Project Canterbury

The Catholic Movement and the Society of the Holy Cross.
By J. Embry, M.A.,
Vicar of St. Bartholomew’s, Dover.

London: The Faith Press, 1931.
[pp 235-256]


THE transactions of the Society in 1891 present a fair example of the way which in normal times S.S.C. could deal with unusual questions bearing on the priest's work and teaching, a knowledge of which, if not bound up with greater efficiency, yet promoted the cultivation of an ecclesiastical gracefulness. It proffered guidance of a useful sort, by a combination of ecclesiological knowledge, or what Wordsworth in reverential mood once described as "antique faith," with what was essentially practical.

It was impossible for difficulties not to arise occasionally from the unique nature of the Prayer Book. This could not be otherwise seeing that it made no claim to be a complete directory. It took very much for granted, while in a few instances it had reverted to practices of the early Church which were not found in the later mediaeval service books. Liturgical and ceremonial problems ensued, which its own curtailed rubrics could not remove. To take one example. On normal occasions, no difficulty would be present when giving Communion in both kinds. It was a different matter, however, when the Chalice had to be administered to considerable numbers. This difficulty was experienced particularly at the great Feasts. There arose the awkwardness of handling a very full chalice at the altar, or the irregularity of re-consecrating when the chalice was small, or the inconvenience of consecrating several chalices together. It was very obvious that there was no precedent which could bring assistance from Western use, Orthodox practice or English custom before the "Order of Communion" was drawn up.

Except in the "Occasional Offices" the Prayer Book was not compiled to express itself in details, but to provide services en masse. It always pre-supposed the presence of fairly large congregations. One evidence of this was furnished in the cautel, at the end of the Communion Office, which stated that there should be no Communion unless there were present to communicate twenty per cent, or "at the least" fifteen per cent, of those in the parish who had reached the status for Confirmation. The Prayer Book, moreover, contemplated several sacred "vessels" upon the altar, and also the presence of an assistant "Minister that administereth the Cup." The Act which had restored Communion in both kinds, in cases of necessity permitted Communion in one kind. It would be quite possible to argue from the ambiguity of the Rubrics that a priest, who was single-handed and had to minister to a large body of communicants, came within the limitations of this necessity and could exercise its saving clause. The rubrics gave no directions of an explicit kind that the Celebrant was to administer the Chalice. The stipulations of the first rubric, as it referred to the communion of the "people," especially the words "into their hands," as showing a change from the mode enjoined in the Book of 1549, followed by the words of administration, clearly applied to the giving of the Sacred Host. The "Cup," according to the second rubric, was to be administered by another "Minister."

The means suggested by the Prayer Book for the renewal of the Blessed Sacrament, when either kind was spent during the time of Communion, were of a kind which in the eyes of a Catholic could never be looked on with approval. A Catholic would have a grave reluctance, both on theological and ecclesiastical grounds, to reconsecrate and particularly if it were required singly, while an acceptance of the Catholic doctrine of concomitance would render it unnecessary. Communion in both kinds was a question of discipline, not of faith, nor of universal practice.

The particular difficulty, however, which arose in the minds of many priests serving in large parishes was which particular method of using the Chalice would most conform with reverence and convenience. Since it was obvious that no guidance could be had from the immediate uses prevailing before the English Book was drawn up, or from the present use of the Church prevailing outside the English Provinces, it was clear that it must be sought in antiquity. Bona, it was pointed out at a Chapter of the Society, had treated very fully of the various modes of Communion which prevailed down to the twelfth century, and a record was found of many ancient chalices with handles, many of them of enormous weight; one was quoted as weighing 53lb. Of this kind was the Ardagh Chalice, now in a Dublin museum, which held about three pints. Again, Bona recorded the use of many chalices, one for the celebrant and his ministers, the others for the people. Gregory II. forbade this, as not being in accordance with the Institution of the Sacrament.

Coming to the time when, in England, "the Cup was restored to the people" and comparing the various rubrics, it seemed that there were two alternatives which were improvements on the present practice and which, at the same time, conformed with ancient use. The one was the use of a large chalice for the people only, with an ordinary chalice, for the ritual acts and not inconveniently full. The former might be supplied with handles and would be used at the altar in much the same way as a ciborium. The other alternative was the use (contemplated in the rubric) of a flagon or stoop, in which to consecrate the Precious Blood. The chalice might then be prepared with a little wine and water for the ritual acts of sacrifice, and afterwards be replenished from time to time for the Communion of the people from the flagon. This, flagon would have to be treated like the ciborium. Attention was drawn to a cast of the Coronation of the Emperor of Germany, in the South Kensington Museum, where on the altar, beside the chalice and paten, was a two-handled cup for the communicants. The Goldsmiths' Alliance, it was stated, had a copy of an old chalice of "Sarum pattern" with a rim which effectually prevented the Sacred Species from running down.

It is interesting to note in connection with altar vessels that the Society at this time frequently made monetary grants to help Brethren in poor districts to procure such, together with other accessories. It was in the October of 1891 that the Society purchased a Chalice and Paten, at the cost of £70, as its Memorial to Father Mackonochie, and which was to be used at the first Mass in the Mackonochie Chapel at St. Alban's, Holborn. There was too an attractive bit of wording, exposing the heart of S.S.C. towards St. Peter's, London Docks when, in February of the same year, it made a grant of £5 towards a Ciborium for use in that church, "out of pure affection." All these matters which had the altar as their objective were tokens of the deep grip the Movement had gained on men's hearts. One consequence of it which was now apparent was the greater appreciation that had arisen of the Church's Liturgical method. Many of the older men (not all, as half a century before the Tracts for the Times had shown), had been content with the all-sufficiency of the Prayer Book. There was in this only what was to be expected. Theirs had been the joy and the glory of showing to the many the Catholic interpretation and the sacramental avenues of the Book, which the decay of Church feeling and the bare compliance with the Act of Uniformity had caused to be obscured. There had always been, however, in spite of these deadnesses a faithful remnant, like the Kebles, the Puseys, the Williamses and Gladstones who, unlike the Newmans and the Mannings, had not to discover the Catholic Church, because they had never known any other. The younger generation were born, as it were, in a house cleaned and repaired from long-accumulated dilapidations, but which still needed certain improvements and decorations. The younger men could not make the same idol of the Prayer Book as the older men had done. They were aware that, while it contained the valid forms for the administration of the sacraments, yet it was not a complete manual of worship and was never intended to be final. They knew that in the conflicts with the Puritans at the Savoy Conference the compilers of the Prayer Book had managed to retain the essentials of Catholic Worship, and that the Book had emerged, much to Protestant chagrin, with the Mass Vestments still enforced, the Sign of the Cross still used, the wedding-ring still retained, etc. There was in the history of it a suggestive sub-consciousness that while the Prayer Book had succeeded in keeping a safe custody of the minimum, yet there was a maximum, which those who came later must aim to reach. In the minds of the younger men, consequently, there was the stronger vision of the Church's Liturgical method. They saw beyond the textual limitations of the Prayer Book. As the Liturgy was both the Holy Scriptures read by the Church with new eyes and the yearly enactment of the principal events of Christ's life, and as there was in this a dramatic side, so it followed that, with the advancement of the Movement, there came an awakened desire to make the fullest use of the sense impressions which the Church had taken into her services. There was a passage in the Prayer Book which referred to a solemn ceremony, fallen into desuetude for centuries, and it said of it that its restoration was "much to be wished." It could scarcely be thought illogical if the wish concerning a ceremony which applied to sinners "at the beginning of Lent" became extended to those Ceremonies which had centred round the Saviour of sinners at the close of Lent.

Before Lent, 1891, attention was drawn by the Society to the Liturgical method of the Church. It was pointed out that the customary Lenten Services' Lists frequently missed the teaching of Passion Week, by including the latter in the Services up to Palm Sunday, instead of making the list end with the Friday after Mid-Lent Sunday. The weeks of Lent were essentially subjective to enable a better entering upon the objective worship of the Crucified. It was regretted that the grandeur of our Lord's Passion had been lost sight of through not restoring the old Ceremonies of Holy Week. Nothing could equal the popularity of the "Three Hours" on Good Friday, but the great service of the Church, the Mass of the Presanctified, was neglected and there would be no difficulty in restoring it, for no words needed to be introduced except anthems and hymns. The Veneration of the Cross was in ages past the most popular of Services, while singing the Reproaches became meaningless unless accompanied by the Veneration. Good Friday, it was considered, exposed the weakest side of the Catholic Revival. With the exception of the "Three Hours," which was a late devotion from South America, but which occasioned much thankfulness for the deep root it had taken, there was an emptiness in the Good Friday services. Nothing could be more absurd or unmeaning than reading the Table Prayers in a black cope. As regarded Holy Saturday, there was a difference of opinions expressed as to whether it was fitting to have the Ceremonies with the first Easter Mass in the morning, or to have the Prayer Book Evensong in the afternoon with the Blessing of the Paschal Candle and a Baptism to secure the Blessing of the Font, and so not restore the anticipation of Easter by a Mass, which after all was contrary to primitive practice.

In this same year, a liturgical question was brought before the Society, which could not fail to arouse much interest no less than to become the occasion of much diversity of opinion. It also coincided with certain enquiries which some of the bishops were making at this time, and definite restrictions which they were endeavouring to impose. A learned Brother of the Society read a paper on "Interpolations in the Divine Liturgy." He prefaced it by a warning of Pius V. in the Roman Missal against presuming to use either words or ceremonies not contained in the Missal. The gist of his argument was that the Rite in the Prayer Book was complete as regarded its prayers, but that the ceremonies were suggested in outline. In saying Mass according to the Prayer Book, a priest was to add nothing in the way of words, but must add ceremonies according to Catholic tradition and the rules of the Church. The Liturgy of the Prayer Book was constructed on mediaeval lines, and not on those of the modern Roman Missal. By Provincial authority it had been put out, not as an abridged edition of the older Missal, but as a substitute for it. The change was regrettable, but it had been made by authority. In the matter of the ceremonies, the action was everything and the words were only the setting. Any addition to the appointed words of the Liturgy was merely a private devotion of the priest, and such was contrary to the rule and custom of the Church. When the priest stood at the altar to offer the Holy Sacrifice, it was not a time for him to be saying private prayers. The conclusion was that the Divine Providence had, willed that the ordinary rite should be that of the Prayer Book and consequently with those words, and none other, the Holy Sacrifice should be offered in English Parish Churches.

The opinion expressed by the brilliant writer in his paper was regarded generally as being of the academical rather than of the practical order. It produced, on the other side, a chain of evidence that the practice of the priest saying some private prayers was so universal, and adopted for so long a time by English priests, that it could claim the right of custom, and that no better prayers could be said than those of the Roman Missal. While several held it to be unjustifiable to add anything to the Liturgy as contained in the Prayer Book, yet it was argued that, as the English Rite was intended primarily for the people, this left a large margin of freedom to the priest in the matter of his own prayers while ministering. It was made clear from the action of Bishop Ridley, as also of Grindal, that the clergy who were familiar with the Latin Rite continued to use the secret prayers to which they had been accustomed. Bishop Wilson's practice of interpolating was well known, and it was stated that he had considered it justifiable until the Office should be brought into closer agreement with the primitive Liturgies. In doing so, it was argued, he was no doubt handing on the Anglican tradition observed by the more devout and learned of the clergy. The Tractarians had followed the same practice. It was urged that when the history of the English Rite was considered and the evidence for the usage of supplementing the public Office by the secret prayers of the Celebrant was weighed, the dictum of Pius V. could not be applied to a condition of things so different from that which it manifestly contemplated. It was pointed out that while the Prayer Book was a sufficient Rite, the traditional custom had obtained the force of law, that a priest should not say Mass without private prayers; these, however, should be such as had Church authority, yet at the same time not repetitions of what had been already said. The example was quoted of Toledo priests of the Mozarabic Rite, who interpolated prayers from the Roman Missal. It is interesting to recall that S.S.C. from its earliest days had always realised that the Prayer Book was incomplete and was dependent on the Missal. The Society's first act had been an endeavour to provide a manual of prayers for the poor. This attempt was, at least for the laity, an admission of the principle of interpolation. Very early in its life, it compiled and printed a Directory for the use of its Members. The Ritual of the Altar, which was used for a long while in churches associated with the Movement, was compiled by a member of the Society (Rev. Orby Shipley). While to-day, one of the most popular Altar Books in use,—The English Missal—was edited and produced by a member of the Society (Rev. H. W. G. Kenrick). These Missals were not the production of the Society, at the same time they received a recognition from it, and were compiled to provide the Brethren with the kind of Altar Book that many of them were asking for.

A practical difficulty which sometimes had to be dealt with, as a matter of discipline, by a parish priest, or should be dealt with by him, attracted the attention of the Society this same year (1891). It sometimes happened that a matrimonial alliance was proposed between a Christian and an unbaptised person. It was considered that there was much carelessness on the part of many of the clergy in the matter of banns, which was most serious. It was shown that the priest was under no obligation to perform these marriages, since the Registry Office was open to all. The Rev. E. G. Wood read a paper on the subject and explained that by Canon Law the marriage of a Christian with an unbaptised person was null and void ab initio. It was resolved that the paper should be published.

In 1891 much interest was aroused among theologians and patristic scholars by the publication at Cambridge of a translation of the Apology of Aristides, by Professor J. R. Harris, the result of the discovery made by him of a Syriac version of the whole, in the Convent of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai, in 1889. Written probably in the second century, and referred to by writers down to the ninth century, the Apology was lost sight of for a thousand years, until a part of it was published in 1878, at Venice, in a Latin translation from an Armenian fragment. Professor Harris's publication became the occasion of many reviews and essays in the ecclesiastical world of Europe and America. While the discovery was still recent, an interesting account of its finding was given to the Society by the Rev. E. G. Wood. This incident, even if it stood alone, would be sufficient evidence of the large field covered by the discussions of S.S.C. and that it was not the sinister "secret society" its enemies declared it to be. The very hackneyed saying,—"humani nihil a me alienum puto," could be said by S.S.C. as truly as it could be said by the very many who were not of S.S.C.

An example of the dignified level-headedness of the Society was seen about this time. A Member of the Society, who had formerly been in the communion of the Roman Church, ordained by the Archbishop of Rouen, and subsequently reconciled to the Catholic Church in England by the Bishop of Oxford, had in his possession a reputed Relic of the True Cross, which he desired to give to the Society. The latter appreciated fully the generosity and spirit of the would-be donor, and the Relic seemed to possess title to be authentic, yet the offer was not rashly accepted. A small committee of enquiry was appointed which, after a report, was reappointed and directed to proceed with caution. So long as any doubt could be cast on the absolute genuineness of this particular relic, it was considered unadvisable to accept it, or to place the Society in a false position regarding it.

A practical subject which came up for discussion in September, 1891, was the advisability, or otherwise, of a secular priest going into society. It was a subject on which there was a great difference of opinion among Catholics. The general feeling of the Society was that, as a rule, priests who went into "society" did not work in quite the same way as the Founders of S.S.C. had done. One who quoted the example of Bishop Wilkinson, when Vicar of St. Peter's, Eaton Square, was quickly humbled by the reminder that this was the case of "an exceptional man, able, in an exceptionable parish, to do a good work," and that he prepared for dining out, "by special thought and prayer, which, as he said, cost him more effort than his preparation for a sermon."—Perhaps it was not altogether undesigned that the discussion was followed by two suggestive papers, one, on "The Practice of Confession; in a poor Town Parish; in a Country Parish; in a Fashionable Town Parish." And the other, "The Ecclesiastical Habit," in which its history was traced and its use urged as the fitting attire to be worn at all public times.

S.S.C. was never in any sense a political Society. There were times, however, when Measures affecting the Church or the clergy made it imperative to take up a definite attitude. Politics affecting the Church at this time were directed chiefly to the "Clergy Discipline (Immorality) Bill." While it was under discussion, as it had been since 1888, when Archbishop Benson first proposed to lay it before the House of Lords, there was only one attitude which Catholics could adopt towards it This attitude was one of unqualified opposition, not, of course, to the object of the Bill, with which all righteous persons were in agreement, but to the great principle at stake, as appeared both in the manner of its proposal and its intended procedure. It was simply an attempt on the part of the State to legislate for the Church. The Society collaborated with the English Church Union in the latter's resistance to the Measure.

When it had been proposed three years earlier (1888), by Archbishop Benson, to lay the Bill before the House of Lords, the attention of the Society was immediately drawn to it by the Rev. E. G. Wood, who at once grasped the nature of its secular character and the failure of the majority of the bishops to understand what all the contention by Catholics on the subject of the Ecclesiastical Courts had been over. These Courts, he pointed out, had been in abeyance ever since the fatal passing of the Church Discipline Act in 1849. That Act, while retaining old titles, had regulated the Courts, without the concurrence of the Church, and, by establishing the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the Court of Final Appeal, by which all the lower Courts were bound in effect, had really created new Courts which rested on its own authority alone. All priests who had been summoned before these Courts, irrespective of their decisions, had been treated uncanonically. The Archbishop's Bill was a repetition of the mistake of 1849. What was begun in Parliament was secular and must remain so. Its subsequent acceptance by the Provincial Synod could not invest it with spiritual authority. The right procedure was that Synodical action should precede parliamentary action.

A small committee was appointed to confer with the English Church Union, and in the History of the E.C.U. (p. 304) we read:—" The Rev. E. G. Wood, Vicar of St. Clement's, Cambridge, at once attacked the Bill in a learned paper read before the Norwich Branch on June 7th, 1888." There is scarcely need to follow the various steps by which the Archbishop's proposal; after much spirited opposition, in which largely signed petitions were presented to both Houses of Convocation in both Provinces, to enact Canons and not support the Bill, at length passed into law by receiving the Royal Assent on June 27th, 1892. The English Church Union fought the Bill, on the grounds of its Erastianism, to the end, and it had behind it the Brethren of the Society, and in particular the Reverends E. G. Wood, G. B. Roberts, W. Crouch, T. A. Lacey and T. Outram Marshall. In addition to its co-operation with the English Church Union, the Society on April 30th, 1891, sent up for presentation to Convocation a petition of its own. The text of it, which was as follows, was presented to the Upper House by the Bishop of Ely, and to the Lower House by Canon Slater.

"To the Most Reverend the Archbishop and the Right Reverend the Bishops in the Upper House of Convocation assembled:—

"The petition of the undersigned Clergy of the Province of Canterbury showeth:

"That a Bill is now before Parliament entitled 'The Clergy Discipline Act, 1891.'

"That in this Bill provision is professedly made for the reform of the procedure of the Ecclesiastical Courts, for trial of criminous and immoral clerks, for their suspension and deprivation, and for the infliction of ecclesiastical censures including deposition from the sacred ministry.

"That the introduction of such a Bill, being the act of the civil power alone, is an invasion of the spiritual authority of the Church as the kingdom of Christ.

"That, whilst the authority of Parliament extends without limitation to all civil matters, it is incompetent to act in regard to spiritual matters.

"That the only action of Parliament with a view to reform the Ecclesiastical Courts which is required under present circumstances is in respect of such statutes as restrain the free action of the Episcopate in the Spiritual Courts.

"That, such restraints being removed, the necessary reform of procedure in the Ecclesiastical Courts in order to provide for the speedy punishment of criminous and immoral clerks might without difficulty be effected by the enactment of canons by the Convocations with the licence of the Crown.

"Your petitioners therefore pray your Right Reverend House in your wisdom to take such steps in the premises as may best serve to vindicate the inherent spiritual jurisdiction of the Church as vested in the Episcopate.

"And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray."

A Memorial of another kind, concerning the aftermath of an old scandal, was also at this time prepared for presentation to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Never, probably, in the whole of her history, had the Church in England been more degraded, or her claims been more openly flouted, or the feelings of her most faithful children been more deeply wounded, than when in 1841 the Jerusalem Bishopric was founded, and the compact entered upon with Prussia, which made Newman exclaim in despair:—"I cannot deny that the outward notes of the Church are partly gone from us, and partly going," and whose prayer that the scheme might "utterly fail and come to nought, and be as though it had never been," seemed unlikely to be answered. Bishop Barclay died in 1881, and the Prussian Government, whose turn it was, according to the compact, to nominate to the Bishopric did nothing for five years. It seemed to have become in the words of Dr. Liddon "a spectre of the past." The grave irregularity of the scandal was made manifest, not only by the intrusion of a protestant bishop into an ancient Patriarchate, but also by a policy of aggressive proselytising among the Christians with persistent attempts to undermine the work of the Orthodox Church, by the formation of congregations of native Christians. In 1887, through the instrumentality of Archbishop Benson with the Foreign Office, Germany withdrew from the compact, and the Archbishop arranged to continue the Bishopric on different lines, although Dr. Liddon and others endeavoured, as far as they could, to oppose the affair. The Archbishop stated that the Patriarch had expressed a strong desire that there should be a resident Anglican bishop at Jerusalem, and that he therefore was about to appoint one. The new bishop would be pledged not to proselytise among the Orthodox, to drop the title "Bishop of Jerusalem," simply placing the title "Bishop" after his signature and to be designated officially as "Bishop of the Church of England in the East." The Archbishop nominated the Ven. G. F. Blyth, Archdeacon of Rangoon, a selection which was not pleasing to Low Churchmen. He was consecrated on ^ Day, 1887. It was not altogether unexpected that Bishop Blyth, when he reached Jerusalem, came into collision with the Church Missionary Society, which provided a large portion of his stipend. His pledged policy was not eye to eye with theirs. The friction between them caused the situation to become so difficult, that an appeal was made in 1891 to the Archbishop of Canterbury. This led to an enquiry in which the Bishops of London, Durham, Winchester and Carlisle took part. It was thought right in S.S.C. that some action should be taken in defence of Church principles in Palestine, and so a Committee was formed to consider Bishop Blyth's relation to the C.M.S. and to draw up a Memorial to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The text of this Declaration was in the following form :—

"To His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England, and Metropolitan.

"We beg leave to approach your Grace with this our Memorial.

"1.—We have learnt that your Grace, with the cooperation of other Prelates, has undertaken to arrange certain grave disputes which have arisen respecting the work of English Clergymen in Palestine, and which have become matter of public notoriety.

"2.—We venture to express to your Grace a hope that, under the guidance of God's Holy Spirit, this intervention may lead to a complete vindication of Ecclesiastical order, and to a restoration of that (Ecumenical unity which has been impaired for many centuries, and of which we know your Grace to be an earnest advocate.

"3.—As English Churchmen, jealous of that independence and supremacy of the Episcopal order, the defence of which seems to be, in God's Providence, a specially appointed duty of English Christianity, we would give utterance to our earnest hope that no arrangements will be tolerated which infringe in any way upon the jurisdiction of the Orthodox hierarchy of Palestine and Syria.

"4.—We feel that some concerned in the disputes referred to have lost sight of the principle that English clergymen cannot legitimately labour for the conversion of Jews and Mohammedans in Syria and Palestine without due Mission and Jurisdiction, and that such Mission and Jurisdiction can only be derived from the 'orthodox' territorial Episcopate,

"5.—We observe with grave apprehension the prevalence of an opinion that English clergymen engaged in this work (whether without or with Mission as aforesaid) may lawfully—:so long as they abstain from active proselytising—receive into their congregations members of the Orthodox Church who are discontented with the ministrations of their lawful pastors. This proceeding seems to us to be a direct encouragement of a schismatical temper.

"6.—We anxiously hope that the Church may not even in appearance be committed to a condonation of such a temper, and therefore we trust:—

"(a.) That no English clergyman will be allowed in the future so to receive any Orthodox Christian, whether child or adult, without the express permission of his lawful pastor.

"(b.) That all who have been so received in the past will be urged to obtain such permission, or, failing this, to return to their allegiance.

"(c.) That no English clergyman will be allowed to undertake any spiritual work in Palestine without express commission from the Orthodox Patriarch or Bishop, granted to him either immediately, or mediately through the Anglican bishop resident at Jerusalem.

"(d.) That in order to obviate all appearance of the exercise of independent jurisdiction by any English bishop in Syria or Palestine, the use of such terms as Diocese or Commissary, or Archdeacon, and the creation of anything approaching to diocesan organisation, will be avoided.

"7.—In thus addressing ourselves to your Grace, we in no way presume to prejudge the specific questions which will come before your Grace as matter of arbitration. We approach your Grace as one who has already given proofs of love and sympathy for the oppressed Churches of the East. We have observed with gratitude the careful procedure which has been adopted by the Mission sent from your Grace to the Assyrian Christians. We are confident that your Grace will show the same consideration for the venerable Church of Jerusalem; and hi this confidence we appeal to your Grace on no account to suffer the establishment in Palestine of any Anglican Mission which would in any way conflict with the jurisdiction of the ancient Churches of the East."

The lion's share of the work in connection with the above reproduced Memorial had been carried through by the Rev. T. A. Lacey. It was stated afterwards that the successful issue of the defence was due entirely to the Memorial which S.S.C. had originated.

The spirit which had animated the presentation, both of the "Palestine Memorial" and of that of 1888 in connection with the "Old Catholics," was that of obedience to the first principles of the Catholic Church by which it was established and maintained on earth. That is to say, to the integrity of Episcopal jurisdiction. When our Lord entrusted the power of the keys to the Apostolic College, and by the special commission to St. Peter as the representative of the individual Apostles, He showed that the fulness of Apostolic authority was given to each bishop in his own sphere, that was, in his own diocese. Each of the first four General Councils made provision against intrusion by bishops or priests into a diocese under the jurisdiction of another bishop. The words of St. Ignatius of Antioch to "do nothing without the bishop," and St. Cyprian's statement that "if any are not with the bishop, they are not in the Church," endorsed very solemnly the same principle. Adherence to the principle was maintained by the English Church and lay at the root of the only Apologia she could offer for her isolated position in Western Christendom, as it was her bulwark against what about this time had been termed by one in authority "the Italian mission" in England. A church was bound to bear witness to something, or lose its meaning, and this integrity of Episcopal jurisdiction was the special witness of the English Church. The first four General Councils were, after Scripture, her special appeal, while anything said or done which was contrary to their interpretation constituted a part of legal heresy, as laid down by Statute Law. One of her local Canons, moreover, put forth in 1603, stated,—"No curate or minister shall be permitted to serve in any place without examination and admission of the Bishop of the Diocese, or Ordinary of the place, having Episcopal jurisdiction." The Bishop of the Diocese was the source and centre of spiritual life to the diocese, and without his authority it was not lawful to minister the Word of God and the Sacraments of the Church. If a priest exercised his ministry in any diocese without jurisdiction from the Bishop of that Diocese, either directly or indirectly, the prima facie presumption was that he was offending against the discipline that our Lord had established, and was guilty of a schismatical act Now, while many who held what must be called "Anglican views" were quite prepared to accept the principle, as it referred to the Provinces of Canterbury and York, they were not prepared, illogically enough, to apply the principle to other parts of the Church in West and East. By an exaggerated plea of necessity, or of differences existing between the Anglican and other Communions, it was often overlooked that it was the whole Church that was concerned, far more than individuals within it. It was quite true that the Roman difficulty was a very real one, but, because the Roman Church treated others unfairly and so wounded the Mystical Body of which all were members and the Kingdom of Heaven of which all were subjects, this afforded no real excuse for widening the breach and disregarding the principles of obedience to the Great Head of the Church. The disregard of our rights could not justify a spirit of retaliation which would disregard theirs. Under the pretext of necessity or expediency, it came to pass that attempts were made to heal certain wounds in the Body of Christ by means which in reality were a fresh wounding. Strong conviction of this principle of Episcopal jurisdiction in all its integrity lay behind the action of S.S.C. in preparing its respective Memorials. The greatest critic of the Society would not be able to find any divergence from this principle in its utterances or actions. The strong line it had taken in the matter of the O.C.R. and its attitude towards the M. Loyson affair were proofs of this, no less than the uncompromising opposition to the Roman Catholic body in England. It will be concluded from this that S.S.C., if true to its principles, was bound to take up a definite and rigid position towards irregular ministrations on the Continent, licensed chaplains abroad, and claims of exercising jurisdiction in Continental Dioceses on the part of certain Anglican bishops. In this matter, because there was a great principle concerned, the trumpet of S.S.C. uttered no uncertain sound. The question which arose was, how far necessity could be held to justify these irregular ministrations by Catholic priests, or the acceptance of them by Catholic lay people in foreign dioceses, where the permission of the diocesan was not obtained. In the case of embassy chapels, it was admitted both by International and Canon Law that an ambassador might have in his chapel the ministrations, according to his own national rite, of a priest who was not subject to the jurisdiction of the diocesan. Other people who resided abroad were usually there for profit or pleasure. In regard to these, two views could be taken, the rigorist view which would not sanction any kind of ministration, since nothing could justify a breach of ecclesiastical discipline; and the laxer view, which argued that as a Catholic had a right to live in any Catholic country, that gave him the right to the Sacraments, at the hands of the priests who had spiritual jurisdiction in the place, but that owing to the suspension of inter-communion, necessity in the widest sense of the term forced him to avail himself of the "irregular ministrations." It was maintained, however, that the general practice of ministrations on the Continent went far beyond the attempt to meet necessity. What needed protesting against was the assumption of appointing a titular bishop professing to exercise jurisdiction, or a bishop in England granting a priest a licence to officiate in a diocese, for example, in France. Such actions were distinctly schismatical in character. If only a quasi permission could be obtained it was worth a good deal. It was stated authoritatively that such a permission had been given formerly to the late Rev. Archer Gurney, by the Archbishop of Paris. The practice now, however, was developing of forming organised congregations supervised by a bishop on the Continent, with rural deans and churchwardens, and when these two latter were summoned in 1891 to attend the London Diocesan Conference, the Society, true to its principles, passed a resolution asking the Brethren who were members of the Conference to do their utmost to bring about a protest against the recognition at the Conference of English congregations on the Continent of Europe.

During the active period of the six years reviewed in is and the preceding three chapters, fourteen of the Brethren were removed by death, including Father Mackonochie, who passed away, December 15th, 1887. The Rev. M. W. Wray joined the Society in 1866 when was a Chaplain in the Army and stationed at Gosport. He shortly afterwards joined Dr. Dykes at St Oswald's, Durham. He became Vicar of Ovingham, Prudhoe-on-Tyne, Northumberland, in 1874, where he remained until death on May 11th, 1886. The Rev. B. Morrell was listed as a Probationer of the Society in 1876. His residence, at Muttra, N.W. Provinces, India, would probably account for the fact of his non-admission to the Higher Order. He died January 4th, 1887. The Rev. E. O. Williams, who passed away on April 23rd, 1887, joined the Society twelve years before. He was one of the Welsh Brethren and Vicar of the pretty seaport town of Pwllheli, overlooking Cardigan Bay. The last five years of his life were spent at Dolgelly. The Rev. J. Ley, who worked for some years at Parkstone, and from 1875 at Kingsand, Devonport, joined S.S.C. in 1869. His death occurred on November 11th, 1887. Nine days later, the Rev. C. H. Shebbeare, Vicar of Wykeham, York, passed away; he had been admitted into the Society in 1874. Twelve days after the passing of Father Mackonochie, another Brother, who had been admitted into the Society by him in 1870, the Rev. L. P. Welland, passed away during the Christmas Octave. He was Rector of Talaton, N. Devon. In 1888, within six weeks of each other, the deaths of two other Brethren were recorded, the Rev. D. J. Mackey, who died on April 12th, and the Rev. T. W. Burridge, on May 24th. The former had for many years held honourable office in the Scottish Church as a Canon and Precentor of St Ninian's Cathedral, Perth. He was an authority on the history of the Church in Scotland, as may be indicated from the concise analysis which formed "Appendix H" in the Life of Bishop Forbes. As the author of the Life of that great Prelate, he has left a record of his own powers, knowledge and literary talent. The last two years of his life were spent at Cleeton St. Mary, Salop. The Rev. T. W. Burridge was one of the older members of the Society, who had joined it in 1861, when working in Dover. Later he went to Wantage, and in 1873 became Vicar of Eastbury, Berks, where he remained until his death. . It was said of him, at the time, that his memory would be venerated "by many who heard his earnest words in Missions and received from him words of solemn counsel in the Confessional." The Rev. T. J. M. Townsend, who died November 30th, 1890, had been Vicar of Searby in Lincolnshire for many years. He was a faithful priest, who seldom spoke within the Society, but who when he broke silence displayed a deep penetration and perception of the methods of those who, outside the Church, rejected the Sacraments, and of those within, who rejected her discipline. He was one of the stalwarts of 1877 who when some of "the weaker brethren" wished the flag to be lowered, or the Society to be disbanded, while reminding them of the Eighth Beatitude pertinently asked if they were "to withdraw from S.S.C. because of the world, the flesh and our assailants?" The Rev. C. J. Fuller, who passed away May 24th, 1891, was one of the most ardent of the London Members. He had joined S.S.C. in 1873 and was working at St. Mary's, Primrose Hill. In 1877, when belligerent protestantism was at the apex of its power, he was harassed by the Church Association and certain complainants outside the district endeavoured to stop his work. They were aided in this by the Bishop of London, who threatened to take away Fr. Fuller's licence and close the Church (for it was not consecrated), unless he gave in to his (the bishop's) directions. The bishop, as rector of the church, was within his canonical rights although his action was considered most arbitrary, while the laity concerned complained of a just grievance. The Fellows of Eton College, who were the patrons of the Mission, were prepared to re-open the church, if closed, under a priest of different views. Unless he was prepared to see the suspension or end of a fruitful Catholic work, no other course was open to Fr. Fuller, as the bishop's curate, than to submit to his diocesan's directions. This he did, and under the peculiar circumstances received both the sympathy and the acquiescence of the Society. For a time the use of Altar Lights, Vestments and the Mixed Chalice were discontinued. He outlived his difficulties and remained at Primrose Hill until his death. The Rev. George Chapman, who joined the Society in 1872, when at St. James', Liverpool, was well known later as the first Vicar of the Church of the Annunciation, Brighton. In spite of delicate health, he did great work there, the keynote of which was "devotion." He died in harness, October 2nd, 1891. He it was who in 1882 urged that S.S.C. should make the restoration of the Daily Mass one of its most important objects, pointing out that it would be the means of neutralising much of the selfishness of modern religion, and also a bulwark of support to keep steadfast many who, for lack of the Daily Sacrifice, were tempted to leave the Catholic Church in England. An appreciation of Fr. Chapman, with an account of his work and methods, will be found in The Memories of a Sister of St. Saviour's Priory. Four days after the passing of Fr. Chapman, or on October 6th, 1891, the Rev. R. A. Ransom, who had worked at St. Stephen's, Clewer, and All Saints', Maidenhead, also passed away. The Rev. T. Pelham Dale died April 19th, 1892. Prior to 1881 he had done good work at St. Vedast, Foster Lane. In 1876, he had been one of the victims of the P.W.R. Act and suffered much in spite of his endeavour for a time to acquiesce in the Bishop of London's acceptance of Lord Penzance's sentence. When the first suit against Mr. Dale had been quashed in the Court of Queen's Bench, a second one was immediately commenced, which eventually led to his imprisonment in Holloway Gaol for seven weeks. Released on sufferance to await an appeal as to the legality or illegality of his imprisonment, the Higher Court decided in due course that the indignity which had been placed upon him had been carried out by wrong procedure. Shortly afterwards he resigned the Benefice and became Vicar of Sausthorpe, Lincolnshire, in 1881, where he remained up to the time of his death.

Project Canterbury