SHORTLY before the commencement of 1722 it was rumored in New Haven that the rector of Yale College, Timothy Cutler, the tutor, Daniel Browne, and certain neighboring ministers were tainted with "Arminianism and prelacy." On the day after commencement the seven men involved appeared before the trustees and stated that they labored under difficulties in being out of the visible communion of an Episcopal Church, and that some of them doubted the validity of their ordination, others were sure of its invalidity. A conference was held, after which four of the group abandoned their positions and prospects and undertook the journey to England for orders. One of them, Samuel Johnson, has left records of the reasons which led him to the decision. His earlier career as a teacher at Yale had coincided with an intellectual awakening to what was then modern thought. Johnson and Browne had introduced in 1717 the study of Locke and Newton, and the Copernican system. Entrance into a larger intellectual world brought with it acquaintance with the Historic Church. Instead of the turbulent democracy of American churches it offered them a venerable and orderly form of government, desirable enough for practical reasons alone, which they soon came to believe to be also of Divine Authority. Instead of the harshness of Calvinism, it offered them a way of life in which spiritual progress was looked for from the penitent use of means of grace, rather than as the result of an inscrutable decree. Instead of the risks attendant on extempore prayer, it offered them the system and beauty of Liturgical Worship.
Previously the Church of England in the American Colonies had been in some parts the beneficiary of an establishment of doubtful value, in others the traditional Church of English immigrants. Now as the flame of Catholic devotion began to burn, although feebly for a time, there were those who adhered to it because they believed they found in it the Faith, Order, and Sacraments of the apostolic Church. Samuel Johnson was for many years rector of Stratford, the mother parish of Connecticut, and later first president of King's College, New York. Among other leaders were T. B. Chandler of Elizabeth, and Samuel Seabury, at the outbreak of the Revolution rector of St. Peter's, Westchester. These two were products of Yale and the nascent Connecticut Churchmanship; from elsewhere came Charles Inglis, missionary at Dover, Delaware, later assistant and (1777-1783) rector at Trinity Church, New York. Many of the clergy were active in the pamphlet literature of the period. The Church had to be defended against popular slanders and Calvinist attacks. The cause of episcopacy had to be maintained and the beauties of the Prayer Book set forth. Chandler was one of the leaders in the unsuccessful attempt to secure the necessary completion of the Church's system--an American episcopate.
The faith of these men in Catholic order was shown by their works in the critical period of organization after the Revolution. The movements for organization further south were largely under latitudinarian auspices. Although William White's suggestion that the Church might, if necessary, proceed without Bishops was dropped, yet the first draft constitution of 1785 gave Bishops no higher status than that of ex-officio delegates to the General Convention. The Proposed Book of 1785 omitted the Athanasian and Nicene Creeds, the descent into hell in the Apostles' Creed, and the reference to regeneration in the Baptismal Office. Far different was the tone of proceedings in Connecticut. While elsewhere the Church had first organized, and then petitioned for Bishops, in Connecticut it assumed that a body must first have a head before attempting to act. On March 25, 1783, the convention of clergy elected Samuel Seabury to the episcopate. The sermon at his consecration at the hands of the Scotch bishops, October 14, 1784,was on the nature and extent of the apostolic commission. In a concordat with his consecrators Bishop Seabury pledged himself to communion with the persecuted Scotch Church, and to serious study of the Scotch Liturgy, introducing it into America "if found agreeable to the genuine standards of antiquity." On his return the Church in Connecticut became the first organized diocese of the American Church. The Bishop's first charge stressed the value of Confirmation, now made available in America. He shortly issued a Communion Office practically identical with the Scotch Liturgy.
It seemed for a time that there would he two Episcopal Churches in America. Fortunately however, the most serious divergences from Catholic order in the proposed organization had been removed at the protest of the English Bishops, and purely personal difficulties were removed by the Christian spirit of leaders on both sides. A separate House of Bishops was established, while the Connecticut Church agreed to lay representation in conventions. The influence of Bishop Seabury on the American Prayer Book was important. It was at his suggestion that the Communion Office of 1789, while retaining the English order, adopted from the Scotch Liturgy our fuller Prayer of Consecration. In 1792 when the Ordinal was revised he was responsible for retaining Accipe spiritum sanctum and "whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven" in the Ordination of Priests. Under Bishop Seabury's successor an Office of Induction of Ministers was drawn up in 1799 for the diocese of Connecticut. This, with slight changes, was adopted by the General Convention of 1804 as the Office of Institution, to which we owe it that "altar" and "Eucharist" are Prayer Book expressions in the American Church, and that its clergy are authorized "to perform every Act of sacerdotal Function" in their parishes.
The teaching of these old High Churchmen may best be summed up as historic, sacramental, and ethical. Conscious of being placed in opposition to surrounding Calvinism, they stressed both the importance of union with the Historic Church and the fact that the Christian life is a moral struggle, nourished by the Sacraments. A few quotations will illustrate the tone of their teaching. "We observe," says Dr. Johnson,
at this day a vast number of people, many great and powerful kingdoms, professing the same faith, observing the same institutions, and having the same priesthood which Christ and His Apostles taught and appointed, to which He promised His blessing and presence to the end of the world. [MS. sermon in Columbia University library, The Oeconomy of the Redemption of Man, pp. 57-58.)]
John Bowden, from 1805-1817 professor of moral philosophy in Columbia College, wrote, commenting on the phrase "one Eucharist" in the epistles of St. Ignatius:
The ministration of the blessed Eucharist by diverse hands, or at sundry tables, within the same diocese, is one, if duly war ranted by, and kept accountable to, the first and principal minister of that holy ordinance, who is the rightful Bishop of the whole flock. The plurality of Eucharists is thus made one, throughout all the united dioceses of the Catholic Church; because, in the gradual process of the Church from the beginning, both Bishops and Presbyters do all claim a power of commission to consecrate from one another, till they rise up to the blessed Apostles themselves, and they from Christ alone. [A Second Letter from John Bowden, MA., rector of St. Paul's Church, Norwalk, to the Rev. Dr. Stiles, president of Yale College, New Haven, 1789, pp. 80-81.]
Bishop Seabury set forth, as the teaching of the primitive Christians and the Church of England, that under the symbols of the bread and cup, the body and blood of Christ, which He offered up, and which were broken and shed upon the cross, are figured forth; and being presented to God our heavenly Father by His priest here on earth, the merits of Christ for the remission of sins are pleaded by him, and, we trust by our great High Priest Himself in heaven; and being sanctified by prayer, thanksgiving, the words of institution, and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, are divided among the communicants as a feast upon the sacrifice. [Bishop Seabury's Second Charge to the Clergy of His Diocese [sic] New Haven, 1786, pp. 17-19.]
In worship, the High Churchmen of this period did not go beyond the better standard of the day. At least in Connecticut, monthly Communions were normal. Bishop Seabury, in an appeal for frequent Communion, expressed the hope that the time would come when the Eucharist would form part of every Sunday's solemnity, as it did in the best days of the Church. Church music was cultivated as far as the conditions of the country allowed; the first reference to the chanting of the "reading psalms" seems to be at the consecration of St. James', New London, in 1787. In the exchange of the surplice for the gown before the sermon Johnson saw a deep appropriateness, as indicating the superiority of worship to preaching. On special occasions Bishop Seabury wore a mitre with his chimere and doctor's hood; and his example was followed by the first Bishop of Maryland, Thomas Claggett.
Unassuming and genuine devotion characterized the old High Churchmen; but with it there was little of the flexibility of methods and appeal to the emotions and the imagination needed to propagate the Christian religion in a new country. The "Great Awakening" of the 1740s and the beginnings of Methodism appeared merely as dangerous developments. A High Churchman who was too active opened himself to charges of "enthusiasm." When Inglis was being considered for a position at Trinity the vigor of his ministry in Delaware led to suspicion of Methodist tendencies. Forty years later similar suspicions were aroused by the devotional manuals issued by another young curate of old Trinity, John Henry Hobart. In the preface to his Companion to the Altar, issued in 1804, he defends himself against the charge of encouraging "visionary and enthusiastic" devotion by citing precedents for fervor ranging from David to the Caroline divines. This work was shortly accompanied by two other Companions--to the Book of Common Prayer, and to the feasts and fasts, the latter adapted from an English work. In the first of the series the guiding principles are stated to be that we are saved from the guilt and dominion of sin by the divine merits and grace of a crucified Redeemer; and that the merits and grace of this Redeemer are applied to the soul in the devout and humble participation of the ordinances of the Church, administered by a priesthood who derive their authority by regular transmission from Christ.
Under Bishop Moore's episcopate the Church in New York, which had been dull and almost dying, began to recover its vigor and to expand. As secretary of the Convention, as preacher, and as defender of the Church's teaching against the attacks which the clear words of his devotional manuals had produced, Hobart was the Bishop's outstanding sup porter, and the obvious choice for Assistant Bishop in 1811. The nineteen years of his episcopate were a period of vigorous expansion of the Church into Western New York. The Bishop not only directed and supported the expansion, but encouraged the missionary clergy by frequent visitations, on which he was received with enthusiasm by Churchmen and others. His teaching was continued in occasional convention charges. The labors of a catechist sent to the Oneida Indians bore fruit in an appeal from their chiefs to the "head and father of the holy and apostolic Church in this state" to take them under his care, which resulted in the Oneida work which still exists. As Bishop, Hobart continued his earlier interest in Church societies, especially those for the publication of tracts, for education, and for the distribution of the Bible and Prayer Book.
Only a year after Bishop Hobart's consecration, Theodore Dehon became Bishop of South Carolina. Trained in loyalty to the Church and her sacraments by his mother, he had brought a new devotion into his parishes at Newport and Charleston. The Church's festivals were observed and its fasts not neglected; Baptism was turned from a social event into a revered sacrament, and the Holy Communion venerated as the "chief instrument of spiritual growth." Taking over a decaying diocese, without a Bishop for 11 years, he renewed its life and vigor in his five-year episcopate. Churches were built, the number of communicants greatly increased, and careful preparation for the sacraments encouraged, al though weekly Communion still seemed impossible. A similar work was done by John Stark Ravenscroft, first Bishop of North Carolina. Converted from a life of indifference when nearly forty, he first attached himself to the "Republican Methodists." Feeling the need for outward authority, he brought his evangelical zeal into the Church, and in her priesthood combined ardent preaching of the cross with insistence on the divinely appointed authority of the Church as the interpreter of the Gospel. His short episcopate (1823-1830) left an impress which still endures.
The revival of life in the American Church in the early nineteenth century was the joint work of the rising Evangelical party, and of the High Churchmen. The comparatively new institution of Sunday schools was taken up with great enthusiasm by both groups; High Churchmen, how ever, were the leaders in the organization of the General Protestant Episcopal Sunday School Union in 1826, and its literature reflected their principles. The secretary of the organization committee, and the leader of the Union in its early years, was a disciple of Bishop Hobart's, W. R. Whittingham. The growth of the Church made clear the need of systematic training of candidates for orders. South Carolina, under Dehon's leadership, suggested in 1814 the establishment of a theological seminary, a proposal which led to the founding of the General Theological Seminary in 1817; it was finally established in New York in 1822, and united with a diocesan school which Bishop Hobart had started. New Bishops succeeded the old leaders as the years went on. Ravenscroft was followed by Levi Silliman Ives, and in 1834 came the consecration of James Harvey Otey, who thirty years later was to order inscribed on his grave "First Bishop of the Catholic Church in Tennessee." Bishop White's assistant and successor was Henry U. Onderdonk, author of a series of pamphlets which were collected as Episcopacy Tested by Scripture. His like-minded brother became in 1830 Bishop of New York.
American High Churchmanship was, therefore, on the eve of the Oxford Movement no mere survival, but an active and evangelizing force. The contacts with British Churchmen of similar views, begun in the days of Johnson and Seabury, had not ceased. Hobart had corresponded with Archdeacon Daubeny, had met and impressed Newman, and was a friend of Hugh James Rose, at whose house a conference important in the history of the Oxford Movement was held. When the Tracts began to come out they found an American public already waiting for them, and the principal works of the Tractarians appear almost immediately in American book sellers' catalogues. Some recognized in the new teaching a more vigorous statement of what they had already learned; others passed from curiosity to opposition, and from opposition to violent attacks on this new form of popery, more dangerous because adapted to the modern age. By 1841 the Movement, both in England and America, had attained sufficient importance to be discussed, and attacked as popish, in a series of lectures by a Philadelphia Presbyterian minister, to which Bishop Doane of New Jersey prepared an elaborate reply. Dr. Seabury, grandson of the Bishop, as editor of the Churchman, became the chief journalistic defender of Tractarianism.
Before the end of the results of the Movement were beginning to be seen in the life of the Church. Bishop Hobart had, in the interests of reverence, promoted a "three-decker" arrangement of altar, reading-desk, pulpit in place of the blocking of the chancel by the massive central pulpits common in the eighteenth century. His successor was able to report in 1839 that several new churches had returned to the older and better model, having the altar as the chief feature, the pulpit on one side. Whittingham, as rector of St. Luke's, New York, had in 1832 begun the daily service, although this does not seem to have been kept up at that time. Various other churches tried the experiment in the next few years, and in 1838 the Offices were begun in the General Seminary chapel. In 1841 Bishop Onderdonk of New York commended the "Oxford Tracts" to the attention of the laity, with the re mark that Protestantism is a purely negative term, and that we depart from Rome in order to come nearer to Christ and the Catholic Church. In 1843 he reported to his convention that Holy Days were being more observed, and Communion monthly and on the days for which there were proper prefaces was becoming the standard. Our attachment to the Church should be shown by solicitude for the daily services and for Communion on all Sundays and Holy Days. Bishop Doane gave similar encouragement to "Newmania" in New Jersey. In the comparative freedom of his school chapel at Flushing, W. A. Muhlenberg had led the way in the revival of beauty in worship, although his ceremonial was aesthetic and of his own invention. Altar lights, a credence table, wafer bread, and a picture of our Lady made their appearance in Trinity Church, Nantucket, in 1840.
Nor did the Tractarians feel that they were rejected by the Church's leaders. It was the whole episcopate which in 1832 had recommended that the priest stand in the Communion service, except when told to kneel, because his action was "of a spiritually sacrificial character." Soon after the Church declared itself its own missionary society it sent the High Churchman Jackson Kemper as Missionary Bishop to the northwest (1835). Already in 1830 schools had been founded in Athens under instructions calling for friendly relations with the Orthodox Church, while Horatio Southgate endeavored, from 1836 to 1849, to establish contacts with the Patriarch of Constantinople and other heads of the Eastern Churches, residing at Constantinople as presbyter and, from 1844, as Bishop.
While Catholic Faith and Practice were steadily progressing, young men saw visions of a yet more rapid advance. A group of students at the General Seminary, who looked to Whittingham, professor of ecclesiastical history from 1836, as their guide, listened to Bishop Kemper's appeal for men and formed the scheme of a Religious House in which six or eight men should live together, devoting themselves to educational and missionary work. It was in 1840 that several of the middle class first proposed their "Society of Protestant Monks." Only three of the original group persevered after their graduation in 1841, and took up work in Wisconsin under Bishop Kemper's direction. By the fall of 1842 they had established their mission and school on the Nashotah Lakes and traveled 120 miles to be advanced to the priesthood at the Oneida mission. One of the number, James Lloyd Breck, succeeded "Prior Cadle," the priest who had come with them as temporary head.
The publication of Tract 90 soon received attention in the American Church. A public protest was made in 1843 against the ordination of Arthur Carey, a young graduate of the General Seminary, who had declared himself in agreement with its principles, two priests coming forward publicly to object at the service in St. Peter's, New York. Bishop Onderdonk overruled the objection and proceeded. Carey commended himself to the parishioners of the Church of the Annunciation by his devotion and obtained the permission of the rector, Dr. Seabury, to open the church for prayers on week days. He was, however, already in poor health and his short ministry came to an end with his death at sea, on the way to Cuba for his health, on Maundy Thursday, 1844.
The discussion raised by the Carey ordination continued vigorously for some years in a battle of pamphlets and magazines. Some, at least, who called themselves Evangelical turned from zeal for the Gospel to attempts at repression. At the General Convention of 1844 an attempt was made to secure a definite condemnation of
serious errors in doctrine and practice, having their origin in certain writings emanating chiefly from members of the University of Oxford in England.
This failed, but a commission was appointed to investigate the teaching given at the General Seminary. The questionnaire it drew up carefully balanced opposing opinions, thus:
Are the Oxford Tracts adopted as text books in the Seminary? Are they publicly or privately recommended to the students?
Is Tract 90 used or . . . recommended?
was followed by
Is Calvinism . . . taught or recommended?
The investigation resulted in a resolution of confidence in the institution. At or after this convention three Bishops were the objects of partisan attacks. H. U. Onderdonk was deposed in 1844, his brother was indefinitely suspended in 1845, and a prolonged attempt was made to bring Bishop Doane to trial some years later. In each case the real cause was Tractarianism rather than the charges alleged.
In these years of debate the progress of the Catholic Revival was not halted. The weekly Eucharist, longed for for so many years, became a reality in several places. At Nashotah the custom began with the ordination of the young missioners to the priesthood in 1842. St. Peter's, Ashtabula, Ohio, where the Rev. John Hall had already in 1829 described himself as a "strict Episcopalian," and St. Peter's, Philadelphia, started about the same time and other churches soon followed. In Boston the Church of the Advent was founded in 1844
to secure to a portion of the City of Boston the ministrations of the Holy Catholic Church, and more especially to secure the same to the poor and needy, in a manner free from unnecessary expense and all ungracious circumstance.
The first rector was the Rev. William Croswell, son of a leading Connecticut Churchman. Daily services were begun on September 1, 1845, Holy Day Eucharists on St. Matthew's Day, 1849. In Philadelphia similar ideals led to the founding of St. Mark's, in New York the new building of Trinity Church was consecrated on Ascension Day, 1846; the Daily Offices have been said since that time. In Advent of the same year the Church of the Holy Communion was consecrated, devoted to "the Catholic Faith whole and undefiled." Muhlenberg was founder and rector; the altar was made the chief object in the church, the Offices were said daily, and weekly Communion was shortly instituted.
The annoying fires of petty persecution were to try American Catholics for some years. In Ohio, Bishop McIlvaine, who had written against the Tractarians in 1840, refused in 1846 to consecrate a church which had an altar instead of a table with legs, on the ground that the altar was meant to imply a "real propitiary sacrifice" in the Eucharist. In Massachusetts, Bishop Eastburn refused to confirm at the Advent on account of such "superstitious puerilities" as a cross over the altar, candles upon it, and the eastward position during prayers. The assistant, Oliver Prescott, was presented for trial in 1850--for violating the usages of the diocese (preaching in surplice) and for heresy (teaching the sinless ness of the Blessed Virgin, and recommending confession to a priest). Although not convicted of a canonical offense, he was sentenced to suspension until he should promise not to hear confessions except in cases of serious or contagious illness. Bishop Southgate became rector of the Advent in 1852, and secured the passage by the General Convention of 1856 of a canon requiring Bishops to visit parishes at least triennially.
In spite of the many encouraging signs, despair seized the hearts of some. "Are we the only Tractarians in America?" a young parishioner of the Advent asked Prescott in the early '50s. Several young men who had been among the Tractarian students at the General Seminary gave up their hopes for the Episcopal Church and were received into the Roman communion. More important was the defection of Bishop Ives. He had attempted, without success, to form a Religious House at Valle Crucis in his diocese, and perplexed the faithful by a series of vacillations, now making definite statements, now withdrawing them or declaring the purpose behind his actions to be the union of the Roman, Greek, and Anglican Churches. He finally left the Church in 1852. At Nashotah one of the original three brethren had left, Adams remained to teach, but not to share the common life, and Breck was left alone in the attempt at some amount of Religious discipline. For a time he carried on, enrolling the students as "lay brothers," but in 1850 left Nashotah in other hands to develop as a seminary, while he went further west to work in Indian missions and the planting of the Church in Minnesota.
Nevertheless, Catholic advance in the American Church had not halted. The movement for weekly Communion spread gradually, often combined with the movement for free churches. Eugene Hoffman, a young graduate of General, introduced weekly Communion in the free Christ Church, Elizabeth, of which he was the first rector, and wrote a pamphlet, The Weekly Eucharist, in defense of the practice. it was being conclusively shown that it was possible to live the Sacramental Life in the Episcopal Church. Confessions began to be heard in considerable numbers. Increasing care was taken in the reverent performance of divine service. Preaching in the surplice and the eastward position for prayer began to spread, and Gregorian chants were introduced, as well as choral services and vested choirs. The plans for St. Mark's, Philadelphia, were drawn by the English Ecclesiological Society, while Trinity Church, New York, and Trinity Chapel (1855), both by Upjohn, are among the best products of the Gothic Revival in America.
Muhlenberg, who called himself an "Evangelical Catholic," played an important part in familiarizing the American Church with new ideas, although he himself was drifting away from Tractarianism. While not in complete sympathy with the ideals of the Religious Life, he supported the idea of Sisterhoods for practical work. He began in 1845 and organized in 1852 the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion, which worked in connection with the infirmary of the Church of the Holy Communion, and, after its opening, at St. Luke's Hospital. Among its members was Harriet Starr Cannon, admitted in 1857. She and several others became conscious of a call to a closer Community life, and in 1863, on the occasion of a suspension of the Sisterhood, accepted an invitation to take charge of the House of Mercy, there to test their vocation. In 1864 they took over in addition the Sheltering Arms Home, near St. Michael's Church. The Bishop of New York, Horatio Potter, had appointed a committee of priests to consider the organization of Sisterhoods. As a result of its report the Bishop received the professions of Sister Harriet and her companions on the Purification, 1865, in St. Michael's. At the first formal chapter of the Community of St. Mary, held in the fall, Sister Harriet was elected Mother Superior. At about the same time came the first enduring American contribution to the Religious Life for men, when Prescott and Charles C. Grafton left for England with the approbation of their Diocesan, Whittingham, since 1840 Bishop of Maryland, to join Fr. Benson in the Society of St. John the Evangelist.
By the middle 1860s American High Churchmanship had at last grown into full Catholicism. About 1865, St. Alban's, New York, began to attract attention by its eucharistic vestments and its frequent Masses. It was necessary to make clear that what mattered was the Catholic system, of which its ceremonial expression was a minor, although necessary, corollary. This was done in 1868 when Ferdinand Cartwright Ewer, then rector of Christ Church, New York, delivered and published a series of sermons, On. the Failure of Protestantism, and on Catholicity. Protestantism is accused of. failing to reach the masses, and of being responsible for a progressive decay of belief among thinking men. Both failures Ewer traces to a difference in the doctrine of election. To Protestants election is of individuals to salvation, and hence organized religion gradually decays; to Catholics election is to union with Christ in His mystical body, the Church. In vigorous language Ewer defended the Catholic character of the Anglican Churches--their retention of the whole Catholic system of belief and practice. Christianity is based on the mediation of Christ between God and man; and that mediation is mutilated unless it be allowed its extension in Church and Sacraments. It might be said of these sermons, as of the early Tracts for the Times, that they speak not as one who reflects on problems in a comfortable study, but as one who gives the alarm of fire or flood. Ten years later Ewer referred to them as an indictment drawn up "in the fear of God and on behalf of dying souls." In Catholicism he found true freedom, and pointed out that Anglo-Catholics were better able to receive new ideas, e.g., evolution, without losing their positive faith than was either Rome or the mixture of license and the persecuting spirit to be found in Protestantism.
Public attention was attracted at the time, however, not by the controlling ideas of the Catholic Revival, but by its more obvious external manifestations. The full ceremonial of St. Alban's, and movements in the same direction elsewhere, roused considerable protest, caused in part by the natural objection of the human mind to changes from what it is used to. Some of the old High Churchmen opposed the new ritualists. Bishop Whittingham objected to surplices which did not reach to the ankles, and permitted crosses on tippets, but not fringes. Bishop Hopkins of Vermont, on the other hand, who had written against Tractarianism in 1846, published in 1866 The Law of Ritual, which defended the use of symbolic ceremonial in Christian worship and, in particular, the application of the English ornaments rubric to the American Church. With others, however, the opposition was based on hostility to Catholic belief. Bishop McIlvaine was pained to find a processional vested choir in the parish which twenty years before had attempted to introduce an altar, and in his convention address of 1868 argued against the practice at some length. His final argument was that, to distinguish them selves from such a choir, the clergy would assume eucharistic vestments, and so proclaim themselves as sacrificing priests.
Prejudice always finds arguments, and it was not long before canonists appeared to argue that the usages of the period when the American Prayer Book was adopted were permanently binding on the American Church. At a meeting of the House of Bishops in October, 1866, an attempt was made to secure some action against ritualism. No official action was taken, but in the following year a declaration was issued, signed by twenty-eight Bishops, condemning "ritualistic innovations," and in particular
the use of incense, and the burning of lights in the order for the Holy Communion; reverence to the Holy Table or to the elements thereon, such as indicate or imply that the sacrifice of our Divine Lord and Saviour, "once offered," was not a "full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world,"
as contrary to the "discipline, rites, and usages" of the Church. It was soon pointed out that the declaration was a "blank cartridge" without canonical force, and ambiguously framed. Among its signers were both those who objected to the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist, and those who merely disliked changes in current ceremonial. Whittingham and Potter, although they themselves preferred simpler methods of worship, pointedly abstained. At the convention of 1868 the desirability of regulating ritual was brought up, and the matter referred to a commission. Meanwhile the spread of Catholic teaching brought to the attention of Protestants in the Church the presence of "Romanizing germs" in the Prayer Book, which they would have liked to see removed. A movement was started in particular for at least the per missive omission of the phrases in the baptismal office implying baptismal regeneration. In 1869 nine Bishops issued a proposal for such an amendment.
As the convention of 1871 approached the issues in this confused battle began to clarify. It was fortunate that there stood out as the Catholic leader one who well represented the connection between Catholic truth and the Catholic life. James DeKoven, since 1859 warden of Racine College, had an unusually vivid sense of the position of Christians as citizens of two worlds. Not unsympathetic with modern progress and the spread of knowledge, he looked with such wonder as the saints would feel at men who were so blind as to miss the unseen realities--God, the soul, and Christ. The Christian life presented itself to him mainly as the super natural life; our citizenship in heaven is not postponed to the future; but begins with our Baptism. His sacramental teaching was far removed from mere maintenance of orthodoxy as a set of correct opinions; his defense of "ritualism" was clearly tied up with the principles on which Catholic worship is based. Baptism begins the supernatural life, uniting us with Christ and making us the temples of God. The Eucharist nourishes that union; it is the means of the constant presence of the Incarnate Saviour in the world, and unites us with the heavenly worship of the Lamb once slain. It was because of his devotion to the supernatural life in the modern world that DeKoven gave his life to the cause of Christian education and the development, unhappily not permanently successful, of Racine College.
As deputy from Wisconsin, DeKoven took a prominent part in the convention of 1871. The commission appointed in 1868 recommended the prohibition of incense, crucifixes, processional crosses, lights on the holy table except when necessary, the elevation of the Elements "as objects toward which adoration is to be made," various ceremonial acts, solitary celebrations, and lay assistants at the Holy Communion, and the limitation of vestments to surplice, black or white stole, gown and bands. Vigorous discussion continued throughout the convention. DeKoven in a famous speech towards the end of the session brought the discussion back to matters of principle, challenging anyone to present him for heresy for saying, in words recently passed upon in the Bennett judgment in England:
I believe in "the Real, Actual Presence of our Lord under the form of bread and wine upon the altars of our churches." I "myself adore," and would, if it were necessary, or my duty, "teach my people to adore Christ present in the elements under the form of bread and wine." And I use these words, because they are a bold statement of the doctrine of the Real Presence. But I use them for another reason: they are adjudicated words. They are words which, used by a divine of the Church of England, have been tried in the highest ecclesiastical court of England, and have been decided by that court to come within the limits of the truth laid in the Church of England.
The ceremonies attacked taught only the "real, spiritual presence of Christ"; the issue involved was not mere ritualism, but
the grand forward movement of the Church of God, which is meant to be not a Church for today, but a Church forever, the American Catholic Church.
Divisions between the houses prevented action at this convention. On the proposal of the nine Bishops, the House of Bishops contented itself with declaring that the word "regenerate" in the baptismal office is not "so used as to deter mine that a moral change in the subject of Baptism is wrought in the sacrament." The pastoral letter of the Bishops stressed the importance of giving a Christian training to those admitted by Christ to the baptismal covenant, "His own children by adoption and grace." There followed warnings against "Eucharistical Adoration," and the neglect to the reverence due to Holy Mysteries.
It was on the Protestant side that dissatisfaction was felt with these balanced utterances. Discontent with the Church's teaching on priesthood and sacrament led in 1873 to the regrettable Reformed Episcopal secession. in the convention of 1874 debates were resumed and a canon passed providing a procedure for restraining ceremonies teaching "erroneous or doubtful doctrines"; as examples of such ceremonies were mentioned acts "of adoration of or toward the Elements in the Holy Communion," or elevation for that purpose. It was immediately pointed out that no Catholic ever adored the Elements, but only the Divine Presence, and that all Churchmen knelt facing the Elements for their Communions; hence the adoration condemned was a mental error which could not be shown in acts. The attack on Catholicism had failed, and the heat of the controversy died away in two minor actions. The Convention of 1874 refused to confirm the election of George F. Seymour, professor of ecclesiastical history at the General Seminary, to the bishopric of Illinois, and in 1875 the standing committees refused to confirm DeKoven for the same office. In 1878 rancor was so far forgotten that Seymour was allowed to become Bishop of Springfield. The canon of 1874 slumbered on, serving no purpose, until it was quietly dropped at a general revision of the code in 1904.
Even during the years of controversy there had been no pause in the progress of the Revival. In Baltimore the old High Church parish, St. Paul's, had founded a daughter church, Mount Calvary, which became a center of Catholic teaching. A daily Mass was begun in 1868, although not kept up quite continuously; work among the colored people was begun in 1873. In New York the free church of St. Mary the Virgin was projected in 1867, a site selected on the Bishop's advice, and services started on the patronal festival, December 8, 1870, under the distinguished rectorship of Fr. Thomas McKee Brown. Here daily Mass was started at once. Meanwhile, Dr. Ewer, finding himself surrounded by ridicule and slander at Christ Church, became in 1871 founder and first rector of St. Ignatius'. Trinity under the long rectorship of Morgan Dix remained true to its traditions, while Dr. Dix acted for a time as chaplain of the Community of St. Mary and throughout his life gave the weight of his personal and official position to support of the Catholic Revival by teaching and action. In Boston the Advent had continued to progress under the rectorship of James Bolles. In 1870, after his resignation, the attention of the corporation was called to a brotherhood of clergymen in England, and a committee organized to make arrangements with "the Rev. Mr. Benson, of Oxford," for assistance. The result was the first visit of members of the Society of St. John the Evangelist to America, and in 1872 the election of Fr. Grafton as rector.
The time had come at last for giving full opportunity for the sacramental and Catholic life, the doctrinal foundations of which had so long been taught. The Eucharist was given its primary place as the chief act of worship; Fasting Communion was taught, and the corollary of the Real Presence in the duty to adore our Lord on the altar. From 1884, when Fr. Ritchie paid $36 for an "ostensorium" for St. Ignatius', extra-liturgical devotions to the sacrament were planned. Confessionals began to be placed in churches and regular hours observed that penitents might without undue difficulty come for the benefit of Absolution. A few Bishops blessed the oil for the Anointing of the Sick, and the Oblation was offered for the departed. The devotional life was assisted by the formation of an American branch of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, which continued its work as a league of prayer through all accusations of unworthy aims, and the Guild of All Souls, introduced in 1882. Individuals had made retreats before, but retreats now began to be planned and conducted, both for clergy and laity, such as a four-days open retreat at St. Ignatius' in passion week, 1874. Missions were preached, several of the Cowley Fathers especially becoming well known as preachers. Various leaders published sermons, catechisms, and serious works on the Faith, such as Ewer's lectures on Catholicism in its relations to Romanism and Protestantism, and on the work of the Holy Spirit.
Misunderstanding, opposition, and attempts at restraint still continued spasmodically. St. Clement's, which had be come the Cowley Fathers' church in Philadelphia, was investigated. For one reason and another the Bishop of New York several times refused to visit St. Ignatius'. Nevertheless these occasional protests are in no sense typical. At the Church Congress of 1881 Dr. Ewer delivered an address on Confession, and was received with a cordiality which led him to say to a friend, "How far back it seems to the old days."
It would be invidious to select among the parishes in which the Catholic Revival spread after 1880. The period between then and 1920 is marked equally by the increase in Catholic parishes and the raising of the standards of teaching and practice throughout the Church. In 1883 and 1895 the Advent, Boston, and St. Mary's, New York, built their present dignified churches. In 1889 Fr. Grafton became Bishop of Fond du Lac; in 1894 Fr. Hall, S.S.J.E., was consecrated Bishop of Vermont. In Wisconsin and Illinois, sees were occupied by a succession of Catholic-minded Bishops. On the western coast Christ Church, Ontario, in the diocese of Los Angeles, and the Advent, San Francisco, in that of California, became centers of Catholic devotion.
The Religious Life, barely established in 1870, continued to grow. The Community of St. Mary had been an object of curiosity and suspicion in the '60s, and had thought best to withdraw from some of its work. In 1872 a site was acquired at Peekskill, where a school was established and the novitiate and mother house in time transferred. The Community continued to develop its own life largely along Benedictine lines, and soon experienced the confidence of the Church in numerous invitations to undertake educational and institutional work. The Sisters, and priests who gave their lives in the yellow fever epidemic of 1878 at Memphis have secured a lasting name. Before long branches of English Communities were established; the Sisters of St. Margaret came to Boston, the Sisters of St. John Baptist to New York, the All Saints' Sisters of the Poor to Maryland. More American foundations followed. In 1882, Fr. Grafton established the Sisterhood of the Holy Nativity, which has taken as its main external work assistance in parishes and missions. From the Protestant soil of Southern Ohio came the vocation of Eva Matthews and the founding, in 1898, of the Community of the Transfiguration, at its beginning engaged mainly in charitable works in Cincinnati.
At a retreat at St. Clement's, Philadelphia, two young priests became conscious of a vocation to Religion. The result was the beginning of Community life by three men in 1881, who worked in connection with Holy Cross Church on the east side of New York. On November 25, 1884, Henry Codman Potter, Horatio Potter's nephew and (at this time) Coadjutor, received the first profession in the Order of the Holy Cross, that of Fr. Huntington. In successive houses in New York and Maryland the order developed its vocation to the mixed life of work centered around the Divine Office and the life of prayer, until at last in 1904 it built a fitting home at West Park. From here an active work of publication and preaching was carried on, while in 1905 and 1906 schools were founded at St. Andrews, Tennessee, and Kent, Connecticut. Meanwhile the Cowley Fathers continued to work on Bowdoin Street after the parish of the Advent moved to its new building in 1883 and developed a colored parish in Boston. In 1921 the American Province became autonomous, and since then has grown rapidly.
The influence of the Revival in the scholarship and education of the Church continued. Under the deanship of Hoffman (1879-1902) the General Seminary was equipped with new buildings and remained hospitable to Tractarian theology and Catholic devotion. In 1885 the Western Seminary was opened at Chicago, organized on Catholic principles. At Nashotah, where one of the original three missioners, Dr. Adams, survived until 1893, the Tractarianism of the founders grew naturally into the ideal of a Catholic seminary, with the daily Eucharist, instituted soon after Fr. Gardner be came president in 1890, at the center of its life. Francis J. Hall, professor of dogmatic theology first at Western and then at General, conceived the idea of an Anglican Summa, and devoted the earnest labors of a lifetime to its completion; planned in 1886, it was finished in 1922. Based on a thorough grasp of historic Catholic theology, it is a noble plea for the true position of theology as the queen of sciences, and will, we may hope, furnish the basis of much fruitful thinking among American Catholics in the future. Largely because of the clear teaching of many as to what the faith is, American Catholics saw that it had nothing to fear from the modern conception of the Bible, and biblical criticism peace fully entered into our seminaries in the early years of the present century. Catholic Churchmen have been prominent in historical and liturgical studies; mention may be made of Dr. Percival, a parish priest of Philadelphia, who edited the ecumenical councils for the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. While the circulation of English devotional books has been large, we ha also produced many of our own. Among our devotional writers many of us have cause to remember gratefully Fr. Barry, whose teaching, oral and written, introduced many to the practise of religion.
In 1870 Dr. Ewer, in a thoughtful sermon, reviewed the successive stages in the revival of faith and devotion in the Church since 1750. Methodists, Evangelicals, High Churchmen, Tractarians, had made their contributions; what was now still left to he accomplished was to express our faith in our worship and "to bring the Church to bear practically upon the world as a living branch of God's Catholic Church." This has been the spirit of the Catholic Revival in our own day. In the Catholic Congress Movement, beginning with the Priests Convention of 1924, we have not only held a series of successful meetings, but have had put before us the aim of the conversion of America to the Catholic religion. The Catholic missions in the Philippines, and, more recently, the entrance of the Order of the Holy Cross into Liberia and of several Sisterhoods into the mission field elsewhere, have brought home to us forcibly that the true Catholic must be a missionary, holding as he does the faith for all people. The work of Fr. Lathrop as first secretary of the Church's national department of Christian Social Service reminded us that the universal faith must permeate not only the whole world, but the whole of the life of our country. As we join our fellow Catholics elsewhere in the celebration of the centenary of the Oxford Movement, we do well to reflect on the noble heritage which is ours--the patient devotion to duty of the old High Churchmen, the zeal for our Lord which moved the "ritualists" and the founders of our Religious Orders, the vision of the Catholic life which men like Ewer and DeKoven saw in the day of little things. As we go for ward we can be content with no lesser ideal than the final aim of all Catholicism--to sum up all things in Christ.