Your Committee was appointed at the meeting of the Council on October 15th, 1930, with the following reference:--
"To examine the Encyclical Letter, Reports and Resolutions of the Lambeth Conference of 1930 and to render a report upon them for the consideration of the Council."
Your Committee believed that they would best fulfil the task which has been set them by approaching the Lambeth Report from a critical standpoint, in order to draw attention to any statements which appeared to them unsatisfactory, as well as to commend those features which seemed to be of special value. But your Committee would emphasize that in so doing they have been animated by no want of respect for such an utterance of the whole Anglican episcopate: and their purpose, indeed, has been to give to the Report that careful examination and study which the Report itself invites.
Your Committee has held four Sessions, and begs to present the following report.
The subjects on which resolutions were passed at the Conference are the following:--(1) the Christian Doctrine of God; (2) the Life and Witness of the Christian Community; (3) the Unity of the Church; (4) the Anglican Communion; (5) the Ministry of the Church; and (6) Youth and Its Vocation.
Three pages of the Encyclical Letter, signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretaries on behalf of the Conference, and the first eight of the resolutions agreed to by the Conference are about the Christian doctrine of God. These contain much of high value. Among such features may be noticed the emphasis on the distinctive character of Christian belief about God, on the Christian Church as the repository and trustee of God's revelation, on the relation of Christianity to much thought of the day, on the supreme indication of the being of God in the life of our Lord, on the work of the Holy Ghost in the Church, and on the need of constantly renewing the sense of God's glory by study and prayer and "the public worship of the Church, and especially in the Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Communion."
Besides the Encyclical Letter and the resolutions, there is a lengthy report of the Committee on this subject, which occupies nineteen pages. It is important to notice that responsibility for this, as for the reports of the other Committees, is expressly disclaimed by the Conference (pp. 35, 63), and that the Conference as a whole is responsible only for the Encyclical Letter and the formal resolutions agreed to by the Conference. This makes any detailed consideration of the report, which is of varying merit and parts of which appear to be inconsistent with other parts, unnecessary here, [This is less necessary because of the powerful and severe criticism of the report of this Committee by Dr. Clement C. J. Webb in Theology, October, 1930, pp. 219-223.] but notice may be taken of three points on the last three pages:--(1) There is a fine passage on the superiority of the Christian sacramental system to the sacrifices of the Old Testament:--
"The recognition of the fact of the Incarnation entailed the disappearance of the old sacrificial system. But by the institution of the two great sacraments were provided two means of access to spiritual reality, of the efficacy of which there could be no doubt. The Church has always taught that in baptism the recipient really becomes a member of the body. Similarly, the Church teaches that in the Eucharist the worshippers commemorate, present, and claim their part in the sacrifice made once for all upon the cross. For this reason the Church claims that the Eucharist is the climax of Christian worship. In it the whole society consciously approaches the throne of God, and in it becomes sensitively aware of His presence, realizing that the barrier between man and God is finally removed by the sacrifice which the Eucharist commemorates" (p. 82).
(2) This statement of the place of Eucharistic worship in Christian religion is followed by a paragraph of a more questionable kind. It is concerned with two tendencies in worship. The first of these, said to be "only too common in many popular hymns," is the tendency "so to concentrate" "worship upon the human Christ as to obscure His relation to the Father." The second of them, described as shown "in some of the modern Western forms of Eucharistic devotion," is the tendency "through reflexion upon the Incarnation to limit the presence of Christ to the Eucharist, and even, within the Eucharist, to the consecrated elements." Of these two tendencies it is said:--
"The former of these tendencies overlooks the new revelation of God given in the coming of the Holy Spirit; the latter, besides applying material categories to spiritual realities, obscures the active participation of the Spirit-bearing society in the Eucharistic action" (p. 83).
It might be more true to say that popular hymns to the human Christ have led many to a fuller understanding and a better worship of His essential deity, and that modern Western forms of Eucharistic devotion have enabled many to grasp more fully the reality and significance of the Eucharistic action, and to have a stronger hold on the many ways of the presence of God. The paragraph gives the impression of having been written by some who knew of the hymns and devotions which they have criticised rather from what they have heard than from personal experience.
(3) The above paragraph is followed by counterbalancing statements. Among these it is said:--
"The intimate sense of Christ's abiding presence .... may be discovered sometimes in forms and modes of worship which when strictly scrutinized may seem to lead away from the truest doctrine of God. And we fully admit that outside the prescribed liturgical order of Church worship there is both need for experiment and room for a large variety of expression in Christian devotion" (p. 83).
There are thus two voices in these concluding paragraphs of the report of the Committee. The Conference itself ignored both of them in the resolutions which were formally adopted. This may well have been the wisest course.
There are three divisions in this section, namely, those on (1) Marriage and Sex; (2) Race; (3) Peace and War.
1. Marriage and Sex. The Encyclical Letter contains most valuable teaching, for which no thankfulness can be too great. The Church, which is Christ's body and "the organ through which His Spirit now finds expression in the world .... has been commissioned to set a standard of life which is not of the world." The foundation of family life is "the life-long union of husband and wife, on which our Lord decisively set His seal." "To the defence of Christ's standard of marriage we summon the members of the Church." "We must lift the whole subject of sex into a pure and clear atmosphere." "We appeal to the whole community of the Church to remember that in home life, as in personal life, we are called to take up the cross, to endure hardness, and to count upon the enabling power of the Spirit of God." Of the resolutions passed by the Conference twelve deal with this subject. To turn from the Encyclical Letter, with its high standard and noble tone, to these resolutions, is to find some disappointing features. Though there is a re-affirmation of "our Lord's principle and standard of marriage, a life-long and indissoluble union," and a recommendation that "the marriage of one, whose former partner is still living, should not be celebrated according to the rites of the Church," the possibility is contemplated of the admission to Communion of "an innocent person" who "has remarried under civil sanction," subject to consideration by the bishop and provincial regulations. Consistency cannot be claimed for suggestions which allow Communion to those for whom marriage in Church has been refused, so long as the reason for such refusal remains. On other matters of sex there are some admirable statements. "The Conference records its strong condemnation of the use of any methods of conception-control from motives of selfishness, luxury, or mere convenience." "The Conference further records its abhorrence of the sinful practice of abortion." "The Conference presses for legislation forbidding the exposure for sale and the unrestricted advertisement of contraceptives, and placing definite restrictions upon their purchase." With these judgments your Committee is unanimously in agreement. There is, however, difference of opinion as to other questions raised by Resolution 15. This resolution was passed by a majority, 193 voting for it, 67 voting against it, and 47 not voting; and it is significant that this is the only Resolution as to which a record of the numbers voting was required. In it the Conference declared:--
"Where there is a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, the method must be decided on Christian principles. The primary and obvious method is complete abstinence from intercourse (as far as may be necessary) in a life of discipline and self-control lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, in those cases where there is such a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, and where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence, the Conference agrees that other methods may be used, provided that this is done in the light of the same Christian principles."
It has been assumed by both defenders and critics in the press, and by those bishops who have spoken on the subject, as well as in much general comment, that this Resolution is rightly understood as allowing, in certain cases, the use of contraceptives in married life. On the issue in question your Committee is seriously divided. There are some members of it who are strongly of opinion that the use of contraceptives is so contrary to Holy Scripture and to Christian principle and instinct and tradition that there are no circumstances in which it can be justified. There are others who take an opposite view, and who think that contraceptives may be used within carefully restricted limits by faithful married Christians without any disloyalty to Holy Scripture or to Christian principle, and without harm to Christian life. In view of this disagreement, your Committee is of opinion that the Council would not wish it to set out at length the reasons for these divergent conclusions, but rather that it should simply refer to a defence by the Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, a member of your Committee, of the permissibility of contraceptives in certain restricted circumstances (Theology for December, 1930, pages 336-350), and an advocacy of the contrary opinion, that the use of contraceptives is not in any case permissible for a Christian, by another member of your Committee, the Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Oxford (Theology for December, pages 350-355). Reference may also be made to a criticism of the utterances of the Conference from a somewhat different point of view in the article "Lambeth Resolutions on Marriage and Sex" in the Church Quarterly Review for October, 1930, pages 96-110, by Dr. K. E. Kirk.
But, notwithstanding the interpretation which has been placed on Resolution 15 by many with most deplorable results, it is by no means clear from the resolution itself how it ought to be understood. If it is a sanction of contraceptives, it is in complete disagreement with Resolution 41 of the Lambeth Conference of 1908, which emphatically condemned "all artificial means of restriction," and in disagreement--perhaps not quite so complete--also with Resolution 68 of the Conference in 1920, in which the bishops, "while declining to lay down rules which will meet the needs of every abnormal case," uttered "an emphatic warning against the use of unnatural means for the avoidance of conception, together with the grave dangers--physical, moral, and religious--thereby incurred." Such a disagreement demands explanation and further justification. In so far as it is unexplained, it tends to discredit the teaching function of the Episcopate as a whole. Also, there is difficulty in determining what is the meaning of the phrases in the resolution "the primary and obvious method is complete abstinence from intercourse," "moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood," and "morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence."
It has been asserted that the Conference only meant to sanction the use of contraceptives in what may be called pathological cases, that is, cases where, according to some medical authority, conception would be dangerous or fatal to the wife, and abstinence perilous to the physical or mental health of either partner or both. But, if this had been all that was meant, it would have been perfectly easy to say so: and the opening words of Resolution 17, "While the Conference admits that economic conditions are a serious factor in the situation," do not appear to have any definite meaning, unless they are to be understood as admitting some economic conditions, such as a shortage of houses, as a possible justification, at least in some cases, for the practice of contraception.
Your Committee is constrained, therefore, to conclude that the extreme difficulty of determining the exact import of Resolution 15 deprives it of value, considered as a scientific pronouncement on a grave point of moral theology.
In view of the non-synodical character of the Lambeth Conference, this may not in theory be a very serious matter. But in fact the publication of Resolution 15 has caused a great deal of unsettlement and confusion in the minds of Churchpeople.
In view of the difficulties which thus beset the interpretation of Resolution 15, and of the very grave unsettlement and confusion in the minds of Churchpeople, your Committee urgently recommends that the attention of the English bishops be invited to the need of further consideration and explanation, and that they be asked to appoint a strong commission, including expert moral theologians and Christian physicians, which would review the whole question afresh in the hope of reaching conclusions which might allow for all the factors which need to be taken into account. The appointment of such a Commission would do much to counteract the evil consequences of the discussions in the press and elsewhere which have followed the publication of the Lambeth resolution.
2 and 3. Race. Peace and War. There are eloquent passages on these subjects in the Encyclical Letter; and they are dealt with more explicitly in Resolutions 21-30. Your Committee thankfully welcomes alike the general character of the resolutions and almost every statement in them. At the same time, it feels bound to express considerable doubt as to whether complementary truths ought not to have been stated, the more so since in a number of quarters at the present moment there is a tendency to ignore, or even deny, these complementary truths in a violent reaction from a false Imperialism and a false Militarism. Two issues are particularly in mind. In the first place, while Resolution 21 definitely assumes that the normal end to a period of government of a non-European by a European people is to be found not in the complete withdrawal of the latter, but in a partnership, yet there is no clear assertion of the principle which justifies in general this assumption. For this reason, and in view of many misleading and ultimately indefensible statements of the principle of self-determination, it may be regretted that there was not a clearer presentation of this principle in the only form in which it is ethically defensible, namely, that people are entitled to share in the economic and political control of any territory in proportion as their legitimate interests are affected by the manner in which such control is exercised, and in so far as they are capable of such participation. So stated, the principle clearly implies that a native population should share, as it becomes capable, in government; it does not necessarily imply that even eventually it should monopolise power. Nor is this principle relevant only to those cases in which a native population is not of European origin. As, however, national self-consciousness develops, it rightly claims freedom of self-expression, but the Lambeth Conference in Resolution 21 was apparently concerned only with the principle of trusteeship as exercised by mandatory powers.
In the second place, while your Committee welcomes all that is said against war in resolutions 25-29, it would have desired to see also the assertion of truths which are in very grave danger of being ignored or denied in an excessive reaction from Chauvinism. In particular, it might well have been said that the lawfulness of Christian men, at the command of the State, serving in war still remains, and that in certain cases it may be their duty so to serve. Further, there might have been clearer recognition, and direct admission, of the facts that, until the work of the Church in the world is done, force cannot be dispensed with; that our safety depends on certain persons being pledged to accept more than ordinary risks, to preserve that safety, alike in the armed forces of the Crown and in the police; and that these services are not only legitimate, but also, through their actual or potential self-sacrifice, should command gratitude and admiration.
Considerations of this kind may well have been in the minds of the Bishops at the Conference. It must be regretted that they have not been explicitly stated, and that the sentence in the very lengthy report of the Committee on the subject, "We do not deny the right of a nation to defend itself if attacked, or to resort to force in fulfilment of international obligations" (p. 98), was not drawn out to its proper conclusions in that report, and that such conclusions were not expressed in the Encyclical Letter and the resolutions of the Conference.
1. The proceedings of the Conference in the matter of the Unity of the Church were principally concerned (1) with the relations of the Churches of the Anglican Communion to the Orthodox Churches of the East, and (2) with the Proposed Scheme of Union in South India, and (3) with the problems arising in Special Areas.
Other Churches sent delegations to consult with the Conference, notably the Old Catholics, and your Committee notes with thankfulness not only the steadily increasing desire of closer fellowship, but the emphasis laid in the Report of the Committee on the necessity of the preservation on our part of "those principles of the Church's life which we have inherited, with their historic continuity in the spheres alike of Faith and Order .... at once a treasure and a source of stability which are of special worth in an age when all traditions and conventions are called in question"; a "heritage of Faith and Order" which "seems to be one and indivisible, and to have its roots in the redemptive method of God in the Incarnation" (p. 119). In the Encyclical Letter, also, stress is laid on "the traditional framework of faith and order which characterized the whole Church for so many centuries" (p. 26), which it is hoped may be the foundation of the United Church of South India, and the vision is entertained of "Churches founded by our Missions" in foreign lands growing "less and less Anglican, though no less true to Catholic faith and order" (Encyclical, p. 29). It is, no doubt, the influence of our negotiations with the Orthodox Churches which has stressed the importance of Catholic Faith as a foundation of Unity, as opposed to the simple insistence on Catholic Order, when we face possible relations with non-Episcopal Churches.
2. As regards relations with the Orthodox Churches of the East, your Committee notes with satisfaction the endorsement given by the Conference in resolution 33 (c) to the statements made by the representatives of the Conference's Committee on Unity in the discussions between them and the Orthodox Delegation, as recorded in the resume printed on pp. 138-140 of the Report and described in the precis of these discussions on pp. 133-137. The résumé includes the following points:--(1) agreement "by the Anglican Bishops that the 'Terms of Intercommunion suggested between the Church of England and the Churches in Communion with her and the Eastern Orthodox Church' published under the auspices of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Eastern Churches Committee in 1921, though not officially communicated to the different provinces of the Anglican Communion, are not inconsistent wifh the mind and doctrine of the Anglican Church"; (2) statement "by the Anglican Bishops that in questions of faith the authentic decision would be given in the Anglican Communion by the whole body of Bishops without, however, excluding the co-operation of clergy and laity during the discussions"; (3) statement "by the Anglican Bishops that in the Anglican Communion the Bishop has jurisdiction in questions of discipline through his own court in the first instance, with due provision for appeal to the Provincial Court or a similar body"; and (4) statement by the Anglican Bishops that "in Ordination a special charisma is given to the person ordained, proper to the Order, and that the nature of this special gift is indicated in the words of Ordination, and that in this sense Ordination is a mysterion," and that the rules regarding Ordination have been framed "to preserve unbroken succession."
These assertions on the part of the Anglican Bishops were made to meet the desire of the Orthodox Delegation to receive information in regard to the teaching of the Anglican Communion about authority in matters of faith and discipline, the significance of Ordination, and the Apostolic Succession. These had an intimate bearing on the questions concerning Anglican Orders recently much considered in the East. Parallel statements were made by the Orthodox Delegation that (1) "the suggested ' Terms of Intercommunion,' though they had not yet been officially considered, would form a useful basis of discussion with certain modifications"; (2) "the final authority in matters of doctrine in the Orthodox Church lies with the whole body of Bishops in Synod, without excluding the expression of opinion by clergymen and laymen"; (3) "in the Orthodox Church spiritual cases are tried in spiritual courts, sentence being given in the case of a Bishop by a court of Bishops, in the case of other clergymen by the Bishop through his own court"; and (4) "they were satisfied with regard to the maintenance of the Apostolic Succession in the Anglican Church in so far as the Anglican Bishops have already accepted Ordination as a mysterion, and have declared that the doctrine of the Anglican Church is authoritatively expressed in the Book of Common Prayer, and that the meaning of the Thirty-nine Articles must be interpreted in accordance with the Book of Common Prayer."
The assertions of the Anglican Bishops include also a statement as to the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, as regards the presence of the body and blood of Christ, and the Eucharistic sacrifice. "It was stated by the Orthodox Delegation that the explanation of Anglican doctrine thus made with regard to the Eucharistic sacrifice was agreeable to the Orthodox doctrine, if an explanation were to be set out with all clearness." The resume of the discussions contained also statements by the Anglican Bishops that "in different parts of the Anglican Communion, Anglican clergy, at the request of Orthodox clergy, provide sacramental ministrations to Orthodox laity who are out of reach of their own Church's ministrations," and statements by the Orthodox Delegation that "in the forthcoming Pro-Synod the Orthodox Church would probably not object to recognizing the baptism of children and their instruction from Orthodox books by Anglican clergy, or to marriage or any other rites being performed by the Anglican clergy (in case of need and where no Orthodox priest is available)," and "with regard to the Holy Eucharist that, pending a formal decision by the whole Orthodox Church, and therefore without giving the practice official sanction, for which it has no authority, it is of opinion that the practice of the Orthodox receiving Holy Communion from Anglican priests in case of need and where no Orthodox priest was available, might continue, provided that an Orthodox authority did not prohibit such a practice." In regard to such matters, the Conference in resolution 33 (b) requested the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint Anglican representatives and to invite the Oecumenical Patriarch to appoint representatives "to be a doctrinal Commission, which may .... prepare a joint statement on the theological points about which there is difference and agreement between the Anglican and the Eastern Churches"; and in resolution 33 (c) stated that "the Conference, not having been summoned as a synod to issue any statement professing to define doctrine, is therefore unable to issue such a formal statement on the subjects referred to in the resume of the discussions between the "Orthodox and the Anglican representatives. It is obvious that the practical issues here involved are of the highest importance, and that the full consideration of them will require an adequate investigation into the very difficult principle of "economy." Your Committee does not think that the Council would wish this report to enter into this very important, but also very complicated, matter beyond expressing the opinion that a sufficient treatment by skilled theologians of "economy" and its bearing on the administration of the sacraments is greatly needed at the present time, and might well be promoted by the Union.
In reference to the Old Catholics, the Conference in resolution 35 (b), (c), requested the Archbishop of Canterbury "to appoint representatives of the Anglican Communion, and to invite the Archbishop of Utrecht to appoint representatives of the Old Catholic Churches, to be a doctrinal Commission to discuss points of agreement and difference between them," and agreed that "there is nothing in the Declaration of Utrecht inconsistent with the teaching of the Church of England," a statement which is of importance in so far as it reinforces the whole Conference's declaration of Catholic teaching in respect to the Holy Eucharist.
3. In regard to the action of the Conference with reference to the Proposed Scheme of Union in South India, your Committee is not able to regard the decisions of the Conference, and the various statements made with regard to it in the Encyclical and in the Report of the Committee, with the complete satisfaction which the unanimity of the Conference in its Resolutions might seem to suggest. In view of the importance of this subject at the present time, your Committee adds an appendix (Appendix A) about it.
4. The Resolution No. 42, headed "Special Areas," with an explanatory note, raises a very difficult question. In the opinion of your Committee, the Conference would have been wiser to have maintained the unbroken rule of the Churches of the Anglican Communion that "the minister of the Sacrament of Holy Communion must (not "should") be a priest episcopally ordained." There can be no objection to Christians joining in some acts of worship with fellow-Christians, even though they be out of formal Communion with them, when they have no other ministrations of their own available. But if those principles of "Catholic Faith and Order," which are elsewhere so frequently insisted on (cf. pp. 29, 55, 119), are really to govern our lives, loyalty to them would demand that such participation in worship should not be extended to Holy Communion. Spiritual Communion is a real means of grace where sacramental Communion cannot be had; and, though it is the business of the Church to seek out its scattered and isolated members, the sacrifices which individual communicants may make to obtain sacramental Communion by long journeys or at infrequent intervals may be full of blessing. Such defences of the proposals contained in Resolution 42 as that the "Services of the Administration of the Lord's Supper "referred to, may be regarded merely as an Agape or Love Feast, introduce considerations in complete conflict with the intentions of those who are responsible for such services, since they regard these as the fulfilment of the Lord's command.
The "explanatory note" appended to Resolution 42 refers to "the very special circumstances and the very strict regulations specified in this resolution." The circumstances are defined but not the regulations. These are entirely general, and the resolution claims that a "dispensing power" resides in the bishop. Your Committee is unable to allow that on any principle of Catholic order a bishop has any dispensing power in this respect.
If we are to bear our corporate witness, according to the Appeal of the Encyclical Letter, it must be a witness to the Faith, and that witness is not weakened but strengthened by the cost at which it is made. The rule of the Church, concerning Communion, which the Conference quotes from the Conference of 1920 (Resolution 42), is not a mere rule of discipline, as the Report states (p. 117). It is a rule of discipline, based on faith, and its purpose is to hold us faithful to the Divine Order, and to our membership in the Catholic Church. This purpose cannot be fulfilled by ignoring it. The witness of individual faithfulness to the Church's rule is always needed, if the truth of the Church's claims is to be recognised by others, provided it is borne in charity. What has been said does not apply to relations of mutual sacramental help that may be established with other parts of the Catholic Church. It is the question of faith in the Catholic Church which is involved.
5. Your Committee welcomes the appeal of Resolution 47 for a deeper fellowship in the Anglican Communion itself, "so that by mutual understanding and appreciation all may come to a fuller apprehension of the truth as it is in Jesus." It is, however, too easily assumed that the cause of want of harmony within the Church is mainly a conflict of "opinions" and "methods" (Encyclical, p. 30). It is propositions of faith, and expressions of faith, which are again and again in question, and the conflict, when it arises, is not seldom a conflict of loyalties. Limits there must be to diversities of belief, and in the corporate life of the Church there must be discipline; but a frank and generous comprehension, which embraces every form of legitimate belief, and allows a full or sufficient expression of such beliefs, is the only way of unity, for it is the way of fellowship.
1. Your Committee recognises with thankfulness the breadth of view and the carefulness of statement which mark the Resolutions of the Conference on the subject of the Anglican Communion, and its organisation and development. The glorying in isolation of other days has passed away, and "the Catholic Faith in its entirety" is seen as the foundation of the fellowship of national Churches, which shall gather all together into one in Christ (cf. pp. 28, 55, 154).
The "mutual loyalty" described as the chief bond of fellowship in Resolution 49 (c) is not denned. It should perhaps be rather called "a common loyalty," for it is a loyalty to the Faith held which binds all together, and not merely a personal loyalty to the origins of the life of the Churches in each particular case. In the Report of the Committee it is truly said that "the real nexus (of the Provinces and Patriarchates of the first four centuries) was a common life resting upon a common faith, common Sacraments, and a common allegiance to an Unseen Head" (p. 153).
2. The central difficulty that besets the Anglican Communion, as part of a divided Christendom, is that of authority. The Lambeth Conference itself claims only a moral authority. It is an advisory body. In this respect it differs from the General Councils with which it is compared in the Report (cf. Encyclical p. 29, Report pp. 153 (4), 155 (11).) They met to declare the Faith, and in a reunited Catholic Church, a General Council would speak with authority. There is still lacking amongst us the recognition of the weight of the testimony of other parts of the Catholic Church to the Faith and Order of the whole Church of Christ. But the statements of the Reports of the Committees, and the resolutions, should bring this nearer.
3. In the Resolutions which deal with Provincial Organisation the Conference was probably hampered by the imperfect Constitutions of some Churches of the Anglican Communion, but in Resolution 40 (d) it would have been well to state that the authority of a Provincial Synod should be supreme, and not dependent on the consent of individual dioceses to its separate acts. There is a real danger of "diocesan autonomy" becoming sheer individualism.
4. Your Committee regrets the passing of Resolution 59 with reference to the Colonial Clergy Act, and especially the suggested widening of "the principle of discrimination involved in such regulations" to other Provinces. The Committee of the Conference, in your Committee's judgment, were wiser than the Conference when they reported: "We do not invite the Lambeth Conference to pass a resolution on this particular Act" (p. 162). Whatever justification may be made for the provisions of this Act in view of circumstances in the past, it has tended to establish a false view of the character of Holy Orders, wheresoever given, and to cast a slur on those ordained abroad. The passing of a resolution which looked forward to the abolition of any discrimination based simply on ordination in a Colonial or Foreign Church, and at the same time urged greater care in the selection, training and approval of Candidates for Holy Orders in the various provinces of the Anglican Communion and suggested some definite canonical provision against any possible abuses, would have accorded better with the spirit of fellowship which the Conference so earnestly commends.
The section of the Encyclical, the resolutions, and the report of the Committee which deal with this subject, concern themselves solely with matters of practice and discipline, and do not touch doctrinal questions. The observations which they contain respecting the splendour of the priestly vocation, the duty of all who have charge of the young to search for and encourage such vocations, the importance of maintaining a high standard of clerical education both before and after ordination, and the duty incumbent upon the Church to provide financial assistance for candidates whose own means are not sufficient to obtain this training for them, appear to deserve nothing but praise. The questions of the possibility of compensating for the acute shortage of ordained ministers by permitting the ordination of "Auxiliary Priests" (i.e., men of mature years earning their living by some secular profession, who would exercise only a part-time and unpaid ministry), and by allowing carefully selected "Readers" to administer the Chalice, are attended by greater difficulty; but, contrary though they are to what has been the practice of the Church for many centuries, certain facts which have been regarded as precedents for them can be found in the remote primitive epoch of Christianity, and they do not appear to contravene any dogmatic principle which the Church is bound to maintain. If, therefore, the Bishops should think fit, in view of the present emergency, to supplement the ministration of the whole-time stipendiary clergy in this way, your Committee does not think that their action would call for protest; though it is permissible to express the hope that such ordinations and appointments would be as infrequent as possible and would cease the moment that the numbers of the whole-time ministry became adequate to the demands made upon it. It may be noted that the proposal to ordain "Auxiliary Priests" in England would be attended by serious legal difficulties, inasmuch as some of the language of the Exhortation in the Ordering of Priests ("We have good hope . . . that you have clearly determined by God's grace, to give yourselves wholly to this office . . . so that, as much as lieth in you, you will apply yourselves wholly to this one thing, and draw all your cares and studies this way ") would be painfully inappropriate in the case of persons proposing only to exercise a part time ministry; and, in the light of recent events, it would hardly be dignified for the Church to approach Parliament with a fresh proposal for Prayer Book Revision, even though such a proposal might be devoid of doctrinal import.
The other expedient whereby it has been suggested that the shortage of clergymen might be at least partially remedied is of a much more controversial nature; it is the proposed admission of women to Holy Orders. Your Committee notes with satisfaction that the Conference emphatically re-affirmed the decision of the Conference of 1920, that the Anglican Communion cannot admit women to the Priesthood, despite the energetic efforts which were made to induce it to come to a different conclusion, and observes with equal thankfulness that the Conference does not assert that the Order of Deaconesses is a "Holy Order." In fact, something like a denial of this latter proposition occurs in the Report of the Committee: "... it has been unfortunate that the Deaconess should be thought to be the female equivalent of the existing Deacon, i.e., identical in character and perhaps also in status with the Third Order of the Ministry. We desire, on the contrary, to affirm that the Order of Deaconess is an order sui generis" (p. 178). This being so, it seems undesirable that the word "ordination" should be used as the Bishops use it, to describe the admission of Deaconesses. The list of functions proposed to be entrusted to Deaconesses is the same as that approved by Resolution 52 of the 1920 Conference, with the addition of a permission to be a regular minister of Public Baptism, and to officiate at the Churching of Women. The Conference is thus, apparently, prepared to entrust to deaconesses in the former case a privilege not granted to deacons except "in the absence of the priest" ("The form and manner of making of deacons"), and in the latter case an office restricted to "the priest" ("The thanksgiving of women after child-birth"). The entrusting of these and other functions to deaconesses is to be by the Bishop "on the request of the parish priest," and "under the sanction of the province" (Resolution 70). In its Report on the proceedings of the Conference of 1920, the English Church Union uttered a strong protest against the proposal to permit women to exercise public liturgical functions and to preach in the open Church; in the opinion of your Committee this protest should be renewed with re-doubled energy. It is part of the instinctive, Spirit-guided wisdom of the Church to shrink from allowing women to assume positions of public prominence in a sacramental or liturgical atmosphere; and we believe that the overwhelming majority of Christian women would themselves shrink from such prominence. The proposed concessions to Deaconesses are in any case futile, because the small body of women who are agitating for admission to Holy Orders will be satisfied with nothing short of the Priesthood, whilst the immensely greater body of Christian women does not wish to come into public notice at all in this connection--considerations which amply account for the fact, noted with apparent surprise by the Committee of the late Conference: "It must, ... be frankly admitted that the hopes underlying this action of 1920 have been but meagrely fulfilled. Our enquiries show us that the number of women asking for ordination as Deaconesses is comparatively small, and that far more women of the stamp and qualifications envisaged find scope for their gifts in other ways" (p. 177). Diversity of function does not imply inferiority of status: there are innumerable ways in which gifted and high-minded women may serve Christ and the Church, without usurping a position inappropriate to their sex: and those who remember that our Lord gave even to His Blessed Mother no ministerial or prophetic authority whatsoever in His Church will trust that "the hopes underlying the action of 1920" may (in so far as they contemplate a liturgical or homiletic ministry of women) remain unfulfilled.
Of the principles suggested by the Committee as those which should govern the exercise of the "Ministry of Healing," no more need be said than that they appear to be informed by an admirable spirit of sanctified common-sense.
The frank and complete recognition given by the Committee to the existence of the Religious Life within the Anglican Communion and the hopes which it expresses for a regularisation of the relations between the Episcopate and the Religious Orders may be recorded with deep appreciation and thankfulness. The practical suggestions made by the Committee as to the lines on which such regularisation should proceed appear to be, in theory, satisfactory; they might, indeed, have included a provision analagous to that embodied in can. 535 of the Roman Codex, enacting that the Visitor should have the right, on the occasion of his visitation of a Community, to require the production to him of its accounts, duly audited. Your Committee has, however, added the qualification "in theory," to the commendation of the suggestions just referred to, because the smooth working of the functions which are assigned by the Committee to the Diocesan Bishop (and which, indeed, appear to be appropriate to the office of the Diocesan Bishop) pre-supposes a Bishop who is in sympathy with the Religious Life and with Catholic ideals. It is a matter of common knowledge that the present method of nominating Bishops in England does not offer any security for this; and clearly there may arise the possibility of arbitrary action on the part of a Bishop towards a Community, against which some safeguards are required. Your Committee submits some criticisms of the suggestions made by the Lambeth Conference, the general lines of which were approved by the Conference itself in Resolution 74, in an Appendix (Appendix C.).
The section of the Encyclical Letter and the Resolution dealing with this subject do not appear to call for lengthy comment. The Report of the Committee on "Youth and its Vocation," though as a whole unsatisfactory and inadequate, states very fairly the main factors which have produced the deplorable alienation of so many young people from the Church. It is, perhaps, worth observing that the indictment contained in the words "When they attend Church, the services often seem to them unreal, formal, and unsatisfying" (p. 190), will not be deemed by any acquainted with the facts to be applicable to those churches where Catholic ideals are set forth with devotion and in reasonable spirit; for it is a matter of common knowledge that many Churches of this type have large followings of young men and women. It is, rather, the authorities of some cathedrals and other official churches still dominated by the Victorian tradition in respect of length of services and elaboration of music who most need to lay this grave warning to heart. It might have been added that a very important cause of the prejudice against organised religion felt by many young people is the fact that the Church is (quite mistakenly, but, in view of the actions and utterances of some of its older members, not unjustifiably) supposed to be committed to a kill-joy Sabbatarianism which prohibits innocent recreation and exercise on the Lord's Day, and endeavours to drive people into church-going by making aimless loafing the only alternative method of spending their time. Reasonable ideals of worship and of Sunday observance are a sine qua non of any successful appeal on the part of the Church to modern Youth. A hearty welcome may be given to the sentence in the report of the Committee:--
The best of the younger generation in every section of the community, and in every country of the world, are not seeking a religion that is watered down or robbed of the severity of its demands, but a religion that will not only give them a sure basis and an ultimate sanction for morals, but also a power to persevere in reaching out after the ideal which in their heart of hearts they recognise as the finest and the best" (p. 195).
The value of this sentence is increased by the words which follow, with their emphasis on the need of instruction in the Christian faith:--
"The Church, then, if it is to be faithful to the commission and the example of its divine Head, must provide for the systematic and continuous teaching of the Christian faith and life to its members--young and old--and to all who are seeking for a religion that works" (ibid.).
The following detailed examination of the main features in the proceedings of the Lambeth Conference about South India is here added:--
1. There is a certain note of exaggeration in the phrases used concerning the Scheme, which is undesirable.
In the Encyclical Letter (p. 27), there is envisaged the "building up a real and living Church in India," and ultimately, when a similar union takes place in North India, the emerging of "a Province of Christ's Church, genuinely Catholic, loyal to all truth within whose visible unity treasures of faith and order, nowhere in the Church at present combined, will be possessed in common, and the power of Christ will be manifest in a new richness."
Similarly in Resolution 40 (b) the Conference "notes with warm sympathy that the project embodied in the Proposed Scheme seeks ... to bring together the distinctive elements of different Christian Communions, on a basis of sound doctrine and Episcopal order, in a distinct Province of the Universal Church, in such a way as to give the Indian expression of the spirit, the thought, and the life, of the Church Universal."
It is impossible not to ask whether the Church of India, Burma, and Ceylon as it at present exists, is not "a real and living Church in India"; and what those "treasures of faith and order" are which are "nowhere in the Church at present combined"; and whether after all the new Constitution of the Church of India, Burma, and Ceylon elaborated through many years, and brought into operation only ten months ago, was not designed to give "an Indian expression" of the Catholic Church in that land? Is there anything to prevent the Indian portion of the Church of India from developing freely within it?
It is certainly true that a union such as is proposed would enrich the Anglican Church with treasures of personal life and devotion, that have often been the glory and in all cases are the strength of the non-Episcopal Churches, and these would be gains well worth seeking. But if the Encyclical Letter speaks truly when it describes the Churches of the Anglican Communion as teaching "the Catholic Faith in its entirety" (p. 28), and if the Committee speaks truly in its Report that in the Anglican Communion, "we have been enabled to combine in our one fellowship the traditional Faith and Order of the Catholic Church with that immediacy of approach to God through Christ, to which the Evangelical Churches especially bear witness, and freedom of intellectual inquiry, whereby the correlation of the Christian revelation and advancing knowledge is constantly effected" (pp. 113, 114), the statements quoted above are bound to provoke criticism.
It should be noted, also, that Christians affected by the Proposed Scheme number only 750,000 out of a total of some 3,500,000 Christians in South India, of whom in round numbers 1,500,000 are Roman Catholics, 900,000 Syrians, and 350,000 are Baptists, inclusive of a small number of other Protestant Christians.
2. There is a certain vagueness in the use of technical terms. The proposed united Church is to be "a distinct Province of the Universal Church," and "it is understood on all sides and is recognised in the scheme itself that no province of the Universal Church is free to act according to its own choice in contravention of the faith once for all delivered to the Saints, or without regard to the preservation of the fellowship of the Church Universal?" (pp. 27, 51, 124).
These words can bear a perfectly Catholic sense, and so understood give expression to fundamental truths, often insufficiently recognised amongst ourselves. But throughout the Proposed Scheme, and apparently in the phraseology of the Lambeth Conference, the word "Universal" has not the same connotation as the word "Catholic" in its historic sense. In the Appeal of 1920 they are indeed contrasted; the Universal Church is the aggregate of the baptised believers, the Catholic Church is the visible fellowship that holds one faith, and has its own recognised officers, and God-given means of grace (Appeal of 1920 quoted on p. 110). In the Resolutions also of the Conference of 1930 on the Anglican Communion 48 and 49, "the true constitution of the Catholic Church" is spoken of, and the Anglican Communion is described as "a fellowship within the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church." Here the word "Catholic" must be taken in its historic sense, and this use of it is in great contrast with the use of the word in the Proposed Scheme, where it is simply synonymous with the word "Universal," as, e.g., when it is said that the United Church "will regulate its acts by the necessity of maintaining fellowship with the branches of the Catholic Church, with which the uniting Churches (i.e., Anglican, Presbyterian, and Wesleyan) are now in communion" (Proposed Scheme, p. 19, 1, 19). The phrase, therefore, "a distinct Province of the Universal Church," may only mean a new organisation of Christians, or a new denomination, and this interpretation would be in accordance with the use of the words in the Proposed Scheme.
It would be a great gain, and remove real doubt in the minds of Churchmen as to the meaning of these phrases, if the word "Catholic," when used formally, were used in its historic sense, and the word "Universal," as applied to the Church, kept to its literal sense, and understood as modifying the connotation of the word "Church" also.
3. The problem of the separation of the Church of India into two parts, a Northern and a Southern Province, and the absorption of the Southern Province into the proposed new and autonomous united Church, raises the very difficult question of the ceasing of the Church of India, as such, to function in South India, and the passing of the Southern Province into an autonomous Church, not at first in full communion with the Church of India.
"The Anglican Dioceses concerned are to be no longer a part of the Church of India, Burma, and Ceylon" (Report, p. 124; Scheme, pp. 48-50). Provision is made in the Proposed Scheme, Section XII., for the continuance of the "Maintained Churches," under the Indian Ecclesiastical Establishment, and in the case of "such Congregations (other than those of the Maintained Churches) as consist entirely or predominantly of persons brought up in the Church of England in England, or of persons accustomed to the use of the services of the Book of Common Prayer in the English language," for the continuance of the use of the Book of Common Prayer. But the work of the Church of India in the South has been predominantly amongst Indians and those resident in India, and to belong to the Church of India was to share both in the privilege and in the security of a definite form of Church witness--of teaching, worship, and life. Each uniting Church in the proposed new autonomous Church will continue to use its own forms of worship, though in the Basis of Union, Section III. (e), it is stated that they "look towards the gradual preparation of some service book or directory of worship" (Scheme, p. 18), and in Section IX. (b), "a common form or forms of Communion Service adapted to its own needs" is envisaged (Scheme, p. 43). Nothing is said of Catechisms, except that a Note to Section III. (a) in the Basis of Union, states that "it is understood that it will be competent to the United Church to issue supplementary statements concerning the Faith for the guidance of its teachers and the edification of the faithful" (Scheme, p. 16).
Similarly Section XI. provides that "The marriage law and rules now observed in the dioceses, councils and synods of the uniting Churches shall continue after Union until the Synod of the United Church shall enact its own law and rules" (Scheme, p. 47).
It is, then, clear that at first the proposed new united Church will have no official corporate witness to doctrine and life such as that secured by the Book of Common Prayer in the Church of India. It is a serious matter to destroy the basis on which Church teaching has hitherto been given in South India, before it has been secured that in the new Church there will be an adequate corporate witness of the same nature.
In this connection the wording of Resolution 40 (c) seems dangerously vague. The Lambeth Conference acknowledged itself unable at the time to pronounce any final judgment on the proposals, because of their incompleteness of agreement "on certain points of doctrine and practice," but it went on to "express to our brethren in India our strong desire that, as soon as the negotiations are successfully completed, the venture should be made and the Union inaugurated." What is the criterion of "success" in this respect?
The Bishops of the Church of India, assembled in Synod and General Council in Calcutta in January, 1930, passed "either unanimously or nemine contradicente, by the Bishops, Clergy and Laity voting together, except for one small item which was passed with two dissentient votes," a number of amendments to the Proposed Scheme, or suggestions, which the General Council instructs its delegates "to convey to the Joint Committee in the belief that some, of them indicate things which are essential parts of that full Catholic heritage which all desire to make their own, that others indicate things which, if accepted by all, would greatly enrich the life of the United Church, and that others again suggest ways in which some statements in the Scheme might be modified or enlarged so as to remove doubts from the minds of some, and to render clearer to all the purpose and meaning of the provisions contained in it" (Quoted from the "Resolutions" published in Calcutta; cf. Appendix B). This consideration has the greater weight if it is remembered that "the United Church of the South will wish for and will endeavour to promote a similar union in the North, and on the conclusion of such a union will seek itself to be united to the Northern Church in an all-India United Church"; Scheme, IV. (c), pp. 22, 23.
It is clear that Instruction 9 of the "Opinions and Instructions" passed by the General Council of the Church of India (see Appendix B), which deals with "the authority of the Episcopal Body to publish pronouncements or instructions on matters of Faith and Order," is of very great importance. The Proposed Scheme does not provide for this, for an Episcopal Synod is not part of the proposed constitution of the United Church. And yet Resolution 53 (b) of the Lambeth Conference runs: "The minimum organisation essential to provincial life is a College or Synod of Bishops, which will act corporately in dealing with questions concerning the faith, order, and discipline of the Church."
It is the uncertainty which at present surrounds this, and other important matters referred to in the Resolutions of the Calcutta General Council, especially with regard to the Ministry and the Sacraments, which makes it clear to your Committee that unless a "successful" issue to the negotiations involves, at least, acceptance of the Calcutta proposals, the absorption of the Southern Dioceses into the proposed new Church would be at too great a cost. Where so much has been left open and undecided, definite provision should be made for priests and congregations who may find themselves unable to accept the Proposed Scheme and prefer still to remain members of the Church of India, Burma, and Ceylon, however much they might also unite in various ways with the work of the United Church. If a complete separation such as is proposed were carried through on an insufficient basis of agreement, it would be disastrous, and the act of union, once inaugurated, would be very difficult to retrace. Is it not wiser to recognise that it is an "experiment," a "venture" (Encyclical, p. 26, Resolution 40 (c)) which is being made, for which the Southern Dioceses are being lent only, until such time as a United Church has been formed which can enter into full communion with the Churches of the Anglican Communion? In this way, also, provision would be made for those priests or congregations who still prefer to remain members of the Church of India, however they might also unite in various ways with the work of the United Church.
4. The position in which the Sacrament of Confirmation has been left in the Proposed Scheme, a position which the Calcutta Resolutions strangely accept, and which the Lambeth Conference endorses, is a serious one. The Report of the Committee, to which the Conference gave a "general approval" (Resolution 40 (f)), states "We assent to the provision that the acceptance of Confirmation should not be insisted on as a pre-requisite term of union" (p. 127); but in this case how can the statement of the Encyclical Letter be justified, that "the general conception of the scheme is that these different elements (i.e., the Uniting Churches) will come together in one body, possessing the traditional framework of faith and order which characterised the whole Church for so many centuries" (p. 26)? Whatever the form in which Confirmation has been administered, it has been of universal obligation, as the completion of Holy Baptism, in the whole Church.
It is also stated in the Foreword to the Proposed Scheme, that "all that has been found helpful in the Uniting Churches has been included, and each Church will find its special contribution enriched by what the others contribute" (Scheme, p. VIII.). The Scheme, as is said in Resolution 40 (b), "seeks ... to bring together the distinctive elements of different Christian Communions on a basis of sound doctrine and episcopal order." But if Confirmation is left an open question, this markedly "distinctive element" is omitted from the fundamental terms of union. Yet it would have been easy, and would have been with real advantage in a Missionary Church, to combine the Sacrament of Confirmation, which the Church of India would contribute, with a service of recognition or of welcome to the fellowship of the Communicants, such as the Presbyterian and Wesleyan Churches are accustomed to. If this combination has not been effected, it points to a serious lack of agreement as to the sacramental meaning of Confirmation, a conclusion which is indicated by the strangely subjective pleading of the Report of the Committee, in commending the use of Confirmation. But with such lack of agreement how can the words of Resolution 40 (b) be justified?
5. Your Committee desires to note with satisfaction the exposition given to the meaning of the phrase, the "Historic Episcopate," in the Report of the Committee (pp. 114-116). It is, however, to be regretted that it does not say, in so many words, that it is the means by which succession is secured with the Apostolic Ministry. It is an inadequate expression to say "The life of the Spirit within the Church had found it (Episcopacy) to be the most appropriate organ for the functions which it discharged." If in the dealings of the representatives of the Anglican Communion with the representatives of the Free Churches, after the Lambeth Conference of 1920, there had been a clear and simple statement that the maintenance of the historic episcopate required not only the existence of the three orders in the ministry but also the transmission of the apostolic succession, [See Bishop W. Stubbs, Visitation Charges, p. 189] the unfortunate misunderstandings which have caused so much controversy of late might have been avoided, and the same thing is true of the negotiations in connection with South India.
It is important, however, to note, in regard to the bearing of the statement concerning the Historic Episcopate on the South Indian proposals, that the Committee very clearly states, "We are not to be understood as insisting on the office apart from the functions. What we uphold is the Episcopate maintained in successive generations by continuity of succession and consecration, as it has been throughout the history of the Church from the earliest times, and discharging those functions which from the earliest times it had discharged" (pp. 115, 116). It is the adequacy of provision for the exercise of these functions in the Proposed Scheme which is in question.
Concerning the proposed scheme of Church Union in South India passed by the General Council of the Church of India, Burma, and Ceylon at its fourth session, 1930.
OPINIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS.
1. Proposed Scheme of Union: Section III. (A), p. 15 (S.P.C.K. ed.).
Subject to the two Instructions given below the Council is prepared to accept the whole of the statement on Faith and Order contained in Section III. (A).
(a) The delegates are instructed to ask that the wording of paragraph 4 should be so modified as to bring it more into consonance with the language of this Church when it declares these two Sacraments to be "generally necessary to salvation."
(b) The delegates are instructed to endeavour to secure a re-wording of the latter part of paragraph 5 so that it shall be sufficiently clear that the unworthiness of the minister does not hinder the effect of the Sacrament.
2. Section III. (B), p. 16.
Subject to the Instruction given below, the Council is prepared to accept the statement upon the Episcopate in the United Church contained in Section III. (B).
The attention of the delegates is called to the desirability of some re-drafting of the words at the end of paragraph 1.
3. Section III. (C), p. 17.
In view of the misunderstandings that have arisen and the fears that have been expressed from various sides in regard to the provisions in the Scheme for the Initial Ministry of the United Church, which secure to all existing ministers the continuance in that Church of their ministry of the Word and Sacraments, the Council thinks it wise to state that in heartily approving these provisions it does not intend that the Church of India, Burma, and Ceylon should commit itself to the principle of the equally certain validity of all ministries; and it realises that the Churches uniting with that Church do not demand that it should do so, and similarly it is not demanded that by accepting the limitations contained in these provisions the other Uniting Churches should be considered to have endorsed any particular theory of the ministry.
4. Section III. (E), p. 18.
The Council, recognising the value of the principle of freedom in worship and sharing the desire for the development of forms of worship suited to India, is prepared to accept the provisions concerning the worship of the United Church contained in Sections III. (E) and IX. (A).
5. Section IV. (A), pp. 19, 20.
The Council agrees that none of the existing Churches should cease to enjoy such privileges of fellowship with other Churches as they enjoyed before the Union.
In view of the fact that the full Communion existing between the Anglican Churches is a fellowship of a somewhat different nature from the communion and fellowship existing between the Free Churches, the Council does not feel itself competent at this stage to decide upon the eventual corporate relationship that might exist between the United Church and other Churches. In regard to this, the United Church on its part will make its own decision when the time comes.
The General Council desires to obtain the opinion of the Lambeth Conference on the whole question of intercommunion in such a situation.
6. Section IV. (B), pp. 20-22.
The Council welcomes the principle of safeguarding consciences and preserving the long-established traditions of the Uniting Churches by means of mutual trust and a solemn pledge rather than by definite regulations. It is ready to endorse the pledge proposed in the present form of the Scheme, in the belief that it safeguards the consciences of all members of the Uniting Churches from being forced by any future administrative acts to accept during the interim period ministries and modes of worship which are definitely contrary to their long-established traditions and beliefs, and in particular provides that the rule which the Anglican Church has inherited, that an episcopally ordained ministry is required for the Sacrament of Holy Communion, will be preserved for those congregations which have in the past been bound by that rule.
(a) The Council instructs its delegates to explain its position as stated above to the Joint Committee, in order that when the Scheme is finally drafted the meaning of the pledge may, in whatever manner may seem most suitable, be made plain both to those who shall hereafter be directly concerned and to those who may not be familiar with the circumstances.
(b) The delegates are instructed to ask that the words "and expectation" may be omitted from the second line of IV. B. 6, and that in the last line but one of that paragraph the word "temporary" may be substituted for the word "such."
7. Section IV. (C), p. 22.
(a) The General Council is willing to give to the Southern Dioceses of the Church of India, Burma, and Ceylon such autonomy as may be needed for the full development of the United Church in the hope that further unions will be effected in the near future, and that ultimately the Church of all India may be able to function as one.
At the same time it greatly desires that from the first there should be a common Consultative Council representative of the Northern Dioceses and the United Church for the discussion of common problems and the furtherance of plans for all India, and that thus should be secured the growth of that unity of thought and work which all desire.
(b) The General Council is bound by the Indian Church Act and Measure and the Statutory Rules to have a General Council for all India to fulfil certain legal obligations in relation to the Establishment of Chaplains, the Maintained Churches, and the Indian Church Trustees. For that purpose, the Dioceses of the United Church must continue to send to a General Council representatives charged with these duties, and that General Council must have such authority over the affairs of the Maintained Churches as may be necessary for the discharge of those functions; and Bishops of the United Church who may be appointed to the superintendence of Maintained Churches must agree to conform to the obligations entailed by that position, and must agree not so to act as to involve the Northern Dioceses in any conflict with the Secretary of State as to the fulfilment or non-fulfilment of the agreement contained in the Statutory Rules. Subject to these necessary limitations, the General Council agrees that it should claim no jurisdiction over the affairs of the United Church.
(a) The Council instructs its delegates to consult the Joint Committee as to the possibility of combining the attendance at meetings of a General Council of representatives from the United Church (as mentioned in opinion (b)) with the meeting of a Consultative Council such as that suggested in opinion (a),
(b) The delegates are instructed to emphasise the need of eliminating from the final form of the Scheme any phrase which might seem to suggest a breaking of communion between those dioceses which will be included in the United Church and the other dioceses of the present Province; and to this end to ask that the words "absence of organic union" should not appear in this connection.
8. Section VI. (5), p. 27.
The General Council considers it of great importance that the United Church should adopt as early as possible the primitive and scriptural practice of the laying on of hands with prayer for the Holy Spirit, the rite of Confirmation (not meaning thereby that the Anglican rite need be followed in detail), which was from the first considered naturally to follow Baptism, and has proved of inestimable spiritual value to the Churches which have maintained it.
The Council desires that all who have been admitted to Communicant status by any of the services of admission now in use in the Uniting Churches shall be recognised as communicants of the United Church, and that pending the adoption of the rite of laying on of hands with prayer for the Holy Spirit in Confirmation, such recognition of communicants shall be-continued.
(N.B.--No Instruction seems to have been given by the General Council.)
9. Section VII. (A), pp. 28-31.
The delegates are instructed to ask that reference be made to the authority of the Episcopal Body to publish pronouncements or instructions on matters of Faith and Order.
10. Section VII. (B), pp. 31, 32.
The delegates are instructed to represent to the Joint Committee the desire of the General Council that when the election of a Bishop is confirmed by the Executive Committee, a two-thirds majority of all the Bishops entitled to vote should be required.
11. Section VII. (C), p. 32.
The delegates are instructed to inform the Joint Committee that the Council desires to see included among the duties of Presbyters that of seeking to bring sinners to repentance and forgiveness through the ministry of reconciliation.
12. Section IX. (B), pp. 43, 44.
The delegates are instructed to suggest to the Joint Committee that paragraph (5) on pages 36-37 be re-drafted to run as follows:--" The Thanksgiving for God's glory and goodness and the redemptive work of Christ in His birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension, leading on to a reference to His institution of the Sacrament, in which His own words are rehearsed, and to the setting apart of the bread and wine to be used for the purpose of the Sacrament with prayer that we may receive thereby that which Our Lord intends to give us in this Sacrament."
The practical suggestions made by the Committee of the Conference, and given general approval in Resolution 74, as to the lines on which the regularisation of Religious Communities should proceed, are drawn out on sound principles, though there are some comments which may be made in detail.
1. In B. I. (c) the requirement of the sanction of the Metropolitan for the appointment of an Episcopal Visitor other than a bishop of the province is somewhat strange: the consent of the Diocesan would seem to be sufficient.
2. In B. III. extended functions are assigned to the Visitor. If the proposed requirement of his sanction for all Professions, and for the election of the Head of a Community, merely means that it will be his duty to be satisfied that all the requirements of the constitution have been complied with in these two important matters, this would be a proper exercise of a Visitor's office; but, if it means more than this, there would be the danger of his office being confused with that of a Warden or Chaplain in the former case, and of an undue interference with the freedom of a Community to elect its own Head in the latter. Further, in the requirement of the sanction of the Visitor for "any dispensation from such (i.e. permanent) vows" there probably is a failure to distinguish between release from the obligation to the Community created by such vows, and dispensation from the vows themselves as offered to God. The question of the dispensation from the vows themselves as binding the individual after being separated from a Community falls properly under the control of the ordinary ecclesiastical authority in default of any special canons dealing with the subject. For release from the obligation of the vows within the Community the sanction of the Visitor is rightly required.
3. In B. VII. "A Community House may not be established in any diocese without the permission of the Diocesan," some definition of what is meant by the "establishment of a Community House" is needed; otherwise it might mean that no parish priest could employ the services of Sisters in his parish without permission, nor could any individuals begin to live together in the formation of a new Community without like permission. This would narrow the freedom both of parish priests and of individuals unreasonably, and would run the risk of an arbitrary hindrance to the working of the Holy Spirit. The provision B. V., securing that the licence of the Diocesan is required for chapels and chaplains in any Community, appears to provide the necessary safeguards in this connexion.
4. B. VIII., "There shall be no appeal beyond the Visitor unless any matter is in dispute between the Visitor and the Diocesan," raises a difficult question in cases when the Visitor is the Diocesan, especially if the Visitor is to have such extended functions as have been noticed. It is to be remembered that there is no body of canon law in the Anglican Communion governing the relations of the bishops to Religious Communities, and the development of Religious Life generally, by which the bishops would be bound in their actions towards the Communities. In these circumstances it would seem that an appeal to the Archbishop and the Bishops of the province from the decision of the Visitor should be allowed in all cases when the Visitor is also the Diocesan, as well as when there is any matter in dispute between the Visitor and the Diocesan.
5. The final paragraph of the Report of the Committee of the Conference suggests a most valuable provision, namely, the creation of an Advisory Council. This would be a very great safeguard in the working and development of the proposed rules, and would provide the expert advice which so technical a subject as the Religious Life imperatively demands.
Resolutions to be moved in the Council on behalf of the Committee:--
1. That the Report be received.
2. That the Report be printed and circulated.
3. That copies of the Report be sent to all Anglican archbishops and bishops, together with a letter inviting their attention especially to the suggestions in
(a) the paragraphs relating to marriage and sex, and
(b) Appendix C., on Religious Communities.
Signed on behalf of the Committee,
The Report was presented and the above Resolutions were passed by the Council at its Meeting on the 18th March, 1931.