The Synod was held in St. Peter's Church, London Docks,
9 A.M. Officium proprium. Elections and admissions.
10 a.m. Solemn Mass, with Sermon by Rev. Br. W. J. E. Bennett. Ordo ad Synodum. Master's Address. Resignation and Re-admission of Master. Minutes of April Chapter react and confirmed. Treasurer's Report accepted. Result of Elections. Reports of Committees. Re-appointment of Standing Committees. Reports of Local Branches. Permission granted to form a new Branch at Birmingham, under the dedication of St. Chad, Election of Local Officers confirmed.
Br. Bagshawe maintained that it is of the greatest importance that Catholic Clergy should take up this question. The Temperance Movement is spreading, especially by means of the Society of the "Good Templars." If this movement be left to itself, it may develope itself into a new sect, morality will be undermined, and our people led on to Deism. The "Good Templars" denounce all intoxicating liquors, even the use of wine in the Holy Sacrament, moreover they impose promises, which they call vows, thereby misleading people as to the nature and binding force of a religious vow.
Br. Neville remarked that the subject will be discussed at the Church Congress this year.
Br. Blakiston maintained that a life of moderation is higher than a life of total abstinence. He recommended the formation of a Guild.
Br. Corfe spoke of the immense numbers of the "Good Templars," and gave instances of members of that Society refusing Holy Communion, because of the use of wine. The "Good Templars," he said, were most ritualistic in their processions, and at their meetings. The movement is increasing in the Navy.
Brs. Murdoch and Dugmore thought it impossible to co-operate with the "Good Templars," and advocated the formation of a Church Guild for abstainers.
Br. Mossman compared the movement to the Manichean heresy.
Br. Stanton deemed total abstinence a mistake, socially and morally; socially, because the grand principle of education is to teach man to distinguish between use and abuse; morally, because self-denial is laid upon us by our Lord.
Br. Chaplin thought that the clergy could not press total abstinence upon their people unless they themselves abstained.
Br. Bristow, after alluding to the working of a Society called the "Band of Hope," said that he feared much of the drunkenness which prevailed amongst the poor could be traced back to the misery of their homes and the insufficiency of their food.
Proposed by Br. Bagshawe, seconded by Br. Neville --
"That the organization of Temperance Societies has a claim on the attention of Catholics."-- Carried.
Rider proposed by Br. Goldie, seconded by Br. Neville --
"And that Brs. Bagshawe, Murdoch, Neville, and Blakiston, be a Committee to report and advise upon the part to betaken in the present crisis."--Carried.
II. Carlisle Oratory.
Br. Pixell asked the Society's help in paying off the mortgage on the Oratory buildings. He thought that S.S.C. ought to identify itself more with the scheme, believing, as he did, that the Oratory is the only chance for Carlisle. As yet there is no resident priest, and until a regular chaplain came the services must be few, and the work crippled.
Proposed by the Treasurer, seconded by V. Br. Lowder --
"That a grant of £10 be made to the Carlisle Oratory." -- Carried.
III. Deceased Brethren.
Br. Mossman, after briefly alluding to our close communion with our deceased Brethren on that day, thought that prayer for them should form part of the obligations of S.S.C.
Proposed by Br. Mossman, seconded by Br. Marshall--
"That a Committee be appointed to take into consideration the question of prayers for the faithful departed, and that the Committee consist of Brs. Mossman, Marshall, Goldie, and G. A. Jones."--Carried.
IV. Bona Mors.
Postponed until the following day.
V. Alteration of hour of Monthly Chapters.
Br. Marshall thought that a better attendance would be gained, were the hour of meeting altered. He moved that a Committee be formed to consider the matter. On this motion being lost, an amendment was proposed by Br. Nihill, seconded by Br. Teale--
"That the hour for holding the Monthly Chapters be changed from 2.30 p.m., to 11 o'clock a.m."-- Carried.
One hundred and twenty-nine Brethren signed their names as being present on the first day of the Synod.
SECOND DAY, MAY 7th.
10 A. M. Officium proprium.
I. Grant of Money to St. Edward's School, Oxford.
The Treasurer thought that the Society might now make a grant of money to St. Edward's School, remarking that the reason why no such grant had been previously made was the low state of the Society's funds.
Br. P.B. Simeon gave some account of the working of the School, and said that the chief want, at the present time, is a chapel; and for this purpose he would, on behalf of his Brother, the Head Master, ask the assistance of the S.S.C.
Br. Noel spoke of the good work which St. Edward's School is doing for the Church of England, and alluded to the immense influence which Br. A. B. Simeon had over his pupils, and that without lessening the public school tone which prevails there in a remarkable degree.
"Proposed by Br. Macfarlane, seconded by V. Br. Lowder--
"That the sum of £10 be given toward the Chapel of St. Edward's School, Oxford."
Amendment moved by Br. Nicholas--
"That the grant be made guineas."--Amendment carried.
II. Conference at Frome.
V. Br. Lowder called the attention of the Synod to a special Chapter and Conference of S.S.C. which would be held at Frome in October, and urged all those Brethren living in the neighbourhood to attend, if possible.
III. Bona Mors.
Br. Shipley gave some account of the working of this Society on the continent, and thought that some such association might be formed in connection with S.S.C.
Br. Going had such a Society in his parish, and bore testimony to the sympathy of the poor with its objects. In this particular case none but the poor and those engaged in mission work were allowed to become members.
Br. Greenwell spoke of the great good which such a Society had done in his own parish at Leeds. It was common ground, on which all could meet. He asked no questions, but simply begged all who would, to atop and pray for the departed; when it seems impossible to reach the hearts of some in any other way, such an appeal will often melt them. He would admit persons of all ages, and would recommend weekly meetings. This Society, he argued, would be quite in accordance with the objects of S.S.C.
Br. W. G. Bullock alluded to the working of this Society in Paris, where prayers for the sick and for those actually dying at the time were joined with prayers for the dead.
Br. Corbet recommended the re-issue of certain books of devotion for the "Bona Mors," which are now out of print. He remarked that such a Society appealed to sense rather than to faith, and would, therefore, be more readily accepted by the great mass of our people.
Proposed by Br. Henderson, seconded by Br. Ware--
"That a Society, to be called the 'Bona Mors,' be established in connection with the S.S.C., and that the Committee appointed yesterday be requested to draw up a report to be presented at the next Synod."
Amendment moved by Br. Corbet--
"That Brs. Shipley, Greenwell, Montgomery, W. G. Bullock, Going, and Corbet (Sec.), be requested to consider the question of forming the 'Bona Mors' Society." Amendment carried.
IV. Society for the Maintenance of the Faith.
V. Br. Lowder gave a short sketch of the objects of this Society, and urged, the Brethren of S.S.C. to become members of it, provided that the purchase of advowsons formed no part of its scheme.
Br. E. G. Wood, after reading the printed objects of the Society, referred to the purchase of livings. He said that the Society had restricted itself to that which is allowed by Canon Law. It is possible, but not probable, that advowsons will be bought, but in this matter the Society will be guided by the best canonists. It is a question of Canon law, and therefore mere sentiment ought not to be regarded. Right of patronage is not a spiritual one, therefore to purchase such a right is not simony. After supporting his argument from an ancient mode of patronage, he said it was no part of the Society's scheme to go into the market, only it reserved to itself the right of purchasing advowsons should such purchase be deemed expedient by the council.
Br. Bagshawe feared that, just as the Simeon Trust has degenerated, so would the trust of this Society.
Br. Goldie thought that too much weight ought not to be given to Canon Law, which is founded partly on false decretals. He deemed it inexpedient for S.S.C. to take further action in the matter.
Br. E. G. Wood said that the Society has provided against degeneration in its trust. He maintained that morals are not affected by the purchase of advowsons, and that he quoted from expurgated editions of Canon Law. No resolution was passed.
V. Literature Committee.
Br. Shipley advocated the formation of a Literary Committee, for the purpoie of developing more fully the literary power of S.S.C. Our chief difficulty lies in the objections of publishers to take Catholic works, on the ground that they do not pay. We want such books as the "Golden Manual," and a good translation of the "Imitation."
Br. Powell spoke of the value of parochial depôts.
Br. Comper advocated the foreign plan of having a stall in the Church porch.
Br. Bagshawe deemed depôts unsuccessful. He thought the best plan would be to amalgamate with the "Tract Committee."
Proposed by Br. Shipley, seconded by Br. Foster--
"That a Literature Committee be appointed for the purpose of concentrating and developing the literary, power of the Society, specially upon the publication of devotional and ascetic works; the committee to consist of Brs. Littledale, Humble, Wilson, E. G. Wood, Shipley, and Foster."--Carried.
Proposed by Br. E. G. Wood, seconded by Br. Pixell--
"That the Literature Committee be authorised to publish, with Me. Pickering, such books as both parties shall mutually consider advisable, and that the Society guarantee the expense of half an edition of 1000 of each such books. This arrangement to continue in force for two years."--Carried.
The foregoing resolution, having been passed in the absence of the Treasurer could not be carried into effect without his consent, conjointly, with that of the Master (Stat. III., § 4) this consent has not, for financial reasons, been given; the resolution, therefore, remains in abeyance.
VI. Literary Organ.
Br. E. G. Wood maintained it to be the duty of Catholics to influence the intellect as well as the heart. We must show that there is no antagonism between Catholicism and progress. Our organ should treat of social and other subjects in a Catholic spirit.
Br. G. Arthur Jones deemed the subject foreign to the nature and objects of S.S.C.
Proposed by Br. E. G. Wood, seconded, by Br. Corbet--
"That in the interests of Catholic Truth, it is desirable that a Literary Organ be in existence, in which questions of general interest might be placed before the world, from an intellectual and Catholic standpoint."--Carried.
(1) Sale of Reports of Canon Law Committee.
Proposed by V., Br. Lowder, seconded by Br. E. G. Wood--
"That with the sanction of the Master, Reports of the Canon Law Committee may be sold by the printer."--Carried,
(2) Relation between licensed Clergy and "Sisters" working with them.
Br. J. R. Willington brought this subject before the S.S.C., and gave his experience of five years as a licensed chaplain in a Convalescent Home.
Br. E. G. Wood, in expressing his fear that collisions between the Clergy and Sisters are by no means infrequent, thought that the S.S.C. is best able to deal with the matter; and remarked that he had intended to have brought the subject before the present Synod.
Proposed by Br. J. R. Willington, seconded by Br. E. G. Wood--
"That the Committee on Canon Law be requested to draw up a statement as to the relation between the licensed clergy and the members of Sisterhoods with whom they happen to be working." --Carried.
(3) Degree of Obligation of S.S.C. Rules.
On the motion of the Master, it was resolved--"That the Canon Law Committee be requested to consider the degree of obligation of Rules of S.S.C., and that a Report be given to the Society."
Candidates for Election into the Society,
The Rev. R. S. Walpole-- Proposed by Br. Mossman, seconded by Br. Lutt.
The Rev. H. M. Wellington--Proposed by Br. Bristow, seconded by Br. Ware.
The Rev. S. H. Little--Proposed by Br. Ives, seconded by Br. C. H. Little.
In accordance with Statute XVII., notice was duly given of bringing the following resolutions before the September Synod--
(l) "To rescind Stat. VIII, §2; and, if this be carried, to appoint a Committee to consider what further alterations may be necessary." By Br. C. E. Hammond.
(2) "That it is desirable to form a third order of the Society, for such clergy as are willing to accept the Green Rule of Life as a standard." By Br. Macfarlane.
(3) "That those Brethren who live more than 200 or 250 miles away from London may have a vote in the election of the officers of the Society, although they may not be present." By Br. Beal.
Seventy-two Brethren signed their names as being present on the second day of the Synod.
The next Chapter of the Society will be held at 5, Greville Street, Brooke Street, Holborn, E.G., on Tuesday, June 10th, 1873, at 11 o'clock a.m.
1. A proposal that a learned Statement of the Doctrine of the Church of England, on the subject of Sacramental Confession, be drawn up and presented to the Bishops. Br. Enraght.
2. Book of Altar Ritual. Br. Goldie.
H. E. WILLINGTON,
5, GREVILLE STREET,
BROOKE STREET. HOLBORN, E.C.
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."--GAL. iii. 13.
THAT which was originally the sign of the lowest criminal degradation we have made the sign of our faith. That which was originally the instrument of suffering (the acutest, severest suffering which the human body can endure), we have made the ornament of our persons. And that holy, beautiful, benignant, loving figure of the human form, in which it pleased the Son of God to dwell for thirty arid three years, of which we read in the Evangelists that it was nailed to that instrument of suffering, we now carry along with us, although so degraded, and set it upon our altars, and venerate and adore it. And all this we do in the spirit of St. Paul's teaching--"God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world."
But there is one point in the holy sign which I do not think we make of so much account, for it was not only a sign of infamy and of suffering, but it was also the sign of a curse. What was to the Greeks "foolishness," was this--the fact (to them) of the absurdity of a religion based on such a ground as suffering. Whatever chief good their philosophers set forth--Stoics or Epicureans, or any other school--as the object of their attainment, certainly it never was suffering. And what was to the Jews a "stumbling-block " was this--the idea that anyone should be set forth as the expositor of faith, or the teacher of morals, who had in his own person to undergo, and did undergo, not only a degrading death and a suffering death, but also, according to the law which He professed to set forth, an "accursed" death--"Cursed is he that hangeth on a tree." They argued thus:--He could not be Messiah who was accursed. He could not be Messiah who by His own act confessed Himself guilty of sin.
Now, dear Brethren of the Cross, as to that holy sign. By our concerting together and bearing it on our breasts, and meeting together this day to celebrate the Invention of the Holy Cross, there is no doubt about our glorying in it. It is not now as it was in St. Paul's time; for not only we, as a sacred confraternity, but all the outside, common, ordinary world, all in some sort glory in the cross. Even the extremest Protestant Dissenter, who would repudiate the holy sign, yet would venerate the doctrine, and preach Christ crucified.
And as there is no shame attached to it, so there is no suffering. Fine ladies wear it at court, in the streets, and in theatres. Jewellers deck it with precious stones, and strive with each other as to who shall make it most beautiful as an article of sale and merchandise. Architects twist it into numberless shapes, to place it on the walls of our churches. So that, as far as glorying in it, the common world will preach as good a sermon on the cross as any the most eloquent of us could do. And truly, the words of St. Paul are am ply fulfilled--the world does glory in the cross. But is that what he meant?
It may be, dear brethren, that we, studying the cross, as our duty is, more deeply than the outside world, do advance much farther than they do. It may be that, in many cases, we have really to suffer; and knowing that the disciple must be as his master, we justly glory in that suffering. We are ready (even more) to be with St. Paul, "a spectacle unto the world, and to angels and to men;" and "being reviled, to bless;" and "being persecuted, to suffer it;" and to be "the filth of the world and the offscouring of all things." It may be that many of us would be glad, if only Almighty God would give us the grace, to try to win the crown of martyrdom, so that we might give back some little testimony of the love we bear Him, in return for the love He bore us.
But even all that, great as it is, would be nothing without the presence of that third point of which I spoke. For the Fakirs of the Desert, and the Hindoo priests of India, bear sufferings; and men in crowds have laid down their lives under the car of Juggernaut for a religion which was false. No; it is this third point that underlies all else. The cross is not only a suffering and a degradation, but a curse. Where there is no sense of the guilt of sin, there the sign of the cross is invalid. Where there is any glory or manifestation short of that glory and manifestation which is to say, "By this cross I acknowledge myself a sinner, and in such sense a sinner as without Jesus I never could have been saved,"--there is the sign of the cross and the preaching of the a useless thing.
I naturally am hated of God--put aside from and out of the sight of God--without any hope of reconciliation with, nay even of knowing, God; utterly outcast, under a ban; marked (as Cain was) with such a mark, that the angels and saints of God could never have known me. And this curse it was, this ban, this horrible mark it was, that Jesus, bearing for me, turned into this cross. Arid that is the reason why I value the cross. That is the reason why I take so much, pains to study it, to bear it about with me night and day, and to have it about my path and about my bed, and always in my sight. It is this, that unless I have it so--not here outside on my breast, not there outside on that altar, not here on this wall, admonishing me while I preach, not in my outside room, in my pictures and my books; but in my heart, in the spirit of my life, my temper, my disposition, words, my demeanour, thoughts--unless it is there, knowing that without it I am not saved, contending daily against the curse that it depicts, the curse under which I tremble daily, and should fall under utterly were it not for Him who bore it for me--it is that which makes me sing--
''Faithful Cross, above all other,
One and only noble Tree."
I can suffer pain! What is pain? A thing of the moment. Sorrow! Worldly sorrow--it passes away. Humiliation! It is a thing only of men. But the curse, the curse of Almighty God, God's everlasting curse, I could not bear that--I should not in the very least know how to escape from that. Oh, blessed Jesus! Thou the only begotten Son, dearly loved of Thy Father, One with Thy Father, in the bosom of Thy Father; brilliant in Thy glory, Thy unsullied glory! beautiful in Thy holiness, Thy immaculate holiness! all goodness, all purity, all love! that Thou shouldest have to suffer this curse, cursed of Thine own Father. Perhaps this it was that caused Thee to cry out, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" No; that I could not bear. Thou didst bear it for me; and this is my cross--the guilt of sin.
Dear Brethren, we, as Priests, have more to think of here than other men. Other men fall--from ignorance, from want of teaching, from want of a trained and disciplined mind, from want of spiritual exercise to sustain them, and the use of means of grace to defend them; more particularly not practising confession from time to time for the purification of the soul within. And so the curse abides upon them. We know this, and go forth, to preach to them accordingly, and we tell them of this curse, we warn them of their danger, we exceedingly tremble to think of souls wilfully, abiding under it.
But what of ourselves? Millions--the great average multitude of souls in this wide world, know nothing of the Cross, except by Baptism; but we know it also by the vows and the grace of Holy Orders. We have said that we were moved by the Holy Ghost to be what we are--Priests; We have vowed before the Altar that we would "lay aside the study of the world and of the flesh," and all such things as might hinder us in the vocation by which we were made the Priests of God. We have said that we would be "wholesome examples and patterns to the flock over which God might place us." Now is there any possibility of this great curse under which Jesus suffered still abiding in us; I mean the guilt of sin. We know, praise be to God, that the Sacrament of Confession takes it away. But we also know how needful it is to have repeated confessions, because of repeated falls. And in every interval between one confession and another, more or less there arises in proportion this guilt, i.e. this curse. Thus we are reminded of it perpetually, and shall be always reminded of it until we die. And so St. Paul comes to us, and says, "Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery. Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege." The guilt then of sin comes against us as Priests doubly--ah, more than doubly--in the mere fact of our multiplied profession, our more extended knowledge, our more peculiar studies, our more abundant means of grace, and above all, our own special Sacrament, which no other order of men can receive. And therefore the cross to us is a thousandfold greater an admonition, speaking down deep to the soul within of the curse which our Master bore for us, but still remaining ours, if guilt recurs.
And even still further. I speak first of those in the common order of the world, baptised; they have their cross, only as being baptised. And then I speak of the priesthood, the ordinary priesthood who have made their vows only of holy orders. But even much more than this for us; for we, in this Community of the Holy Cross, have come as it were more out of the world than they, like SS. James and John and Peter, who entered more closely into the agony of the garden than the other Apostles did, and more closely into the glory of the Transfiguration than the other Apostles did; we, I say, have drawn up more closely to Jesus, by taking up more openly, I might say more ostentatiously, our cross. We have invited the world to look at us. We have challenged the common order of men to observe what we say, and what we do, and how we live; we have assumed to be something more than ordinary Priests.
Then in proportion our responsibility. The return of that curse to us is terrible, whenever we fall. Woe unto us, if we, having the gospel given us, preach not the gospel; woe (that is, the curse reiterated), if taking up our cross, reminding ourselves thereby ostentatiously of its danger, we follow it not manfully to its issue. Oh, my clear Brethren, I feel myself, and I ask you to feel with me, that it would be better to go back and be a Jew, and let the cross be a "stumbling-block" to us, and not embrace it at all; or be a Gentile and let the cross be to us "foolishness," and so discard it altogether, than, having done so much as we have, and professing so much as we do, fall away after all, neglect, or forget it. I mean, forget it in the fundamental doctrine which it bears, the guilt of sin.
My dear Brethren of the Cross, there is no doubt but that every one of us, when we presented ourselves to be members of this holy Society, did; so with the very, best intentions we did so, either because we wished to shew others that we meant something by being Priests; or that we might receive from the holy sign a safeguard from temptation; or that the binding of a stricter rule of life might compel us to abstain from the outer world; or that we might have more accessible means one with the other of purifying ourselves from sin by frequent confession; or in the intercourse with the world, which from our position we might be compelled to keep up, if we felt the fascinations of it too alluring for our weakness, or too dangerous for our stability, we might retire within its rules as into a stronghold, and defy the enemy the more securely. But the danger to us is the same as to any other order of men, lest having begun we fall back, lest having taken up the cross with a good courage at the outset, we fail in the life to which it leads. We take up the cross, but we do not carry it very far; we fall under it. Ah! Even Jesus himself (bodily) fell under it, but then He very soon recovered, and carried it on, or somehow went with it up to Calvary. We do not: we take up the cross, but do not get to Calvary. Or perhaps we do get to Calvary; but then, the sight of that tree on which the curse of Almighty God rests, lying there on the ground, and the nails, and the hammer, and the sponge, and the vinegar--all this apparatus of torment terrifies us; we slip away, and get down the hill to the people below, and mix again in the crowds of the world. Or perhaps we manage to bear all this, and continue stedfast; but then comes the stripping of the garments--we must be naked, naked of everything.
Do you wish on this cross to build yourself up with the helps of the world, with rich endowments, and cleverness of law? Do you wish on this cross to go into markets, and buy and sell for human position, and think that, by the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, you are to outwit Satan in his own dominion, and so to preach Christ? Do you wish on this cross to clothe yourself with the vesture of regal pomp, or the strength (as it is supposed) of an Establishment, or the display of worldly learning, or the acumen of theological controversy, and so to preach Christ? No, you must, be stripped of it all. Naked you must be laid on that cross. Nothing is to be left to you which is to be called your own. No, not even in spiritual things. The curse, the guilt of sin, the sin of pride, worldliness, ambition, lies in the slightest attempt to think, to plan, to scheme anything of ourselves. Our preaching, our eloquence, our talents, our writing, our books, our pamphlets, our churches, our altars, our own very souls' spiritual condition, must be stripped and laid bare, so that we may lie down on that cross and be nailed to it, and be lifted up as a spectacle to the world, naked of everything as Jesus was.
Yes, dear Brethren and fellow-soldiers of this Cross, there is nothing for us to bear about us of ourselves. Naked we came into the world, and naked we must go out. We must be quite sure and feel that there is nothing in us, of ourselves but vileness, and emptiness, and one heap of guilt under the curse,--till Jesus comes, with His own dear loving voice, and says,. "Peace be with you," and He puts us all gently aside, and He says "You are not able to bear this, I will bear it for you," and He bids us to be silent, and patient, and gentle, and to trust to Him, and not attempt to be so very clever, and not to take up carnal weapons, or clothe ourselves with the garments of men, but naked (naked of the world as He was), to lie down there on His cross, and die.