REPORT OF THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON ECCLESIASTICAL DISCIPLINE.Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of His Majesty
PRESENT BREACHES AND NEGLECTS OF THE LAW.
The same failure to achieve universal observance of the legal standard laid down in the Acts of Uniformity, and the same variety in the character and significance of deviations from that standard, which history reveals in the past, still exist with regard to the breaches and the neglect of the law relating to the conduct of Divine Service, as to the prevalence of which we now proceed to report. These may be conveniently divided into two groups: N
I. Illegal practices (whether acts or defaults) which do not appear to have any significance beyond that which directly belongs to them as showing a disregard of the exact requirements of the law. In this groups will be included certain deviations from the legal standard in the services, ceremonies, and ornaments used in public worship (a) which have been adopted on the ground of convenience; (b) which have resulted from negligence or inadvertence; (c) which have become common for reasons less easy to define.
II. Illegal practices which either from their nature, from historical association, or from some other cause, appear to have a significance beyond that which the practices in themselves posses.
The distinction which is constituted by the significance of some illegal practices and the non-significance of others is a real distinction, to which great regard should be had. But it must be recognised that it cannot be drawn with the precision which might belong to a merely formal division, resting on plain outward differences. There are practices in the ways of omission which in some instances are non-significant, but in others indicate disregard, whether conscious or unconscious, of certain principles of doctrines; and there are practices in the way of addition which in some instances are non-significant, but in others, where the conditions are different, clearly have significance. It is necessary, therefore, to recognise an area of uncertaintyNa disputable zoneNbetween the two groups, the significant and the non-significant. But the main components of these two groups, and the real contrast between them, are nevertheless clear and important.
There is, however one important breach of the law to which we refer separately, as we have been unable to place it in any of the classes which we have distinguishedNthe disregard in whole or in part of the rubric which directs that the Creed of St. Athanasius shall be sung or said on certain Feast-days at Morning Prayer instead of the ApostlesO Creed. In the case of Westminster Abbey the Dean stated that the Creed is not said in its proper place on the days appointed for its use, but that on those days a portion of it, omitting six verses, and altering the language of a seventh, is sung as an anthem. It will be seen from the replies of the bishops to the question addressed to them on the subject, that the omission of the Creed is not uncommon, though owing to frequent Episcopal insistence on obedience to the rubric in recent years, it is less common than formerly. Some of the reasons alleged for it have been put before us by the Bishop of Chester and the Dean of Westminster. We cannot enter into the questions of doctrine which may be involved in this irregularity, but we believe that, while some clergy consider, to use the words of the Dean of Westminster, that certain expressions in the Creed are O`in their plain or apparent sense not only misleading but false,OL many others deem those expressions liable to be misunderstood by an ordinary congregation, and hold that the Creed is therefore not suitable for use in the public service of the Church. The controversy, which is of long standing, as the to the retention of the Creed for public use in Divine Service has in recent years been revived. The Upper House of the Southern Convocation on May 10, 1905, passed resolutions as follows: N
O`1. That, as recorded in the resolution of May 5, 1904, this House is resolved to maintain unimpaired the Catholic faith in the Holy Trinity and in the Incarnation as contained in the ApostlesO and Nicene Creeds and in the Quicunque Vult, and regards the faith thus presented, both in statements of doctrine and in statements of facts, as the necessary basis on which the teaching of the Church reposes.
O`2. That this House, while it recognises, as taught in Holy Scripture, the truth often overlooked, that every man is responsible before God for the faith which he holds, and while it believes that this Scriptural truth is what the minatory clauses of the Quicunque Vult were primarily intended to express, acknowledges, nevertheless, that, in their prima facie meaning and in the mind of many who hear them, those clauses convey a more unqualified statement than Scripture warrants, and one which is not consonant with the language of the greatest teachers of the Church.
O`3. That, in view of the distress and alienation of mind which the public recitation of these minatory clauses causes to many serious Churchmen, this House desires without expressing or implying by this resolution a judgment on any further questions raised as to the form, position, or use of the Quicunque Vult, that each Diocesan Bishop should be authorised, upon application from an incumbent, with sufficient reason shown, to dispense with the public recitation of the Quicunque Vult, either on all or on some of the days when the rubric orders its recitation.
O`4. That, having regard to the wide divergence of opinion in the Church with regard to the best permanent solution of the difficulties connected with the use of the Quicunque Vult, and to the expediency of the action finally taken representing as far as possible, the deliberate opinion of the Church, including those other portions of the Anglican Communion whose present use corresponds with our own, this House desires to defer its final judgments until after the Lambeth Conference of 1908.OL
The Upper house of the Northern Convocation on May 5, 1904, passed a resolution as follows: N
O`That this House, while recognising to the full the great value of the Athanasian Confession as an exposition of some of the chief verities of the Christian Faith, recognises also the grave difficulties which attend its recitation as a Creed by ordinary congregations, and desires that steps may be taken as soon as possible by the Convocations of both Provinces to restore it to its more ancient use s a document of instruction of the faithful in such manner as may fully safeguard the reverent treatment of the doctrines of the faith.OL
We assume that this subject would be included in the consideration of the law relating to the conduct of divine Service, proposed by us in Recommendation 2.
The following are examples of illegal practices which belong to the first group as defined in paragraph 45. The list is by no means exhaustive.
(a) Practices adopted on the ground of convenience.
(1) The omissions of (i) an exhortation giving warning for the celebrations of Holy Communion, (ii) the exhortation at the time of the celebration of Holy Communion beginning O`Dearly Beloved in the Lord.OL Both these omission are very general.
(2) The publication by the minister during the time of divine Service of notices other than those prescribed in the Prayer Book or enjoined by the King or the Ordinary. This practice is common.
(3) The saying of the words of administration at the Holy Communion to a row of communicants kneeling to receive the Sacrament, instead of to each individual. It is a matter of general knowledge that this was a frequent practice in the middle of the nineteenth century, and, though less frequent now, we believe it is still not uncommon. One instance of this practice was reported to us. We have, however, been unable to ascertain the precise extent to which it prevails. It appears from Bishop MontaguOs Visitation Articles (1638) and from Bishop JuxonOs Visitation Articles (1640) that the practice was not unknown in the seventeenth century.
(4) The saying of the first part only of the words of administration to each communicant. This omission, though only mentioned to us in connexion with four churches, is, we believe, much more frequent than this number would indicate. The practice is a return to the use of the words of administration directed to be said in the first Prayer Book of Edward VI. (1549). In the second Prayer Book of Edward VI. (1552), the words O`Take and eat this in remembrance...OL O`Drink this in remembrance...OL were substituted for them. In the Prayer Book of Elizabeth (1559), and in subsequent revisions, the two forms have been combined. Although the omission may, like the practice mentioned in the foregoing paragraph, rest on the ground of convenience, when there are very man communicants and few clergy, the history of the words gives to their omission a doctrinal aspect; and, where the communicants are only few, the ground of convenience cannot be alleged. It is also to be noted that in the Order of Holy Communion, as printed in at least one well-known manual, only the first part of the words of administration is given.
(5) Special services containing prayers not taken from the Prayer Book, or including special Collects, epistles, and gospels; e.g., services for harvest festivals, missionary gatherings, and dedication festivals. It appears from the evidence that such services are frequently authorised by the bishops. We return to this subject at paragraph 175.
(6) The introduction by the Bishop of addresses in the Confirmation Service. This practice is generally adopted.
(7) The reading by a deacon of those portions (other than the Absolution) of Morning and Evening Prayer which are directed by the rubric to be read by a priest. This practice is firmly established.
(8) The making of a collection during Morning or Evening Prayer, there being no provision for this in the rubrics. This practice is common.
(9) The giving of a benediction, or blessing, after the sermon at Evening Prayer. This practice is universal.
(10) The giving of a benediction or blessing at the end of the Ante-Communion Service, before the withdrawal of those who do not remain during the celebration which follows. There is no evidence before us as to the extent of prevalence of this irregularity. The practice is believed to be decreasing.
(b) Practices which have resulted from negligence of inadvertence.
(11) The omission of daily service as a practice, and not only when the curate is from home or O`otherwise reasonably hindered.OL
(12) The omission of service on Ascension Day.
(13) The omission of services on Holy-days (other than Christmas Day, Good Friday, and Ascension Day) appointed in the Prayer Book to be observed.
Almost the only evidence before us with reference to the prevalence, or otherwise, of these omissions is derived from certain manuscript returns annually prepared by the editors of the O`Official Year Book of the Church of EnglandOL which have been placed at our disposal by the Bishops. From recent returns the following table has been complied. Some of the Bishops express doubts as to the accuracy and completeness of these returns; and it would appear from the evidence of the Bishops generally that these omissions are decreasing.
No. of churches
No daily service
No service on Ascension Day
No service on Holy-days
*For statistics of the Diocese of Norwich, see letter from the Bishop of Norwich, 10th April, 1905. Appendix A.
(14) Disregard of the rubric which requires the curate O`to declare unto the people,OL after the Nicene Creed, O`what Holy-days or Fasting-days are in the week following to be observed.OL this is decreasing, but is still not uncommon.
(15) The omission of the Prayer for the Church Militant when the Ante-Communion Service is said but there is no celebration. This omission was common, but it is steadily decreasing.
(16) Disregard of the rubric which declares that, except in case of necessity, O`it is most convenient that Baptism should not be administered but upon Sundays, and other Holy-days, when the most number of people come together.OL Disregard of the rubric is common.
(17) Disregard of the rubric which directs that O`the Curate of every Parish shall diligently, upon Sundays and Holy-days, after the second Lesson, at Evening Prayer, openly in the Church instruct and examine so many Children of his Parish sent unto him, as he shall think convenient, in some part of this Catechism.OL Disregard of this rubric is common.
(18) The rubric which requires that O`so many as intent to be partakers of the Holy Communion shall signify their names to the Curate at least some time the day beforeOL is almost universally disregarded; but the responsibility in this matter seems to rest primarily on the laity; and the disregard only bears indirectly on the conduct of Divine Service. Similarly the rubric which requires that O`every one shall have a Godfather or a Godmother as a Witness of their ConfirmationOL is frequently neglected. If this rubric be construed as requiring the presence of a new Godparent at Confirmation, the disregard is almost universal.
(c) Other practices which have become common.
(19) The omission of the whole or part of the Ante-Communion Service.
One case was reported to us in which the whole of the Ante-Communion Service was omitted at a celebration of the Holy Communion; and from the evidence of the Bishops it appears that in the case of Evening Communions it is common in many dioceses to omit this part of the service altogether and to begin with the Prayer for the Church Militant, or even with the Invitation, thus depriving those present of the appointed passages of Scripture, and, in those cases where the Prayer for the Church Militant is omitted, even, of the special opportunity for oblation and intercession provided in the service. We have no evidence of the number of churches at this practice obtains, but it is evidently still widely spread, as in one diocese forty-six churches are mentioned in which it prevails, in another forty-nine, in another thirty-seven. The practice is decreasing in consequence of the BishopsO directions that the whole service must be used.
It must also be stated that a widespread custom has grown up in some churches of omitting some part or parts of the Ante-Communion Service. According to the evidence before us, the most frequent irregularity in this respect is the omission of the Ten Commandments and the Prayer for the King (fifty-two cases). In five other instances the LordOs Prayer and the Collect for Purity were also omitted; and in two of these apparently no offertory sentence was read. In one other case it was stated that the Collect for Purity, the Commandments, and the Prayer for the King were omitted. It twenty-three cases the only omission reported was that of the Ten Commandments, and in seven that of the Prayer for the King. It is probably that, in many of these cases, the omissions were made with the object of shortening the service, the majority of them being at early celebrations. But it should be stated that in no fewer than twenty-five of them the service was a late choral celebration at which long and elaborate music was performed, so that the plea of necessity could not with any show of reasonableness be urged, although it was, as a matter of fact, put forward by one witness. In such cases the omission is clearly suggestive of a desire to assimilate the service to the ancient form prior to the Reformation.
(20) The repetition of the words (Thanks be to Thee, O Lord,OL or similar words, after the Gospel. this has never been directed in the English Prayer Book, but is required in the Scottish Liturgy (1637). The practice has become exceedingly common.
(21) The placing of the Bread and Wine intended to be consecrated upon the Holy Table before the beginning of the Communion Service, in disregard of the rubric which directs that this is to be done immediately before the Prayer for the Church Militant. We have no evidence showing the extent to which this practice, formerly very common, now prevails.
breaches having significance.
The second group of illegal practices consists of those which, either from their nature, from historical association, or from some other cause, appear to have a significance beyond that which the practices in themselves possess, that is to say, simply as deviations from the law. It includes most of the complaints before us with regard to ritual and in it are comprised deviations from the legal standard of very different degrees of gravity.
(1) There are deviations from the legal standard which either are not significant of doctrine at all, or may reasonably be regarded as significant of doctrine formally defined and adopted by the Church of England.
(2) There are other deviations which may reasonably be regarded as significant of teaching legally declared not to be contrary or repugnant to the articles or formularies of the Church of England.
(3) There are, again, other deviations from the legal standard which are significant of doctrine or teaching contrary or repugnant to the articles or formularies of the Church of England, and which must therefore be seriously misleading to the faith and devotion of its members. These, in some instances at least, would not be defended by an appeal to the law of the Church of England; but warrant is claimed for them because they are alleged to be part of what is termed the heritage of the whole Catholic Church.
Deviations comprised in the first class are altogether free from objection on the ground of their significance, though in some cases they may offend against the Church of EnglandOs condemnation of excess and obscurity of ceremonial. Deviations comprised in the second class cannot be said to have of necessity a harmful significance. But, as they represent doctrine which Churchmen are neither required to hold nor forbidden to contradict, they claim no sanction under the rule hitherto laid down, both by Episcopal and Judicial authority, that such forms of worship as are prescribed for general use should embody those beliefs only which are assumed to be generally held by members of the Church. The principles underlying this rule ought, in our opinion, to be maintained. Experience has, however, shown that a rigid enforcement of uniformity is apt to hinder the healthy progress of religious life under such conditions as those of our day; and there will probably be cases in which some practices significant of teaching legally declared not to be contrary or repugnant to the articles or formularies of the Church of England may reasonably be allowed. But in no circumstances would this, in our opinion, be right, except under conditions of efficient regulation and wither careful regard for the opinions and feelings of congregations.
It is obvious that irregularities in the third of these classes are far more serious than those comprised in the other two. The only question that can properly arise as to them is not whether they can be sanctioned, but they can most effectively be dealt with so as to be made to cease.
Matters of doctrine are not included in the reference to the Commission, and therefore we will not attempt to define the precise limits of each of these three classes. Nevertheless, we think it right to state that the question whether a practice falls under the third category or not, indicates a principles of paramount importance which ought to govern all action with regard to ritual irregularity. It is hardly necessary to say that there are other considerations which must also be taken into account before a decisions can be reached as to what ought to be done in any particular case. For example, a series of many practices, each of which would separately come in the first or second class, may, in combination, produce a result open to very grave objection.
It will be found that many of the most important matter, as to which complaints of irregularities of ritual have been made, are connected with the service of Holy Communion. In order to judge of the significance of particular practices, it is necessary to bear in mind the distinction already drawn on the preceding page between different classes of deviation from the legal standard. In many cases the articles and formularies of the Church do not show with exactness the limits of the teaching which its ministers may give without liability to censure; but we cannot regard as outside those limits that which the Courts have decided to be within them. The judgment of the Judicial Committee in the Bennett Case laid down certain propositions which may here be fitly considered. They can and must be clearly distinguished form the findings of the Court with regard to the clergyman then under prosecution. His words were held to be O`rash and ill-judged,OL and O`perilously near a violation of the law.OL He was acquitted, because the Court, having regard to the penal character of the proceedings, and to the defendantOs right to the benefit of O`any reasonable doubt,OL thought his words capable of a construction which did not call for judicial condemnation. the real relation of the judgment to Mr. BennettOs teaching has been frequently misunderstood. His language has been taken in the sense which the Court held that it narrowly avoided; and his acquittal has been treated as establishing the legality of doctrine which this language was held not to express. We therefore quote those passages of the judgment to which we refer: N
I.NAs the Presence of Christ in the Holy Communion.NO`The Church of England holds and teaches affirmatively that in the LordOs Supper the Body and Blood of Christ are given to, taken and received by, the faithful Communicant. She implies, therefore, to that extent, a Presence of Christ in the Ordinance to the soul of the worthy recipient. As to the mode of this Presence she affirms nothing, except that the Body of Christ is O^given, taken, and eaten in the Supper only after an heavenly and spiritual manner,O and that O^the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten is faith.O Any other Presence than thisNany Presence which is not to the soul of the faithful receiverNthe Church does not by her Articles and Formularies affirm, or require her ministers to accept, This cannot be stated too plainly. The question is, however, not what the Articles and Formularies affirm, but what they exclude. The respondent maintains a Presence which is (to use his own expression) O^real, actual, objective,O a Presence in the Sacrament, a Presence upon the Altar, under the form of bread and wine. He does not appear to have used the expression O^in the Consecrated Elements,O in his 3rd edition; this is one of the point on which the language of the 2nd edition was altered. And the question raised by the appeal is, whether his position is contradictory or repugnant to anything in the Articles or Formularies, so as to be properly made the ground of a criminal charge.OL
O`The statement in the 28th Articles of Religion that the body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the LordOs supper O^only after an heavenly and spiritual manner,O excludes undoubtedly any manner of giving, taking, or received which is not heavenly or spiritual. The assertion of a O^real, actual, objectiveO Presence, introduces, indeed, term not found in the Articles or Formularies; but it does not appear to affirm expressly or by necessary implication, a Presence other than spiritual, nor to be necessarily contradictory to the 28th Articles of Religion.OL
O`Setting aside the Declaration at the end of the Communion Office, which will be presently considered, we find nothing in the Articles and Formularies to which the respondentOs position is contradictory or repugnant.
O`Their Lordships could not advise the condemnation of a clergyman for maintaining that the use in 1662 of the word O^corporalO instead of the words O^real and essentialO in the Declaration of Kneeling was an intention substitution, implying that there may be a real and essential Presence as distinguished from a corporal Presence.OL
The Church excludes the doctrine of a Presence which is O`corporalOL or O`visibleOL.
II.NAs to sacrifice in the Holy Communion.NAfter stating that the Church of England has deliberately ceased to teach or affirm that O`the Communion Table is an altar of sacrifice,OL and citing the case of Westerton v. Liddell, in which it was held that this was the natural result of the change in view taken of the Service of Holy communion at the Reformation, the Judgments continues: O`The 31st Article of Religion, after laying down the proposition (which is adopted also, in words nearly the same, in the Prayer of Consecration), that O^the Offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual,O and that O^there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone,O proceeds, on the strength of these propositions, to say that O^the sacrifice of Masses, in the which it was commonly said that the priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits.OOL
O`It is not lawful for a clergyman to contradict, expressly or by inference, either the proposition which forms the first part of this Article, or ant proposition plainly deductible from the condemnation of propitiatory Masses which forms the second part of it, and is stated as a corollary to the first.
O`It is not lawful for a clergyman to teach that the Sacrifice of Offering of Christ upon the Cross, or the redemption, propitiation, or satisfaction wrought by it, is, or can be, repeated in the Ordinance of the LordOs Supper; not that in that Ordinance there is, or can be, any Sacrifice or Offering of Christ which is efficacious, in the same sense in which Christ'O death is efficacious, to procure the remission of the guilt or punishment of sins.
O`It is well known, however, that by many divines of eminence the word O^sacrificeO has been applied to the LordOs supper, in the sense not of a true propitiatory or atoning Sacrifice, effectual as a satisfaction for sin, but of a rite which calls to remembrance and represents before God that one true Sacrifice. To take one example, Bishop Bull says :N
O`O^In the Eucharist, then, Christ is Offered, not hypostatically, as the Trent Fathers have determined, for so He was but once offered, but commemoratively only; and this commemoration is made to God the Father, and is not a bare remembering or putting ourselves in mind of him. For every sacrifice is directed to God; and the oblation therein made, whatsoever it be, hath Him for its object, and not man. In the Holy Eucharist, therefore, we set before God the Bread and Wine O`as figures or images on the precious Blood of Christ she for us, and of His precious BodyOL (they are the very words of the Clementine Liturgy), and plead to God the merit of His SonOs sacrifice once offered on the Cross for us sinners, and in this Sacrament represented, beseeching Him for the sake thereof to bestow His heavenly blessings on us.ONBullOs Words, vol. ii, p. 22.
O`The distinction between an act by which satisfaction for sin is made, and a devotional rite by which the satisfaction so made is represented and pleaded before God, is clear, though it is liable to be obscured, not only in the apprehension of the ignorant, but by the tendency of theologians to exalt the importance of the rite till the distinction itself well high disappears. To apply the word O^sacrificeO in the sense in which Bishop Bull has used it to the Ordinance of the LordOs supper, though it may be liable to abuse and misapprehension, does not appear to be a contravention of any proposition legitimately deducible from the 31st Article.OL
III.NAs to adoration of Christ present in the Holy communion.NAfter citing the 25th and 28th Articles, the declaration of Kneeling, Martin v. Mackonochie (2 L.R.P.C., 393), and Westerton v. Liddell (MooreOs Special Report), the judgment continues: O`It follows, then, that the church of England has forbidden all acts of adoration to the Sacrament, understanding by that the Consecrated Elements. She has been careful to exclude any act of adoration of the part of the minister at or after the consecration of the Elements, and to explains the posture of kneeling prescribed by the rubric.OL
We have quoted these three propositions, because they indicate lines of distinction according to which most of the irregularities with which we have now to deal may be assigned to one or another of the three classes enumerated in paragraphs 76-8 of this Report. The discrimination may not always be easy of precise, but it will be seen that in a considerable number of instances it is fairly clear; and especially that one coherent group of irregularities is thus marked with a distinctive character.
We proceed to deal in detail with the various irregularities having significance, which have been brought before us.
The law of vestments as laid down by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has already been stated in paragraph 26, but it is seldom strictly followed. The smallest and most common departure from it is that a stole (either black or coloured or white) is generally worn by the clergy, though not sanctioned by the Ornaments Rubric as construed by the Courts. Again, the requirement of the Advertisements and the 24th Canon, that in cathedrals and collegiate churches at Holy Communion a cope should be worn by the principal minister, is very imperfectly obeyed. It appears from the evidence that the cope is used regularly in one cathedral, occasionally in ten, and not at all in twenty-five cathedrals. It also appears that it is used by some Bishops and other clergy on certain occasions when the rubrics give no direction for its use.
The ritual irregularity possessing significance most frequently brought before us is the use of the Eucharistic vestments, by which are meant the alb, amice, chasuble, girdle, and maniple, together with the stole. Reports of services in 559 churches have been laid before us; and in 491 of them, these vestments appear to be worn by the celebrant officiating at the Holy Communion. In the great majority of these cases it would appear that coloured vestments were worn, but in some cases vestments of white linen only. No statistics exist from which exact information of the total number of churches in England in which such vestments are worn can be derived; but a book entitled the O`TouristOs Church Guide,OL published by the English Church Union (latest edition, 1902), was laid before us. This book contains an alphabetical list of churches, and furnishes certain particulars as to each of them, including a statement whether the Eucharistic vestments are worn. We were assured by the Secretary of the English Church Union on the one hand, and by the Secretary of the Church Association on the other, that the accuracy of the statements in this book could be relied upon. But the former witness stated that the figures, if taken again now, would, he believed, show a considerable increase.
The total number of churches in England and Wales is 14,242. According to the O`TouristOs Church GuideOL there were, in 1901, 1526 churches where Eucharistic vestments were worn. No attempt has been made in the book to distinguish churches where the vestments are coloured from those where they are white only. The 1,526 churches are said to be distributed throughout England and Wales as follows:N
and Suburbs 167
Glamorgan 30 Nottingham 44
Bedford 16 Gloucester 48 Oxford 52
Berks 25 Hants 41 Pembroke 5
Brecknock 1 Hereford 13 Radnor 1
Bucks 16 Hertford 12 Rutland 1
Cambridge 33 Huntingdon 8 Shropshire 20
Cardigan 1 Isle of Man 1 Somerset 56
Cheshire 22 Kent 52 Stafford 56
Cornwall 59 Lancashire 39 Suffolk 41
Cumberland 1 Leicester 27 Surrey 19
Denbigh 2 Lincoln 78 Sussex 38
Derby 29 Merioneth 1 Warwick 31
Devon 65 Middlesex 10 Westmorland 1
Dorset 25 Monmouth 9 Wilts 23
Durham 23 Norfolk 45 Worcestershire 25
Essex 48 Northampton 21 Yorkshire 114
None of the present Bishops has taken any steps for the general prohibition of these vestments in his diocese; nor has any Bishop now in charge of an English diocese required that their use should be relinquished. The Bishop of Hereford refused to institute a presentee to a living who asserted his intention, if he were instituted, to wear them. The Bishop of Sodor and Man stated that, if occasion arose, he should not permit their use. [The case in the Isle of Man, referred to in the above table, is, we are informed, that of a private chapel, not of a parish church.] Several of the Bishops stated that they discouraged the use of Eucharistic vestments, especially their adoption in churches where they had not previously been worn. The Bishop of London, having been appealed to by a parishioner of St. LukeOs, Enfield, on the ground that the incumbent had announced his intention to introduce these vestments on and after Christmas Day, 1904, replied that he always dissuaded clergy from introducing them against the wishes of the communicants of their parishes, but that he found on inquiry the VicarOs decision was based on the almost unanimous request of the communicants of the church, most of whom were parishioners. He added that in those circumstances the use of the vestments would O`come within the limits of the BishopOs toleration.OL
The question of the significance properly attaching to Eucharistic vestments, depending as it does on individual opinions, is probably incapable of an exact answer. On the other hand, there can be no doubt that at least a great many of those who support their use connect them with the doctrine of a commemorative sacrifice in the Eucharist, to which we have already referred; and it is clear that the use of a special dress for the celebration of Holy Communion does not necessarily involve the acceptance of the Roman doctrine as to the nature of that service. There is no doubt that the Eucharistic vestments were originally the dress of ordinary civil life, and that for four or five centuries the civil and ministerial dress of the clergy was identical, save that at the time of their ministrations they would have put on a dress that was clean and white. Not till the seventh century have we any certain indications that the chasuble was regarded as a distinctly liturgical garment. From this date onwards, however, mystical meaning seem to have been attached to it and to the other articles of ministerial attire; and the use of coloured vestments may be traced. Thus the Eucharistic vestments were adopted some centuries before A.D. 1215, when the doctrine of Transubstantiation was defined. Both before and after the definition of that doctrine the chasuble was associated with the conception of an Eucharistic sacrifice. It is not open to question that the Eucharistic vestments were retained by the Church of England after the repudiation of the Roman doctrine and the substitution of the Prayer Book for the Roman service. The first Prayer Book of Edward VI. (1549) directed a O`white alb plain with a vestment or copeOL to be worn at Holy communion. On the establishment of Queen ElizabethOs Prayer Book, in 1559, these vestments were by the Act of Uniformity, in clear terms, again directed to be worn; and this direction remained in force at least until the issue of the Advertisements in 1566, although generally disregarded. It is further to be observed that the notion of any connexion between these vestments and the Roman doctrine of the Mass does not appear to have occurred to leading writers on the Prayer Book, who held the opinion that the vestments, ordered by Edward VIOs. first Prayer Book to be worn, were still in strictness required by law.
On the other hand, many of those who object to the use of Eucharistic vestments hold that they are symbolic of the offering of a sacrifice in the sense in which the Eucharist was held in the Pre-reformation Church, and is now held in the Church of Rome, to be a propitiatory sacrifice. The evidence given before the Ritual Commission in 1867 by the Rev. W.J. Bennett is frequently quoted to show that this view is held by some of those who favour the use of the vestments. Mr. BennettOs explicit statement, however, stands, so far as we are aware, alone, and is generally repudiated by those who use the vestments, though we find instances, especially in the manuals submitted to us, of language implying teaching which cannot be distinguished from the Roman doctrine condemned in the 31st Article.
Many witnesses have, however, argued that these vestments are in the public mind so closely associated with the Roman Church that their introduction into the Church of England, where, in fact, they were entirely discarded for 300 years, cannot fail to convey generally the impression that the Roman doctrine and practice are being brought back. They have urged that the attempt to restore such vestments is often accompanied by the restoration of a group of practices discarded at the Reformation. It is replied that the force of this argument was greater fifty years ago than now. What was then a complete and startling novelty has become a practiceNa practice condemned by the law, but for thirty years unrepressedNin more than 1,500 English churches; and thousands of middle-aged persons now living have been accustomed to see those vestments worn as long as they can remember. It is urged that, unless the teaching of the clergy who wear these vestments be Roman, such persons may not see any necessary approximation to Rome in the use of vestments which even in Western Europe are not exclusively Roman.
(2) Confiteor and Last Gospel.
In 142 churches out of the 559 it appears that the officiating clergy immediately before the beginning of the Communion Service, and while standing before the Holy Table, engage in devotions of the nature of an addition to the service rather than of private prayer. These devotions are generally inaudible and accompanied by gestures, and sometimes include responses between the priest and the servers. It was suggested by the witnesses, and in some cases admitted by the clergymen concerned, that these devotions are a rendering or adaptation in English of the Confiteor or preparatory service of the Mass.
Some form of private devotion before celebrating the Holy Communion appears to be a natural part of the priestOs preparation; but no form similar to that now in use in the Roman Church, in which confession is made by the priest and assistant ministers to God, the saints, and to one another, with significant gestures, can be traced back to an earlier date than the twelfth or thirteenth century.
Evidence was also given as to 143 churches where, after the Benediction in the Communion Service, the celebrant is said to have read, generally inaudibly, and sometimes with genuflexion at the mention of the Incarnation, a passage from the first chapter of St. JohnOs Gospel, verses 1-14, which in the Missal is directed to be read by him at this place and is known as the O`Last Gospel.OL this is not found in any early service book. It first appears as a purely voluntary usage about the thirteenth century; nor was it ever of obligation in the Roman Church until the revision of the Missal by Pius V. in 1570. In England, before the Reformation, there appears never to have been any authority for using the Last Gospel at the Holy Table or for genuflecting at the mention therein of the Incarnation. The Sarum Use, from the fourteenth century onwards, orders the Last Gospel to be said by the priest while returning to the vestry.
In about 90 churches both the Confiteor and the Last Gospel appear to be in use. Both are defended on the ground that they are merely private devotions of the minister, with which neither the law nor the congregation has any concern. But their significance lies in the fact that they are derived from the unreformed service, were omitted from the existing Prayer Book, and are often accompanied by definite gestures, which, being always the same, have the appearance of being prescribed ceremonial acts, and suggest that the Confiteor and the Last Gospel so used have the same relation to the Communion Service, with which they are thus associated, as they bear to the Communion Service in the Church of Rome. They are used in such close connexion with the Prayer Book service that they are open to condemnation as unauthorised additions to it, on the principle of the judgment which decided that a procession inside a church immediately before or immediately after a service, is so connected with the service as to be an addition to it.
(3) Ceremonial mixing of the chalice.
It was alleged and not denied that the chalice was ceremonially mixed at 439 out of the 559 churches as to which complaints were made.
It was decided in the Bishop of LincolnOs case, both by the Archbishop and by the Judicial Committee, that the administration of wine mixed with a little water, that is, of the mixed chalice, is not unlawful; but that the mixing of the wine and water during the service is an additionally ceremony not mentioned in the Prayer Book, and therefore unlawful. In the allegations above referred to, the expression O`ceremonial mixingOL was used to describe three distinct practices:N
(1) The pouring of wine and water from separate cruets into the chalice, accompanied by solemn acts, such as waking the sign of the Cross over the chalice.
(2) The pouring of wine and water from separate cruets into the chalice, but unaccompanied by any solemn acts.
(3) The pouring of wine into a chalice already contained water placed therein before the beginning of the service.
It will be seen that, while (1) constitutes a ceremony in a substantial sense, there is an important distinction between (1) and (2). It is only in the purely technical meaning of the term O`ceremonyOL (see paragraph 25) that (3) can be considered illegal.
The use of the mixed chalice can be traced back to very early days, being mentioned even before the middle of the second century. But, as was shown by Archbishop Benson in his judgment in the Lincoln case, the time and place at which the mixture was made has varied considerably at different periods, and in different branches of the Church.
In 279 out of the 559 churches it was stated that wafers, or pieces of bread pressed and shaped to as to have the appearance of wafers, were used at the celebration of the Holy Communion.
Without entering upon the difficult question of the date of the origin of the use of unleavened bread in the western Church, it is sufficient to state here that the modern form of the wafer dates from the twelfth century, when it is said to have been adopted in place of the larger cakes formerly used at the Eucharist because of the paucity of communicants.
The question whether unleavened wafers or O`the best and purest wheat breadOL should be used in the Sacrament of the LordOs Supper was in the sixteenth century a matter of keen controversy. The fact that the unreformed church used wafers, and the belief that this was a gratuitous departure from the course followed by our Saviour at the institution of the LordOs supper, were, no doubt, at the bottom of the grave objection felt to them by many people, an objection which also rests on the departure from the practice of dividing the one bread amongst the communicants.
In the Prayer Book of 1549 the rule was given as follows: O`For avoiding of all matters and occasion of dissension it is meet that the bread prepared for the Communion be made, through all this realm, after one sort and fashion; that is to say, unleavened and round, as it was afore, but without all manner of print, and something more larger and thicker than it was, so that it may be aptly divided in divers pieces; and everyone shall be divided in two pieces at the least or more, by the discretion of the minister, and so distributed."
In the second Prayer Book of Edward VI. (1552) this was changed to the following: O`And to take away the superstition which any person hath, or might have, in the bread and wine, it shall suffice that the bread be such as is usual to be eaten at the table with other meats, but the best and purest wheat bread that conveniently may be gotten.OL
No change was made in this rubric in ElizabethOs Prayer Book (1559); but it ought perhaps to be added that appended to the O`InjunctionsOL issued later in the same year was the following direction: O`Item, where also it was in time of King Edwards the VIth used to have the sacramental bread of common fine bread, it is ordered for the more reverence to be given to these holy mysteries, being the Sacraments of the body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ, that the same sacramental bread be made and formed plain, without any figure thereupon, of the same fineness and fashion round, though somewhat bigger in compass and thickness, as the usual bread and wafer, heretofore named singing cakes which served for the private Mass.OL
At the last revision of the Prayer Book (1662) the rubric was brought into its present form. O`And to take away all occasion of dissension, and superstition, which any person hath or might have concerning the bread and wine, it shall suffice that the bread be such as is usual to be eaten; but the best and purest wheat bread that conveniently may be gotten.OL
It has been judicially held that, while wafers are illegal, bread O`such as is usual to be eaten,OL does not become illegal be being so pressed and shaped as to resemble a wafer.
(5) The Lavabo.
The ceremony of the Lavabo, that is the washing of the celebrantOs fingers after the placing of the elements on the Holy Table, and before the prayer for the Church Militant, appears to be practiced in 249 out of the 559 churches as to which evidence was given.
In the third century there are traces of a custom of washing the hands as a preparation for prayer on the part of all Christians; and from the fourth century onwards it appears to have been usual for the ministers at the Communion Service ceremonially to wash their hands before the more solemn part of the service as a symbol of inward purity.
The name O`LavaboOL is derived from the words of the 26th Psalm, which the celebrant is directed in the Missal to recite during the ceremony; O`I will wash my hands in innocency, O Lord, and so will I go to Thine altar.OL
(6) Hiding of the manual acts.
In 438 out of the 559 churches as to which evidence was given it was stated that the witness was unable to see the manual acts directed by the Prayer Book to be performed by the celebrant in the Consecration Prayer. In most of these cases it did not appear whether the witness was conveniently placed for the purpose of seeing the manual acts, or whether these acts would have been visible to the bulk of the congregation, assuming them to have O`drawn near to the Communion Table.OL In the great majority of theses cases, the invisibility of the manual acts appeared to be due to the fact that the celebrant, adopting the eastward position, stood with his back to the people, rather than to any deliberate intention to hide what he as doing. But in certain cases the witnesses stated that in their opinion the concealment of the manual acts was intentional, and was due, not merely to the fact that the celebrant adopted the eastward position, but to his posture, described as leaning on the table and stooping over it. The clergy in their replies disown any desire to prevent the manual acts from being seen, though many of them indicate their indifference as to whether they are visible or not.
The law is thus stated by Archbishop Benson in the Lincoln case: O`The court decides that in the mind of a minister there ought to be a wish and intention to do what has to be done [that is, make the manual acts visible], not merely no wish or intention not to do it; that in this case he must not hide the acts by doing what must hide them; that he must not be so indifferent as to what the result of what he does may be as to do that which is certain to make them invisible . . . . . and that the manual acts must be performed in such wise as to be visible to the communicants properly placed.OL While the concealment of the manual acts, so far as it is unintentional, can have no meaning, the significance of their being made visible is thus described by Archbishop Benson in the Lincoln Judgment; O`Books of devotion frequently desired communicants to fasten their eyes upon these actions of the priest. To hide them would be as if the signing of the child with the Cross were hidden in Baptism. The significance of these acts being open lies in what was the principles from the beginning, however overlaid at times. The consecration consists in the rehearsal and repetition of what the Lord did and said. O^Hoc facere quod Auctor fecitO; O^Non observari a nobis quod mandatum est, nisi eadem qu3/4 Dominus fecit nos quoque facismus,O and constant similar expression, give the primitive rule. Bishop Andrewes expresses its adoption by the English Church O^Sic nos Ejus ductu et exemplo Qui his pr3/4sidet.OOL
(7) The sign of the Cross.
In regard to 298 churches witnesses gave evidence that the officiating clergy made the sign of the Cross upon the elements, vessel, or other objects such as the Gospel book, also over the people, sometimes with the hand alone, and sometimes holding the chalice or paten. This use of the sign of the Cross is most frequent at the Absolution and the Benediction in the Communion Service. The legality of this ceremony at these times was discussed by Archbishop Benson in his judgment in the Lincoln case. He decided that this was an innovation for the use of which there was, on account of its lack of authority, no justification.
It does not, however, follow from this that the use of the sign of the Cross is objectionable in itself; there is no doubt that at least from the beginning of the third century the sign of the Cross was in constant private use by Christians in the most varied actions of daily life; and about the close of the fourth century we find importance attached to it in connexion with the celebration of the Sacraments. In the ritual books of the West, from the eighth century onwards, precise rules are laid down as to the number of the crosses to be made at the consecration of the elements, and at other points of the service. In the Prayer Book of 1549 the sign was retained at the consecration, as well as at Baptism, confirmation, and Matrimony. In 1552 all mention of it was omitted except in the Baptismal service, its use in which is defended in the 30th Canon of 1604 as having been O`held in the primitive ChurchOL with O`one consent and great applause,OL and as having been O`purged from all superstition of Popish error and reduced in the Church of England to the primary institution of it.OL In this connexion it should be stated that it has been decided by the Court of Arches that the minister crossing himself during the service as an act of private devotion does not commit an ecclesiastical offence.
(8) Sanctus bell.
It was stated that at 212 out of the 559 churches as to which evidence was given a bell was rung at one or more of the following timesN
(1) at the time of the consecration of the bread and also of the wine;
(2) at the saying, or singing, of the words O`Holy, Holy, Holy, etc.OL;
(3) at the moment when opportunity should be given for intending communicants to come forward to receive the Sacrament.
The bell used for this purpose is in some cases what is known as the Sanctus or sacring bell, that is, either a bell hung in a bell-cote or otherwise over the chancel arch, or a hand-bell or gong, kept for the purpose at the altar steps. In other cases the ordinary church bell is used for this purpose.
It would appear from the evidence that the practice of ringing the church bell at the time of the consecration, is valued as a method of enabling sick persons to join in the service at which they are unable to be actually present.
The use of the Sanctus bell was first introduced towards the end of the twelfth, and became general during the thirteenth, century. Its object was to call attention to the consecration as about to begin, or (when rung at the elevation) as complete. So early as the thirteenth century, the ordinary church bell was also sometimes rung at the elevation, in order that the faithful, who could not be at church, might engage in devotion at that time, while the Sanctus bell at the elevation was the signal for adoration to be offered by those present.
The us of a Sacring bell during the service of Holy Communion was held to be illegal by Sir Robert Phillimore, Dean of the Arches, in the case of Elphinestone v. Purchas.
The evidence given before us appears to show that incense is used ceremonially in ninety-nine, and non-ceremonially in ten, out of the 559 churches as to which reports were made. It is doubtless used in many more. In the O`TouristOs Church Guide,OL 1902, the number is given as 393 in the whole of England and Wales.
The prominence which has been given to this practice makes it necessary to treat it with a fullness which might otherwise seem disproportionate.
By the O`ceremonial useOL of incense is here intended a use of incense in and as part of public worship, whether there is any censing of persons and things in a technical sense of not. By a O`non-ceremonial useOL of incense is meant the fumigation of the church either before service, or, if during service, outside of worship altogether. It has been held in the Court of Arches that the ceremonial use of incense is illegal. the question has never been before the Judicial Committee. At the Lambeth Hearing in 1899 on the lawfulness of the liturgical use of incense and the carrying of lights in procession, the Archbishops (Temple and Maclagan) were of opinion that the use of incense in public worship and as part of that worship is not at present enjoined or permitted by the law of the Church of England. They came to the conclusion that incense, O`if used at all, must be used, in George HerbertOs language, to sweeten the church, and outside of worship altogether.OL
In 1901 all the Bishop except the bishop of Sodor and Man signed a joint letter to the clergy generally containing these words:N O`We therefore put before you that we as a body uphold the duty of submitting to the decision of the Archbishops lately given on questions referred to them, in accordance with the direction in the Book of Common Prayer.OL
The ninety-nine churches mentioned above, in which incense is used ceremonially, are distributed over the English and Welsh diocese as follows:N London twenty-nine, York ten, Exeter seven, St. Albans seven, Southwark six, Norwich five, Oxford five, Birmingham four, Bath and Wells three, Bristol three, Chichester three, Winchester two, Gloucester two, Lincoln two, Peterborough two, Canterbury one, Ely one, Lichfield one Llandaff one, Liverpool one, Manchester one, Newcastle one, Salisbury one, Southwell one.
It appears from the Bishop of LondonOs evidence before the Commission that there were in May, 1901, about forty churches in his Lordships diocese in which incense was used, namely, ten where is had been in use for thirty years or more, six for twenty years, ten for ten years, thirteen for five years, and one where incense had been introduced within the last five years. Apparently in all or nearly all these cases the use is ceremonial as above defined. No increase in the number of churches using incense occurred between May, 191, and the date of his LordshipOs evidence, May, 1905.
It will be seen from the list given above that the churches using incense are more numerous in the diocese of London than elsewhere. It is important, therefore, to state how this matter has been dealt with by Bishop Creighton and the present Bishop, especially with regard to what has been frequently referred to by witnesses as the O`compromise.OL
The ArchbishopsO Opinion that incense and portable lights are not permitted by law, and where used ought to be discontinued, was dated July 31, 1899. Shortly afterwards Bishop Creighton addressed a communication to his clergy containing the following. O`It becomes a universal duty to abandon the ceremonial use of incense and the use of lights carried about during the service.OL About twenty-five incumbents of the diocese presented a protest to Bishop Creighton which contained the following statementN
O`On the one hand our duty compels us even at the cost of great distress to our people to yield whatever compliance we can to the expressed wish of our Father in God. On the other hand we dare not abandon altogether O^a laudable practice of the whole Catholic Church of Christ,O conspicuously scriptural and hitherto held to be sanctioned by the Ornaments Rubric of the Book of Common Prayer. We beg respectfully to remind your Lordship that the use of incense was unquestionably practised by Bishop Andrewes, and has been revived among us for more than forty years with (to say the least) the acquiescence of Bishops, notably that of your LordshipOs predecessor in the see of London. We would explain that for these and other reasons we are obliged to regard that use of incense as involving a principle, the violation of which we could neither submit to ourselves nor ask our people to accept. Moreover, we find ourselves utterly unable to do anything by which we may be held, either explicitly or implicitly, to admit the binding authority of the ArchbishopsO Opinion or the force of the reasons on which that opinion is based.OL
This protest was present to Bishop Creighton at an interview on October 16, 1899. There is no official record of the conversation which then passed; but the incumbents, on October 30, 1899, addressed a letter to the Bishop containing the following statement of their view of the arrangement which had been arrived at:N
O`Having heard from your Lordship that such a measure of acquiescence, as includes the use of the censer before the beginning of the service of Holy Communion in the Prayer Book, together with the use of incense in procession before or after the service, is agreeable to you, we are accordingly prepared to modify our practice by suspending for the present in our several churches the customary ceremonial use of incense, by which we understand the censing of persons and things during the service as set out in he Prayer Book. But we beg to remind your Lordship that such a modification of the accustomed use is made without any reference on our part to the ArchbishopsO Opinion, the binding authority of which we have felt it our duty respectfully to deny, and the reasons of which as stated we have ventured in our letter of the 16th inst. definitely to repudiate. We would explain that we make this alteration solely in compliance with the wish of our Diocesan and in dutiful regard for his person and office and for the good of the Church. Neither would we hide from our Lordship that such an alteration, however temporary, can only be made at what will be felt by our congregations to be a great loss; and to risk the causing considerable misunderstanding and irritation after, as in some cases, so many years of undisturbed enjoyment of what we believe to be our rightful liberty not forbidden by the Prayer Book.OL
This letter was acknowledged by Bishop Creighton on November 1st as follows:N
O`I am obliged to you and to the others who have signed the letter which you send me, for their willingness to discontinue the ceremonial use of incense in their churches. I know such a change will be a source of regret to some members of their congregations; but I believe that they will not long regret a step which they have taken for the peace and unity of the Church.OL
On November 2, 1899, the Reverend W.B. Trevelyan, the spokesman of the protesting incumbent, in order, as it would seem, to prevent misunderstanding, wrote as follows:N
O`My Lord, in thanking you for your kind letter I must point just out that in speaking of the proposed change in our churches, the actual words used were O^during the service as set out in the Book of Common Prayer.O This, of course, requires no acknowledgement.OL
The Bishop appears to have made no reply to this letter; and the result of these communications was that incumbents in his diocese who had prior to this time used incense during services continued its restricted use in the following ways:N
(1.) The use of the censer before the beginning of the Communion Service, and also the use of it during processions before or after the services.
(2.) A swinging of the censer during the service for the purpose of keeping it alight, but not for the purpose of censing persons or things.
In reference to these terms of compromise it must be point out that as already stated, it had been decided by Sir Robert Phillimore in the Court of Arches that processions in a church immediately before or after the regular services, taking place in the presence of the congregation then assembled, constitute a ceremony so connected with the regular services as to be bound by the same legal restrictions as those services. And in a case where incense was used in the short interval between Morning Prayer and the beginning of the Communion Service, almost the same congregation being present at both services, the same learned judge decided that this use of incense was illegal because O`it would be unreasonable and unjudicial not to conclude that the burning of incense was intended to be subsidiary and preparatory to the celebration of the Holy Communion.OL
Archbishop Tempe, in response to a request for advice from the then Bishop of Winchester, wrote on October 28, 1899:N O`A procession with incense is clearly an additional ceremony not ordered in the Book of Common Prayer and clearly neither enjoined nor permitted as a part of public worship. Every clergyman has promised to use the form in that book prescribed and none other. A procession with incense would be an addition to that form. According to our present law, incense cannot be used in any way to be a part of public worship.OL
In addition to the compromise mentioned above, a special arrangement was made by Bishop Creighton shortly before his death (December 1900) with two churches, St. CuthbertOs, Pilbeach Gardens, and St. AlbanOs Holborn, to the effect that these churches should altogether suspend their use of incense on ordinary occasions, but that on great festivals they should be allowed their full accustomed use. No attempt seems to have been made to define what was meant by O`great festivalsOL in this context; and the phrase was, in fact, construed, by some of the clergy concerned, with such latitude as to include All SoulsO Day.
The present Bishop of London has made an arrangement of this type with the incumbent of St. ColumbaOs, Haggerston, and has allowed fifteen anniversaries to be defined as the great festivals on which incense may be used. Among these is Maundy Thursday in lieu of Corpus Christi Day and in commemoration of the institution of the Holy Communion. Prior to this arrangement, incense was used in this church on sixty or seventy days during the year. His Lordship appears to have offered a similar arrangement to the incumbent of St. ClementOs, City Road.
With regard to this subject the Bishop of London explained:N
O`If I cannot get a church in on one compromise I try it on another; that is to say, finding two compromises existing, if a church like St. ColumbaOs, Haggerston, will not come in on any terms on the one compromise, that I have allowed them to come in on the other compromise which I found in the case of St. AlbanOs, Holborn, and St. CuthbertOs, Pilbeach Gardens. It is a very great grief to a bishop not to be able to visit his churches. I regard it as almost a personal wrong when I cannot visit my people.OL
It appears from the Bishop of LondonOs evidence that, at a date soon after he had succeeded Bishop Creighton, the result of the latterOs action was as follows. Of the churches in which incense had become customary, two had abandoned its use altogether; in twenty-five the use had been modified in accordance with one for or the other of the compromise; in six the practice had been altered very slightly or resumed during the vacancy of the see; in eight on change had been made at all.
The Bishop of London explained to the Commission the only alternative courses which, in his LordshipOs view, were open to his under the difficult circumstances in which he took up the government of the see of London. He says:N
O`I had, of course, to face the situation, and I wanted to place before the Commission the different courses which were open to me. Of course there was prosecution; but if I prosecuted any I must prosecute these all, that was quite clear.... I made up my mind that to prosecute these forty-three churches would make it impossible to do my work as bishop at all, that it would put the whole diocese in a flame, so that my position and my work would be absolutely impossible if I did begin by prosecuting these forty-three churches. And then another alternative was the sanction of some modified use, that is to say, regulating it, and by regulating it, sanctioning it. [the Bishop here quoted a letter from Archbishop Temple disapproving of this course.] That and other considerations convinced me, at that time at any rate, that regulation in the sense of sanctioning was not wise. Then the third alternative, of course, was to continue the arrangement which I found existing, which I did, and a latter which I shall subsequently read, which governs the situation now in London, embodied really the continuation of the toleration of incense, not the sanction of it, but the toleration of it which I found existing, so long as it was in this modified form which had been arranged between Bishop Creighton and the incumbents.OL
The letter above refer to, dated June, 1901, which was sent round to each incumbent concerned, was as follows:N
O`Dear Mr. NN, I thanks you most cordially for your ready response to the questions which I have recently put to you as to the use of incense and the practice of reservation in your church, and for the open and most friendly confidence which you have reposed in me throughout the whole inquiry which it has been my duty to make. I have anxiously sought to approach your position, not merely with the most careful consideration, but with a sympathetic understanding of your difficulties; and I ask you to believe that the one great thought which weights upon me in this matter is the consideration of my responsibility towards you and your people as your Father in God. I cannot but recognise the claim to special consideration which is constituted by the fact that the use of incense, and the custom of reserving the sacred elements after the Holy Sacrament have been observed in your church for a number of years [I need hardly say that this letter was sent only in its entirety to those who had both], and I had hoped to be able to define certain uniform limits within which in exceptional cases such as yours, these usages might be permitted. But after much earnest thought I have come to the conclusion that it is not possible for me to adopt this course. I do not, indeed, propose myself to take any active measure against the continuation of such as modified use of incense and manner as reservation as shall conform to the limits which you have already in private consultation with me expressed your willingness to observe. But as Bishop of the diocese I cannot be present at any service where incense in ceremonially used, or visit any church in which the limits already referred to with regard to the reservation of the Holy Sacrament are transgressed. I do earnestly add my prayers and ask for yours that in these matter we may all learn to be at peace with one another, so that we may be set free to devote ourselves without distraction to our real work of bringing all men into the true belief and active service of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.OL
The present position in the London diocese with regard to this matter appears to be that, of the churches which in 1899 used incense, all but six have adopted some form of the compromise in which the Bishop acquiesces. These six churches, namely, St. PeterOs, London Docks; St. Mary MagdaleneOs, Paddington; St. MaryOs Edmonton; St. AugustineOs Stepney; St. MichaelOs, North Kensington; and St. ClementOs, City Road, are placed by the Bishop under O`discipline,OL which consists in the church not being visited by a Bishop for Confirmation or any other purpose, the non-renewal of curatesO licences after existing licenses have lapsed, and the withdrawal of curatesO grants paid by certain Church Societies. The Bishop forbids, and uses all his influence to prevent, the adoption of incense in any church in which it has not hitherto been employed.
It appears from the evidence that the London compromise of 1899 has been adopted in its general lines in some other dioceses, for examples in the diocese of Southwark (formerly part of Rochester) and the diocese of St. Albans and Lichfield. In some other dioceses also there are cases in which the use of incense, and even its full ceremonial use, has been allowed to remain virtually unchecked.
It is generally admitted that the religious use of incense was unknown in the primitive Church; and there is no certain mention of its use in connexion with Christian worship before the later years of the fourth century. From this time onwards various indications of its use from time to time occur; but it has been thought that up to the ninth century the portable censer was used at Rome only in processions from church to church. O`The route which the cort?ge had to follow was thus made sweet-smelling with incense. As for censing the altar or the church or the clergy or the congregation, such a thing is never mentioned.OL From the ninth century onwards there was a considerable development of its use; and by the twelfth century not only had the censing of persons and things become general, but also forms of blessing the incense had been introduced. Prior to the Reformation in England, and in the Roman Church to this day, when incense is used at a celebration, the altar, the Gospel Book, the oblations after they have been offered, the celebrant and other ministers and the congregation, are censed. The symbolism of incense has give rise to great difference of opinion, but it appears to be agreed that it signified in a general way the power of intercessory prayer and the mediation of our Blessed Lord. The Lambeth Opinion already quoted contains the following statement:N
O`Further, it must be remembered that the Church has never spoken of incense as an evil thing. There are some expressions in the Homilies which have that character, but the Homilies are hortatory than imperativeNthey have never been taken as having high authority on points of doctrine or of ritual. Incense was excluded from public worship not as an evil thing, but as unsuited to the needs of the day.OL
(10) Portable Lights.
In 79 out of the 559 churches lighted candles carried by acolytes or other subordinate ministers, were used at various parts of the Communion Service, especially in the procession before the beginning of the service, at the reading of the Gospel, and at the consecration.
The ceremonial use of portable lights has been condemned by the Court of Arches in the same way as the liturgical use of incense. At the Lambeth Hearing, already mentioned, the Archbishops expressed the opinion that the law of the Church of England does not permit the carrying of lights in procession.
Bishop Creighton condemned the use of portable lights, but does not appear to have taken any further step in the matter. The present Bishop of London in giving evidence prior to his visitation (1905), stated that he had not taken O`anything like the same clear decisive actions about [lights] or investigated the matterOL as he had with regard to reservation. As to the action of other Bishops, individually and as a body see paragraphs 126 and 348, etc.
During the first three centuries lights were not used ceremonially in public worship. Their use was at that time associated with heathen rites. The first clear mention of lights at the reading of the Gospel is found about the beginning of the fifth century; and by the seventh century it was customary for them to be carried by the acolytes (or cerfararii) O`when the Gospel is to be read or the Sacrifice to be offered.OL
(11) Lights upon the Holy Table.
The evidence given before us appears to show that two lights only are used on the Holy Table at the Holy Communion, when not required for purposes of illumination, in 308, and more than two in 172, out of the 559 churches.
Lighted candles placed on or behind the Holy Table during the Communion Service have been declared to be illegal when not required for the purpose of giving light. It was, however, held by Archbishop Benson in the Lincoln case that two such lights kept burning during the Communion Service, but lighted before the service began, were not illegal. This decision formed part of the subject of an appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council; but the appeal was disposed of without any opinion being expressed on this particular question.
In the ninth century the rule was laid down that there should always be a light at Mass; but not till a later date was it definitely ordered that there should always be two lights at the celebration.
The O`two lights upon the High Altar before the Sacrament,OL ordered in the Injunctions of Edward VI. (1547), were stated to signify O`that Christ is the very true light of the world.OL
(12) Holy Water.
In 19 out of the 559 churches there are stoups for holy water placed inside the church door for use by the congregation as they enter to worship. Of these, six are in the diocese of London, three in that of York, two in each of the dioceses of Ely and Exeter, and one in each of the dioceses of Liverpool, St. Albans, Southwark, Norwich, Durham and Oxford. In addition there were reports of five services, namely three in the diocese of London, one in that of Chichester, and one in that of York, in which the ceremony of sprinkling holy water was introduced.
Objections to the presence of holy water stoups in churches, and to he sprinkling of holy water, in connexion with services, have been sustained in one or two ecclesiastical suits; but the matter has not received much attention on the ecclesiastical courts.
The earliest mention of holy water connects it with merely private use. A form of blessing holy water is found in the fourth century; and from the same date legends are told of miracles wrought by the use of holy water accompanied by the sign of the Cross. But there does not appear to be any evidence that it was customary for the priest to sprinkle the people in church before Mass until the ninth century.
The water used to be, and still is, mingled with salt. Its original symbolism may be inferred from the words which the choir sang while the priest went round and sprinkled the people with a bunch of hyssop dipped in holy water: O`Purge me with hyssop, O Lord, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter then snow.OL Salt was said to be the type of an uncorrupt and innocent life. But, in procession of time, the idea spread that some intrinsic benefit resulted from the physical application of holy water, independently of its mystic meaning. Prior to the Reformation it had come to be regarded as a sort of charm.
The use of holy water was clearly not intended to be sanctioned by the Reformers, as no services for the blessing of water for this purpose is included in the Prayer Book.
(13) The Blessing of Palms.
A service known as the O`Blessing of PalmsOL on Palm Sunday has been introduced in some churches. There is no evidence before us as to the number of these churches; but accounts of four such services were given by different witnesses.
The ceremony consist of (1) the blessing of the palms by the priest, with the use of incense, and in one case the sprinkling of holy water; (2) the distribution of the palms so blessed among the clergy and congregation; and (3) a procession in the church in which the clergy and congregation carrying these palms take part.
Bishop Creighton and the present Bishop of London have sanctioned the distribution of palms, provided the prayers used are for a blessing on the people, not on the palms, and that the palms are neither censed not sprinkled with holy water.
Beyond the mention of a purely local use in Jerusalem in the fourth century, there is no certain indication of anything corresponding to this service till about the eighth century, from which date onwards services of a more or less elaborate character appear. The association attaching to the ceremony is simple and obvious.
The service known in the Roman Church as O`Tenebr3/4OL has also been introduced in some churches. Tenebr3/4 is the name given to a special form of Mattins and Lauds used on the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in Holy Week, since the eighth or ninth century. A number of lighted candles were extinguished one by one at the end of each Psalm, recalling the darkness of Calvary. A single candle remained alight which, after the Benedictus, was hidden behind the altar, and again brought out at the close of the service, to signify that Christ the Light of the World was hidden in the grave and afterwards rose again.
Accounts of three Tenebr3/4 Services are given in the evidence. One of these, at St. CuthbertOs, Pilbeach Gardens, appears to have contained most of the ceremonies above described. Bishop Creighton is said to have sanctioned this particular service, thought he objected to the name. The present Bishop of London has refused to sanction the service of Tenebr3/4.
(15) Washing the altars.
The ceremony of washing the altar with water and wine, practised in the Roman Church on Maundy Thursday, is reported to have been performed in one church (St. ColumbaOs, Haggerston). Bishop Creighton refused to sanction this practice.
The stripping and washing of altars on Maundy Thursday can be traced back to the seventh century as part of the general cleansing of the church before Easter. It later times the altars were often washed with wine and water; and mystical interpretation came to be attached to the ceremony.
(16) Paschal Candle.
In five churches, as to which evidence was given, a candle of great size, called the Paschal Candle, is introduced and lit at Easter. The significance of the observance is thus described by a writer of the Roman Church:N
O`The Paschal Candle, blest in the next place by the deacon, if a figure of the Body of Jesus ChristNnot lighter at first to represent Him dead; and the five blest grains of incense fixed in it denote the aromatic spices that embalmed His Sacred Wounds. When the deacon lights it, it is a representation of the Resurrection; and the lighting of the lamps and other candles afterwards teaches the faithful that the resurrection of the Head will be followed by that of the members.OL
The use of the Paschal Candle has been declared illegal by the Court of Arches. Bishop Creighton refused to sanction the benediction of a Paschal Candle.
The first certain mention of the Paschal Candle is found about the year 500 A.D.; and from that date onwards it appears to have been gradually introduced throughout the various Churches of the West.
(17) Stations of the Cross.
Pictoral or sculptured representation of our LordOs Passion, hung round the walls or pillars of the church, are mentioned in the evidence, under the name of O`Stations of the Cross,OL as present in 138 out of the 559 churches. The full number of such representations is fourteen, which includes two traditional incidents in our LordOs Passion not recorded in Holy Scripture. In some churches (three are mentioned in the evidence) these two are omitted.
A series of representation of fourteen Stations of the Cross was directed by the Court of Arches to be removed from a church in which they had been placed without a faculty. An opinion was also expressed that at least the two representations of traditional incidents mentioned above were decorations forbidden by law.
It is probably that in many churches where the pictures or representations are placed they are regarded as mere decorations and are not used for purposes of devotion. But the O`Stations of the CrossOL is also the name given to a series of devotions of a private nature, or conducted by a clergyman accompanied by a greater or less number of people, before each of these representations in succession. The words said or read, at each Station vary, but, speaking generally, they consist (1) of a statement of the fact recorded in the particular picture or sculpture; (2) a prayer; (3) the LordOs Prayer; (4) the Hail Mary; and (5) one or more versicles and responses, as, for examples, O`Lord, have mercy upon us,OL O`Christ, have mercy upon us,OL O`May the souls of the faithful, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.OL
We have no evidence as to the number of churches where such services take place; and there is good reason to believe that in many of those in which the Stations of the Cross are used for purposes of devotion, the Hail Mary is omitted form the form employed.
This series of pictures and the devotions offered before them are of purely modern origin, having been introduced into the Roman Church so late as the seventeenth century. It cannot therefore be claimed that the pictures are covered by the Ornaments Rubric, or that the devotions are a revival of ancient English use.
(18) Observance of days not appointed by the Prayer Book to be observed.
We have evidence of many cases in which days not appointed by the Prayer Book to be observed have been observed with the announcement and holding of special services. Except in the case of special forms of services for occasions authorised by 35 and 36 Vict., cap. 35, sect. 3 (see paragraphs 33 and 55), all such observances must be regarded as irregular. Additional irregularity is also introduced by the use of Collects, Epistles and Gospels other than those appointed by the Prayer Book. Their use traverses the fourth section of the above mentioned Act. Eight instances of such use on Sundays or Holy-days for which the Prayer Book appoints Collects, Epistles and Gospels were given in evidence. In three of them the Collect, Epistle, or Gospel used appeared to be that appointed in the Roman Missal.
The irregularity consisting in the observance of unauthorised days has a different aspect and character in different cases; and these may be arranged in three classes.
(i.) The observance of special occasions of the kind mentioned in paragraph 55, so far as they are not covered by the Shortened Services Act (35 and 36 Vict., cap. 35).
(ii.) The observance of Black Letter SaintsO Days.
(iii.) The observance of days which either were at the Reformation excluded from the kalendar in the Prayer Book or have at a more recent date been introduced into the kalendar of the Roman Church. We deal with irregularities of this class at paragraph 242, etc.
With regard to (ii.), evidence was given of special services in sixteen churches in commemoration of the following Black Letter SaintsO Days:N(1) With special Collect or Epistle and GospelNSt. Margaret, Holy Cross Day, St. Cyprian, Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Agnes, St. Nicomede, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Alban, St. Edmund, St. George, Translation of Edward King of the West Saxons, St. Giles, and Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (2) Without special Collect or Epistle and GospelNInvention of the Cross, Holy Name, St. Mary Magdalene.
In the evidence, instances were give of notices of services on Black Letter SaintsO Days, and of announcement made during services of the occurrence of such anniversaries in the week following, viz.:NServicesNone instance with regard to each of the following days, viz. Translation of St. Martin, St. Lawrence, St. Margaret, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Etheldreda, St. Anne, Festival of King Edward the Confessor, and Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary: announcementNone instance with regard to each of the following days, viz. St. Cecilia, St. Clement, St. Catherine, and St. Lawrence.
Many of the Bishops have sanctioned special services on Black Letter SaintsO Days, as distinguished from anniversaries not contained in, or excluded from, the Prayer Book kalendar.
Some of the Bishops have authorised the use at celebrations on Black Letter SaintsO Days of special Collects, Epistles, and Gospels not contained in the Prayer Book.
Some Bishops while allowing the use of special Collects, Epistles, and Gospels, require that the Collects shall be taken from the Prayer Book.
Bishop Creighton declined to allow special Collects, Epistles, and gospels on Black Letter SaintsO Days, on the ground that it was beyond the power of an individual bishop to make a permanent addition to the Prayer Book. In the case of St. PeterOs, London Docks, he seems, however, to have somewhat receded from this position.
The first Prayer Book of Edward VI. (1549) reduced the unreformed kalendar so that the only Holy-days were those now called Red Letter Days, and in addition St. Mary MagdaleneOs Day. In the second Prayer Book of Edward VI. (1552) St. Mary Magdalene was omitted; and St. George, Lammas, St. Lawrence, and St. Clement (Black Letter Days) were added. Several non-ecclesiastical notices, such as the several signs of the Zodiac, and O`Term begins,OL were also included, In Queen ElizabethOs Prayer Book (1559) no change appears to have been at first intentionally made in the kalendar. But in 1561 a new kalendar compiled by a Royal Commission was prefixed to the Prayer Book. This kalendar agrees with that in the present Prayer Book except that it does not include Enurchus, Ven. Bede, and St. Alban. The first was added in 1604 and the other two at the last revision in 1662. At the latter date the separate list of the Red Letter Days headed O`Table of all the Feasts that are to be observed in the Church of England throughout the YearOL was introduced. These words appear to exclude the special observance of other feats. By 5 and 6 Edward VI., cap. 3, which is still unrepealed, it is enacted that the days mentioned in the Act (that is the present Red Letter Days except the Conversion of St. Paul and St. Barnabas), O`and none other,OL O`shall be kept and commanded to be kept Holy-days or to abstain from lawful bodily labour.OL
In 1661 the Puritans objected to the inclusion of the Black Letter Days in the kalendar; and the Bishops replied that these anniversaries O`are left in the kalendar not that be so [that is, as the Red Letter Days] kept as Holy-days, but they are useful for the preservation of their memories and for other reasons, as for Leases, Law days, etc.OL Nicholls, in his commentary on the Book of Common Prayer (1710), refers to the subject in accordance with this view.
Sir Robert Phillimore, when the Dean of Arches, held that it was illegal to give notice in church of feasts comprised in the list of Black Letter SaintsO Days.
We proceed now to deal with certain illegal practices of a graver kind which are connected with the service of Holy Communion.
(19) Celebrations without communicants, and (20) ChildrenOs Eucharists.
We have had to consider many instances of the development of a tendency to separate the celebration of the Holy Communion and attendance thereat from the reception of the Sacrament. Evidence has been given of 114 services (82 of these being mid-day or High Celebrations) at which there were no communicants besides the celebrant; and indeed it has sometimes appeared that no one was even expected or invited to communicate with the priest. In many more instances there were few, often only one or two, who communicated, out of a large congregation.
Numerous instances, nearly one hundred in all, show that children, many of them being unconfirmed, are trained in the habit of attending the service of Holy Communion without receiving the Sacrament. In a considerable number of these instances there was evidence of the announcement of the service as a childrenOs Eucharist or childrenOs service; and in about twenty instances the congregation consisted almost entirely of children. In other cases children formed a large part, and often a majority, of the whole congregation.
In the first group of instances, namely those in which no one communicates save the celebrant, there is a plain and serious violation of a plain rubric; for the Prayer Book orders thus: O`There shall be no celebration of the LordOs Supper except there be a convenient number to communicate with the priest, according to his discretion.OL O`And if there be not above twenty persons in the parish of discretion to receive, yet there shall be no Communion, except four (or three at the least) communicate with the priest.OL As Dr. Liddon wrote, O`There is absolutely not a shadow of doubt as to the law of the Church of England on the subject.OL In some cases belonging to this first group, the absence of persons communicating may be accidental and unforeseen; but there are many of which this could not be said.
In the other instances, provided the Sacrament is received by the number of communicants required as a minimum by the rubric, no express enactment of the Church is transgressed, even though a large congregation may be present without communicating. For it has been truly said that O`there is nothing in the Prayer Book to bid every non-communicant withdraw.OL But a service at which large numbers are present while three communicate, and especially a service at which many present, who, being unconfirmed, cannot communicate, is not such a service as that which was contemplated when the Order of Holy Communion received its present form. The Bishop of Birmingham has written that the Prayer Book O`represents a reformation of the medieval liturgy and practice of the Church of England on the basis of certain principlesOL; and that O`a main part of its object was to restore the Communion of the people to its original prominence.OL The form of the service is determined as point after point by the thought of those who are about to communicate; and, as a matter of fact, the steps taken during the course of the Reformation in the Church of England in this regard O`led eventually to the disuse of the practice of being present at the Eucharist without communicating.OL Thus, altogether the express and absolute requirement of the rubric is met if the prescribed number, (four or at least three) communicate with the priest, yet the intention embodied in the form deliberately given to the Order of Holy Communion is clearly traversed when, Sunday after Sunday, those who communicate are but a very few out of a large non-communicating congregation. And a clergyman who so arranges and orders the services, and (notwithstanding the fact that the Upper house of convocation in both Provinces has solemnly declared O`that it is contrary to the spirit and teaching of the Church of EnglandOL to describe reception without fasting as a sinOL), so insists on fasting communion, as to make the chief service in each week a Celebration of the Holy Communion attended almost wholly by persons who cannot, or at all events do not, communicate at it, sets before his parishioners a conception and system of public worship which is not what the Prayer Book presents.
The extent of this deviation from the tenor of the Prayer Book evinced in different instances of a celebration attended by many who do not communicate, varies widely. On the one hand, there are occasions, such as an ordination, or the consecration of a Bishop, at which many may be present, and not communicate. Again, parents may naturally desire to being their children who are about to be confirmed to be present at the service before they actually come to communicate. Again, at the mid-day celebration in a cathedral, or in the church of a large parish, it is now customary for many to attend the service who do not communicate at it; some of whom have communicated earlier in the day, and desire to remain for meditation and prayer. On the other hand, the utmost divergence in this regard from the character impressed on the service of Holy Communion in the Prayer Book appears in celebrations such as those which are clearly indicated by the guidance given in the books entitled O`Hosanna,OL O`The Perpetual Memory,OL O`The PeopleOs Mass Book,OL and O`Catholic Prayers,OL paragraphs 281 to 289Nguidance which is illustrated by the evidence concerning celebrations at some of the churches which are identified with the most extreme ritual.
The custom of attendance at Holy Communion without reception is not mentioned in the records of the primitive Church, except possibly in the case of one class of penitents.
The practice arose when large numbers of converts were brought into the Church, and the danger of admitting merely nominal Christians to reception of the Holy Communion led to the sanction of their presence without partaking. The tendency to separate celebration from Communion led to a general increase of the practice; and during the time immediately preceding the Reformation the laity rarely communicated, while regular attendance at Mass for the purpose of worship was generally required.
In the Prayer Book of 1549 a rubric directs the withdrawal of non-communicants from the quire and their separation from the actual communicants. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth and the earlier half of the seventeenth century the presence of non-communicants was discouraged but not forbidden; and the custom gradually sank into abeyance. In the revision of 1662 the warning against the presence of O`gazers and lookersOL in the Exhortation, as well as the words in the Invitation preceding the Confession, O`before this congregation here gathered together in His holy Name,OL were omitted. The reason alleged by Bishop Wren why the former change should be made was that the practice had ceased.
Certain details in regard to the successive changes of the regulations bearing on the practice, and the opinions of sixteenth and seventeenth century writers upon the subject are given in a memorandum by the Rev. T.W. Drury appended to our Report (Appendix D).
In 28 parish churches and in one church which, though, not a parish church is open for public services, more than two Holy Tables were found. The great multiplication of services, and especially of early celebrations at which the congregation is necessarily small, has led to the introduction of a second Holy Table in a side chapel or aisle in many churches. The practice has been allowed by most of the Bishops; and in most dioceses faculties have frequently been granted for the erection of a second Holy Table on grounds of practical convenience and economy. But the introduction of a third and even a fourth Holy Table cannot be justified on the same grounds, and may readily lend itself to abuse. A witness was present in the church of the Cowley Fathers at Oxford when Masses (so described in the church notices) were stimulated celebrated at different altars in the church. The witness stated that this was not an exceptional occurrence, but that it appeared from the notice paper that there were simultaneous celebrations in this church, as far as he could remember, three days a week. The statement, which is admitted to be substantially correct, is as follows:N
On the occasion of the visit to this church, Tuesday, September 8, 1903, O`The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin,OL the Mass was celebrated at 8 a.m. in both chapels simultaneously. May I say I have quoted the word O`MassOL and use it not offensively, but because the service was so described? I as present at the Mass in the north chapel and heard distinctly the voice of the priest saying Mass in the south chapel.
Again, at St. Mary MagdaleneOs, Paddington, there are four altars; and it appears from the admissions of the churchwarden that, as there are five clergy, and each one celebrates every day, it sometimes happens (how often he was unable to say) that private masses, at which no one is present but a server, are said.
Private celebrations, except for the sick, were peremptorily forbidden after the Reformation; and there is nothing as to which the condemnation of English Church writers of the latter part of the sixteenth century was more emphatically or frequently expressed than the practice of private or solitary Masses.
(21) Use of the Canon of the Mass.
One of the most noticeable features of a celebration in some churches, when extreme ritual is practiced is a long pause in the service both before and after the Consecration Prayer. During this pause hymns or anthems (e.g., Benedictus or Agnus Dei) are so introduced as to O`let or hinderOL the Communion Office of the Church of England, contrary to the principle laid down by Archbishop Benson in the Lincoln Judgment. While these hymns and anthems are being sung, the celebrant, standing before the altar, handling the sacred vessels, stooping over it, and sometimes kissing it, appears to be silently repeating prayers (sometimes from a book or card placed in front of him) accompanied by gestures, crossing, bowings, and genuflexions. In the midst of this prolonged interval the celebrant reads the Consecration Prayer, sometimes audibly, sometimes in so low a voice that it is not audible. Many witnesses have given accounts of services of which the foregoing is a summary.
It was suggested in many cases, and not denied, that the celebrant was at this point in the service, in fact, employed in reading with the prescribed ceremonial acts the prayers of the Canon of the Mass, translated into English and given according to either the Sarum or the roman Use. In some cases it was admitted by the clergymen concerned that the witnessesO surmise was correct. Furthermore, various altar-cards, books and manuals have been published, in which the English Communion Service, is incorporated with the Missal Service, so that both can be used together. We deal with these publications generally at a later stage (see paragraph 279). Evidence was given of the presence of altar-cards in more than 100 churches; and the witnesses, in describing services of Holy Communion at these churches, in a very large number of cases stated that the celebrant acted in the manner described in the last paragraph.
In Appendix E will be found such a form of service extracted from a well-known work O`Notes of Ceremonial,OL 4th Edition, 1903, published without the author-s name. It is stated in the preface to the 2nd Edition as follows:N
O`The Communion Service with the PriestOs private prayers from the Sarum Missal has been printed at the beginning, instead of at the end of the book for the convenience of those who may wish to bind it up with an ordinary Altar Book, without including the chapters containing ceremonial directions.OL
There is no doubt, therefore, that the form of service here given is intended for actual use in public worship. We have given it in full because it would be difficult my mere description to convey to the reader how completely the prayers interpolated from the Canon of the unreformed services are intertwined with and made part of the rite, and how elaborate are the ceremonial acts performed by the celebrant, not privately but before the congregation.
The introduction of these prayers from the Missal has been defended on the ground that they are inaudible and are merely the priestOs private devotions. It should, however, be noted that in the Missal the Canon is directed to be said silently, and is in fact never audible in roman celebrations: that a definite interruption occurs in the service by the introduction of these prayer: and, further, that the external ceremonial of the Roman rite, is carefully observed. When this is remembered, it becomes clear that these prayers cannot be defended as private devotions; and it is, in our opinion, impossible not to regard them as interpolations which are as much an integral part of the service as the same prayers, repeated in the same manner at the same point in the celebration are in the Roman Office. It is doubtless in consequence of this view that more than one Bishop has made a request to his clergy that, in order that there may be no question of using another form in the Office of Holy Communion than that prescribed, all books or cards containing other prayers or forms should be removed from the Holy Table; and that nothing should be said by the officiant, liturgical and as officiant, which is not in the Prayer Book form whether said audibly or not.
(22) Omission of the Invitation.
In fourteen cases it was alleged and not denied that the Invitation to Communion, beginning, O`Ye that do truly and earnestly,OL etc., was omitted. In some of these cases other parts of the service were omitted as well; and in these it is possible that the omission was due to a desire to shorten the service. But, as in the majority of the instances it was stated by the witnesses that there were no communicants, it is probably that the omission was due to the fact that none were expected.
(23) Omission of the Creed and the Gloria in Excelsis.
In three cases it was alleged and not denied that the Creed, the Gloria in Excelsis, and the Blessing were all omitted. All these were Requiem Services; and the omission of these parts of the service was apparently due to a desire to follow the medieval or Roman Use at such a service. In two other cases the omission of the Gloria in Excelsis, and in one the omission of the Creed, was noticed.
In the medieval Church of England, as in the rest of the Western Church, the Gloria in Excelsis was not ordered to be used at every celebration, being reserved for occasions of more or less festal character. It was omitted form Requiem Services so early as the nineth century. In the English Prayer Book of 1549 it was ordered to be said, as previously, at the beginning of the Communion Service; and a note was inserted permitting its omission, and also that of the Creed, at week-day and private celebrations. In 1552 it was removed to its present position; and no exceptions to its use were recognised. In the medieval Church the rules applied to the use of the Creed were similar to those which applied to the Gloria in Excelsis.
In 413 cases witnesses have reported that they saw the celebrant elevated the consecrated bread and also the chalice at the time of consecration.
It is difficult always to understand what is precisely meant by a witness when he speaks of O`elevation.OL It may be that in some of these cases the elevation consisted of the raising of the sacred elements either to enable the manual acts to be visible, or only to the extent necessary in order to enable the manual acts to be performed. In the above enumeration such cases, so far as they could be recognised, have been excluded; but it has been impossible to do this with accuracy. The term O`elevation,OL when technically used, means, as we understand, the action of the celebrant who, standing with his back to the people, holds, first the consecrated bread, or wafer, and secondly the chalice, in both hands, raises them high above his head for a few moments, and then replaces them on the altar.
In the cases which have been brought before us the elevation has frequently been accompanied by the ringing of the Sacring bell.
The observance of elevation was elaborately considered by Sir Robert Phillimore, when Dean of the Arches, and condemned by him on the ground that it appears
O`clear that those who guided the Church of England through this process of restoration to primitive antiquity were of opinion that the elevation was so connected with the repudiated doctrine of Transubstantiation, as distinguished form the Real Presence, that it ought not to be suffered to remain."
Some witnesses complained that the celebrant, having received the alms collected from the congregation, raised or elevated them before placing them upon the Holy Table. It is to be noted, however, that the rubric requires that the priest O`shall humbly present and place [the alms] upon the Holy Table.OL
From at least the sixth century an act of elevation after consecration can be traced in the Eastern Church. This was probably for the purpose of exhibiting to the people the sacred elements now prepared for their use. Another form of elevation was developed out of our LordOs own action when He O`took bread,OL and was possibly intended, even from its first adoption, to signify the presentation of the offering to God. Both these are to be carefully distinguished from the later practice of elevation immediately after consecration, which was deliberately adopted in the Western Church after the Berengarian controversy and the general acceptance of a belief in Transubstantiation. It first appears towards the end of the twelfth century; and in the thirteenth and following centuries there are constant references to it not only in ritual books but also in the Canon of various councils, which direct elevation of the consecrated elements in order that they may be seen and adored by the people. The decrees of some English Councils are quoted in Appendix F to this Report; and it will be sufficient here to cite the rubric of the roman Missal in which the priest is required, O`raising himself as much as he well can, to lift the Host on high, and with eyes fixed upon it (which he does also in the elevation of the cup), reverently to show it to the people to be worshipped.OL
In twenty-seven cases where evidence has been given of the practice of elevation, the clergyman has denied the charge. This conflict of evidence has arisen, at least in some cases, from a confusion between elevation for the purpose of showing the consecrated elements to the people (which was finally abolished in 1549), and the slight lifting-up which has come to be practiced after consecration at the words, O`Do this in remembrance of Me,OL to signify the presentation to God of a memorial of Christ'O sacrifice.
With regard to the antiquity of an act of elevation at this point in the service, there are in the late medieval liturgies of the English Church, as well as in some French Uses, directions for such an act, whereas in the roman Missal there is at this point no such direction. There is no sufficient evidence to show what was the original significance attached to this act in the English Church. It must be noted that our present rubrics, while carefully specifying the manual acts of the clergyman, do not direct any elevation at all; but we think it just to distinguish the intention of the slight lifting-up described above from that of evoking the adoration of the people.
In 386 cases witnesses reported that the celebrant genuflected during the Consecration Prayer, and in front of the elements after the consecration, and generally several times. By genuflexion is meant an act of reverence in which one knee touches the ground. Genuflexion at this part of the service, thought required and made the subject of elaborate directions in the Roman Missal, was almost unknown in England in the Middle Ages; the method of showing reverence to the consecrated elements ordered in the Sarum Missal being simply an inclination of the head. There is no direction for such an act in any of the English Prayer Books; and it has been declared illegal for the celebrant to genuflect or kneel during any part of the consecration Prayer.
In twenty-three cases it was alleged, and in twenty of them it was either admitted or not denied, that the celebrant in pronouncing the Benediction turned to the Holy Table and, at the mention of our LordOs name, genuflected or bowed towards the consecrated elements thereon.
(26) Ecce Agnus Dei, etc.
In fifty-two cases it was stated that the celebrant, after his own communion and at the point in the service at which the communicants should approach, turned round from the Holy Table, and, standing with his face towards the people, exhibited the consecrated wafer, or bread, and said to the congregation, O`Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.OL In twelve cases in which this is said to have occurred there were, in fact, no communicants; and in four of these the service was a mid-day choral Eucharist. In some cases the clergymen concerned have explained that they made this interpolation in the Communion Service merely as a signal to indicate that the time for intending communicants to receive the Sacrament had arrived. In the ritual directions of the Roman Missal the celebrant is directed to say these words for this purpose at masses for the Communion of the people. O`Postea genuflectens accipit manu sinistra pyxidem seu patenam cum Sacramento, dextera vero sumit manu particulam, quam inter pollicem et indicem tenet aliquantulum elevatum super pyxidem seu patenam, et coversus ad communicandos in medio altaris dicit, Ecce Agnus Dei qui tollit peccata mundi.OL
The practice has no sanction from antiquity; nor does there appear to be any evidence that it was ever customary in the English Church before the Reformation.
It appears from the evidence that the Sacrament was reserved in thirteen churches, either publicly in the church itself or in a chapel to which the public had access, or which was so arranged that the place of reservation was visible from outside the chapel. There were seventeen other churches in which the witness deemed it probable that the Sacrament was reserved. Their grounds were (1) the existence of a tabernacle on or above an altar; (2) a lamp burning before the tabernacle; (3) the fact that clergy or people or both bowed or genuflected when passing in front of the tabernacle. In addition to the above there were a considerable number of churches in which there were or appeared to be tabernacles, but there was no evidence of reservation.
The primary purpose of reservation is stated to be for the Communion of the sick. Archbishop Temple, in his opinion on reservation, delivered at the Lambeth Hearing (1899-1900), page 1, said:N
O`This practice, which is commonly spoken of as Reservation, takes three distinct forms. In the first place it is sometimes the practice to treat sick persons, who are not in church but are living close by, as if they were part of the congregation, and at the time of administration to the communicants generally to take the elements out of the church to them as well as to those who are actually present. It is claimed that this is not reservation at all, inasmuch as the administration goes on without interruption, and it cannot be said that what is sent in this way is part of what remains after the service is over.
O`The second form of the practice is, instead of consuming all that remains of the consecrated elements, as the rubric directs, to keep a portion back and to administer this portion to people known to be sick at some later period of the day. This is acknowledged by all to be reservation; and the reserved elements are kept in the church until the time when they are taken to the sick.
O`Thirdly, the elements after consecration are reserved, not only for those who are known to be sick at the time, but to be used for any case of sudden emergency which may occasion a demand for the Sacrament in the course of the week.OL
Devotions to or before the Reserved Sacrament and services in which the reserved Sacrament is adored, which have a recognised and prominent place in the Church of Rome, occur also in some Anglican churches where reservation is practised. We are unable to express an opinion either as to the number of churches in which the Sacrament is reserved for any purpose or in what proportion of such churches the Reserved Sacrament is used for purposes of devotion as well as for the Communion of sick persons. We do not believe them to be numerous.
A churchwarden of St. Mary MagdaleneOs, Paddington, in answer to questions, stated that in that church there is permanent reservation of the Sacrament in a hinging pyx over the altar of a chapel in a crypt, to which persons are admitted at certain hours to say their prayers and for purposes of devotion; and that a great many poor people make use of the opportunity thus offered and value it very much.
Another witness thus describes a visit to this chapel:N
O`At the close of the service, seeing a large number of persons going down a brilliantly lighted staircase at the north-west corner of the church, and having heard that there was a chapel in the crypt containing the Reserved Sacrament, I followed. The brilliantly-lighted staircase led to a dimly-lighten crypt, and this in turn to a dark chapel, lighted only in the neighbourhood of the altar, which was separated from the nave of the chapel by a screen with closed gates. I noticed that people coming in and going out of this chapel dipped their fingers into a holy water stoup and crossed themselves. The time passed by them in the chapel was spent in silent devotion, some of the worshipped kneeling prostrate across the chairs. On examining the altar I found that it had a magnificent coloured and gilded reredos, ornamented with figures in relief. The centre figure was that of the Virgin crowned and holding the Holy child, while in a lower panel was a representation of the Crucifixion. The whole was surmounted by a gilt baldacchino of large size. The riddels at the side of the altar were fastened to poles on which were figures of angels holding candles. From the baldacchino and near to the reredos hung a strange object somewhat resembling a birdcage; it appeared to consist of a gilt papal tiara from which depended a veil finished off with red tassels. Three sanctuary lamps were burning in front of this altar; and at the west end of the chapel I noticed an exquisite little organ surmounted by angels.OL
This church in one of those which the Bishop of London declines to visit as already explained (paragraph 143).
At St. Matthews, Sheffield, the Sacrament is reserved in a side-chapel; and a witness thus reports what he heard from a preacher in that church:
O`That at that church they enjoy the privilege of having the perpetual presence of their Lord in his Holy Sacrament; and he asked that those members of the congregation who could not manage to attend the week-day Eucharist should at least spare five minutes to come and offer a prayer to our Lord, present in His Sacrament, on behalf of the mission then about to be held.OL
At St. ClementOs, City Road, where the Sacrament is reserved, a witness states that she heard a sermon which contained the following statements:N
O`The Sacred Heart of Jesus was present day by day, and hour by hour, in the Holy Mass and in the Tabernacle. Sin was an insult to the Sacred Heart. Every year they heard of the Sacred Host being insulted by the rifling of tabernacles and the trampling underfoot of the Host. They had not visited the Blessed Sacrament as often as they might, but had been satisfied with processions and that kind of thing, and had left it unvisited and alone.OL
The Bishop of London in his evidence stated with regard to this sermon as follows:N
O`Then, still on the letters of 1904, as touching something in the evidence you sent me, evidence of which I took notice, and which I thought was very bad, I sent at once for the preacher of a certain sermon, which was preached in St. ClementOs, City Road, whom I discovered was a curate named Dunsby. I wrote and told him that his sermon wasNI forget the words I used, but very strong language; and he answered back on June 20, 1904: O^My dear Lord Bishop,NThank you very much for your letter of the 18th instant. As the Bishop of London wishesO (this was of course to the Bishop of Stepney) O^I promise (1) I will not in my teaching or preaching recommend devotions addressed to the Sacred Heart of our Lord; (2) That I will not in my teaching or preaching invite or exhort persons to visit the chapel in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved.O I told him through the Bishop of Stepney that if he did not give me that promise his license would be withdrawn.OL
Reservation has not been the subject of an actual decision in the Ecclesiastical Courts or the Judicial Committee, though its unlawfulness has been stated incidentally in judgments of both tribunals. It was also declared unlawful for any purpose by the Archbishops at the Lambeth Hearing, 1899-1900, to which reference has already been made. The BishopsO general letter in 1901, mentioned in paragraph 126, enjoined obedience to the ArchbishopsO Opinions against reservation. Some of their Lordships stated in evidence that they knew of no cases of the practice in their dioceses. Some have allowed the use descried in the first and second paragraphs which we have quoted from Archbishop TempleOs Opinion. Again, some are in favour of allowing the Sacrament to be reserved for the use of the sick, but out of church or under such regulations as would prevent any danger of its adoration.
Bishop Creighton died shortly after the ArchbishopsO Opinions were delivered, without dealing with the question as it affected the diocese of London. The present Bishop of London instituted inquiry, with the result that he discovered that in May, 1901, in 15 churches the Sacrament was perpetually reserved that is, reserved throughout the week and changed once a week; and that in 19 others at the same date it was occasionally reserved, that is, reserved for a particular sick persons and then taken almost immediately to the sick person. The Bishop stated that, in his view, formed as a result of his consideration of the situation and especially of representations which were addressed to himself and to his predecessor, the total prohibition of all reservation was impracticable. The Bishop, while declining to sanction reservation, decided to tolerate the practice for the administration to the sick. His Lordship explained his action thus:N
[I draw a] O`clear difference between reservation for the sick and reservation for purposes of adoration. I have letters of my own which I shall read later on (I think it will be better to keep them in their order) which will show how very strong is the difference between the two; in other words, how ver strong I have been against the reservation of the Sacrament for visits to the Blessed Sacrament as part of the devotional life of the people or for purposes of adoration; but I think that is quite a distinct thing altogether.OL . . . O`Reservation has been tolerated, that is to day, teh Church should be visited if the Reserved Sacrament were kept in a locked chapel into which no one at all might enter except the priest who took the Sacrament to the sick person. That is, I mean, a special point which exists in the London diocese to-day; the Sacrament is reserved in chapels, which are locked, and into which no one can enter for any purpose except to take it to the sick person; and when carried to the sick person it is to be carried without any ceremony of any kind at allOL
The difficult of maintaing this distinction and of effectually ensuring its observance in practice is illustrated in the evidence. For example, the Reserved Sacrament was stated to be kept in accordance with the BishopOs permission at St. CuthbertOs, Philbeach Gardens, in a tabernacle, on an altar in the rood-loft in the church with a lamp burning before it, visible to persons in the church. Again, at several churches the Sacrament is reserved in a chapel, the gates of which are locked but are constructed of open ironwork, so that the place of reservation is visible to persons outside the chapel. Again, there was a case in which a clergyman who does not reserve O`perpetuallyOL but only O`occasionallyOL for a few hours (and not in the church) in order to communicate a sick person, and entirely repudiates adoration or worship of the Sacrament, nevertheless stated that in carrying it to the sick person, the clergyman, vested in his surplice, had been preceded by a verger carrying a lighted candle to show respect and reverence to the Sacrament. The Bishop of London stated that he did not know except from the evidence before the Commission that this was done, and that he was confident that his direction to discontinue the practice would be obeyed.
Most of the churches in the diocese of London where reservation is practices have adopted some course which the Bishop tolerates on the lines already explained. The six churches already referred to as under O`disciplineOL on account of their ceremonial use of incense have also, it would seem, declined to modify their practice of public reservation. Their view may be illustrated by a letter from the Vicar of St. ClementOs, City Road, being in the Bishop of LondonOs evidence, from which it appears that any restrictions which prevent the use of the Reserved Sacrament for the purposes of devotion and present, for example, O`visits to the Holy Sacrament,OL would be considered by the write disloyal to the truth and would be quite impossible for him to accept.
There is no question as to the antiquity of reservation for the Communion of those not present at the celebration in church. It is mentioned as customary even before the middle of the second century; but from the fourth century onwards, in order to avoid abuses, its use was restricted to the sick. In the ninth century directions were given that on the altar that should be a pyx or tabernacle where what was called the viaticum pro infirmis might be reserved. After the Berengarian Controversy in the eleventh century, and the general acceptance of a belief in Transubstantiation, full and elaborate directions are given not only as to the place of reservation, but also as to the manner of carrying the sacrament to the sick, and the adoration to be offered to it. Some examples from the canons of several English Councils of the twelfth and following centuries will be found in Appendix F. In the English Prayer Book of 1549 reservation for the sick was expressly permitted, but only for administration on the same day. From 1552 all mention of it disappeared from the Prayer Book. The rubric added in 1662 directs that, O`if any remain of that which was consecrated, it shall not be carried out of the Church, but the Priest and such other of the Communicants as he shall then call unto him, shall, immediately after the Blessing, reverently eat and drink the same.OL The practice of reservation has only been revived in very recent years.
(28) Mass of the Pr3/4-Sanctified.
Three or four instances were brought to our attention of a service practically identical with the Good Friday Mass of the Pr3/4-Sanctified in the Roman Church, at which the consecration of the elements is entirely omitted. The Reserved Sacrament is brought with much ceremony from a side-altar (the Altar of Repose), and consumed by the priest alone; and there are no communicants.
The following is an account of a service at St. ColumbaOs, Haggerston, on Good Friday, 1904, given by a witness. It was admitted by the incumbent to be in the main correct in statement, though he O`entirely repudiated the colour attempted to be given to the factsOL:N
Shortly after 10 oOclock the surpliced choir came in and took their places in the chancel. They were followed by the officiating minister (presumably the Rev. R.S. Thronewill), who wore his mass vestments, his chasuble being of purple. He was attended by two acolytes carrying lighted candles aloft. He proceeded to the altar and read the Ante-Communion office of the Church of England to the end of the Creed. The only point calling for notice in this part of the service were that, (1) after the reading of the Epistle, some verses were sung resembling the O`TractOL provided at this stage by the roman Missal; (2) the Gospel was not announced as such, but as O`The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. JohnOL; and it is thus designated in the Roman book; (3) lights were held aloft during the reading of the Passion; (4) when the officiating clergyman read the words O`They parted my raiment among them,OL two of the servers approached the altar, one at either end, and pulled off from it the linen cloth which was divided in the middle; (5) again at the reading of the words describing the death of Christ, the officiating clergyman, servers, choir, and congregation knelt and pausedNaccording to the direction in the Roman book. After the Nicene Creed the officiating clergyman divested himself of his chasuble and came ot the pulpit and preached the sermon. It dealt with the symbolism of the ancient altar service for Good Friday, which, the preacher said, was O`so perplexing to many, but so full of meaning to the well-instructed Catholic.OL He described how the Blessed Sacrament was brought from the Altar of Repose where ut had been placed on Maundy Thursday, and was consumed in silence by the priest. As the sermon was read from manuscript it could probably be produced if required, so that any further report of it is unnecessary. After the sermon the priest went to the south side of the sacrarium, two cantors took up their stand at the altar steps, and the O`reproachesOL were sung. At the close of the singing of these, a server unveiled the brass cross which was standing on the re-table; and some one, presumably the officiating clergyman, chanted the words, O`Behold the wood of the Cross.OL The choir then sang the anthem O`We venerate Thy Cross,OL the translation being only slightly different from that in the roman Office. The Hymn O`Pange linguaOL followed . . . . . During the singing the cantors, choir, and some of the congregation sat. After this hymn the officiating clergyman and his attendants retired to the vestry on the north side of the chancel, and in a few minutes returned. The clergyman was wearing the Mass vestments, and he was carrying a chalice containing presumably (according to his sermon) the Reserved Sacrament brought from the Altar of Repose. He was attended by acolytes carrying lighted candles, and the thurifer carrying the censer. The chalice was placed on the altar, and wine and water were poured into it (or into a second chalice, it was not easy to see which); and then the officiating clergyman censed it, clouds of incense coming from the censer. He appeared afterwards to perform the Lavabo. He then read the prayer for the Church Militant and numerous Prayer Book collects, and pronounced the Blessing. The priest appeared to consume in silence the Reserved Sacrament (or part of it), and he afterwards performed the ablutions. The service concluded thus abruptly, as in his sermon he said it would. The priest then returned to the vestry carrying the chalice and escorted by acolytes carrying portable lights.
The Bishop of London stated that he had required the discontinuance of this service in February, 1905.
Accounts of similar services on Good Friday, 1904, at St. Mary MagdaleneOs, Paddington, and All Hallows, Southwark, were given; and their substantial truth was not denied. At another church, St. ClementOs, City Road, it would appear that a similar service was held in 1903 and in 1904; but it was held with locked doors in 1904, so that the witness who had seen the service in 1903 was prevented from attending in 1904. The Bishop of London stated that he had in 1905 corresponded with the incumbent and directed the discontinuance of this service.
The practice of thus holding a service with the reserved Sacrament was certainly customary in both East and West in the seventh century, and may possibly have obtained as early as the fourth. In the East, during the penitential season o Lent, it was thought fitting to limit the actual celebration of the Eucharist to certain days. On other days those who desired to communicate received the bread which had been consecrated on some previous day. In the West the use was more restricted. The Missa Pr3/4santificatorum on Good Friday is a marked feature in the Sarum, as in the Roman Missal, but it was altogether omitted from the English Prayer Book of 1549, and all subsequent revisions.
No case of a service of O`Benediction with the Sacrament,OL in which the Reserved Sacrament was actually used for this purpose was brought to your attention; and there is reason to think that the disposition which was shown a few years ago to introduce this modern Roman observance into some churches was successfully checked by the efforts then made by the Bishops. An account of a service at St. ColumbaOs, Haggerston, was, however, given by a witness, whose accuracy as to statement, apart from the inferences he drew, was not denied. In this case the Roman form of the Benediction Service was closely followed. The service was held in a chapel in which the Sacrament is reserved; but the tabernacle was not opened, so that there was no exposition of the Sacrament.
The service of Benediction is admittedly of late introduction in the Roman Church. There is no trace whatever of its existence before the latter part of the sixteenth century. Its introduction therefore into any church in the Anglican Communion would be simply an imitation of Roman usage of later date that the Council of Trent.
We pass now to the consideration of certain other illegal practices, the significance of which is as grave as that of any we have already mentioned. The majority of them are not connected with the service of Holy Communion, but concern (i) the relation of the Church in her services towards (a) the Blessed Virgim Mary, (b) the Saints, and (ii) the veneration of images.
Article XXII runs as follows:
O`The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as or reliques, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture but rather repugnant to the Word of God.OL
(30) The observance of days either excluded from the kalendar in the Prayer Book or introduced since the Reformation into the kalendar of the Roman Church.
We have received evidence of special services and notices of services on the following days belonging to this class:N8 service on All SoulsO Day; 5 services and 19 notices of services on Corpus Christi Day; 1 service on the Espousals of the Blessed Virgin Mary; 2 services and 2 notices of services on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; 1 service on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. It does not appear from the evidence that any Bishop has sanctioned in any parish church the observance of any days excluded from the Prayer Book kalendar, at least under the name which they bore prior to their exclusion.
It is clear that a far more serious character attaches to the observance of these days than to the observance, irregular as it may be, of the days indicated in classes (i) and (ii) in paragraph 176. For they are, with the exception of the Feast of the Espousals, directly associated with the doctrines or forms of devotion which the Church of England has either excluded from its public services or expressly condemned or never in any way received. We have to notice that in some of the manuals submitted to us a prominent place is given to such days in the order of the ChurchOs year.
We have dealt with the observance of All SoulsO Day in separate paragraphs of this Report (see paragraph 265, etc.)
The Roman Catholic Festival of Corpus Christi for the special honour and adoration of the consecrated elements is now observed in a considerable number of English churches. A prominent feature of the observance of the days in the roman Church is a procession in which the reserved Sacrament is carried round the church with great ceremony. A similar procession was, some years ago, introduced in a few of the churches where extreme ritual is practised, especially in London. We have no reason to believe that processions with the Reserved Sacrament on Corpus Christi Day are now practised.
The decree for the observance of this festival was first put forth by Pope Urban IV. in 1264, under the influence of alleged revelations and also (it is stated by historians) of the miracle of Bolsena,OL with the desire, so it is said, O`to stem the heresy of Berengarius, and to promote the doctrine of Transubstantiation.OL Owing, however, to the death of Urban, the bull was not promulgated till 1311 by Clement V.; and the procession appears to have been introduced in 1320. The festival was observed in the English Church from the first half of the fourteenth century onwards; but all mention of it was omitted from the Prayer Book of 1549 and all subsequent books. Its observance was abrogated by 5 & 6 Edward VI., cap. 3, and its name was excluded from the table (1662) of O`all the feast that are to be observed in the Church of England throughout the year.OL
The early history of the observance of the festival of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is somewhat obscure; but it is clear that it was observed under the name of the falling asleep (dormitio) of the Virgin in or about the seventh century; the legend of the bodily assumption which arose among the gnostic heretics having already at that day obtained acceptance in the Church. Full services for the festival under the title of the Assumption are contained in the ritual books of the West at least from the eighth century. The day is in no way recognised in any of the English Prayer Books; and all mention of it is omitted from the O`Table of all the feats that are to observed in the Church of England throughout the year.OL
The observance of the festival of the Espousals of the Blessed Virgin Mary was not formally adopted by the Roman Church till the eighteenth century; and there has never been any sanction for it in the English Church either before or since the Reformation.
The festival of the Sacred Heart is of modern origin in the Roman Church. Its observance rests on the supposed vision of Margaret Mary Alacoque, a French nun, in the latter part of the seventeenth century. A limited sanction was given to it by Pope Clement XIII. in 1765; but the permission to observe it was not extended to the whole Church of Rome till 1856. It thus takes its place among those purely Roman uses which never had any sanction in the Church of England.
(31) Hymns to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
(32) Intercessions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Saints.
In four churches prayer or hymns addressed to the Virgin were reported to have been used. At St. AndrewOs, Worthing, on Sunday, August 21, 1904, which according to the roman Catholic kalendar, is within the octave of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a celebration of High Mass was held with reference to that anniversary. A hymn was sung containing the following verse:N
robed and crowned, thou lovely art,
O stainless mother maiden;
And feelest for each human heart
With sin and sorrow laden.
Then to thy Son for sinner pray,
As mother interceding;
Ask on, He will not say thee nay,
But grant thee all thy pleading.
At another church, St. MartinOs, Kingsland road, on November 25, 1903, the service of O`Bona MorsOL was held, in which a litany was said, containing the following suffrages:N
By the prayers and intercessions of Blessed Mary, Thy Mother.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
By the prayers and intercessions of Holy Abel, Abraham, and all the Patriarchs.
By the prayers and intercessions of Thy Forerunner, St. John the Baptist.
By the prayers and intercessions of the Holy Apostles and Evangelists.
By the prayers and intercessions of all the Holy innocents.
By the prayers and intercessions of St. Stephen, St. Lawrence, and all Holy Deacons and Martyrs.
By the prayers and intercessions of St. Gregory, St. Augustine, and all Holy Bishops and Confessors.
By the prayers and intercessions of St. Antony and all Holy Monks and Hermits.
By the prayers and intercessions of St. Mary Magdalene and all Holy Penitents.
By the prayers and intercessions of all Holy Widows and Virgins.
By the prayers and intercessions of all the Saints.
Appeals to God for help at the intercession of the Blessed Virgin and various Saints may not be strictly included under the term of O`Invocation of SaintsOL condemned in Article XXII. Nevertheless all such prayers, as well as direct invocation of Saints, have been excluded from the Book of Common Prayer.
We have received evidence of the use of the O`Hail MaryOL in a few cases, but no evidence of actual invocation of Saints, as distinguished from the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the services of any church. It would, however, be a mistake to assume that these facts indicate the full extent to which prayers to the Virgin and the Saints and requests for their prayers are prevalent in the Church of England. While we have no reason to believe that such prayers and invocations are at all common, we deem it necessary to point out that the occasions when, if at all, they would be likely to be used are not those which would be apt to come under the observation of witnesses. The services in which prayers and invocations of this kind would be most frequently used are Votive Masses, and semi-private services such as appear to be contemplated in the forms contained in some of the manuals brought before us (see below, paragraphs 281 to 290). Thus if the celebrant begins the Communion Service with the Confiteor and adopts the form given in O`Catholic Prayers,OL the server will say, O`I confess to Almighty God, to Blessed Mary ever Virgin, Blessed Michael the Archangel, Blessed John the Baptist, the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, all the Saints, and to you, Father, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grevious fault. Wherefore I beg Blessed Mary ever Virgin, Blessed Michael, the Archangel, Blessed John the Baptist, the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, all the Saints, and you, Father, to pray to the Lord our God for me.OL The common form of the devotions known as Stations of the Cross and the Rosary involve frequent repetitions of the O`Hail Mary . . . Holy Mary. Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.OL
It would be undesirable unduly to restrict the liberty accorded to the clergy in the selection of hymns and anthems, but, in view of the evidence brought before us as to the misuse of hymns, we think it well to point out that doctrine contrary or repugnant to the Articles or formularies of the Church of England inculcated by the words of a hymn stands on the same footing as it would if it were uttered as a prayer: and it is desirable that some supervision should as far as possible be exercised by the Bishops over the use of hymns and anthems. We have, therefore, framed one of our recommendations in accordance with this view.
(33) Veneration of images.
There are thirty-one churches out of the 559 in which witnesses reported the presence of images with lights or flowers or both, placed in front of them, apparently to do them honour. These images represent, for the most part, the Virgin and Child or the Virgin alone, the figure of our Lord known as the Sacred Heart, or St. Joseph; and they are so placedNeither behind or at the side of an altar or at the entrance to the chancelNas to make it difficult to regard them as mere architectural decorations. (for the law as to superstitious use of images see paragraph 28.)
At St. ClementOs, City Road, there is stated to be in the north aisle an altar of the Sacred Heart, with a statue of the figure so-called, flowers and candles. A witness described a solemn High Mass on the O`Feast of the Sacred Heart.OL There had already been two earlier celebrations on the day; and one of these at least had taken place at the altar of the Sacred Heart.
The same witness described the service of O`Vespers of the Blessed Virgin,OL held at St. MartinOs, North Kensington, on the evening of Candlemass Day, 1904.
O`Before the service began, ten candles on the retables of the high altar and two on the altar itself were lighted, also nineteen candles on and about the Mary altar, sic candles on and about the altar of the Sacred Heart, and two before the picture of St. Joseph. I also a young girl wearing a white veil (one of sixteen similarly attired) take a candle out of the candle-box near the Mary altar, put a coin in the box, and, having lighted the taper at the altar candles, place it on the taper stand."
(34) Veneration of roods.
It appears from the evidence that in sixty-seven churches, roods, consisting either of a crucifix alone on the chancel screen or of a crucifix with the figures of the Virgin and St. John on either side, in the same position, have been introduced. The question of the legality of roods has already been dealt with (paragraph 28). Services on the two Black Letter anniversaries specially relating to the rood, namely, the Invention of the Cross (May 3) and the Exaltation of the Cross or Holy Cross Day (September 14), are reported to have been held in three or four churches. No devotions to the rood such as are prescribed in the Sarum Missal for these anniversaries were reported in the evidence; and the only observances at all of this character noted by witnesses were (1) at St. CyprianOs Marylebone, where an anthem beginning O`We venerate thy Cross, O Lord,OL was sung at the rood during a procession; and (2) at St. MaryOs, Munster Square, where during the Sunday morning Procession a O`stationOL before the rood was made in accordance with pre-reformation practice.
The service of the O`Veneration of the CrossOL on Good Friday was reported in one instance only (St. ClementOs, City Road). The Bishop of London stated in his evidence that in this case the clergyman concerned had undertaken not to repeat this observance. A few years ago the introduction of this services and its accompanying ceremonies into certain London churches attracted attention; and Bishop Creighton took steps, which were apparently successful, to repress the innovation.
A ceremony of the veneration of the wood of the Cross on God Friday was in use in Jerusalem before the close of the fourth century. It appears to have been generally adopted in the Western Church about the seventh century. In the first Prayer Book of Edward VI. all mention of it finally disappeared; and even before the publication of that book there had been more than one attempt to suppress it in this country.
In the foregoing notices of practices (1) to (34) we have tried, without entering into unnecessary detail, to show the degree of antiquity which can be claimed for each of the practices which we have had to consider, and the periods at which, in some cases, an important change altered the character or meaning of a practice already in use. It is clear that at one important epoch (the thirteenth century) several of these practices were either introduced for the first time or significantly developed. The epoch is that in which the teaching of the Church was largely determined by the condemnation of the doctrine of Berengarius and the definition of Transubstantiation. A distinct change then passed over the ceremonial accompanying the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, in regard of the actions attendant upon the consecration, and especially the acts of outward devotion directed to the consecrated elementsNa change plainly significant of that exact belief concerning the effect of consecration which was imposed by the dogma then defined. A special character, therefore, belongs to the practices which at that time and under those conditions came into use or received an altered form. It is probably that this is not fully realised by many of those who have been led to adopt some or all of the practices referred to; but, in view of the close historical connexion between the introduction or development of these practices and the rise of a belief in the doctrine of Transubstantiation, we cannot but believe that they were deliberately omitted from our reformed Communion Office; and that their revival is not only wanting in authority, but is also extremely dangerous, as tending to express and likely to suggest what the Church of England has in unmistakable terms rejected. Thus there appears a clear principle of distinction marking these practices as significant of teaching repugnant to the articles and formularies of the Church of England, and as therefore belonging to the third of the classes which we have distinguished in paragraphs 76 to 78 of this Report.