THERE are certain subjects which I think have special importance at the present moment, and upon which I desire to touch.
I cannot, at my age, afford to delay the matter, and I think that, after something like seventy years during which ecclesiastical matters have been my greatest interest, I may have acquired an experience which would be useful at the present time.
It was chiefly in consequence of Dr. Pusey's wish that I was elected President of the English Church Union in 1867. And, with the exception of Mr. Keble, whom, to my unceasing regret, I did not personally know, I have been intimately acquainted with nearly all those who were concerned in the Oxford Movement and whose efforts on behalf of Catholic truth and practice have, we may hope, not been without God's encouragement and blessing.
Looking back on those years I see no reason for discouragement; on the contrary, good reason for confidence as to the future. Discouragement seems inconsistent with the gratitude we owe to God for all He has done for us in the past, and unworthy of those who are banded together on behalf of the cause which has inspired the hopes and efforts of the past seventy years.
I have been looking at the annual addresses which it was my duty to give on the occasion of the Anniversary Meetings of the Union. They contain an account of the battles that have been fought on behalf of Church principles, and of the attacks made upon those responsible for them--attacks in the highest quarter, attacks in Parliament and out of it--attacks made even by some of the highest ecclesiastical authorities, as, for example, the speeches in the House of Lords, made by Archbishop Tait, in regard to the Society of the Holy Cross, and on the introduction of the Public Worship Regulation Bill--and on the lavish abuse directed against those of the Clergy guilty of such practices as those complained of. The clergy in question were condemned in no measured language as lawless, dishonest and unfaithful members of the Church whose directions they had promised to obey. The ignorance which inspired those attacks can hardly be exaggerated. Their injustice was no less conspicuous. Nor can it be said that such action as was then taken by the Ecclesiastical Authorities is only a thing of the past.
It is painful to have to say this, but what, with only a few exceptions, was the action of the Episcopate when clergy were sent to prison for teaching and practices which are now generally accepted as being in accord with the principles of the Church of England, and which, in fact, it has been found impossible to put down?
There are some who have, I think, been inclined to welcome the Prayer Books of 1927 and 1928 (despite the changes in them which, in my opinion, made their acceptance impossible), because they appeared to recognise, despite the decisions of the Law Courts, that matters condemned by those Courts were in fact sanctioned by the Church of England and inherent in her teaching and practice. Those who remember, as I do, the controversies that took place in regard to the Eastward position, Altar lights, vestments, the singing of the Agnus, etc., etc.; and, to matters more nearly connected with doctrine such as prayers for the departed, reservation of the Blessed Sacrament for the dying, will not question the above sta.tements.
I will give one crucial instance. I remember, as Churchwarden of St. Mary's, Graham Street, begging Archbishop Benson to sanction the carrying of the Blessed Sacrament from the early Celebration of Holy Communion to those members of the congregation who were sick, or unable to come to Church. He positively and absolutely refused. The question now is, not the taking of the Blessed Sacrament for the sick from the actual Celebration, but the perpetual reservation of the Blessed Sacrament for the purpose of Communion in every parish church, and the denial of the supposed Canonical right of the Bishop to forbid such Reservation.
The present attempts on the part of the Episcopate to limit such Reservation, and to interfere with the Adoration due to our Blessed Lord in the Holy Sacrament when so reserved, are a repetition of the past attempts to interfere with the Church's doctrine and ritual which have, by general admission, so signally failed. Have we not occasion, and every right, to ask that present difficulties should be looked at in the light of past experience? Indeed, is it not high time that the English Episcopate, as a body, should recognise that they are not merely overseers or rulers of a local church, but members of the Catholic Episcopate, and, as such, have duties other than the mere enforcing of legal decisions to meet the requirements of an ignorant and prejudiced Protestantism based on erroneous and discredited views of the history of the Church of England?
The open letter addressed to the Archbishops and Bishops of the provinces of Canterbury and York by a number of individual priests only tells the truth, and I allude to it because, if we are to avoid disaster, it is necessary that those in authority should know that it is not only a few priests whose convictions are stated in that document, but that large numbers, both of priests and laymen throughout the country, are in sympathy with those statements and determined to support those who make them.
To bring the matter to a point.
We are constantly told, and it has been one of the chief arguments advanced during the controversies over the Prayer Books of 1927 and 1928, that revision was required in order to provide the means for coercing the clergy who are branded as disloyal and guilty of professing opinions contrary to the teaching of the Church of England, whom it is necessary the Episcopate should have power to reduce to obedience. I think it can be shown, in regard to such assertions, that it is not those who are responsible for the practices complained of, but those who attack them, who can rightly be accused of disloyalty to the English Church. In a word, it is those who are designated as the extreme clergy who are the loyal members of the Church of England, and it is they alone who teach her doctrine as a whole, and are obedient to the principles she holds in common with the rest of the Catholic Church. The proof of this is not far to seek.
I HAVE recently had occasion to study the so-called "King's Book," put out at the end of Henry VIII's reign; and it is worth while to speak of that book in some detail.
It is not a treatise, but a catechism, put out by Authority, embodying the teaching of the Church of England.
Various Bishops were consulted about the different points of the book. The Proctors of the Clergy were also invited to give their opinion. They returned that opinion, and it was an approval. When finished, the book was submitted to the judgment of the Provincial Synods, and obtained their sanction and the assent of the King.
It was the deliberate utterance of the Church of England issued in the full and free authority of her teaching vocation. It will be sufficient, on the present occasion, after stating the fact of the rejection of the universal authority and jurisdiction of the Pope contained in the book, to give a summary of the Church's teaching on the Sacraments, as set out by the book in question.
"The effect and virtue of this Sacrament is forgiveness of sin, and Grace of the Holy Ghost. Moreover since all men are born in original sin, it is through the effect of Baptism that the baptized are transferred from the parentage of Adam to participation in the Humanity of Christ."
The Sacrament of the Altar.
"In this Sacrament is verily expressed and presented the most exceeding and inexplicable Love of Our Saviour Jesus Christ for His Church, with whom it hath pleased him to leave for our nourishment, strength and comfort so precious and glorious a Sacrament; which among all the Sacraments is of incomparable dignity and virtue, forasmuch as in the other Sacraments the thing which is used in them remaineth still in its own nature and substance unchanged. But in the most high Sacrament of the Altar the creatures of bread and wine, by virtue of Christ's Word in the Consecration, are changed into the very Body and Blood of Our Saviour Jesus Christ. So that, although to the outward senses nothing seemeth to be changed, yet must we give our assent to the plain Word of Christ which affirmeth that the bread and wine there offered, exhibited and received become the very precious Body and Blood of Our Lord; Who at the last Supper said to his Apostles, 'This is my Body, This is my Blood.' By these words it is plain and evident to all them which with meek, humble and sincere heart will believe Christ's Words, and be obedient unto Faith, that in the Sacrament the things that be therein be the very Body and Blood of Christ in very substance. Which thing whosoever will deny, he denieth the very open and plain words of Christ, which cannot be but true: for He is Truth itself."
"It is therefore necessary that, in the using, receiving and beholding of this Sacrament, we have hearty remembrance of our most loving and dear Saviour Jesus Christ, that is to say, that we think effectuously of His most bitter passion, which He, being the Lord of Glory, suffered for us; and do bewail our sins, which were the cause of the said Death and Passion, that we may be partakers of such fruit and grace as is offered and given to all such as in due manner receive this Sacrament. For they that do so be made one with Christ, and dwell in Him and He in them, as in the sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel, speaking of this sacrament, He saith: ' I am The living bread which came down from heaven that whosoever eateth thereof should not die, and the bread which I will give is my Flesh which I will give for the life of the world.'
"Finally, it is to be noted that, although Christ, at the first Institution of this Sacrament, did consecrate and give it to His disciples at supper, after they had eaten the paschal lamb, yet, as St. Augustine saith, it was thought good to the Apostles and to the Universal Church, being moved with the Holy Ghost, for the more honour of so high a Sacrament, and the more reverent and devout receiving thereof, that it would always be received of Christian people when they be fasting, and before they receive any bodily sustenance, except it be in case of sickness or necessity."
"The Sacrament of Orders is to be understood as a Gift or Grace of Ministration in Christ's Church, given of God to Christian men, by the consecration and imposition of the Bishop's hands upon them.
"As concerning the office and duty of the said ecclesiastical ministers, the same consisteth in true preaching and teaching the Word of God unto the people, in dispensing and ministering the Sacraments of Christ, in consecrating and offering the Blessed Body and Blood of Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar.
"It is to be remembered that the Sacraments of God ministered by an evil and naughty man be of the selfsame vigour, strength and efficiency as when they be ministered by a man of excellent virtue and goodness. The said Priests and bishops be not the principal causers of Grace in this Sacrament but only as officers to execute and minister with their hands and tongues the outward things wherein God giveth the inward grace, according to His covenant made to His Church. The priest layeth his hands upon us, but it is God that giveth the Grace."
"The Sacrament of Penance is the Absolution pronounced by the priest upon such as be penitent for their sins, and show themselves so to be. To the obtaining of which absolution or Sacrament of Penance be required contrition, confession and satisfaction, as ways and means expedient and necessary in order to obtain the said Absolution. In all which ways and means faith is necessarily required as the ground and foundation of all things that are to be done to attain the benefit of the Sacrament of Penance.
"Contrition is an inward sorrow and grief for sin, which every true penitent, called by God's grace, hath; whereupon remembering his own sinful life the said penitent, moved and stirred with the great Love and Goodness of God, is pricked in his heart, and according to the teaching of the Holy Church, repairs to such a minister as God hath ordained to pronounce the sentence of Absolution.
"Whereupon, after this contrition had in heart, confession made with mouth, and satisfaction showed and promised, the minister, according to Christ's Gospel, pronounces the sentence of Absolution; unto the which Absolution the penitent must give credence, and believe with the perfect faith that his sins be now forgiven freely by the merits of Christ's Passion, to the which forgiveness he hath now recourse by the Sacrament of Penance, as he had, at the first, entry unto Christ's religion by the Sacrament of Baptism."
"As touching the Sacrament of Matrimony, you shall understand that, by the Authority and virtue of Matrimony, rightfully and by the Authority of God contracted, the man and the woman are now united and made one body, and therefore the said two persons so conjoined may not after be divided for any earthly thing in the world: but each must adhere and cleave to the other.
"Next, that the union of man and woman together in marriage is a Sacrament by which the marriage between Christ and His Church is signified and represented; Wherefore understand, since man and woman joined in matrimony by God's ordinance are one flesh and body, they may not afterwards be divided or divorced, and that it is not lawful for any man to divide these persons asunder which by God's Word and His Will and Power have been conjoined together. Such divorce is clean contrary to the godly institution and natural order of the laws of matrimony."
"Although the Apostles did certainly know and believe that all such as had only received the Sacrament of Baptism were by virtue and efficacy thereof perfectly regenerated in Christ and made the very members of His Body, yet by their prayer and imposition of their hands the Holy Ghost was given and conferred by them. So the holy Fathers of the Primitive Church, taking occasion and founding themselves upon the said acts and deeds of the Apostles, did use and observe (as it hath been hitherto by succession of ages continued) that all Christian people, after their Baptism, be presented to their bishops, to the intent that, by their prayers and imposition of their hands, they should be confirmed, that is to say they should receive such gifts of the Holy Ghost as whereby they should be established in the gifts before received in Baptism, that they should not again fall lightly from the same, but should constantly retain them, and persevere therein, and should also be made stronger and hardier boldly to confess their faith, and to resist and fight against the world, the flesh and the Devil."
"As touching the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, we must understand how the Church hath ministered this Sacrament to the intent that, by the working of God in ministration thereof, the sick man, through prayer of the priest and such as assist him, might be relieved of his bodily disease and also attain pardon and remission of his sins. Remember that although health of body, which is here prayed for, doth not always follow, yet we should not doubt but that God ordereth man's prayer therein always to the best. Wherefore we be taught to make all our prayers in a most certain faith to attain our desires according to the general promise made by God through Christ; and we ought assuredly to trust that God, working in the ministration of this Sacrament, doth, by prayer of the minister and such as assist him, forgive those sins of the sick man which, by frailness of his nature, he doth fall into. So men, by this Sacrament, be comforted and strengthened in their agony and fight against the Devil, who, in the time of sickness and temptation, is very busy to assault them.
"And forasmuch as the Sacrament of the Altar (being duly received) is the very spiritual food and the very sustentation, comfort and preservation of Christian men in all dangerous passages and adventures, therefore it is expedient that the said Sacrament of the Altar should be received after this anointing in the time of sickness, for surely the receiving of the Body of Our Saviour Jesus Christ is the very consummation, not only of this, but also of all other Sacraments."
The Seven Sacraments.
"The seven Sacraments, thus declared, the use and effect of them doth manifestly appear.
"By Baptism we be incorporated into the Body of Christ's Church, obtaining in that Sacrament remission of sin, and grace wherewith we be able to lead a new life.
"By the Sacrament of Penance, they that be fallen into deadly sin may be restored unto the state of grace received in Baptism, and so again be lively members of Christ's Mystical Body.
"In the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar is the most precious Body and Blood of Our Saviour and Redeemer Jesus Christ, in form of bread and wine, by Whom, for Whom, and in Whom all Sacraments take effect; and therefore is this the most worthy Sacrament and of highest dignity.
"The Sacrament of Matrimony is the Sacrament whereby the union of man and woman is assisted by God, and, as before said, a union which is made by God cannot be undone by man.
"The Sacrament of Orders, although it be not commanded to any particular man as necessary for the attaining of everlasting life, yet in the Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, it hath a necessity.
"The two Sacraments of Confirmation and Extreme Unction, although they be not of such necessity but that, without them, men may be saved, yet, if they be worthily taken, they be very wholesome and comfortable, and to be desired and reverently received."
To this statement of the doctrine of the Sacraments the Book adds the following exposition of the Ceremonies of the Church.
"With regard to the laudable ceremonies of the Church which set forth God's Honour and appertain to good order, though men should not think that such ceremonies have power to remit sin, yet they be very expedient to stir up men's devotion, and to cause them to have more reverence towards the Sacraments, or else to put us in remembrance of such spiritual things which be signified by them. Sprinkling of holy water doth put us in remembrance of our Baptism and of the Blood of Christ, sprinkled for our redemption upon the Cross. Bearing the candles on Candlemas Day doth put us in remembrance of Christ, the spiritual light Giving ashes on Ash-Wednesday doth put us in remembrance that every Christian man should consider that he is but dust and ashes, and thereunto he shall return. Bearing the palms on Palm Sunday doth put us in remembrance of the receiving of Christ in Jerusalem a little before His Death, and that we must have the same desire to receive Him in our hearts. Creeping to the Cross on Good Friday, and there offering unto Christ before the same, and kissing of it, declareth our humble submission and thanksgiving to Christ for our Redemption which He hath wrought for us upon the Cross. Such rites and ceremonies do put us in remembrance of some spiritual thing and therefore they should both be used and continued as things good and laudable for the purposes above said."
It will be seen from this that the forbidding of these ceremonies by Archbishop Cranmer and others during Edward VI's reign was contrary to the teaching of the Church of England, as stated by Convocation, much as the assertion that Our Lord's Presence in the Holy Eucharist, as stated by a high authority during the controversies in regard to the Revised Prayer Book, is in the whole service, rather than in connection with the outward sign, the bread and wine, which, with the thing signified--i.e. the Body and Blood of Christ--in the words of the English Catechism--constitutes and makes the Sacrament.
The teaching given in churches characterized and condemned as extreme, and by the clergy to whom the same appellation is attached, differs in no way from the teaching set out in the Book sanctioned by Convocation, and set out in 1549, and is the complete vindication of the clergy attacked.
So much for the teaching of the Church of England in regard to the Sacraments. There is, however, another subject already alluded to, which must not be ignored. The matter is stated as follows:--
"Whereas we have thus declared what is the office and ministration which in Holy Scriptures hath been committed to bishops and priests and in what things it consisteth, lest such authorities, powers and jurisdictions as patriarchs, primates, archbishops and metropolitans have over bishops be mistaken, we think it expedient and necessary that all men should be advertised that the Bishop of Rome hath no such universal authority as hath been claimed for him, nor any such authority given him by any ancient General Council nor such jurisdiction given unto him by common consent of the whole Catholic Church. Divers Patriarchs and Archbishops have of ancient time refused to owe unto him such subjection as he, by colour of a universal jurisdiction, challenged. And further, it being declared that the Bishop of Rome, having no such universal power over all bishops and clergy, he can much less claim to have the whole monarchy of the world, and such authority over all princes and kings that he may remove them from their realms, dominions and seignories and transfer and give the same to such persons as him liketh. God instituted and ordained the authority of Christian kings and princes to be most high and supreme in the regiment and government of their peoples, and, having committed unto them the cure and oversight of all the people which be in their realms and dominions, and especially the defence of the Faith of Christ, and His Religion, and the conservation and maintenance of the true doctrine of Christ, it is their duty to see that bishops and priests do execute their pastoral office truly and faithfully." These and other statements of the same kind may seem exaggerated, and we may refuse to accept the King's claim to be the Supreme Head of the Church. We can hardly deny that the ecclesiastical importance of the monarchy was exaggerated beyond all reason by Henry VIII--but if we accept the theory of Christian Kingship as it was understood in the Middle Ages, and if we remember Cardinal Pole's assertion in his De Concilia that the Emperor is the royal Head of the Church and that the Pope is the ecclesiastical Head of the Church, we may realise that the authority claimed for the King of England differed little from the authority claimed for the Emperor in the Holy Roman Empire.
Be this as it may, and stating at once that I could not accept without qualifications all the statements made in objection to the authority of the Holy See and the rights of the Roman Primacy; but that, on the contrary, there is nothing I have more desired than the return of England to communion with the Holy See; the point to be noted is that the fact of the Papal Monarchy being so definitely rejected in the Book which sets forth so complete an exposition of Catholic teaching as to the Sacraments, invests that exposition, as to the Sacraments, with an Anglican authority which can hardly be disputed.
IT will also be seen by a reference to the new Life of Bishop Stephen Gardiner, published by a Professor in the Cambridge Theological School in Massachusetts University, that almost all the changes, during Edward VI's reign and later, which we deplore, were the result of the action of the State, or of individual Bishops, such as Hooper, and in no sense the action of the Church. Bishop Gardiner represents the Catholic teaching of the English Church in regard to the Sacraments, coupled with an apparent indifference to the Papal claim of universal jurisdiction. There is given, in this life, a sermon or paper by the Bishop on this subject, which is illuminating. It was a reply to Archbishop Cranmer's Defence of the True and Catholic Doctrine of the Sacrament, which, to Gardiner, seemed neither true nor Catholic. He was not, however, content merely to point out that Cranmer's teaching was unauthorized. He aimed to set over against it an "explication," as he called it, of the true doctrine of the Church of England. Christ's words, "This is my Body," were, he said, literal truth, and had always been so taken by the faithful; and he appealed to the Prayer Book of 1549. That Prayer Book was largely of Cranmer's composition and was the official liturgy of the Church of which he was Primate.
Gardiner pointed to five passages in the Communion Service of that book which, he said, explicitly upheld Catholic doctrine. First, the words of distribution ("The Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee. . . . The Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for thee " . . .) made clear the teaching of the Church that the Body and Blood were present under the form of bread and wine, and not, as Cranmer said, only in them that worthily ate and drank the bread and wine. Second, the rubric providing for the division of each wafer into two pieces and explaining that "men must not think less to be received in part than in the whole, but in each of them the whole Body of Our Saviour " was, said Gardiner, "agreeable to the Catholic doctrine." Third, the words in the prayer of Consecration, " with thy Holy Spirit and word vouchsafe to bless and sanctify these Thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine, that they may be unto us the Body and Blood of Thy most dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ," taught that "the Body of Christ is by God's Omnipotency . . . made present unto us at such time as the Church prayeth it may please Him to do." Fourth, the prayer for the whole state of Christ's Church (which in the first Prayer Book contained petitions for the dead as well as for the living, and was placed in immediate connection with the Consecration) was consonant with the belief in the Sacrament as a Sacrifice propitiatory for the sins of the world, for when Christ gives Himself in the Supper as a Sacrifice for our sins " it is very profitable at that time ... to remember in prayer all estates of the Church." Fifth, in the prayer now known as the Prayer of Humble Access (which in the first Prayer Book stood after the Consecration and immediately before the Communion), "the adoration of Christ's Flesh in the Sacrament . . . is," Gardiner said, "in my judgment, well set forth."
"The Holy Mystery of the Sacrament," he concluded, "in the Book of Common Prayer  is well termed, and not distant from the Catholic Faith, in my judgment." And he added that "the effect of all celestial or worldly gifts to be ordained of God in the Celebration of Christ's Holy Supper . . . shall be obtained if we devoutedly, reverently, charitably and quietly use and frequent the same, without other innovations than the order of the book prescribeth."
The appeal was decisive and left no doubt as to how far Cranmer had departed from the statement put out by the bishops and clergy of the Church of England after the breach with Rome. For, in the Communion Service in the Second Prayer Book of Edward VI, which, unlike the book of 1549, never received ecclesiastical sanction, the passages from the First Book quoted by Bishop Gardiner were all carefully omitted: and this despite the fact that the Act of Parliament legalising the Second Book declared the First Book to be "a very godly order in the mother tongue, agreeable to the Word of God and the primitive Church," and that " such doubts as had been raised on the use and exercise thereof proceeded rather from the curiosity of the ministers and mistakers than from any other worthy cause."
WHAT has been stated is more than sufficient to show, beyond the possibility of contradiction, which are the loyal and obedient members of the Church of England, those who accept the teaching of the Church of England as to the Sacraments and Ceremonies of the Church put out by the Convocations, or those who are disobedient to the rules of the Church, ignore her doctrine and teaching, and condemn her ritual. It is these to whose conduct in the past, and in the present, most of the difficulties of the Church in preaching the truth and reviving Catholic practice are due. A glance at past history will be sufficient to prove this.
The original Reformers, under Henry VIII, had disclaimed the desire of separating themselves from the Churches of France, Italy and Spain.
The history of the events of Edward VI's reign, with the exception of the publication and adoption of the Prayer Book of 1549 so far as they affect the Church, are nothing but a record of the intrusion of the Civil Power into affairs outside its province, and of the disloyalty of many of those who though claiming ecclesiastical authority, yet destroyed what they were bound by their vows to hold sacred. Both in that reign, and later, the influence of foreign reformers hampered, where it did not destroy, the exercise of all Church teaching and discipline. Those who rejected Catholic teaching were forced into Episcopal Sees; and the general influence of those in authority is well exemplified by the substitution of the Second Prayer Book of Edward VI, which had no ecclesiastical authority, for the Book of 1549, which the Convocations had accepted. The general state of the Church during the reign of Edward VI may therefore be described as one of chaos.
The events of Mary's reign were indirectly instrumental in bringing about fresh difficulties in the way of the teaching of the Church. Cardinal Pole and the Queen herself cannot be exempted from responsibility for Archbishop Cranmer's death, but his burning was the direct consequence of his trial, condemnation, and handing over to the Civil Power by the Tribunals at Rome, and it and the other burnings which took place during Mary Tudor's reign are the source and origin of that hostility, suspicion, and distrust of Rome which had so marked an effect and so calamitous a result on the whole subsequent history of England. It has been the direct cause of the distrust and fear of any teaching which might be represented as approximating to that of the Roman Church; and, of much of the weakness, uncertainties and inconsistencies which have marked the conduct of our ecclesiastical authorities, especially in connection with the recent revision of the Prayer Book from that day to this.
Further, in view of the attitude of members of the Roman Church in England, it is well to remember that many of those who are called the Elizabethan Martyrs came to their deaths, rightly or wrongly, in consequence of political reasons. To hear Mass in Latin was, at that time, regarded as an indication of political disloyalty; so that the execution of some at least of the Elizabethan Martyrs was not simply and solely on account of their religious persuasion.
It is a misfortune to be compelled to allude to these matters. The last thing that can be wished is to revive old hatreds. We have much to forgive and to forget on all sides. But such acts as the burning of Cranmer, and the striking of a medal to commemorate the massacre of St. Bartholomew, if an appeal to history is to be made, cannot be passed over in silence. They account for the growth of Protestantism in England and its influence on belief and practice which mark the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. They also help to explain Elizabeth's and Cecil's action in regard to the Council of Trent.
All through those reigns the ecclesiastical authorities were occupied in resisting Puritan attacks, and later the Civil War and the establishment of Puritanism made all Church teaching for the time impossible.
Previous to 1662 the ecclesiastical authority of the then Prayer Book might reasonably be called in question. It was, in fact, merely the re-issue of the Second Book of Edward VI (which had no ecclesiastical authority) with only a few alterations and improvements. After the Restoration came the final revision in 1662, when the Bishops were unable to do what many of them wished, namely, to return to the Prayer Book of 1549. The loss of the Non-Jurors in consequence of the troubles connected with James II was a serious blow to the Church, and the accession of the House of Hanover was a further misfortune; and, except a few here and there, such as Bishops Montague, Thorndike, Ken, and Wilson, to mention a few conspicuous names, no one at the time represented anything like the Church's principles. It was not indeed till the Oxford Movement and the Tractarian Revival began that any serious attempt was made to vindicate the true character of the Church of England. Let us thank God, with all our hearts, that He has given us grace to carry on that work.
The divisions and diversities amongst the professing members of the Church of England, consequent on the above history, are largely responsible for such secessions as those of Father Vernon, in regard to which we must all take our share of responsibility. Can we wonder at them when we think of the tolerance accorded to such teaching as that of the Bishop of Birmingham, Doctor Major and others; and of the attitude of so many of our bishops, who seem more concerned to forbid the use of a tabernacle than to vindicate the sanctity of Christian marriage against the abominations of the Divorce Court?
OTHER observations suggest themselves in regard to ecclesiastical matters in England. Those who are best acquainted with the controversies, both in the past and the present, which have troubled the Church of England, will admit that most of them are due to ignorance of the true doctrine of the Church, especially in regard to the Blessed Sacrament.
To be instructed in Christian teaching, to know the Old and New Testaments by heart, to possess a knowledge of the Sacraments, to be acquainted with the history and teaching of the Gospels do not of themselves make a Christian.
What makes a Christian, to quote St. Paul, "is to be in Christ," and it is for this reason that any school, however admirable its general system of instruction, but which ignores the Sacraments, and the fact that it is union with Christ which makes the Christian, is useless as a teacher of the Christian religion and involves the necessity of maintaining, at all costs, the schools of the Church.
To unite us to Christ, and in Him to one another, is one great end of the Sacraments, and it is for this reason they are the object of Satan's most insidious attacks. The Sacraments are the citadels of truth, and therefore the union of Christians is an indispensable condition for the defence of Sacramental Truths.
Ignorance of Church doctrine, and, in particular, ignorance of the Church's Sacramental teaching, has had much to do with the prevailing unbelief and defective practice in regard to these matters in England. That ignorance is by no means confined to the laity, but is largely shared by the clergy also. And yet it is surely true that there is hardly any matter upon which it is more necessary that a Christian should be instructed than the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist.
Why was the Sacrifice of the Lord's Supper ordained? For the continual remembrance of the Sacrifice of the Death of Christ upon the Cross. Where is this sacrificial remembrance of the death of Christ before God made?--at the Altar, in the Celebration of the Lord's Supper. By the separate Consecration of the bread and wine the True Lamb of God presents Himself to His Father under the sacramental veils which signify His Body as delivered up, broken and slain for us, and His Blood as shed for us; so that here the whole Passion and Death of Christ is shown forth, and offered up as a sweet-smelling savour to God, in such a manner as not only to plead the sacrifice of His Death before God, not only to keep His Death in our own remembrance, but also as the instrument by which he imparts Himself to us, and so brings forth in us the fruit of His own Life.
This is the true teaching of the Church, but is it the teaching in regard to the Holy Eucharist, which generally prevails amongst us?
Surely it is this aspect of the Holy Eucharist--its Godward aspect--that ought to be emphasized, it is its relation to the Cross that has to be insisted upon. "I, if I am lifted up, will draw all men unto me." How, if there is no adequate consciousness of that "lifting up," can there be any clear perception that here and now in the Eucharistic Mysteries the "Lamb as It had been slain" is the one Offering that satisfies all human needs in relation to God? Surely, if there is any lack here, this is the point which most demands our attention. Only consider the actual words of Holy Scripture. Our Lord, at the Last Supper, takes bread and wine in His Hands and says, "This is My Body, this is My Blood." His words are repeated, on His behalf, by every priest, whether Anglican or Roman, when he celebrates Holy Communion. Is there any instructed Christian who will question the literal truth of those words of Him, who is Truth itself, or endeavour to explain them away? We take them in their literal meaning, and as the literal truth; they determine the Church's faith, our belief in the Holy Sacrament, and our whole conduct in regard to it. We have lately been told by a high Ecclesiastical Authority that so to believe is a permissible doctrine in the Church of England. May I, with all respect, be allowed to point out that it is not merely a permissible doctrine in the Church of England, but THE doctrine of the Catholic Church, set out in her formularies, in which we profess our belief every time we recite the Creed. I should like in this connection to call attention to a very helpful and instructive book by Dom Anscar Vonier, the Abbot of Buckfast, in Devonshire, entitled A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist. In that book the Abbot points out that it is not so much the great truths of the Gospel, such as the Incarnation, the Atonement for the sins of the world made on the Cross, which are the occasion of controversy, but the means by which we are, each one of us, brought into personal union with Christ. Those means, he points out, are (i) Faith--the action of the soul--and (2) the use of external things--that is the Sacraments.
In regard to the Blessed Sacrament, a right visualizing of Eucharistic doctrine, which, as the Abbot points out, is not so common as might be imagined, is above all things necessary. Eucharistic doctrine, he says, is only seen in its true supernatural character if studied in the light of the great sacramental doctrine of the Church. It, he insists, is the one thing most necessary in our days. Much confusion of thought in the doctrine of the Eucharist would be spared us if we never let go of that elemental definition of the Sacrament, that it is a relationship of signification. When Christ said: " Do this in commemoration of Me," He gave the Eucharist an historic import which is not to be found in the mere raising up of the individual soul. A commemoration, the Abbot continues, is essentially a sign, a monument, something related to a definite act or person of the past. The Sacraments are signs of God, because they contain and bring about the very thing they signify. The whole question is whether the Eucharistic rite--the words and deeds of Christ in the first place, our words and our deed in the second, acting as we do in the person of Christ--do signify Christ's Death on the Cross in its literal though sacramental reality. The Eucharistic Body and the Eucharistic Blood, at the Last Supper, were the representation, or, more accurately, the presentation, of the Christ Who would be broken up the day after, not of the Christ Who was there at the head of the table. The Eucharistic Body and the Eucharistic Blood on our Altars are the representation, not of the Christ Who is in Heaven, but again of the Christ Who was broken up on Calvary. If we were to say that at the Sacrifice of the Mass Christ comes down from Heaven and is sacrificed again, we should be expressing the mystery of the Eucharist in a totally wrong way. It is the very nature of the Eucharistic Sacrifice to be a representation of the past. Christ's Body and Blood represent aptly and completely that phase of Christ when He was dead on the Cross; they do not represent, in any way, that other phase of Christ's existence, His glorious Life in Heaven. The memory of the Death of The Lord could never be The Glorified Lord, but the Eucharistic Body and Blood can be the representation of that Lord Whose Body was broken on the Cross, Whose Blood was poured out on the hill of Calvary. In virtue of the Sacrament, the Eucharist contains Christ dying, Christ dead on the Cross. "For as often as ye shall eat this bread and drink this chalice ye shall show the Death of the Lord until He come." The whole external Sacramental action in words and deeds signifies the Body and the Blood of The Christ of Calvary. This is the oldest form under which we meet the Eucharist in Christian tradition. The Church has simply given a literal interpretation to the words of the Eucharistic rite. It was not said first that bread was being changed into Christ's Body and that wine was being changed into Christ's Blood; what was said first and is said at all times is: "This is My Body, this is My Blood." Transubstantiation is not in itself the Real Presence; it is the explanation of that Presence. It is not the same thing as the Eucharist, both in its aspect of sacrifice and food, but it is the power of Christ to change bread into His Body and wine into His Blood. Wherever a priest, in virtue of Christ's commission, pronounces the Sacramental Consecration, Christ's Body and Christ's Blood are truly produced by an act of divine power, as grace is produced in the human soul at Baptism. Christ's Eucharistic body is produced in the manner in which His Divine Hands produced bread when he multiplied the loaves. The power of Christ to change bread and wine into His Body and Blood is the one thing the older thinkers of the day knew of, and their Belief in the Sacrament is simple in the extreme because they believe in the power of the Sacrament to produce what it signifies. In the Eucharist we have the Body of Christ and the Blood of Christ, but with a mode of being entirely different from that in which Christ was at the Last Supper, in which He is now in Heaven. This duality in the mode of being, the natural mode and the Sacramental mode, belongs to the heart of the mystery. For more than one believer, without being conscious of it, the Eucharistic Presence is nothing else than a natural presence under a thin disguise. Such is not the Catholic dogma. We are not treating of a natural presence but of a sacramental presence. Our troubles come from an indiscriminate use of ideas, in constantly making notions, which belong to a natural state of being, do service for sacramental notions. The Eucharistic Sacrifice is offered up always and everywhere in persona Christi; Christ must be looked upon as the One Who offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice as truly as He offered the Calvary Sacrifice. In the great Christian Sacrifice the Priest and the Victim are one and the same. This identity of Priest and Victim must be preserved at all costs in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Christ is the Priest according to the Order of Melchisedech in the Sacrifice of Bread and Wine. As the mortal Christ, at the Last Supper, offered up for the first time the Eucharistic Sacrifice, so does Christ now unceasingly offer up the Eucharistic Sacrifice all over the world, because the human priest acts so entirely in persona Christi.
The foregoing passages quoted from the Abbot's book will give some idea of what that book contains. They speak for themselves.
I CANNOT, however, conclude this portion of my subject without quoting a statement of the late Bishop of Oxford. There was, he said, a great mistake made at the Reformation in the way of leaving out of sight the whole ancient structure of the Liturgy. We went to the very verge of destroying the continuity of our liturgy, and ever since we have had great cause to regret it. What was wanted was to bring certain features of the service much more into accord with the ancient liturgies. It was a reasonable reform which, on liturgical and theological principles, was rightly demanded.
That ancient Order is largely disregarded in the present form of the Book of Common Prayer. But, in the first liturgy of Edward VI--the original form of our present book--which, be it noted, still has authority, largely determining as it does the ritual of the present Prayer Book, that Order is observed. It has also the advantage of being much more in accordance with the ancient and present use of the Western Church, a fact which would surely make it welcome to all, while it has behind it the weight of an Anglican tradition untainted by the German and Swiss influences which affected the Second Prayer Book, and therefore of necessity have coloured the present Book of Common Prayer. Some of the greatest and most accredited divines of the Church of England, as, for example, Bishop Wilson of Sodor and Man, have left it on record how much they desired its use. Bishop Cosin, one of the revisers of 1662, would, it is known, have liked to proceed in the same direction; and there is no liturgical scholar who would not welcome such a change as an improvement on our existing liturgy. Other advantages may be enumerated. It would be to revert again to a liturgy which retained its old name of the Mass, which, in the commemoration of the dead, preserved the distinction between the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of Our Lord and God, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, and the Saints, the memory of whom is preserved in the Kalendar, and the general company of the faithful departed, for whom prayer is made. It is difficult, in considering the history of our present Prayer Book, to dissociate it from the consequence inseparable from the circumstances which gave it birth, and its relation to the Second Prayer Book of Edward VI, which had no ecclesiastical authority--or to think that, in view of its antecedents, it can be invested with that plenitude of ecclesiastical authority which, in the opinion of some, it seems to claim. The First Prayer Book of Edward VI is the liturgy which was used by the Reformers, including Archbishop Cranmer, and approved by Bishop Gardiner, to whom reference has already been made in this paper, and others who, however indifferent they may have been to the maintenance of the Papal Supremacy, were determined not to depart from Catholic practice and tradition.
If the proposal made by the present Archbishop of Canterbury to permit the use of the Book of 1549 had been persevered in, all the inconveniences and troubles connected with the books of 1927 and 1928 would have been avoided, and I ask myself whether in view of present difficulties it is too late to revert to that proposal. I believe that it is both legitimate and possible to restore Edward VI's first liturgy where the congregations are agreeable to such a change, that it could be done not merely without opposition, but with general acceptance--a fact which would be of the greatest possible advantage to the whole Ecclesia Anglicana. Further, I am convinced if this could be accomplished it would do much to teach our people the true Catholic doctrine of the Mass, and so to hasten that reunion of Christendom which is the desire of all our hearts.
IN this attempt at a review of some of the facts in the history of the Church of England, it is impossible to ignore the attitude of so many professing members of the Church in regard to ecclesiastical authority, and to the obligations attaching to that authority.
That attitude is one of the Church's greatest difficulties. It is largely owing to the fact, which ought not to be ignored, that there has been a continuous and persistent attempt both in the past and in the present, to ignore and disguise the real teaching of the Church, the result of a protestant tradition which finds no place or sanction in the Church's formularies.
As affording some excuse for this attitude of so many Englishmen in reference to Church authority, the question may be asked: Can the formularies of a local Church like the Church of England, though the gravest consideration and respect is due to them, be said, in themselves, to possess a final and absolute authority? Will not that authority depend upon how far those formularies can be identified with the teaching of the whole Church, and for this purpose how far they can be brought under the formula "quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus" which, though, I believe, it is now called in question by members of the Roman Church, is adequate for this purpose? And then, secondly, however important the claims of the Roman Church may be in themselves, can we admit, in view of the statements we make every time we recite the Nicene Creed, "I believe in one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church," that those claims are such as to obliterate the claims of the Anglican Church to our allegiance?--which, under the direction of St. Gregory the Great, was founded by St. Augustine, and destroy all our duties in regard to it, including the duty, acceptance, and love we owe to the Sacraments we have received at its hands. Is it inconsistent, in view of such considerations, under existing circumstances, to recognise the claim of the Pope to a primacy jure divino and to have had entrusted to him by Our Lord a care for all the Churches, and at the same time to be loyal to the claims of the Church of England, and faithful to those sacraments, conferred by it, which have been the support, the strength and the joy of the whole of our spiritual life--claims which, in addition, can appeal to the witness derived from a personal and ever-growing experience? It is here that the witness of Soloviof, the Russian apostle of reunion, may be referred to with advantage.
Soloviof had convinced himself, by the study of the Fathers and the ancient canons, that our Lord had invested St. Peter with a primacy in His Church, and, in connection with that primacy, had mentioned a care for all the Churches. He acknowledged as a fact that, dating from the time of the Oecumenical Councils, the Church had recognised this primacy, and to this conviction he bore witness by a formal act of adhesion to the Roman Church, which was formally accepted, but he never thought that such adhesion involved the obligation to abandon the Russian Orthodox Church, of which he always considered himself a true son. Further, he believed that he better served the cause of unity by remaining in the Russian Church, believing, as he did, that it was possible for an Orthodox Russian to be a Catholic without leaving the Russian Orthodox Church; nor did the Roman Church, when informed of the facts, dissuade him from doing so. When he died, as he did in the West, away from Russia, it was at the hands of an Orthodox priest that he received the last Sacraments.
The attitude of so many members of the Church of England in regard to Rome is indeed greatly to be deplored, and all must regret it, but in view of the conduct of many Roman Catholics in England, is it to be wondered at? Every opportunity is taken by the Roman Catholic Press to depreciate and injure the Church of England. All attempts to minimise difficulties, and to explain divergences in doctrine, are misrepresented and opposed--the attitude of the Roman Catholic Press in England in regard to the Malines Conversations is alone sufficient to prove this.
Yet it was not always so. Archbishop Murray, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, early in the last century wrote in regard to the reunion of England and Rome: "There are no irreconcilable differences, if only the Church of England people were true to the principles laid down in their Prayer Book. The doctrinal differences which appear considerable, but are not so, would soon be removed, whilst we on our side should leave nothing undone, short of sacrificing truth, towards uniting divided Christendom," to which, as endorsing the words of Archbishop Murray, the statement of Dr. Pusey, writing to Cardinal Newman, may be added, "The English Church has not rejected a visible head, but only disowns, as the Eastern Church does, the monarchy of the Bishop of Rome."
Such words very little represent the attitude of most Roman Catholics in England at the present time, and, in view of that attitude it is easy to understand its effect upon members of the English Church. Can we refrain from asking, Is that attitude likely to do much in forwarding the Reunion of Christendom? What a difference it would make if both Anglicans and Romans would agree to come together and endeavour to see how far explanations of the difficulties that divide them are possible. It is just because the majority of English Roman Catholics are so much more concerned in procuring individual conversions than in promoting the general reunion of Christendom that, whatever excuses they may allege for their conduct, they are justly exposed to the criticism of those who, above all things, desire to see England once again in communion with the Holy See.
I have never been able to understand why an acknowledgment of the rights of the Pope as successor of St. Peter, his Primacy jure divino, his claim to have a care for all the churches, and his general position in the Church as recognised by Catholic tradition and teaching, should be in any way inconsistent with the maintenance of other obligations such as those, in the case of Anglicans, to the Anglican Church or, in the case of Russians, to the Orthodox Russo-Greek Church. Such was not the attitude of St. Irenteus, St. Chrysostom, St. John Damascene. Rome does not interfere with the internal arrangements of the Eastern churches, nor deny the validity of their Sacraments. Why should it act so differently in regard to England? Does not the fact that members of the Roman Church may receive the last Sacraments from the hands of an Orthodox priest, if no priest of the Roman Church is available, bear on this point?
If Anglicans would admit all that can justly be claimed on behalf of the Papacy, while maintaining their own rights as Anglicans in possession of valid Sacraments, how many obstacles in the way of reunion in the case of England and America, would be removed without the sacrifice of any principle on either side.
No matter can be so important as that of reunion, and it is difficult to understand how professing Christians can seem so indifferent to it, so opposed to all the steps which might lead to it, and so blind to all the results which would certainly follow from it.
I HAVE already alluded to the history of the past as witnessing to the fact that ever since Mr. Keble's epoch-making sermon in 1835, a^ bu* one hundred years ago, our principles have been increasingly realized, and that had those principles been attended to by those in authority, the difficulties, with their resulting confusions and uncertainties, as exhibited in later, and specially in the last two years, could never have occurred. In regard to the English Church Union, those principles and the action to which they gave rise have been chiefly concerned with the vindication of the spiritual rights of the Church against Protestant interpretations of the history of the Church of England, and, as resulting from those interpretations, the claim of Parliament and the Civil Courts to determine spiritual matters affecting the doctrine and ritual of the Church.
Recent events have shown how complete the vindication of our whole attitude has been.
In connection with the revision of the Prayer Book, the authorities of the Church have admitted, by many of their proposals, that the teaching and practices the Union has always maintained to be in accordance with the teaching of the Prayer Book, were in no way contrary to the principles and teaching of the Church of England. Had that discovery been made a little earlier most of the difficulties arising out of the revision of the Prayer Book would have been avoided.
Reverting to the records of those earlier times, it will be seen that the position asserted by the Union was largely won by an appeal to the history of the Prayer Book, and by showing in detail how largely Protestant tradition was the result of political circumstances, and how completely it had obscured the leading principles responsible for the changes in the sixteenth century.
It was an appeal, in reference to particular points of doctrine such as those relating to the Real Presence and the Eucharistic Sacrifice; and, in regard to ritual, to the use of the Vestments, of lights at the celebration of the Eucharist, etc., etc. But it was no general appeal to what had been the governing principle of the English Reformation. It was an appeal chiefly to our own countrymen, in regard to our then particular difficulties and needs. It was no appeal to the principles and practice of the whole Church, no definite insistence on the necessity of striving for the return of the Church of England into communion with the Holy See and the successor of St. Peter, and of that great Pope, St. Gregory the Great, to whom we owe St. Augustine the Apostle of England, and our instruction in the Catholic faith.
It seems to me that the time has come when we must make a new departure. The time is past for referring merely to what is the true interpretation of Anglican formularies, we have boldly to assert that the Anglican Communion since the schism in Henry the VIII's time has always claimed to be a true part of the Catholic Church, and that on the strength of that claim, we assert our right to full Catholic teaching and practice, that we repudiate entirely the claim of the State, under existing circumstances, to interfere in spiritual matters and that Parliament, composed as it is, has no right to dictate to the Church what it shall do and what it shall say.
Such a departure is, I am convinced, the line the whole Anglo-Catholic body ought to take. Sir William Joynson Hicks, the then Home Secretary, now Viscount Brentford, wrote not long ago, "The Church of England must make up its mind quite definitely whether it is going in the extreme High Church direction to a union with the Church of Rome, or in the Evangelical direction of a union with the great Nonconformist Churches of our Country."
Can there be any doubt which is the alternative we ought to take? Indeed, the only one we can take?
It will be said by those who have no real sympathy with the principles and practice of the Church, the welfare and spread of which have been the work and object of my life, that I am an Optimist. I am an Optimist, and I glory in the appellation, and I believe the future will justify that optimism. The whole world has changed since the War--it is a new world in which we live, in which all is possible. Those who care for religion are sick of the divisions and quarrels of Christendom.
DESPITE the perplexities and anxieties of the past, more especially of the last two years, consequent on the confusion and difficulties to which the revision of the Prayer Book has given rise, I believe it will be seen that by God's over-ruling providence all is paving the way for reunion; and that, without any such revolution in the relations of Church and State as is advocated by some, and viewed with apprehension by others, all that is necessary for peace between England and Rome can be obtained if only goodwill prevails on both sides.
The reports of the Malines Conversations, more especially the account drawn up by the French members who took part in the Conversations justify that belief.
The publication of what was said and done at Malines will be the best answer to those who, for their own purposes, have asserted that the Malines Conversations had in view only a federation of churches such as had been contemplated by the meetings at Stockholm and Lausanne, instead of an honest desire to bring back the Church of England as a whole into communion with the Holy See, and to the full acknowledgment of the claims of the Pope as the successor of St. Peter, and as possessing a Primacy, and a care of all the churches jure divino.
In furtherance of this most important of all objects, could we but all realise, what surely is the case, that it is the duty laid upon us all to strive for the spread of Catholic Faith and for the reunion of the Church of England as a whole with the Holy See--how much the spread of that Faith would be simplified and assisted in England and America, and how greatly the work of the Roman Church itself on behalf of the needs of the whole of Christendom throughout the world would be helped and promoted.
The authority by divine right of the Holy See we ought to acknowledge; indeed, I do not know where the Anglican Communion has ever denied it; its absolute monarchy and its jurisdiction in the sense often attached to the latter word we deny, but there is a sense in which it might be accepted by the least elastic of the Anglican Clergy, and the question would then be whether a point was discoverable which would satisfy the Roman claims as of divine right and by our Lord's Commission, for the Holy See, and yet not contravene principles common both to England and the East.
Pius XI and Mussolini have overcome all the difficulties which kept Rome and the Kingdom of Italy apart. May we not pray that Pius XI may take in hand the still greater difficulty of reconciling the claims of the Church of England with those of Rome.
The Pope is not unacquainted with England, his portrait hangs in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. The Lambeth Conference, which meets this year, might be the occasion for a first step in that direction, and the Vatican Council, when it reassembles, which it is understood is probable at no distant date, be the opportunity for a still further attempt in the interests of reconciliation and peace.
Do we, any of us the least realise as we ought the inexpressible joy it would be if such a step towards the reconciliation of Christendom could be taken in our time?
It is impossible to exaggerate all that might be done by a friendly attitude on the part of Rome in regard to this great question; while for ourselves, it would need a fresh departure and a fresh effort on the lines the late Abbe Portal always had at heart, the cause for which he did so much, and which had the blessing of the great Cardinal whose loss we deplore more and more.
BEFORE concluding this paper it is absolutely necessary to refer to the proposals in reference to reunion in South India. It seems to be entirely forgotten that the object of all reunion is in order to secure identity of belief in regard to all important matters, and emphatically of those definitely accepted by the whole Church. This object is absolutely defeated if the union aimed at is a union founded on and secured by the acceptance of ambiguous formularies, which may be interpreted in two senses.
The necessity of Episcopal ordination is insisted on by the whole Church, East and West alike. A formula which, in the supposed interests of reunion, leaves that matter an open question is--independently of its disloyalty--no step towards reunion, but a direct incentive to fresh divisions. The speech of Archbishop Germanos at Lausanne not long ago is conclusive proof of this; and any such action on the part of the Church of England as that suggested by the Indian proposals would be not a blessing to the Church but its ruin. We have no need to question the fact of God's Grace in the Nonconformist Bodies. We have great need to do nothing to compromise the faith of the Church and to be true to what has ever been held in the Church as part of the deposit entrusted to it by its Divine Head. There must surely be something very much amiss in our condition to have made such proposals possible. Is it not because the Church of England, ever since the sixteenth century, has been so overrun by Protestant unbelief, and her true teaching so obscured, that many even of our Ecclesiastical Authorities look upon the Church of England as a self-governing body, and that its bishops, for all practical purposes, and when it comes to action, do not regard themselves as part of the Catholic Episcopate and bound by its principles, but as an Episcopate able, by its own authority, to make what arrangements and statements it pleases, and to disregard all considerations founded on the received belief and practice of the whole Church. It is the failure to see this, and the consequent action in disregard of it, that is at the bottom of nearly all our troubles, and is the matter above all others that cries for amendment and reform.
IT is here and in regard to what has been said that I should wish to add something of a personal nature for which, in consideration of my age (this paper is the last of its kind I shall ever write), and for the sake of those who have so long honoured me with their trust and confidence I may perhaps be forgiven.
On looking back over the last seventy-five years I see that the best of all the good gifts of every sort, and they are innumerable, which God has given me, the gift bestowed upon us of the Holy Sacrament infinitely surpasses them all. Our Lord's presence, as it is vouchsafed to us in that most Holy Sacrament, has been the support, the strength and joy of my life. Without it my life would have been such as I tremble to think of, and it is because of all the Blessed Sacrament has been to me, that I wish to thank God for it in the most public manner I can. If those who are good enough to read this paper will say a prayer for me at Mass when I leave this world, which cannot now be long deferred, no words that I can find would express my gratitude.
LETTER FROM THE REVEREND A. L. JANSSENS (Professor of Dogmatic Theology)
CONGREGATION DU COEUR IMMACULÉ DE MARIE,
MY DEAR LORD HALIFAX,
I am trying in these pages to give a clear account of the Catholic faith on the subject of the Blessed Sacrament. As your Lordship often pointed out to me, this point of the faith has been obscured by controversy to such a degree that many outside the Roman Catholic communion entertain the most fantastic notions about it.
I. The Sacramental Principle.
The religion of Christ, we maintain, is a sacramental religion. In the Incarnate Word the supernatural was really united with a thing of nature, Christ's humanity, in such a fashion that the natural thing was elevated in the sphere of the supernatural and that the supernatural communicated itself through the instrumentality of the visible and tangible humanity. During His historic life on earth, Christ's humanity was the sacrament of the divinity, the gracious sign of God's redeeming will and power. When, having effected the redemption through His Blood on Calvary, He went up to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, He left the sacraments to His Church, as representations and instruments of His redeeming sacrifice.
Sacraments do not take the place of faith in Christ; they presuppose it. Faith is necessary as the beginning of spiritual life, as the foundation of the whole edifice of salvation. But faith is not enough. The process of our justification begins with faith, in the same way as a journey through the dark begins with the putting up of light. The way and the goal have to be marked out before we can start the journey. But our forces are inadequate to reach the end of our voyage unless we are fully incorporated in Christ through charity and moved on unceasingly by His Spirit.
Here a very important truth must be noticed. Wherever and whenever a man dies in faith and charity, his soul is saved through the merits of Christ. Whether he lived before Christ or after, in England or in India, in the communion of the Church Catholic or in one of the sects, makes no difference. From this consideration alone it is evident that the purpose of the Incarnation was not only the salvation of individual souls. The Son of God came into the world as God's visible vicegerent to establish the Reign of God or the Kingdom of God, a visible society moved by the Divine Spirit, which is to endure until the end of the world and must for ever, in its corporate capacity, glorify God after the rite and fashion instituted by Christ. In and through this society the redemption is perpetuated and applied. By His own personal act Christ redeemed the world, "for by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified"; but the sanctifying power and the merits of the Redeemer are officially entrusted to His own Church. "As My Father hath sent me, even so send I you." His authority and His power are in the hands of those to whom He gave His mission.
There are uncovenanted mercies for every child of man, because God "will have all men to be saved." But the covenant of the New Testament is between God and the New Israel, the Church of Christ, and the covenanted mercies come from Christ through the Church. For this reason the Church must urge upon all the generations of men, in every age and clime, the duty of joining her membership. She is the custodian of Christ's sacraments, she alone has the promise of indefecti-bility, she alone is equipped to sanctify mankind and to spread the Kingdom of God.
Christ came "that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Such is the abundance of supernatural vitality in the Church, derived from Christ's humanity, that it would be injurious to the divine condescension to turn away from these supreme gifts. This is the real meaning of the much misunderstood doctrine of the opus operatum. Of course we do not dream that the Sacraments take the place of the Holy Ghost, or that they can give grace apart from an interior act of the adult who receives them, or that they work as a piece of magic. The catholic doctrine is much simpler. For a man to come into the full stream of the divine life, there are two different ways, which for brevity's sake we shall name the way of personal works and the sacramental way. How were the saints of the Old Covenant saved? Their salvation began through faith, was perfected by charity or repentance. Now it should be remembered that there is nothing higher or more sublime than love or, what is really the same, perfect repentance. Even when our frail spirit is illuminated by the light of God, and our will strengthened by His motion, the perfection of love must always remain a difficult achievement.
However, since Christ's atoning death, salvation is in our reach in a more gracious form, not as if the first were superseded: perfect charity is justifying of its own nature. But through the sacraments the sanctifying power of Christ's sacrifice can be communicated to us, ex opere operato. Let us instance this in the case of Baptism. Here is a sinful child of man who believes in Christ and accepts his revelation of Himself as having divine authority; he hopes that his sins will be forgiven through the merits of the Redeemer; he is sorry for them, although his sorrow does not attain to the perfection of love.
All these previous dispositions are insufficient to justify him before God; they lead up to justification but do not give the final complement of divine grace. Then this sinner receives the sacrament of Baptism; that is to say, he expresses his faith and trust in the Redeemer by an external act and he desires to consecrate himself to God's glory and service, after the fashion instituted by Christ. A minister of Christ's Church washes his body, symbolising the purification of his immortal soul, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. By this sacramental act the baptised is fully incorporated in Christ's passion and death. Christ's passion is communicated to him as if the sinner had suffered and died in his own person.
This then is the wonderful power of the sacraments: they are external signs and testimonies of our faith in Christ, of our intention to become united to God through the Mediator of the human race; they fill up our deficiencies by the power of Christ; they vivify us because they reproduce for us or in us the passion and death of the Saviour.
II. Sacrament and Sacrifice.
The sacrifice of Christ on Calvary is the model and the centre of the Christian religion. The Son of God, having become the new leader of the whole race, offered up His Body and Blood for God's honour and for the redemption of man.
This sacrifice is represented and its virtue reproduced by every sacrament. In its outward form every sacrament is indeed a medicine for the various spiritual needs of humanity; but it has also a Godward aspect. When we receive it we attest our faith in the Redeemer and we honour God in union with the High Priest of our religion.
The Eucharist alone is at the same time a sacrament and a sacrifice. A sacrament, because in it Christ's Body and Blood are signified and rendered present (or re-presented in the etymological sense of the word) for our sanctification and redemption. A sacrifice, because in it Christ's Body and Blood are really offered up to the Father under the outward signs of bread and wine.
Sometimes the Mass is considered as the sacrifice, and the Communion as the sacrament. In reality, however, one and the same act is both sacrament and sacrifice. The act of baptising is the sacrament of baptism; the act of consecrating the bread and wine is at the same time the sacrament and the sacrifice of the Eucharist. We must not think of the eucharistic sacrifice as following upon the consecration, as if in some undefinable manner the real Body and Blood of Christ were then offered up to God. The offering is effected in the consecration. When, through divine omnipotence, the bread and wine are consecrated, there is the perfect sign of Christ's Body and Blood as offered up to God and given for our salvation. The act of Communion is, properly speaking, not the sacrament, but the use of the sacrament and the participation of the sacrifice. The reserved sacrament is constituted by the consecrated elements which, after the act of consecration, continue to signify and to render present the Body and Blood of Christ. This, however, must not be construed as signifying that the consecrated elements constitute the reserved sacrament independently of the words of consecration. When we say that the Eucharist, as distinguished from the other sacraments, is a permanent sacrament, we mean that the inward part of the sacrament--Christ's Body and Blood--is there so long as the outward sign remains intact. Now of course the outward sign is made up not only of the elements but also of the words of consecration. The physical sound of the words is indeed a transient thing, but their meaning remains intentionally attached to the sacred elements so long as these preserve their identity.
The sacramental nature of the Eucharist will hardly be denied by anyone who has grasped the sacramental character of the Incarnation. A more difficult point is raised by the sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist.
The faith of the Church Catholic on the subject is clearly defined in the Council of Trent. The Mass is a true and real sacrifice, it contains the whole reality of a true sacrifice.
There are different theological opinions as to what constitutes the reality of the Eucharistic sacrifice. In so far as these opinions differ from each other there is perfect freedom for debate and discussion. The only point beyond controversy is that the Mass is a real and true sacrifice, verum et proprium sacrificium. In Protestant circles it has been the fashion to be horrified by this doctrine, as if the Catholic faith diminished somehow the glory and the value of the sacrifice on Calvary. Yet, they should have remembered that the faith, as expressed in the Council of Trent, never mentions another sacrifice, or a sacrifice different in its essence, from the sacrifice of the Cross. These are the terse words of the Council: "Una enim eademque est hostia, idem nunc offerens sacerdotum ministerio, qui seipsum tune in Cruce obtulit, sola offerendi ratione diversa." There is a different mode of oblation, no different sacrifice. In the sacrifice of the Cross, the High Priest of our confession offered His natural body and blood as an offering of sweet odour to God and as a ransom for the sins of the world. The same sacrifice is offered in the Mass, through the ministry of the priest and under the outward sign of the sacrament. Let us try to illustrate this point. A man and his photograph are two distinct things. Yet, if I consider the photograph, not in itself, its material, frame, etc., but as an image of the man, I must say that they are both identical. The Eucharist is a complete image and a perfect sign of the bloody Sacrifice, but an image which at the same time reproduces the reality. Sacraments not only represent holy things but render them present.
The Eucharist is a sacrament of the Sacrifice on the Cross and therefore it reproduces the whole reality of it.
This reproduction of Christ's historic sacrifice is impossible on the natural plane and by the agency of nature. But there is no reason at all why it should be impossible on the sacramental plane and by the agency of God. If God can reproduce the sanctifying power of Christ's humanity in Baptism why should he be unable to reproduce the reality of Christ's historic sacrifice in the Eucharist? We do not ascribe this tremendous power to the priest, except in a loose way of speaking, like we say that the violin can produce music. God uses the priest as an instrument of His power. He it is who brings about this marvellous transformation which makes the outward thing to render present what is signifies.
Catholics believe further that the Mass is a propitiatory sacrifice, sacrificium propitiatorium. This is not to be understood as if the Mass were a new satisfaction or a new atonement. The Redemption was perfected on the Cross. Christ entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption. The Eucharistic sacrifice applies the fruits of the Sacrifice of the Cross for the remission of sins. This remission Christ merited for the world on Calvary; He communicates the medicinal and remissive power of His bloody sacrifice to all those who appropriate this offering to themselves, who make it their own in the Eucharistic sacrifice. When we offer up the Mass we place Christ's merits and satisfaction before God, against the sins we daily commit. Our pleading relies upon the pragmatical prayer of the Saviour laying down His life for us; it goes up to heaven through the hands of our Mediator and obtains for us severally and individually all the benefits and graces which in their generality Christ has won for us on Calvary.
The faith of the Church with regard to the Real Presence can be summarised as follows:--
1. In the Eucharist Christ's Body and Blood are verily, really and substantially present. Verily, not only by a way of speaking, not only in appearance; really, not only as a symbol; substantially, by their very substance and not only by their power.
2. In the Eucharist there is no simultaneous presence of the Body and Blood of Christ, together with the substance of bread and wine. The substance of bread and wine is not there.
3. The whole substance of bread is changed into the Body, and the whole substance of wine into Blood of Christ.
Let us now consider more closely this summary of the faith.
It must always be kept in mind that we are here dealing with a mystery of the faith, not with a mystery of philosophy. I may be ignorant of what constitutes a substance or an accident. I may have no philosophical view whatever of what a substance is, yet adhere firmly to an intelligible statement of the incomprehensible mystery. No philosophical system is imposed upon Catholics in this respect. When the Council of Trent denned transubstantiation, it meant nothing else than what had been defined long ago (before the age of scholasticism). Through God's power what was bread is changed. It becomes the Body of Christ. How do we know? Because Christ said: " This is my Body." If it is His Body, it cannot at the same time and under the same aspect be something else, like a man cannot at the same time be identified as an angel. The only principle that comes into question here is, not an Aristotelian view of substance and accident, but a principle of common sense: a thing is just what it is and nothing else. If it is the substance or the reality of the Body of Christ, it is not the substance or the reality of bread.
However, there is no outward or superficial change whatever. All that appears before our senses remains exactly after consecration as it was before. The result of chemical analysis would not show any change in quantity, weight, colour, etc., after consecration. The change occurs only in the depth of being. Before the consecration there was the reality of bread with all its concomitant qualities and properties. Now there remain only these qualities and properties.
Far from "overthrowing the nature of a sacrament," the Catholic doctrine most distinctly affirms that the elements, viewed in their specific quality and quantity, are not mere illusory appearances produced in a miraculous way. The Eucharistic conversion simply does not affect either the quantity of bread and wine or whatever properties they may possess.
It is sometimes supposed that transubstantiation is a philosophical explanation of the mystery. But it is nothing of the sort. The mystery is not and cannot be explained. No mystery can, or it would cease to be a mystery.
Let it be observed that, according to our faith, the substance of Bread is not changed into the person of Christ, or into His divinity, or into His soul, or into His Blood. In the Eucharist God's power works sacramentally, that is to say, it effects just what the sacramental words signify, nothing less and nothing more. Now the words signify that what the priest takes in his hands, is the reality of Christ's Body.
But the Body of Christ is in no way changed by transubstantiation: the whole and sole change is in the bread. Therefore, since the Body of Christ is quantitative, coloured, etc., all these accidents are in the Eucharist by way of concomitance. Christ's Body is alive, therefore His soul is not separated from His Body in the Eucharist. Christ's Body is--through the soul--united with His divinity. Therefore His divinity is in the Eucharist. Christ's Body is not now separated from His Blood, therefore His Blood is present also under the form of bread, although the bread is not changed into His Blood.
What we adore in the Blessed Sacrament is this hidden reality of Christ's Body and Blood, which we do not separate from Christ Himself. True the Eucharist was not instituted for the purpose of adoration, but wherever Christ is, there He is adorable and to be adored because He is the Son of God.
Adoro devote--latens veritas--
Te qui sub his formis vere latitas.
Catholics do not understand the mode of Christ's presence in the Eucharist. They only know that His Body and His Blood are not there as in a place. His Body does not fill the space of the form of Bread. For this reason, when accurately speaking, we do not say that Christ's Body is multiplied in the Eucharist, or that it is at a distance from Christ's Body in heaven. It is in the Eucharist after a heavenly and spiritual manner which transcends the laws of space.
To sum up: the mystery of the Eucharist is in the rendering present of Christ's Body and Blood through the Eucharistic rite which is instrumental of God's omnipotence.
Quod non capis, quod non vides
Animosa firmat fides
Praeter rerum ordinem.
(Sgd.) A. L. JANSSENS LONDON, July 15th, 1929.