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The Present Crisis:
An Appeal to Ritualists and All Those Who Are Sincerely Searching for the Truth, the Way, and the Life.

By a Clergyman Lately Seceded from the Anglican Church.

With the Petition to the Holy Synod for the Canonical Restoration of the Orthodox Anglican Church.

London: Trübner; G.J. Palmer, J. Westell, 1869.

The crisis which has long been coming upon the Anglican Church Establishment has now at last arrived, and will before long be consummated. We beseech you, and entreat you not to turn a deaf ear to the solemn question suggested to you by the recent judgment of the Privy Council, or rather by the series of pernicious and heretical judgments from that which ignored the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration to this which is now aimed at the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

The object of Anglo-Catholics is not only to secure their own salvation, but to seek the glory of God by extending the Orthodox Faith of their forefathers throughout the length and the breadth of the land; and therefore it is seriously to be considered whether, having the entire of the True Faith, you can, in your present position, teach it and practise it? If not, what is the only true and lawful course before God and man for you to pursue?

The connection between the Church and the State has deprived the former, as long as she remains in subjection to infidels, of the status of a free spiritual corporation and a flock of the Catholic Church. Caesar bears rule in the things of God, and the things of God are surrendered one by one to Caesar!

The result of this unlawful domination of the State over the Church is twofold, theoretical and practical.

I. The Anglican Church has been deprived of the full measure of the Catholic Faith, and the expression of it in the Church’s ceremonial worship.

II. She has been and is deprived by the State of the power of expressing, teaching, or extending the true faith so far as she has retained it.

Not only in practice therefore, but also in theory, she is a State-ridden and Protestantized Church.

I. She has been depraved in Faith and in Worship by a heretical State. To those who are not given over to a strong delusion, a simple examination of her authoritative formularies will prove this beyond a doubt.

Where in her parliamentary “Communion Service” is the doctrine of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, or a prayer of oblation of that Sacrifice to the Father?

[2] Where is the mixed chalice, as commanded by the continual custom of the Church of God?

Where the Invocation of the Holy Ghost on the elements of bread and wine, without which there can be no valid consecrations of the Eucharist?

Where are the prayers for the faithful dead?

All these which are to be found in every Liturgy of Catholic Christendom, in every age and in all places, were wilfully, deliberately, and purposely expunged from the Liturgy of the Anglican Church by her Church and State “Reformers.”

Where again is the exorcism of the Evil One in Holy Baptism? or is his existence ignored?

Where the anointing chrism, the “Unction from the Holy One” in Confirmation?

Where is the anointing of the sick in the name of the Lord, commanded by the Holy Ghost through His servant James?

Where is the form of Confession of Sin, and for obtaining and giving absolution other than in the hour of sickness?

Where is the reserved Eucharist for the sick and dying?

Where the habitual use of the Sign of the Cross?

Where is the intercession of the Saints?

All these have been utterly abolished from the Anglican Service-book, or formally forbidden and censured wilfully and designedly.

Again, where is the divinely prescribed and significant ritual of heaven, the lights, the vestments of beauty, the incense with the pure oblation?

Whence do Anglican clergy derive any mission or authority for any of their Catholic practices, for which their bishops condemn them?

Would any one Anglican bishop say openly that he authorized any of his clergy to offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice for the living and the dead?

True, in the first book of 1549 many of these were retained, but in three years after, all were clean put out by State interference, in deference to foreign heretics, who came to mar the work which otherwise might have stood to this day.

One thing alone in all these changes was retained, and that the very worst of all—Popish corruptions and innovations, the interpolated clause in the Creed of the Church Universal, the words Filioque, “and from the Son,” condemned by all the general Councils, and by the earlier Popes of Rome, that clause Pope John VIII. in his day called blasphemy, and which Pius IX. now counts an article of the Faith! (both infallible!) Those fatal words which rent East from West, and divided the Body of Christ!

Thus much for the evils in theory produced by the interference of a Protestant State.

But, II., the State now hinders the Church from expressing, teaching and extending the few remains of the truth which she has retained—the truth which a section in her would now restore. Again we say it is only those that are blind with self-deceit and will not see, that can fail to see this in the following patent FACTS.

[3] The Queen is acknowledged to be supreme head of the Church of England!

This supreme head of the Church may be a heretic and schismatic, and frequent heretical and schismatical services!

Bishops are appointed by heretical Sovereigns and Prime Ministers, the representatives of the Protestantism of the nation, and are forced upon the Church.

The Cathedral Chapters are nominated and appointed to office by the Crown, and are forced by the State to elect whomsoever the heretical Sovereign or Prime Minister imposes on them.

The Privy Council, composed of aliens and laics, interprets the Church’s formularies, and enforces its Anti-Catholic and pernicious decrees under penalties of fine and deprivation.

Nearly all the livings are in the hands of the Crown and private patrons, thus keeping all the power and influence in the hands of Protestants.

No alteration can be made in the existing state of things without the consent of Parliament, which is composed of Jews, Protestants, Infidels, and every shade of heretics.

Convocation is gagged, and even if it were allowed to act, it is not a fairly constituted Council of the Church of England.

Infidelity, Rationalism, and every other heresy are tolerated, and when prosecuted are acquitted. Catholics alone are prosecuted and oppressed.

The Church, through her Primates, is in communion with Colenso, Voysey, and other heretics, whom they will not cast out; and through Bishop Gobat she is in communion with every Protestant sect and heresy, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Unitarians, etc.

Natal is still without its shepherd, and the Bishops of England cannot tell whether they are or are not in communion with heretics!

The formularies of the Anglican Church, defective as they are, are left to the sole discretion of individuals to empty them still further of any meaning that may remain in them, or to make them ridiculous and unreal by their extravagancies and scandals.

Baptisms have been and are administered by sprinkling, contrary to the Holy Canons, and often by mere contact of the damp finger! sometimes without any water at all!! as some of the Anglican clergy have testified.

Thorough Erastianism infects even the Catholic section, as is evident from their all but universal submission to the judgment of the Privy Council.

The variance of teaching and practice hinders the conversion of schismatics, and is a scandal to the world.

This unsettled, uncertain state of the Anglican Church is a fatal obstacle to any reunion, being triumphed over by the Roman Church, as a proof of her being cut off from the Church Catholic, and deplored by the Eastern Church as a hopeless impediment to any return to the Orthodox Faith.

Further, the want of union in belief and practice brings suspicion on the Catholic section within the Anglican Church,

[4] The Catholic party are obliged to resort to quibbles and subterfuges to maintain their own position in the Establishment, and at the same time to hold their Faith.

It being painfully evident from the above, that the Church of England is in theory deprived of the full measure of Catholic Faith and Worship, and in practice hindered from expressing or extending the little that is left; the question now to be considered is what is the only honest, legitimate course for those who seriously seek to restore and maintain the True Faith who already speak of Disestablishment in no uncertain voice—e.g. Mr. Bennet, Dr. Pusey, Mr. Mackonochie.

What is the remedy for this state of things, and how is it to be applied?

A few general principles which no one can dispute will guide to the solution of the question.

I. The Church Catholic is One, having One faith, One Lord, One baptism, and She teaches with authority and certainty all that the Lord and the holy Apostles have committed to Her guardianship, and Her voice is One, as expressed in Her general Councils.

From this, it is evident that two or more churches, teaching and practising different doctrines, cannot lay claim to be together the one Church of God which teaches One and the same doctrine, e.g. Greek, Roman, Anglican. Again, one Church in which there arc tolerated by her theory two or more diverse doctrinal systems, is likewise a contradiction in terms, and cannot lay claim to be a true Church, nor any part of the one true Church, e.g. the Anglican establishment, which contains at least three diverse religions in her communion, Catholic, Protestant, Rationalistic, etc.

II. All Catholics, whether bishops, priests, or laity, are bound by the canons of the Church universal, enacted in general Councils; nor can any provincial Church repeal what has been decreed by an Oecumenical Council.

From this it follows that the allegiance of all priests of the Catholic Church is due, primarily, to the definitions and canons of the Church Catholic in her general Councils, and secondarily, to the canons and decrees of their respective provinces, and to them only so far as they do not contravene the holy canons and definitions of the Church Catholic enacted in the general Councils.

That any secession from a provincial church which contravenes the definitions of faith, laws of the Church Catholic, and general councils (as the Anglican and Roman Churches do), to the faith and discipline of the Church Catholic is not a schism, but, on the contrary, only a return to their Holy Mother the Church, to whose faith and discipline they adhere.

III. The Church of Jerusalem is the original Church of God, and the mother of all churches, and the present Church of Jerusalem is the undisputed representative of the ancient Church, and with this See the See of Constantinople and all the Patriarchal Sees are in communion.

From this, it follows that all churches not in communion with the See of Jerusalem, and holding the same faith, are in heresy and schism.

[5] IV. The Church of England, as set up by S. Augustine, was in visible communion with the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Constantinople, and the other Patriarchs of the East, and held the Orthodox faith of the undivided Church.

From this, it follows that all English bishops, priests, and laics who renounce their errors and embrace the Orthodox faith and discipline of the Catholic Church, are the true representatives of the ancient Church of England, which was in full communion with the Orthodox Church.

Such bishops, priests, and laics, by seceding from the Anglican establishment, would not be making a schism, but simply returning to their allegiance to the centre of unity and the faith of the Church Catholic, repairing the real schism in which they had been living before.

V. The Church of England, with other Western Churches, possessed its own liturgy and offices, rites and ceremonies, agreeing in essentials with the liturgy and rites of Jerusalem and Constantinople, and the Church Catholic, and differing only in minor details of ceremonial, which did not mar the harmony which subsisted between them.

From this, it follows that the Orthodox Anglican Church, freed from the State, would not be a mere branch of the Eastern Church, but only the revival of the ancient Anglican Church, now in abeyance through her sins and heresies.

This Orthodox Anglican Church would not be adding to the divisions of Christendom, for the Anglican Church reformed and revived, and restored to its first estate, would be the Anglican Church still, while the establishment from which it separated would be no part of the Church at all, but only an heretical, schismatical, and withered branch. [The branch theory of the Church is only tenable or intelligible on the supposition that there is full intercommunion between all the branches, the sap flowing freely to all. Where there is no such intercommunion the “branch theory” is simply meaningless and a delusion. How can the Trunk and the severed branches be One Tree?]

This reviving of the Orthodox Anglican Church would be no infraction of the rule, that no bishops or priests minister in the diocese of another without their consent, for this rule allows of exceptions, as in the time of the Arians, when Orthodox bishops and priests were appointed to take charge of the flocks when their pastors had forsaken the faith of the Orthodox Church and apostatized.

From these general principles, the solution, the only legitimate solution, of the present and past difficulties is self-evident. To place it briefly: There is but one Church which teaches with authority and all-certainty the one faith, and observes all things which the Lord hath commanded.

It cannot be the Anglican establishment, which is in heresy and schism, as has been already shown. She is a house divided against itself,—high church, broad church, low church, etc., all teaching their conflicting doctrines with equal authority, and claiming the same Prayer-book and Thirty-nine Articles as their defence. Such a house, divided against itself, cannot stand; fall it must, and great will be the fall thereof.

It cannot be the Roman Church, which arrogates to itself the supremacy which is due only to Jesus, as the sole head of the Church, and which has broken deliberately the most sacred canons and definitions of faith of the Church Universal, and which (together with her disobedient child the Anglican Church) is cut off from the Catholic Church (by Council iii. can. 7, re-enacted as a definition of faith by Council (v., v., vi., and vii.) for her obstinate persistency in heresy and schism, by receiving and teaching a State-made creed in opposition to the Church’s creed, rather than acknowledge her error and return to the unity of the faith, as confessed and taught by the Orthodox Catholic Church in her seven general councils.

There was in the beginning but one Church, which began in Jerusalem, and was extended from Jerusalem as her divine centre, and that one Church, spread through the mighty empires of the East and the West, remained but One, for Her divine Master and Head prayed in the great liturgy of His Passion, “Father, I will that they may be one even as We are one,” etc., and so it was but One; and as He, the Master, spake seven times from the throne of the cross, so she, His bride, spake seven times with no erring voice in her seven Ecumenical Councils. But in the eighth century, while men slept, the enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. The novel dogma of the ‘Filioque’ was proposed by a foreign king, a recent convert from Arianism, as an improvement of the words of the Redeemer! and was accepted by an obscure Council of Toledo; from this it was secretly spread through the Western Church till it made its way to Rome. There the blessed Leo (canonized by the Roman Church) opposed the insertion of such a novel dogma into the creed, and caused the pure creed of the Church to be written on silver tables and affixed to the wall in S. Peter’s, Rome, while his successor, John VIII., spoke of this addition as blasphemy, and now his successor, Pius IX., who is on the eve of promulgating the dogma of the personal infallibility of the Popes, receives it fast as an article of faith. It was in the seventh century that the blessed Gregory (likewise a saint of the Roman Church) had to protest in the strongest language against the blasphemous usurpation of the divine supremacy by any earthly bishop or vicegerent. And it was in the thirteenth century, after she had separated from the unity of the Orthodox faith, that her (now infallible) Popes, in the teeth of their predecessors, proclaimed this blasphemous dogma, adding another article to the faith. [See Mr. Ffoulkes’s unanswerable statements on the ‘Filioque’ and the ‘false decretals’ in his ‘Letter to Archbishop Manning. The Church’s Creed or the Crown’s Creed.’ Hayes. London.]

It is for this blasphemous addition to the creed of the Church Universal, and Rome’s continued heresy and rebellion against her divine Head, and usurpation of His headship, that she has been, and is to this day lawfully and canonically cut off from the unity of the body of Christ. [Those who sigh for reunion with the Church of Rome, like Dr. Pusey in his ‘Eirenicon,’ and Mr. Walker in ‘Present Aspect of Ritual Question,’ have to reconcile their consciences not only to the present difficulties of Rome’s Supremacy, Infallibility, etc., but also to the state of things which can elicit such statements as this in a point now being widely circulated in France respecting the Pope: “Like his Divine Master he is necessarily King, Pontiff, and Victim (Hostie!’)” We owe him ‘a constant reparation’! and if not able to pay the tribute of gold, as we would, nor of myrrh, at least we should offer the tribute of frankincense and of an humble love!]

[7] Where then is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolical Church of God? Where is the one faith, one Lord, one baptism? Where is the Truth which is but One, arrived at by One way, and leading to One life? Your conscience, if it be not given over to a strong delusion, tells you that the facts above stated cannot be got over or explained away; that the heresy of your forefathers cannot become a truth by the lapse of centuries, as some assert (see Pusey’s ‘Eirenicon’). Truth must be somewhere, or else Christ’s promise has failed and His prayer hath come to nought. Look then to the East! From the East the true light arises. That light of true doctrine shines now as bright as in days of yore. Truth is there, and certainty, and rest,—safety for wearied souls. She, the true Church of God, is not afar off, not so difficult of access. Let not difficulties of the present want of provision for Orthodox Westerns affright you. A petition to the Holy Eastern Church is appended to this, which all who agree to the truth of what has been stated are called upon to sign. This petition prays the authorities of the Holy Eastern Church to send out bishops, who shall ordain bishops and priests of the Orthodox Anglican clergy, and restore the Anglican Church as it was when it was founded by S. Augustine, planting in each See, as the Church extends, an Orthodox bishop and priests, to minister to the faithful according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of Sarum, the old Western offices and ritual remaining untouched, save to restore them in a few places to stricter conformity to Orthodox and primitive Catholic usage. As soon as a sufficient number is gathered to constitute a congregation, immediate steps will be taken by the Holy Synod to constitute it an Orthodox Western Church. It is not sought that an Eastern Church shall be established in England, but simply the ancient Orthodox Anglican Church revived and restored, with her illustrious liturgy and ancient rites.

We beg then of all who are really earnest and sincere in their convictions, who see the importance of this crisis as something far deeper than a mere question of rites and ceremonies, to ask themselves, as in God’s presence, where is the one Church, the one body of Christ? Am I in that true Church, holding fast the one true faith? Am I a living member in the body of Christ, a living branch of the true Vine, and in possession of that sacramental life, without which I am as dead before God, or am I trusting to my own opinion or the opinions of other fallible men, or to my own fancies and my own works, and putting them in place of union with the one and true and living Vine, our Saviour and only head, Jesus Christ?

Rome has added to the faith. England has cut out the very vitals and retained Rome’s worst heresy. To whom then shall we flee, but to her who acknowledges Him as her only head, and holds fast, through [7/8] tribulation and oppression, the one true faith of her Master, without addition or subtraction, the same unchanging and unchangeable?

Those who sign the following Petition are requested to send the slip filled up with their names, professions, and addresses, [The names of the Petitioners will not be made public.] to the Editor of the ‘Orthodox Catholic Review’ (5, Prospect Terrace, Reading), which, on receipt, will be affixed to the original petition, of which this is a verbatim copy:—


The undersigned most humbly beg to lay before the Holy Governing Synod the following urgent request and Petition:—

Having come to the firm conviction that the pure faith and legitimate Church constitution have only been preserved by the Eastern branch of the Catholic Church, while the Western branch, yielding to doctrinal innovations and anti-canonical abuses, has fallen into heresy and schism, we feel the necessity of suing for communion with the Eastern Church, which has continued undefiled and truly Catholic from the beginning.

We receive all the dogmas and holy canons taught and prescribed by the seven Oecumenical Synods, as the Eastern Church receives them, rejecting at the same time not only the doctrine of Papal supremacy, but also all the Papal changes in the Catholic faith and Church constitution contrary to the continuity and perpetuity of Catholic Orthodoxy.

However, though the actual Western Church is not the genuine Catholic Church, but is disfigured by fatal innovations and gross abuses, there was a time when the East and the West, both Orthodox alike in faith and Church constitution, constituted the great Catholic Church, and recognized each other as the two living branches of the one tree of life.

Both Churches professed the same faith and Church constitution. This was the divine bond of unity. But both Churches, equally, watched jealously their peculiarities as traditions from time immemorial, i.e. introduced by the Apostolic founders of their Churches. How intense and legitimate this jealousy was, we see e.g. from the Paschal question, which kept the Church for a time in a state of great excitement, but did not break the bond of unity.

Thus, unity not being uniformity, we appeal to the Holy Eastern Church to admit us into Church communion without demanding our conformation to the Eastern Rite, but rather to assist us to build up again the Orthodox Western Church, to give us priests who will celebrate the Western liturgy and administer the sacraments according to the Western Rite. If the Holy Governing Synod accedes to our request, we will hasten to lay before them our venerable Western liturgy, and the other Church formularies, for examination and approbation.

We are Westerns, and must remain Westerns; yea, God’s Providence framed the true Western Church (which the Holy Governing [8/9] Synod is called up to restore by brotherly assistance and co-operation) on the Western mind, and by so doing showed that it is not desirable to be transplanted into a heterogeneous soil. We belong to the Church of SS. Cyprian, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, Leo, Gregory the Great, and are as proud of them and faithful to them as our Eastern sister is proud of and faithful to SS. Athanasius, the Cyrils, Basil, Chrysostom, the Gregories, etc. We recognize the excellence of the Eastern liturgies and other Church formularies, as we appreciate the excellence of our own, well knowing that each is the best in its own sphere. We do not wish to intrude our liturgy, formularies, and rite on the sister Church of the East,—it would be strange to their character and frame of mind, because it has not grown up in the soil of their Church. The same we ask in return from our beloved sister Church.

If we are bidden simply to join the Eastern Church and renounce our Western claims, we must plead an inalienable right to remain Westerns, we must plead the duty or rather the honour of the Eastern Church in reinstating her legitimate sister Church in all her rights forfeited since more than eight centuries by the Papal aggression.

The momentous question raised by the present Petition is not the gain of a few members to the Eastern Church, but the re-establishment of the Western Orthodox Catholic Church. The Church must grow from small beginnings, from single individuals. But as soon as the establishment of our Western Orthodox Church, by authority of the Eastern Church, is accomplished, a considerable number of Roman Catholics, presently dissatisfied, and groaning under the Papal yoke, but not knowing whither to turn, will undoubtedly flock to their own regenerated Church.

The reunion of the East and the West, comprising the whole of both Churches, is an absolute impossibility, since the Western Church adopted as a binding dogma the Pope’s supremacy and divine vicar-ship of Christ, which the Eastern Church justly condemns as a heresy.

Thus all the attempts at reunion originating from the Roman Church were sure to fail; for if she gave up her dogma of the Pope’s supremacy, she would proclaim her apostasy from the infallible Church,—her heresy, in short, her non-existence as Catholic Church. There is, consequently, no other way how to attain the most desirable end of reunion than to drive a wedge into the Roman Church by the establishment of a Western Uniate Church which is in communion with the Eastern Church.

Our Saviour, praying for the unity of His Church, prays also for us who wish sincerely to be admitted into the Holy Catholic Church. Yet not only we, but numbers of Catholic-minded Westerns, who do not know our proceedings, virtually beseech the Holy Governing Synod to fulfil their wish and see the Western Church once more restored to truth, holiness, and Catholic Orthodoxy. Amen.

NOTE.—As a first step towards the restoration of the Orthodox Western Church, the Holy Synod has permitted the Holy Liturgy to be performed in the English tongue at the Russian Church, 32, Welbeck Street, till there is a sufficiently large congregation of English converts to warrant the canonical restoration of the Western Liturgy of rites.

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