Project Canterbury

Catholic Reunion:
An Anglican Plea for a Uniate Patriarchate of Canterbury and for an Anglican Ultramontanism.

By Father Clement, M.A.
[James Tait Plowden-Wardlaw]

Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1935.


The meaning of the term ‘heresy’ in this book.

THE TERM ‘heresy,’ if seemingly imputed in this book to any Bishop or Priest of the Church of England, either generally or particularly, is used solely from the point of view of the Catholic doctrine of the continent, and never as relative to the doctrine of the Church of England as construed by the English law courts. A wide toleration in this time of transition is rightly extended both by public opinion and by English law to ministers of a National Church, which is meant to be comprehensive rather than Catholic. It is only when the actions and words of the clergy of the Church of England are weighed in the balances of international Catholicism that the words ‘heresy’ and ‘schism’ can be applied in certain cases and within certain limits. Thus there is no indictment made in this book against aby Bishop, Priest, or official, of the Church of England of such a nature as to attempt to show that he does not rightly and legally hold his position and draw his emoluments, however modernistic or liberal his opinions.

The title CATHOLIC REUNION is used a conventional sense, and is not intended to beg the question, as in one sense such an expression harbours an obvious fallacy. Catholics can never ben divided, for division de-catholicizes the severed portion. Further this appeal has been based on these seven principles, namely

(1) that there is and always has been a centre of unity.

(2) that this centre of unity has always had the authority necessary to secure and guard this unity.

(3) that although Baptism is the sole way in which an individual becomes a Catholic, yet a religious body formed by, or consisting of, such individuals is cut off from Catholic unity, if not in full and acknowledged communion with the centre of unity.

(4) that the baptized individuals of such a schismatic body are institutionally only potential or latent Catholics owing to the defect of unity in the body to which they belong.

(5) that though Christians are divided the Catholic Church has never been divided.

(6) that all Latins (generally speaking) are Catholics, yet not all Catholics are Latin.

(7) that, provided there is full agreement in doctrine, the uniate principle is the remedy for the corporate schisms of history.




FOR four hundred years, ever since the Act was passed in May 1534 for abolishing the authority of the Pope in England, has the breach between the English and Latin Churches continued, save for a brief period of four years in the mid-sixteenth century. No remedy has been found for four hundred years. For four hundred years a different meaning has been given to the word ‘Catholic’ by the two communions. For four hundred years impossible terms of corporate reconciliation have been grudgingly put forward by both communions, namely on the part of the Latin Church the absorption of a rebellious Church of England in itself, and on the part of Church of England the renouncement by the Latin Church both of the Papal claims and disliked doctrines. For four hundred years nothing has been brought to a successful conclusion in the reconcilement of these two great bodies of Christians; and every person, who has had the temerity to move, has incurred blame and black looks from his own co-religionists.

If the conventional term of the sojourn in Egypt was 430 years, let us on both sides of this centuries-old controversy see to it, that the next thirty years be spent in preparations for leading the Church of England into the promised land of Unity. Let both sides explore the ground afresh. Let the ‘schism’ be ended, that those who love the whole conception of Catholicism should march for future ages under one banner.

There are those who would say that any man who seeks such an object is on a fool’s errand. But the ‘foolishness’ of God makes little account of man’s wisdom and foresight. There is a mountain of misunderstanding between us. Who, with the eyes of God upon him, will cry anathema on any who seek to level differences, and make a clear path to unity.


In the opinion of many Anglican Bishops ‘home reunion,’ that is to say some sort of reconciliation with Protestant and non-episcopal bodies, is the most important sphere of reunion for our [1/2] Generation. To some of us this is looking in the wrong direction. If the whole of Christendom is to be one, the great and outstanding problem will be reconciliation with Rome. All other reconciliations are beside the point, unless indeed the ideal in front of us is merely a pan-protestant Church with a nominal episcopacy. It is far more important that the Baptists make their terms with Rome than with Canterbury. The chances are that, if Canterbury made terms with the Baptists, further difficulties in the way of the final reconciliation of the two reconciled bodies with Rome would be created. Friendliness among Anglicans and Nonconformists is all for the good, but the reconciliation of both must be, not with one another directly, but indirectly through common reconciliation with Rome. Rome is the centre of all present reconciliation, and is not merely an eventual goal when all the religious bodies outside Rome have made terms with one another. Such a non-Roman reunion might quite possibly have to be undone before reconciliation with Rome was possible.


The term ‘Latin Church’ is used in this book to describe that part of the Catholic Church in the communion with the Apostolic See which is not Uniate, which uses the Latin tongue in Mass, and which is bound by Roman Canon Law. It is international in extent, and outnumbers in adherents all the Uniate Churches put together by 40 to 1; but is only the principal Papal Church among seventeen Churches in all. The Latin Church is more familiarly known as ‘Roman Catholic.’

[Some people object to using the word ‘Church’ in the plural at all. In that case the word ‘Rites’ can be substituted for ‘Churches.’ This however has to be done with caution, for the ‘Rite’ is used in two senses. It means first the manner of performing Mass and other services. Such is its meaning when used in such phrases as ‘the Mozarabic rite,’ ‘the Ambrosian rite.’ Secondly it is used to describe a group of persons within the Catholic Church, having their own liturgy and liturgical language, their own local canon law, and local customs, and having in particular their own local ecclesiastical government. (W.L. Scott, K.C., Eastern Catholics, p. 2.)]

[The ‘Rites’ of the Papal Church in this sense are in alphabetical order (1) the Catholic Abyssinian Church; (2) the (Catholic) Armenian Church; (3) the Bulgarian Uniates; (4) the Chaldean Church; (5) the (Catholic) Coptic Church; (6) the Georgian Church; (7) the (pure) Greek Uniates; (8) the Italo-Greek Church in southern Italy; (9) the Latin Church which is international in distribution; (10) the Maronite Church; (11) the (Catholic) Malabar Church; (12) the Melkite Church; (13) the Serbian Uniates; (14) the Syriac Uniates; (15) the Rumanian Uniates; (16) the Russian Uniates (since 1905); (17) the Ruthenian Church. All these hold the same doctrine and are in full communion with the Holy See, but have widely differing customs. There is no reason why several Catholic Rites in full intercommunion with one another should not exist in the same country or torn. See Vox Dilecti, p. 321.]


There is a set attitude in which the ‘claims of Rome’ are regarded in ordinary Anglican circles. They are regarded as the demands of a proud and domineering power, which claims, like ancient Rome, to rule the world, whether the world will accept her claims, or not. But the ‘claims of Rome’ wear a very different aspect to those who know that they are made not for their own sake, but for the purpose of unity. Those who realize that the Mystery of Unity is the sole foundation of these tremendous claims, and that in the absence of this supreme purpose, the claims could not be made, will view those claims in a very different spirit. It was the purpose of God, not that His Church should be one in the distant future, but that His Church should be one all through her history; and the ‘claims of Rome’ are the claims of this eternal, never-changing Mystery of Unity. They do not necessarily mean that all Christians should be gathered into the Roman or Latin Church (the existence of the Uniates is a proof of this), but that all should be in full communion with the Roman Bishop, the Chief Bishop of the Catholic Church.


Generally speaking the Church consists of all validly baptized persons, for the Sacrament of entry is that of Baptism. Heretical or schismatic baptism (if of proper form and matter) is valid; and all validly baptized children up to the age of puberty, be they Methodist or Anglican, are technically Catholics from the Latin point of view, for they are not liable to the penalties of latae sententiae (de facto interdict) (Canon 2230), and apparently can have Catholic burial if such be demanded by their relatives. After the age of puberty the penalties of latae sententiae descend on children who, from the Latin point of view, are heretics; and they are excluded from the Church until reconciled; for otherwise they cannot be in full communion with the centre of unity, namely the Holy See.

It would seem on the other hand that the Lambeth Fathers are content to make Baptism (with or without orthodoxy) the sole test of membership of the Catholic Church. [We acknowledge all those who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, and have been baptized into the name of the Holy Trinity as sharing with us membership in the universal Church of Christ, which is His Body.’ Report of the Lambeth Conference 1920, p. 133] Some limitation [3/4] however has to be observed. Otherwise heresy and disunity would flourish under cover of the external protection of the Catholic name.

It is satisfactory nevertheless to realize that all baptized Anglicans, of whatever school of thought, are ‘potential’ Catholics, and that unity of doctrine, tested by communion with the centre of unity, namely the Holy See, would rectify their position, and make them again actual members of the Catholic Church.


The Latin use of the term ‘Catholic’ is tested (not by doctrine or usage, or outward appearance, or ‘atmosphere’ or spirit, though the doctrine is the same all over the Catholic Church, and the atmosphere and spirit of the Catholic Church, despite differences of usage, are unmistakable, but) by the grand fact of communion with the Vicar of Christ.

Valid priesthood, valid sacraments, valid masses, true doctrine do not make a religious body Catholic Church if it is sundered from the See of Rome. Otherwise it would not be true that although Christians are divided, the Catholic Church is not divided. The Latin Church will never acknowledge that the Catholic Church is divided. Schismatics (even if not heretics) are sundered from the Catholic Church, and by that very fact are not Catholics except ‘potentially.’ They may be very nearly Catholics, but such nearness is tantamount in fact and theory to a profound distance. Hence a pious Orthodox is as much out of the Cathoic Church as a Salvationist or a Quaker, and the most advanced Ritualist as much out of the Catholic Church as Mr. Kensit or the late Mrs. Eddy. It is true that neither the Orthodox nor the Ritualist has as much lee way to make up as various kinds of Protestants, but [4/5] their present position misses the Catholic standard by their entire disconnection from the centre of unity, namely the Vicar of Christ. ‘Catholic’ in the Latin mouth connotes a legal connection with this centre of unity. Its primary sense is juristic: only its secondary sense has a doctrinal connotation.

To an Anglican this juristic sense of the word ‘Catholic’ means nothing. In the mind of an Anglican, ‘Catholic’ means something (a Church, a faith, a practice) tending towards a certain historical type. It is a variable word in the minds of most Anglicans. Its test is antiquity as far as it can be guarded by common sense and endorsed by modern knowledge. It is of various shades, black, grey, and white. It corresponds often in the minds of individuals to their own prejudices. Any doctrine or practice distasteful to the individual Anglican will soon be found disqualified to any claim to Catholicity. ‘Catholic’ in an Anglican mouth is tendentious rather than juristic. The Anglican idea of catholicity is a rather pathetic survival of tradition amidst an overflowing deluge of protestant heresy and modernist rationalism.


It may be said that those who feel that the only satisfactory test that they are Catholics is communion with the Holy See, ought immediately to make their own individual peace with Rome, and become members of the Latin Church, and leave their fellow churchmen in the Church of England in schism.

Three points however must be remembered: first that the sincere desire for such communion with the centre of unity is tantamount to such communion until obstacles (which are not personal but public) are overcome; secondly that the authorities of the Latin Church are very loth to see the expansion of the Uniate principle especially in countries where the Latin Church was once paramount; and thirdly that until a stand is made against insistence on individual conversion to the Latin Church, and the consequent Latinization of the English world, it is impossible that Rome’s excellent and wise policy in the East, which forbids the Latinization of the Oriental Churches, should be imitated in the West.


[6] Rome is invited to do a bold and unique thing, namely to introduce for the first time the uniate principle in the West. She is invited to do this in lands like England and Germany where once the Latin Church was paramount, and so to reconcile Catholic-minded Anglicans and Lutherans on national lines.

Generally speaking the Eastern Uniate Churches are representative of Churches which were once members of an Eastern Patriarchate. But the whole West belonged once to the Western Patriarchate with its centre in Rome. Thousands in the West however are now crying out for the headship of Peter’s successor, while deprecating any absorption in the Latin Church. Canterbury in the last 400 years has achieved a patriarchate over the English-speaking world in all but name. Given dogmatic agreement, a thorough purging of the heterogeneous English Church, and fortified Orders, Rome has a great and unique opportunity of recognizing Canterbury as an English Uniate Patriarchate. It is a great matter, and small minds will not accomplish it.


The uniate principle might gather in a large section of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America. Things have progressed greatly towards the Catholic ideal since the days of Bishop Eastburn in Massachusetts, who ‘refused to confirm at (the Church of) the Advent on account of such “superstitious puerilities” as a cross over the altar, candles upon it—and the eastward position during prayers.’ The American Episcopal Church is English in complexion and character of though, and the Latin Church in the States is predominantly Irish. The Irish and English temperaments are radically opposed. Each has its superlative virtues, but they are mutually incompatible. The Uniate principle is the sole hope for the reconcilement of that section of the American Episcopal Church which is Catholic-minded.


The uniate principle might gather in the whole of the High Church movement in Lutheran Germany. Just as Dr. Christopher [6/7] Davenport (Sancta Clara) in the seventeenth century, and John Henry Newman in the nineteenth (in Tract 90) showed that the XXXIX Articles were patient of a Catholic and Roman interpretation, so in the Jubilee Year of the Reformation (1917) Pastor Lowentraut of Lausitz ‘published a new eirenicon under the title “One Holy Catholic (Allgemeine) Church” in which he shoed that between the teaching of Lutheranism in its classical form, and official Roman Catholic dogma, no essential difference was to be discerned.’ [Northern Catholicism, p. 481.]

A writer in Blackfriars (January 1934) called attention to a remarkable appeal from the Protestant Carl Thieme for a return to Catholic unity of German evangelical Christians. ‘He urges the dissemination of the conclusions of recent Protestant scholarship which establish historically and scientifically the primacy of Peter and his successors.’ He pleads for corporate unity, and asks the Roman Church to receive back ‘the prodigal sons of the evangelical Church into their Father’s house—not indeed as individual converts, but as corporate communities with their own pastors and vernacular liturgy.’ Modern critical methods are restoring the principle of authority in the Church, and what was thought in some quarters to have been irretrievably ruined is found by these methods to be rooted firmly in history and in law.


The reigning Pope is a many-sided and in some respects a unique man. If his life had been cast on different lines he would have made a first-class Alpine guide, a peer of such men as Jean-Antoine Carrel or Franz Lochmatter; for in 1889 Don Achille Ratti with another young priest accomplished a double record in ascending and descending for the first time the highest peak of Monte Rosa on the Italian side. [Pius XI, by Denis Gwynn, p. 44] He is a man of stalwart and great physical strength, a man of quick decision, and resolute to accomplish ‘tasks never previously attempted.’ [He once saved the life of his guide on the Gran Paradiso by holding him—a very heavy man—for several minutes.] On his intellectual side, if his destiny had not raised him to the oldest throne in Europe, he would have spent his life on research. In 1882 he [7/8] won ‘the supreme distinction of a triple doctorate’ at the Gregorian University, and five years afterwards was elected a Doctor of the great Ambrosian Library in Milan, and became in 1907 Prefect of that library, rich with its 250,000 printed volumes and 15,000 manuscripts. In that Library and that of the Vatican of which he became Vice-Prefect in 1911, and Prefect in 1914, he passed thirty years (from 1888 to 1918), and became one of the most skilful librarians of the world, and one of the most learned researchers. His essays and papers amount to nearly a hundred, and his principal works are the three volumes of the Acts of the Church of Milan and his Missale Ambrosianum Duplex. On the counter-reformation, the Council of Trent, the life and times of St. Charles Borromeo, and of Leonardo da Vinci, he is an expert with a European reputation; and his Alpine papers have given pleasure doubtless to many fellow mountaineers of all nations. He was the co-founder of two Universities (those of Milan and Warsaw). He was a man who had the reputation of being one of the best linguists of the Papal Court, and he can preach in several languages beside his own. He is a man of courage both physical and moral as proved both on Alp and in war. He is a man of strict discipline of life. But although for thirty years he led the life of a learned savant and scholar, God’s good purpose destined him for greater deeds in history. In 1918 he was called for ever from the pleasant paths of learning to battle for the Kingdom of God in the council chambers of Europe. His mission at Warsaw and in Upper Silesia was full of wonderful scenes and laborious and successful work. In the moral forces which finally achieved the independence of Poland and her delivery from the yoke of the Bolsheviks, Monsignor Ratti played a great and decisive part.

[9] After the war it was decided at Rome that his European prestige was such, that he could not be spared and given leave to recommence his interrupted career of learning by returning to the Vatican Library.

Created at the age of sixty-four Archbishop of Milan and Cardinal, he had hardly settled in his diocese when the votes of the last conclave at the beginning of 1922 made him Pope under the title of Pius XI.

The world problems presented to the Head of Christianity, and ruler of the largest international Church of the world, after the most widely extended and devastating war in history, were numerous and pressing. Robust and strongly built both in physique and character, taking advantage of every modern invention and the most up-to-date methods, this unique ruler, who combines within his person the athlete, savant, statesman, priest, set out to solve the insoluble problem of the temporal power of the Popes, just as in years gone by he set out to scale by a pioneer route a great Alpine peak. The Treaty of the Lateran, with its accompanying Concordat with Italy, by which the territorial independence of the Head of Christianity is assured by the sovereignty of the most unique square mile of territory in the world, and the Catholic religion recognized by Italy as the religion of the State, is an achievement which only a moral mountaineer could accomplish. Of his general work as Head of the international Church, the extension of the machinery of the Church all over the world at a greatly accelerated speed, is very notable. He has instituted a new world-wide festival, that of Christ the King, and from time to time he fortifies by incisive Encyclicals the basic principles of the family, of education, of morals, and of society.

[10] This is the man of unique training, unique experience, unique decision, and unique destiny among the Popes, who seems to be marked out, not only to solve the question of the temporal power, but to close the breach of 400 years standing between England and Rome by the reconcilement to uniate status of that part of the Church of England, which can qualify itself by a definite agreement in doctrine. Only a daring Pope can accomplish such a task, and the initiative must be his by acting on the Catholic principle that ‘all Latins are Catholic, but not all Catholics Latin. Uniate status will recreate an English vernacular Church, and close the breach of 400 years, and shut out none except modernists, irreconcilable protestants, and those obsessed by the State connection. If those three classes comprehend three-quarters of the modern Church of England, the offer of uniate status will at least divide the precious metal of Catholicism from the dross, and every ‘potential’ Catholic in the Church of England will know where he stands.


It might truly be said that the Bench of Bishops in England has never had better men than now. Probably without exception all are devout and earnest men; many of them are learned, and all well educated. They are the flower of the public schools system. The average, both of learning and character, is high. With one exception no body of men could be better balanced. They are ‘free thinkers’ in the highest sense, the sense in which the late Bishop Gore was proud to reckon himself a ‘free thinker.’ They are without exception national in sympathy, and have little knowledge and no experience of what they euphoniously term ‘the great Latin Church of the West.’ Negative prejudices against this same international Church are bred in their bones, and there is a certain fear in them of those positive Protestant prejudices, which, being men of high education, they do not share. They are so accustomed to contradictory opinions in their parishes and dioceses, and to unofficial modernism among the more learned and aggressive clergy, that their dominant desire is not for authority to solve these questions, but for quiet discussion and pragmatic experiment, and for the silent winnowing of error [10/11] thereby. Their whole natural prejudice is quietly but effectively excited at the idea that Peter’s ‘Universal Successor’ should be recognized as the irreformable court of appeal on doctrine and morals. But given some means by which their national feeling could be preserved, they are (with few exceptions) the very stuff of a first-class Catholic episcopate. Generally speaking, no body of men could more highly deserve the trust and esteem of the Church at large, but most of them are not theologians as that word is understood in Catholic Europe, and many of their theological deficiencies are caused by this fact. The reigning Archbishop is a man of wide vision and long views, Catholic in sympathies (as that adjective is understood in Anglican circles) with a background of the best evangelical piety, and a knowledge of men such as most capable Scotchmen possess and make use of to rule their southern brethren, whether in Church or State. He is free from the Victorian prejudices of his predecessor, which were at once his limitation, and the gauge of success in his own generation.


The reconciliation of the Church of England to the Holy See must in theory be the reconciliation of the whole of that Church; but in practice it can only be the reconciliation of the Catholic-minded section; for there are many sections of the State Church which are, as it were, set in schism, and regard religion as a matter of individual opinion and choice, with which no central and binding authority has any right to interfere. We cannot quarrel with this principle, or hold it unreasonable, for it is the central principle of Protestantism; but it would be folly to postpone the healing of the schism indefinitely because of it.


The best sort of Evangelical comes nearer to the type of the Catholic Saint than any other kind of Anglican. The point of likeness is a profound devotion to the Person of our Lord. The doctrinal disagreement of Evangelicals with Catholics is due to a certain philosophical simplicity on the part of the Evangelical. He believes that any child can understand conceptions like ‘matter,’ ‘time,’ ‘space’ (three of the mysteries most grueling to the [11/12] human mind) and regards ‘eternity’ as unending time instead of as a mystery where there is no ‘succession.’ Consequently the philosophical background of Catholic doctrine is a closed book to him, and the caricature in his mind of Catholic doctrine rightly seems to him a gross superstition.


The very important party of Modernists, Liberal churchmen, or Broad churchmen will be discussed in full in Chapter II.


Anglo-Catholics can lay claim to a high measure of orthodoxy for 400 years. They represent the initial and disastrous ‘reform’ of Henry VIII. Their troubles have from the beginning been those of jurisdiction rather than of pure doctrine. They represent the Church of England before the introduction of Swiss and Lutheran elements modified the local Church in the direction of Protestantism. In a certain definite sense they are the Church of England; and from the forces of reconciliation with Rome must arise.


There are two views of the Church of England. The usual view is that it consists of four great parties shading off into one another and to two extremes. First the moderate Anglican party: secondly the Broad Church or modernist party: thirdly the Evangelicals: and fourthly the Anglo-Catholic or High Church party. To those who hold this view the reconciliation of the Roman and English Churches is impossible. It is not practical. It [12/13] must be relegated to the Greek Kalends. It is merely a pious aspiration. There is no need to waste thought on it. The other view is that, as the Church of England claims to be Catholic, and as the Catholic Faith is a definite thing, and cannot be added to or lessened by geographical situation, the Church of England consists in reality of orthodox Anglo-Catholics to whom the other parties are historical addenda, recognized only as a matter of charity, good will, and temporary necessity; so that in essence orthodox Anglo-Catholics are the whole Church of England. The claim that orthodox Anglo-Catholics are not a party but the whole Church is not so extraordinary as it seems at first sight; for Christianity is not democratic. It has no faith in numbers per se. It was enough in the sight of God that 7,000 had not bowed the knee to the royal god. [I Kings xix, 18; Rom. xi, 4] Neither does genuine Christianity look to endowments or buildings which are shared by all four groups, nor to the legal definitions of the secular law-courts, which have their use only as relating the property and actionable rights of any public institution, religious or lay. But on the other hand it must be realized that the essentials of the Faith are much more widely distributed than the above statement might seem to imply; so that if the Church of England were doctrinally purged and the dross separated from the precious metal, the resulting Church of England would be more numerous than the present number of the Anglo-Catholic group. Moreover there are possibly many small sporadic groups among nonconformists who are ready for a bold policy on the part of the Holy See, which would not necessarily enforce membership of the Latin Church as the only price of redemption from schism. They are people whose radical prejudice against a State Church rightly militates against their joining the present Church of England.


The unofficial Church of England is full of rampant heresy and good intentions. But the official Church of England is absolutely sound on all essentials except unity. Unity is a mystery of which English people have little comprehension. It is however with the official Church of England that Rome must first deal. [13/14] She will have whole-hearted sympathy from the ‘extreme’ Anglo-Catholic body, a respectful and sympathetic hearing from all but a few of the more insular or national type of Anglo-Catholics, but a definite rejection by Modernists, Broad Churchmen, and Protestants in the National Church. In theory the approach must be to the whole Church of England, but in practice it will be only to the part with Catholic sympathies. Such an approach on the part of Rome will divide the sheep from the goats. It will enlist on the part of unity all those who, while convinced that the Holy See is the centre of unity, love with a deep and profound love their own National Church, and cannot bring themselves to purchase their own individual unity at the price of leaving England in disunity and chaos, because the Latin Church persists, even after 400 years, in her ultimatum of absorption. If the main point of possible reconciliation were made plain (namely that the status of the reconciled Church of England would be that of a Uniate Church) a great obstacle would have been taken away; for the dread of absorption in the Latin Church is the bugbear at the back of all minds in the Church of England. It might astonish both Rome and Canterbruy to discover (once the bogey of absorption was exorcised) how numerous are the clergy and faithful who would recognize not only the primacy but the supremacy of Peter’s successor as the final and irreformable court of appeal on matters of doctrine and morals.


If it be that the modern Church of England has invalid Orders, invalid through former lack of intention, yet in other respects she is an organized Church. And her authorities have already made it clear that, despite their own satisfaction with the character of their present Orders, they will, as an act of good will and of deep desire for the unity of all Christians, take whatever steps are desired to rectify in the minds of others these same Orders before reconciliation (Report of the Lambeth Conference 1920, p. 135).


If Rome would once for all make the authorities of the Church of England realize that, given doctrinal agreement, the closing of the breach of the sixteenth century would indeed mean absorption [14/15] in the Catholic Church, but not absorption in the Latin Church; that such reconciliation would create a constitutional autonomy under the Vicar of Christ, and would not make the Church of England a department under the Roman Curia; that it would mean the continuance of the vernacular language at Mass and all other services of the Church; would not abolish other ancient customs like communion in both kinds; and that a temporary relaxation of clerical celibacy as regards marriages already contracted would be made; then, the way would be opened to a sympathetic examination both of doctrine and jurisdiction, and many who have hitherto opposed the Papal claims to be the centre and bond of unity, would be inclined to acknowledge them, as the providential means under God of preserving the ancient Faith in the modern world. Hitherto there has been an immediate refusal to entertain any sympathetic examination of the Papal claims on the part of the Anglican authorities, because it was though that the only channel of reconciliation approved by the Roman authorities was loss of identity on the part of the Church of England, and absolute absorption in the Latin Church.


In the days of Cardinal Wiseman, of Father Ignatius Spender, and of Ambrose Phillipps De Lise there are extravagant hopes of the rapid conversion of England. That was three generations ago. But although the progress of the Latin Church in England has been impressive, the conversion of England seems [15/16] as far off as ever. There has been progress but it is slow. A hundred years ago one person out of twenty-six was Catholic. Now one person out of eighteen is probably a Catholic. In 1829 there were only four Vicars Apostolic: now there are four Archbishops and fourteen Suffragan Bishops. The Catholic population of England and Wales is computed at two and a quarter millions out of forty millions. In Cardinal Vaughan’s time the annual number of converts was about 7,000; now it is about 12,000. But this is more than balanced by an annual leakage at the other end of the social scale in the case of those from the elementary schools, who are lost to the Faith when they go out to work in non-Catholic environments.

The gratifying increase in the Catholic community arose chiefly from two causes (I) the natural increase in births (2) Irish immigration. The second of these is not likely to operate on any large scale in the future except perhaps in Scotland, and after all, immigration on whaetever scale of Irish Catholics is not tantamount to the conversion of English people. Every year however between 60,000 and 70,000 children are added by birth to the Catholic Church in England, making a net increase, when balanced by annual deaths, of 45,000. The conversion of England at that rate, even if all leakage was stopped, would take between six and seven centuries!

Furthermore many of these 12,000 English converts are Anglo-Catholics who by the fact of their conversion become useless in spreading the Faith in the churches and parishes of England. They are cut off from the main body of their nation, and [16/17] are looked on by their fellow countrymen as a segregated class belonging to a foreign form of the Christian religion. It is the absence of uniate status in the Church of England which cuts them off from their usefulness in influencing the main body of the nation in the direction of Catholicism, and reconcilement with the Holy See.

It must be realized that though the Catholic stock is steadily increasing in the population, yet it is separated in great part from the main body of the nation. To convert corporate masses of the English people the Holy See must annex the large Catholic-minded section of the Church of England, which, even in its most moderate sections, is radically sound in doctrine. England can never be converted except by a rite which uses English as its liturgical language, and the Authorized Version of the Bible.


There was an attempt at Corporative Reunion some seventy years ago. But that was made on the basis of the Branch theory. It is true that the promoters disavowed this theory; but there is little doubt that this was the practical basis of their proposals. It is difficult to see how Rome can negotiate on such an obsolete theory as that of the three Branches (Latin, Greek and English). Such a theory is a sort of spiritual solar system without a sun or centre. The dispersal of such a system to the four winds is only a matter of time. There was no attempt in 1865 to get the Anglican members of the Association for the Promotion of the Unity of Christendom to adopt a more scientific theory of the Church. Cardinal Wiseman had just died. Archbishop Manning was unsympathetic. Both were great Archbishops, but probably Wiseman was a far greater man. Wiseman, if not overpersuaded by Manning, would have sent Catholics to Oxford. Manning’s prejudices postponed this benefit for a whole generation. In the same way Wiseman would probably have met the 200 Anglican priests half way, guided their conception of the Church to proper lines, and might have even persuaded the authorities in Rome to [17/18] have given them uniate status. Manning shut down the lid on their hopes, and the opportunity which was then offered to Westminster of fishing on the right side of the ship, was lost for seventy years. [John xxi, 6] It may be that it was by the good providence of God that this matter was delayed, for in the last seventy years the Catholicizing of the Church of England has made great strides.


In order to approach fruitfully the problem of reconciliation between the Holy See and England, it is necessary to distinguish between the unofficial Church of England and the official Church. And this distinction is rooted on characteristics peculiar to English people, which do not exist in anything like the same degree on the Continent. The English people are sturdily independent, and resent profoundly any dictation of opinion. Hence trade unions, councils, labour meetings, may say outrageous and even subversive things, and then, when the safety valve for sturdy independence has been exploited, and individual opinions proclaimed with braying trumpets under the eyes of an indulgent public, these champions of independence will in most cases acts as dutiful and devoted citizens of a state of which all in their secret hearts are proud.

This characteristic can be observed without difficulty in the area of religious controversy in England. Independence is the darling god of the average Englishman. When he has worshiped this idol he is prepared to be almost a religious man, and to be proud of the Church of England as the national religion. Hence the papers are from time to time filled with the most startling heresies from Bishops, Canons, and ecclesiastical professors, which are all unofficial, but characteristic of this firm resolve to champion even outrageous heresy, lest truth be thrust upon the individual contrary to his will. Prosecutions for heresy are almost unworkable in a State Church, and unofficial heresy is winked at as a lesser evil than an institutional split. From time to time the Archbishop of Canterbury voices the orthodox and unofficial view of the Church of England as a counterblast to some more disturbing and strange novelty, as in the Liverpool case, [18/19] or the case of the manifest on ‘Church Unity’ of June 1934, in which episcopacy is emasculated to vanishing point as a sop for nonconformist reunion, though the letter is signed by five Anglican Bishops.


Most Church people feel profoundly grateful to the Archbishop for his quiet yet courageous assertion of the official view of the Church of England; but although the flag is saved, the souls of the faithful are wounded and maimed by this chaos of heresy within the gates. The Bishops, who have been rebuked with so much quiet dignity, will bow in all courtesy to the Archbishop, but on the other hand they will quietly smile, gird up their loins, and will not be turned by so much as a hair’s breadth from teaching their own private opinions. The Church of England must be held responsible not only for its orthodox official creed, but for its vast area of unofficial heresy, published generally by its officials, which works on souls with far greater effect than its official orthodox. Heresy is thrilling to the multitude. Orthodoxy is more than boring: it is out of fashion.

And further, unofficial heresy is now on so large a scale that if some radical purge is not soon introduced, the official orthodoxy of the Church of England will soon be submerged in a veritable ocean of unofficial heresies, and the Church of England will cease to claim in any reasonable way continued possession of her Catholic heritage in doctrine.



WHY is a supreme authority in faith and morals so ardently desired at the present time by thoughtful Anglo-Catholics? It is because some supreme authority is necessary in order to deal with the present anarchy of the Church of England in doctrine and morals. [See letter of Bishop Gore in Times, September 19, 1928: ‘The Anglican Church—at least in England—is in grievous danger because it can no longer plausibly explain to the world or its own members what it stands for.’ In another part of the same letter Bishop Gore says, ‘Toleration has reached the point of extravagance.’]


The policy of the last Archbishop of Canterbury was to prevent the disruption of the Church of England at any cost. It was a grand aim and was faithfully pursued. It is justifiable to say that if this had not been the aim of the Archbishop he would have betrayed a great historical trust. But this policy had been irretrievably shattered, not by Evangelicals but by Modernists. The acid of Modernism, which bites into every Catholic doctrine and consumes it to breaking point, has perhaps made the final disruption of the Church of England inevitable. Let us save all sound parts for Catholic unity.


Out of the anarchy are emerging two great formative forces, Modernism and Catholicism. When we look out on the religious world of England, her empire, and the continent, those movements, one a de-Catholicizing movement, and the other a Catholicizing movement, can be seen well under way. The first processes in the formation of a pan-Modernist bloc and of a pan-Catholic bloc can be discerned.


It is likely that the established Church of England will be split in the process by which these two blocs are differentiated; [20/21] and that the smaller half of the local Church to which Anglo-Catholics belong will eventually be drawn to the pan-Catholic bloc; and that the larger half of the Church of England will be drawn to the pan-Modernist or pan-Protestant bloc, and make with those Free Churchmen, who are not drawn to Catholicism, a racial church in England and the Dominions. This will be of Arian type and of Modernist spirit, and as such opposed to supernatural doctrines like the Virgin Birth and the bodily resurrection of our Lord. It will regard our Lord as the greatest of the prophets, and will tend in the direction of an unformulated Unitarianism. The choice before Anglo-Catholics is likely to be, to become either Unitarian or Uniate.


It is possible that to this great pan-Protestant, Modernistic, and Unitarian bloc a reformed Judaism will ally itself; for a Christianity emasculated and minimized by Modernism is in fact the Jewish religion with two differences: in that it is without the law of Moses, and has one extra prophet, Jesus of Nazareth. [‘Liberal Jews and Christian Modernists are stretching out their hands to one another now as never before.’—Modern Churchman, Vol. XXIII, p. 129 (June 1933)]


If this pan-Moderist bloc does not in course of time degenerate into pantheism and the non-morality of pagan times, but succeeds in keeping some virile discipline over its sons and daughters, it may still be an instrument for good in the evolution of man; but on the other hand it is so utterly removed from the spirit of the supernatural, that Catholics can have none of it; and they at all events must look for an absorption in another bloc, the pan-Catholic, which would include all the Orthodox, the Latin Church, and the Uniate Churches of the East, as well as Anglo-Catholics.

The establishment of these blocs seems to be inevitable; but it is none the less to be regretted, unless indeed it is an unavoidable stage towards the ultimate unity of the whole Christian body by a definite differentiation of sound and unsound teaching, of Catholic truth and Modernist error.

[22] At home the anarchy in faith and morals grows apace in those areas of the Church of England which are not strictly Anglo-Catholic; and indeed modernism often attempts to leaven the teaching of professedly Anglo-Catholic clergy.

The inroads of modernism (which is a very ancient intellectual toxicosis) have been legion in the last twenty years. The unofficial heresies of its public teachers are banded about in the market place, and the most essential doctrines of the Catholic Church such as the Fall, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, the Sacrament of the Eucharist are called in question, and quietly disparaged, and put aside.


It is always an invidious thing to give personal instances, because the battle is against erroneous teaching, and not against persons; and if the case of the somewhat notorious Anglican Bishop of Birmingham, Dr. Ernest Barnes, is cited it is with the utmost appreciation of his many personal merits, and a warm appraisement of his pure and courageous character, though it must be admitted that often he lacks a charitable appreciation of his opponent’s case.


The Anglican Bishop of Birmingham has ‘rationalized’ the Catholic doctrine of the Incarnation. He tells us that our Lord was a ‘Galilaean artisan’ who ‘had not and could not pretend to have the laboriously co-ordinated knowledge of the man of science’ (sermon in Westminster Abbey, April 1, 1928). He tells us that the Church has never made the unguarded statement that Jesus was God (ditto, September 30, 1923). He tells us that Jesus was not God because he was neither omnipotent nor omniscient (Should Such a Faith Offend? p. 152).

Again the Anglican Bishop of Birmingham has rationalistic beliefs on the Blessed Sacrament; but to those who have followed the religious controversy of the last ten years there is no need to detail in this place the regrettable things he has said in this [22/23] connection, for they are frequent and notorious; nor is it necessary to allude in detail to his relations with the Anglo-Catholic clergy of his diocese, or to recount the correspondence which passed between him and the late Archbishop of Canterbury. The cumulative record of this Bishop shows clearly that modernism, such as this, is the fruitful cause of intellectual and doctrinal anarchy in any Church, which professes to teach the ancient Catholic Faith. But the Anglican Bishop of Birmingham is consistent and courageous, and in instituting a certain clergyman to his new parish in the summer of 1934, he ‘repeated once again his contention that the Creeds are not infallible, and denied that a doubt as to the Virgin Birth or the Empty Tomb disqualified a man from the ministry of the Church.’ Only a sufficient efflux of time is wanted to flood the Church of England with earnest, sincere, and able ministers in every town, village, and district, who believe neither in the Virgin Birth, nor in the Resurrection.

The Anglican Bishop of Birmingham may claim to teach in the name of the Established Church of England. We do not contest such claim; but it is plain that he and his Modernist disciples have no claim to teach in the name of the Catholic Church, as that term was understood by the Ancient Fathers, or is understood by the modern international Church of the West. Dr. Barnes therefore must be regarded merely as a highly placed official of a State Church comprehensive enough, both in law and custom, to have a legitimate place even for him.


A Unitarian minister, the Reverend Lawrence Redfern, whose personal character would probably be an asset to any civilized community, but whose professed creed makes him an unsuitable teacher in the pulpit of a Catholic Cathedral, was invited by the authorities of the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool to preach there on October 22, 1933. The Modern Churchman (Vol. XXIII, p. 526, same year) in a laudatory comment on the courage of the Modernist authorities of this Cathedral stated in effect that Unitarianism and Modernist Christianity are tending to be united in a ‘higher synthesis of theological teaching.’

[24] That this action of some of the authorities of Liverpool Cathedral has been officially disowned is a matter of congratulation, but the incident has shown that unformulated Unitarianism is existent in thought and sympathy in the Church of England.


The new quasi-Unitarian religion of Liverpool Cathedral with its broad but nebulous sympathies for every kind of religion save Anglo-Catholicism, is not at a loss to invent ornate ceremonial of its own, while decrying and avoiding the age-long ceremonies of the Catholic Church. On Sunday, July 15, 1934, the ‘Tunnel festival week’ was inaugurated ‘with an elaborate service at the Cathedral for the Hallowing of the Festival of the Seven Lamps, symbolical of civic greatness.’ The seven lamps were received by ‘seven scarlet-clad choirboys’ and the Canon in Residence presented to the Bishop a petition asking him to perform the hallowing ceremony, and Dr. David was escorted to light one of the lamps. The six others were lighted by the Lord Mayor, Lord Derby and other city notables. ‘Then the Bishop, followed by the lamps bearers, proceeded to the alter, and after prayers, the lamps were borne out to the city to the accompaniment of blasts from buglers.’ Invented ceremony holds good in a Cathedral in which the authorities would deprecate a correctly presented High Mass with its precedents of many centuries.


The Reverend J. F. Bethune Baker, the Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity in Cambridge, a man rightly revered for his life of study, his high character, and genuine Christian kindness, has lately stated that the Virgin Birth (‘an old belief about the way in which the Incarnation was effected’) is ‘an incubus and an impediment’ ‘to all who seek real reconciliation between the old and the new.’ It is true that the Virgin Birth is not required for any of the nebulous theories of Incarnation professed by Modernists, but it is essential to the age-long Catholic doctrine of the Incarnation which, in its absence, is minimized to a natural enfleshment of an ideal but merely human character.

[25] In Oxford the Principal of one of our theological colleges casts overboard the Catholic doctrine of Baptism, and the expiatory doctrine of the Atonement as shadowed forth in the order of Holy Communion.


These are merely two instances of destructive Modernism at the Universities out of the thousand and one which might be quoted. It would be impossible to take the names of a score of other Modernists in the state Church, and to make a catena of rationalistic and minimizing errors openly taughter and disseminated by them.


It is a mistake to think that modernism is new. The name only is new, and dates from 1907. Mr. Wilfrid Ward points out that ‘the rejection of nature miracles on a priori grounds is not a peculiarity of nineteenth-century culture. The explaining away of the Incarnation of Christ by postulating similar incarnations in man is at least as old as Amalric of Bena. No student of the first half of the thirteenth century can fail to see many of the same forces at work in the University of Paris in those years as we witness in modern England.’ St. Bernard tells us that Abelard’s ‘disciples debate in the streets the Virgin Birth and the Sacrament of the Altar. The state of the argument on such questions was then essentially what it is now.—Thus liberal Churchmen of today in many of their contentions only clothe an old tendency in a modern dress.’ The Church must face the Modernist menace in [25/26] every age. If she fails her very blood is poisoned by the waste products of her own intellectual life. Decline and death would be her fate.


All devout scholars, such as Newman, advocate liberty of thought in the domain of science and in those regions were thought, owing to the nature of the area investigated, can ‘really be brought to a successful issue.’ But Modernism in the restricted sense in which the name is properly used, and indeed in the only sense in which it has been condemned, is an attempt ‘to carry into the domain of religious inquiry and faith those methods of reasoning which are applicable only to the regions of experience.’

It is perfectly certain that the assured results of Biblical criticism can be reconciled with the real preservation of the Church’s doctrines without any successful attempt at minimizing those doctrines; for Catholicism is not the most archaic form of Protestantism depending on private judgment, but a revelation of divine and super-cognizable things in human terms. Patience and loyalty will accomplish the task of reconciling divine truth with human approximations to that truth. Impatience and mistaken loyalty to half-truths on the part of modernists will make shipwreck of many souls.

Almost thirty-five years ago Mr. Wilfrid Ward gave an address to a Catholic Conference on the conservative genius of the Church. It was remarkable for its treatment of this great historical principle which both preserves and renews.

[27] The Church has had to face from the beginning ‘the characteristic movements of each successive age.’ When they were aggressive against her, she has always resisted them officially; but in the long run she has taken from them whatever was true and good, and has assimilated these good elements into her own system. Fas est ab hoste doceri. In the words of Cardinal Newman: ‘She broke them in pieces and divided the spoils,’ or in the spirit of St. Paul: ‘She cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and brought into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.’ This process in history has always been threefold: first resistance; secondly digestion; and thirdly an assimilation of good elements with a continued rejection of the bad.


There are other instances of anarchy to which attention must be drawn, for the South Indian Scheme is another striking symptom of the doctrinal chaos of the Anglican Communion. By means of this scheme a union of assorted beliefs is to be endorsed by a nominal restoration of episcopacy, at the price that merely symbolical and lay eucharists shall be unofficially but practically acknowledged by four dioceses of the Church of India as valid and equal to the Catholic Mass. This jockeying with Catholic order and the Catholic doctrine of the Mass, is likely to demolish any claim to be in the apostolic succession on the part of the eventual South Indian Church. Another Protestant sect will have been created, with a nominal episcopacy utterly unrecognized by Catholics and Orthodox for lack of intention to ordain sacrificing priests; for something more than mere [27/28] mechanical imposition of hands is needed to continue the sacerdotium.


Furthermore any specious reasoning which can be advanced for the merely symbolical and subjective Eucharist of Free Church Ministers can be applied to any devout woman who has been solemnly and of set purpose set aside for this ministry; and it is likely that in the South India Church we shall eventually see invalid, but still devout, Eucharists taken by a lady assistant minister. Such a body, permitting merely symbolical Eucharists and female clergy, would be a Protestant sect, and not part of the Catholic Church, which has its own use for devout women in religious communities.


There is no doubt of the nature of the so-called ‘episcopacy’ of the future South India United Church. The minds of Free Churchmen have been disclosed. In the Methodist Conference in Leicester in July 1934 the Reverend. W. F. Lofthouse, who had recently visited India at the request of the Conference, said that ‘in the new Church there would be Bishops, just as there were Bishops in the Lutheran Church in German, and in the Methodist Episcopal Church of America.’ The title ‘Bishops’ will be that of the head official of the Church regardless of Apostolical Succession (save nominally), or of Catholic ‘intention.’


Moreover there is little doubt from the letter of the nineteen English diocesan Bishops which appeared in The Times on December 2, 1932, that, if such a scheme as now proposed for [28/29] South India should be successful, a scheme on parallel lines will be introduced in England and in each of the Dominions, and the Catholic Church of England torn from end to end.

And moreover the erection of a female priesthood is an actual project in neo-Evangelical circles. In January of last years (1933) the Anglican group for the ordination of women to historic orders held a conference in the City of Oxford, and the two principal speakers were the Principal of Ridley Hall and a lady tutor of Newnham.

Any successful attempt to establish the official ministry of women in the Church of England would for ever debar her claim to be a potential part of the Catholic Church.


In parish after parish there is contradictory doctrinal teaching. Doctrines are merely opinions. The opinion of one incumbent is as good as another’s in the minds of the laity. This is where the lack of definite authority leads an intelligent people. It is inevitable. Some purging is necessary. If circumstances under the good Providence of God provided this necessary purging by giving a common Catholic standard to all priests of a Uniate Church of England, no longer would the Anglo-Catholic priest teach without authority, and with the danger that every article of teaching in his pulpit would be contradicted by a fellow clergyman belonging to the same body in the next parish.


By English law if a clergyman of the Established Church refuses to marry divorced persons in his church, he is compelled to permit any other clergyman, who may be entitled to officiate with the diocese, to perform such marriage service in such church (20 and 21 Vict. c. 85. Sec. 57 and 58).

These provisions impose themselves both on incumbents and Bishops of the Established Church. The Bishop of London, however, a man of the kindes heart, and of unimpeachable [29/30] honour, who has been the mainstay of the Catholic movement in London has ‘long insisted on his diocesan rule against the marriage of any divorced person.’ His recent action therefore (July 1934) by which he has thought fit under ‘special and very tragical circumstances’ to make an exception to this rule has struck dismay into the hearts of the ‘Catholic party.’ He has yielded a principle in one particular case, which throws overboard the Catholic rule against the marriage of divorced persons. Once an unvarying principle is compromised, the permanence of the principle is lost for good and all. It is impossible to teach it as a principle. It becomes a mere dispensable convention. The lack of definite Catholic authority in the Church of England makes it almost impossible for the best intentioned Bishop to be consistent in all circumstances.


And further there is overwhelming evidence that the Church of England is not now the Church of the teeming masses of Englishmen. The contact has been lost. The Church of England is regarded by the mass of uninstructed citizens as a rather obsolete state institution, and the clergy as an ecclesiastical civil service; but it is in their view a department of the State less useful and necessary than the Post Office or the Police.


Further: paganism in sex matters is rampant among those whose fathers and grandfathers professed and in most cases practised the morality of the English Church in the Victorian age. An interesting and exceedingly illuminative correspondence on ‘Morals of to-day’ has been lately published in a most reputable London weekly. What a Christian would characterize as the rampant and shamelessness of neo-pagan circles is represented as ‘a fundamental honesty, increasing yearly’ and a lady who signs herself with a well-known name fearlessly states [30/31] the neo-pagan attitude to married and unmarried fidelity to Christian standards.


As to administrative anarchy in the Church of England the episode of St. Hilary points to the powerlessness of the authorities to protect English Catholics against the harrying of the Protestant under-world, and to their lack of courage in facing the task of adapting modern worship to modern conditions on the lines of Catholic tradition.

A recent unsavoury trial proves the powerlessness of the authorities to remove an unsatisfactory cleric without creating a public scandal.

These instances of the many-headed anarchy now disrupting the Church of England have been given, because they one and all teach the prime necessity of restoring one principle of authority to which Catholics all over the world, to whatever rite they belong, can look; and looking, look not in vain.



WHO only can be the authority on morals and doctrine for the whole world? To what authority can we look except the supreme Head of all Catholic Christians, the occupant of the Apostolic see of Rome? It is almost unthinkable that Christians all over the world should look either to the Patriarch of Constantinople, or to the State Archbishop of Canterbury as the centre of unity. History resounds with the claims of Peter and his ‘universal successors’ to be the centre of unity; and history tells a sad story of disunity or spiritual paralysis in the case of those who have disallowed this claim.


It is curious that Anglo-Catholics have patiently withstood for many years all the doctrinal scandals of the Church of England without looking beyond her borders for a supreme authority. But now that a moral blinder has been forced upon us by the Lambeth Conference in the matter of contraception, it is felt that the end has come, and that some drastic remedy must be applied; and, realizing that authority is in chaos in the Church of England, rapidly increasing numbers are looking to a supreme authority beyond her borders.

With many-headed anarchy at home, and divided counsels at Lambeth, Anglo-Catholics, who have ride themselves of both [32/33] insular and historical prejudices, will look more and more to the Pope as supreme in faith and morals, and will make him the norm in disputed questions in these two spheres.

The chair of Peter has taken an uncompromising attitude on the contraception question, and one feels the truth of what a Birmingham nonconformist minister has said, that the voice of Peter is ‘the one uncompromising witness to that moral code of Christianity which preserves western civilization from final collapse: the iron bulwark against the overwhelming invasion of the corrupting neo-Paganism of our times.’


It is the wish of Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England to preserve their autonomy under the Pope, and yet to acknowledge his doctrinal and ethical supremacy in matters of faith and morals in as full a degree as the Latin and Uniate churches have acknowledged it, and do acknowledge it.


But at this point it must be realized at once that the Pope combines more than one status in his person. He Bishop of Rome (the foundation of all), Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Primate of Italy, Patriarch of the West, and Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church. It is suggested that our relations with His Holiness must be in his capacity of Supreme Pontiff only, and not in his capacity of Patriarch of the West, nor as head merely of the Latin Church.


Let us ask ourselves then some preliminary questions as regards this proposed autonomous Church under the Papacy. A necessary condition is that we recognize that any distinctive standard of doctrine on our part is impossible. Of course agreement in doctrine is not a necessary condition for Protestant reunion. Deep differences can exist side by side as to the nature of episcopacy, of Eucharistic doctrine, and even on great doctrines [33/34] like that of the Incarnation. These divergencies, provided that they be not in a Catholic direction, are not obstacles in a loose kind of Protestant federation. But in Catholic reunion absolute doctrinal agreement is necessary.

One of the greatest hindrances to any reconciliation of the English Church to the Apostolic see is the pretension of many of our authorities that there is a distinctive standard of doctrine for the Church of England. The Reunion question stands or falls on the principle that there is one Church and one Church only, the universal or Catholic Church of our creeds.

But there is one tremendous consequence of this principle that there is only one Church, and this consequence is that there can be only one doctrine and one standard of doctrine. Consequently there cannot be a distinctive standard of doctrine for the Church of England (unless of course she is merely a form of gentlemanly Protestantism); and when the authorities of the Church of England or Church newspapers talk about ‘the standard of Anglican doctrine’ they only betray their own haziness of historical and theological knowledge, and their own inability to distinguish between the Protestant and Catholic conceptions of doctrine. Catholic doctrine is always the same all over the world, whether it is explicit or implicit, whether it is in its defined stage or its undefined stage, whether it is a matter of the Incarnation, or of the Immaculate Conception; whereas Protestant doctrine varies from class to class, and from professor to professor, and is a matter of private judgment, or group judgment, or national judgement.


There can be of course Anglican standards of ceremonial or of rite, which may well vary all over the world to suit national temperaments, but there can be no Anglican standard of doctrine. Our own local documents such as our Prayer Book and Articles must be construed in such a way as not to conflict in doctrine with the Apostolic See. Newman has shown us the way in Tract 90 as regards the Articles. But immediately a body of Christians presumes to have a different standard of doctrine from that of the Universal Church, it becomes by this very fact a sect, and separates itself from the Universal Church.


[35] There is no need to accent the fact that Rome has always held herself out as the guardian of the original deposit, and that no modification on her part can be thought of as a preliminary for intercommunion. Rome will never level down; Canterbury must level up. And to commence this levelling up on our side a whole host of misunderstandings of Roman doctrine will have to be removed in the minds of English Churchmen. It was said by Newman of Keble in his later life, that he believed in the whole system of Catholic doctrine with the exception of Papal supremacy, and Papal infallibility.


If we exclude mere High Churchmen, and limit the name Anglo-Catholic to those who have cut themselves off from insular prejudges, and have thoroughly absorbed the main Catholic doctrines, and practice Catholic habits like Confession and prayers to Our Lady, then, it is needless perhaps to persuade such people to believe in Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception, or in her Assumption, because they have already received these doctrines; the one as defined by the Supreme Pontiff, and the other (although corporal assumption is not yet an article of faith) as part of the customary doctrine of East and West, and have welcomed these doctrines as part of the great deposit, defined or customary, of which the Catholic Church is guardian.


But there still remain the doctrines of supremacy and infallibility. In the limited space of this little book the arguments historical and doctrinal, for these dogmas cannot be fully explored, but a whole series of new studies of the Papal Supremacy, and its customary acknowledgment by the Church, has lately come into existence, commencing with two papers by the late Ireland Professor of Exegesis in the University of Oxford, Professor Cuthbert Turner, on the Prerogative position of Peter among the other Apostles (published in Theology in August and October 1926), down to Dr. Zachary Brooke’s very fine study of the English Church and the Papacy from the Norman Conquest to John.


[36] It is necessary not to be misled by the anti-Latin prejudice of such a revered Anglican scholar and saint as even Bishop Gore; for his anti-Latin prejudice made him say some amazing things, which the ordinary layman is not in a position to question. In view of Professor Turner’s studies on the headship of Peter, Bishop Gore’s dictum in 1922 that there was no ground for thinking that any official authority was given to St. Peter, over and above what was given to the rest of the Apostles, seems clean contrary to the facts; and four years afterwards, the Bishop’s inaccuracy on this point was quietly corrected by Professor Turner’s studies.

But there is another dictum of Bishop Gore with regard to the Eastern Churches which is frequently quoted, namely, that ‘the East never acknowledged the Roman claims to a divinely-granted supremacy.’

Nobody now can be so dogmatic and confident in this assertion, who has read Dr. Herbert Scott’s famous book The Eastern Churches and the Papacy, which has completely demonstrated with full documentation both the Eastern belief in the primacy and supremacy of the Pope, and that the spiritual descendants of those ancient Eastern Bishops have abandoned in modern times what they confessed at Chalcedon and Ephesus.


As to Unity, ‘the Oxford movement moves;’ and the last and final principle towards which it moves is the principle, that, ‘although Christians are divided the Catholic Church is not.’ Strictly speaking adults in the Church of England are Catholics only in expectancy. Until Anglicans are united with the centre of unity they are only ‘potential’ Catholics, Catholics by economy. But it must be added at once and emphatically, that to be a real Catholic it does not follow that it is necessary to be a member of the Latin Church. Otherwise the Uniates would not be reckoned as Catholics.


[37] And as to infallibility: A lawyer is quite accustomed to the idea of relative infallibility. The House of Lords is relatively infallible in English Law. It is the highest court. Its decisions can only be altered by fresh legislation by Parliament as a whole. The decisions of the House of Lords, however, are reformable by further legislation. But there is a higher conception of infallibility than mere relative infallibility; there is the idea of absolute infallibility, irreformable infallibility. The Pope is the highest judge in Christendom. Under certain special circumstances when the Pope, in discharge of the office of Pastor and Doctor of all Christians, defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the Universal Church, these decisions of his, promulgated in a certain war, are irreformable. Neither he, nor his successors nor any Council can reform them. They are infallible not merely relatively but absolutely.

But now comes the important point. The limits of papal infallibility according to a conservative school of Latin theologians are very narrow. This is excellently summarized by Dom Butler in the second volume of his Vatican Council.

Père Dublanchy (the author of a learned treatise on Infallibility, which he inserted in the great Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique published in 1923) gives a list of papal, as distinguished from conciliar, utterances, which by common consent are looked upon as certainly infallible ex cathedra definitions according to the Vatican decree. There are just twelve such in the whole range of Church history. Six are positive statements of Catholic doctrines beginning with the Tome of St. Leo, and ending with the definition of the Immaculate Conception by Pius IX: and six are condemnations of erroneous propositions of Luther, Jansen, Molinos, Fénelon, Quesnel, and the Council of Pistoia. If the infallible decisions of the Pope were pieced together equally along the centuries, the interval between them would be 161 years. Neither the condemnation of Anglican orders (which was inevitable in Victorian times), nor even the Encyclical ‘Pascendi’ (September 1907) are infallible or irreformable; though they are extremely unlikely to be reformed or cancelled in any way. What is far more important however for the unity of the faith of the Catholic Church throughout the world are the decrees of the [37/38] Ordinary magisterium of the Papacy, which are neither infallible in an absolute sense nor irreformable, but the practical decisions of what is in fact the highest judge of the Church in faith and morals.

In England it has come to this, that the choice before us is between the constructive magisterium of Rome, and the destructive anarchy of Birmingham. As Dom Butler remarks, both Père Choupin (the last edition of whose book Valeur des decisions doctrinales et disciplinaires du Saint-Siège appeared in 1928) and Père Dublanchy point out ‘that such adhesion to teaching not infallible is not the firm assent of faith, but a prudent asset based on a moral conviction that such teaching will be right.’ The day of such irreconcileables as Ward and Veuillot, who hoped that the Vatican definition ‘would issue in a constant flow of ex cathedra utterances, settling infallibly for Catholics questions of every kind,’ is gone for ever. [The Vatican Council, p. 226.]


As to the validity of Anglican Orders there is little need to be anxious in that matter. Such was the state of the Victorian Church of England as a whole, that it is abundantly possible to sympathize with the Latin Church in England and its unwillingness to find grounds for valid priesthood in the Established Church. But Anglican Orders are being quietly mended as regards Roman acknowledgement, by the insertion in our spiritual pedigree of episcopal lines, which Rome will acknowledge as valid but irregular. [It is worth while consulting a letter of Newman to Ambrose Phillipps De Lisle on this point. It was written on July 30, 1857, and can be found in Purcell’s Life of De Lisle, Vol. I, p. 371. It gives some idea of the horror of the unintentional sacrileges which the carelessness of those times seems to make likely.]

This is hinted at by a French Jesuit, Father de la Saudée, in an essay on the Anglo-Catholic movemet in the French paper Le Correspondant in the issue of April 10, 1932. On page 9 of the reprint we read that ‘the unchallenged validity of Eastern ordinations will shortly remedy the validity of Anglican orders. Precautions will be taken that Anglo-Catholic clergymen shall receive their orders from Bishops whose apostolic succession and intention cannot be challenged by Rome. The form used will be [38/39] such that no one can contest its validity. The Bull Apostolicae Curae will become then without any practical effect.’ [This reprint may be obtained from the Imprimerie Louis de Soye, 18 rue des Fossé-saint-Jacques, Paris V.]

These words coming from a French theologian for French readers are remarkable, and highly encouraging. He refers of course to co-consecrators of future Anglican Bishops, who will be eastern Bishops.

But this process has already begun. An old Catholic strain from the continent has been introduced by the part of the Bishop of Haarlem as co-consecrator of the present Bishop in Jerusalem, Mr. Graham Brown. His orders have been mended in the eyes of Rome, because per saltum he is now a deacon, priest and bishop of the Old Catholic succession; and those whom he may ordain in Jerusalem will be able to say a Mass, which, though irregular in the eyes of Rome, is nevertheless valid in their eyes.

It is most curious that one of the first bishops in the Anglican communion, whom Rome can acknowledge as a true Bishop, is a Low Churchman and a former principal of Wycliffe Hall in Oxford.

Furthermore on February 24, 1933, Archdeacon Buxton was consecrated Bishop of Gibraltar, and Monsignor Berends the old Catholic Bishop of Deventer, as one of the co-consecrators, both laid hands on the Bishop elected and repeated the consecrating words. [Letter of a Bishop present.] This process has since been repeated in other English consecrations. If foreign co-consecration of all our Bishops were the rule for two generations, English orders would be entirely mended in the eyes of Rome, and Leo XIII’s bull would fail, because the condition of things, which called for it, would have vanished away.


But quite apart from this mending of Anglican orders from the Latin point of view is the consideration, that, if there is an agreement on doctrine, and a real wish to achieve unity, doubtful [39/40] orders can be fortified by a second ordination, which to its recipients is merely a conditional ordination, though to its conferrers a first ordination. There is likely to be little difficlty, once there is dogmatic unity, in fortifying the orers of those who acknowledge fully the seat of unity in Rome. [There will be no difficult from the Anglo-Catholic point of view. See Report of Lambeth Conference, 1920, p. 135.]


It is necessary to review briefly the modes of reunion between Rome and Anglo-Catholics.


At this point it is necessary to allude to the fact that Anglo-Catholicism is not merely 100 years old. There have been Anglo-Catholics for 400 years, though they have often been overlaid and hidden by other groups in the Church of England. Anglo-Catholics represent the first reformation of the Church of England; and this first reformation was not primarily a revolt against Catholic doctrine, or the rest of the Catholic world, but against the misgovernment of the Latin Church. Because of this fact it was a perfectly definite exit from the Western patriarchate. Further it must be thoroughly well understood that theoretically speaking Anglo-Catholics are not a party at all, but the Church of England itself, and that Protestants and Modernists in the Church are only recognized by Anglo-Catholics as belonging to the Church of England by a species of economy, or practical concession, which has no force in logic. Only loose thinking will tolerate the conception that a Church can be of variegated Catholicism, one fraction ‘more Catholic’ than the rest. Anglo-Catholics must claim the whole of the Church of England. They have no logical claims whatever for a mere corner of it.


As regards modes of reunion, the absorption of Anglo-Catholicism in the Latin Church, and a restitution of the conditions obtaining before the Reformation, would be now impossible. The principle to be observed is expressed in the phrase that 'All Latins are Catholics, but all Catholics are not Latins.'


Roughly there are eight million Uniates in sixteen Uniate churches, who are not members of the Latin Church, which outnumbers them forty times; and the whole policy of the modern Papacy towards the Orthodox is not to attempt to Latinize them. Our northern blood, with our profound distrust of centralization, and our national love of administration by decentralization and committees, our attachment to English as our liturgical language, and our 400 years of separation, militate against any attempt to restore us to the pre-reformation conditions of the western Patriarchate.

Moreover the English genius has made one outstanding contribution to the science of government; and this contribution could have its ecclesiastical counterpart. British thought and practice have achieved an arrangement by which unity is combined with autonomous diversity. Since the recent Statute of Westminster the Dominions are united round and under the King, but their subjection to the British Parliament and Courts has become obsolete and now has been swept away. The King has a double status: he is Head of the Empire as well as King of Great Britain, and it is in his larger capacity that he has the devoted loyalty of every Briton in the Dominions. The Pope also has in the same sense a double status. He is Head of the Latin Church and sixteen Uniate Churches, but he is also Supreme Pontiff of all Catholic Christians. If an ecclesiastical counterpart to the Statute of Westminster had been possible in Rome in the early part of the sixteenth century, Tudor England might still have rested under Papal supremacy. To-day the parallel between constitutional and ecclesiastical unity in diversity holds good for many, and may hold good for many more, once its achievement has become practical. There are in the Dominions those who are profoundly loyal to the King as Head of the Empire, who will suffer no political subjection to the British House of Commons, and no subjection to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. And similarly there are those in England who are profoundly loyal to the Pope as the Head of Christendom, but, much as they admire the Latin Church and Curia, they are disinclined to be governed by them. A statute of Rome in the ecclesiastical world, parallel to the Statute of Westminster in the [41/42] English constitutional world, would extend the Papal guardianship of faith and morals to many, whose profound desire is for that unity in diversity, which would combine Papal Supremacy with decentralized autonomy.

Our loyalty to the Pope is to his status as Supreme Pontiff rather than as Western Patriarch; and everything tends to the idea that the way of reunion is the uniate way, with Canterbury as a new Patriarchate, and with confessions to English discipline and customs.


The title of Patriarch has become a little cheapened in modern times, since the days when there were only three, and later five, Patriarchates; for the title of Patriarch in Italy is an honorary title, the best known of these honorary Patriarchates being that of Venice. But a Patriarchate of Canterbury would be a real thing with a world-wide influence; and to have a Patriarch at Canterbury in full communion with the Apostolic see would mean that before the Patriarch could reign at Canterbury his election must be ‘confirmed’ by the Pope; and this would involve endorsement of his faith and doctrine by the same high authority. Furthermore no Bishops of the Patriarchate could govern unless the Patriarch in his turn similarly ‘confirmed’ their election before consecration; and so the English Bishop’s ‘confirmation’ would act as a doctrinal safeguard.

[Dean Hutton reminded us that in a certain indefinite sense Canterbury enjoyed the status of a patriarchate before the Reformation. ‘Anselm was welcomed by the Pope of his day as alterius orbis papa; and England was continually, now more, now less, regarded as being outside the “world” of which the German King was Roman Caesar and the Bishop of Rome universal ordinary. The position of Canterbury was, in fact, to a considerable extent that of a patriarchate, and if the comparison with the Eastern patriarchates is not a close one, that with Aquileia is more exact.’ (See of Canterbury in Dictionary of English Church History, p. 91.]

At present, the confirmation of a Bishop by the Archbishop of Canterbury or his Vicar-General is a fraud and a delusion, as far as the safeguarding of the faith is concerned, for the Archbishop cannot entertain any objections to a new Bishop founded on doctrine. Thus the way is open for the whole bench to be filled with Bishops of unsound views by the leading politicians of the day.

But to return to our immediate subject; the recognition of Canterbury as a uniate Patriarchate would mean that the church of England would be governed not by statute law, but by its own [42/43] code of canon law, which, although approved by the Pope, would not necessarily be exactly the same as Latin canon law.


It would be well that eventually the priesthood in the new Patriarchate should be celibate. Soldiers do not take their wives to battle, and the task of the Uniate Church of England will be in very truth a battle for God in English speaking countries. Women can take their part in prayer in 1,000 convents, and in good works there, and in the world. It may indeed be necessary to grant interim concessions to married priests (that is to say priests already married), but ultimately a celibate priesthood is the only workable arrangement.

The prospects of a Uniate Patriarchate of Canterbury with jurisdiction over Anglican congregations in the British Empire and in India, using a Mass in English even though it be a translations of the Latin Missal (and after all, the Roman Canon is the most magnificent prayer of the ages), and working in full unity with the Latin Church, would be immense. It may be that it would be one of the greatest Churches of history in fame and numbers, kept in unity both in doctrine and discipline by its loyalty to the Supreme Pontiff. ‘The glory of this latter house shall be greater than the former.’ Who knows? These things are in the hands of God.


But there is one point that we must not pass over without sympathetic treatment. There is already a flourishing Latin Church in England. What will be the relations of the English rite of the Uniate Patriarchate of Canterbury with the Latin rite of Westminster? Although we in the West are not accustomed to have two Catholic Ordinaries in one place, there is no reason why two Catholic rites, and two Catholic bishops should not exist in one country, and for the matter of that in one town. This is a common fact in the East. Each Catholic Uniate Bishop rules over his own flock, and each flock is in theory in intercommunion with the other.

In Damascus there are two Catholic Archbishops, namely a Melkite and a Syriac, and one Catholic Bishop who is a Maronite. [43/44] In Bagdad there are two Archbishops, a Latin and a Syriac. And even in Europe at Lemberg, in what was Australian Galicia, there are three Catholic Archbishops, a Latin, a Ruthenian, and an Armenian, all in full communion with the Apostolic See. We are told that ‘this involves no kind of cross-jurisdiction or rivalry. Each rules his own people.’


But before all things we must abandon wholly and utterly the High-Church denial of the continuity of the present Latin Church in England with the pre-reformation Church of England. With the facts of history before us it is astounding impertinence to look upon the Roman Church in England as schismatic. Continuity is not a simple idea. It is an exceedingly complex idea, for there is a legal continuity which may or may not coincide with spiritual continuity. No competent lawyer could be found to deny the legal continuity of the present state Church of England with the pre-reformation Church. But this legal continuity is discounted by the fact that it is in the power of Crown and Parliament to give legal continuity to whom they will. It was to the Calvinists in Scotland that the dominant party eventually gave this coveted legal continuity; and to-morrow a disgruntled Parliament might give it to the Modern Churchmen’s Union and their adherents, a case by no means impossible.

If people were more familiar with the almost unknown history of the ancient Roman Catholic county families, we should be somewhat ashamed of denying to them a real continuity. The history of one such ancient family is known to the writer. They have possessed their land for a thousand years; and yet, not for one year of that millennium, have they been out of full communion with the Apostolic See. Such a family will make a polite present to all controversialists of the legal continuity of the modern Church of England. They prefer Rome to Birmingham or Liverpool, a spiritual and doctrinal continuity to a legal continuity, which involves the unofficial dissemination of a hundred modernist heresies.

Let us then abandon any approach to the spirit which looks upon those faithful Catholics of the Latin rite as schismatics in [44/45] this country. Let us rather thank them from the bottom of our hearts for their noble stand for 400 years, and salute them as brothers of the Latin rite, and faithful sons of the Apostolic See.


It is probable that the inaccurate taunt of disloyalty will be levelled at Anglo-Catholics, who work for the uniate status of the Church to which they have devoted their lives, and for which they have suffered so much petty persecution. On the contrary Anglo-Catholics are intensively loyal both to the ancient Church of England and to the Church of England of the future. They are loyal to the old Tractarians, who steadfastly refused to be members of the Latin Church, yet craved or unity and intercommunion with that great and noble Church. But they cannot be loyal to the Erastian and Victorian conception of the Church of England, nor to the conception of comprehensiveness, which would unite two mutually conflicting doctrines in the calm assurance that, whichever is held, does not greatly matter. This is a Protestant conception, and does little harm to Protestants except for its intellectually corrosive effect; but doctrinal comprehensiveness is logically fatal to Catholicism, which is authoritative in essence.


The present venerated occupant of the Apostolic Throne is accounted on all sides one of the greatest of modern Popes, a man of wide vision, and courageous in initiative. To accomplish this reconciliation, however, men of wide vision will be needed on both sides, men, who because they reverence profoundly ancient precedents are bold enough to create new precedents to meet new necessities. Small men on both sides, even though they occupy high places will scorn these proposals; but men with wide vision will thank God that now at last the star of reconciliation appears rising above the horizon.

Project Canterbury