The way is always open; there is no need to write long books or make elaborate proposals about union. Union means becoming Catholic; becoming Catholic means acknowledging the exclusive claims of the Pope or the Roman Church. In the long controversy one party has never for an instant wavered in the assertion that it could not, and never would, be in the wrong. The way to close the controversy, and the only one, is to admit that Dr. Pusey shall have any amount of assurance and proof that the Roman position and Roman doctrine and practice are the right ones.
His misapprehensions shall be corrected; his ignorance of what is Roman theology fully, and at any length, enlightened. There is no desire to shrink from the fullest and most patient argument in its favour, and he may call it, if he likes, explanation. But there is only one practical issue to what he has proposed—not to stand bargaining for impossible conditions, but thankfully and humbly to join himself to the true Church while he may. It is only the way in which the answer is given that varies. Here characteristic differences appear. The authorities of the Roman Catholic Church swell out to increased magnificence, and nothing can exceed the suavity and the compassionate scorn with which they point out the transparent absurdity and the audacity of such proposals. The Holy Office at Rome has not, it may be, yet heard of Dr. Pusey; it may regret, perhaps, that it did not wait for so distinguished a mark for its censure; but its attention has been drawn to some smaller offenders of the same way of thinking, and it has been induced to open all the floodgates of its sonorous and antiquated verbiage to sweep away and annihilate a poor little London periodical—“ephemeridem cui titulus, ‘The Union Review.’” The Archbishop of Westminster, not deigning to name Dr. Pusey, has seized the opportunity to reiterate emphatically, in stately periods and with a polished sarcasm, his boundless contempt for the foolish people who dare to come “with swords wreathed in myrtle” between the Catholic Church and “her mission to the great people of England.” On the other hand, there have been not a few Roman Catholics who have listened with interest and sympathy to what Dr. Pusey had to say, and, though obviously they had but one answer to give, have given it with a sense of the real condition and history of the Christian world, and with the respect due to a serious attempt to look evils in the face. But there is only one person on the Roman Catholic side whose reflections on the subject English readers in general would much care to know. Anybody could tell beforehand what Archbishop Manning would say; but people could not feel so certain what Dr. Newman might say.