b) El Concilio Vaticano I y el dogma de la infabilidad pontificia
Newman examina su postura personal ante el dogma de la infabilidad pontificia. Antes de la proclamación del dogma tenía dudas de su oportunidad. Una vez proclamado, lo acata obedientemente. Pero su postura antes de la proclamación se llegó a conocer en contra de sus propios deseos – a private letter of mine became public property… was one of the most confidential I ever wrote in my life. Procura aclarar los malos entendidos derivados de una lectura errónea de su postura, entre ellos el que el propio Gladstone tenía, y a continuación hace una reflexión en defensa de la infabilidad pontificia basándose en la infabilidad de la Iglesia, para terminar analizando su verdadero alcance y lo infundado de los temores expresados por Gladstone.
En cuanto al alcance de la infabilidad pontificia, termina haciendo un resumen de en qué condiciones se da esa infabilidad:
The forms, by which a General Council is identified as representing the Church herself, are too clear to need drawing out; but what is to be that moral cathedrâ, or teaching chair, in which the Pope sits, when he is to be recognized as in the exercise of his infallible teaching? the new definition answers this question. He speaks ex cathedrâ, or infallibly, when he speaks, first, as the Universal Teacher; secondly, in the name and with the authority of the Apostles; thirdly, on a point of faith or morals; fourthly, with the purpose of binding every member of the Church to accept and believe his decision. These conditions of course contract the range of his infallibility most materially.
Con esta respuesta, Newman considera que ha dado respuesta a la principal acusación que Gladstone dirige al Papa, una acusación que no tiene fundamento después de lo expuesto. La autoridad del Papa es la que es. Puede dormir tranquilo como estadista.
The main point of Mr. Gladstone's charge against us is that in 1870, after a series of preparatory acts, a great change and irreversible was effected in the political attitude of the Church by the third and fourth chapters of the Vatican Pastor Æternus, a change which no state or statesman can afford to pass over. Of this cardinal assertion I consider he has given no proof at all; and my object throughout the foregoing pages has been to make this clear. The Pope's infallibility indeed and his supreme authority have in the Vatican capita been declared matters of faith; but his prerogative of infallibility lies in matters speculative, and his prerogative of authority is no infallibility in laws, commands, or measures. His infallibility bears upon the domain of thought, not directly of action, and while it may fairly exercise the theologian, philosopher, or man of science, it scarcely concerns the politician. Moreover, whether the recognition of his infallibility in doctrine will increase his actual power over the faith of Catholics, remains to be seen, and must be determined by the event; for there are gifts too large and too fearful to be handled freely. Mr. Gladstone seems to feel this, and therefore insists upon the increase made by the Vatican definition in the Pope's authority. But there is no real increase; he has for centuries upon centuries had and used that authority, which the Definition now declares ever to have belonged to him. Before the Council there was the rule of obedience and there were exceptions to the rule; and since the Council the rule remains, and with it the possibility of exceptions.
It may be objected that a representation such as this, is negatived by the universal sentiment, which testifies to the formidable effectiveness of the Vatican decrees, and to the Pope's intention that they should be effective; that it is the boast of some Catholics and the reproach levelled against us by all Protestants, that the Catholic Church has now become beyond mistake a despotic aggressive Papacy, in which freedom of thought and action is utterly extinguished. But I do not allow that this alleged unanimous testimony exists. Of course Prince Bismarck and other statesmen such as Mr. Gladstone, rest their opposition to Pope Pius on the political ground; but the Old-Catholic movement is based, not upon politics, but upon theology, and Dr. Dollinger has more than once, I believe, declared his disapprobation of the Prussian acts against the Pope, while Father Hyacinth has quarrelled with the anti-Catholic politics of Geneva. The French indeed have shown their sense of the political support which the Holy Father's name and influence would bring to their country; but does any one suppose that they expect to derive support definitely from the Vatican decrees, and not rather from the prestige of that venerable Authority, which those decrees have rather lowered than otherwise in the eyes of the world? So again the Legitimists and Carlists in France and Spain doubtless wish to associate themselves with Rome; but where and how have they signified that they can turn to profit the special dogma of the Pope's infallibility, and would not have been better pleased to be rid of the controversy which it has occasioned? In fact, instead of there being a universal impression that the proclamation of his infallibility and supreme authority has strengthened the Pope's secular position in Europe, there is room for suspecting that some of the politicians of the day, (I do not mean Mr. Gladstone) were not sorry that the Ultramontane party was successful at the Council in their prosecution of an object which those politicians considered to be favourable to the interests of the Civil Power. There is certainly some plausibility in the view, that it is not the "Curia Romana," as Mr. Gladstone considers, or the "Jesuits," who are the "astute" party, but that rather they themselves have fallen into a trap, and are victims of the astuteness of secular statesmen.
Con esta conclusión, Newman quiere dejar claro como quedan las relaciones de la Iglesia con los Estados. La proclamación del dogma de la infabilidad pontificia no afecta ni puede afectar la actividad política de las diversas naciones. Es más, con mucha visión, ve como muchos tomarán pie de esta definición para atacar a la Iglesia. Son los tiempos de la ocupación de los Estados Pontificios, de la Kulturkampf, de la III República Francesa, del movimiento de emancipación irlandés, del triunfo del liberalismo… Los tiempos de los astutos políticos, como él mismo dice, que sacarán partido de ello, y los tiempos donde la autoridad pontificia crecerá en medio de grandes dificultades en su prestigio. Poco después saldrá elegido Papa León XIII, el papa de la doctrina social, el Papa que – curiosamente – hará cardenal a un Newman cuyo espíritu latirá con fuerza en el Concilio Vaticano II.
 o.c., p.300
 o.c., p.325
 o.c., p. 341-344