THERE is no doubt that the recently issued Call to Action—whether it be thought wise or not wise, just or not just, in its arguments and its aim—represents a widespread sense of indignation and alarm at certain more or less recent developments in the Anglo-Catholic Movement. People are asking us bitterly, 'What are you out for? Is it the introduction of the whole Roman system of doctrine and practice, only leaving out the actual duty of submission to Rome?' And there is no doubt that, while the British public are tolerant of the Roman Catholic Church in England, because they have no fear of it, they are still—not only those outside the Church of England but the vast majority of those within it—resolved that 'the Reformation shall not be undone' nor the Church of England subjected anew to Rome. And among those who, with all their heart, would claim to belong to the Catholic movement in the Church of England, there are great numbers—again, I should suppose, the great majority—who are anxious and disquieted about the tendency of things among us, and many of them are reproaching themselves for cowardice in not opposing an active enough resistance to those who have been dragging them on to very treacherous ground. There is nothing in all this to surprise us; it is what happens generally in any movement, which beginning in a small circle of thinkers and writers, becomes widespread and popular and tends to run riot. But it justifies one, who shares with many of his friends both enthusiasm for the Anglo-Catholic Movement and grave dissatisfaction with some current tendencies—speaking simply for himself, without any title to authority—in calling for a halt and for reconsideration of our aim, and in suggesting, if it may be so, a rallying point for forces which appear to be falling into confusion and to be on the way to lose a great and, I believe, a God-given opportunity.
And there is another motive in my mind for speaking. We old men inevitably remember the past. We were born, perhaps, when Keble and Pusey were still alive and at work. We were in constant touch with their immediate followers.
We know all about 'the Tractarian Movement.' But generations have passed: and the Great War has been a great gulf into which old memories have fallen and been lost. Even without any such break in social tradition, there is no period of history which men are so liable not to know much about as the history of the generations immediately behind their own time. And yet the past history of the movement has a good deal to teach us in the present, and has a great bearing on the question—What do we stand for? And the present day is in the region of religion, as in other regions of thought and action, perhaps unusually bewildering. I should be very thankful if I could succeed in representing the Catholic cause in the Church of England intelligibly and so as that a man who is starting in life might feel that he can gladly make it his own.
THE CENTRAL IDEA OF THE OXFORD MOVEMENT
THE motive and history of 'the Oxford Movement' has been admirably described from within by Dean Church in a book which certainly deserves to be classical, though its author did not live to finish it. Without attempting here to review the history, it is quite easy in a few words to describe its motive. It was to re-establish in the minds of churchmen the idea of the Catholic Church, of which the Church of England claimed to be a living part. The immediate occasion of the movement was a Bill before Parliament in 1833 to suppress ten Irish Bishoprics, in defiance of church opinion. But this Bill was but a symptom of the whole tendency of 'Liberalism' inspired by the utilitarian philosophy of Jeremy Bentham, and full of the enthusiasm engendered by the passing of the great Reform Bill. It was obvious that the church in the eyes of ' the Liberals ' was a human and national institution, unpopular and full of abuses, which must expect to receive very trenchant handling, with no regard at all to its claims of continuity with the Catholic Church of all ages and countries, but solely in view of the considerations which the narrow philosophy of the day called 'utilitarian.' 'The church as it now stands,' Dr. Arnold had written in 1832, 'no human power can save.' It was equally obvious that the most important religious party in the church—the Evangelical—neither could nor would do anything to stem the tide of the so-called Liberalism—in part because, in spite of its many merits, it made no appeal to the intellectuals of the day—its 'scheme of salvation' perpetually reiterated from all its pulpits being felt to be even violently out of harmony with the moral ideals which were in possession of their minds: in part because the church, as a visible and catholic society instituted and inspired by the Christ, had little, if any, place in its 'scheme.' Plainly a new effort, a new movement was needed; and it was definitely inaugurated in 1833 by a little band of men of whom the central three were the Oriel men, John Keble, Richard Hurrell Froude, and John Henry Newman, soon to be joined by Edward Bouverie Pusey. Its motive was the revival of the idea of the Catholic Church, and its method was the publication and diffusion in rapid succession of the Tracts for the Times.
Here I will leave the history of the past, only remarking that there are few facts in recent English history more interesting than the success of this movement in the ten years following its inception. It is a very impressive witness to the possibility of evoking very speedily into intensely vigorous life of a whole set of ideas or motives which seem to be negligible—overlaid and as good as dead—if there remain in the conscience of men something to which they must still make their appeal. In spite of Arnold's prophecy it appeared that there was something which for the time, even as an establishment, could save the church—and that was an appeal to its fundamental principle.
To use my own words, then, the central idea of the Anglo-Catholic Movement was this— Jesus Christ, our Lord, had in one sense accomplished at His Ascension in His single person the redemption of man. But in another sense, equally apparent in the New Testament, He had^only provided in full measure the means for its accomplishment, leaving behind Him for the fulfilment of His purpose the church, which is the New Israel, now freed from all restriction of race—the church which is His body, indwelt by His Spirit, the home of 'the grace and truth' which 'came by Him,' and the visible organ through which He is to act upon the world. Now plainly a society, which is to stand before the world as one and visible, and which is to approach the world as the representative of the heavenly Christ, but which lacks the links of place and language and race which render nations manifestly one, must have other links of coherence and unity. Accordingly, from New Testament times downward, three such links are evident. The first was the common faith, 'the tradition,' which lies behind the New Testament, which found in time legitimate expression in the Catholic creeds, and which made its appeal to the Scriptures; the second was the sacraments, in which all who would be Christians were bound to participate—which were divinely given and necessary instruments of spiritual grace and at the same time, as being ceremonies of the society, bound the spiritual life of its members into that visible fellowship; the third was the apostolic ministry, which all must accept, instituted by Christ in the persons of the Twelve and continued in the succession of the bishops down the ages, linking the different churches together by the fellowship of the bishops throughout the world and binding the succession of generations to the apostolic original.
These three institutions, the common creed, the common sacraments, the sacred ministry, all appear in the early history of the church as having equal and undisputed authority. They were all retained and emphasized by the Church of England, when it became separated from the Roman Church. They were familiar themes with the Anglican divines of the seventeenth century. The Tractarians set themselves then to make these elements of the doctrine of the visible church—one, holy, catholic, and apostolic—current coin again in the familiar thought and speech of men. They did not dispute the appeal to Scripture, with which the Protestants had familiarized the world afresh, as the final court of appeal in matters of doctrine. On the contrary they found this appeal in all the Fathers. But the books of the New Testament were the books of the Christian Church and they presuppose its tradition as already known. For the Gospel was not 'by Christ's ordinance ' written in a book, but entrusted to a group of men to be handed down in a society. And the Tractarians frequently reminded their contemporaries that the English Synod of 1571, which imposed on the clergy subscription to the XXXIX Articles of Religion in their last revision, formulated a canon or direction to preachers that they 'must not teach anything in their sermons which they would require to be devoutly held and believed by the people, but what is agreeable to the doctrine of the Old and New Testaments, and what the Catholic Fathers and ancient bishops collected out of the said doctrine.' This, it was insisted, showed the intention of those who promulgated the Articles.
These were the 'common places' of the original Tractarians and of their successors who carried on the movement when Newman had left them—such as George Moberly, and William Mill and James Mozley, and Richard Church and Liddon and Bright—though the spread of agnosticism and of a destructive criticism derived from Germany rapidly produced a wholly different intellectual atmosphere from that in which the movement had had its origin, and compelled the successors of the Tractarians to devote their main attentions to the most fundamental matters of religion.
It is obvious to any one who thinks about the matter that Catholicism, as being dogmatic and sacramental Christianity, presupposes the truth of a number of propositions for the vindication of which it is illogical to appeal to Scripture as the inspired book or to church authority, except as a fact in human history. They must be vindicated simply by considerations of a purely rational and moral kind, and by history critically treated. The propositions I am referring to are such as affirm the real being of a personal God, the creator of all that is, and the reality of His self-disclosure, especially through the prophets of Israel and through Jesus Christ: and that the interpretation of the person of Christ given by S. Paul and S. John and the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews is the legitimate interpretation; and that His coming was marked by miraculous acts of God; and that He really, as the Gospels record, reconstituted the ancient church of God on a new basis and re-equipped it with officers in the persons of the Twelve, and with sacraments of fellowship in baptism and the communion of His body and blood. Such propositions involve philosophical, moral, and critical questions which must be dealt with purely in these fields. And again it is a historical question whether the apostles did really intend to perpetuate the authoritative pastorate of souls, which they held from Christ, in a permanent ministry passing by succession from its first holders, and whether this succession took shape exclusively in the threefold ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons, and whether the church was sacramental from the start. I have tried elsewhere to deal with these questions at length and to give my reasons for the conviction that the position of the Catholic Church in these respects rests on a basis of reason and facts which no legitimate criticism can shake. Catholicism certainly presupposes these positions; and, if they are tenable and true, there is an authoritative Gospel of redemption which has come into the world in the person of Jesus Christ, and the visible sacramental Catholic Church is the divinely constituted organ of this redemptive act of God.
In our days I think it must be confessed that the case for individualism in religion, such as has been the genius or spirit of Protestantism since Luther—the kind of individualism which finds in personal faith and conversion the only fundamental essentials of religion, and relegates its social or corporate expressions to a quite secondary position—the case for such individualism has been markedly discredited and weakened of recent years. It has been on almost all sides recognized that the doctrine of an Invisible Church, of which the Protestants made so much use, is not the doctrine of the New Testament—that the church of which S. Paul speaks such glorious things was the visible society of which the earliest history is given in the Acts, the society in which the evil from the beginning was mingled with the good, and which from the first appears as having some external organization and sacramental ministries; which, moreover, though it was thus both a visible and sacramental society and an imperfect society, was none the less declared to be the authoritative institution of Christ.
We are rejecting a mere individualism in all departments of life as false in philosophy, and perilous in practice. We recognize that personality is essentially social and that man develops as a social being. In the religions of the world generally we recognize social organizations demanding corporate loyalty. Thus we are led to think of it as deeply natural that the religion of Christ should have come into the world as a society, and that from the first membership in the authoritative body should have been as essential to it as individual faith. Such is certainly the fact of history. There is no trace in the New Testament of a membership in Christ, which is not also membership in the church. And the very essence of sacraments, which are both the means of grace and also social ceremonies, is that they should bind into an indissoluble unity our fellowship with God and our fellowship with our brother members in the church, with all the accompanying duties of loyal membership.
Also it is true that the idea of a catholic or supernational as well as supernatural society, appeals to us to-day with a quite new force. We are sick of mere nationalism and its narrow patriotism. All that is deepest and best in us is recognizing that the old nationalism, unless it can enlarge itself, will prove the ruin of the slowly-built structure of civilization. Thus we welcome the idea of a catholic church as witnessing to the unity of humanity. We should put the idea of the self-contained national church side by side with an outworn nationalism in politics; and we understand easily why the expression of belief in the Holy Spirit of life should be followed immediately by the 'I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church': just as from another point of view the idea of the Holy Trinity in God, commends itself to us when we see that it embodies the truth that personality at the divine root of things is a relation of persons—and that God is all the more truly one for being manifold. Thus if in philosophy, in sociology, in ethics, in politics we no longer start on the basis of individualism, so in religion, if we believe in divine revelation, and in the incarnation of God in Jesus of Nazareth, we are less and less likely to stumble at the embodiment of the religion of Christ in the Catholic Church.
From a quite different point of view, Catholicism is making a quite new appeal to-day. The sense of beauty is far more alive than it has been for a long time among the English people. We really seem more easily to learn to love beautiful music and beautiful colours and good pictures and buildings and well-ordered ceremonies, if we have them offered to us. At any rate the taste for beauty is much more widely spread than it was. Now Protestantism or Puritanism has been almost always associated with bareness and ugliness in its services and buildings, and Catholicism always with art and beauty. The ceremonies and accompaniments of catholic worship—which need not be allowed to be tedious or fussy—make a very wide-spread appeal and one in a fair way to be re-established among us. Men—especially young men and women—are easily brought to feel with Hooker that 'duties of religion, performed by whole societies of men, ought to have in them a sensible excellency, correspondent to the majesty of Him whom we worship.'
In these and other ways Catholicism or the sacramental method in religion, while it makes good its claim to be original Christianity, and while it^ is in no way opposed to all that can be legitimately called Evangelical but urgently calls for it, has that in it which specially commends it to the thought and feeling of our time.
SOME NECESSARY MODIFICATIONS
NEVERTHELESS there are three modifications, or admissions of what seemed at first sight alien ideas, which Catholicism as the first Tractarians understood and preached it has been obliged to submit to, or, I should prefer to say, which it has come to recognize as really congenial to itself.
I. It has had to abandon the conception of the Bible in all its parts and statements as 'the infallible book,' and of inspiration as guaranteeing its subjects against any kind of error. It has had to recognize that divine inspiration does not impart to the prophet scientific or historical information, but concerns only the knowledge of God and of the spiritual life: and that the divine education of men which the Old Testament records was a very gradual and progressive purpose. The tradition of the infallible book, as the Middle Ages and the Reformation had handed it down—and indeed it goes back to the Jewish tradition—was strongly held by the Tractarians and their immediate successors. But it had been riddled by the shot and shell of legitimate criticism. On consideration, however, it appeared that a reasonably critical view of the Old Testament was no hindrance to the conception of it which the Catholic Faith requires, as the divine preparation for the religion of Jesus Christ, while it removes serious and even insuperable difficulties; and again that an unprejudiced criticism, as applied to the New Testament, affords no legitimate ground for rejecting the fully historical character of the Gospels and the Acts, or the authority of the apostolic writings. Further, it appeared that the church had never defined inspiration; that the Gospels made no claim to infallibility; and that some at least of the Fathers of chief authority show, in their treatment of the Bible, a singular affinity with modern ideas. Thus the Bible, according to the reasonably critical view, though it is not in all its parts and expressions the word of God Himself, yet contains and conveys to us that word in the different stages of its delivery, and is as serviceable for faith as ever. The transition from the old-fashioned view of the Bible to what is here very briefly recommended, seems to-day to be fairly accomplished among us; and obviously it is easier for Catholicism to make the necessary change, without incurring any disaster, than for Protestantism, because Catholicism has always held the Book in the context of the church, and appealed to the tradition of the church as older than the books which inshrine it, while Protestantism has been used to appeal merely to the Book, almost like Mohammedanism.
2. The Tractarian Movement had begun as a protest against 'Liberalism'—not without good reason as Liberalism was. And, though some few of the Tractarians were not Tories, yet the movement, at least till it went out into the towns in the form of Ritualism, was on the whole associated with the Tory party. But there was another contemporary school of religious teachers—F. D. Maurice and Kingsley being its leaders—who were discovering that the existing social and industrial structure of society was fundamentally contrary to the ideas of justice and brotherhood which it is among the primary objects of the Old and New Testaments to instil and maintain among men with all the authority of the word of God. And that wonderful book, Ecce Homo, which appeared anonymously in 1865, had recalled to men's minds how deeply an 'enthusiasm for humanity' had inspired the mission among men of Jesus of Nazareth, and that its expression and propagation ought to be regarded as at least one of the primary objects for which the church exists in the world.
Maurice and Kingsley had been brought into vehement controversy at several moments with Tractarian leaders and were viewed by them with grave suspicion; and Ecce Homo was violently attacked as favouring a humanitarian estimate of the person of Christ. But towards the end of the last century a great many of those who were deeply devoted to Tractarian principles, and to the catholic doctrine of the person of Christ, came to feel very strongly that the social principles of Maurice and Kingsley, and the idea of Christ's mission which Ecce Homo so forcibly represented, were as far as possible from being antagonistic to the catholic faith, and were in fact deeply imbedded in the original ideas and institutions of the church, as well as in its scriptures.
Thus on this field again it must be said that the Anglo-Catholic Movement has enlarged its borders and altered its tone. It seems to the present writer that actually the most pressing duty laid upon those who stand for Catholicism is to press forward the campaign on behalf of its ethical and social principles, in spite of the fact that it will involve serious conflict with deeply ingrained prejudices and established interests.
3. Once again the tradition of Catholicism from very early days has affirmed that salvation, meaning by that the ultimate attainment of heaven or the vision of God by the individual human soul, was so bound up with the acceptance of the creed of the church and the reception of its sacraments, that all men, without exception, who since Christ came had failed to believe and practise what the church enjoined—even the heathen and unbaptized infants who had never had the chance of hearing the Gospel—would undoubtedly be lost. Every one who has read the Divina Commedia remembers how poignantly Dante expresses the desperate struggle in his soul in accepting this awful dogma.
In various ways the later Western Catholicism strove to lighten this intolerable burden; but Calvinistic Protestantism made it heavier again by its affirmation of the predestination to hell of all men except the favoured class of the elect.
To our consciences to-day such a belief seems simply impossible of acceptance, whatever authority may be held to propagate it.
Now when we examine the New Testament we find a number of passages which really seem to imply that there is 'no salvation outside the church': but there are also a number of other passages which declare the principles of God's final judgement on human souls; and, without exception, they are of the broadly moral kind which express the justice and equity of God in a way to which our consciences heartily respond.
Plainly the former class of passages cannot be pressed at the expense of the latter. Our whole knowledge of the character of God, which comes to us through our Lord, justifies our insisting upon His justice or equitableness as the latter class of passages presents it. I believe the solution of the difficulty lies in this direction—salvation has a double meaning. It means sometimes the attainment by the individual soul of the end of his being or (conversely) his escape from 'eternal perishing' which is the result of indulged sin. But in this sense, while we are clearly given the principles of the divine judgement, we are not given their application. We are to 'judge nothing before the time.' The day of judgement will be a day of surprises. I believe we ought to recognize that the church has no authority either to draw up a list of saints in glory or to insert a soul on the catalogue of the lost. We simply know that there is no limit to the deadly power of wilful sin, blindly persisted in against the light, and that there can be no question on the other hand that nothing else can be asked of any man by the Father of spirits except fidelity to the best light given him. 'No!' said Dr. Pusey in a memorable sermon on the Responsibility of Intellect in matters of faith. 'Ask any tolerably instructed Christian person . . . "Will any soul be lost, heathen, idolater, heretic, or in any form of hereditary unbelief or misbelief, if in good faith he was what he was, living up to the light he had, whencesoever it came, and repenting him when he did amiss?" All Christendom would answer you, God forbid! He would not be "saved by that law which he professeth," but he would be saved in it, by the one love of God the Father who made him, and of God the Son who redeemed him, and God the Holy Ghost who drew, and in a measure sanctified him.' 'Out of every religion or irreligion, out of every clime, in whatever ignorance steeped, in whatever hatred or contempt or blasphemy of Christ nurtured, God has His own elect, who ignorantly worship Him, whose ignorant fear or longing He who inspired it will accept.'
But if so what are we to say about the passages in which 'salvation' is identified with the explicit confession of the Name or Lordship of Christ and this confession of the Name is identified with Baptism? To answer this question it is, I think, necessary to recognize that our heavenly Father has not been content to leave men to struggle alone and individually against sin and for the attainment of light. In the earlier days of the Old Covenant He chose Israel for His royal and priestly people, and established with it a covenant open and public. Thus Israel as a people was the unique subject of the great salvation, wrought before the eyes of all men. Then, since our Lord came, the Catholic Church inherits the 'elect' position of Israel. It is thus the unique sphere of the great salvation, open, public, and covenanted. In this sense salvation is only to be looked for in the church. And in proportion as the church preaches the truth purely, and remains as the salt of the earth which has not lost its savour—true to God and the manifest expression to the world of His righteousness and His love—the rejection of the church is the rejection of God. So it is generally assumed to be in the New Testament. It is also assumed that the offer of the great salvation will go speedily into all the world. But after all these centuries it has not gone into all the world: and the official church has sadly often not presented to men those moral characteristics which were meant to constitute its chief appeal to their consciences. It has been often sadly easy for conscientious men to reject its message and to separate themselves from its fellowship. And we should not wonder that God, who is not tied to His own ordinances, should under those circumstances have given very widely and, as it seems, indiscriminately the effusion of His spirit. It is indeed something like blasphemy against the Holy Spirit to deny His presence where we see His fruit. Thus we rejoice to recognize that the final judgement of God upon individual men is only disclosed to us in the sense that it will be just and equitable. But, on the other hand, we are dismayed by the weakening of the cause of Christ, especially of its moral and social witness, which is due to the divisions of Christendom, and we recognize that there is no remedy for our evils to be expected except in a 'return to Christ.' Then when we face honestly the mind of Christ, and the interpretation of that mind by His first messengers, we recognize that the one Spirit was to be revealed in one body, and the one Father and the one Lord in the one baptism and the breaking of the one bread. We must return in fact to the original Catholic conception of the public and covenanted offer of salvation in the one visible church.
About this large question of reunion, however, more will need to be said. Just at this point I have only been concerned to call attention to three modifications or enlargements of the original spirit and temper of the Anglo-Catholic Movement which it is, in my judgement, necessary to welcome. These are (i) the acceptance of the principle of Biblical criticism, while combating the extravagance and prejudice of many of its advocates; (2) the acceptance of the principle of social justice and human brotherhood as a central and essential element of the Christian Gospel, laying upon the church a duty of witness and discipline which is sure to be unpopular with many of its adherents, not least within the sphere of influence of the Anglican communion; and (3) the frank and full recognition that, while the New Testament will not suffer us to draw any distinction between the public and covenanted membership of Christ and obedient membership of the church which is His body, at the same time the final judgement of individuals is not given to the church as one of its functions, and we ought to feel quite sure that the just Judge will repudiate no one, nor refuse to welcome him into His eternal kingdom, who has faithfully sought to be true to the Light which lighteth every man and to 'repent when he did amiss.'
THE SPIRIT OF THE ANGLO-CATHOLIC AS IT SHOULD BE
ON this basis I will try to sketch what ought to be the spirit of the Anglo-Catholic to-day.
That in which he finds his delight is the sense of membership in the great historical church—as supernational as it is supernatural —which has been sent into the world with the full authority of its Lord to express its devotion to Him in its life, in its worship, and in its creeds, and to carry into all departments of human life and all regions of the earth His gospel of human redemption and human fellowship. He will resent the limitations of 'the National Church.' He wants to feel his unity with the saints and common people of all ages and of all countries. Here, of course, owing to the divisions of Christendom, he finds himself up against a great and conspicuous difficulty, as he looks towards Rome or the East or the Protestant Churches. This class of difficulty we shall be facing directly. But he feels he must insist on being Catholic before he is Anglican. He sees everywhere in history this Catholic Church with its ringing faith, with its glorious saints, with its rich cycle of sacramental rites—baptism and confirmation, eucharist and penance, matrimony and Holy Orders, and the unction of the sick—encompassing a man's life from the cradle to the grave and meeting it at every turn with the divine remedy for its varying needs. He delights in its solemn and mystical ceremonies—its liturgy or mass or eucharist—differing in details of rite and ceremony from age to age and country to country, but the same in principle everywhere. And he hails the recognition of different states within the one fellowship, and venerates the dignity of the priesthood and the special consecration of human life under the religious vows. The Christian faith and religion claims to be final for this world and catholic. That is to say that, though it can adjust itself to the various needs of man, intellectual and moral and national, in each successive age, yet everywhere it makes its central appeal to what is constant and unchanging. It is the existence of this 'general heart of man' which makes possible a catholic religion. But in every race and at every epoch the same religion receives a special development, and its theology and its rites become special and distinctive, Greek or Latin or Russian or Celtic or English. This our Catholic will gladly recognize. But he would not have any one of these special developments gain the power to claim to be the one legitimate development, and so limit the original freedom and largeness of the Christian religion. The early church found unity consistent with much variety in the types of theology and ceremonial. So it should continue to be. The new churches of Africa and India, of China and Japan, should have the same freedom as the earlier churches had to develop their congenial type of thought and worship and life. There are indeed elements of religious faith and worship and discipline which are essential to catholicity. Such are the catholic creeds and sacraments and the requirements of Holy Order. But the Anglo-Catholic will rejoice to accept the limits which antiquity laid upon the dogmatic activity of the church. Nothing, it held, could be made matter for catholic requirement in respect of doctrine which had not always in substance belonged to the faith of the church and which could not appeal for confirmation to the Bible—especially, of course, the New Testament—in which was to be found the testing-ground for legitimate dogma. Thus the dogmatic tests of the General Councils were justified because they declared only in new terms and for protective purposes the faith which, explicitly or implicitly but in real substance, the church had always held. This limitation safeguards the original liberty of the church and prevents it being narrowed by one-sided developments which belong to some one age or racial development.
The ancient church would have us minimize rather than maximize the dogmatic requirement. On the basis of this required minimum each church and age may develop its rites and its theological tendencies in accordance with its special genius. The local province or national church ' has power to decree rites and ceremonies '; and the obedience of its clergy and its members is primarily to this provincial authority in matters of discipline and ceremonial, though special respect ought to be paid to customs and rules which have been approximately universal. So the Catholic should be Roman or Greek or Anglican, with a special obedience to local authority, but always remaining, above all else, catholic in outlook and loyalty. And always he will seek to put the first things firsthand to live in the large spirit of the New Testament, remembering that the Lord Christ whom he serves does not change, and that His judgement on the relative importance of things remains as the New Testament expresses it. In some such lines we can describe what we should wish to be the spirit of the Anglo-Catholic.
It should be added that an Anglo-Catholic spirit such as I have sought to describe would enable us, not indeed to glorify the Prayer Book settlement under which we live as if it were in any sense ideal, but to accept the 'comprehensiveness' of the Church of England in the sense of recognizing that it legitimately admits of different schools of thought and practice—the Evangelical and the Broad Church—provided that the catholic essentials are unhesitatingly maintained, by which we should mean especially the authority of the catholic creeds, both in regard to their statements of fact and their statements of doctrine, as our rule of faith, and the administration of the sacraments according to the forms of the Prayer Book, and the maintenance of the principle of Holy Order as the Preface to the Ordinal describes it. Indeed, if the Evangelical school means the school which always insists primarily upon the necessity of personal faith and real conversion, and the Broad Church that which insists on giving the primacy to moral considerations above all others, those who recognize the danger of formalism or materialism which has always dogged the steps of the sacramentalist, and the peril of subordinating moral to doctrinal considerations which has always dogged the steps of the dogmatist, will feel the need of schools of thought whose primary object is to guard against these perils. But the chief object of any one who loves to call himself Catholic must be to keep catholic teaching as complete and free from one-sided-ness as possible, and in this completeness to make it prevail and permeate the whole church.
THE ROMANIZING TENDENCY AND THE RESTORATION OF DISCIPLINE
BUT now what are we to say about the Romanizing tendency which, not for the first time, is apparent within the Anglo-Catholic body to-day, and which, at the moment, is causing such acute suspicion and bringing the whole movement under the charge of having Rome for its goal?
Plainly the movement as a whole has not been and is not Romanizing, and almost all that is most learned and fair in our anti-Roman controversial writing has come from within the movement. Dr. Pusey used to be fond of declaring that the Church of England had ' no distinctive doctrines': that it only taught the catholic faith as it was common to all times and parts of the church. But the Roman Church has distinctive doctrines—for example the doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary and the doctrine of the supremacy, by divine right, and doctrinal infallibility of the Roman pontiff. These involve the laying of a new burden on the faith of Christians, and indeed making a new thing of it. For the immaculate conception of Mary is a (supposed) fact of history which has no basis in historical evidence at all. And to ask me to accept as a fact of history what has no historical basis, in contradiction to the New Testament insistence upon the ' witness ' of apostles and eye-witnesses, is truly a monstrous claim. The kind of logic which passes from the idea of what ought to have been to the assertion of what was, is the negation of history and reason. So the dogma of the Papal supremacy and infallibility, as something substantially belonging to the catholic tradition as held from the first, is plainly contrary to the facts of history. It was never part of the Eastern tradition of the church. And the faith which accepts such a claim has really to triumph over history. Thus the Roman development of catholicity is a development which has narrowed its scope and meaning, by its constant accentuation of authority and by its centralization. In these tendencies it does not represent the New Testament spirit or the spirit of the early church: it has made the Roman communion impossible for many, and many of the best men, who would have been at home in the undivided church; and it is responsible in very large measure for the divisions of Christendom. This has been the regular position of the Anglo-Catholic Movement. But since the days when W. G. Ward in his Ideal of a Christian Church claimed his right within the Church of England to hold 'the whole cycle of Roman doctrine'—though only for a short time before his secession to the Roman obedience—there have been a few among us who can rightly be called Romanizers in doctrine.
But it has not been mainly on the ground of abstract doctrine, that what can legitimately be called a Romanizing tendency has been apparent. After the secession of Newman, the movement found itself infinitely weakened in Oxford, where the whole intellectual tendency had set strongly in the Liberal and anti-Catholic direction. But the real force of the movement went into the country, especially into neglected town parishes, where it came to be known as Ritualism—not very fairly, for such men as A. H. Mackonochie or Stanton were very ill described as ritualists—and there it took its stand on the Ornaments Rubric and showed no disloyalty to the rites of the Prayer Book.
But it is necessary to sympathize with the position of men engaged amidst incessant pastoral labours in reviving the catholic ideal of life and worship, as a matter of practice. The actual tradition of worship in the Church of England was puritan or meagre in the extreme. The tradition of the Church of Rome was rich and living. If men wanted to acclimatize confession, as a healthy and normal, though not obligatory, practice among us, or to present the Prayer Book service of the Eucharist in its catholic setting, it was to the Roman system and the Roman ceremonial that they were almost forced to go in order to know how to do it.
A violent Protestant clamour arose against the ritualists, who were already winning their way to success with their people. And both by many of the bishops, and by the secularized Courts of Law, they were treated with conspicuous injustice. They had again and again to refuse obedience to a false claim of authority in things spiritual, and their resistance proved successful. They won their liberty to use the catholic ceremonial and to teach and hear confessions freely. That was a long and painful process, the details of which have almost passed out of the memory of the present generation. But when a cause is won by successful disobedience—however legitimate and even necessary—a very serious moral risk is run, especially in the region of religion. What really made their victory possible was public opinion. There were behind the prosecuted clergy congregations of enthusiastic supporters, and the self-sacrificing evangelistic labours of Catholic clergy were conspicuous. The British public, it appeared, would not stand such good men being bullied and imprisoned. But this obscured the real issue. It seemed to mean that if you are a good man and your proceedings meet the wants of a good lot of people, you can do as you please. And popularly, in the controversy in which 'ritualism' won its liberties, there was a good deal too much of the tendency to appeal for toleration without principle. And in many cases almost the whole practical working system and ceremonial of Rome has ultimately been adopted without much regard to the directions of the Prayer Book, or in some cases even with the explicite repudiation of the authority of the Anglican rite and its rubrics, in favour of Roman directions.
Let me seek to summarize the situation. We of the Anglican Church find ourselves under a body of rubrics and canons which, by common confession, are in many points antiquated and in need of drastic revision. The State (thank God!) no longer has either the will or the capacity to rule the church directly, and asks the church to govern itself, only reserving the right, which is not likely to be abandoned so long as 'the Establishment' remains, to refuse its sanction at the last resort to changes of the law proposed by the Assembly of the church. This gives the church a great opportunity, no doubt. But it has been so long disused to corporate action and to the expression of a common mind in canonical legislation, and it is so much divided into parties in which the extremer voices are apt to be most heard, and our English individualism is so rampant, that the task of self-government in any matter which 'touches the quick' of party feeling is extraordinarily difficult. Now no one can read the record of the National Assembly without feeling that there is a common mind, which is not that of any of the parties, gradually and painfully finding expression. Thirty years on it may not be so difficult to revise a rubric. But the situation as it exists to-day lays a great strain on patience and makes a great demand for 'moderation,' while the passions of stormy-hearted individuals, and the seeming interests of parties, find expression in unmeasured utterances which it is the interest of journalists to exploit to their profit perhaps, but to the great injury of religion.
Further, the questions so violently agitated are not only questions of ceremonial or rite. The modernist movement has produced a crop of lamentable pronouncements in which liberty of thought appears to be confused with the right to ignore the plain obligations contracted in ordination of fidelity to the creeds—the creeds which are explicit and really unmistakable in meaning, both as regards their statement of events and their statement of doctrine. Thus it cannot be denied that we are passing through a period of great confusion, doctrinal and ceremonial, which dishonours the church in the eyes of the nation. No doubt the church has gone through like periods before. For instance, for fifty years after Nicaea there was a period of terrible confusion, which S. Basil and S. Hilary describe in terms such as force us to feel that what we are called to bear is no new experience. Nevertheless it was a mistake in the fourth century to suppose that the church had no living voice. And by the patient efforts of the theologians and the consistent faithfulness of the laity the clouds were finally dispersed and the sun of the old scriptural faith in the real Godhead of Christ and in the Triune God shone again. So I trust it will be with the Anglican Church in our children's time. Even to-day I do not believe that any representative assembly of the church would hesitate to repudiate the modernist depreciation of the creeds as surely as any attempt, on the other hand, to induce us to accept the distinctive Roman doctrines, or the supremacy of the Roman pontiff", as distinct from the primacy of honour and leadership in the church catholic, which we should be thankful to recognize, if he would be content with it. But speaking to those who belong to the Anglo-Catholic Movement—it would be the gravest of sins if we were to make capital of the existing doctrinal confusion to palliate license amongst ourselves. That other people should ignore their obligations is not in any way an excuse for doing so ourselves. In respect of the use of the Prayer Book, the obligation of the clergy, formally and solemnly contracted, and frequently renewed, is unmistakable: 'in public prayer and ministration of the sacraments, I will use the form in the Prayer Book prescribed and none other, except so far as shall be ordered by lawful authority.' Let us give this vague exceptive clause its fullest possible meaning, and recognize that no parish priest can be blamed for using any dispensation from the uniformity required in the Prayer Book which his bishop thinks himself entitled to give—though surely such a dispensation should be formally given in writing and published so that all can know what it is—but, granted such exceptions, our obligation is unmistakable. Whatever we may think ought to be the form of catholic worship, we are bound to the Prayer Book forms, both words and order. There must be—there ought to be, under present circumstances—wide toleration of differences in the ceremonial setting of services; but every worshipper at any of the regular services of Mattins, Eucharist, and Evensong, at Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals, ought to be sure of finding the prescribed service audibly rendered, and nothing else, except so far as the bishop, by public announcement, has felt himself entitled to authorize certain diversities. Whatever may have been gained by 'Devotions' of various kinds in the affections of a few, cannot, I feel sure, be set in comparison with the loss to the clergy in moral weight which has resulted from the widespread feeling among good laymen that—in various directions—they are, perhaps with the connivance of the bishops, playing fast and loose with their solemnly contracted undertakings.
There are those who would say that certain provinces of the Western Church in England went beyond their rights in the changes they made at the Reformation against the authority of the Western Church as a whole. That would, if it were true, be a good reason for refusing to make the declaration required of every clergyman whenever he accepts a fresh office in the church. But it can be no justification at all for refusing to fulfil the obligation when we have voluntarily contracted it. I cannot but pray from my heart that the conscience of the clergy may be reawakened to this plain obligation, where there is need of such awakening, and that those who normally are awake to it may have the courage to refuse, in other churches than their own, to use deviations from the Prayer Book unless they have the assurance that the bishop of the diocese has sanctioned them.
But in fact the Church of England from Augustine to Parker was something much more than two Western provinces. It was a recognized National Church. It took a very serious step when it repudiated the Papal authority in the sixteenth century, and the taking of it was terribly discoloured by some of the motives which prompted it. But by the providence of God it was saved from doing anything which would have severed its dependence upon the Catholic Church properly interpreted; and in 'decreeing rites and ceremonies' afresh it did nothing which catholic tradition, again properly interpreted, has ever condemned. And in view of the history of canonical legislation it is surely idle to suggest that mediaeval canons are still in force where contrary arrangements, embodied in the Prayer Book and authorized by the church, have intervened between us and them.
Once more, there is nothing which is less profitable or rational that what one may call half-Romanism. Romanism has become more and more a very closely-knit system of doctrine and practice of which the centre and essence lies in the recognition of the Papal supremacy and infallibility, and the centralization of church authority in his person. Rome is not to be gratified or propitiated by any imitation of her rites or by any obedience which falls short of absolute submission. It is quite possible that, if we were prepared to submit to its central doctrinal and disciplinary requirement, the Roman authority would be prepared to accept us as a Uniat Church with our own liturgy and our own discipline—for example, as regards the marriage of the clergy. No intelligent Roman Catholic maintains that the rites and rules of the Roman Church are the best possible. Roman liturgiologists, for instance, are found ready to recognize such disorder in the Latin Canon as ought, one would have thought, to prevent our desiring to accept it as it stands. But the demand of Rome centralizes itself upon one point, and there is no consistency or sense in refusing its authority on this one point and then accepting it on minor matters.
We need not of course glorify the authority which made the Prayer Book, or whitewash the Reformers where accurate history has darkened the colours. But the Prayer Book comes to us with the legitimate authority of the National Church and consecrated by the use of a long succession of saintly men and women, and we have no justification for refusing to make the best of it.
In an appendix I have perhaps over-boldly given somewhat detailed suggestions—suggestions, I must add, quite unasked for and un-authoritative—as to practices which I have reason to believe are prevalent and ought to be, under our present conditions, abandoned. And in another appendix I have added an (incomplete) list of changes for which we ought to be continually pressing, by argument and influence. I do not indeed believe that, even without any reforms, the existing Prayer Book makes any requirement of us, which a catholic cannot accept; or that the declarations at present required of the clergy before ordination and at later stages of their career ought to cause them any considerable difficulty or are such as a catholic cannot conscientiously make. The great Dr. Lightfoot used to desire the removal of the Quicunque vult from its present position on the ground that the clause already alluded to, which no one can believe in its obvious sense, tended to throw doubt on the sincerity of all our dogmatic declarations. I should myself desire, if not exactly this, yet something like this, for the same reason; because nothing is so important as that we should not affirm anything in divine service or in solemn declarations which we do not really believe: nevertheless, as the church has officially glossed the clause of the Quicunque in a sense which mitigates its meaning, I can repeat it with a clear conscience. With a clear conscience also, I think a deacon who accepts what is called the critical view of the Bible books, if his criticism is sane, can answer the question, 'Do you believe all the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testament?' with the required affirmation, because the bishops who ask the question have officially announced their desire to add to the question the words 'as conveying to us in many parts and in divers manners the revelation of God, which is consummated in Jesus Christ': and some such words will, I suppose, be added shortly in a Revised Prayer Book. Finally, the Declaration of Assent was greatly reduced in stringency by the deliberate action of Convocation and Parliament in 1865. Since that date it has run thus: 'I assent to the XXXIX Articles of Religion and to the Book of Common Prayer and of Ordering of Bishops, priests, and deacons; I believe the doctrine of the Church of England, as therein set forth to be agreeable to the word of God.' Thus we are no longer, like our forefathers, bound by word of mouth and by our signature to acknowledge 'all and every of the articles, being in number nine and thirty, besides the Ratification, to be agreeable to the word of God.' Nor are we required to make the formal repudiation required of our forefathers in very sweeping terms of any kind of 'pre-eminence' as belonging to any 'foreign prelate.' The assent required of us is only a general assent to the doctrine contained in three formularies. We cannot now be justly pinned to some individual phrase of this or that article. Thus while, for myself, I greatly desire that the Nicene Creed should, in the Declaration, occupy the place of the XXXIX Articles, I feel sure that a catholic need have no hesitation in giving the assent required of him, meaning fully what he says, the doctrine contained in the three formularies taken together being undoubtedly agreeable to Scripture and to the Catholic Faith. But though we can thus serve obediently and with relative contentment and a good conscience under our present arrangements, there are not a few points on which we should urgently and persistently seek for reform, and indeed, on some of the most important, we seem likely very speedily to get in the Revised Prayer Book a considerable measure of the desired relief.
At present, it must be confessed, we present to the world a sadly undisciplined appearance, which is a grievous calamity, and the spirit of joyful obedience to what we do not like is none too common. We ought certainly to stretch toleration as far as we can: but there are necessary limits and these limits have of recent years been in different directions more than occasionally overpassed. And the church of all ages has had its methods for the coercion or removal of recalcitrant individuals, which, no doubt, have been often abused, but are none the less necessary to a healthy society in extreme cases. We should, then, desire the restoration of moderate discipline and the revival of Courts by which in extreme case this discipline can be coercive. Thus we Anglo-Catholics are not infrequently asked, 'You have objected to the existing ecclesiastical courts, because at the last resort they are state-controlled and not properly church courts at all. Will you at least let us know what courts you would obey?' No doubt, to give a precise answer to this question one requires to be, what I am very far from being, trained in canonical lore. But in principle the answer which on catholic principles must be given is, I suppose, something of this kind. In spiritual cases the primary court is the Bishop's Court, in which he should be advised but never superseded by his chancellor, learned in the law of the church: and beyond that should lie the Provincial Court, which should consist of the bishops, guided again, but not superseded by, legal advisers. And whatever power to revise the final sentence of the Provincial Court is to lie with the State should be such as concerns only the question whether the trials which have resulted in the sentence have been fair trials, conducted on the principles of the Church of England, considered as a society existing within the State which has certain standards of faith and life and service by which alone any one of its servants can claim to be judged. If the decision of the ecclesiastical court cannot be shown to be certainly irregular —so that there has been a plain failure of justice—the secular court could not interfere. To courts so constituted no catholic in principle could refuse to submit himself. But—and it is a grave qualification— a bishop is not, according to the catholic idea, an arbitrary monarch. He is the representative of the church. In early days almost as much stress was laid on his election by his people, clerical and lay, as on his canonical ordination. At any rate, whatever system of election of bishops is tolerable, their appointment by a Prime Minister of the modern State, practically without restriction—while the Prime Minister may be a man who has little sympathy with or understanding of the church and its needs, and may be a member of a different church or of a different faith— is an appalling anomaly. At certain periods it may have ' worked well.' But it is so illogical and so liable under certain contingencies to man the church with officers hostile to its own proper spirit, that it is impossible to acknowledge simply and straight out that at the last resort the priest must obey the bishop, without adding the proviso that the bishops must be so appointed to their office as to give reasonable security that they represent the church as Fathers in God should. Thus it is that I be-live the ecclesiastical courts cannot be rightly reconstituted without some fundamental change in the manner in which bishops are appointed. It is simply not the case that under present conditions the bishops appointed are always or nearly always such as the church itself would wish to be chosen. Sometimes they may be abler men: but sometimes they may be hostile officers imposed from without. I would beg those who ask us the challenging question referred to above, to consider how deep this consideration runs into the theory of representative government, which is really the original theory, and the basis of the original practice, of the church.
THE CALL TO REUNION AND THE PROSPECT OF THE FUTURE
THE recent Lambeth Conference of the bishops of the whole Anglican communion was an impressive event. If one thinks of the expansion of our communion in the world which it represents within the last hundred years, it is impossible not to be filled with thankfulness. And perhaps the greatest matter for thankfulness lay in the Appeal for Unity addressed to all Christians which the conference was able to issue. The appeal in itself, and all that has followed from it, has given a fresh demonstration of the uniquely central position of our Anglican communion among the separated churches of Christendom, and of the solemn responsibility and opportunity which this lays upon us. And since the appeal was issued a series of deeply important and interesting conferences or conversations have been held with the Orthodox, with Roman Catholics, and with Free Churchmen.
We are entitled to feel that the formal barriers to the restoration of communion between the Anglican and the Orthodox Churches are much slighter than exist in other directions, so far at least as official standards go. But what seems to the Orthodox an indiscriminate toleration of ' modernist' or Protestant opinions amongst us scandalizes them: and we on our side feel that, owing to their long separation from our Western life and religion and thought, their tradition, of which they are so proud and for which they have again proved themselves in recent years so nobly ready to die, has become lacking in many of the intellectual and moral elements which seem to us most vitally necessary to religion. Thus though the formal obstacles between us and them are less, the difference of intellectual and ethical outlook appears much greater, than when we are conferring with Roman Catholics or Free Churchmen. And if they justly demand of us a serious reform of doctrinal discipline, we feel that we must expect of them as deep reforms of a different kind, if real unity is to be won.
As regards the Roman Catholic Church, it is a great matter for thankfulness that once again, after long centuries, frank and serious conversations have taken place in perfect friendliness between representatives of Rome and of the Anglican Church. It seems to me that any one acquainted with the history of the church since the period of the Reformation must recognize how deeply different Rome to-day is from the Rome of the sixteenth century both in respect of discipline and doctrine, though the difference does not on the whole tend to make reunion easier: and I cannot pretend to see any way at present opening through the dogmatic obstacles between us. But the power, and moral and spiritual influence, of the Roman Church grow from decade to decade in the world at large, and the vastness of its position in the whole of Christendom, makes any ignoring of it, such as is common among Protestants, foolish and blind indeed. There is at least an urgent duty laid upon us to seek sympathetically to understand this tremendous organ of spiritual power, and to watch the movements of mind and energy within it.
The Conferences with Presbyterians and Free Churchmen in our own country have been fruitful in very remarkable documents of agreement, such as appear in the Dean of Canterbury's (Dr. Bell's) Documents of Unity. What results will follow remains uncertain. It would appear as if the leaders on each side, who take part in these conferences, are ahead of the mass of the communities they represent. And I cannot but feel as if on our side what I may call the sacramental side of religion, as we stand for it, has been unduly minimized. For instance, confirmation being a sacramental ordinance of apostolic authority, I cannot believe that we have any right to leave the requirement of it an open question. Nor do I think that we are doing our duty if we leave in such vague outline what exactly we mean when we speak of what, in barest minimum, is requisite for the celebration of the eucharist or the acceptance of episcopal ordination. It may be true that no special theory of ordination is to be required, but there are sacramental principles involved. And I cannot believe that a union based on the mere acceptance of material requirements would be lasting unless it were backed by the acceptance of the involved principles.
However, it is not my intention now to talk about the present prospects of reunion except in order to emphasize one consideration. If we are to play our part in promoting reunion, we must make ourselves more intelligible to the world. We must appear before the world as a body, comprehensive indeed, but comprehensive on the basis of agreement in fundamentals. Those fundamentals as they appear in our history, I have tried to enumerate and explain, perhaps with wearisome iteration. I mean the unmistakable adherence to the doctrine of the Nicene Creed and the Councils: and the maintenance of the sacramental principle in general and in certain details: and the maintenance of the ministerial succession through the episcopate: all these elements of historical Catholicism being combined with the ancient appeal to Scripture as the final testing-ground of doctrine, and the claim of the right of national churches to reform themselves in matters of rites, ceremonies, and discipline, without any other authority than their own, provided they do not violate or ignore any catholic and scriptural doctrine. We may be tolerant of the excesses of individuals, even beyond reasonable measure: but we need to make our corporate mind unmistakably plain. And the corporate mind of a community means not merely or even chiefly the mind of the bishops in synod or of representative assemblies. It means the mind which possesses the clergy and instructed laity all through. We need that the clergy, and especially the younger clergy, should have a clear and deliberate idea what Anglicanism stands for, and a deliberate purpose to stand for it themselves, in heart and act and voice.
People talk of the danger of the disruption of the Anglican Church. Now if you take the extreme and most outspoken members of our different parties or groups, and note the immense differences which appear between them, or if you look only to London and a few of our large cities, where these party groups live apart and breathe only their private atmospheres, disruption might appear probable enough. But in fact these groups are joined together in any normal diocese by an almost infinite series of gradations of more moderate men. Examine any ordinary diocesan conference or rural deanery and ask yourself at what point disruption could take place, and the difficulty of finding the point will appear at once. There are conceivable events which might produce rupture, such as a serious proposal to recognize all ministries as equally valid, if it came to the point of taking effect; but such a contingency is infinitely improbable. But the real defect among us is that through lack of clear thinking and serious study, we are, so many of us, content to go on without any sufficiently defined and intelligible theory of what Anglicanism stands for. And for this reason any small group, which has such a theory, though it be one-sided and unreasonable, gains undue influence. Especially I pray that the younger clergy may be driven by the noise of controversy to find their feet on a bed-rock of principle, fashioned in prayer and thought and study.
We have very probably bad times before us —certainly anxious times: but the providence of God seems to me to appear unmistakably in the history of the Church of England, and in the history of the catholic revival among us, which has been allowed, in spite of many faults and moral failures, and much wilfulness, to accomplish so wonderful a transformation in our part of the church as a whole. And whatever deserved sufferings we may be called to bear, whatever strain upon our endurance circumstances may lay upon us, I cannot believe that the witness which Anglicanism is called to bear to a Catholicism which is scriptural, liberal-spirited, and comprehensive, but always Catholic, will be allowed to perish from the earth.
THINGS WHICH WE SHOULD AGREE OUGHT NOT TO BE DONE
(I) THIS list has been drawn up without any accurate knowledge of how commonly the practices described have actually been adopted in our churches; I only know that they have all been adopted in some places. As to the suggestion that they should be abandoned, I repeat the reservation already made that no parish priest can be blamed for accepting any permission to vary from the rites or rubrics of the Prayer Book which his bishop thinks himself entitled to give and has actually given, whether generally to his diocese or individually to the particular priest. But I cannot but think that any such permission to an individual priest should be given in writing and made known at least to the church council. (2) I am assuming that catholic ceremonial is not prohibited. (3) I am concerned only with the service of the altar, though the same principles apply to other services.
First to speak of practices which concern the congregation—let us give up the rather absurd practice of kneeling for the Epistle. It is simply due to copying the current Roman practice of ignoring the Epistle which cannot be heard or understood. Otherwise, as the Roman liturgiologist, Dr. Adrian Fortescue, said, "people hear the Epistle, as all lessons, except the Gospel, sitting." Also let the communicants enable us clergy to obey the rubric directing us to 'deliver the communion into the hands of the people' by presenting their hands and not their open mouth. This, as is well known, was the ancient and reverent custom. The communicant also, it seems to me, can most conveniently guide the chalice to his mouth with his own hand. Also, is there any reason in the world for abandoning the custom of the congregation joining in the saying of the Creed, the Sanctus, and the Gloria?
Then as to the priest—let him read all the service of the Prayer Book audibly and nothing else audibly. And let him read the whole service (except the long exhortations, the omission of which on ordinary occasions has long been implicitly or explicitly sanctioned). There is no catholic principle to be urged against the constant saying of the Creed and the Gloria. Nor, surely, has the priest the right, of his own motion, to alter the order of the prayers as given in the Prayer Book. And let him read the Epistle clearly, turning towards the people. Again I quote Dr. Fortescue, 'His position towards the altar is quite anomalous, since he is reading to the people.'
Once more—I cannot see any right principle involved in taking the ablutions immediately after the communion of the people instead of after the blessing, at which point alone the rubric gives the opportunity for it.
If the Anglo-Catholic clergy could agree to act on these small points according to the directions of the Prayer Book, I believe an immense hindrance to the progress of the catholic movement would be removed.
It is difficult to observe, with what the late Bishop Mackarness used to call 'Chinese exactness,' the rubric prohibiting a celebration of the Holy Communion 'except four (or three at the least) communicate with the priest': but the previous rubric gives the principle that there are always to be other communicants as well as the priest. There is no principle, Catholic (or indeed Roman), against there being communicants at all celebrations, including those with full ceremonial and music, and there is a principle involved in requiring it. Have we any justification for refusing obedience? It is said that the people will not be fasting at a late service. But it is now, I believe, acknowledged, at least throughout the West, that there are many people who cannot communicate strictly fasting; and that non-fasting communion is to be preferred to abstaining from communion. There are thus people in every parish who cannot communicate fasting. And, if we will, we can at least lawfully restrict the number of communicants at a late service, by requiring of them the previous notice which the rubric contemplates.
And this leads me to speak of not going beyond our authority in prescribing precise rules. The Mediaeval Church strictly prescribed that all should hear Mass on Sundays and the greater Holy Days, and that all should make their confession to their pastor at least once a year, and that all should communicate fasting (though now, I believe, in the Roman Catholic Church dispensations are freely given). The first of these rules, alas! the Prayer Book plainly ignores by recognizing that there will be Sundays when there is no celebration of the Holy Communion in a parish; and it plainly abandons the second rule; and equally plainly has made no attempt to enforce the third. Now in proportion to their spiritual worth, and their catholic prevalence, we can commend these, or the like, rules to our people. But we cannot, surely, seek in any way to enforce them, because we have not the authority. An individual priest cannot revive the binding force of an old canon when legislation in a different sense has intervened, or action in a contrary sense has long been allowed and encouraged officially.
Again we should all acknowledge that we cannot require of our people belief in the Immaculate Conception of Mary or her Assumption into heaven. But surely, then, it is not fair to obtrude into the services of the church phrases or terms which imply these doctrines, as in giving public notice of festivals.
Further—to pass from the service of Holy Communion—though the direct invocation of saints has been a custom of the church since early days, it was many centuries later before it was introduced into the public services; and I cannot see what right we have got to teach it to children or to older people as if it were the normal, or almost—in the case of the Ave Maria—the required, practice of the church. It should be remembered that neither by nature nor by revelation have we vouchsafed to us any positive information that we can communicate directly with the saints in the other world. A priest must be very careful to have proper authority for what he enjoins and for what he indirectly or implicitly requires of his people. Otherwise he is surely guilty of spiritual tyranny.
Finally, have we any justification for seeking to introduce among us the late Roman practice of each priest saying his Mass every day? Certainly this is a kind of individualism very repugnant to the idea of the church catholic for many centuries: and it is not practically compatible with the requirement of communicants at all celebrations.
I hope the above (unasked for) suggestions will not be deemed impertinent. I believe the Anglo-Catholic Movement will fail in its real aim, if it allows itself to become, or to remain, lawless in these or other particulars, or to insist on beliefs or practices which have neither the authority of the Prayer Book nor any authority which we can consistently recognize as catholic.
THINGS TO BE STRIVEN FOR
WE should strenuously and especially strive for:—
1. The restoration of our eucharistic canon to a form more agreeable to the principle and use of the church catholic. For my own part I heartily wish that our striving had taken the form, and should now and in the future take the form, of demanding the permissive use of the First Prayer Book.
2. the restoration to official recognition of Reservation for the Sick, permissibly in all parish churches, recognizing that the right of regulating the conditions under which the Holy Sacrament is to be reserved rests with the bishops or bishop.
3. the restoration of public prayers for the dead.
4. the restoration to our service book of some prayers to God, on the ancient models, glorifying God for His saints by name, and asking that we may be assisted by their prayers. Such prayers have surely great value in deepening our sense of the reality of the Communion of Saints.
5. the restoration of unction for the sick.
6. the reform of the method of appointing bishops. Normally a church should in extreme cases, other than moral cases, be able to apply coercive action to dispossess rebels; and the chief officers of formal discipline must be the bishops: but any restoration of formal and coercive discipline must depend upon the appointment of the bishops being by such means as enables them to be recognized as legitimate representatives of the church which they are to govern. The grounds of this claim have been suggested already.
7. the removal of the XXXIX Articles of Religion from the position of authoritative standards (in any sense) of belief or practice in the Anglican Church. The Articles bear with them almost throughout the savour of a bygone situation. Many of them are deeply repugnant to the spirit that one may call modern or critical or liberal, even if the 'prima facie' force of their language can be legitimately weakened. The whole discussion of Justification and Predestination is antiquated and quite unenlightening, and the anti-Roman articles are so ambiguously expressed that it does not appear clearly what is being condemned. I do not think that the present terms in which the clergy subscribe to the Articles, the Prayer Book, and the Ordinal, as containing, all taken together, the doctrine of the Church of England, which is at the same time scriptural doctrine, ought to present any real difficulty to us. But I find myself in agreement with a large number of those who have most to do with the interests of religion in the universities and the theological colleges that the Articles of Religion ought to be relegated to the position of historical documents. Nor at present, at least, would it appear to be desirable to have any document other than the Nicene Creed substituted for them as the standard of doctrine to be accepted by the clergy. Of course in addition they must be able conscientiously to use the services and teach the catechism—which means that they are in harmony with the doctrines implied or taught.