From The Works of the Rt. Rev. Charles C. Grafton (Volume 7),
edited by B. Talbot Rogers, New York: Longmans, Green, 1914, pp. 301-306
Addresses to the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament
THE ADDRESS OF THE SUPERIOR GENERAL, (1911)
REVEREND AND DEAR BRETHREN, AND MEMBERS AND ASSOCIATES OF THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT:
WE send you, as your Superior General, our Loving Greetings and Episcopal Benediction.
You have been called to do a great work for God the Lord by bearing witness to His Veiled Presence in the Blessed Sacrament.
A cloud received Him out of the Apostles' sight on the Day of His Ascension. It may have been a cloud of blessed Angels. It was surely a figure of His veiled Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. The great truth of His Abiding Presence in the Church is often neglected. Christ is thought of as having gone to some distant star. But he promised to be with us, always, unto the world's end.
What Almighty God is to the natural universe, a God immanent within it, that the God-Man, Jesus Christ, is to the new spiritual organism He is developing out of it. The three great acts of God, which stand related to one another in logical order, are: First, His act of Creation. God made all things by His Word, where before nothing was. Then the Word, or Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, became Incarnate, and the Word was made Flesh. Then, O greater mystery of Love, the Incarnate Word took the Bread into His hand and said: "This is my Body," and of the Cup, "This Cup is the New Covenant in my Blood." Thus He created the World, and by His Incarnation united man to Himself, and in the Holy Eucharist unites us to Himself by His personal indwelling. It is this wonderful and blessed mystery you are specially called upon to bear witness to and to guard.
You know you are a part of a great spiritual movement which was begun by Saints in the last century, and has transformed the Church. It has enabled it to recover very largely its Catholic heritage. No part of this is more valuable than belief in the real Objective Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The question is sometimes asked, perhaps in moments of despondency: "Has this great Catholic movement spent its force?" The great leaders and saints who founded it have passed to their reward. They are, we believe, watching events with the same devoted interest that filled them when on earth. They not only form part of the great crowd of witnesses by which we are surrounded, but they intercede for us. The volume of prayer thus daily increases. Its efficiency grows, since the saints are nearer to Christ. We are forbidden to think that this movement, by God and in God, has spent its force. There are still great and learned scholars who are defending the citadel of the faith. There are still men of growing and saintly lives who bear witness to it. The missionary spirit is not dying out, but is energetically represented in every heathen land. The Religious Orders are steadily increasing in numbers, and are marked by a true spirit of devotion. Everywhere in England and America we see that the worship, with its dignified ritual and ceremonial, has greatly improved. The battle over ritual has practically been won. The use of the Confessional has steadily increased. The earlier Tractarian movement affected chiefly the upper and intellectual classes. It touched, indeed, the poor, but the middle class in England was claimed by dissent. Now some impression has been made upon it, and we find Catholics in every class of society. The great public procession lately held in London, led by the Bishop, on Good Friday, testifies to the growing respect for religion. We can but note in our own country the improved Church tone manifested in our late General Convention. One of the good signs is the growing union in our Church, between the Evangelicals and the High Churchmen. There is a better understanding of our position. It is seen that while catholic-minded and conservative of the ancient Faith, we are nevertheless liberal in matters not defined as dogma, and as converted men we have experienced religion. Divided in the technical expression of our Faith, we are nevertheless one. We are divided superficially as the waves are divided, but one as the ocean is one.
While we can honestly say all this and take courage, nevertheless may we not say that these three years, or the time to the next General Convention, are full of import? I know God is with our Church and has protected it in time past, so He will in the future. "As God did not give us up," said Dr. Pusey, "in the eighteenth century, in the days of our coldness and formality, He will not give us up now, when the Church is on her knees."
But you know, dear Brethren, that no ordinary attack is being made upon the Church, its sacramental teaching, and the Blessed Sacrament. A movement was organized a few years ago by a number of clergy and laity for the avowed object of liberalizing the Church. They want to make the Church as far as possible minimize the supernatural. They go along with that form of the higher criticism that denies the inspiration of Holy Scripture, and does not call it the Word of God. Miracles must be omitted from our faith, because they are contrary to the laws of nature, and so reason and experience. The Church is not a Divine Society to last forever, but a human institution, and no different in kind from that of the Protestant religious bodies. They do not believe, save in a very limited way, in the Church's sacramental system. They deny the necessity of an Apostolic Succession, and are ready to throw open our pulpits, and presently our Altars, to the unepiscopally ordained. They do not believe that the ministers of the Church are priests, though the term "sacerdos" is applied to them in a title to one of our Articles. They above all things reject the Church's doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar.
It would be folly for us to underestimate this attack. Those who lead it are clergy of ability and certain scholarship, and have a large lay and financial support. Startled into activity by the unexpected Church demonstration at Cincinnati, they have inaugurated an active campaign. Their object is to play upon the prejudices and fears of the laity against Rome, by misrepresenting the "terminus ad quem" of our movement. We are advancing, dear Brethren, as you very well know, not Romewards. The proposed end of our endeavors is not a union of the Church under the Papacy. If the union of Christendom is ever to be attained, it must be on the broad ground of the Faith once deliveredthe Faith witnessed in the Councils and teachings of the Fathers in the undivided Churchand to the testimony borne to it by the common consent of the Eastern, Roman and Anglican Churches to-day.
Now, what, we ask, are we, as loyal Churchmen, Catholics and lovers of our Lord, to do? We must enter on a vigorous counter-campaign. We must make an earnest missionary effort. We must strive to get in touch with those now separated from us. We must have a zeal for converting individual souls. Every Churchman won to a belief in the Blessed Sacrament becomes a power in the Church. We must, as priests, offer the Holy Sacrifice daily, if we can. We must encourage devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. We must, by the adornment of our Altars, reverence the Presence of our Lord. We must, by our acts of worship, bear witness to the Presence of Christ. We must get hold of our brother Catholic-minded clergy and induce them to join the Confraternity. If not called ourselves to the Religious Life, we must encourage the orders of Religious men and women, and seek for vocations for them. These are some of the ways by which we can help on our Lord's great cause.
Brethren, as one who for nigh sixty years, has labored for the restoration of our Church worship and its inherited Catholic Faith; and as a Bishop of the Church of God, however small in place, I send you on this day my love and blessing and this word of encouragement. Christ is with us, and if we are but faithful and seek after sanctity ourselves, and offer the daily sacrifice, He will reward our efforts beyond what we now can conceive.
Commending you to His loving care and blessing,
Your Father in Christ and Superior General,
C. C. FOND DU LAC.
The following telegram was received and read to the Conference:
FOND DU LAC, WISCONSIN, June 6, 1912
My prayers, love and blessing for the members of the C. B. S. in conference to-day,
C. C. FOND DU LAC. Superior General, C. B. S.