From The Works of the Rt. Rev. Charles C. Grafton
edited by B. Talbot Rogers, New York: Longmans, Green, 1914, pp. 245-270
A Journey Godward
of a Servant of Jesus Christ
CHURCH UNITY AND UNION
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!"
I EVER labored for a restoration of outward union between all Christian bodies. When the Association for the Promotion of Christian Unity was founded, I became an active member of it. It has always been my custom in consequence to say daily a prayer for a united Christendom.
I have desired to see a restoration of Christian fellowship between the separated portions of Apostolic Christianity. It would be a great benefit to Christ and the extension of Christ's Kingdom if the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Western ones, the Latin and the Anglican, could cease their warfare and work harmoniously together. Nor should we of the Anglican Communion withhold our sympathy from those sectarian bodies that have gone out from us, but pray that the breaches may be healed. I have always been kindly received by the latter. When a priest serving in Boston, I was asked by the Baptist denomination to address their clergy on the subject of Church work. I have taken part in services with them which were of a national character. I have been asked to address their congregations on the position and teaching of our Church. On one occasion quite a number of the ministers, belonging to the various denominations in the heart of one of our large cities, asked me to conduct a retreat for them. They had heard about retreats as means of spiritual progress, and desired that I should give one to them, leaving all arrangements in my hands and making me its sole conductor.
I do not think any union with the sects can be brought about by dealing with them in their corporate capacity. The ties which now bind them together are too strong to allow of an absorption or confederation. They regard their prosperity as a token of God's blessing on their organizations. Nor would a better state of feeling be produced by what is called an "open pulpit." This would not only more surely convince them of the rightfulness of their separation and sectarian theology, but would be at the expense of the disruption of our own communion. But possibly separate congregations might be brought into union with us by allowance of a temporary use of a service approved by the Bishops of a Province, and a continuance of the administrations of the former pastor, for a time, as a lay reader. When a body or congregation should desire union with us, they might wait for a time before receiving the Sacraments, which, until their own minister was ordained, would be supplied by a priest of the Church.
Concerning restored communion between the Apostolic Eastern, that is Russian and Greek, Churches, and the Western, that is Roman and Anglican, we must note a distinction between unity and union.
Our Lord prayed that His Church might be one as He and the Father are one. Now He and the Father are one by unity of possessing a common Nature. It is an organic and indestructible unity. It is this kind of unity that He prayed should be that of His Church. This unity of the Church is secured by those gifts of sacramental grace which, uniting all the members to Christ, make them partakers of His nature, and brothers and sisters of His one family or flock. By this union with Christ an indestructible unity is secured. So that all members of these various branches of the Church, united to Christ and having His life flowing, as it were, in their veins, form one body in His sight. Christ also prayed for union. He prayed for such a visible union as that the world, seeing all nationalities united together by the tie of Christian charity, should have therein a witness of His divine mission. What has happened has been that this union or intercommunion has been disturbed. As Christ prayed for union we should also pray for its restoration.
But we must always pray in submission and conformity to the will of God. How do we know that it is His will that the separated portions of Christendom should be united? Is there any intimation of it in Holy Scripture? Did he desire the reuniting of Israel and Judah after their separation? Did He not forbid the conquering of one portion by the other? How is it in respect to the Christian Church? It fell into the same sin as Israel in desiring a visible head, and, as in the case of Israel, disunion was the result. What is to be, according to the divine will, the course of His Church on earth? It is not to conquer the world and to make the world good. It is to gather out of the world those who are to form the Kingdom of Righteousness, which is to last forever. The world is in opposition to Christ, and will become more so as time goes on. The world will treat the Church, which is the coming Bride of Christ, as it treated Christ. It will gradually reject orthodox Christianity for some rationalized theology of its own making. It will gain a foothold within the body of the Church itself, which will be the source of its division. Christianity, as a world's victor, will be a failure. Its true victory will be found in its faith in Christ, which will not thereby be disturbed.
Now it is this that Christ prophesied of His Church. His Gospel will be preached first of all as a witness to all nations. But as the end draws nigh the powers of the Church will be shaken. The glory of Christ's Deity, who is the Sun of Righteousness, will be obscured. The stars of heaven, that is, the Bishops and priests of the Church, will fall away. The sign of the Cross, that is, persecution, will be seen. The outward garment of Christ will be rent by divisions. While the bones of the mystical Body of Christ cannot be broken, for the unity of the Body is indestructible, yet all the bones, as symbolical of the union and coordinate working of each part, will be out of joint. The outer framework of the Church, like the ship in which St. Paul sailed, will suffer shipwreck. It is of those in this Gospel Ship that the angel said to Paul: "Lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee." Christ never made such promise, we may note in passing, to St. Peter. He only preached out of Peter's boat as representing the Old Dispensation, and brought Peter to confession of his sinfulness. But no security was pledged to the Old or the New Dispensation organization. Peter's boat began to sink and St. Paul's went to pieces. The Church must thus calmly look on to the end. There will be, it is true, at the second coming of Christ, a deep religious movement within the Church, just as there was at His first coming. But Christ has promised no triumph of the Church over the world.
While then we may pray for outward union, we must be content with the real unity of the Body of Christ. We cannot say that it is God's will that the different portions of disunited Christendom will ever be united. We must not say, as if we knew with absolute certainty, that outward union is what God wants. There are reasons why it may be otherwise. The prophecies, at least, do not point that way. While for a long portion of my life I hoped for the reunion in Western Christendom of the Anglican and Latin Communions, after the Roman rejection of our orders, which was in itself, I believe, a great blessing, the union seemed a practical impossibility. The Holy Spirit in the last century has been striving with the Anglican Communion to regain its full heritage of faith and worship. And, in some degree, the Anglican Church has made a loving response to God. She has done penance for her sins. She has make acknowledgment of her faults. She has extended her love to her separated brethren. Her sons and daughters have given themselves with heroic devotion to the cause of Christ. The Faith as taught from the beginning throughout the ages, and as announced by all portions of Christendom, has been held with revived energy. The Holy Sacrament and Sacrifice of the Eucharist has been largely restored as the one great worship for the Lord's Day. Responding to the Spirit's call, she has put on her glorious ceremonial as an expression of her faith and love. She has aroused herself from her Erastian slumber like a giant refreshed with wine.
On the other hand the same Holy Spirit has been pleading with the Latin Communion; pleading with her, through the Anglican Church, through the Eastern Synods, by the Old Catholic Movement, by the stirring call of the Modernist, by the movement in favor of a liberal Catholicity, and by those who Rome itself would call her loyal and faithful children, to cease to be papal and to become more Catholic. The modern monarchical absolutism of the papacy, which makes the Pope the source of all jurisdiction, gives him an exclusive legislative power, makes him the judge of all controversies, the doctor and teacher of the Church apart from the Councils, is a papacy different in kind from the honour, precedence, and lawful influence given by tradition and canon law to the Pope as the first Bishop of Christendom. He refuses our acknowledgment of his primacy, demanding a submission to his supremacy. He claims, on the non-Patristic interpretation of three texts, the Forged Donation of Constantine, and the Forged Decretals, a power as of divine right which the ancient Church knew not of, and the Eastern and the Anglican Churches, without faithlessness to their Lord, cannot acknowledge. But the question between the Anglican and Roman to-day is not that of the sixteenth century. While the Church of England, with some mistakes it may be admitted, sought in legal fashion and by appeal to the ancient faith to reform herself by conforming to Apostolic traditions, the teaching of the Fathers, the doctrines of the Councils, and by common consent; Rome, repudiating an appeal to history, has widened the breach in Christendom by adding doctrines, like those of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin and Papal Infallibility, to her Creed. In her claim to a temporal sovereignty she has surrounded herself with the pomp and splendor of an earthly court. By her love of power, her worldliness, centralized dictatorship, and her Italian policy, she contravenes the injunction of our Lord: "My Kingdom is not of this world." We may pray for Rome's conversion, but only a moral earthquake, as terrible as the physical one which destroyed Messina, can shatter the papacy and make possible a reunion with her.
We turn gladly and more hopefully to the Eastern Churches. Rome's one term of union is summed up in the word "submission." We must submit and be incorporated in her. We must submit and become papalized. Now the Eastern Church does not ask us to submit. In her great love she only asks: "Are we of the same faith?" Have we kept the faith of the Fathers, as she certainly has? If we are one with her in faith, then she opens her heart and says: "We are brethren."
A way, then, to union with the East is first of all to develop union within ourselves. The different schools in the English Church do agree, we believe, in the same creed, the same great principles of the faith, and use the same Book of Common Prayer. Whatever tends to the minimizing of party spirit, to the better understanding of one another, tends to the unity of Christendom. It is at home that the effort of union must first be made. We must be practically one amongst ourselves, and this unity is consistent with a diversity of allowed ritual and ceremonial. Let this be brought about, and union, we believe, in Christian fellowship with the Eastern Churches will not be far distant.
It may be interesting here for my readers to read a letter of mine sent to the Most Reverend Archbishop Antonius; also a report I made after a visit to Russia to the Bishops and members of our Commission on Ecclesiastical Relations; also a letter addressed to Antonius, the presiding member of the Holy Governing Synod of Russia, and to the Synod through him:
REPORT TO THE COMMISSION ON ECCLESIASTICAL RELATIONS
"TO THE BISHOPS AND MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION ON ECCLESIASTICAL RELATIONS:
"REVEREND AND DEAR BRETHREN:
"Having been brought into personal and friendly relations with some of the members of the Russian Orthodox Church, including the Right Reverend Bishop Tikhon and the Most Reverend Antonius, Metropolitan of St. Petersburg, I was urgently requested by some, among whom was the Russian Consul General Lodygenski in New York, to visit St. Petersburg in the interest of Christian fellowship. At the same time, as a member of our Commission, the Right Rev. Bishop Huntington, our chairman, gave me a letter, accrediting me as a member of our body, to the Russian Church.
"I was also honored by the following letter, given under the hand and seal of our late Right Reverend Presiding Bishop, Dr. Clark:
"'To the Most Reverend Antonius, Archbishop and Metropolitan of St. Petersburg:
"'Will you allow me to introduce to you the Right Reverend Charles Chapman Grafton, D.D., Bishop of Fond du Lac, in the United States of America, who is visiting Russia in order to learn all that he can of the Church in that country, and also to give information, wherever it is desired, of the condition of the Church in this part of the world? It is his wish, and that of many others, to establish and continue fraternal relations between the Eastern Church in Russia and the Church in America.
"'Any attentions, therefore, which may be shown him, or any aid that he may receive in his investigations, will be warmly reciprocated by the Church in this country.
"'I am, with great respect,
"'Your affectionate brother in Christ,
THOMAS M. CLARK
Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
in the United States of America.'
NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND,
August 18, 1903
"The object of my visit, as stated in this letter, was to obtain information concerning the Orthodox Church and to give any information of the condition of the Church in this part of the world. The Presiding Bishop also stated that it was the wish of many here to establish and continue fraternal relations between the Eastern Church in Russia and the Church in America.
"Our Secretary, Father De Rosset, also wrote and requested me to prepare a report on the question of the rapprochement of the Anglican and Eastern Communions to present tot he Commission at the coming Convention. It is in consequence of this request that I lay this report before you.
"I sailed from New York on the twenty-second of August last, returning on the eighth of November. I was accompanied by the Rev. Sigourney W. Fay, Jr., who acted as my chaplain, and was joined in England by W. J. Birkbeck, Esq., who also accompanied me to Russia. Mr. Birkbeck is probably well known to you by his writings. His knowledge of the Russian language and his many years of intercourse with Russian ecclesiastics and with persons of high social position, made his assistance in obtaining our desired information most valuable. He had also accompanied the Archbishop of York when he visited Russia as a representative of the English Church at the coronation of the Czar.
"During my stay in Russia, I visited St. Petersburg, Moscow, and the Troitsa Monastery, not far from the latter city.
"On arrival at St. Petersburg, it being the Feast of the Holy Cross, I attended the service at the Lavra, or Monastery, of the Alexander Nefsky. It was on a Saturday evening. There were about three thousand persons present in the congregation, a large part of whom, as I found was the case in almost all their services, were men.
"On Sunday, accompanied by the Hon. Vladimir Sabler, Senator, the assistant tot he Procurator-General of the Holy Synod, I attended the liturgy at the great Church of St. Isaac's, and was received within the Iconastasis, during the service, and afterwards was welcomed by Bishop Constantine, one of the Coadjutor Bishops of St. Petersburg and the Dean of the Cathedral.
"During my stay in St. Petersburg I saw Alexius, the Exarch of Georgia, who is a member ex officio of the Holy Synod. The Holy Governing Synod consists, we may say, ex officio of the Metropolitan of St. Petersburg, who is the President, the Metropolitan of Moscow and Kief, the Exarch of Georgia, and other temporary members, among whom was my friend, Bishop Tikhon.
"During my stay in St. Petersburg I had many conversations with General Kereef, who has taken such a deep interest in the union of the Churches. He has published several pamphlets concerning the relations of the different communions to each other. From him I obtained a great deal of information as to the attitude of the Russian laity towards their Church, and on the subject of restored intercommunion.
"My own impression of the laity corresponds with that of the late Bishop Creighton, that the Russians are the most religious nation in Europe. While it may be said that the English are the most practical, the French the most logical, the Germans the most learned, the Italians the most artistic, and the Americans the most freedom-loving, of Russia it may fairly be said that, as a nation, she is the most religious. It is certainly one proof of this to see the enormous congregations, composed so largely of men, assembled in their churches. At St. Saviour's, Moscow, the great church built in thanksgiving for Russia's deliverance from Napoleon, I saw on an ordinary Sunday a congregation of eight thousand or ten thousand persons. In every railroad station, public building, in every private house are to be seen icons, or sacred pictures, which not only remind persons of sacred subjects, but bring forth in most public places acts of devotion. Nor is this a mere matter of external piety; the religion reaches into their business affairs. It is common for the great merchants of Moscow to hold religious services in their places of business once a year, to offer thanks to God for the way in which they have been prospered, and to make substantial acknowledgment of it by offerings to the Church. The popular idea with us, that the Russians are given excessively to drink, is disproved by statistics, which show that, since the Government has abolished saloons, the amount of liquor consumed per capita in Russia is less than that taken in England or America.
"I also was honored by a visit from that holy priest, Father St. John Sergieff. The simplicity, earnestness, and piety of this remarkable and wonder-working man was most striking. One could not but be drawn to him by his deep evangelical spirit, nor, when one came to know him and learn of his life, doubt of the many wonders God has seen fit to work through his prayers. He was a living witness to the truth that in all ages and in all portions of the Catholic Church God is raising up persons to a supernatural degree of holiness and sanctity.
"It would be interesting, if I had time, to enter into the great missionary spirit of the Russian Church, their missionary societies, and the evangelical work which is done throughout Siberia, Japan, and elsewhere. In examining their training of their clergy for the priesthood, I noticed that there was an ecclesiastical school and seminary in every diocese, and in addition there were three or four academies. In these academies the higher grade of students, selected from the others, received a higher education and were trained for professors and the higher walks of the ministry.
"On my arrival the Metropolitan of St. Petersburg was absent, and upon invitation of the Archbishop and Metropolitan of Moscow, I went thither, proceeding first to the famous Monastery of the Troitsa, where I spent the Feast of St. Sergius, with his Excellency Vladimir. It was a wonderful sight to see the many thousands of pilgrims who had assembled thither to keep the feast; and the blessing of them by the Metropolitan, from the parapet overlooking the great courtyard, was a touching spectacle.
"Here I made a visit to the Ecclesiastical Academy and the Seminary, where I was entertained and where I had many speeches of welcome made me by the professors. On my return to Moscow I was the guest, with the others of my party, at the Monastery of St. Michael, in the Kremlin. We received every attention from the prior Innokenti, who has since been consecrated Bishop of our Pacific Coast and Alaska.
"It would be tedious and unnecessary to mention the various visits made to different ecclesiastics and the Church's institutions, where we were everywhere most warmly received. On my return to St. Petersburg I was entertained by the Dean, Bishop Sergius, and the professors at the Academy. Here the students met me with the usual hymn of salutation, and in my progress through the institution I was addressed at different points by the students in speeches in Latin, Greek, and English. Subsequently I had interviews with His Eminence Antonius, and dined with him and the Exarch of Georgia, the Archbishop of Novgorod, Bishop Tikhon, and others of the Holy Governing Synod.
"With the Metropolitan I discussed freely the matters relating to the intercommunion of our respective Churches, and presented to him a letter which I had prepared on the subject. This letter, by the good offices of my friend, Mr. Birkbeck, was translated into the Russian language. There is much that I would like to state concerning the Metropolitan's kindness and sympathy, but which would hardly be a matter for so formal a report. To this letter I received subsequently a formal acknowledgment, which was brought to me in America by Bishop Innocent. Our communication was referred by the Holy Governing Synod to a special commission of theologians to report thereon. At their request I have sent them a number of books relating to our Church and its Constitution. Subjoined to this report is a copy of the letter which I addressed to His Eminence.
"I would say that the letter has been subjected to a not unkindly criticism by Professor Sokoloff, which was carefully replied to, removing some of the misconceptions of the professor and answering some of his arguments, by the Rev. Sigourney W. Fay, Jr. This correspondence is to be found in the "American-Russian Messenger."
"The result of our visit certainly has been to awaken inquiry and to promote kindly feeling between the two Churches. The practical result we may strive for is such a mutual recognition as to allow of the Orthodox Church giving to our people, when abroad and unable to receive ministrations of their own clergy, the Sacraments in time of need, and of our performing the same kindly offices for their people when in like situation.
"Again and again I was impressed with the conservative spirit of this ancient Church, using throughout all these ages the ancient liturgies inherited from Saints Basil and Chrysostom. The Eastern Church, it should be remembered, has not, to any great extent, come under the rationalizing spirit of Western scholasticism, or gone through the necessary but disturbing influences and convulsions of the Reformation. She has preserved, better than any other portion of Christendom, the ancient faith, though of course with its Eastern setting of ceremonial and worship, and her attitude towards us is in striking contrast with that of Rome. Rome, as the Eastern ecclesiastics said, asks of us and of you Anglicans submission. The papacy, with its claims of supreme monarch and universal jurisdiction, demands and can demand nothing less. The only way of union with the Pope is by surrender of our inherited Catholicity, the destruction of our constitutional Episcopal system, and absolute submission to the papacy. Of all this the Eastern Church knows nothing. Like ourselves, she is Catholic but not papal. She does not ask us to submit to her. She only asks, in the interest of Christian fellowship, whether we hold the same inherited Catholic faith. If we do, we are brothers. And if we are brothers in the faith, then we are one.
"As the Holy Governing Synod has appointed a Commission, my suggestion is that a similar Commission be appointed by our body, consisting of its chairman, two other Bishops, and two clergy, who shall be a committee to correspond and confer with that appointed by the Synod, and of which Bishop Sergius, the President of the Academy, is its head.
C.C. FOND DU LAC."
LETTER TO THE METROPOLITAN OF ST. PETERSBURG
"To His Eminence the Most Reverend Archbishop Antonius, Metropolitan of St. Petersburg and Ladoga:
"Accept, we pray you, our greeting in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, God of God, Light of Light, by Whom and in Whom alone salvation is to be found and Who ever liveth and reigneth, the Head of the Mystical Body, the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
"We have taken the liberty of sending you by the Right Reverend Bishop Tikhon, who has so endeared himself to us and has most kindly undertaken this office of charity, a few theological books illustrative of our Church's position and teaching.
"They may not add anything to your present extensive knowledge of our communion, but may convey to you our humble desire that the holy Orthodox faith, so providentially preserved by you, may become better understood by us, and that by God's grace the two Churches may grow into greater accord and fellowship.
"You will in your goodness not despise our littleness or some peculiarities that have come from our inherited Westernism, but will, we believe, make generous allowances for the defects and evils to which a Puritan invasion in the past and our present environment in America have exposed us. The Catholic revival is gradually developing within our communion and we ask for it your sympathy, encouragement, and prayers.
"Our Church has preserved the Apostolic Succession and the three holy orders of the ministry, and in her formularies has not departed, we humbly trust, from any essential or dogma of the Orthodox faith. There has been of late years a great revival of spiritual life in the whole Anglican Communion, a better comprehension of the Catholic and Orthodox theology, and a growing desire for a recognized fellowship, especially with the venerable Churches of the East.
"May we venture to say to your Holiness that in the approachment of the two communions that portion of the Anglican Church which is in the United States stands the nearest to your venerated body. Politically the governments of the two countries, Russia and the United States, have always maintained most happy relations, and our Church here in America is unlike the Church of England, in being free from any State control, and so free to act in its recovery of Catholicity and its intercourse with other Churches. The thirty-nine Articles do not form a portion of our Prayer Book, though bound up with it, and subscription to them is not required by us as it is in England. Our Liturgy and Eucharist differs from that in the English Book in that the doctrines of the Priesthood, Altar, and Sacrifice are more explicitly and fully stated. Our Canon for the Consecration of the Holy Elements is far more full, with a distinct offering and presentation of the Holy Sacrifice, and has the formal Invocation of the Holy Ghost.
"We use for the most part leavened bread in the Holy Eucharist, though unleavened wafers are allowed. It has been an almost universal custom with us to mingle a little water with the wine before the consecration of the elements. When some years ago an effort was made by some to forbid the use of incense, our Church refused to pass any prohibitory canon. We have, however, to acknowledge that this Scriptural and Evangelical symbol is as yet but very partially used among us. In Baptism immersion is provided for by our rubrics, but pouring, not sprinkling, is allowed, which is usually done three times, one at the mention of each name of the Blessed Trinity. We hold that there is but one 'Αρχη in the Godhead, and that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father as the One Eternal Source and Fountain of Life, through the Son. While holding this faith as one, we believe, with yourselves, there seems to be a growing feeling that the Filioque Clause, which, without ecumenical authority, was added to the Creed, should be omitted.
"Along with yourselves we repudiate the Papal Supremacy and Rome's modern dogmas of the Papal Infallibility and the Immaculate Conception. We reject the Romish doctrine of Purgatory and the relief of the souls of the faithful by the application of the superabundant merits of the saints through the papal system of indulgences. We venerate Mary, the Ever Virgin and Ever Blessed Mother of God, but do not hold with Roman doctors that she is the Neck of the Mystical Body of Christ and that all graces must pass to us from Christ the Head through her. We accept all that the recognized Ecumenical Councils of the Church have decreed and, as the canon of the English Church requires, hold that the Holy Scriptures should be expounded in conformity with the teachings of the ancient Fathers.
"Yet we have to confess that our Church is not all that the Divine Master would have it be, and the cruel marks inflicted by the stripes of past ages can be seen upon her. Like one recovering from a long illness and just regaining strength, we turn to the East and stretch out our hands and ask for sympathy and counsel and Christian fellowship.
"The future of the world's progress lies chiefly with the Slavonic and English speaking peoples. The progressive colonizing work of the Latin race is mostly done. The Latin Church can no longer dominate the West. Recognition and established fellowship between the Eastern and the Anglican Communions, as it would do so much towards forwarding Christ's Kingdom, is that for which we earnestly pray, and make known in our great Master's name our desires unto you.
"Asking ever your remembrance at the holy altar, with our profound esteem and reverence in Christ.
Your most humble servant in the Lord,
C.C. FOND DU LAC."
LETTER TO THE METROPOLITAN OF ST. PETERSBURG
"To His Eminence the Most Reverend Antonius, Metropolitan of St. Petersburg and Ladoga, Presiding Member
of the Most Holy Synod of Russia, and Archimandrite of the Lavra of St. Alexander Nevski:
"It is with deep respect and fraternal charity we address you and through you the Most Holy Synod of the Orthodox Russian Church. The Church in the United States of America has established a Commission, consisting of nine Bishops, together with a number of priests and others of learning and influence, on Ecclesiastical Relations. We hereby transmit to you a letter from the Right Reverend Bishop of Central New York, who is its presiding officer, certifying our membership of the Commission, and we have received a formal request from its secretary to prepare a report after conference with yourselves on the relation between the two communions.
"Together with these we are honored in being the bearer of a letter from our venerable Primate, the Right Reverend Dr. Clark, the Bishop of Rhode Island, who was the oldest living Bishop in Christendom, and who, since we set out on our journey, has passed to his rest; and who bade us communicate to you his brotherly greetings in our Lord and the desire of his heart that as the Church is one in union with her Divine Head, so unity may find an increasing expression in Christian recognition and fellowship.
"There seems to be, if we mistake not, a growing desire among Christians in these latter days, now that the multiform oppositions of Satan and the foretold sign of the Son of Man (the cross of persecution) are becoming more manifest, together with an increasing spirituality in the Church (like the promised budding of the fig-tree), for Christians everywhere, under the promptings of the Holy Spirit, to draw together and to beckon to their partners in the other ships to come to their aid. And it is to the ancient and venerated Churches of the East, so invulnerable in their inherited orthodoxy, so clear in their conception of the Church as a spiritual organism of which Christ is the ever living and ever present Head, that we of the west naturally turn. We turn to the East and look towards Jerusalem with the eyes of children towards a mother.
"Turning to those things on which we are agreed, we may say that both communions regard the Church as a Divine Society founded by Christ Himself, which is visible in so far as it is upon earth and invisible in so far as it is in heaven. Both alike regard it as one spiritual organism of which the Incarnate Son of God is the Head and the Holy Spirit is the indwelling Light and Life. And our mutual conception of this Church is that it is one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.
"Both agree that the Church is a race of kings and priests, but while all Christians partake of the priesthood, they are not all pastors. We agree that the hierarchy consists of Bishops, priests, and deacons, and that these ministers succeed by an ordination from the Apostles.
"We concur in holding that the Church hath authority in controversies of faith. We alike believe that the Holy Spirit dwells within the Church, certifying its utterance by the agreement of the whole Body. We believe the Holy Spirit guides the Church into all Truth by bringing to its remembrance all and whatsoever the Lord revealed, and enabling it to preserve the faith once delivered to the saints.
"Both Churches regard as Holy Scripture those books of which there was never any doubt in the Church, and hold the Holy Scriptures to be the Word of God. We believe that the Church is limited in her definitions to the original Depositum Fidei, which is contained in Holy Scripture as it is received and interpreted by the Church, which is the witness and keeper of Holy Writ. Of what is and what is not contained in Scripture the Church is the final and authoritative judge. We thus agree in professing the Faith, which we alike hold, to be a sacred deposit to which nothing can be added and from which nothing can be taken away.
"We have thus as points of agreement the same belief concerning the Church, the priesthood; and our conception of the Sacraments as channels of grace, and the necessity of our union with Christ by a living, loving faith is like your own.
"Together we condemn the following errors of the Church of Rome:
"We reject the papal monarchy, with its claims to a supreme pontificate separate from the priesthood, as possessed independently or inherently of legislative, judicial, and executive power, as being the Head of the Church, the Vicar of Christ, the Centre of Unity, the source of all jurisdiction.
"We reject the additions made to the Creed by Pope Pius IV., and the more modern dogmas of the Papal Infallibility, and the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
"We alike repudiate the Roman doctrine of a purgatory of satisfaction, and of a treasury of saintly merits dispensable by the Roman Pontiff, and of indulgences.
"We both reject, in our common belief in the Communion of Saints, the Latin idea of servitude which would make us not only desire and ask for their prayers and offer on their behalf, but suppliantly invoke them for grace or mercy or salvation.
"We both reject all the rationalizing processes of the Latins concerning the grace of God and the Sacraments, and especially their audacious reasonings concerning the Blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of the Lord. And we both affirm that it is the same carnal rationalizing, the same reliance on natural reason, which causes dogmas to be added in Rome and taken away in Geneva, and which by confounding faith and opinion has destroyed the assurance of the Faith both among the Latins and Protestants.
"Turning now to matters requiring explanation, one probably is in the non-use by us of the term transubstantiation. Let us state what our doctrine is and why we do not use this term.
"The Anglican Church has had a double contest, one in the deliverance of herself from Latinism and the other from Protestantism. At the time of the Reformation in the sixteenth century there was a popular belief, known then as the Romish doctrine of transubstantiation, which held that the elements at the time of consecration were so physically changed that they ceased to exist and remained in appearance only. This the Reformers rejected on the ground that it overthrew the nature of a sacrament, which must consist of two parts. When, on the other hand, Protestantism denied the reality of the Presence of our Lord's Body and Blood, then, in the seventeenth century, the Anglican Church made further and more explicit statement of her doctrine and embodied it in her official Catechism. She then declared that the outward part or Sign was bread and wine, but that the inward part or Thing was the Body and Blood of the Lord. She moreover stated that the grace or benefit the faithful received was the strengthening and refreshing of their souls. By making these distinctions between the Sign, the Thing, and the Grace, the Church condemned the subjective theory of Protestantism. For we are not taught by our Catechism that the outward sign or form is the eating or drinking of the elements, but that the outward part or sign is the bread and wine; and we do not say that the inward part is the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ, but that the inward part or Thing is the Body and Blood of the Lord.
"This doctrine was protected in the Articles of Religion. For though never regarded as a Confession of Faith, and the one on General Councils (the twenty-first) having been omitted in America, and signature to them not being by us required, yet they may be referred to in explanation of the doctrine contained in the Catechism, which is of universal obligation. Thus it is said in Article 28 that the Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten only after a heavenly and spiritual manner. Here the objectivity of the presence of Christ's Body in the Sacrament as occasioned by the consecration is asserted, for the Body to be given and taken must be there before it is received. And as to the heavenly and spiritual manner, we read in Aquinas, Summa, III. 75, that the Body of Christ is not in the Sacrament in the manner in which a body is in a place, but in a certain spiritual manner which is proper to this Sacrament. In heaven It (the Body of Christ) exists after the manner of a body, but in the Sacrament It does not exist after the manner of a body (in that it does not occupy space), but in a spiritual manner (`De Eucharistica,' V.).
"In Article 28 we read that the means whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten is faith. It does not say made present by faith, nor given by faith, but received and eaten by faith. Here, too, our Reformers followed Aquinas, who says: In order to understand the excellency and heavenly dignity of this Sacrament, it is to be noted that although all the Sacraments of the Church have their effect by the faith of the Passion of Christ, and also from faith and through faith profit only the faithful unto salvation, this is nevertheless to be said most especially of the Sacrament of Faith.
"Our twenty-ninth Article states that the wicked eat not the Body of Christ; and the wicked who receive the Sacrament are not thereby made partakers of Christ. The Article in its Latin form uses accipere and sumere for receiving, percipere for the interior eating or manducation of the Lord's Body. It thus says that they, the wicked, eat and yet they do not eat. They eat because they receive the Sacrament; nevertheless they eat not because they do not percipere, partake of Christ.
"Our Church believes in a change, or μεταβολη, effected by the consecration. Before that act the elements are simply bread and wine; after that they are what our Lord's holy Word declared them to be, His Body and Blood. This change, effected by the power of the Holy Ghost, is a divine mystery. We do not, like the Latins, dogmatize about it. As the term transubstantiation, as used in the West, is popularly understood to involve the Aristotelian distinction between substance and accidents, we do not use it. We believe your great and saintly theologian Philaret eliminated these terms from translations prepared by him of the Council of Bethlehem. If you could explain to us that your use of the term does not involve as a dogmatic statement the Tridentine exposition, we see no reason why we should not be in accord.
"Another subject for explanation concerns the saints. We believe as well as yourselves in the Communion of Saints. We recognize the fact that the Church is a living spiritual organism and that a constant stream of prayer flows from us to those now with the Lord in glory and from them to us. We know that they without us are not made perfect, but that their graces here and there, and glory there, were obtained by the united prayers of the Church past, present, and future prayers which were foreseen, or rather always present in the sight of God. And we believe that we also benefit by the prayers which they offered while on earth and still offer in heaven. We do not object to asking God to accept their prayers for us, nor to what is called an oblique invocation, and since,if they know our prayers at all, it is by a revelation of God, it would seem that there is no doctrinal difference between direct and indirect invocation. We, however, agree not with the doctrine of the Romans which sets up the relation of patron and client between those who are brethren, and introduces the idea of servitude between the children of a common Father. We desire the prayers of all saints, not as omnipotent or omnipresent, or as in themselves sources of grace or virtue, but as worshipping together with us in the Church of God. We reverence profoundly above all the saints the Ever Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God, but are shocked at the position assigned her by Roman theologians as the Neck of the Mystical Body through whom, from the Head, all grace must pass.
"What we desire explained by our Eastern Brethren is the prayer in their offices; Most Holy Mother of God, save us. Have we received the correct interpretation of it when we are told, the use of the word save is similar in its theological meaning to the expression of St. Paul when he said he became all things to all men that he might save some? Does it mean with you that the Ever Blessed Virgin was an instrument or minister of the Incarnation and the second Eve, as St. Justin and St. Irenĉus have written? Do you not with us repudiate the Latin idea that she is a co-Redemptress? Afraid as we are of modern Romanism, will you, out of your orthodoxy, not allay our people's fears?
"Concerning the number of the divine mysteries it does not appear to us that there is any essential difference between the Churches. The Anglican Church holds that there are two which are generally necessary to salvation, and five other commonly called sacraments. It is to be observed that the word generally in the Catechism, which is written in Elizabethan English, does not mean commonly as is now the use, but universally as it is used in our English Old Testament. As being means of grace the above seven belong to the same category. But we make a distinction, and divide them as your theological writer Komiakoff did. There are two which belong to the Church considered in relation to Christ and the Church's eternal being, and others as concerned with the Church on earth in its temporal and militant condition. The matter and form of the two were ordained by Christ and are unalterable; the matter and form of the others are subject to the regulation of the Church. The anointing of the sick has fallen largely into disuse among us, partly, we believe, from a rejection of the Roman belief and practice that it was to be used chiefly as a preparation for death. But we have a prescribed office for the sick. We administer Confirmation, following the Apostolic custom of laying on of hands of the Bishop only, while you allow the priest to minister with chrism blest by the Bishop. We believe the grace conveyed by either mode is the same.
"The greater barrier perhaps between us is our use of the Filioque in the Creed. This we inherited through our connection with Western Christendom. May God in His great mercy and love so enlighten us that this cause of division may be removed. It is certainly to be admitted as a great satisfaction that there is between us no difference in doctrine. We both believe in but one 'Αρχη in the Blessed Trinity. We both deny that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son in the same manner in which He proceeds from the Father. We of the Anglican Church accept the doctrine of St. John Damascene. If then we believe the same Faith, why may we not come to some agreement? We see, or think we do, how impossible it would be for the Orthodox Eastern Church to alter its expression of the Faith. To do so would involve an acknowledgment of the Papal Supremacy and its right to make an addition to the Creed. We, on the other hand, have broken with the papacy, and our retaining it involves no such consequence. The great difficulty with us is this: If we should omit it, many of our people might say we were tampering with the creed, and so revolt from the Church and be led to Rome. While some might be willing to make this change, probably the majority would not, for they would so fear the result that it might tear our Church asunder. If we placed in our Prayer Book a note with the Creed that the Filioque was not part of the original, or had not received ecumenical assent, might not the difficulty be removed?
"Finally we venture to think that the number of the Councils presents no so difficult a matter for agreement as it may seem. The only question arises in respect to the seventh or second of Nicea, and it is not concerning the canons but the doctrinal decrees. It is well known that the Council enjoined that supreme self-surrendering worship, Latria, should be given to God only; that reverence and honor (τιμητικη προσκυνησις) should be paid to holy persons and things. Owing, it is believed, to a mistranslation, the Western Synod of Frankfort rejected the Council's decrees, supposing that it taught that the same divine worship should be given to sacred things as to the Holy Trinity. However this may be, the West, England included, practically acted upon it. We gather into the spiritual organism of the Church persons and things, and set them apart from all common and secular purposes, and consecrate and ordain them to holy uses. Unlike Protestants who simply 'open,' as they term it, their religious buildings, we formally and with Episcopal functions consecrate and hallow them, and treat them by outward acts with reverence. We bless our fonts, instruments of music, holy vessels, vestments, and altars. We place the representations of the saints in our churches, on our walls, in our windows. We bow towards the altar, kiss the Word of God, and in many ways give due reverence to holy persons and heavenly things.
"The Church of England thus practically adopted the teaching of the seventh council, and though some writers have spoken of four or six synods, yet this one has not by any formal and synodical action of our Church been rejected. Seeing that the teaching of the Council is accepted and acted upon, we must not let its academical aspect separate us.
"Thus we have set forth briefly our points of agreement, and those where explanation seems desirable. The cause of union is that of the Great Head of the Church, and is all too holy not to secure our largest charity and persistent endeavor. We pray you that it may not be jeopardized or impaired by your brother's weakness or incapacity. Invoking to our assistance the intercessions of the whole Church in heaven and in earth, we also pray our Blessed Lord to gather us all into His own sanctifying Light and Life, and as He made us One in Himself, so unite us in the outward manifestation of mutual recognition and fellowship, that the world may believe that He hath sent us.
"Extending to you our loving and humble salutations in Him, with our profound and sincere devotions,
Your brother and Servant in Christ,
C.C. FOND DU LAC."
Transcribed by David Donnell, A.D. 2001