely examined, I believe that we as Catholics will come to realize what a tragedy it has been to neglect this long lost friend of ours. It is with great joy that I present to you this website promoting the life and work of Henry Edward Cardinal Manning. Take the time to enrich yourself with his writings and use them to deepen and strengthen your faith. I have made his writings easily accessible in both written and audio book formats. Spread the word about the Cardinal so he can become once again a great friend to all Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Perhaps he may even intercede on your behalf from the heavens above!

May God bless and keep you always,
Matthew J. Bellisario. Oct 8, 2010

Do not fear to be thought over-strict ; do not fear to be reproached as extreme ; do not fear to be in a minority. Cardinal Manning.

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Our Accountability Towards God

In the Church today we have a mindset that everyone is OK, no matter wether or not they accept and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is proclaimed infallibly by His one and only Church, the Catholic Church. Modernism has falsely taught that most men are just ignorant and they are therefore not accountable for what they believe and how they live their lives. We even see this mentality being paraded about by bishops and priests in the Church today. Do we think that everyone will get a free pass to stroll about in willful ignorance to the truth? The Cardinal had this to say in regard to our accountability, and our duty as men towards the acknowledgment of almighty God. We will all be judged on what we did or did not do in regard to what we believe and how we live our lives. There are only a few in the world who could ever in their right minds admit to invincible ignorance. As for the majority of humanity, as the Cardinal once preached, “woe to that man who says, ‘ I will not read ; I will not hear ; I will not listen ; I will not learn…”

“Whensoever the light comes within the reach of our sight, or the voice within the reach of our ear, we are bound to follow it, to inquire and to learn ; for we are answerable, not only for what we can do, by absolute power now, but for what we might do if we used all the means we have ; and therefore, whensoever the Church of God comes into the midst of us, it lays all men under responsibility; and woe to that man who says, ‘ I will not read ; I will not hear ; I will not listen ; I will not learn ;’ and woe to those teachers who shall say, ‘ Don’t listen, don’t read, don’t hear ; and therefore, don’t learn.'” Cardinal Manning (From the Sermon: The Church, The Spirit and The Word)
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Welcome to the Cardinal Manning Society

Welcome to the new Cardinal Manning Society website. This press is dedicated to the great Cardinal Henry Edward Manning (1808-1892), his thoughts and written works. We will add in some colorful commentary to go along with his words of wisdom in the home page blog. There are pages of the site dedicated to his writings classified by subject. While the storms of modernism hover over the Church, the wisdom of the brilliant Cardinal offers us shelter in the unyielding truth of Christ. While others of his time gave into the ways of the world, Manning was like a castle built upon a rock, that is the Rock that is Christ, who built His only Church upon St. Peter, also named by Christ, Kepha, or Rock. Upon whom will you build your foundation?

‘. . . God knows I would rather stand in the lowest place within the Truth, than in the highest without it. Nay, outside the Truth, the higher the worse. It is only so much more opposition to Truth, so much more propagation of falsehood.’ Cardinal Manning

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