Project Canterbury The Catholic Faith and the Religious Situation New York: The Churchmen's Alliance, 1921.
2. The Theological Position of the Anglo-Catholic Congress
Arthur Whipple Jenks, D.D.,
The General Theological Seminary
"Its sound is gone out into all lands and its words into the ends of the world."
THE happy and inspiring task is undertaken by me of capturing and interpreting to you the spirit and witness of the great Anglo-Catholic Congress of 1920 in its theological utterances. The sessions of the Congress came to an end on July 2, when, in the dusk of an English twilight, eight hundred priests and a score of Bishops—English, American, and Colonial—knelt under the shadow of S. Saviour's Cathedral, Southwark, to utter a fervent Nunc Dimittis and to receive the blessing of the beloved Bishop of S. Albans. But the work of the Congress was not over. It had simply reached the end of the first stage. It is still going on.
The twelve hundred priests who had joined in the great corporate act of eucharistic worship at S. Alban's Church, Holborn, at the opening of the Congress are scattered now; the fifteen hundred Masses offered day by day and the thousands of communicants who morning after morning thronged the Altars of London Churches, together with the vast number of priests and laity outside London and even England, to join in intercession for God's blessing upon the Congress, have returned to their usual Church life. But that mighty agency of prayer which they set in motion is not checked nor stayed.
The Albert Hall is emptied of the thousands who came daily to express their unswerving loyalty to the Catholic Faith. The great volume of their voices, "like the sound of many waters" lifted in hymn and Creed and Pater Noster and Ave Maria, has died away on earth, but the witness of their worship still is clear and strong.
The missionary offering, the fruit and expression of zeal, self-denial, and enthusiasm for the extension of the Catholic Faith, is beginning now that glorious work which will go on like the waves of the ocean with results to be known in full only when Christ comes at the end of the world to garner the harvest of souls.
But the case is somewhat different with the theological utterances enshrined in the papers read at the great mass meetings in the Albert Hall. These papers constituted the witness to the world of that which underlay the animus of the Congress—the positive, constructive statement of the Catholic Faith for which Anglo-Catholics unflinchingly and unreservedly stand. Many listened to these papers. The majority, undoubtedly, grasped their drift. A considerable number will read the collected report of these clear-voiced utterances. But it is highly desirable that the largest possible number should be enabled to hear and read at least some of the words which were spoken at the foot of the great Crucifix on the platform of Albert Hall.
My task, then, is to select, combine, and mould the witness borne by the writers to the end that many may be able to "read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest" what these scholars and thinkers, loyal sons of the Church, convinced and practicing Catholics, contributed to the theology of the Congress, into a definite and edifying whole.
First, let us take some account of the public sessions, the programs, and the speakers. Five regular sessions were held in the Albert Hall, supplemented by two evening sessions at which certain papers were repeated, and by a final mass meeting of a less formal nature to consider the relation of the Church to industrial questions. Each meeting in Albert Hall was presided over by a Bishop as Chairman. There were twenty regular, appointed speakers on assigned topics. From the abundance of English theological scholars of the highest rank the difficulty lay in making a selection. The program committee with admirable judgment made such choice as to indicate that Anglo-Catholic scholarship is not confined to any one University, nor to any one type of mind. Oxford and Cambridge, as well as a Scottish University—St. Andrew's— were represented. And with what a remarkable personel! Papers on two of the most difficult and delicate subjects for treatment—The Sacrifice of the Altar and The Roman Catholic Church—were fearlessly presented by two Deans of Cambridge Colleges. University Professors were numerous, and included the older and younger men, e. g. Dr. Darwell Stone, foremost of our authorities in Dogmatic Theology, and Rev. N. P. Williams, the Catholic champion against German theology in the published open correspondence with the late Dr. Sanday. The lead in the order of appearance on the platform was taken by laymen, Professor Cuthbert Turner, second to none as an authority on all subjects relating to the early Church; and Professor Taylor, equally high in the realm of philosophical theology; while Mr. Gilbert Chesterton, journalist by profession and wit and master of paradox by nature, along with Mr. Moore, a laboring man and President of the Silvertown Branch of the Rubber Workers Union, balanced these scholars at the concluding session and held their own. The Superior General of the S.S.J.E., Fr. Henry P. Bull, well-known and beloved on this side of the Atlantic, and the Superior of the Community of the Resurrection, Fr. Frere, the liturgiologist, historian, and expert in matters pertaining to the Eastern Church, with Fr. Thornton, author of a brilliant work—Conduct and the Supernatural—and Fr. Keble Talbot, represented the Religious Orders. Busy parish priests, such as Fr. Underhill, Vicar of the famous parish in the slums of Birmingham, St. Albans', soon to be amongst us in New York, and Fr. Rawlinson, curate at St. Barnabas', Pimlico and also attached to the staff of the Church Times and an expert on modern French theology, were among the lecturers, together with men of the deepest devotional power, skilled as conductors of Retreats, and spiritual directors, such as Fr. Briscoe and Fr. Hockley. Not least, the Bishops were magnificently represented by Dr. Charles Gore, lately Bishop of Oxford, the Bishop of Zanzibar, the Bishop of Zululand who lighted the torch of enthusiasm which resulted in the fifty thousand pounds missionary offering, and the Bishops of Salisbury and St. Alban's as preachers at the opening and closing services. And these speakers, one and all, are first and always devout and practicing Catholics with an experimental acquaintance and long-standing knowledge of Catholic faith and practice, speaking not the language of indefiniteness and hesitancy, but of truth and conviction. They did not discover the truth. It has been revealed to them by God the Holy Ghost through the Church. And they have found that the intellect is satisfied and the restless heart finds rest in the Catholic Faith. Their trumpet cannot give an uncertain sound. They are priests who are before the Altar daily, some of them University dons, members of the Oratory of the Good Shepherd in Cambridge who meet together daily for Eucharist and Office and whose early guide and counsellor was Fr. Figgis, or members of one of the Religious Orders who place the spiritual life first, or parish priests who have taught their people that the Eucharist is the heart and centre of the Christian life. This fact explains their calm certainty. They are not seeking for the truth. They have found it in the Divine Jesus. It is expressed and operating in His mystical Body, the Church.
Then it is an outstanding characteristic in these papers that there is no compromise, nor confusing of opinion with belief. There is no timid apologizing for being Catholics, no watering down by such phrases as—"one may perhaps be permitted to think,"—or, "it is permissible to hold." Their language is fashioned rather after that which bears the name of Athanasius—"This is the Catholic Faith." Yet at the same time they speak with intellectual humility in the spirit of St. Peter whose conviction was commended by his Master—"Blessed art thou for flesh and blood hath not revealed it, but My Father in heaven." And they show not the slightest desire to be told that they will be allowed to hold their peculiar views in the Church of England. Their constant attitude is—This is Catholic truth and always has been held. Consequently, this is the Faith of the Church of England.
With these preliminary considerations let us turn now to inquire what were the theological positions taken by the Congress papers in matters of essential importance. Time fails us to consider each paper by itself or to make copious extracts. The utmost that is advisable is to arrange constructively under a few heads the teaching of the Congress.
I. What were the Avowed Aims of the Anglo-Catholic Congress?
The main aims of the Congress were stated as follows: "To bring men and women to a true realisation of our Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and King, to extend the knowledge of Catholic Faith and Practice at home and abroad as a means of promoting a right relation to God, the demonstration of the right place of Catholicism within the English Church." Again, "The purpose of the Congress is to witness to the Love of God, manifested in the Incarnation, and bestowed upon us by the Spirit, in the faith and order of the Catholic Church. We desire to make it plain that as Catholics we have one supreme object, to exalt the Name of Jesus; and if we insist, on the importance of ecclesiastical discipline, of Catholic ceremonial, of dogmatic orthodoxy, we do so in order that we may safeguard our central treasure, and promote the sovereignty and honour of our Divine Lord." The Bishop of Salisbury declared, in the opening sermon, in approval of the Congress, "I believe you are right to hold this Congress. I know that it is not meant to be an armed demonstration, or a controversial challenge, or an attempt to take some desired position by storm, or to gain some advantage hitherto denied you, or to bring pressure to bear upon another assembly... but that you are here to close up your own ranks——-You are assured that your rightful place is where God has placed you, ministering at the altars of the English Church, where you are free to declare the whole counsel of God.....and to indicate the spiritual character of the Church which at this moment is in jeopardy, and which no State interference, no chilling erastianism, can ever be allowed to impair."
To account for the wonderful accord amongst the writers of the papers, it is explained that—"The papers are the outcome of a common faith. They express what the writers believe to be the truth which God has revealed and has made to be the indestructible heritage of the Catholic Church. As Catholics the writers desired to be a mouthpiece through which may be declared what they have learned from the Church, their Mother."
II. The Position of the Congress on the Church and the Faith.
The position is fearlessly taken that we need not be practically disturbed by the innumerable discussions concerning the exact connotation of the term—The Kingdom, and the phrases—The Kingdom of God and Kingdom of heaven. "Since the Day of Pentecost", says the brilliant young scholar, Fr. Thornton, C. R., "the primary embodiment of the Kingdom of God has been in the Catholic Church, because in her lies its principle resources. There are two distinct elements which appear to be necessary in any adequate idea of the Kingdom of God. First, there is the sovereign inward rule of God in the individual hearts and characters of men, and secondly, there is an external order and process whereby human society is visibly redeemed and transformed... Now these different elements of the Kingdom actually made their appearance as realized facts in the Apostolic Church.... The Catholic Church received from our Lord the keys of the Kingdom of heaven. In her are established the well-springs of grace through His indwelling Spirit. By these alone can man be united to God, renewed in his nature, and made responsive to the divine claims upon his life. The Church thus possesses the secret of personal character, the vital power by which the Kingdom grows." Fr. Thornton goes on to point out that the first and most important of "the principles by which the Church's vocation as organ of the Kingdom must be realized in the world is the distinction between the Church and the world." It has always been a deep-rooted Christian conviction that there can be no finality about any outward ordering of the world, and that the final reign of God and the saints belongs to a life which shall be ushered in after this world has run its course. But that other world not only reaches forward beyond the stretch of time which measures this earthly process. It also surrounds us now; and it is this which distinguishes Christian activity from worldly activity... The one seeks supernatural ends, the other some worldly achievement. Renunciation of earth for heaven is the primary mark of the Christian, determining the relation of the Church to the world.....Christianity is essentially revolutionary, aspiring, progressive; whereas paganism, ancient or modern, accepts life as an already completed whole, and is mainly concerned to maintain a status quo. In the heart of man there is an ever recurring fatalism which makes him bow down before the sovereignty of seemingly inevitable processes... This fatalism is the hall-mark of the pagan life, which has the sentence of death upon it. Its typical civilization stagnates and stands still in rigid grooves of caste and permanent inequalities. .. Catholicism at its best always stands for a common social life, whereas the whole structure of the modern world spells irresponsible individualism. Catholicism stands for the redemption of the whole life of man under Christian ideals, whereas the modern world took its rise from the revival of semi-pagan ideals in the Renaissance... being greatly aided in this false emancipation by the Protestant principle that religion consists solely in personal piety." Fr. Thornton's paper is a magnificent apologetic for the Catholic as opposed to the Protestant conception of the Church. He sees the justification of Creeds because "in the earlier centuries the Church conserved the Catholic dogmas at the very time when her way of life was a revolutionary challenge to the existing social order. The dogmas were conserved because they themselves are the source of that new wine of revolution which is to bring in the Kingdom of God."
But will Catholic dogma bear the test of modern criticism? Yes, says Professor Turner. "Religion is just that department of life where we feel most keenly the need of what is permanent and unchanging... And if the Church is the Body of Christ, then some reflection of the unchanging Lord must be found in its unchanging faith and life___We are met together to testify our conviction that continuity and stability are the essential basis of the life of the Christian Society, that the one Church is prior to all its diverse and local and partial manifestations, that the multitude of the disciples can , make some rightful claim over the single disciple, that the full endowment of sacramental gifts is poured by the Spirit of Christ upon His Body, and mediated to individuals through the hands of an Apostolic Ministry." He pays a tribute to the Tractarian fathers who "threw the whole weight of their learning and their spiritual power into the appeal to history, to the doctrine and practice of the primitive Church." And he emphasizes the fact that the outcome of the process of critical inquiry has been that "the accuracy of ecclesiastical tradition as to the documents which embody the record of Christian origins has in the main been signally vindicated" and that "the soundest English scholarship had never been carried away by the current which swept Continental theologians off their feet." Then this critical scholar of the highest rank proceeds to deal with the critical attacks upon the article of the Creeds—"The third day He rose again". He asserts that "unless we discredit S. Paul as a witness, we cannot refuse his definite testimony to the things most surely believed among the earliest disciples. That this primitive creed included not only the Death and Resurrection of Christ, but also the Burial, can only have been for the purpose of making it clear that He who was buried rose with that Body in which He had been laid in that tomb. If these early Christians had only meant to assert that the Spirit survived the death of the Body, it was superfluous to mention the Burial, and misleading to mention the Third Day. But they meant that not only was the Spirit not extinguished, but that the Body too, though it lay three days in the tomb, was on the third day triumphantly raised.....The Creed rests on the concordant testimony of all our earliest witnesses. No scrap of evidence can be found to suggest that there ever was a stage of Christian belief which did not express itself in the clause—tertia die resurrexit a mortuis. This is the faith of the Church: to us there is no other."
But are not modern philosophy and speculation playing havoc with the Creeds? Professor Taylor, a philosopher of recognized eminence, admits that the atheistic philosophy of the present day is not intellectually negligible, and that "it is a well-knit, compact, coherent body of thought, utterly hostile to the presuppositions of the interior Christian life," and that "it is anything but easy to find the weak spots in its armor." He emphasizes the subtle infusion into the minds of the young that all the Christian values have been overthrown and says the situation is serious and bids us avoid the fault of impatience if we would work out a philosophy for Christians. "We must not assume that a speculation is true because it has the weight of an illustrious name behind it, or because it is ancient and has not so far been called in question, or because it is very new and has up till now never been thought of by anyone." What we must do is to remember that "if we would be truly catholic-minded, we must remember that Creeds, devotions, and externals derive from and express, a hidden inner life of the Christian community. It creates them; they do not create it. There was a living Catholic Church on the Day of Pentecost before one article of the simplest creed had been formulated; and it was because the Church with its life and active faith was there first that creeds came to be made. Most refreshingly he adds that "our Lord's promises are all to the Church, or community of believers, and that the Apostolic writers know nothing of a 'Christianity outside the Church'."
III. What the Congress said on Unity.
Undoubtedly one of the most important and interesting subjects was that which dealt with questions of unity and the relation between our Communion and the Eastern and Roman Communions. And our position was clearly and definitely stated, with courtesy and fairness, and an utter absence of bitterness or offensive phariseeism. There was even a dry humor in some of the remarks.
Rev. N. P. Williams employed a novel allegory to illustrate the question of authority, in which he compared the Catholic Faith to a map, of all existing maps the only one that would bring the ship of the Church safe to the haven where it would be. The mariner would find other maps imperfect. The Jewish maps would be found to contain features which are fifteen hundred years out of date. "He would find that the other Christian maps consisted largely of negations; and that so far as they contained any positive information at all, they were merely pared down versions of this, the oldest and most complete map. Some of these maps, especially those of German manufacture, were rapidly fading in the keen sea air, owing to some defect of ink or paper; some had in fact already become, like the Bellman's map, 'a perfect and absolute blank'. A patient, candid, unprejudiced survey of the actually existing maps would, we claim, be enough to invest the supposition, that the Catholic map is the true one, with a high degree of probability; and if the voyager were to make an honest and manful attempt to get into touch with the owner of the ship by means of the wireless of prayer, there would be no doubt at all that the probability would very soon for him be turned into certainty."
Mr. Williams continues, "We stand for the principle of an authority of a deposit of fundamental Christian ideas, promulgated by Christ our Lord, committed by Him to the guardianship of the Catholic Church, and implicitly or explicitly contained in the Holy Scriptures; for the belief that the historic development of Christian doctrine was so guided and inspired by the heavenly assistance of the Holy Ghost that the Catholic Creeds and conciliar definitions may be relied upon as representing the nearest approach to absolute truth which finite minds are capable of apprehending——In all popular exposition of the subject of authority we must be careful never to isolate the Church from the living Christ Who is her Spouse and Head, and must make it plain that loyalty to Church teaching is only claimed as being one aspect of loyalty to our divine Lord."
Mr. Williams finds that "in connection with the question of doctrinal authority the term—the Church—means the totality of normal baptized persons, those who constitute the concrete, historical society which is visibly and externally continuous with the community founded by Christ." In answer to the inquiry—"Where and what is the Church in this sense," he replies, "the Church East and West before 1054;" and declares that there is "a perfectly definite and coherent body of information about God, man, our destiny in the next world, and the way of salvation in this. And there is no reasonable doubt as to what was taught by the undivided Catholic Church before 1054."
He has a sly hit at papal infallibility. Anyone who wants to hear the "living voice," he says, "has only to hire a taxi some Sunday morning, and time his movements in such a way that he can assist at the Nicene Creed in English at S. Paul's, in Latin at Westminster Cathedral, and in Greek in the Greek Church at Bayswater."
The question of our relations with the Roman Church was dealt with by one of the ablest of the rising generation of scholars and thinkers, Rev. E. M. Milner-White, Dean of King's College, Cambridge. He finds seven points of common ground already existing between Canterbury and Rome—unity of history, unity of faith, unity of worship, unity of fruits, unity of Holy Order, unity of outlook and atmosphere, and unity in the Communion of Saints. To the taunt that Rome has slammed the door he replies, "It is not in Rome's power to slam and bolt this door." He points to two sets of differences and finds neither of them hopeless. First, there are theological differences "which pivot upon the" claim of infallibility and autocracy by the primatial See of the West. Secondly, there is a difference of genius and general ideal between the two bodies. He declares that the main obstacles to re-union with Rome, that we can deal with, lie within our own body. "It is of first importance to unify our own communion, on a demonstrably Catholic basis, however simple and unelaborate. Secondly we must have reasonableness and patience in moderating our chronic disorder, while thirdly, we must teach unweariedly. Looking back over the past seventy-five years he observes that "The battle for the Blessed Sacrament has been almost won; a deep devotional life centres round the weekly, nay, the daily Altar. The battle for the Sacrament of Penance has been half won." "Our contribution to unity with Rome," he says, "will be, to establish here, in the United States, and in the Dominions, a true and deep Catholicism, deliberately chosen by a thinking and educated people as the most loving and reasonable form of Christ's religion; a tolerant Catholicism, ready and eager to marry again in the Church of S. Peter, when Rome is convinced."
In dealing with our relations with "other Christian bodies" the Rev. G. H. Clayton, of Cambridge, remarked, "We all desire to be in one body with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth; but we believe that the historic Church is His Body and we cannot but regard the principles which have guided the Church from the earliest times as having His authority. But we are bound to be loyal to Him; and that fundamental loyalty to Him prevents us from contemplating the possibility of a reunion which is false to the underlying principles of Catholic order;" He admits that some of the criticisms upon the Church of England are valid and advocates strongly disestablishment, and that the Church thus freed should have the power of excluding such as will not accept her discipline or submit to her interpretation of the teaching of our Lord.
In stating the witness of the English Church, the Chaplain of Liddon House, Rev. C. S. Gillett, condemned in severe terms the theory of a national religion which should be (at any given moment of the nation's life) the aggregate of the national qualities at their highest—the character of the Englishman at his best; likewise the assumption that a religion can become non-doctrinal and remain Christian. He dwelt upon the intellectual witness of the English Church, and in a fine passage claims that she stands for "the Faith as a reasonable philosophy of life, as a scheme of doctrine capable of intellectual apprehension and defence. She has no terror of modern learning, no fear to encourage the most industrious and penetrating research in the field of history, or psychology, or metaphysics, and indeed even in the field of theology itself.....She is not afraid; for she knows that Catholic truth, given a fair and open field, will always conquer."
IV. What was said on the Sacraments.
Leaving the doctrine of the Church, the program of the Congress enters upon the subject of Corporate Religion and the Sacraments. Two subjects were appointed for special consideration—The Sacrifice of the Altar and The Reserved Sacrament.
The writer on the former subject, the Dean of Pembroke College, Cambridge University, Rev. C. J. Smith, presses with remarkable conciseness the point on which the whole question hinges. "The reality of the Sacrifice is a direct consequence of the sacramental Presence of our Lord." Reviewing the doctrine in the history of the Church, he says, "It is a fact which, I suppose, no one will question, that from the earliest times the Church has regarded the Holy Eucharist as being in some sense at any rate a sacrifice. Evidence that this was the case is found in the earliest Christian writings outside the limits of the New Testament Canon......When we pass to the third century the sacrificial language becomes more definite and more frequent. Tertullian, early in the century, uses such words as 'sacrifice', 'priest', and 'altar', in a Christian sense, and further refers to the Christian custom of offering oblations on behalf of the departed on the anniversaries of their deaths; in the writings of St. Cyprian, who immediately follows him, 'sacrifice' is the ordinary designation of the Eucharist, and the sacrificial idea reaches a remarkable clearness of expression. Thus from the earliest times the sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist was everywhere recognized and accepted throughout the whole Church, while from the time of St. Cyprian onwards the allusions to it become so frequent, both in the writings of the Fathers and in the ancient Liturgies, as to make further quotations unnecessary. It was not indeed made the subject of discussion or detailed explanation; rather it was everywhere taken for granted; and this continued to be so throughout the history of the undivided Church—and indeed until the Reformation period."
"We have then in this sacrificial view of the Eucharist an unquestioned part of the tradition of the universal Church, and the beginnings of it at least can be traced back to the sub-Apostolic age. But we may go even further and say that these beginnings can be traced back even to the pages of the New Testament itself. However we are to interpret the words, "We have an altar," in Hebrews xiii. 10, it is scarcely possible to exclude from the passage all thought of the Eucharist, and of the Eucharist as a feast upon a sacrifice."
"The Prayer Book in its final form, with its dislocated Canon, does indeed obscure the sacrificial aspect of the Mass; it by no means denies it. The Articles, which might so easily have been made to deny the sacrifice altogether, had it been so desired, were in fact carefully worded so as to reject only such theories of the sacrifice as might seem to imply some defect in the sacrifice of the Cross, or to encourage mechanical views of the multiplication of Masses and of the application of their benefits." [The reference here is to the English Prayer Book; the service-books of the American and Scottish Churches are more explicit.]
"Not only did the English Church not repudiate Catholic standards, she definitely claimed to maintain them; in the preface to her Prayer Book she professes to stand for 'the doctrine and practice of the whole Catholic Church of Christ'. Through the violence of reaction and the influence of foreign Protestantism she lost sight of her own ideals, and hitherto to a large extent has failed to realise them. We are here today because we believe that she has it in her to realize them yet: the aim of the Catholic is to endeavor to help her to do so. And as in other matters so with regard to the sacrifice of the altar, we want her to know the greatness of her inheritance. We believe that she has, and has always had, even when she has been least conscious of it, the true sacrifice of the Mass, for the sacrifice depends on a valid consecration by a valid priesthood, not upon man's understanding of it or the perfection of its liturgical expression; but we want her to know that she has it, and to offer the Holy Sacrifice with full consciousness of what she does."
"The chief points of the doctrine are sufficiently clear. The central truth is this: the Holy Eucharist is a sacrifice, because the bread and wine therein set forth upon the altar become, by an unspeakable mystery, the Body and Blood of Christ. That is the truth which differentiates what we may rightly call the Catholic doctrine from that purely metaphorical use of sacrificial language which has so often done duty for the Catholic doctrine among Anglican theologians. The reality of the sacrifice is a direct consequence of the reality of the sacramental Presence of our Lord. The oblations of bread and wine which we offer at the offertory become, by virtue of their consecration, an oblation infinitely greater: become, we believe, not knowing how, the Body and Blood of Christ Himself; we offer, then, the Body and Blood of Christ, a true and proper sacrifice because they are the Body and Blood of Him Who is the perfect Sacrifice. Those other points which the Church has emphasized about the sacrifice, its connection with the sacrifice of Calvary, its union with the heavenly intercession, are in fact but different aspects of this central truth. Offering the Body and Blood of Christ, we offer Christ Himself—Christ who died, who rose, who lives,—in all the fulness of His sacrificial efficacy."
The writer concludes his able paper by suggesting three reasons why Catholics should especially desire and work for the fuller recognition of the sacrifice of the altar. "First, we should desire it because we believe it to be a truth revealed to us by God in His Word and in His Church and as such we cannot be content to see it neglected. If our Lord has given us this way of presenting His sacrifice, and of claiming and obtaining the application of its merits, we ought to avail ourselves of it to the full and not to doubt its efficacy as a means of advancing God's kingdom in the world, in the Church, and in individual souls, in this life and in the life beyond the grave. Secondly, because in these days there is a tendency in some quarters to make little of the atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Saviour, perhaps in part due to past neglect of its perpetual memorial at the altar. We, as Catholics, believe in that atoning sacrifice; we believe, too, that men need it, little as they may be conscious of their need. In the sacrifice of the altar we have the appointed way in which the sacrifice of Calvary is to be 'proclaimed' before men, and the appointed way in which those who are brought to know their need of it may find their need supplied. Lastly, the due recognition of the sacrifice of the altar will help to give a right direction to the whole religion of our English Church. Is it not true that for long our English religion has been in the main self-centered? And may not that, too, be largely due to neglect of the sacrifice of the altar? So long as the central act of Christian devotion is thought of only or principally as a means of receiving, so long will religion be centered upon self. But let that central act be recognized as an act of worship and offering and sacrifice, and Christian life, which draws its inspiration and its power from the altar, will more and more become a life which is offered, a life which is made a living sacrifice, a life whose object is not self but God."
In the paper on The Reserved Sacrament, Rev. G. A. Michell, the Warden of St. Stephen's House, Oxford, with abundant references to sources, states that "as early as the second century of our era, occasional references are found to the practice of reserving the Blessed Sacrament, by the beginning of the third it was undoubtedly an established custom. Historically, therefore, Reservation is on the same level as Infant Baptism. The evidence for the one is as early, as plentiful, and as authoritative as the other."
"Somewhat startling," he continues, "in view of modern usage, is the fact that for some centuries the laity freely reserved the Sacrament in their own homes, and communicated themselves as need arose. In later times regulations gradually came into force by which Reservation was confined to Churches, and the administration of the Sacrament to the clergy. But the earlier custom is evidence of the layman's right of access to the Sacrament, and the later regulation imposes a corresponding obligation on the clergy to satisfy the full needs which the laity can no longer satisfy themselves."
"But to provide communion for the absent was not held to exhaust the blessings made available by the Reserved Sacrament. Just as when Liturgies came to be formed, Christian piety seized the opportunity to surround the central ceremonies of consecration and communion with other acts of devotion—with intercession, adoration, thanksgiving and the like—so also Christian piety was not slow to find edifying uses for the Reserved Sacrament subsidiary to the main purpose of communion."
The writer then goes on to speak of the Eulogiae, or consecrated Hosts, sent by Bishops of different dioceses to one another, to express the unity of the Church throughout the world, and later the use of the Fermentum, a Host sent from the Bishop's Mass to parish churches when the priest of the district celebrated the Holy Eucharist. The origin of processions of the Blessed Sacrament is found in the ceremony of the Sancia, the particles of the Reserved Sacrament brought in procession to the altar and presently mingled with the newly consecrated Chalice. An interesting account of such a procession of the Host is extant in the description by a Bishop of Paris in the sixth century. "The Lord commanded Moses to make silver trumpets which the Levites were to sound whenever the sacrifice was offered so that all might bow and adore the Lord, while the column of fire or cloud approached which sanctified the sacrifice. And now the Church hymns the Body of Christ as it advances to the altar, yet no longer with trumpets, but with spiritual voices singing the glories of Christ in sweet measures." Another account of the same ceremony describes how, when the Reserved Sacrament is brought in, the celebrant adores It—primo adorat Sancta. It is but a short step from processions dictated by liturgical exigencies to processions designed to edify the faithful. The earliest evidence of such development comes to us from the Constitutions of Archbishop Lanfranc, (Archbishop of Canterbury, 1070—1089), who ordained that a procession of the Host should be held on Palm Sunday."
"Historically, then, the cultus of the Reserved Sacrament, though rooted in antiquity, emerged in approximately its present form in connection with that great revival of religion which reached its zenith in the thirteenth century. It has intimate connections also with the Catholic revivals of the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. If history, therefore goes for anything, the present progress of this devotion is full of promise for the future of religion in this country. For upwards of eight hundred years the cultus of the Reserved Sacrament has held a place in the devotional life of Western Catholics—a place which three great revivals have confirmed in no uncertain manner. A devotion so spontaneous in its growth, so free in its exercise, so long continued, so steadily extending, is clearly a fact of Christian experience which demands the most reverent attention of all who honor the name of Christ. It is, indeed, inextricably connected with the whole range of religious experience which corresponds with Catholic doctrines of the Eucharist."
Fr. Michell answers several objections to the use of the Reserved Sacrament. He asserts that it is not confined to any particular theory of the Real Presence. "There are various shades of doctrine which have sheltered under the word— Transubstantiation. There is the doctrine of a true objective presence which declines to investigate the mystery of how the Eucharistic gifts are Christ's Body and Blood, the doctrine, that is, of the Fathers of the Undivided Church which was so strongly represented in this country by the Tractarians. Recently an important contribution to Eucharistic theology has been made by Mr. Will Spens; Dr. Waterman's interesting essay will be familiar to many in this hall. All these formulations of Catholic doctrine allow for the cultus of the Reversed Sacrament. Even a modernist such as M. Le Roy is far from denying the legitimacy of devotion before the Tabernacle. [Rev. Lucius Waterman, D.D., being one of our own American theologians, it seems important to quote the passage referred to from the Paddock Lectures for 1918-1919, delivered at the General Theological Seminary, New York City. The title of the lectures is, The Eucharistic Body and Blood.]
"I have been asked what bearing the thought which I have been presenting as that of the Fathers would have upon such practical questions of today as those which gather around the words 'Reservation' and 'Benediction.' I will be entirely frank, and say that so far as I can see, no Anglican theologian has anything to lose by accepting this view of the eucharistic Presence which I seem to find in the ancient writers. Here is our Lord vouchsafing a most special Presence of Himself among us, giving Himself to be our food and sustenance in the power of His life, giving Himself to receive our adoration in a visible embodiment, waiting, it may be, to receive our visits to His Tabernacle, or to give us His Blessing from the Monstrance.....What I have called the old theology finds our Lord in the sacrament as much as any modern theology. Nay, more, I think, for I myself can say, with Cyril of Alexandria, that according to this belief which I have learned from the Fathers, Christ appears visibly in His Body, and He permits and grants us to touch His holy flesh;' I have learned to say that I can see and touch the very Body of the Lord. What we ought to do with that wonderful gift is another matter. I will only say that I am convinced that devout men should have freedom to decide that question, each in his own way. If one man holds that visits to the Tabernacle and Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament are undesirable, let him not practice them. If another craves with his whole soul such approaches to our Lord, let no Bishop, no General Convention, no force of unreasoning prejudice, no! no wise and careful theologian even, take the responsibility of hindering that soul from coming to God in its own natural way, even as the flower turns toward the light. Our Lord is there. He is drawing men. Let them come to Him, as each one sees the way."
"To suppose therefore that the cultus has any exclusive connection with the doctrine of Transubstantiation is clearly contrary to the fact. There is, indeed, an element of absurdity in finding a necessary connection between a practice which depends upon the presence of Christ, and a theory which asserts the absence of certain earthly substances. It has occasionally happened in the history of the Church that some who have believed in some sense the doctrine of the Real Presence have denied the permanence of that Presence in the Holy Gifts; St. Cyril of Alexandria knew of such people and condemned them. 'I hear,' he wrote, 'they say that the sacramental Consecration does not avail for hallowing if a portion of it be kept for another day. In saying so they are mad. For Christ is not altered, nor will His Holy Body be changed; but the power of the Consecration and the life-giving grace are permanent in it'."
The paper concludes with a statement, true to fact and experience, as to the bearing of the cultus of the Reserved Sacrament upon the devotional life. "At the moment it would seem that many who have lost a false support for faith have not yet learned the blessings of the true. It is therefore clearly the duty of the Church to do all in her power to emphasize communion with God, and impress its reality on all whom she can reach. In practice this is bound to mean frequent communion. Nothing can take the place of Sacramental Communion, and the desire for Sacramental Communion is notoriously strengthened by devotion before the Tabernacle.
The present facts of Christendom make patent the connection between frequent Communion and the cultus of the Holy Sacrament Reserved. In the East frequent Communion and the cultus are alike unknown; in the Roman obedience both frequent Communion and the cultus are more widely practised than in any other part of Christendom; in our own communion it is precisely among those who desire or enjoy free access to the Tabernacle that the practice of frequent Communion is making its greatest progress."
V. Life Beyond This World.
Continuing the consideration of Corporate Religion, the range of subjects passed to the Life beyond this world, consistently with the teaching of the Church that the Communion of Saints is not confined to this world nor to human beings. Hence the subject of the Faithful Departed was given some special attention in view of the false philosophy underlying modern spiritualism. The paper by the Secretary of the English Church Union, the Rev. Arnold Pinchard, was a constructive setting forth of the Church's teaching as gathered from the Doctors of the Church, from St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas to the present time. The foundation, so widely lacking in discussions on these subjects, of an understanding of the constitution of human nature, is concisely expressed as follows. "The human being is compact of spirit and body. Spirit without body is not human being. Body without spirit is not human being. The fundamental and unchanging fact about a human being is that he is spirit and belongs to that family of spirits of which God is the Father. It is indeed the fact that the human spirit is the lowest and least of all the spirits that belongs to that divine family, but it is none the less as truly spirit as an angel, or God Himself. There is, of course, an enormous difference of intellectual greatness and power of will between one rank of spirits and another. But all spirits as such belong to one family, and to a greater or less extent enjoy and exercise all the powers which are proper to their constitution and mode of being. In the spirit world all knowledge is imparted from above, that is, ultimately from the mind of the Father of Spirits, who is God Himself. The spirit perceives truth by direct intuition, and needs no medium through which to impart it."
"It is necessary to bear in mind in any analysis of human nature the radical difference which is between spirit and matter. There is no natural affinity between the one and the other. 'Spirit', considered purely, must be regarded as being entirely remote from 'matter', and, normally speaking, incapable of entering into any sort of union with it. Yet nevertheless by the will of God and by the action of His irresistible power, in the case of human nature, spirit is intimately and closely allied with matter by its union with the body."
"In this strange and unique partnership there is a continuous action going on of the one upon the other. And chiefly it must be noted here that the work of the spirit which naturally strains upward toward God is to raise the sensitive life of the body so as to bring it, in the ways both of impulse and restraint, to a higher degree of perfection than can be found elsewhere in any animal life in the world."
The development of thought is to show that in the struggle of the soul-spirit to uplift the sense-life of the body its reliance must be placed upon the assistance of the grace of God by the aid of which it is able to achieve that which is called "Spiritual Life." This may be defined as "life lived under conditions in which the spirit, straining upwards to God, is the dominant partner in union with the body, and in which the will is fixed more or less continuously upon righteousness, and is held more or less in steadfast accord with the will of God, with the result that the whole sense life is disciplined, refined, and exalted in harmony with and in submission to this ideal." This spiritual life developes, under the action of divine grace, "a desire of holiness, together with a corresponding aversion from and abhorrence of sin and evil. This is what is meant by the love of God."
Death is the passing "from the imperfection of this phase of life into the spirit world, and if the will towards God holds fast through that crisis, then as he enters into the new atmosphere and new conditions of free spirit-life, his will towards God becomes a permanent and unalterable thing. It can never more waver, change, or fail, any more than can that of the Holy Angels, and for similar reasons."
This carefully thought out and succinctly stated passage of the paper distinguishes the teaching of Catholic eschatology on death and the future life from the prevalent unsatisfying and abnormal, not to say grotesque, but popular attitude and teaching of Protestantism, and lays the foundation for the teaching of the Church and the witness of Holy Scripture on the State of the Departed, and the Beatific Vision. "At the death of the body, the spirit, having its choice fixed upon God as the result of successive acts of will made during this phase of life, passes into the pure spirit-state: the will is maintained fixed upon God through the moment of change, and the spirit by that act of will is irrevocably given to God. At the same moment in which the spirit enters upon its freedom, it is brought face to face with God in the Particular Judgement. The spirit stands naked, as it were, before the Judge, and sees the beauty of holiness in the face of Jesus Christ; and by and through that vision, and because of the sudden access of knowledge and wisdom with which its intellect is flooded, realizes the beauty of holiness as never before, and sees and realizes also the heinous character and black ingratitude of sin seen, not from the human standpoint, but for the first time from the standpoint of the Divine. And because of the effect of the vision of the holiness of God and of the horror and of wickedness of sin then received, the loving and penitent spirit becomes capable of and does then and there make an act of pure contrition, whereby it becomes perfectly pleasing to God, established in grace, and intrinsically fit for and capable of the enjoyment of the Beatific Vision."
This statement of the witness of Holy Scripture and the teaching of Catholic theology is the basis for understanding the state of purification of departed faithful souls, the value and efficacy of the prayers and Eucharists of the Church on earth, and the relation between the Church Militant and the Church Expectant. The theory that for the Faithful Departed the Intermediate State is a state of painful though salutary cleansing makes it "easy to perceive how our prayers and alms, our suffrages and devotions, and the offering of the Sacrifice of the Death of Christ itself, can be accepted by God on behalf of spirits in durance, for the amelioration of their condition, for the assuaging of their pains, and even for the curtailment of the period of their imprisonment in that place of suffering. For in respect of these things we and they alike hang absolutely upon the mercy of God, and are utterly and wholly at His disposal."
The consideration of the division of the spirit-world, according to the "certain knowledge given us by revelation from God in the Holy Scriptures," leads up to a pointed warning concerning phenomena connected with spiritualism. The three sections of the spirit-world are: (1) God, the Master Mind and the Sovereign Will of the universe; below Him is the Hierarchy of Light, consisting of the Angels in their seven orders, but also a hierarchy of darkness, including the angels fallen from their original estate, headed and governed by Lucifer, or Satan, "who exercise their activities in opposition to the will of God. These latter are specifically recognized in Holy Scripture as the inveterate enemies of the human race." (2) The second section includes "those human spirits which have passed out of this phase of life-experience and are to be found among those whom we specifically designate 'The Saints,' in the enjoyment of the Beatific Vision, while with these may be classed also other spirits more recently departed from the body who are, as St. Peter says, 'in prison,' who are 'in the hand of God,' and by an act of God and with their own consent are for a time debarred from access to the Beatific Vision." (3) "As it is impossible to ignore the fact that the Holy Scriptures contemplate the practical possibility of the final condemnation of some human spirits," the third section includes "those spirits which have departed this life in a state of direct antagonism to goodness and of alienation from God. These are wandering spirits that have no home. If they find alliance anywhere in the spirit-world, it seems probable that they must find it with the fallen angels, and are associated with them in a fratricidal antagonism toward the whole human race."
In connection with this classification the writer sounds an emphatic note of warning to those who are being attracted by the false and delusive claims of spiritualism. "It is impossible to suppose that the spirits of just men made perfect, who are either in bliss of the Beatific Vision or restrained under the hand of God in the prison of their glorious suffering, can be at the call and beck of a sentimental and often unholy curiosity, through means of communication that are as ludicrously undignified in character as they are unsatisfactory in results. It is equally impossible to believe that these exalted beings can possibly be the source whence come the drivelling and meaningless messages to which the devoted votaries of this cult attach so fond and extravagant importance. If, as seems probable on the evidence, there is some real communication carried on by these means with the spirit-world, it is entirely possible that those who respond from the other side are either wandering spirits of the lost, earthbound perhaps, but certainly antagonistic alike to God and man: or still more probably members of the hierarchy of darkness, devils who take advantage of the folly and credulity of man, in order to lure him away from God and the truth as it is in Jesus, and to gain ascendancy over the spirit of the individual with malign intent and disastrous results."
From the all too brief paper on The Saints and Angels by Dr. Darwell Stone we may transcribe but one passage, of exquisite beauty and persuasiveness, as he describes the family in heaven and earth of which God is the Father—"the Father of the angels, of the saints, of the faithful dead, of Christians still living upon earth. All these have a relation to Him with which may be compared the relation of sons and daughters to father and mother in an earthly home. All these have a relation to one another with which may be compared the relation of brothers and sisters in a human family."
"There is the glory of the saints. In that common glory there are special crowns—the crown of the apostle, the crown of the confessor, of the bishop, of the doctor, of the martyr, of the holy matron, of the virgin. And above all the rest, so glorious that by comparison she has been termed 'our tainted nature's solitary boast,' there is the Mother of our Lord and God. For she possesses a privilege which is all her own. She can never cease to be that which she once became, the Mother of God. To every child of man throughout the world there is one mother who has a unique relation to her babe; and our Lady is the one Mother of the one Being in all the universe who is born of woman and is also eternal God. Therefore of created beings she is the most glorious. Later in time, less in nature, than the Seraphim and the Cherubim, she has been exalted above them by the special relation to God the Son which is the lot of the Mother alone."
"What then are the spiritual actions which are called for in us by the angels and saints and the Mother of our Lord? There is, first, thankfulness. In our dull lives we need the brightness that comes from angel and saint. In trial and temptation we need the encouragement which their victories give. In the difficulties which keep our ideals high we need the stimulus of knowing their great love. For all the help thus ours by the remembrance of them we thank God. We mark the honour which we pay them by the dedication of our churches, by the use of banners and pictures and images, by our reverence to all representations of them. Thankfulness and veneration are our acts in response to what angels and saints are in themselves, and to what they have done and now do for us. Further, we seek the help of the power which the influence of their lives makes to pervade the body of Christ, and we ask for their prayers. And we are mindful of the great community of prayer among those who are in Christ.
I quote the words of a Russian theologian: 'If anyone believes, he is in the communion of faith: if he loves, he is in the communion of love; if he prays, he is in the communion of prayer. Wherefore no one can rest his hope on his own prayers, and everyone who prays asks the whole Church for intercession, not as if he had doubts of the intercession of Christ, the one Advocate, but in the assurance that the whole Church ever prays for all her members. All the angels pray for us, the apostles, martyrs, and patriarchs, and above them all, the Mother of our Lord and this holy unity is the true life of the Church.'"
VI. Personal Religion.
The Anglo-Catholic Congress put itself on record as laying the greatest stress upon the spiritual life by making the subject of personal Religion the climax of the regular sessions in the Albert Hall. Nothing could have been more significant than to attend first to the foundations—the Divine Christ and His Kingdom, the Church, His authority, His teaching, His sacraments—upon which is to be built the spiritual fabric, and then to come to the matter which is the outgrowth of all these, the life in Christ, "the simplicities of practical piety." The devout priest who lead the way in this subject had the assent of all the members of the Congress when he declared, "we know that the highest service we can render to the heart of Jesus Christ is the exhibition of a life surrendered to Him, and growing in conformity to His mind and will."
A few extracts from these addresses on the devotional and spiritual life will indicate the high ideal of the Christian life for which English Catholics stand.
Prayer and Communion "are indeed distinct; but though distinct there is a real connection between them. Each is a means of establishing a vital relationship between the soul and God. Prayer lays stress upon the side of human aspiration and effort; Communion on the side of the grace and gift of God. But in each case the intercourse is mutual; sacramental grace can work no spiritual result unless there be the personal response of the soul; nor could prayer retain its reality unless it came into operative contact with the heart and the will of God."
"Prayer is a natural instinct but the Incarnation has raised it to an altogether different level. In the long drama of human history we see man continually seeking after God if haply he may find Him; and God gradually drawing nearer to His people, till at length the movement culminates in the Incarnation, in which God and man are united in the Person of the Incarnate Son. So has Christ opened for every man a road to the Father's heart. So by the indwelling Spirit of Christ can each one of us possess that freedom of access by which, as by a Jacob's ladder, the spiritual commerce between heaven and earth is maintained. Prayer is no longer a natural impulse, but a supernatural activity.
"To those, then, who are in Christ Jesus, prayer has become a new experience. But if the Incarnation has thus enriched and transformed the approach of the soul to God, even more gloriously has it opened the road by which God draws near to man, through the Sacraments of His grace. In particular we think of the Holy Communion. The Blessed Sacrament is the greatest instrument which the Holy Spirit uses for our sanctification. There are three moments in the activities of our Incarnate Lord which may express to us the secret of His redemptive work: Bethlehem; Calvary, with its fulfillment at the Ascension; and Pentecost. At Bethlehem is revealed to us the presence of God under the form of humanity. 'The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.' On Calvary is offered the 'full, perfect, and sufficient Sacrifice, Oblation, and Satisfaction for the sins of the whole world,' to be presented forever by His glorious Person in the heavenly places. And at Pentecost the life manifested in the crib, and offered on the Cross, is bestowed upon us by the Spirit sent from heaven. 'When He ascended up on high, He gave gifts unto men.' Here are the central truths of our Redemption, and here are the essential facts of the Blessed Sacrament. The presence of our Lord, God and Man, under the forms of bread and wine; the Sacrifice ever presented in the heavenly courts, and pleaded continually upon the altars of the Church: the gift of His own life-giving Body and Blood, ministered through the power of the Spirit to the faithful—Bethlehem, Calvary, Pentecost,—are renewed in the consummation of that great action of grace."
The writer goes on to speak of a right disposition as a requirement of communicants. The preparation is two-fold—the preparation of discipline and the preparation of devotion. The former refers to certain outward dispositions required by the Church, the latter to "certain inward dispositions demanded by love." Among the disciplinary requirements it is pointed out that "those who approach the altar (1) must be baptized and confirmed; or, if not confirmed, must be ready and desirous so to be; (2) must heartily and sincerely accept the faith of the Church, as formulated in her primitive Creeds; and (3) must observe the ancient and universal law of the fast before Communion." Under the preparation of devotion, repentance is first named. Besides repentance, in preparation for Communion, we need spiritual desire. While in addition to repentance and desire there must be resolve, that is, our special intention at each Communion. The normal procedure is completed by making after each Communion a careful thanksgiving, and the effort to develop the special grace which has been desired.
An optimistic note, with which we may well conclude our survey, is struck by pointing out that the great evidential witness to the Church as a mightily working power is from the side of spiritual growth and holiness. "The Catholic cause in the Church of England has its own serious conflicts and uncertainties, while there are not wanting candid critics who tell us that the force of the Catholic revival is spent. But of one thing we in this Congress are persuaded. The progress of Catholic principles in the last hundred years has been due, under God's grace, to many causes, but to none more than to the fact that men have seen in the movement the expression of personal religion and devotion to our Lord. In the same strength its further victories will be won. And there is no single one of us who cannot make his contribution to that cause; and in his own life of earnest prayer and devout communion exalt the honour of our Lord and advance the triumph of His Church."