NOW let us turn our eyes homeward to the house of our own faith. Someone might, with justice, object that, in glancing first towards Rome and secondly towards the scattered boundaries of Protestantism, the observer has by no means exhausted the possible points of vision. One might consider the irreligious, the starkly pagan element in modern life, that is either bitterly opposed to all traditional religion, like that last book of Llewelyn Powys, The Cradle of God--the author himself being the son of an Anglican priest--or else mildly contemptuous, tolerant of religion as a kind of self hypnosis that may be helpful to imperfectly adjusted psychoneurotic men and women. One might even find a passing interest in the New Humanism, which is the name of a most admirable thing applied to a newly imagined type of thought that has really nothing in common with the eternal values that one associates with great names like Desiderius Erasmus, Linacre, and Sir Thomas More. But all this would take us too far afield. I am writing, not for outsiders, no matter how admirable they may be; not for the more or less open foes of my own household; but for that household itself. There may be pagan Anglicans, or even Anglicans that are behavioristically infected or newly humanized. If there are, one does not meet them at clerical gatherings, or Church conferences. I can afford to imagine that they do not exist, and can turn now, in the third division of this survey, to my fellow members of the Anglican communion. And the dominant note of this Third Movement of my Religious Sonata is the note of hope.
The historical outlook comes first. And it is full of hope, if people will only refuse to be upset by petty happenings that are as powerless to stop the forward movement of our development as an occasional wasp that settles on the cab of an onrushing locomotive. The wasp may sting the engineer; or buzz around his ear. But it cannot stop the engine or send it off the track, unless the engineer has a distorted sense of relative values.
Our present economic system was born, at the end of the eighteenth century, with the invention of the "spinning jenny" and other new mechanical means of manufacture, and with the rise of the great cities. And it was born unbaptized. The economic system that it gradually displaced, the system of the Middle Ages, was impregnated with the Christian religion. In medieval times the Church rules about interest and usury were the rules of big business. Every group of manufacturers, as every group of workmen, had its patron saint, and heard Mass before it heard its annual reports of business done. But the new system arose in England at a time when the Anglican Church was at the lowest ebb of its influence. Had she been true to her task, she might have baptized the new order and stamped it with Christian ideals and Catholic traditions. She failed; lamentably. The only source of religious power, at the time, was to be found in the so-called Evangelical Revival; but the representatives of it were not interested in men's bodies, not in the rules and regulations of the new material economic order, but only in men's souls. It was as powerless as the Church of England herself. [The Western Movement in the Industrial Revolution, by W. J. Warner. 1930. Longmans.] There is no other failure, in the history of the Anglican communion, that can compare with this in its lasting evil results. Thanks to it, our modern industrial and business life has had to develop standards of its own; and they have never been Christian standards. Moreover, it is all our fault. Nevertheless, I believe that God in His great mercy is dealing with the English-speaking Church as He often deals with individuals who have made grievous errors, have recognized their mistakes, and have been given a divinely appointed opportunity of redeeming themselves--of being apparently all the more powerful for good because they had once been so powerful for evil. So God, in His love, brings success out of failure--but only when the evil doer recognizes what he has done and asks an opportunity to "make good." Those are two pregnant words. "To make good" what? Why, to make good the bad--the evil. This chance, I feel sure, is coming to the Anglican communion. But she must understand why it is being given, she must learn from past mistakes that she need fear only one thing, namely that she may not have made herself ready to take the chance when it comes.
In the future history of the world a great and a very definite role is being reserved for the English-speaking peoples. Even today the English language is the dominating speech of advance, of business, of colonization, of organization, and of empire. And wherever that language is spoken, there you will find an Anglican church. It may be only a small, an insignificant looking thing. But it is always there. The Anglican Church may not, as the English say, always follow the English flag. But it follows the English language. Leaving out of consideration the comparatively insignificant territorial extent of continental Europe, and considering the immense domain dominated by English speech, you will find that the Anglican communion, with her use of her ancient language, is more ecumenical, more world-wide, than Holy Roman Church with its episcopi in partibus, its titular archbishops, and its external appearance of being "ubique et in omnibus." Americans, even those who call themselves Episcopalians, often think of their "Church" as a very small "denomination"--with far fewer communicants than Roman Catholics, Methodists, or even Baptists. There was a time, not so many years ago as historians count time, that the same thing could be said of Roman Catholics. But no one thought of Holy Roman Church as a "small denomination" simply because it happened to have fewer communicants in the United States than several Protestant sects. So the American Churchman must keep his eyes far beyond the confines of his own country and realize that, no matter how few his fellow Anglicans may be within the confines of his own country, he is still a member of a tremendous body of Christians spread all over the known world, all speaking the same tongue, all using the same prayers, the same sacraments, and all intimately bound up with the future destinies of the English-speaking peoples.
Our present unbaptized economic order is dying. It is a pity that it cannot get some sort of Catholic baptism in extremis before it passes away. But it is not characteristic of the English-speaking people to linger overlong by the bedsides of dying men or institutions. There is too much to do among the living. Long before the king is actually dead we cry God save the King. What will the new king be like? How will the great economic change come about? It is useless to try to answer such questions now. But no one really doubts that the change is coming. And no sane person, in America at least, expects a real revolution of the Russian type. That type of change does not rise in English and American blood. It will, I suppose, come about gradually; it will prove to be a fairly orderly readjustment of conditions and of values.
When that new adjustment begins, it will need a great many things. Newly born people generally do. Even the French Revolution needed some kind of new religion, and so invented one of its own. But that religion did not last; it had no roots in the religious past of humanity. For it is infinitely harder to make a new religion than to create a new industrial system. Our new era will need, among other things, some sort of religion. And because I believe that the English-speaking peoples are to play a great role in this new adjustment, I believe also that it will be attracted by an English-speaking religion that has an unbroken line of contact with the whole Christian past of the English race. But what else--what other type of faith--may make some claim for acceptance upon the new order of things, when our present un-baptized system has been decently buried? All types of belief--even pagan or so-called humanistic thought--will present themselves before the new sovereign. Each will try to persuade him that he needs some kind of religion, some anti-religion, or some system of no-religion.
I cannot see how Protestantism can appeal to the new order. It will have been too intimately allied with the dethroned, and buried, system. It will be in the same position in which paganism found itself after Constantine. And Rome? One may be sure that this age-long obsession will demand a hearing. But, for the English-speaking races, in the new order of things, Rome will be, as she has been in the past, too Italianate, too provincial. The new order will be truly international; and yet the English-speaking elements in it will retain that peculiarity of national feeling which demands of its religion intimate contacts with the history of its own race.
And here, it seems to me, will be born the opportunity of the Anglican communion. It can, if it will, fit into the dominating elements of the new order as comfortably, as closely, as a well made glove to a powerful hand. But in order to rise to the infinite possibilities of so great a destiny it must be able to offer to the new-born English-speaking peoples no divided allegiance, no old ideas of straddling, of evasion, of muddling through. It must present itself as the ancient Ecclesia Anglicana, sancta, catholica, apostolica--et libera. Free--not only of the Roman obsession, but of all Protestant inhibitions and phobias. It must, by that time, have sloughed off forever the last traces of the Protestantism that the world will already be discarding. It must have a clean-cut Catholic atmosphere to present--a Catholic atmosphere with English traditions, and with an inevitable appeal to the hearts of the English-speaking people.
Then at last may the Anglican communion hope to "make good" in a way beyond all our power even to imagine--to make good the accursed lukewarmness that at the beginning of the eighteenth century permitted our existing economic system to come into the world unbaptized, heathen, cruel, and un-Christian, and to dominate our unhappy world for so many unhappy years.
If that is the possibility to which we look forward, then for Heaven's sake why talk about "going to Rome" because the General Convention may allow the printers of Prayer Books and Canons to set up in type a sentence that "permits the remarriage of divorced people"? That type, the books it is printed in, the so-called Canon itself, will not last very long. Why fret about the permissibility or the impermissibility of a certain book of ancient prayers, which has, nevertheless, been useful in proving the fact that medieval Latin cannot satisfactorily be turned into modern English: and that, while there are many ways of celebrating the Lord's Supper, there is only one way, in the Christian west, of saying Mass. In a few years the young priests, whom we old conservatives will then call "extreme," will be getting out another book to displace the American Missal that we ourselves have been satisfied with for the past decade. Even if General Convention decided to allow a Methodist minister to dress himself up in a tunicle and be deacon at a High Mass, this would not make me turn my eyes, for a moment, from the immense possibilities of the future. I know that every step back towards Protestantism will make it less and less possible for the Anglican communion to enter into its final heritage. But God has helped her out of so many apparently tragic difficulties that I can trust Him to override occasionally the emotionalism of General Convention or the illogical statements of an occasional bishop. Meanwhile I know that "going to Rome" will not help her on her high road to world usefulness. I do know that she will be helped along that road by every English Mass that I say in a Catholic atmosphere and amidst Catholic surroundings. Every Catholic note that I, or any other priest or layman, can strike in our daily lives, in our devotions, in our church services, is helping to swell that great volume of English-speaking devotion that some day should become so dominating that the world, in its new economic and industrial dress, cannot choose but hear. The priest or layman who, because of some personal temporary panic hurries off to make his submission to Holy Roman Church is turning his back on a great historical task, the Catholicizing through and through of the Anglican communion. This is a task worth helping along. Not because any of us want to try to re-create, if that were possible, a kind of representation of the medieval English Church. Not at all. It is not the past we are interested in; but the future. We believe that the Anglican communion can only become the religious home of all English-speaking peoples if the atmosphere of that home is the atmosphere in which Christian people have lived and loved and redeemed the world from the first day of Pentecost.
To turn one's back on one's own religious home, to give up living a Catholic life in the Anglican communion in order to have an easier time doing the same thing somewhere else, this is no mere personal defection from some cause already lost. It is doing one's best to make of none effect the one great religious hope of the future. As for the Anglican who leans towards Protestantism, he is attaching himself to a lost cause indeed.
I have been attempting to think historically, although I dare say that my ideas may seem visionary enough. But I want also to consider the Anglican communion from the standpoint of the psychologist. I ask you to listen a few moments longer to what such a man might say about its mental atmosphere.
Even the most materialistic-minded observer knows that the Church of England has a peculiar and a distinctive mental atmosphere of its own. I do not mean the high and dry, dull and dumb, Protestant church, with its sung Matins on Sundays, and its Late Celebration on the First Sunday in each month, with most of the congregation sneaking out in the Judas Procession after the prayer for Christ's Church Militant. Such places do, I admit, have their own atmosphere; and that atmosphere is certainly peculiar--there being nothing quite like it in the history of Christianity, except perhaps the Dry Masses of the Middle Ages. But it is not an atmosphere that creates anything, that lights any flame, that stirs any emotion, that keeps alive hope in some tormented mind. Modern young people would tell you, in their picturesque speech, that there was "no kick" in it. I once heard it compared to "soda water with all the fizz, gone." The atmosphere that I do mean is chiefly found in those Anglican parishes that have, little by little, relegated sung Matins to the church garret or to the religious houses where they belong, and have made the Holy Sacrifice the one and only service of every Sunday. An utterly unbelieving psychologist could, in a moment, catch the difference of emotional expression in a Methodist church at Sunday service, and in an Anglican church at a Sunday sung Mass. If after visiting the Anglican church he would walk down two squares to the Roman Cathedral and listen to a Mass there, he would realize that he was listening to the same thing that he had heard a few moments before in English, but that somehow the mental atmosphere of the two places of worship was different. He would not understand it. The Roman Catholic does not understand it either. The Protestant Episcopalian understands it least of all.
What is it? Among the congregation of one of our Catholic parishes there is a constant sense of achievement, a sense of having won back, often at great cost, something that is infinitely precious. The older men and women never forget those early years of exciting adventure when the Catholic revival was unpopular, when Catholic-minded priests were hooted at in the streets, when the windows of churches were broken, and tabernacles thrown down and sacrilegiously outraged. At every Mass, on every succeeding Sunday, such people are always giving thanks to God for what He has given back to them--their Catholic heritage. And the atmosphere of such churches never becomes wholly static. The Catholic revival among us English-speaking people is a movement. And a movement keeps moving forward. Always there must be men in the foremost ranks. Always they are called "extremists." In my own childhood I remember distinctly that the Bishop of Albany, the Rt. Rev. William Croswell Doane, was considered an extremist and on the verge of apostacy to Rome because he had a choir of orphan children in his chancel who sang the Te Deum, because he had the church opened for Matins on Saints' Days. We have come some way since then. In a "movement" there is always a sense of adventure. Those in front, the extremists, are constantly venturing into unknown and fascinating territory. This appeals to the eternal romanticism of young people. And if perhaps "the Bishop should not approve" of some new devotion--the young mind is fascinated by the emotional urge to do something that will startle, if not outrage, a stodgy authority. That is why there are so many young people in our Catholic parishes. That is why our acolytes' guilds are so flourishing. Among Anglicans there is no difficulty in finding young men or boys to serve Mass. They fight for the privilege. I know hundreds of hard working boys who give up their Sunday mornings' sleep in order to walk all the way across town in order to serve an early Mass. Do not also the Romans the same? I dare say. But our boys get an adventure out of it that the Roman boy misses. He has never had to fight for all this. He has always had it. And so naturally he holds it more cheaply than his Anglican brother.
Moreover, young people love motion. And with us Anglicans the Catholic movement certainly does move. I can always tell a parish of ours in which this forward movement has ceased. Something stimulating goes out of its atmosphere. The distant lands have all been investigated; there is nothing left beyond to find out, nothing more to struggle for, to fight about. Nothing more of which "the Bishop does not approve." Therefore I hate to see the Catholic movement become stationary. I have no patience with the "thus far and no farther" of so many elderly priests who have forgotten that in their own youth they were fulminated against as extremists of the deepest die. Their parishes are dropping out of the procession. They want to be left in peace. No more episcopal misunderstandings for them. And I notice too, when I visit such a parish, that it does not contain very many young people.
There must be extremists among us still. The movement has not yet reached its goal. The Anglican Church is not yet fully purged of the inherited mistakes and errors of the Protestant Reformation. Perhaps I am, by nature, persistently adventure-loving, incredibly, incurably young. At any rate I like the so-called extremists among us. I still get a certain amount of satisfaction out of shocking a Protestant-minded bishop. And I love to keep the movement going, to see it set a new light in young eyes, as they get a vision of what it really means to be a Catholic and to practise the Catholic religion without having to terrify the family by being rebaptized by Father O'Brien and leaving the "Episcopal Church."
All these things--sources of emotional reaction--do give to many of our Anglican churches an atmosphere found nowhere else in Christendom. It must have been something of the same kind that made so fascinating the worship in the Catacombs, even when all danger of persecution was long since past. The militant Protestant among us, as well as the over-Catholic-minded who goes to Rome, lose all this, I am sorry to say, for I know how precious, in this present world, is the thing that they have lost. For there is often, even among our laity, when you see them at Mass, as a perfect white heat of personal devotion that creates a powerful, unusual environment which impresses the psychologist, confounds the materialistic critic, and sometimes seems to bring earth and Heaven very close together.
Think, for a moment, of the emotional content associated among Catholic Anglicans with matters that to the Roman Catholic are simple everyday matters of no importance. For the Anglican the mere sight of the eucharistic vestments at Mass is full of powerful suggestion. They celebrate a victory over Protestant Zwinglian ideas of the sacrament; they are trophies, won back perhaps after a long struggle--a sign and symbol of a recovered Catholic heritage. And it is a strange fact that we Anglicans, with our so-called "gothic" chasubles, have not only recovered something that once belonged to us, but have also given back to Rome an equally precious something that had been overlaid and almost forgotten in a debased Italian tradition. Many an Anglican priest imagines that he is only truly Catholic when he can wear at Mass a fiddle-back chasuble. He does not know that our flowing Anglican chasubles have reeducated modern Roman tastes, and that, in some Roman dioceses priests are instructed to replace all worn out fiddle-back vestments with chasubles of our Anglican type. There is an amusing story of an American priest who, after having gathered together a small sum of money for vestments, went to Belgium to buy them. He ordered a gothic Mass vestment such as his people at home were accustomed to see; and then his covetous eyes wandered to a wonderful white "fiddle-back" that was hung in a distant part of the shop. He wanted it. He saw himself wearing it on some great feast day. With this on his shoulders he could rejoice in a feeling of sound Catholicism. He yielded to the temptation; he asked the price of the gorgeous vestment. The owner of the shop produced the admired vestment with some hesitation. He said:
"Father, you've given me a large order. I want to treat you fairly. But I should be taking your money under false pretenses if I allowed you to buy that chasuble at the regular price. No self-respecting priest uses chasubles of that shape any more. You'll not find any of them in Belgian churches, unless the church is very poor and has to use old vestments. All the great liturgical authorities have condemned these ugly fiddle-back monstrosities. But, if you really want it, I'll let you have it at half price."
The same thing is true of mitres. I suppose that relatively few Anglican bishops, who appear occasionally in copes and low Anglican mitres, realize how deeply their own ecclesiastical head-coverings have influenced the current Episcopal fashions among their Roman brethren. I advise anyone who has an inherent aesthetic weakness for fiddle-back chasubles and high towering mitres to read the book of a very learned Benedictine, Dom E. A. Roulin of Ampleforth Abbey. [Vestments and Vesture, by Dom E. A. Roulin, O.S.B., published by Sands in England.] In this same book he will find a cut of a priest "properly vested for Mass," and I wager that if he saw the picture outside of this book he would be willing to swear that the priest, there portrayed, was not a Roman but an Anglican ecclesiastic. It is a comfort to think that we have done something for Rome; even in a small way. Of course, many of us like fiddle-back chasubles. I like them myself. They are less cumbersome, easier to wear, than the extreme gothic type. Dom Roulin, by the way, insists that there is no such thing as a "gothic" chasuble; that the word is a misnomer. Why not call them Anglican? But one must not prefer the fiddle-back because it is more "Catholic" than its "full or fullish" progenitor, since like so many other things it is not Catholic but simply Latin. And even the Latins are becoming displeased with it.
For the Anglican there is another strong emotional element in the reaction, in church, of his sense of smell. Just as his sense of vision creates a distinct emotional atmosphere when he sees the Mass vestments--fiddle-back or gothic--so, in the same way, the odor of incense means more to him than to the Roman Catholic, to whose nostrils it is an everyday ecclesiastical smell. The Anglican remembers, with every swing of the censer, just what it has cost to regain this particular part of his Catholic heritage. It speaks to him in definite notes of achievement. The same thing is true of other Catholic rites, traditions, practices that have all had to be won back by the Anglican at the cost of misunderstanding and sometimes of definite persecution. They are all like the captured flags of an enemy hung in the choir of some ancient cathedral. And new flags, new trophies, are being won--or ought to keep on being won--year after year. The little word Mass means more to the Anglican than it can ever mean to the Roman. To the latter it has never been a proscribed word--a sign and symbol of belief in a precious something that belonged to you once by right but that has been filched from you in underhand ways and that you are fighting to recover. Or the Rosary, and all devotions to Our Lady. Most powerful, however, is this same emotional content in the Sacrament of Penance. I believe that there is no single Anglican man or woman, who has come to his first confession of his own free will and because of his desire to live a Catholic life, who does not remember the sense of unutterable peace and happiness that floods the soul after that first absolution. To the average Anglican the Sacrament of Penance is not a matter of mere routine, not something that must precede every communion as a matter of course. He comes because of a sense of spiritual need. And because of this need the sense of a priceless gift received is never dulled by mere routine.
All these emotional reactions are lost to the Anglican when he makes his submission to Holy Roman Church. And it is this same loss--this loss of a sense of constant achievement, of precious things won back at a cost--that leaves an empty place in the lives of Roman converts. By their conversion they think that they have won at a single stroke all that they have been contending for during so many years. As a matter of fact, they have lost a powerful emotional motive. The only things that we really treasure are the things that we have struggled to gain--for which we have denied ourselves and shunned delights and lived laborious days. The millionaire gets no pleasure out of a new radio. Nor does the newly converted Roman ever find the same powerful emotional stimulus in a High Mass at St. Peter's that he once experienced at a far less imposing pontifical offering of the Holy Sacrifice at some Anglo-Catholic Congress.
The psychologist, who nowadays has begun to take a patronizing interest in the mental reactions of the religiously inclined, recognizes all these facts clearly enough. And because of them he finds in many Anglican churches a mental atmosphere that he does not often discover in Roman parishes; an atmosphere that impresses him, even though he cannot share it himself.
And this same atmosphere, so long as the Catholic life among us develops, so long as the movement keeps on moving, must increase and deepen, with every Mass said, with every sacrifice offered, with every office of Benediction, with every Way of the Cross, every Rosary, every invocation of Our Lady and the triumphant saints.
Nothing, so far as I can see, can stop it. Certainly human agencies cannot. For it develops best under a little injudicious persecution. If those among us who did not approve of the new Mass book had shrugged their disapproving shoulders and gone on using on their own altars the Book of Common Prayer, there would have been Catholics enough to pick all sorts of flaws in the new Mass book and to refuse to use it because the Gloria in Excelsis was not printed in the right place. Now, thanks to criticism from the hidebound fundamentalism of "liberal" minds among us, this book will probably in time take the place of other long cherished Mass books from England, that did print the Gloria in Excelsis in the right place, and that are infinitely more "Romanly obsessed" than the new American publication.
Professio Spei--hope, and good courage, and a realization that the lot has indeed fallen unto us in a fair ground. We may have to till it. There may be squatters on it who have no right to be there. But there is no sense in evicting them by force. It is easier to make them members of our own family; to make them realize how much happier they will be as sons of the Household than as outsiders and aliens. Therefore there is not the slightest reason for being spiritually or ecclesiastically upset by such things as Birth Control, a new Mass Book, or General Convention.
As for General Convention, the historian remembers all the strange things that synods and conferences and conventions have tried to do to Ecclesia Anglicana, since the Reformation, when the holy idea of democracy began to appear, and the individual, by the gift of a "vote," was given a "voice" in government. Too many voices and too many votes. For it is beyond "these many voices" that peace lies. However, the Anglican communion has survived many conglomerations of voices and votes. Moreover, from the medical point of view, one may look on General Convention as a sort of periodic attack of malaria or of measles. Like measles, it always brings out a rash. And, in the case of the Anglican communion, that rash is always the Catholic element in all Anglican blood. The process, the illness itself, may be unpleasant. But it always results in bringing out on the whole body the hidden Catholic potentialities. And such a rash is noticeable. So far as I can see, every General Convention, with all its fever and general upset of the organism, has always concentrated the attention of the country on the Catholic rash, that its own efforts have brought to the surface of smooth Episcopalianism. More power to it. Nor do I feel that the Anglican communion has lost "the Catholic note of sanctity" because it has meddled with the matter of "contraceptive methods." To call it Birth Control is to confuse issues by using silly names. People who dip their hands into muddy, slimy pools will get their hands dirty. And this whole Birth Control question is a very muddy pool indeed. The average ecclesiastic has not the slightest conception of what Birth Control really means to the man in the street, or to the young men and women of today. Of such a pool one may say. "It is foul and I will not touch it." But it is perhaps more logical to say:
"This pool lies directly in my path. It covers, I believe, certain dangers. It is full of unclean things. But there is water in it. I can go round it and stick up a signpost forbidding any of my people to go near it. On the other hand, I might see what I can do to drain it; to use the water, if it can be purified and used; to keep the unpleasant animal and vegetable life, that multiplies beneath its surface, from spreading beyond the confines of the pool itself."
But however we may react to this same pool, the fact remains that our attitude toward it cannot permanently affect the historical continuity or the future possibilities of the Anglican communion. Some of our priests, even some of our bishops, may get their hands dirty from messing with a subject that does not really concern them. But hands may be washed. And even if a few permanently stained hands remain, these same hands will soon be dust and the next generation of hands may prove all the wiser for this previous experience.
As for the rather unexpected "liberal" reaction to a new Mass book and all the "hurt feelings" that have been so prominent of late, I can only recollect, again as a historian, the many past condemnations of the Roman congregation of the Index of Prohibited Books which did no great harm to Copernicus, to Zola, or even to Nietzsche. I remember also the condemnation by the Heads of Houses of Newman's Tract No. 90. Condemned books have long lives. Illogical are only those men why shy at the new book, and who yet once learned to say Mass out of it. Those who protest that in celebrating the Holy Mysteries their idea is not to say the Roman Mass, but to use the Anglican office for Holy Communion in a Catholic way are, as a matter of fact, doing nothing of the kind, inasmuch as their Catholic way of saying the Anglican office consists of saying the Gloria in Excelsis where the Roman Missal places it, in taking the ablutions where the Roman Missal provides for them, and in putting in the Agnus Dei where the Book of Common Prayer provides nothing of the kind. But I am no liturgical student. I learned to say Mass, over thirty years ago, during the ten days before my ordination to the priesthood. I was given an Anglican Altar Book for those parts of the Mass that were to be said aloud in English, a Roman Missal for those parts of the same service that belong to the priest and which may be said in any language that he pleases to use, and a smaller volume, The Ceremonies of a Low Celebration which was merely the present American Missal in parvo, containing the Anglican Prayer Book liturgy, amplified and intercalated with rubrical and other material from the Latin rite. From these books I learned the ceremonial that I have always used. And I remember that a good many present critics of the new American book learned the same thing as I learned it, and in exactly the same way.
In the face of all that the future seems to hold, no reasonable man or woman should be unsettled by such small happenings as these. Lift up your eyes, and look beyond your own diocese, beyond your own country--even beyond General Convention. Wherever English-speaking people are gathered together you will find some church of Ecclesia Anglicana; and wherever you find that church, you will discover that year by year it is shaking off layer after layer of the unlovely Protestant varnish with which the Reformation tried to blot out Catholic faith and practice. In some places this varnish may still be rather thick. But nowhere is it thicker than it was two hundred years ago. Varnish such as this drops off in flakes. Nowadays the frightened Protestant tries to cover the whole thing up with a new coat of paint, that he calls "Liberalism" or "Broadmindedness." He only makes a horrible mess. And usually his new coat disintegrates the Protestant varnish under it, until both coats drop off suddenly and expose, beneath them, the firm, unchanged material of Catholic tradition. In America, at least, I know of scarcely any single parish church--even in the most conservative parts of the South--that is not today more Catholic in atmosphere and teaching than it was twenty years ago. The old pulpits, the Communion tables, the shallow chancels have all disappeared. I know one church that still has a high pulpit towering over the four-legged Communion table; but it is kept going as a church--not by a congregation that likes Communion tables, but by the charging of admission, on week days, because George Washington once sat in one of its pews, and General Lee was confirmed at the rail of its Communion table.
Greatest encouragement of all is our relation with the ancient communions of the Eastern world. An intimate personal contact with Orthodox Christian life in this country can do more to release a man from the Roman obsession than endless controversy. Our Western outlook is very limited; very provincial. Rome, the ideal Rome, still obsesses our theological thinking. Make a pilgrimage, if not on foot, at least in mind, to the East, to Asia Minor--to Jerusalem. Athens should cure you of your Roman Fever. Intercommunion between Anglican and Orthodox is so tremendous an historical step forward that people do not see it, do not appreciate it, just because it is so tremendous in its import. Historically it is a much greater thing to be in communion with Athens, with Constantinople, than with all the Popes of Rome.
It is this breaking down of old partition walls that will open to us our really Catholic destiny. And our "liberal" or Protestant friends of today had better remember that this great step toward the beginning of Christian unity, this partial blotting out of some of the results of the Great Schism between East and West, has been achieved by the Church of England--not as a Protestant sect of some peculiar kind, but as an integral part of the Catholic Church.