Project Canterbury

Thoughts on Present Church Troubles
Occurring in Four Sermons Preached in St. Paul's Cathedral in December, 1880

By H.P. Liddon, D.D.
Canon Residentiary of St. Paul's, and Ireland Professor at Oxford

London, Oxford and Cambridge: Rivingtons, 1881


THE subjoined address will not be without interest, in relation to the subjects discussed in the Preface. It has since received the adhesion of more than 2000 clergymen.


Your Grace has been pleased to invite those of the Clergy, who feel dissatisfied or alarmed at the present circumstances of the Church, to state what they desire, in the way of remedy. Encouraged by this invitation, we venture to submit to your Grace the following suggestions.

First of all, and especially, we would respectfully express our desire for a distinctly avowed policy of toleration and forbearance, on the part of our Ecclesiastical Superiors, in dealing with questions of Ritual. Such a policy appears to us to be demanded alike by justice and by the best interests of religion. For justice would seem to require, that, unless a rigid observance of the Rubrical Law of the Church, or of recent interpretations of it, be equally exacted from all the parties within her pale, it should no longer be exacted from one party alone, and under circumstances which often increase the difficulty of complying with the demand. And, having regard to the uncertainties which have been widely thought to surround some recent interpretations of Ecclesiastical Law, as well as to the equitable claims of Congregations placed in the most dissimilar religious circumstances, we cannot but think that the recognized toleration of even [85/86] wide diversities of ceremonial is alone consistent with the interests of true religion, and with the well-being of the English Church at the present time.

The immediate need of our Church is, in our opinion, a tolerant recognition of divergent Ritual practice; but, we feel bound to submit to your Grace that our present troubles are likely to recur, unless the Courts by which Ecclesiastical causes are decided, in the first instance and on appeal, can be so constructed as to secure the conscientious obedience of Clergymen who believe the constitution of the Church of Christ to be of divine appointment; and who protest against the State's encroachment upon rights, assured to the Church of England by solemn Acts of Parliament. We do not presume to enter into details upon a subject, confessedly surrounded with great difficulties; but content ourselves with expressing an earnest hope that it may receive the attention of your Grace, and of the Bishops of the Church of England.

We are,

Your Grace's very obedient Servants,

London, Jan. 10, 1881.

R. W. CHURCH, Dean of St. Paul's.

W. C. LAKE, D.D., Dean of Durham.

B. M. COWIE, D.D., Dean of Manchester.

ALWYNE COMPTON, D.D., Dean of Worcester.

A. P. PUREY CUST, D.D., Dean of York.

E. BALSTON, D.D., Archdeacon of Derby.

A. POTT, B.D., Archdeacon of Berks.

H. P. FFOULKES, M.A., Archdeacon of Montgomery.

H. DE WINTON, M.A., Archdeacon of Brecon.

R. GREGORY, M.A., Canon of St. Paul's.

H. P. LIDDON, D.D., Canon of St. Paul's.

W. STUBBS, D.D., Canon of St. Paul's.

GEORGE RAWLINSON, M.A., Canon of Canterbury.

H. WARE, M.A., Canon of Carlisle.

E. KING, D.D., Canon of Christ Church.

E. C. LOWE, D.D., Canon of 'Ely.

H. M. LUCKOCK, D.D., Canon of Ely.

C. J. ABRAHAM, D.D., Bishop, Canon of Lichfield.

N. WOODARD, M.A., Canon of Manchester.

B. WEBB, M.A., Vicar of St. Andrew's, Well Street.

N. T. GARRY, M.A., Vicar of St. Mary's, Reading, R.D.

F. GREY, M.A., Rector of Morpeth, R.D.

H. TEMPLE, M.A., Vicar of St. John the Evangelist, Leeds.

W. E. HEYGATE, M.A., Rector of Brighstone.

HINDS HOWELL, M.A., Rector of Drayton, Norfolk, R.D.

M. F. SADLER, M.A., Rector of Honiton.

G. G. PERRY, M.A., Rector of Waddington, R.D.

JOHN GOTT, D.D., Vicar of Leeds, R.D.

G. R. PORTAL, MA., Rector of Burghclere, R.D.

W. R. CHURTON, B.D., Fellow of King's College, Cambridge.

J. H. MACAULAY, M.A., Vicar of Wilshamstead.

C. R. KNIGHT, M.A., Vicar of Merthyr Mawr.

J. OAKLEY, M.A., Vicar of St. Saviour's, Hoxton.

Project Canterbury