Project Canterbury

RESERVATION

ADDRESSES BY

THE BISHOP OF OXFORD

THE RIGHT REV.
CHARLES GORE, D.D.

AND

THE BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE

THE RIGHT REV.
J. E. WATTS-DITCHFIELD, D.D.

TO THE

CLERGY OF THE DIOCESE OF
CHELMSFORD

TOGETHER WITH

A SERIES OF QUESTIONS AND
ANSWERS

LONDON: ROBERT SCOTT
ROXBURGHE HOUSE
PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C.
MCMXVII

A11 rights reserved

Transcribed by John D Lewis
Murdoch University, Western Australia
14 April 2001

At some time about 1917 it appears that the Bishops of the Province of Canterbury set forth regulations governing the Reservation of the Sacrament. Perhaps because of the exigencies of the War, and a perceived need for emergency communion as a result of air raids, the Sacrament could be reserved only for the purpose of extended communion, not for Benediction or other extra-liturgical needs. Nevertheless, this was the first official permission for Reservation in England since the Reformation. Against opposition from both the ‘Advanced’ Catholics and the Evangelicals, Bp Gore of Oxford defends the decision of the Bishops.

It would appear that this decision is the origin of the English predilection for the aumbry rather than tabernacle or pyx. However, there were a number of churches with pyx or tabernacle long before 1917, and others with Blessed Sacrament Chapels of varying obviousness, where the Sacrament could be displayed for devotion.

The Diocese of Chelmsford, Northeast of London, was semi-rural in 1917, with a number of large garrison towns. Today it is part of the commuter belt for the City. Oxford, as always, is still a rural/academic diocese, but is also part of the commuter belt. Note that Oxford had more than 1000 clergy in 1917! No wonder Bp Gore puts forward the idea of smaller dioceses.

Note: Page numbers in the original small book are enclosed in square brackets in the text.

J.D.L.


[v]

PREFACE

THE BISHOP OF CHELMSFORD

    THIS volume contains an account of the proceedings at a meeting held on Easter Thursday and attended by some four hundred clergy in the Diocese of Chelmsford.

    It should be understood that no discussion was intended as to the legality of Reservation in any form, or as to the power of the bishops of the province collectively to permit, as an emergency measure, Reservation for the Sick. Such questions are important, cannot be ignored and must receive adequate attention; but the main subject of both the addresses of the Bishop of Oxford and of myself was that of "Access to the Reserved Sacrament for Prayer and Adoration." This should be borne in mind when the addresses are read.

[vi]   The Bishop of Oxford was reluctant to let this account of an unwritten address be printed, for reasons which will be easily understood. In particular he felt that a subject like this wants fortifying with careful notes containing references and quotations. But he has kindly agreed to let it be printed as it stands.

    My address was not written, but was based largely upon what had gone before, and in correcting the proof, I felt that it was wiser to leave it as it was said rather than to revise it seriously. I have, however, inserted two paragraphs on points on which I was prevented speaking owing to the length of the meeting. The Bishop of Oxford’s address justifies the publication of this volume, but it may be useful to have also before us the thoughts of many men on this subject as revealed by the questions put to and answered by the [vii] Bishop of Oxford. My own contribution lay in presenting questions which must be faced rather than in dealing directly with the subject itself.

    In sending this record forth, I do so in the hope that it may help in settling men’s minds and in preventing an agitation which can only divide and weaken the Church at a time when her undivided effort should be centred on the real work for England and for the world entrusted to her by her Lord.

    Never was there a time when it was more necessary for the "Veni Creator" to be sung by the whole Church. Never was there a greater need to make known the Incarnate Son of God and proclaim the Story of Bethlehem and of Calvary. Never was there greater urgency for the message that the Brotherhood of men can alone be fully realized in the Fatherhood of God. Never has there been a greater opportunity for the Church to [viii] present herself as the Body of Christ, uniting in Him men of all nations and languages, than at the present.

    Must this great opportunity be either entirely or partially lost owing to controversy on a question of this kind, important though it is.

    Even if the contention of those signing the recent "Memorial" be proved, is there not a Blessing waiting for men who, for the sake of the peace of the whole Body, give way, and wait and pray until they gain their end, not by force or agitation or remonstrance, but by the "Indwelling Spirit" making the question clear to the whole Church? "Is not this the better way?" What saith the Spirit? May we be still and quiet and submissive enough to hear His Voice.

J. E.  CHELMSFORD

BISHOPSCOURT, CHELMSFORD,
May 5, 1917.

[ix]

CONTENTS

PAGE

INTRODUCTION BY THE BISHOP OF CHELMSFORD,
THE RIGHT REV. J. E. WATTS-DITCHFIELD, D.D.     ..     .     .     .     11

ADDRESS BY THE BISHOP OF OXFORD, THE
RIGHT REV. CHARLES GORE, D.D.   .    .     .      .     .     .     .     .     .     15

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     66

ADDRESS BY THE BISHOP OF CHELMSFORD,
THE RIGHT REV. J. E. WATTS-DITCHFIELD, D.D.      .     .     .     .     90

[x]

[11]

RESERVATION

The Proceedings were commenced with the Hymn, "Come, Thou Holy Spirit, come," a selection of Collects, and the singing of the "Veni Creator."

THE BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE

    MAY I thank you for coming, especially in these days of difficulty of travel and of increased expense.. Nothing but the importance and urgency of the question of Reservation would have induced me to call you together at this time. I am sorry that this question has been raised, but now that it has been raised, I felt that I should like to call the clergy together so that we might hear [12] what one has to say whom we are very privileged to have among us. May I just say that the Bishop of Oxford and I, although we may have differed very many times in the past, have always been very warm friends. Whether we may agree or may not agree with all that the Bishop of Oxford has written or spoken on this or any other question, I think that, looking at the last twenty years, we have all recognized that the Bishop of Oxford has done probably more than any other man to advance the cause of Reservation and to bring it into the realm of practical politics; and I therefore felt that he was the man of all others that I should ask to come here to-day and speak to us on this particular question. He has very kindly consented to answer questions at the close, and after those questions have been asked-and I shall myself take a most careful note of them for [13] my own consideration-I shall then give the closing address.

    Now, Bishop of Oxford, we ask you to address us. I may tell you that I believe that the diocese as a whole has been praying about your visit. I asked that this morning in every church there should be a Celebration or a gathering’ for prayer that your visit might be blessed. We do not want this to be looked upon merely as a public meeting ; we do not want this to be looked upon merely as a kind of lecture ; but we want it to be looked upon as a gathering in which we, as bishops and priests, have come, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit Whom we have invoked, to listen to what you have to say to us. If we feel that what you say is in accordance with Holy Scripture we shall receive it ; if not, we shall reject it ; and we know that you are coming in like manner. I have a letter which you [14] wrote to me the other day in which you said that you would come, after offering much prayer that you might be guided aright. May I ask you, Bishop, now to address us. We are all ready to hear what you have to say to us.


1 After about 700 the Agnus Dei was introduced at this point, before the commixture and the kiss of peace.

2 In many parts of Europe it is this no longer.

3 And it must be added in our mouths not in our hearts.

4 I am saying nothing here of the withdrawal of the chalice from all but the celebrant.

5 We have had two books lately, one Dr. Stone’s book on The Reserved Sacrament, and the other Fr. Freestone’s book, the twenty-first issue of the Alcuin Club Collection, called The Sacrament Reserved (Mowbray). Now, I must frankly say that I think Fr. Freestone’s book is the completer and more trustworthy.

6 The New Testament constantly suggests that the union with the Heavenly Christ, by the Holy Spirit, of which the sacraments are the instruments, is the better substitute for the external relationship to Christ which the disciples had in the days of His flesh. Yet this external relationship involved much which has no counterpart in visits to the Blessed Sacrament—the hearing His Words, the seeing His Works, the looking up into His Eyes.

7 "The virtue of the gift and His quickening grace are permanent in it."—See Gore, The Body of Christ (John Murray), p. 300.