Project Canterbury

Liturgy and Life:
Papers and Addresses Delivered at the Liturgical Conference of the Diocese of New Jersey, St. Mary's Hall, Burlington, New Jersey, June, 1942.

[New Jersey:] No publisher, 1942.

Bishop's Foreword

We are herewith submitting as faithful a record as we could obtain of the proceedings of the first Annual Liturgical Conference in the Diocese of New Jersey. The Conference was the fulfilment of dreams and plans of many years' standing, and subjectively at least it justified fully all of our hopes.

We trust that this is but the beginning of a movement which may spread throughout the Church as we face a changing world, and one in which the life and purpose of the Master must be made known to all men everywhere in order that the new social order may be captured by Him, and for His Kingdom.

The Conference focused only upon one thought—how, through the liturgy, the life within the Church might be related to all life. It is my hope that here in the Diocese this may be the point of departure for all of our clergy in their study classes—perhaps in their clerical gatherings, and certainly in their efforts to think things through in the demands laid upon us as leaders in the Christian Church in order that the life of the Master may be truly related to, and through the lives of our people.

I feel I should acknowledge here the great debt of gratitude the Diocese of New Jersey owes to the Rev. Cuthbert A. Simpson, S.T.D., upon whose shoulders rested largely the burden of the Conference; to the Rev. Walter Lowrie, D.D., whose interest and assistance throughout the past years helped bring this dream to such a happy fruition; to the Venerable Archdeacon Gribbon, who assumed so happily the arrangements for the Conference, and last but not least, to every member of the Conference who so cheerfully entered into the spirit of the Conference, and contributed through the fellowship to the success of the same.

Welcoming Address of the Bishop

My dear Brethren:

I welcome you to this historic school with the fervent prayer that I am also welcoming you to what may be an historic Conference.

Surely you must have sensed from my letters to you and the pains we have taken to make certain that the Conference would be of no expense to anyone, and the emphasis we have laid upon the presence of all our clergy here, that I had in mind something more than just a conference of the clergy upon what might be an interesting topic.

I take the time now to explain to you just what is in our mind. For years I have dreamed of a conference, first by the clergy, then later on by clergy and laity, upon the implications of our liturgy. I have been asked from time to time to set a standard in the Diocese of ritual or ceremonial. I have refused to do so for many reasons, the most important of which is, that I felt that the liturgy should first be studied from the standpoint of what is implied by it.

Of course, we all know the history of the liturgy and of its various parts, and we all have our own norm of ceremonial, but I am certain that we need more. I am bold in asking that there be no discussion this week of ceremonial or ritual. I am willing to meet whatever may arise out of our conferences, and I know the importance of ceremonial. But I ask you to be patient, and to wait until a more propitious time to discuss these matters which are secondary. Our primary thought must be—how to relate the life which we face each Sunday through the liturgy in our Church to the life about us. A new era has dawned, a great social movement is here, it is our responsibility to help capture that movement for God and His Kingdom. That this is implied in all our acts of worship is the aim for this Conference.

Some two years ago I outlined this dream of mine to Dr. Simpson, and later on to Canon Lowrie. I am grateful to both of these friends in that they saw instantly the value of such a conference, and by their encouragement, and later on by their direct and deliberate cooperation they have helped me to bring the conference to pass. Now we are assembled here to begin the Conference. It is not a retreat, and as I feel that it will be unwise now to plan to call the clergy together for a retreat in September I can hope that this Conference may contribute some of the values we would normally receive from a retreat gathering.

The Conference will center upon four lectures given by Dr. Simpson, with the general title: "Liturgy and Life." The success of the Conference will depend largely upon you and your cooperation. We plan to divide this group into seven smaller groups, and to appoint a leader within each group. We ask you to meet as separate groups after each lecture to discuss the contents of that lecture, and to bring in your findings and recommendations. This is the Conference.

[6] Of course, we hope to supplement these lectures and your intensive work upon them by an address on Monday night by Dom Damasus Winzen upon the Liturgical Movement in the Church of Rome;. on Tuesday night, our own Dr. Lowrie will speak to the topic of the Liturgical Movement in the Anglican Communion; on Wednesday night Archdeacon Gribbon will read a paper given by him most successfully at the Alumni Gathering of the General Theological Seminary on "Preaching the Classics of the Faith."

Each morning we shall assemble before the Altar in the Chapel, where the Eucharist will be offered by the Bishop.

This in simple is the outline for these next four days.

Again I welcome you heartily and warmly, as it is obvious to you all, to the Conference, and I pray that God's richest blessing may rest upon us, and through us be carried to our own parishes, and our own people.

Prefatory Note

THE LECTURES which I delivered at the Conference at Burlington were, for the most part, given from rather sketchy notes, unintelligible to anyone but myself. The decision to publish a report of the proceedings, accordingly, presented me with something of a problem. After careful consideration it has seemed to me that the material contained. in my lectures would be of most value if it were reproduced in a rough outline form which would leave those who might wish to use it free to develop the thought along their own lines. I have, therefore, simply clarified, and slightly expanded my notes. At two points in the lectures I had made use of previously written material. This has been included in the form in which it was given.

Three points should be borne in mind. First, the lectures were not intended to be a systematic presentation of the doctrine of the Church and its sacraments; they dealt with only one aspect of this truth, albeit, an aspect, of the utmost importance, especially today. As they were actually delivered, this fact was repeatedly pointed out; in the notes which follow these safe-guarding warnings have been, for the most part, omitted.

Secondly, in the lectures care was taken to insist, again and again, that the Church, when true to its own meaning, acts in persona Christi. The self-offering of the Body of Christ is thus an offering made by Christ. Since, however, one of the primary aims of the lectures was to help those who heard them to a deeper realization of the Church as the Body of Christ, the stress was laid throughout upon the action as the action of the Church.

Thirdly, the doctrine of the Church makes no sense, and is, indeed, perverse and pernicious, apart from the doctrine of God. This truth, too, was voiced again and again in the actual delivery of the lectures. The fear that it might, nevertheless, be disregarded has continued to haunt me in the preparation of these notes for publication. I beg those who may make use of them constantly to keep in mind the words of the 102nd Psalm which were quoted in the first lecture as the majestic expression of fundamental truth:

Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the work of thy hands.
They shall perish, but thou shalt endure:
They all shall wax old as doth a garment;
And as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed,
But thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.


Liturgy and Life

By the Rev. C. A. Simpson, TH. D.


SINCE THE CHURCH is composed of individuals any fruitful consideration of its place in the process of redemption must include a consideration of the nature of man.

Man is a person, a unique center of experience. He is made in the "Image of God." He is a self-conscious being, potentially rational. He has the power of self-transcendence. The fact that he is a person changes the character of the natural vitalities which he shares with the animal creation, sometimes modifies them, sometimes intensifies them. Conscious of his own potentialities, man desires and strives for their fulfilment. He desires to have the fact that he has potentialities capable of fulfilment recognized by others. He desires to be treated as a person, to be valued for himself.

Man's potentialities can be realized only in surrender to the will of God to whom he owes his being. Man must thus be made aware of the fact of God. If the Church is to be true to its vocation to be an agent of redemption, the doctrine of God must form the foundation of our preaching and teaching. Without an awareness of its dependence upon God, the self, striving for its own fulfilment, can only destroy itself. In short, no God, no self.

Yet man's natural tendency is to self-centeredness, to make himself, not God, the center of life, to ignore the fact that others have fundamentally the same desires as himself, to fail to accord to them the respect he demands for himself.

Since man is essentially a member of society, his self-realization depends upon his relationships, complex in the extreme, with others. These relationships, if they, are to contribute to man's self-realization, must be characterized by justice. Man's self-assertiveness thus militates against his self-realization.

The history of the human race in one of its aspects has been that of the conflict between the individual and the group or groups (the immediate expressions of society) to which he has belonged, and so with other individuals involved in the same conflict. Group also asserted itself against group. The result was confusion and frustration, for man, whether as an individual or as a group, was trying to find his center and meaning not in God but in himself, and to realize that meaning by self-assertion.

This is one way of describing the situation to deal with which the Eternal Word of God was made flesh. He taught and showed men that the way to self-realization was not through self-assertion but through [8/9] self-sacrifice, through the complete, active surrender of the self, at whatever cost, to the fulfilment of the purpose of God. He that saveth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. This brought him to the Cross. The crucifixion was the violent denial by the spiritual leaders of Israel of the validity of his interpretation of the meaning of life, and he went down in apparent defeat.

But God raised his Son from the dead, and in that mighty act proclaimed that his interpretation of life was true. But this is not the whole significance of the Resurrection. It was not only a proclamation of the truth. At the Resurrection the humanity of Christ received, so to speak, a new dimension. It was henceforth able to take into itself other individuals to share in its life, giving them power to conquer their self-assertiveness, demanding from them, and enabling them to make self-sacrifice, that self-sacrifice which springs from respect for others as sons of God, and from recognition of the purpose of God as the supremely important thing in life. Here was the new fellowship, the fellowship in Christ which met men's needs, within which the age-long conflict between the individual and the group, between individual and individual, could find its solution, and the individual could receive power to live his life in accordance with the truth which had been proclaimed. Here was the group within which the individual could find the self-realization for which he longed.

The Church, then, is the Body of Christ, the divine fellowship, the blessed company of all faithful people, who find their unity in Christ, supernaturally sharing in his life, who have been taken into union with him to carry on his work of redemption, upon whom has been laid the inescapable obligation to proclaim by word and deed, in each succeeding generation, the message which Christ proclaimed, the truth of which was demonstrated beyond a doubt at the Resurrection.

The Incarnation was a creative act of God, and the creative purpose of God found fulfilment in it because Christ gave himself to the uttermost in love. Self-sacrifice generates living, creative power. Consider the words of Acts 2:24, "Him God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible that he should be holden of it."

Consider, in the light of this, the insistence of the New Testament upon the love of the brethren as an essential condition of the new life. This is my commandment that ye love one another, is, so to speak, the charter of the new society, the fellowship in Christ, in and through which man receives the grace he needs for the fulfilment of his personality for which he longs and for which God has destined him.

In our presentation of the fact of the Church it is this aspect which must be stressed, that the Church is a new and vital relationship of individuals in Christ, the divine society which was brought into being by the self-sacrifice of the Incarnate Lord, within which men, through self-sacrifice, through love, might, in the truest sense of the term, come to be themselves.

[10] We clergy must be constantly on our guard lest we present the Church as an institution which almost seems to have its meaning in itself, in which, for some obscure reason, the laity should be interested, and to which they should contribute of their material wealth. This is to make the Church a "racket," a "lobby," just another self-centered institution levying its support from men.

This distortion of the doctrine of the Church is wide-spread. It is, in part, for this reason that the laity are so often suspicious, if not hostile, when they hear the Church mentioned in a sermon. They have correctly discerned, almost intuitively, that there is something wrong with the doctrine as it is so frequently presented, even though they do not know wherein the error lies.

Since the clergy are the leaders of the institution, we must recognize in this false emphasis another expression of man's self-assertion, of his concern for his own security; another example of the fatal human tendency to, absolutize that which is essentially conditioned, and to find a meaning in life short of God. One is reminded of a remark attributed, whether correctly or not, to the saintly Father Stanton of St. Alban's, Holborn; that for many people God seems to be little more than an excuse for High Mass.

Emptiness of life is an ever present specter. The Church is the divine society within which God wills to deliver us from this emptiness. But if, in our endeavor to escape from emptiness, we absolutize the Church, forgetting the supremacy of God, we will find ourselves and our people overwhelmed with an even more desperate sense of futility.

The Church is an institution; so is the family. The family regarded primarily as an institution, treated as an end in itself, can be a soul-destroying thing. So can the Church. The Church is, the family of Christ, within which the individual through his fellowship with others and with its Head can find himself, but only if he is first of all concerned that the other members of the family should find themselves in surrender of their lives to God through Christ.

The Family of Christ. The Church, like the human family, shares in a common life which holds it together, so to speak, from within. But as the human family grows larger and the source of its unity recedes into the past, the integrating life becomes less potent. Not so, with the Church. For the integrating life of the Church is Christ's life, the living Christ with whom each member of the family is in direct and immediate contact, and through him with each other. The mutual relationship of Christians within the Church is not a distant relationship, maintained through a long series of connecting links, but an immediate relationship in the living, life-giving Christ who unites us to all others in Himself. It is a relationship which, unlike that of the human family, is not conditioned by blood, is not exclusive, but can, and is intended to, embrace all men.

[11] Man needs this relationship, this life in community, that he may be delivered from the self-assertion which results only in frustration, and be brought to the fulfilment which God desires for him. It was for this that God became man; this is, in part at least, the meaning of redemption.

Our proclamation of the doctrine of the Church must be in terms of a relationship in Christ, of the divine society composed of men who find themselves and their unity in Christ.

The Church must not regard itself as the only sphere of God's activity or of God's interest, for God is concerned with all life. So the Church has to do with life in this world of relationships and struggle. It is first and foremost a missionary society. Its concern must be not for itself and its own prestige, but for the redemption of the world in which it is placed.


THE FACT MUST BE FACED that the natural tendency of the Church, insofar as it is human, is to be concerned primarily with its own survival and its own prestige; and that the natural tendency of its members is to try to use the Church and its institutions as a means to "self-expression"; hence the bickering which only too often characterizes Church societies; hence, too, the frequent and devastating phenomenon of clerical jealousy and non cooperation.

The Church must look away from itself to its Head. It must worship. The ,meaning of worship is strikingly expressed in the words of the Gloria in Excelsis: “We praise thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, we glorify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory." The Church must constantly offer itself to God for his service. Only so can it fulfill its function as the Body of Christ, and effect the redemption of its members and of the world.

The Eucharist and the other sacraments are a means to this end. They are power-giving rites, the purpose of which is to deliver individuals from self-centeredness and to make them living, loving members of the Body of Christ, to the strengthening of the fellowship and the enhancement of its power to help all men to know and achieve their true meaning, and to fulfill their true function as sons of God. Compare the Prayer of Thanksgiving in the Communion Service, and especially the words, "And we humbly beseech thee, O heavenly Father, so to assist us with they grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in."

Consider the origin of the Eucharist, in one of its aspects. Throughout his ministry our Lord and his disciples had frequently partaken together of "fellowship meals," the purpose of which was to help in the painful welding together into a community of a group of individuals who should, nevertheless, in the process retain and consecrate their individuality.

Faced with the fact of the inevitability of his arrest and execution, our Lord arranged ,that there should be a place (the upper room), known only to himself and his host, where he and his disciples might for a short time be together undisturbed. That is, should the worst come to the worst, there would at the last moment be an opportunity for a final fellowship meal. This indicates the extraordinary importance which our Lord placed upon the observance. (This is, perhaps, somewhat obscured in the Synoptic Gospels, where the Last Supper is represented as the passover meal. It is now generally recognized that it was not the passover, as St. John is careful to insist. The passover fell that year the day after the crucifixion; the paschal meal would therefore be eaten on Friday evening.)

When the moment came our Lord charged the rite with the new note of his death, indicating that the unity of the group, which was the purpose [12/13] of the meal, was to be found in his death. The implications of this are tremendous. His death was the final expression in action of his teaching that self-sacrifice is the divine law of life. The unity of the group, and its effectiveness in continuing his work, depended upon their recognition and acceptance of this law, and their whole-hearted obedience to it. Obviously there could be no unity, and so no effectiveness, in the group if each member was to be busy inflating his own ego and "expressing himself."

This truth is given clear expression in St. John 13:34: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you in order that ye may love one another." No organizing, no activity, however necessary, can possibly take the place of obedience to this final commandment of the Incarnate Lord, the fundamental law of the Church.

In the Eucharist Christ crucified is placarded before us. We affirm that in his death is proclaimed the law of life, that the way to self-realization is self-sacrifice. "He that saveth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." The Resurrection, revealing the creative power of self-sacrifice, has validated this for all time.

The purpose of the Eucharist is to weld together into one body the individuals of whom the Church is composed, enabling them to bring every thought into subjection, to Christ. "Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name." "And here we offer and present unto thee, 0 Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee; humbly beseeching thee, that we, and all others who shall be partakers of this Holy Communion, may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son Jesus Christ, be filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with him, that he may dwell in us, and we in him."

It is essential that this fact should be stressed in our preaching and teaching. Otherwise our people's awareness of the meaning of the Eucharist will be defective and their response correspondingly inadequate. Without our response it is difficult to see how the presence of Christ in the Eucharist avails anything. We rightly insist upon the fact of the Presence, upon the fact of the Divine Initiative, that the experience of Christ in the Eucharist is not merely the result of our own imagination. But we must be careful not to represent the Presence as a presence for no purpose, a sheer piece of supernaturalism issuing in futility and escapism.

The offering of the Eucharist is not merely an act of the local congregation. It is an offering of the whole Church made through a certain community, the parish or some other group, which is the local manifestation of the whole. Consider the implications of the words in the Liturgy, "We, and all thy whole Church"; "We, and all others who shall be partakers of this Holy Communion."

[14] In the Eucharist the Church, the Body of Christ, affirms that its meaning is in Christ and his saving act, it rededicates itself to the Father in union with its Head, sharing in his offering of himself. It thus cooperates with Christ in the fulfilment of the purpose of the Incarnation—the redemption of man from sin with its tragic consequences of futility, frustration, failure, and defeat.

And the individuals who are members of the Church offer themselves with the same affirmation, that they may be purged of their self-centeredness, and welded together into the community of Christ's Body. Then they receive their lives back in the Sacrament to be lived for Christ. The purpose is not to escape from life and its agony but to face it courageously and with reverence, and to master it.

There are thus in the Eucharistic action of the Church two movements, that of the group and that of the individual. Here we may recall what was said in the first lecture about the Incarnation as God's act to deal with the conflict between the individual and society. The solution provided was the establishment of a new supernatural society, the creation of a new, order of being—the individual-in-fellowship. But the individual can rise to this new order only if he will make the necessary effort. The evolutionary process is now on the level of consciousness. It is a moral and spiritual process, the continuation of the creative, redemptive act of God in the Incarnation. The participation of the individual in it involves his conscious response.

The grace which we need so to respond comes to us from Christ, and is mediated through the fellowship of his Body to the individual. The mediating fellowship must find expression in human friendliness between Christian and Christian. It is through such natural means that the supernatural charity of God is revealed to man.

The Eucharist is for the maintenance and strengthening of the unity of the Body of Christ. In it the attention of the Body is directed to its Head, and its true meaning is affirmed. It is thus a defense against a soul-destroying institutionalism. Institutions are necessary to the life of a group. Our tendency is to absolutize them, so that instead of giving life they destroy it.

The divine office, Matins and Evensong, provides a frame for the liturgy. In its use of the Old Testament it reminds us of the self-revelation of God in history which necessarily preceded the Incarnation. The worship of the Psalter is a movement of man to God, and provides a needed safeguard against the stress on the super-natural to the neglect of the natural which is one of the dangers of an exclusive preoccupation with the Eucharist. The New Testament lessons again emphasize the historical element, and the ethical demands of our religion. In brief, the divine office and the liturgy together preserve the balance between the natural and the supernatural, between Word and Sacrament; which is in danger of being destroyed if either is neglected.

[15] There is no self-realization possible in individualism. This we are again learning today at terrific cost. Individualism is not only wicked, it is sheer, self-defeating folly. The Holy Communion is a means to self-realization through fellowship in Christ—if we will pay the price of self-giving. We must always be going out from ourselves. The Church will save us if we will do our utmost to save the world. This demands a unity of purpose in the parish, the diocese, the Church as a whole. The Holy Communion is the Sacrament of unity.


THE OTHER SACRAMENTS and rites of the Church are, like the Eucharist, a means to, and an expression of, the unity of the fellowship, and are an indication of the Church's concern for the life of the individual in the world.

Baptism is the initiation ceremony by which the individual is made a member of the holy fellowship, the Body of Christ. Through it he is brought into a new relationship with Christ.

The ceremony formed a part of the initiation of a Gentile into the Jewish community. St. John the Baptist baptized Jews into the inner company of those who were waiting for the imminent coming of the Kingdom of God. Our Lord appears to have continued this practice.

In the apostolic Church the primary purpose of Baptism (which was adult baptism) was initiation into Messianic company—those who were expecting and preparing for the return of Jesus the Messiah and the inauguration of the Kingdom. Christian Baptism thus involved the affirmation that Jesus was the Messiah, and the acceptance of his interpretation of life who went about doing good, and who had taught the necessity of self-sacrifice for self-realization. This would necessarily be accompanied by penitence for past selfishness and pride. This penitence, the acceptance of the teaching of Jesus, and the identification of oneself with his cause brought with it the experience of forgiveness and release. Compare the experience of St. Paul.

From such experience came, in part, the doctrine of forgiveness through Baptism, and the recognition of Jesus as Redeemer and, ultimately, as the Incarnate Lord. (The Eucharistic experience of the Church also contributed to this apprehension of the truth of the Incarnation).

But, it must be insisted, the primary purpose of Baptism was not simply forgiveness for the past. It was the establishment of a new relationship with Christ through the fellowship which found its visible expression in the Church. Forgiveness for the past would be of little significance without the provision of grace to overcome in the present and in the future the tendency to self-centeredness and pride which is the root of the sin for which forgiveness is needed. Indeed forgiveness involves the provision of grace to deal with the past in such a way as to make it fruitful in the fulfilment of the purpose of God. (Cf. the statement of forgiveness in The Zeal of Thy House, by Dorothy Sayers).

This grace is, in the purpose of God, mediated through the fellowship which is intended to be a redeeming society, showing to all the meaning of life and giving them strength to respond, counteracting by its very being the damning self-centeredness of men.

The effectiveness of the fellowship in the mediation of grace depends upon the extent to which it is true to its purpose and vocation. When [16/17] fellowship is lacking in the Church and missionary zeal gives place to a concern for its own survival and prestige, the Church becomes a hindrance to the effectiveness of its Sacraments.

Thus, not only the candidate needs to be prepared for Baptism (in the case of an adult) but also the congregation, the local manifestation of the Body of Christ.

The concern of men for their own salvation (which can be an expression of the very self-centeredness from which they need to be saved) led to an overemphasis on forgiveness for the past as the purpose of Baptism. This gave rise to the question as to what sin was forgiven in the baptism of infants. Time forbids here any attempt to trace historically the discussion of this question. For practical purposes—and the purpose of these lectures is practical—we can take as our point of departure the vague popular idea that what is forgiven in Baptism is original sin.

Original sin is a complex concept. It includes the tendency to self-centeredness in all men which is a necessary accompaniment of finite personality. Compare Ecclus 15:14, "He (God) himself made man in the beginning and left him in the hand of his own imagination." (The word rendered "imagination" here is the same as that rendered "mind" in Isaiah 26:3, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee). This in itself is not sinful; if it were, then finiteness itself would have to be regarded as evil, and God would necessarily be responsible for human sin. This is a desperate expedient. The tendency becomes sinful when one yields to it. The doctrine of original sin was evolved to account for the fact that men have universally yielded to it; it was not the result of the third chapter of Genesis. The story in that chapter, in its present form at least, represents an attempt to explain man's sense of alienation from God.

Obviously Baptism does not remove the tendency to self-centeredness; Cf. Article IX, "This infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated." But by Baptism the child is taken into the holy fellowship in and through which he can counteract the tendency. Again we see the necessity that the Church be the Church, that the fellowship really be a fellowship, if the grace of Baptism is not to be hindered.

There is, as has been said, no taint in the tendency to self-centeredness, per se. But there is a taint in membership in a corrupt society, into which every child is born. This corruption of society is not inherent; it is the result of long self-assertion.

This taint cannot be finally removed by Baptism; this would be too easy a way out of a serious situation. But in Baptism acknowledgement is made on behalf of the child of the fact of the corruption of society and his involvement in it. His duty to do something about it is recognized. Christ's criticism of society is accepted. The need of divine grace is affirmed. This brings forgiveness, which is, of course, not for past sins [17/18] not committed, but which is the result of the acceptance of responsibility in the future for the sins of the world into which the child is born. The child is accepted for what he may become; he is given a new status. (Cf. the Pauline doctrine of justification.) He is brought into a new relationship to God in and through the Body of Christ.

The question is, will the child on his part respond? Will he fulfill the responsibilities, and claim the privileges, of the status so given? An individual coming of age receives a new legal status, but this does not guarantee that he will act as an adult member of society.

It is the business of the fellowship to help the child to respond. Unless such response is forthcoming, the sacrament is of little, if any, effect. The fellowship must act through all its members.

The aspect of the significance of Baptism, here set forth, is largely obscured through our unfortunate practice in the administration of the sacrament. This is too often done in a hole-and-corner fashion at a semi-private service at which the fellowship is not present. If Baptism were administered at one of the public services of the Church in the presence of a congregation, at Matins or Evensong, or before the celebration of the Eucharist, it would do much to recover for our people the significance of the sacrament. The service could be preceded or followed, on occasions, with an instruction on Baptism, and on the responsibility of the fellowship to help the child to fulfill the obligations undertaken on his behalf.

It is the intention of the Church that the sponsors should represent the fellowship. It is their duty to act on behalf of the fellowship in the partial fulfilment of its responsibility to a particular child. Not that the congregation is relieved of further responsibility in this connection. But what is everybody's business is nobody's business. Hence the necessity of having certain members of the congregation to be specially concerned.

In practice, the institution of sponsorship is, for the most part, divested of all significance. The sponsors are chosen by the child's family for a variety of reasons, of which fitness to fulfill the obligations undertaken in the service is not usually one.

The whole matter of sponsors needs careful consideration. The suggestion that guilds of sponsors should be formed has much to commend it.


CONFIRMATION. There is no time here to trace the development by which in the Western Church Confirmation came to be separated from Baptism. The present practice is our starting point.

Confirmation is the sacrament of growth from infancy to maturity. It is usually administered when the child begins to have some awareness of his responsibilities and is entering upon the full life of the fellowship to share in: and to contribute to its strength. The Church, the fellowship, takes account of this fact, and desires to do something about it.

The Bishop, representing the whole Church, comes to the parish. He should be received with dignity, in persona ecclesiae, and so in persona Christi. One of the great values of the episcopal system is that it focuses the life of the Church in the diocese in a single person, thus providing a center of loyalty and affection, and constantly reminding Christian men and women of the fact that the Church is in no way intended to impair the immediate and personal character of the relationship between them and Christ.

The pastor in preparing his congregation for the bishop's visit should use the occasion to combat any tendency to parochialism there may be in his flock. It may be noted here that the custom of confirming at one center the candidates from a number of parishes stresses the fact that the whole Church is involved in the act of confirmation.

The child's sponsors—the special representatives of the fellowship in respect to him—should support him both at his confirmation and at his first communion. If the Baptismal sponsors are not available proxies might be provided. But the presence of sponsors cannot be a substitute for that of the parish as a whole,, on both occasions, to assure the child of their interest and of their willingness to help him in his new life.

What the child receives in confirmation is grace to lead an adult Christian life. Note the fact that four of the seven gifts enumerated in the prayer before the laying-on-of-hands are of an intellectual character—wisdom, understanding, counsel, and knowledge. The grace received thus includes that which will help the candidate to grow increasingly aware of, and to make moral decisions congruent with, the meaning of the Incarnation and of its social implications.

PENANCE. Following the line of thought of these lectures, Penance, whatever else it may be, is the sacramental means by which the sinner is reconciled to the fellowship. (A consideration of the origin of the practice of confession and absolution makes this clear.) In his confession the penitent implicitly acknowledges that the Body of Christ has been hurt by him, and that its effectiveness has been impaired by his sin. Absolution given by the priest, the representative of the Body, is no mere assurance that "everything is now all right," that the past has been wiped [19/20] out. It conveys forgiveness, the power to bring the sinful past within the purpose of God, and to redirect one's drives so that they will issue in righteousness, not in sin. To regard this mediation of grace as confined to the moment of absolution is to reduce it to something approaching the mechanical. The priest acts on behalf of the Body of Christ, and his action is a symbol of the continued mediation of this grace of forgiveness through the fellowship.

MARRIAGE. Marriage is the setting up of a new community within the fellowship. The fellowship is therefore concerned. The priest, representing the Body of Christ, blesses the union. But the mediation of grace, surely, is not intended to be limited to this occasion. Grace for the successful building of the new community, the family, should be constantly mediated through the fellowship. The actual blessing imparted at the wedding is thus .a symbol and an earnest of a process then beginning which is to continue. The circumstances in which the process begins are supremely important and should bring out the concern of the fellowship for the success and happiness of the new community then being brought into being. Marriages should therefore be performed in the Church. The permission given in the first rubric in the Prayer Book service for The Solemnization of Matrimony to hold it "in some proper house" is, unless it is intended to apply only when there is no Church building available, a regrettable concession to a custom which can only be characterized as unfortunate, if not worse.

The custom of performing the rites of the Church in private houses (except in cases of emergency) has in it the seeds of an evil sacerdotalism, for it can be taken to imply that the priest has some kind of power apart from the Church, the Body of Christ, and he may come to be regarded as a kind of local magician, functioning for a fee, or as merely a state official with a quasi-religious aura. The idea of the fellowship is weakened, and, in the case of a wedding, its relation to the marriage obscured.

A special celebration of the Holy Communion in connection with a wedding—the Nuptial Mass—is of extraordinary value. The bridegroom and the bride then affirm that the new relationship into which they are entering is a relationship within the fellowship of the Body of Christ; that, like the fellowship, it finds its meaning in the Cross of Christ, and so cannot be a self-contained, self-centered relationship; that that meaning can only be realized through a mutual self-giving which respects the individuality and personality of each partner. And in the Sacrament they receive grace to this end; their new relationship is taken up into the life of Christ.

THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD. Though this is not a sacrament it can be sacramental to the mourners.

A member of the fellowship has passed (or, perhaps better, is passing) through the crisis of death. A familiar face will henceforth be missing [20/21] from the earthly fellowship. There is inevitably, a sense of loss and sadness, especially for his family and more intimate friends.

The fellowship is concerned with this, takes account of it, and by a solemn ceremony of burial affirms its faith in the manifold truths to which the Church has given expression in its doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body. It also assures the mourners of its prayer for them and support of them in their grief, a support which is in part mediated by the service itself.

The service, obviously, should be held in the church. (Compare what has been said about; the proper place of Baptism and Marriage.) The priest, as always, represents the fellowship. Nevertheless, the service should be attended by all members of the parish who can possibly do so. And the arrangements and customs followed should be of such a kind as will bring out both the solemnity of the occasion, and the Christian hope of immortality.

A celebration of the Holy Communion is most fitting in connection with a burial. Recall what has been said of the Eucharist as the self offering of the Body of Christ, as a means by which our unity in Christ is strengthened and maintained. Fellowship in Christ is one of man's greatest needs, a means to his self-fulfilment. That fellowship is not broken by death; its creative power remains. The brother who has passed from this earth still needs this power. In the offering of the Eucharist for the departed we who remain are doing what we can (and that is much) to fill this need.

Recognition of the Church as the holy fellowship will, it would seem, inevitably lead to the recognition of the value of the Eucharist as an affirmation of our faith in the communion of saints, with all its tremendous implications.


THE PRIEST is the duly authorized and divinely accepted and empowered representative of the Body of Christ, the royal priesthood. It is through him that the Church offers itself, the Body of Christ, in the Eucharist, reconciles the penitent, blesses its children. Confirmation and the conferring of Holy Order are reserved to the Bishop.

The point to be made here is that both the Bishop and the priest act on behalf of the Body, and have no power apart therefrom. The priest, as has been said before, is not a medicine man, a magician, one who somehow has power in himself. The functions he performs are the functions of the Church, the Body of Christ.

The priest is, in a sense, the conscience and consciousness of the holy fellowship (Cf. Middleton Murry, Heroes of Thought, pages 46ff); he is its organ of articulation; he is the guardian and exponent of its tradition, which should be enriched by his experience and that of his people; he is commissioned to relate the tradition to the constantly changing circumstances of life. In the performance of this function he must exercise his discretion, take such action as he may consider necessary, at the same time always remembering that the tradition is something given which he must scrupulously respect. He is thus involved in an inescapable tension. Compare with this the role of an ambassaoor.

The Church, as has been said, is a redemptive society with a mission to the world. It has to proclaim, largely through its clergy, the truth of Christ, that self-realization is to be found not through self-assertion but through self-sacrifice.

That message the world needs today, perhaps as never before, when the same denial as to the value of human personality is being made as was made at the crucifixion. The ignoring of the truth which Christ proclaimed has been, ultimately, the cause of two wars in the lifetime of many of us, and it will surely bring a third, even greater in its horror, unless the Church acts to correct the conditions which have resulted in the emergence of war and unemployment, of misery and want as the bitter achievement of our boasted western civilization. These things are not inevitable; they cannot be inevitable in a world created by a just and righteous God; but they are going to remain with us until the truth of Christ is proclaimed by his Church with a power, a conviction, and a clarity which will compel men's attention and inspire them to action.

That is the task confronting the Christian Church today; that is what our Lord is depending on us to do, that millions for whom he died may be delivered from the haunting fear, however incoherent, that their very existence is without meaning and without sense; from the frustration of deferred hope; from the ghastly and self-defeating conviction that only through violence can they achieve the new order which will make life even tolerable.

That is the task of the Christian Church. It is a tremendous task, [22/23] and we shrink from undertaking it. It cannot be successfully undertaken, so long as we continue to indulge our natural selfishness, inertly surrendering to the forces which beat upon us, to the soul-destroying influences which subtly sap our very humanity, frittering away our time, bickering with each other, until the, Christian Church, which in the power of Christ should show men the meaning of fellowship in Christ, which should be moved by a steadfast unity of purpose, only too often appears to be a place of refuge for self-centered escapists.

One thing that is necessary is a return to the Altar, a fresh awareness of the meaning of the Holy Communion, a recovery of Christ's meaning, a recognition of the celebration of the Holy Communion as an act of the whole Church, the Body of Christ, identifying itself and its purpose with its Head. In this we individuals are again identifying ourselves with his cause, accepting his terms, his commands, ridding ourselves of the disruption of self-centeredness, to become living members of Christ's Body, so that the Church, the diocese, the parish may become aware of its missionary duty to all life, the community, the nation, the world. In the parish the Sunday Eucharist should be a parish act, a corporate communion, a rededication of the parish, the local manifestation of the Body of Christ. As it is now it seems to be widely regarded as the somewhat esoteric devotion of a few pious individuals made while most people are still comfortably in bed.

But the ministry of the Sacraments cannot, must not, be separated from the ministry of the Word. The Church must therefore have competent leadership. Its clergy must know what the Christian religion is about, so that they may be able to insist that we put first things first, that they may remind us of our high calling in Christ Jesus, that they may, in the power of God, deliver us from the moral paralysis which grips us, that, instead of talking vaguely and grandly of self-sacrifice, they may have the wisdom and courage to indicate what specific action is demanded from Christians now in this day of desperate crisis.

The Church must act. It must bring to bear, by word and by example, the criticism of Christ upon a society which has, in varying degrees over a period of some four hundred years, blasphemously asserted its own self-sufficiency; which has arrogantly affirmed that its meaning and its end is in itself; which has rendered to God, its Creator and Sustainer, a mocking lip-service, the while it rejected as irrelevant his demands.

The Church must act. It must proclaim that this time of trouble is the inevitable judgment of God upon our sin and the sin of our forefathers. It must proclaim that judgment not as the vindictive act of an angry God but as the redeeming act of a loving Father, recalling us from meaningless, futile living, demanding our repentance. Only so can the Church justify its acceptance of this war as a tragic necessity without at the same time stultifying its claim to bear witness to the truth of Christ's interpretation of life. Only so can it deliver the world from moral confusion and cynicism.

[24] The Church must act. It can act only if it has trained and devoted leaders who know where they are going, and the perils of the way. This leadership necessarily devolves in large measure upon the clergy, though the clergy can do little without a united body of faithful people. We must have a clergy able to explain to the Church and to the world the meaning and function of the Church, and to make the Christian community aware of the supernatural power with which it is endowed so that it can say, with St. Paul, "I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me"; and then, again like St. Paul, will go ahead and do them.

If the priest is to fulfill his responsibilities he must pray, constantly, intelligently, devotedly, that he may be aware of men's needs, that he may have the grace to give himself to the filling of those needs. And he must study. The range of his reading must be wide, it must include theology and history, philosophy and ethics, sociology and current affairs. The objection that the parish priest has no time to read is invalid. He must find time. If the clergy would curtail their busy rushing hither and yon and devote the time saved to study and thought, the appalling triviality and irrelevance to life of much of our preaching would be corrected, and the effectiveness of our personal contacts immeasurably increased.

The Church has before it the greatest opportunity in generations, it can seize it only if it goes out from itself and becomes concerned for the community in which it is placed. It must declare war upon those elements in secular society which make it all but impossible, if not quite impossible, for many men to lead a decent Christian life, against political corruption and economic exploitation. It must bring to bear upon society the criticism of Christ. That criticism will, however, remain ineffective unless the members of the Church themselves accept and fulfill its responsibilities of fellowship. The action of a certain parish in accepting responsibility for the support of one of its members, whose conscience compelled him to give up a job which involved him in daily repeated misrepresentation of fact, should be pondered. The fellowship there said, in effect, The sacrifice which this man must make to bear Christian moral witness against dishonesty must be shared by us; it is our duty to do everything in our power to make it possible for him to live honestly.

Such questions as these should be faced and discussed: What can the parish—the local manifestation of the Body of Christ—do for those of its members who are victims of unemployment? What can it do for young men and women of marriageable age who are unable to marry because of the economic situation?

That is, the Church must not only concern itself with the correction of conditions which make for injustice; it must also do its utmost to care for the victims of injustice which still endures. In so doing it will be manifesting the fellowship which it proclaims as the Gospel of Christ.

Syllabus of a Talk by Dom Damasus Winzen, O.S.B.,
At the Liturgical Conference of the Diocese of New Jersey
Monday night, June 22, 1942

AS FATHER DAMASUS spoke without notes, and as the audience was too much interested in listening to have patience to make full notes, this syllabus is necessarily imperfect, even though it has been submitted to Father Damasus for his corrections and additions. In any case a brief resume cannot give an adequate impression of the lively interest of this address.

Father Damasus spoke for an hour on the movement of Liturgical Reform in the Church of Rome, and in answer to questions he went on for a longer time.

I. The Basic Principles of the Movement he stated as follows:

1. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ; we are saved as members of that Body, and our worship is directed to God through Christ as the head.

2. Insistence upon the Kyrios, the glorified Christ, as the "subject," i.e. active agent, in the Liturgy and in the Church.

3. The Mysterium. We come into ontological relation with the Kyrios through the living Liturgy, which is the sacramental re-enactment of the work of redemption.

II. Achievements.

1. The restoration of corporate worship by the active participation of the people in the Mass, which is accomplished in the following stages.

(a) Understanding of the text through translations accompanied by explanatory notes, which are furnished in the Leaflet-Missal distributed broadly to the people, and by frequent sermons about the Liturgy.

(b) Active participation in the Dialogue-Mass, the people being taught and encouraged to recite aloud all the parts which belong to them.

(c) Encouragement of congregational singing at the Mass, using the Gregorian chant.

(d) Insisting that the people make their communions in the Mass, not outside of it, as has frequently been the custom. For the Communion is the culmination of the Sacrifice.

(e) Restoration of the offertory procession, members of the congregation sometimes carrying the hosts to the altar along with the other gifts.

2. Other influences.

(a) Restoration of the Christian Year, since the Sundays which [25/26] in the course of time have been overlaid and obscured by saints' days have been restored to their proper dignity by Pius X, and the greater Church feasts like Pentecost have been rescued from oblivion.

(b) In the field of architecture-to express the fact that our worship is Christocentric. Although he did not count it of first importance to restore the altar to its original position between the clergy and the people, he stressed the tendency to have but one altar in the church. In this connection he spoke also of the tendency to avoid the use of lace surplices and every effeminate form of vestments.

(c) In the spiritual life it aims at more manly devotions and a more positive attitude prompted by a sense of the presence of the risen and glorified Lord in the sacraments and consequently in us. In the matter of retreats, while it has of course not sought to eliminate the Ignatian method, it has encouraged the use of other themes, such as the Liturgy, the significance of baptism, etc., meditations which clarify and enrich the life the Christians who are day by day living in the Church, rather than emphasizing conversion by the fear of hell. The need for liturgical conferences was emphasized in this connection.

3. Catholic Action.

The parish is regarded as a social, not merely a devotional unit. The sense of communion in the Body of Christ implies not merely the support of the poor but a Christian social order. In this connection he referred to "The Christian Crisis" by De La Bedoyere. He emphasized the influence of the Liturgical Reform in creating personalities and social groups which have proved strong enough to resist the persecutions they have been subjected to and to permeate the secular life of the community, and will be strong enough to meet the crisis of peace, and for that reason we cannot consider Christianity a matter of private taste and preference. It is a public affair. The Liturgical Reform is particularly fruitful in connection with the movement "back to the land," and the co-operative movements, because the Liturgy is capable of building a real community, of suppressing egotism in favor of self-sacrifice, through the power of the glorified Christ as present in the Mass.

4. Influence upon theology and philosophy.

The Psalms and the Old Testament in general have been rediscovered by studying the key words of the Liturgy, such as salus, blood, family, nation, covenant, glory, also by the historical investigation of charis, sacramentum, mysterium, etc. Exegesis is prompted by reading the Gospel in the vernacular and preaching on it. In this connection he referred to books by Peter Wust and E. I. Watkins.

It has an influence upon dogmatic theology by recalling men's attention to patristic literature, and thus by pointing to common heritage it enables them to comprehend sympathetically divergent tendencies illustrated not only in the Eastern but also in the Anglican Churches. In this connection he referred to the works of Stolz and Rahner.

[27] He remarked that though the Liturgical Reform had no thought of repudiating Arostotelianism which gives the form to Scholastic Theology, it has a preference for Platonism because it is dealing with symbolism when it explains the Mass and the Christian Year. Such a method of teaching has revolutionized the religious instruction of youth in the schools, making it concrete instead of abstract.

5. He spoke briefly on the influence of the movement upon art, explaining that the "stream-lined statues" were intended to represent the universal rather than the particular, the generic rather that the particular traits of the individual. In this connection he spoke of the tendency to represent upon the cross the triumphant Christ.

In response to a question about books, he referred to a popular periodical entitled "Altar and Home"; to the Living Parish, published at St. Louis; to the "Proceedings of the Liturgical Week," held first at Chicago, then at St. Paul (both can be purchased through Gorham); to Orate Fratres, a liturgical review, published by the Fathers of St. John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota; and to a booklet entitled Family Life in Christ, by Therese Mueller, published by the Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota.


Abstract of Dr. Lowrie’s Paper on  Essential Aspects of the Liturgy


We have unfortunately no word in common use to distinguish the Church which is the Body of Christ from the edifice in which it worships. The word church has to serve for both. But in Latin the phrase domus ecclesiae, home of the Church, aptly describes the Christian temple. A temple, whether it were Jewish or pagan, was never regarded as the home of the worshipers, but only of the God whom it was built to honor; but the basilica, which was the earliest form of the Christian church edifice, which has left enduring traces upon all subsequent church architecture, was admirably adapted to be the spiritual home of the people of God, reflecting as it does the precise character of the Christian cult. Unlike the temples of paganism the people were not expected to stand outside and admire it, but as the priestly people of God they came together as a brotherhood within the basilica and by its walls were separated from the world. Hence the basilica has been described as a peristyle temple turned outside in. The basilica was an auditorium, and because of its flat ceiling it was a good auditorium. This was liturgically important, for there the Word of God was read and preached. But it was more than an auditorium, for it was the place where the brotherhood celebrated a sacramental meal; and hence the Holy Table, the Christian altar, though it was inconsiderable in size (being no bigger in the largest church than in the smallest chapel) dominated the architectural plan, and standing as it did between the clergy and the people it clearly expressed the fact that all were gathered about the common table and were offering together a holy sacrifice.

Because of these precious implications the restoration of the altar to its original position is a prime feature of the Liturgical Reform in the Church of Rome, although on account of the practical difficulties which have to be overcome it may be the last item to be put in execution. But even if our altar is built against the wall, and perhaps at the remote end of a monastic choir, we are free to conceive that ideally it stands in the midst of God's people, as Christ is in their midst. Mindful of this, we can insist, as do the reformers in the Church of Rome, that the people must utter their part of the dialogue of the Mass, and that even where the celebrant alone speaks they have an active part, not only in receiving the Sacrament but in offering the Sacrifice.


In the Church of Rome, even when the participation of the people was reduced almost to zero, there was still a symbol of it left in. server at the Mass. Oscar Wilde pointed in the right direction when he remarked that the server at Mass is the last vestige of the Greek chorus. [28/29] It is to be understood that the chorus expressed vocally or mimically the feelings which the drama ought to arouse in the spectators. The Roman custom of using servers who are not vested as little clerics makes it more evident that in all his acts (and not only in the presentation of the alms and of the bread and wine) the server is a representative of the people. The Roman rubrics point further in the same direction when they prescribe that the dialogue of the celebrant and the server at the beginning of the Mass (i.e. the Introibo, the Confession, and the reciprocal Absolution) shall be audible at least to all who are about the altar, that all of them shall join in it, and that even the Chief Pontiff, if he is present, shall say the Confession with the server, applying to himself of course the Absolution pronounced by the celebrant. Because at the time of the Protestant Reformation this introductory part of the Mass was regarded and treated as a little private transaction which concerned only the celebrant ,and the server and might more appropriately be said in the sacristy, all this was very naturally omitted from the Book of Common Prayer. Inasmuch as it is now frequently used among us, but in such a way as to exclude the people from taking part in the dialogue, and even from getting a notion what it is all about, it would be well for us to take a hint from the Liturgical Reform in the Church of Rome and restore this part of the Mass to the people—if we continue to use it in spite of the fact that we have the Confession at another place.


In the Roman rite the Kyrie appropriately follows the Confession. In our rite it is quite as appropriate after the recitation of the Law or Summary of it, expressing as it does a sense of our impotence to fulfill the Law. In the Roman Mass the Gloria serves as a ladder upon which the worshiper ascends from the deep dejection of the Kyrie to the lofty plane on which the Gospel can be heard and welcomed. With us the transition from the Kyrie to the Collect is abrupt. The Gloria after the Communion, where we now have it, is so generally felt to be inappropriate that it is generally disused.


It was the Catholic custom from a very early time to introduce the celebration of the Lord's Supper by reading the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and then preaching upon the passages which had been read. The permission lately accorded us to use a shortened form of Morning Prayer makes it possible now to read an Old Testament lesson, and I wonder that few avail themselves of this opportunity. In the early Catholic Church the reading of the Scriptures was marked by the greatest solemnity. Of course they were read in the hearing of the people, from conspicuous ambones directly in front of the congregation. In the Church of Rome today the Gospel at least is commonly read to the people in the [29/30] vernacular, and the celebrant commonly preaches upon it. Ironically enough, we are in danger of making less of the Holy Scriptures than does the Church of Rome.


It is appropriate enough that in the Western rite the Creed follows immediately after the Gospel, where it may be regarded as a summary expression of the faith which the Scriptures reveal; and in this place it gives some assurance that the sermon will conform to the Creed which the preacher has just recited.


The sermon, though it is not an invariable feature of the Liturgy, may be made an appropriate part of it. Alas, it too often destroys the unity of the whole. This marks the place for liberty of prophesying, and it is the only place where prayers not prescribed in the Liturgy can properly be used—either immediately after the Creed, i.e. before the sermon, or else after it. Special supplications might well take the form of the synapte of the Greek liturgies, which prompts the people to silent prayer, whereas the Bidding Prayer merely instructs them what they ought to pray for—and gives them no opportunity to do it.


This is the place for our sacrifice in response to the sacrifice of our Lord. It plainly requires the participation of the people. But it is only the people of God who may venture to offer sacrifices to His Divine Majesty. Therefore, if any line can now be drawn between the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful, it must be drawn before the offertory (inexpedient as that may seem), for here not only are gifts of money offered by the people, but on their behalf the bread and wine for the Eucharist are brought to the altar.


This makes reference to the alms and oblations which already have been offered, but It looks forward also to the commemoration of Christ's sacrifice, and on this ground (not at all for the merit of our sacrifices) we make supplications for the living and the dead.


The Confession is as appropriate in this place as in any other, unless it were to be said at the beginning of the Liturgy, with the understanding that preparation is needful, not only for communion in the Sacrament, but before joining in common prayer. The Comfortable Words are by no means redundant after the Absolution; for the forgiveness of sins is so incredible that we need every assurance to convince us of it.

But passing hastily over subjects of great importance which stand in no great need of elucidation, we come to


It is important, though it may be difficult, for us to understand that this is one prayer, from the Sursum corda to the Amen. The wholeness of this prayer is evident enough in the Eastern liturgies, but it has been obscured in the Western rite by the introduction of Proper Prefaces. From the earliest of the Greek liturgies, which is that of the Eighth Book of the Apostolic Constitutions, we learn that the Preface (which is not to be conceived as a preface to the Eucharistic Prayer but as the preface of it) was first regarded as a thanksgiving, like the blessing at every meal, pronounced over the bread and wine which were provided for the Holy Communion, and was therefore a thanksgiving to God for his merciful providence and for the singular manifestations of His grace under the Old Covenant. Consequently the Tersanctus is a hymn to the Creator, whereas the Benedictus acclaims Christ as our Redeemer, and is thus a transition to the loftier praise of the latter part of the prayer, which commemorates of course more particularly the institution of the Supper "in the night in which He was betrayed."

In accordance with the Jewish way of thinking, this whole prayer (not the words of institution in particular, nor the epiklesis) effected the consecration, just as the blessing at meals was understood to sanctify the food. For this reason it would be in accordance with primitive practice to exhibit to the people the consecrated sacrament after the Lord's Prayer, as the Greeks do. And this of course is the place for the fractio panis; for Jesus broke the bread after He had given thanks.


The Lord's Prayer is said immediately after the prayer of consecration in all liturgies except the English. It was added rather tardily to the Roman Mass by Gregory the Great with the notion that it was necessary to complete the consecration. Today Roman scholars are not inclined to regard it as the conclusion of the prayer of consecration. As it cannot well be regarded as a part of the preparation for communion, it must be treated as an independent factor—a distinction to which it surely has a right.


This prayer, unlike the Domine, non sum dignus, has the plural form, because the people as well as the priest are expected to communicate. The rubric which follows it almost seems to invite us to sing at this point the Agnus Dei. Not only is this the only place where we are permitted to do it, but it is the most convenient place, inasmuch as while it is being sung the priest has opportunity to make his own communion and to communicate those about the altar. The fractio panis may be regarded as lasting as long as the Communion.


In this brief sketch nothing need be said about the Communion except that it should be solemn and expeditious. These two aims can well be united. But something must be said, and said very emphatically, about


When once the people have been fed with the Body and Blood of the Lord, nothing remains to be done but to give thanks and depart, going forth to do God's will. Evidently the Ite, missa est, that is, the dismissal of the people in the Roman Mass, condemns as superfluous everything that was added later—even the benediction. But the Counter Reformation added many things in the rococo style which was dear to it, and now peters out in a litany. We have done likewise. For here we once had the Lord's Prayer, we still have the Gloria, are likely to have one or more post-communion collects, perhaps the Nunc dimittis, perhaps the Last Gospel, and the whole thing trails off with a choir-prayer which ought to be said in the sacristy.

A common understanding of the Liturgy should prompt us to some degree of uniformity, not only for the sake of closer union among ourselves, but with a view to more sympathetic relations with the Churches on either side of us. This would. require some sacrifice of personal preferences, both on the part of those who like elaborate ritual, and on the part of those who prefer austerer ways. But it could be attained if we were to pursue the aim of acting always upon a maxim fit at all times to be law universal in the Church of God.

Final Address by the Bishop

My dear Dr. Simpson:

It is obvious that I should have a great deal to say at this time, in fact I shall be under a strain in trying to confine my remarks to a short space of time, but when one has a dream of years so happily fulfilled, as it has been this past week for me, surely you will understand, and forgive my emotion.

I want to thank every one who has contributed to this Conference, and I am sure you, sir, and the others who have been leaders will understand me when I say I will begin with each and every man who has been present here this week. The older men, who have been in the Diocese for years, have so happily expressed their fellowship to the newer men, and the new men have fitted in so splendidly into that fellowship, and all have so conspired, by their earnestness and their zeal, to make the most of this opportunity afforded us this week, that I do begin my word of thanks to the men themselves.

I feel that last evening, when the rector of Trinity Church, Princeton, led in those harmonies on the back porch, that the Conference had struck its real balance, and we had here a very happy fellowship, engaged in a serious work, and yet not unmindful of the fact that we were a joyful fellowship in Christ. And I am sure, Reverend Sir, that in thanking these men you perceive that I am saying for you the one reward you and the other leaders would seek, that the attitude of the fellowship here has been such as to make me hope that it has justified your efforts in our behalf.

I am grateful to Dr. Simpson, who has always encouraged me, and whose friendship has been proven both for myself, and for the Diocese many times. The high level upon which they have been moving this week is due almost entirely to you, sir.

And then I wish to express my appreciation, and yours, to Dr. Lowrie. Since coming to the Diocese six years ago I have felt and appreciated the kindly cooperation given me by Dr. Lowrie, and his never failing zeal to help me in my work, and supplying what were the deficiencies in my own ministry. His presence here, the paper he read, his advice and cooperation with me before we met, all help to make us feel that he had a large part in the success of the Conference.

And then one other individual, the Archdeacon. I have grown so accustomed to accept the masterful way Bob Gribbon takes care of the arrangements for our conferences that sometimes I wonder if we really appreciate what he does. This year, finding time to prepare and to read that excellent paper of last evening, puts us indeed in his debt.

My part in the Conference has been simply to state the dream, and to find those who could help put it into effect. I have always felt, as a Bishop, that I had the right to go to those who had what I lacked, and to ask them to supply these deficiencies on my part.

[34] At the time that I was notified that I should receive the degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology from the General Seminary I recall discussing it with Dean Fosbroke. Some day the American Church will awaken to the realization that we have in Dean Fosbroke not only one of the great scholars of the time, but one of the wisest and most consecrated counsellors we have within the Church. I told him that I was not a scholar, and that I felt the degree should be conferred only upon those who were scholars. His answer was, that while I might not be a scholar, yet I was on that side in that I did make every effort to see that our clergy were moved to study, and to improve their minds. In that spirit I accepted the degree, and in that spirit I dared go forward to promote this Conference.

Sometimes I feel like the little peasant woman I saw in the Academy of Music years ago. A public school was having its graduation. Upon the stage were a number of the youth in modern, up-to-date evening dress, and here was a little peasant woman whose son was in the graduating class. She was dressed, as probably she always had dressed, with a shawl over her head. One felt, looking into her face, that she had lived her life of sacrifice and self-discipline `in order that the boy might have those advantages denied her. It would be a stress upon humility for me to press that thought too far, and yet in a sense it does represent my attitude. I want all our clergy to have every opportunity to improve themselves mentally and spiritually. I want the best for each one of them, and in turn I want them to give their best to their people. That this Conference has fulfilled that ambition to some degree makes me doubly grateful for the opportunity afforded me, and for the hope that out of the Conference may come something better for the spirit and life of this Diocese.

It would be tragic were we to go home and feel that we have had a conference, and it has been of help to us, and to let it rest there. I ask that you do lay plans to continue the discussion of the points brought out in this conference within your own Convocations. Will you not plan to get together in groups, or in your clericus meetings, to read further, and study, and to share the results of your reading and study? Don't worry about books, they will be forthcoming when needed. But let us hear in mind that what has been begun here this week is not only of immediate value to the fellowship within this Diocese, but it may be, and I pray God it will be the inspiration for a like conference to be held in other Dioceses throughout the whole Church.

I do ask now that you will plan in September to have a Quiet Day or a Retreat within your own Convocation. We must not plan for similar gatherings to this until conditions have changed, but I do ask that you begin the year together before the Altar with a renewal of your Ordination vows, and with a pledge to Almighty God to carry out that vow in which you promised to study, to read, and to bring the best to your life, and through your life to your people.

I am proud of the clergy of this Diocese, and I pray God's richest blessing upon you during these coming months.

Suggestions for Reading

Christ With Us, by Hardy and Bigham (Holy Cross Press).

Liturgy and Society, by A. G. Hebert.

Liturgy and Worship, edited by W. K. L. Clarke.

Man's Search for Himself, by Aubrey.

Men at Work and Worship, by Ellard.

The Christian Life of Work and Worship, by Ellard.

The Liturgy, by K. MacKenzie.

The Relevance of Christianity, by F. R. Barry.

The Relevance of the Church, by F. R. Barry.

The Sacraments and the Church, by de Candole.

The Social Function of Religion, by James.

The Spirit of the Liturgy, by Guardini.

The Worshipping Community, by Heywood.

This Holy Fellowship, edited by Hardy and Pittenger.

What is Christianity? by Morrison.

Why the Church? a Holy Cross Tract.

Why Worship? a Holy Cross Tract.

Worship, by Evelyn Underhill.

Project Canterbury