From The Works of the Rt. Rev. Charles C. Grafton (Volume 1),
edited by B. Talbot Rogers, New York: Longmans, Green, 1914
Christian and Catholic
OUR Lord established a ministry which would be an extension of His own, and through which He would act. It would extend His own prophetical, priestly, and kingly offices and their benefits to mankind. By its means He would continue in the world going about doing good. His ministers as His authorized agents, by their official acts of consecration, blessing, and pardon, bind Him. Whom they bless, He blesses; whom they in His name forgive, He forgives; on whom they lay hands, He lays His hands; what they confirm, He confirms; what they consecrate, He consecrates; whom they join in holy matrimony, He joins together in Himself. Of all the loving gifts of the Incarnate God to His people, that of the priesthood is the most signal token of His providential care. Therefore, Christ's loyal children have ever felt it an honor to care for those set over them in the Lord, and esteem them very highly for the Lord's sake.
From its earliest formation the Anglican Church has always been in possession of this Christ-founded and Apostolic ministry. It was coeval with its earliest beginnings. It continued throughout the British-Saxon-Norman times. Its continuity was not broken at the Reformation. The reformers officially declared, and made it a part of the prayer-book, that the ancient orders were to be "continued." It has been securely guarded by canon law and an orthodox liturgy. It has extended under the divine blessing throughout the world. The loyal children of the Church do not need to be convinced concerning it. Its priests know, by its results, that they possess the gift of sacred orders. The laity ask for no further proofs than their own experience of their possession of true and effective sacraments. It is immaterial to them what those without their communion may say or think. They know in whom they believe. They know with the divine certainty what they possess. The proof vouchsafed them is of the double kind of interior verification by God's Holy Spirit, and by the outward historical and theological evidence. No more certain truth is there in the sphere of revealed religion. No better evidence, indeed, is there for the existence of God Himself than, believing in Him, exists for the validity of Anglican orders.
We do, however, meet with those who, if they do not deny, at least question them. They are divided in England into the two classes of non-Conformists, Sectarians and Roman Catholics. The reasons, when given by the first, seem based largely on ignorance, the second on technicalities and policy. We must meet both with fairness, sympathy, and charity. For only by such a spirit can Christ's honor and the true interests of His kingdom be served.
First, as to the sectarians. We must recognize that all duly baptized are united to Christ, and extend our love to all Christians by whatever name they call themselves. Their spiritual ancestors in England went out from the Mother Church, and they have inherited the results of the schism. The devout among them have found Christ and feel assured of their acceptance in Him. In their walk with the Lord they have found Him precious to their souls. So rich is the Gospel as they possess it, that it is difficult for them to realize there is a fuller spiritual life vouchsafed through participation of the sacraments of the Catholic Church. They do not see this spiritual result in the many worldly and indifferent churchmen, and so conclude that it is not to be found in the Church. God in His dear love is, however, drawing souls desirous of a closer union with Himself into the fuller embrace of those sacramental gifts which the Church alone can give.
But the sectarian is so strongly entrenched in his belief that he is ordinarily unwilling to even consider the Church's claims. If he argues at all he brings up Chillingworth's argument about the uncertainty of the transmission of orders. His argument, however, of the improbability of preserving a succession through so many ages without flaw applies to that Roman doctrine which makes the validity of a sacrament depend upon the personal intention of the priest. But it does not apply to the transmission of a divine commission according to the canon law of the Church, which requires three bishops to act in conferring it; and the validity of whose action does not depend upon their personal belief, but on their official character as agents of the Church. And as concerning the effect of such an orderly and regular transmission from Apostolic times, "there is," says Bishop Stillingfleet, "as great reason to believe the Apostolic succession to be of divine institution, as the canon of Holy Scripture or the observance of the Lord's Day."
But, our inquirer asks, is it probable that God would entrust such a gift to unholy and unbelieving persons as some of the alleged transmitters certainly have been? It would, however, be more improbable if, in so important a matter, God should not have left a regular and appointed method of transmission. We have indeed this treasure in earthen vessels, but the unholiness of the channel does not hinder the conveyance of the gift. The neglect or even denial of their powers would not disrobe the priests of their sacred character. "We do not become a mere creature of man though we sell ourselves to be his slave." "Even if a bishop," wrote Newman, "were to use the words, 'receive ye the Holy Ghost' with little or no meaning, or a priest the consecrating words in the Eucharist, considering it only a commemoration of Christ's death, or a deacon the water and words of baptism, denying in his heart that it is regeneration, yet they may in spite of their unbelief be instruments of a power they know not of, and 'speak not of themselves'--they may be as Balaam or as Isaac."
Probably the argument which in their hearts most affects sectarians is the logical outcome of the Apostolic succession in application to their own ministry. If the doctrine is true, are not their ministers without authority to officiate in Christ's name? They know and love them. They have been helped by their ministrations. They see how God has blessed their efforts. They take an honest pride in the growth and power of their denomination. They are linked to it by Christian friendships and many social ties. They cannot think, whatever is urged, that their work is not of God and dear to Him. Such a view and feeling is highly commendable. Christians ought not to deny whatever the Holy Spirit may have witnessed in their own consciousness. But a distinction is to be observed. The Church claims to have a priesthood and sacrifice and sacramental gifts of confirmation and absolution. A sectarian does not claim to have a priesthood or sacrifice. He does not call his ministers priests. He rejects all sacerdotal powers. It is therefore no want of liberality to deny to the sectarian clergy what they themselves strenuously repudiate. We do not deny that they are Christ's disciples declaring to the best of their knowledge His Gospel, and that, where sincere, He blesses their work. When, however, S. John Baptist had brought his disciples to repentance and peace, they were to leave their old master, grateful for what he had done for them, to receive the fuller gifts of a more complete union with Christ. So too Apollos may be an eloquent man, mighty in the Scriptures, instructed in the way of the Lord, fervent in spirit, yet an Aquila and Priscilla must take him unto themselves and expound unto him the way of God more perfectly. In like manner, humble and devout sectarians are being led back into their old home, to find there an illumination and spiritual gifts, a wider vision and a deeper life than they before possessed.
Let us now, on the other hand, turn to our Roman brethren. A great many devout Roman Catholics, both of priests and laity, believe in their hearts in the validity of Anglican orders. They have come into friendly relations with Anglican priests and saintly laymen. They see the same effects of sacramental grace in them as they see in their own communion. "By their fruits ye shall know them," said the Lord, and their spiritual discernment tells them that Anglicans possess the sacraments as truly as themselves. A ruling of the late Pope, Leo XIII., restrains the expression of their belief, which they know to be true.
However, as has been said by Roman Catholics, this papal utterance was not of the class to which infallibility belongs; and, as it contains some errors of fact, his Holiness, by those who drew it up, was obviously misinformed. So it may be in time to come that the Roman Church, whose head is the first bishop in Christendom, may find it to its advantage, among the growing assaults of these later times, to reverse, in the interests of Christian union, its own opinion in the same manner as it reversed, concerning the conveyance of holy orders, the decision of Pope Eugenius IV. We can only say, with God all things, even this, is possible, and for Christ's sake and Rome's pray it may come to pass.
If any Christians, however, with honest intent, make inquiry concerning our orders, it is well to call their attention first to the fact that the Anglican Church not only claims to have them, but acts as if she had. While she holds that there are two sacraments universally necessary for salvation, she does not deny there are others. She regards holy orders as the ordained means of communicating authority and grace for the work of the ministry. In one of her homilies she calls it by the term sacrament. It is placed in this category by her ablest theologians. It is the more commonly accepted belief in the Church that the character conferred by the sacrament is indelible. Once a bishop or priest, always a bishop or priest.
Again, she has also preserved carefully the distinctions between the three inherited orders. A deacon is the assistant only at the Holy Eucharist. He may baptize infants in the absence of the priest, and so bring them into the kingdom. The priest alone can consecrate and offer the holy sacrifice. It is he who ministers the word of reconciliation in the absolving of penitents. The bishop alone is possessed of the power of ordination. According to Catholic usage he alone confirms, either doing so in person or by consecrating the chrism used for that purpose. He is the source of diocesan jurisdiction. He exercises rule and authority. By thus preserving intact the distinctive powers of each of the three orders the Anglican Church officially declares her belief in them.
She holds also to the Apostolic succession preserved through episcopal ordination. In the American prayer-book, in the office of institution, she thus makes prayer for the instituted priest: "O Holy Jesus, who hast purchased to Thyself an universal Church, and hast promised to be with the ministers of Apostolic succession to the end of the world: Be graciously pleased to bless the ministry and service of him who is now appointed to offer sacrifices of prayer and praise to Thee in this house."
Again, she regards the word "presbyter" as synonymous with priest, and gives in her Articles the title of "Sacerdotes" to the ministers of the second order. In the office of institution in her prayer-book the bishop grants to the instituted minister authority for the performance of "every act of sacerdotal function among the people." The American prayer-book describes the relation between the people and the clergy as a "sacerdotal relation." The priest praises God as one who has been honored "to stand in Thy house and to serve at Thy holy altar."
Moreover, the Church regards the priest as an offerer of sacrifice. When he stands before the altar he solemnly offers the holy and consecrated gifts of Christ's body and blood to the Almighty Father. Addressing Him, he uses the liturgical words, "We, thy humble servants, do celebrate and make here before thy Divine Majesty, with these thy holy gifts, which we now offer unto Thee, the memorial Jesus commanded us to make." The sacerdotal character is thus stamped upon her priests and all their ministrations.
The Church's belief in holy order as a sacrament, conveying character and grace, is also marked in another way, for none but those episcopally ordained can minister at her altars. If a Roman priest is led to unite himself with her the Church does not again ordain him, for he is already a priest. If, on the other hand, a sectarian minister is brought into the Church, no matter how learned he may be, or whatever his attainments, the Church requires that he must be confirmed and then ordained as if he were a mere layman. He must be made first a deacon, and then in due time elevated to the priesthood. Now this attitude of the Church in respect to nonconformists can only be justified on the ground of the Church's belief in the necessity of episcopal ordination and the sacrament of order. For if the sectarian ministers are as fully and validly representatives of Christ as we are, then the Church is guilty of a great wrong, indeed of the sin of schism, in making what is not in itself essential a matter of division.
Nor finally must it be overlooked that beside her prayer-book in America she has an official hymn book. The devotions of Anglicans are not confined as they are in the Eastern Church to their formal liturgy. To understand the spirit of the Anglican Church one must study the hymns of her people. They are their devotional life. Our collects may seem cold in comparison with the East, but the spirit of devotion breaks forth in our hymns. In them we find the Church entreating the Holy Spirit to make the ordained "a holy priesthood"; she prays that they may present and spread forth to God
"That only offering perfect in Thine eyes,
The one true, pure, immortal Sacrifice,"
and that in the Holy Eucharist we may receive
"The Bread that is Christ's Flesh--for food,
The Wine that is the Saviour's Blood."
So by her action, her liturgy, her hymns, the teaching of her theologians, the manifestations of her spiritual life, the Church bears witness to her possession of the sacrament of holy order. However in evil times the sense of the priestly character may have decayed, her priests since the Reformation have never sunk in morals like those of the Roman communion in Mexico, Brazil, or the Philippines. There has been no such ignorance concerning the ministration of the sacraments or decadence of the priestly character as S. Carlo Borromeo found existing among the clergy when he became Bishop of Milan. When at the end of the eighteenth century so many of the French priests, with bishops, became apostates, the clergy of England in that era of unbelief remained faithful to Christ. The Church of England knows she possesses holy orders, and the lives of her sons and clergy declare it.
Our inquirer may ask, how have the orders been preserved and transmitted? Was there an interruption at the time of the Reformation? Through whom do the present bishops trace their descent?
An easy way of giving answer is to say that all the living Anglican bishops trace their succession to the pre-Reformation ones and so through them up to the Apostles, through Archbishop Laud. By remembering this fact the question of the Anglican succession is much simplified. For Archbishop Laud united in himself three separate and distinct lines of consecrators. These were the Irish line, the Italian line, and the English line, any one of which being good, and there is no doubt about any one, Laud was validly consecrated bishop.
Concerning the Irish line, it combined in its descent the old Celtic line, also the Roman line, to which resort was frequently made, and in pre-Reformation times and during the reign of Queen Mary the English line.
It is too often overlooked that under Queen Elizabeth but two of the Irish bishops were deposed, Leverous, of Kildare, and Walsh, of Meath, for refusing to take the oath of supremacy. Most if not all of the others who had been bishops during the previous Roman Catholic period of Queen Mary conformed. Among them was Hugh Kirwan, Archbishop of Dublin, who. had been consecrated by Bonner, Thirlby, and Griffin during Queen Mary's reign and according to the Roman pontifical. Some of these conforming Irish bishops were transferred in Elizabeth's time and later, to English sees. Through three of his consecrators,--John Thornborough, of Worcester, John Housen, of Oxford (one of whose consecrators had the Irish succession through Christopher Hampton, Archbishop of Armagh), and Theophilus Field, Bishop of Landafff, one of whose consecrators was George, Bishop of Derry,--Laud derived his succession.
The conveyance of orders through the Italian line is also a matter of historical interest. M. A. Spalatro, or Marco Antonio de Dominis (consecrated Bishop of Segna in 1600, and translated to Spalatro on the east shore of the Adriatic, in 1602) conformed to the English Church. He was a Roman Catholic archbishop. On uniting with the Church in England he was made Dean of Windsor. He was a co-consecrator, in 1617, of George Montaigne, Bishop of London, and Nicholas Felton, Bishop of Ely. When Laud was consecrated on the 18th of November, 1621, as Bishop of St. David's, amongst his co-consecrators were Bishop Montaigne and Bishop Felton.
Laud also derived his succession through the English line. When Queen Elizabeth came to the throne in 1559, Cardinal Pole, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury, had died. He passed away a few hours after Queen Mary's death. The see of Canterbury had thus become vacant. Nominations and elections to the see were made in legal manner. The form of confirmation followed that was used in Bishop Chicheley's case in the fifteenth century. On the 11th of December, 1559, Dr. Mathew Parker was consecrated Archbishop at Lambeth. The official original record is preserved there. A fac-simile (a photo-zincograph copy) has been made and officially witnessed, and was published by Parker and Company in 1870.
Roman Catholic historians like Dr. Lingard and theologians like Canon Eastcourt have admitted the fact of the consecration. They have retreated from the former position taken by Roman writers and apologized for it. Father Brandi, S. J., in "A Last Word," says, "One cannot be held responsible for what may be written on this or any other subject by incompetent writers, but for a long time past no English Catholic writer of any standing has used the Nag's Head story as an argument."
"With regard to Barker's consecration," says Canon Eastcourt (R. C.), "as an historical fact it is most certain that it took place on the 17th of December, 1559, according to the description in the register."
It may be added that Dr. Cyriacus, a learned Orthodox Greek ecclesiastical historian, freely admits Parker's consecration, of which he has no doubt.
In the words of Dr. Dollinger, spoken at the Bonn Conference, in 1875, "The fact that Parker was consecrated by four rightly consecrated bishops, rite et legitime, with the imposition of hands and the necessary words, is so well attested that if one chooses to doubt this fact, one could with the same right doubt ten thousand facts; " or in the words of Courayer, "Everything concurs to set the truth in so great a light that if the fact of the Lambeth ordination is not above all doubt one must renounce acknowledging anything certain in history."
Very touching is the record of Archbishop Parker made in his own private diary: "17th of December, 1559. I was this day consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury. Alas! Alas! O Lord God, for what times hast Thou reserved me. Now am I come into the deep waters, and the floods overflow me. O Lord, I am in trouble. Answer for me." So incontestable is the evidence for Parker's consecration that the pope in a late bull abandoned all objections to it.
The consecration took place with dignified ceremonial at Lambeth. We read that the chapel was adorned with tapestry and the chancel covered with red cloth, the altar was vested with a carpet or altar cloth. The consecration, which was after the ordinal of King Edward VI., took place according to the ancient custom after the creed. The elect archbishop entered, wearing a long scarlet cassock, with four torches borne before him. He was accompanied by four bishops. The celebrant was vested in a cope of silk. In conferring the sacred order of the episcopate four bishops participated. Two of these, Barlow, the chief consecrator, and Hodgkins, had been consecrated according to the old Catholic pontifical. Bishop Barlow's consecration is certified by a great number of proofs which place it beyond any reasonable doubt. The Roman Catholic historian Dr. Lingard admits it. He was duly installed in person as Bishop of S. David's, and the mandate to install always recites the fact of the consecration. He took his seat in the House of Lords, which he could not have done but on being presented by two witnesses to his consecration. He was universally recognized as a bishop in King Henry's time and King Edward's and in legal documents by Queen Mary. His saying that the king's appointment would make a layman as good a bishop as himself would be meaningless if he were not a duly consecrated bishop. There is no reasonable doubt but that Barlow was a duly consecrated bishop, and consequently Archbishop Parker.
We must, however, notice that one departure took place from the ordinary method. It is of record that all four bishops, when they laid on hands, pronounced the formula, " Receive the Holy Ghost," etc. The occasion was a peculiar one and they felt the importance of most carefully guarding the transmission of the gift and grace of holy order. They thus departed from the customary way of the chief consecrator alone using the words. By each of them uttering the formula, each acted as a consecrator, so that if any one of them was a validly consecrated bishop the gift of orders would be conveyed. The Roman Catholic Martene declared that the bishops assisting in the laying on of hands are "not merely witnesses, but co-operators." The Eastern Church holds that as many bishops as are present and act do consecrate. It can therefore be no matter of doubt that Matthew Parker was solemnly set apart and consecrated as bishop in the Church of God.
We can but note the contrast of this consecration with that of Dr. Carroll, who was consecrated in 1790 as the first Roman bishop for the United States, and upon the validity of whose consecration that of the Roman hierarchy in America for half a century depended. He was consecrated in the private chapel of Lullworth Castle, and contrary to the ancient canons, by one bishop only, and he a bishop only in partibus, having no lawful jurisdiction in England and assisted, so the records say, by two priests!
Thus the preeminent caution taken in the consecration of Archbishop Parker bears witness to the Anglican Church's care in the transmission of holy orders. The fact of his consecration is now, by the admission of opponents, beyond dispute.
Let us next consider the ordinal.
In the opinion of a late pope the validity of the Edwardine formula was denied. Like one of the English privy council decisions it was obviously so dictated by policy as to be for Catholics without weight. It could be no more so than preceding opinions of former popes who have fallen into errors respecting the orders of other bodies, or in what the essence of holy order consists. Thus we find one declaring certain orders invalid which Rome now in uniat churches accepts, and Eugenius IV. declaring the essential "matter" to be the delivery of the instruments which is an opinion now abandoned. Pope Leo XIII. in turn contradicted the rulings of his predecessors Julius III. and also of Paul IV. The former authorized Cardinal Pole to grant dispensations touching "the office of consecration which had been granted even by bishops who were heretics and schismatics, or otherwise minus rite and without observance of the accustomed form of the Church." The phrase "accustomed form" means the customary full ritual, "minus rite," something less. The cardinal accordingly informed Parliament that he would receive "all who had obtained orders under the pretended authority of the supremacy of the Anglican Church in the orders to which they had been so admitted." Paul IV. ratified the action of his predecessor.
A question, however, had arisen whether the dispensation granted applied to certain Lutheran and Calvinistic ministers who by the king's grant had been allowed to have churches of their own. Pope Julius in his brief " Regimine universalis" decided who were to be regarded as ordained and who not. Those " alone can be said not to have been ordained, rite et recte who were not ordained and consecrated in the form of the Church." The phrase " form of the Church " means that part of the accustomed form which is sufficient to effect or confer a sacrament. This had been wanting in the cases above mentioned. There was no competent consecrator. But the pope ruled " that others on whom orders had been conferred by bishops ordained and consecrated in the form of the Church had received the character of the orders conferred and lacked nothing but the execution thereof," i. e., papal recognition and consent. It is thus seen to be a somewhat difficult task to reconcile Pope Leo's opinion with that of his predecessors.
It is also to be noticed that Leo fell, through the way the case was represented to him, into a mistake of fact. There was an authority given by Pope Paul IV. to Cardinal Pole to condone or dispense persons who had nulliter et de facto obtained during Henry's and Edward's time various grants concerning orders as well as ecclesiastical benefices. As cited by Leo, the word "concerning" was omitted and the word nulliter was translated "null" and made to refer to the orders. It thus made the sentence convey the idea that these orders were declared null. But it has been shown that nulliter in mediaeval Latin, as given by Ducange in his "Glossary" means "unjustly," "extra-legally," "illegitimately." It was so used within a short time in the English ecclesiastical courts. The meaning, therefore, is that certain irregularities might be dispensed, but not that the orders were declared to be invalid. These errors of fact vacate the papal opinion of Leo of any value. As the members of the great and learned Society of Jesus have come to disregard the condemnation of their order by Pope Clement, so in time to come they may learn to disregard this political one of Leo.
However all this may be, the question of Anglican orders is not effected by any papal decision. It must stand on its own merits.
In respect of the ordinal, the Anglican Church provided that the ancient orders of the priesthood should be preserved and rightly transmitted. As the ordinal was in hopeless confusion, perplexing differences existing between the Roman and the Sarum rites, and no one was able to say with certainty at what time in the service the priest was ordained, it was of the first necessity that the ordinal should be revised. In the Roman rite there are two laying on of hands by the bishop. One when the words "Receive the Holy Ghost" are said. But this is said after the ordination; for the ordained has been acting as a co-consecrator of the Holy Eucharist with the bishop, which unless ordained he could not do. The other laying on of hands is at the beginning of the service, when the hands of the bishop are laid on, but nothing is said. For the removal of these difficulties a revision was deemed advisable.
As no one universally received rite existed to which the Anglican Church was bound to conform, it cannot be inferred from the rectification of her ordinal that she had any intention of departing from Catholic faith or usage. She declared officially and many times the contrary. In the changes she made she had resort to Holy Scripture, ancient practice, and Catholic tradition. The alterations were not made because she accepted the Lutheran or Protestant view of the ministry, for she rejected the proposal of the foreign Lutheran Reformers to frame an ordinal after their belief. She set forth one founded on essentially different and on Catholic principles.
It was not framed on a denial of priesthood and sacrifice. If it had been, the title of "sacerdos" or priest, which implies sacrifice, would have been stricken out of the prayer-book as the sect of Reformed Episcopalians in America has done. The Church's intention was to preserve the inherited ancient orders. This is proved by two facts: First, by the ordinal itself, where the distinction between the three orders is preserved, and ordination is required by one of the Episcopal order. The proper "matter" is provided by the laying on of the bishop's hands. An efficient "form" is set forth, namely, prayer for the ordinand, with designation of the order to be conferred and authorization for its work, together with the gift of the Holy Ghost bestowed for its exercise.
Secondly, the Church explicitly declared her intention to preserve the ancient orders in their integrity. She declared her intention that her priests should be what they were in pre-Reformation times. She did this in a preface to her ordinal. And here we must expose a common error of interpretation into which clerical writers are apt to fall. The private opinions of the authors of any law cannot logically or legally be appealed to in aid of its construction. The opinions, for example, expressed in the debates in Parliament cannot be cited in court to explain the meaning of a statute. The reason is, the statute is the utterance of the whole body as an entity, and not merely of those who planned or advocated it.
Now the ordinal was adopted by the whole body of bishops, all save one being in favor of it. This body putting forth the ordinal expressed its intention officially, as we have said, in its preface. We cannot legally or logically go behind it to get at the ordinal's meaning. It is clearly stated in words which cannot be misunderstood or explained away. It states that "from the Apostles' time there have been these orders of ministers in Christ's Church: bishops, priests, and deacons, . . . and therefore to the intent that these orders may be continued, no man shall be accounted or taken to be a lawful bishop, priest, or deacon except he be admitted thereto according to the form hereafter following, or hath had formerly Episcopal consecration or ordination."
This explicitly declared intention legally governs the interpretation of the ordinal. It also does so morally, for a principal in common law is bound by the "holdings out" or representations of an authorized agent. So it is with the Church. She uses the well-known terms, bishops, priests, and deacons. On the "holding out" that she possesses them in their ancient sense men are induced to enter holy orders and give their lives to her service. She is therefore estopped from explaining them away, or putting any other than the recognized Catholic sense upon them.
So much for the intention of the ordinal. As for the intention of those who used it in Archbishop Parker's case, it must be observed that the bishops were the officials of a Church whose ordinal was provided for them. They could not alter its meaning by any interior views of their own. It is not, therefore, to be construed by their own private opinions whatever they may have been. Acting as they did seriously and with the intent of doing what the Church ordered, their intention, as well as that of the Church's ordinal, must be taken to be that of making and continuing a Catholic priesthood.
The care of the Church is also seen in the preservation of the "matter and form" essential to the sacrament. "Matter" expresses the outward sign, and "form" the words that accompany it. Although Pope Eugenius IV. declared the proper matter to be the delivery in the service of the paten and chalice, yet that decision had to be admitted erroneous when it was discovered that this ceremony was unknown for many hundred years. The commonly accepted belief now is that the "matter" is the laying on of hands by the bishop. This the Anglican rite provides for in the giving of all the degrees of order.
There can therefore be no question concerning the validity of the "matter."
When we come to consider the "form" we are met by the fact that there never has been one universal formula, but it is generally agreed that there should be prayer for the ordinand, with a recognition of the order to be given and the gift of the Holy Spirit for its exercise.
We must here draw attention to the fact that here are two views regarding the connection between the matter and the form. One is that they must be coincident, the other that the service being considered as a whole, they are legally and morally united though in different parts of it.
The validity of Anglican orders is not affected whichever opinion is adopted.
Let us examine the first as applied to the ordinal in use at the time of Archbishop Parker's consecration. There, in the ordination of a priest, the bishop, laying his hands on the head of the ordinand, says, "Receive the Holy Ghost: whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven: and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained: and be thou a faithful dispenser of the Word of God, and of His Holy Sacraments: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
We have here a bestowal of the Holy Spirit for the exercise of a power exclusively sacerdotal, which thus designates the priest's office, and empowers him to minister the "Word" and "the Sacraments." The ministering of the sacraments includes all of them, and all they include. The authorization and empowering therefore includes the offering of the gospel sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ.
It is well known that the essence of the priesthood lies in its function of ministering in the Church and for it, as it offers itself up in union with the sacrifice of the altar to God, and as it ministers for God to its members. It offers the holy sacrifice of the altar to God, it dispenses from God the pardoning word of reconciliation. These are the two special works cited in Trent as characteristic of the priesthood. In order to express the "Sacerdotium," or priesthood, it was only necessary to incorporate one of these into the ordaining form. The Anglican Church took the one used by our Lord when He breathed upon the Apostles. To insist that it is necessary more explicitly to express the sacerdotal function of the priesthood would be to invalidate all the orders of Christendom.
The Anglican "form" of conveying priesthood is thus seen to be sufficient and valid.
In the bestowal of the episcopate the form given in the ordinal was, "Take the Holy Ghost, and remember thou stir up the grace of God, which is in thee by imposition of hands: for God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and of soberness." This is equally as valid a form as that for the priesthood.
It is to be remembered that this is the text cited in the Council of Trent to prove holy orders a sacrament.
Now the same reason that led the Anglican Church to take for the "form" in the ordination of a priest the words of Christ when He bestowed a sacerdotal power led to the taking of the most significant words in Holy Scripture connected with the character belonging to the episcopate. The episcopate is the order of authority and power, it ordains and consecrates and rules. It therefore requires a gift of "power" for ordination and consecration, which is here implied, and the spirit of love and soberness to rule wisely and well. Thus, by this text according to Trent, the episcopate is designated, and the bishop consecrated is empowered with the gift of the Holy Ghost coincidently with the laying on of hands.
If, on the other hand, the other opinion is adopted and the service is regarded as a whole, the gift of priesthood and of the episcopate is equally evident. This opinion has two reasons in its favor. First, it is common sense. Seeing that the purpose and object of the service is to ordain or consecrate a person a priest or bishop, the whole service should legally be construed together. Again, it is the way our Lord Himself ordained the Apostles. He bade them at one time offer the holy sacrifice; at another gave them authority to forgive sin; at another commanded them to baptize; lastly, gave them mission and jurisdiction. But their consecration was not complete until He ascended and made them "able ministers of the Word" by the gift of the Holy Ghost.
It seems to be suggested, as the Anglican Archbishops say, by the Pope that our present form of ordination ought perhaps to be considered sufficient, if it were not for the fact that between the years 1549 and 1662 the words, "For the office and work of a priest" were lacking. But this is a quite groundless objection, as the archbishops pointed out in their reply to the Papal Bull, because during that time words designating priesthood, which the Pope considers necessary, were contained in the prayer, "Almighty and everlasting God, giver of all good things, who by Thy Holy Spirit has appointed divers orders of ministers in Thy Church, mercifully behold these Thy servants now called to the office of Priesthood" This prayer, it must be remembered, was at that time part of the ordination proper, and not, as now, the Collect of the Mass, of which fact the Pope seemed to be unaware.
But even now, however, this Collect is not separated in time so far as the potential words of Christ to the Apostles to offer the Holy Sacrifice and the effective gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost which enabled them to do so. If thus the "matter and form" must for validity be absolutely coincident, then the Twelve, including Peter, were never consecrated Apostles.
Let us then consider the service as a whole. We are compelled by the declaration in the preface to interpret the terms priest and bishop in their ancient sense. We find in the ordinal, as set forth, the "intention and form" declaratory of the priesthood and episcopate wrought into every part. The titles of the offices are, "The form of Ordering Priests," "The form of Consecrating a Bishop." The person presenting the deacons has to say, "Reverend Father in God, I present unto you these persons present, to be admitted to the order of Priesthood." In the presentation of the elect bishop, "We present unto you this godly man to be Ordained and Consecrated Bishop." In the case of the deacons the bishop says, "Good People, these are they whom we purpose to receive unto the holy Office of Priesthood." In the Litany the bishop prays God " To bless these Thy servants now to be admitted to the Order of Priests." He prays in the Litany for the elect bishop that God would send His grace on him that he may duly execute the office to which he is called. In the collect for the Communion, which expresses the intention of the holy sacrifice about to be offered, the celebrant prays God, "Who hast appointed divers Orders of Ministers in the Church; Mercifully behold these now called to the Office of Priesthood and so replenish and adorn them, that they may faithfully serve Thee in this Office." The collect for the consecration of bishops recognizes their distinctive office as based upon that of the Apostles, and prays for grace on all bishops.
In the exhortation made to those to be ordained priests they are put in charge how "high a Dignity, and to how weighty an Office" they are called. In the solemn and deep words of Holy Scripture, they are as priests "to be Messengers, Watchmen, and Stewards of the Lord." "Messengers," that is, angels. Messengers sent with a heavenly message and divine authority. They are, as S. Paul calls them, certified and authorized "ambassadors of Christ," speaking in His name and by His authority. They are "watchmen," that is, guardians, to whom is committed the guardianship of the kingdom of Christ and the faith. They are "stewards," who by their office are official mediators between the members of the mystical body and its head; the offerers up of all the body owes its head in connection with the appointed gospel sacrifice, and the dispensers of all that the head, by His sacraments, bestows on the members.
In the response made by the elect to the bishop, he declares, in the name of God, that he believes himself called to "the Order and Ministry of Priesthood." The Holy Ghost having been solemnly invoked by the recitation of the Veni Creator Spiritus, prayer is said over the persons to be ordained or consecrated. Then follows the laying on of hands by the bishop, who says the grace-bestowing form, "Receive the Holy Ghost," and, as we have seen, at the same time in the Edwardine Ordinal by words significant of the office.
Thus the ordination of the Anglican priest is utterly unlike in kind and character to the authorization of a Protestant minister, where priesthood and sacrifice are not recognized.
Not without its significance also is the fact that in the Edwardine Ordinal, and our present one, the ordination and consecration service are incorporated into the mass. The ordination does not form a separate service by itself. It does not come before or after the Holy Communion. It is, as liturgical writers say, "farced" into it and so becomes part of it. It comes in before the Offertory. The Church is about to offer herself, body, soul, and spirit, to God in connection with her head. She does this by an identification with Him in the sacrament of the altar. Hither come those to make an offering of themselves to be priests or bishops, as identified with Christ's offices and for their extension.
To say there is not a sacerdotium or priesthood designated in our ordinal is like saying in broad daylight the sun is not shining. The Anglican ordinal from beginning to end is full of priesthood, and penetrated and illuminated by it.
O sad perversity of the human spirit that blinds itself to the truth! O foolish and deceived by party zeal, who, though unconsciously, hinder the divine purpose. O weak and doubting hearts that fail to see the mountain full of protecting angel hosts. A day of gloom it was when years ago Newman addressed his memorable apostrophe to England's Church and then bade her farewell. But the grace of her sacraments has transformed her life and given another meaning to his words. "O Mother of Saints! School of the Wise! Nurse of the heroic! Of whom went forth, in whom have dwelt memorable names of old to spread the truth abroad or cherish and inculcate it at home! O thou from whom surrounding nations lit their lamps!" How hast thou arisen as from the dust! How hast the reproach upon thee of a "miscarrying womb and dry breasts" been done away. Marvel of marvels! Miracle of repair! The branch again puts forth her leaves and buds, and bears fruit an hundred-fold. A new enthusiasm for man as well as love of God fills her with fresh missionary zeal. Her educated sons have gone down to live in the slums of great cities among the poor, to elevate them by their friendly intercourse. Her daughters have given themselves by hundreds to the religious life with its noble service. Again the voice of the ancient bishops and fathers is heard in her pulpits. Again is the one sure and certain faith Nicaea taught of old proclaimed. Again the daily sacrifice is being restored to her altars. She is being recognized in her true character. She is the shrine of truth, guardian of the faith, teacher of the nations, blessed home for the lonely, refuge for the distressed, ark for the perishing, body of Christ in which He dwells, through which He acts. The truth of the old prophecy, as Neale wrote, is being fulfilled.
"Again do long processions sweep through the cathedral pile;
Again do banner, cross, and cope gleam thro' the incensed aisle;
And the faithful dead do claim their part in the Church's thankful prayer,
And the daily Sacrifice to God is duly offered there;
And many an earnest prayer ascends from many a hidden spot;
And England's Church is Catholic, though England's self be not."