Project Canterbury

Anglo-Catholicism: What It Is Not and What It Is

By Walter Herbert Stowe

Rector of Christ Church, New Brunswick, New Jersey

London: Church Literature Association, 1932.

Part One. What Anglo-Catholicism Is Not


ANGLO-CATHOLICISM as the flowering of a centuries old tradition was never stronger in the Anglican Communion than it is to-day. Moreover, it has had, and probably will continue to have, a very real influence outside the boundaries of the Anglican Communion.

Gaining new strength from the Tractarian or Oxford Movement—called the one because of the series of "Tracts for the Times" with which it was initiated, and called the other because its first headquarters were in Oxford University (Oriel College)— it speedily extended its influence into the parishes of the Church in England, the American Episcopal Church, and the Colonial Churches beyond the seas. The three outstanding leaders of the last century were Keble, Pusey and Newman. Of these, Newman was the most brilliant, and his defection to Rome was a hard blow, but not as damaging as it was thought to be at the time.

Anglo-Catholicism claims to be a continuation and development of a well-recognized tradition in the Church of England from the days of the Elizabethan Settlement. The Oxford Movement itself took its rise in an age of arid liberalism, an age impatient of dogma and distrusting enthusiasm. It appeared in a Church in danger of Erastian influences, marked by indifference to historic traditions, and began its work in a period in which respectability was exalted and the pastoral office neglected.

The objects of the Oxford Movement (and for the most part still operative) were: (i) To vindicate the Catholic position of the Church of England; (2) to reassert its identity with the pre-Reformation Church in England; (3) to insist on the continuity of its apostolic succession; (4) to exalt episcopal order; (5) to emphasize the importance of the sacraments; (6) to enhance the ideal of the priesthood.

It has succeeded remarkably in developing personal piety, instilling pastoral devotion, stirring up missionary zeal, and recovering the beauty of worship.

It is impossible in the space at our disposal to trace the historical development of the movement. To best understand its present position and condition, and to better gauge its future possibilities, we shall first consider WHAT IT IS NOT and then proceed to consider WHAT IT IS.


THE primary issue between Anglo- and Roman Catholicism is authority and the basis thereof. This fundamental issue centres in the Papacy and its authority, land from this conflict flow all other differences of faith, worship, discipline and atmosphere.

The four key phrases which make up the Papal claims are primacy, spiritual supremacy, temporal supremacy, and infallibility in faith and morals. According to Roman Catholicism, the Bishop of Rome, by virtue of his succession to the See of Peter, is the Vicar of Christ on earth. He is not only the primate of all Christendom in the sense of being first among equals (which is the meaning of primacy), but he claims to be spiritually supreme above all bishops and clergy, so that all bishops are virtually suffragans who owe their right of consecration, their jurisdiction and obedience to the See of Rome. Moreover, the Bishop of Rome, in addition to the claim of spiritual supremacy over the Church, claims temporal supremacy—supremacy over all civil states and civil powers; in case of conflict between the civil and spiritual or ecclesiastical powers, the civil power must bow to the spiritual power, which in final analysis and operation (under the Roman system) is that of the Pope. Lastly, since 1870, Roman Catholics must believe that the Bishop of Rome is infallible in matters of faith and morals. The definition of Papal infallibility by the Vatican Council (Const. "Pastor Æternus," cap. iv.) is as follows:

"We teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma, that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra—i.e., when, in his character as Pastor and Doctor of all Christians, and in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he lays down that a certain doctrine concerning faith and morals is binding upon the universal Church—possesses, by the Divine assistance which was promised to him in the person of the blessed Saint Peter, that same infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer thought fit to endow his Church, to define its doctrine with regard to faith and morals; and, consequently, that these definitions of the Roman Pontiff are irreformable in themselves, and not in consequence of the consent of the Church."

All these claims rest on the following suppositions: that Peter was not only Primate of the Apostolate, or first among equals, but that he was supreme over the other Apostles and all civil powers; that he was infallible in faith and morals; that he was the first Bishop of Rome; and that these powers, which our Lord Jesus Christ supposedly conferred upon him, Peter conferred upon his successors in the See of Rome in perpetuity.

Anglo-Catholics reject all these claims except that of Primacy on the following grounds: (i) There is no evidence in Scripture or anywhere else that Christ conferred these powers upon St. Peter; (2) there is no evidence that St. Peter claimed them for himself or his successors; (3) there is strong contrary evidence that St. Peter erred in an important matter of faith in Antioch, the eating together and social intercourse of Jewish and Gentile Christians affecting the whole future of the Church and the Christian Religion, and this lapse was so serious that St. Paul withstood him to the face; (4) he did not preside at the first Council of the Church in Jerusalem and did not hand down the decision of the Council; (5) he was Bishop of Antioch before he was bishop anywhere else, and, if the papal claims are in any way true, the Bishop of Antioch has a better right to hold them; (6) that St. Peter was ever in Rome is disputed, and the most that can be said for it is that it is an interesting historical problem; (7) there is no evidence whatsoever that he conferred such powers upon his successors-to-be in the See of Rome; (8) there was no primitive acceptance of such claims, and there never has been universal acceptance in any later age.

Rome has other doctrines which are de fide (necessary to salvation), such as Transubstantiation and the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary—i.e., that the Blessed Virgin Mary was born without original sin. If any Anglo-Catholic holds these two dogmas, he can do so only as pious opinions and not as de fide.

Thus we see that Rome stands for an autocratic Catholicism wherein the ultimate rule is confined to one person—the Pope. Anglo-Catholicism stands for a democratic Catholicism wherein all groups and orders—bishops, clergy and laity—have voice, rights and powers in the exercise of the Church's government, either directly or indirectly through duly accredited representatives. The importance of the laity in matters of faith has always been very real, although too often forgotten or overlooked. Bishop Gore, after describing the theological confusion, the bitter controversies and the chaotic conditions of the Early Church, truly says:

"They had no idea of any 'way out' by centralizing authority and making it absolute. In fact, as historians have perceived, the 'way out' was found in the main through the faithfulness of the laity, who persisted, on the whole, in holding fast both to the Godhead of Christ and to his Manhood, though their vision also was distorted by the partisan loyalties of rival cities." [Gore, "Reconstruction of Belief," p. 847.]

Democratic Catholicism is, we believe, more in accord with the Mind of Christ than autocratic Catholicism (such as Rome ably represents), for these clearly defined reasons:

First, coercion or force or compulsion in spiritual belief and practice is utterly foreign to the character of our Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in the Gospels. The original disciples were led and not forced to believe in him and to follow him. He was ever patient with their blindness, their weakness and wavering, even their final denial of him. He desired above everything else their voluntary obedience prompted by the love and loyalty of free men. In the end he possessed not many but a few such disciples.

Second, democracy, in spite of being prone to inefficiency, is the best form of government yet discovered by which men can in fullest measure develop their personalities and bring to fruition the latent powers, talents and capacities with which God has endowed them. Dictatorships may sometimes be expedient for a season, but it is not too much to say that democracy is of divine order and most akin to the Mind of Christ.


The charge is often made by Protestants and Roman Catholics that Anglo-Catholicism logically ends in Roman Catholicism. As our first witness to the contrary we shall call to the stand one of the foremost Protestant authorities on Catholicism. Winfred Ernest Garrison, author of "Catholicism and the American Mind," reviewing Dr. Delany's book, "Why Rome?" in the Christian Century, vol. xlvii., No. 51, December 17, 1930, states:

"Whether the position of the Anglo-Catholics is right or wrong, as a matter of fact, there is nothing inherently illogical or untenable about it. To declare, from the Protestant side, that they ought logically to make their submission to Rome is not only bad strategy, but, what is worse, it is not true. [Italics mine.] Let us suppose that a man believes, on grounds which seem to him sufficient, in the doctrines of Transubstantiation, the Invocation of Saints and the Blessed Virgin, Auricular Confession and Purgatory; that he finds spiritual value in the use of rosaries, scapulars, relics, images, incense, holy water and what not; that he believes in one authoritative Holy Catholic Church outside of which there is no salvation, commissioned and empowered by God to preserve and transmit the faith and to administer the sacraments. It does not follow by any rule of logic that he must also believe that the criterion of catholicity is submission to the authority of the Bishop of Rome and acceptance of his infallibility. The fact that a majority of those who hold to the beliefs and practices above specified have also come, in comparatively recent years, to the acceptance of the dogma of Roman infallibility imposes no logical compulsion upon the minority who have not. That dogma must stand upon its own feet. [Italics mine.] If there are sound arguments for it, well and good. But whether good or bad, their cogency is not enhanced by the fact that the Roman Church has a wonderfully effective organization, or that ' the papacy is the outstanding feature of the Catholic religion,' or that 'everything the Pope says and does is front-page news everywhere.' "

Again, if we had the time and the means, we might call one hundred and fifty to two hundred million Eastern Orthodox or Greek Catholics to the witness stand to testify that Greek Catholicism, with which Anglo-Catholicism is almost identical in fundamentals, does not logically lead to submission to Rome. Not for one day in the last nineteen hundred years has it ever done so, a fact which Western Christians are too prone to overlook or ignore.

Since, however, many Anglo-Catholics have gone to Rome in the last hundred years, let us examine in some detail the reasons for the most famous of them doing so and see whether there is any good logical reason. Let us consider the case of Newman.

Newman and several of his inner circle went to Rome, but the vast majority of the Tractarians, including Keble and Pusey, never did. Another group of Tractarians, such as Mark Pattison and James Anthony Froude, lapsed into latitudinarianism or scepticism. There was no more logic in the first group than in the third.

Again, the present convert to Rome has to swallow much more than Newman ever had to do. When Newman went to Rome (1845) the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and Papal Infallibility were not de fide, dogmas of the faith necessary to be believed on pain of eternal loss. The first was promulgated in 1854 and the second in 1870. For neither is there a shred of Scriptural evidence worthy the name.

In the third place, Newman went to Rome on the theory of development which he set forth in his "Development of Christian Doctrine" just before his submission. It was the last of his written works as an Anglican. No one can but be impressed by the genius of Newman and especially by the prophetic quality of this work. We must remember that it was written several years before Darwin's "Origin of Species" and the rise of the modern theory of evolution. What Newman in essential outline set forth as a remarkably original thesis has come to be generally accepted in the whole range of life in some form or other. If evolution in biology and anthropology is now generally accepted, it is no less so in religion and Biblical criticism. We really owe a great debt to Newman, although he would be horrified to learn of the modern applications of his theory. And he would be equally heart-sick to know the Papal reactions to it.

Said Newman: "All bodies of Christians develop the doctrines of Scripture. . . . All parties appeal to Scripture—that is, argue from Scripture; but the argument implies deduction—that is, development. Here there is no difference between early times and late. . . . (Protestants) themselves deduce quite as subtle a method, and act upon doctrines as implicit and on reasons as little analyzed in times passed as Catholic schoolmen. What prominence has the royal supremacy in the New Testament, or the lawfulness of bearing arms, or the duty of public worship, or the substitution of the first day of the week for the seventh, or Infant Baptism, to say nothing of the fundamental principle that the Bible and the Bible only is the Religion of Protestants?" [Newman, "An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine," chapter ii., section i., subsection 2.]

While the writer accepts the general thesis of development, which is that many modern beliefs and practices can be found in germ in the belief and practice of the Primitive Church, or are legitimate developments therefrom, he is no more convinced that modern Papal claims are a legitimate development of Petrine primacy than that the modern horse is a development of the rabbit because the rabbit has four legs. The Early Church was not an autocracy, but essentially a democracy. For a democracy to develop into an autocracy is not a legitimate, but an illegitimate, development—not a logical process, but a perversion.

But suppose that some Anglo-Catholic is convinced that modern Papal claims are a legitimate development of Petrine primacy. What then? Just this. He finds, first of all, that Roman Catholic Modernists such as Loisy and Tyrrell justified their Modernism as a logical application of Newman's doctrine of development. In the second place, he finds that the Pope has condemned not only the Modernists such as Loisy and Tyrrell, but Newman's theory of the development of doctrine as well (although Newman was specifically exempt from the condemnation). So for a modern to go over to Rome on Newman's theory of development is to be condemned in advance for his conversion on such grounds.

When you carefully examine the published reasons given by Anglo-Catholic converts to Rome, you find that they have "put their foot in it" so far as any sound intellectual or logical reason is concerned. Most conversions are due to emotional upsets, discouragements, impatience, or a zeal for every jot and tittle of the extremest Catholic position which will brook no temporizing and demands the strictest discipline and unquestioning obedience. Logic has very little to do with it. Newman and most of those who have emulated him were raised in extreme Evangelical or Protestant environments. Once having broken away from such positions, they are like a pendulum, and swing as far in the opposite direction as it is possible to go.

Let us have done, therefore, with the assumption that the end of Anglo-Catholicism is logically Rome.


The objection has been raised in many quarters that Anglo-Catholicism is static or obscurantist. This may be true of some groups within the movement, but it is not true of modern leaders nor of the rank and file. It is true that the movement during the initial Tractarian stage was somewhat academic and divorced from the everyday life of men. This is no longer true.

The Tractarians were passionately exercised over the Erastian condition of the Church, her dominance by the State, and her treatment by the State as merely one of its many departments. They were primarily concerned to recall her to herself, to set before her the past as something not to be ashamed of, to expound the fundamental principles of her life and mission, and to stand out for her independence of the State.

One evidence that the movement is not static is the development of ritual or ceremonial. The Tractarians were not ritualists as we use the term. They were not particularly interested in it. But it was not long in developing as an expression of the doctrines emphasized by the Tractarians and their successors. Ceremonial brought the movement right into the parish church and provoked the attention and often the opposition of the laity. It brought in its train many important changes. Church architecture awoke from a long sleep. Liturgies, almost a forgotten subject, took a new lease on life. The beauty of worship was restored. The devotional life of the Church, cold and formal if not frozen, was rekindled in warm and vigorous strains. All this has influenced Protestantism as well as the Anglican Communion.

The Tractarians were not much concerned with what we call to-day the "social gospel." To-day some of the finest expressions of the social gospel are being manifested by Anglo-Catholic clergy, particularly in the great slums of England's cities and in the mission-fields of the Church. Added to the other charges against many of the Anglo-Catholic clergy is that of being "socialists."

If we turn to the intellectual and critical field, we find the most striking answers to the charge that Anglo-Catholicism is static or obscurantist. The three stages are well epitomized by Stewart in his book "A Century of Anglo-Catholicism." [Stewart, H. L., "A Century of Anglo-Catholicism," Oxford University Press, New York, 1929. (The writer is a Presbyterian.)]

The Tractarians were suspicious of Biblical criticism and any experimenting in theological thinking. The second stage centres around Bishop Gore and the Lux Mundi School. They boldly accepted the conservative results of Biblical criticism, much to the distress of Liddon and the earlier leaders. At the same time, they did yeoman service in driving back the waves of purely destructive criticism and stood out for the reality of the miraculous in Holy Scripture. Gore also is well known for his exposition of the Kenotic theory, which was a real venture into new theological paths in its day.

The third stage is that in which we now live. Its character is probably best expressed by Gore's "A New Commentary on Holy Scripture, including the Apocrypha," and, more particularly, "Essays Catholic and Critical," edited by Selwyn and written by a group of younger Anglo-Catholic scholars. No one can read these two volumes and say that present-day leaders are afraid to look scientific knowledge in the face and reinterpret the faith for the modern mind.

Another indication that the movement really moves is in the matter of Church Unity. Anglo-Catholics are passionate in their desire that the Lord's Church shall be one. This may cause smiles in most Protestant circles, as their practice appears to belie their professions. But it is not really so. They understand the enormous obstacles in the way, and most of them undoubtedly feel that the hopes for reunion are brighter with the Eastern Orthodox than with most Protestant bodies. They have been willing to tackle the hardest problem of all—reunion with Rome on other terms than abject submission, which is outside the range of most Protestant thinking. The Novena of Prayer for the Reunion of Christendom from Ascension to Pentecost each year, organized by Anglo-Catholics, definitely seeks to promote reunion with Protestants at present outside the Church.

Brilioth in "The Anglican Revival" says: "Perhaps the desire for reunion has nowhere been more of a real passion than with the leaders of the movement and their spiritual kindred. Thus Neo-Anglicanism has, to an extent that can hardly be over-estimated, given life and strength to the work for Christian unity." [Brilioth, Yngve, "The Anglican Revival," p. 330, Longmans, Green and Co., 1925. (The writer is a Swedish Lutheran.) 2O]

Still more recently (January, 1932), the English Church, for the first time since the Reformation, formally entered into communion with another group of Christians—the Old Catholics. The Convocations of Canterbury and York unanimously approved the proposal for the establishment of intercommunion between the Old Catholics and the Church of England. Undoubtedly the General Convention of the American Episcopal Church will vote in 1934 to concur in this striking and much-to-be-desired step in the cause of Church Unity.

Part Two. What Anglo-Catholicism Is

THE Christian Religion is that which binds us to God in and through Jesus Christ. Christianity is not primarily a philosophy, or an ethical system, or an emotion. True, it contains all these elements, but PRIMARILY it is a LIFE. The chief mission of Christians is to reproduce the life of Jesus Christ, that in our individual and social living we may become Christlike (which is the same thing as becoming Godlike), and thus bring in the Kingdom of God.

To become Christlike the Christian must KNOW Christ—his mind and character and motives. But it is clearly impossible for Christians to become Christ-like or Godlike unless we receive Divine aid. We must keep in contact with the ever-living Christ as our Lord and Master in order to fulfil our vocation and attain to a measure of his stature. It is the function of God the Holy Spirit to enable us to do this.

It is just here that the Church comes in. The Church is the Body of Christ, an organism and not merely an organization or institution. It is as essential for the fulfilment of the Divine Purpose for men and the world as flesh and blood were for the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. In fact, the Church is the extension of the Incarnation in the life of men of yesterday and to-day and to-morrow. The Church, while not the Kingdom of God, is the chief instrument for bringing in the Kingdom. And God the Holy Spirit operates in and through the Church, bringing Divine grace to the souls of men.

This is not to say that God is tied to his instruments or that the Holy Spirit never operates outside the Church. We may believe that he does. We may believe that wherever truth and goodness and beauty are found, there we find the fruit of the Holy Spirit's work. We may believe that many outside the Church will be saved for eternal life if they live up to the best light that they have. But we know that in the long run and with the vast majority of men the light and grace necessary for wholeness of character and Christlike living can only come in and through the Church which is his Body.

The interrelation of Christ and his Church, the work of the Holy Spirit in and through the Church, the place and importance of Creeds and Bible, Ministry and Sacraments, can best be understood by an illustration which I owe to Bishop Johnson of Colorado, my former chief pastor. While the illustration has shortcomings, as all illustrations do, and while any mechanical implications must be guarded against, it is still very effective.


Let us conceive of the Church as a great Compass. The North Pole is Christ; the East point is the Creeds and the Bible; the South Pole is the Ministry; the West point is the Sacraments. The needle of the compass is God the Holy Spirit. It is his function to bring all men to Christ, and within the Church he does so through any or all points of the Compass.

Christ is the end; the others—Creeds, Bible, Ministry and Sacraments—are means. As we indicated above, this does not mean that the Holy Spirit cannot bring men to Christ by other means. The point is that we know from experience and history that he can and does bring men to Christ through these duly appointed means, these covenanted channels of grace.


The Creeds and the Bible are associated together, and rightly so. The first Christians had a Christian Creed before they had a Christian Bible—that is, any Bible other than the Old Testament, which they took over bodily from the Jewish Church. Their creed or belief was not the fully developed expression of the Apostles' or Nicene Creed. The Apostles' Creed is a development of the baptismal formula and the Nicene Creed is that expression of the faith set forth by the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325 and succeeding councils of the Church. But both, we believe, are implicit in the Apostolic faith whose Christology was undeveloped according to the standards of a later day. My point here is that the Apostles and their associates had a teaching belief about Christ before a line of the New Testament was written. St. Luke in the preface to his Gospel writes: "It seemed good to me also ... to write unto thee in order . . . that thou mightest know the certainty concerning the things wherein thou wast instructed."

Both Creed and Bible, the Anglo-Catholic maintains, are creations of the Church in their formal setup under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and derive their essential authority from the Church. The Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the New Testament to write and, what is equally important, guided the Church in testing any claim to inspiration over a period of almost four hundred years, culminating in the New Testament Canon substantially as we have it to-day. Through full and free discussion and use the Church selected those writings deemed worthy of a place in the Canon and rejected those which were not.

This being the case, to take the Bible as the origin or source of doctrine is clearly illogical. The Church teaches, the Bible proves. On the one hand, we have a safeguard against that erratic individualism which would take some event, incident or teaching of minor or one-sided importance and set it up as of primary importance. On the other hand, it is a protection against the principle that what Scripture does not expressly allow is forbidden. Even those Protestants who claim that " the Bible and the Bible only is the creed of Protestants " do not practise it really. Or, rather, their practice is better than their profession. They do not hand a Bible to a child and say: " Find the Christian truth for yourself." Instead, they teach the child the tradition of their particular denomination and invite him to find it verified in Scripture. The Anglo-Catholic maintains that Church tradition has a valid standing along with Scripture, and that it has always had such standing in the Church's history. In any matters, except those necessary for salvation, what Scripture does not forbid may be allowed. In this lie life and liberty.

Furthermore, the Bible, while not the source or origin of doctrine, has a most important function of being the test of doctrine. One of the fundamental Anglican standards is that no doctrine can be taught as necessary to salvation unless it can be proved by Scripture. It is the safeguard against those additions to the faith such as Rome has made and can continue to make independent of Scriptural warrant.

We can see from the above that the Church is not committed to any such doctrine as the infallibility of the Bible. "Anglo-Catholics," says Stewart, "have been relatively jealous for the authority of Scripture," and they believe in the essential integrity of Scripture, especially the New Testament, but they are not committed to the position that inspiration necessarily implies freedom from verbal or human error. [H. L. Stewart, "A Century of Anglo-Catholicism," p. 8.] The Scriptures should be subject to full and free criticism. At the same time, many of the assumptions, premises, hypotheses and prejudices of some critics need not be accepted as either scientific or Divine revelation. In the field of Biblical criticism Anglo-Catholicism may be classed as cautious without being reactionary, in contrast to both Roman Catholicism and Protestant Fundamentalists.

In the matter of faith as objectively set forth, it is not claimed that the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds were decreed by the Apostles in the formal manner we now have them. But it is claimed that they are the developed expressions of the Apostolic faith in the expanding life of the Church. Their authority does not lie in the fact that they were or were not the ipse dixit of a council, either local or general. The Apostles' Creed was never set forth by a council. Its authority rests on its general acceptance by the Church Catholic. The Nicene Creed was set forth by the Council of Nicea as a result of the Arian controversy in A.D. 325. This was a general council whose members were representative of the whole Church at that time. Its validity as an expression of the Church's Faith rests on the Church's universal acceptance of it.

What is the authority of a council? A general council is not necessarily an oecumenical council and a local council may be. A general or a local council is accounted an oecumenical council when and if its decision is accepted by the whole Church. This acceptance may be a process covering a century more or less. And this process of acceptance or rejection is an expression of the essential democracy of the whole Church. Local and national churches have the right and opportunity to pass on the great question: "What is the truth?" Thus the voice and guidance of the Holy Spirit are not limited by the circumstances which might enter into a council's decision, circumstances often not edifying. It is the universal acceptance by the Church that counts. It is this which determines if a council is oecumenical and its decision authoritative.

What, then, is the relation of private judgment and authority? It is a popular assumption in some quarters that private judgment and authority are antithetical; that the exercise of private judgment necessarily involves the rejection of authority, or that the acceptance of authority smothers private judgment. On the contrary, sound private judgment in the acquisition of Christian truth (as in other spheres of truth) depends upon authority, which may be defined as the acceptance of the testimony and experience of others. This is patently so in the whole range of historical knowledge antedating the individual's personal experience. And it is particularly true that we are dependent upon the testimony and experience of others for the very facts of our Lord's life and teaching. If the Protestant, admitting this, insists that the only authority he accepts for the life of Christ is the New Testament, the Catholic very properly replies that even such limited acceptance of authority is, to that extent, an acknowledgment of the essential integrity of the authority of the Church Catholic, for the New Testament is the written tradition of the Church, every book having been written by her members, and the whole collection certified by her authority as canonical.

This phase of the subject is well summarized by the late Dr. Hall:

"It is true that personal belief, however reached, springs from an act of private judgment, which in that sense is supreme for individual faith and practice. The Vaticanist reaches his position through private judgment as to the Vatican claims; and his subsequent uncritical acceptance of all Papal doctrine is the logical application of his initial private judgment that Papal infallibility has been divinely revealed. Belief which is not ultimately due to private judgment has no personal reality.

"The issue between Protestants and Catholics here is not really between insistence upon and rejection of private judgment, but between certain initial conclusions thereof, which involve for Protestants a very low estimate of ecclesiastical authority, and for Catholics a very high one. All the divergences between Catholicism and Protestantism grow, either directly or indirectly, out of these initial and conflicting judgments.

"ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY in necessary doctrine, therefore, is the primary issue between Protestantism and Catholicism—Catholics accepting the final earthly authority therein of the Catholic Church corporate, and Protestants putting such authority on the level of collective private judgments, subject to many possibilities of error and reversal. . . . Protestants generally fail to distinguish between Catholic authority and Papal; and, as a result, the patent difficulties in accepting the latter become their reasons for rejecting the former.

"It is necessary to clarify the subject of Catholic authority. Its formal basis is the Lord's commission officially to teach. Its scope is the primitive saving faith, in the light of which we are enabled to enter into eternal guidance of the Holy Spirit. Its confirmatory evidence is its working.

"The primitive faith began at once to be embodied by the Church in the eucharistic rite and related ecclesiastical calendar, everywhere fundamentally the same; in a 'form of sound words,' gradually crystallized in the Catholic creed; and in the several sacramental offices, apostolic in origin, although slow in theological co-ordination. By this manifold method of tradition the teaching originally committed to the Church has been retained to this day, without substantial change, and, in spite of schisms and provincial accretions and abuses, in every part of the Catholic Church, the official agency of this being the Catholic ministry of apostolic succession. Such a record is absolutely unique and astonishing. Indeed, it cannot be explained except on supernatural grounds. Furthermore, this common faith is identifiable in every part of the Catholic Church, whether Oriental, Roman, or Anglican, by cancelling out their several provincial developments, and, independently of such method of identification, continues practically to be the most fundamental determinant everywhere of Catholic belief and conduct. Finally, this faith, and the order in which it is embodied, are sufficiently confirmed by the New Testament to be reasonably regarded as perpetuating 'the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship.'

"On the other hand, the Protestant rejection of the Catholic authority has resulted in loss of the sacerdotal and sacramentalist elements of the ancient Faith, and in growing discord concerning the rest. The natural inference from this contrast is not that private judgment must be dethroned, but that it must be exercised more soundly, and should reach the initial premise upon which common recognition of the Faith once for all delivered becomes possible—the teaching that the Catholic Church corporate, within the scope of primitive saving faith, has no rival on earth in competence and abiding value for guidance into life eternal.

"Around the common Catholic Faith a complex context of knowledge and opinion has developed, and this context is continually modified by the advances of science and criticism. Moreover, Catholic theologians have to reckon afresh in each age with this ever-growing and changing context. But these changes have not nullified, and cannot nullify, any substantial element of the ancient Faith. Those who think so have not sufficiently reckoned with the distinction here indicated.

"INFALLIBILITY, in the sense claimed for the Roman See, and in any mechanical linking with particular ecclesiastical methods and agencies, has been very adequately disproved by Dr. Cadoux, as non-primitive in assertion, unworkable, and not identifiable with certainty in its alleged exercise. It is as certain as any proposition well can be that no utterances of Pope or Council are infallible in se. They may indeed prove to be final; but this proof is not immediate, and is incomplete until subsequent events reveal their acceptance by the Catholic Church at large as of abiding validity and authority. Happily for sound pedagogy and mental freedom, and providentially, the utterances which have gained the authority of oecumenical dogma are limited in range and confined to central premises of orthodox belief and thought. The Spirit's guidance of the Church is not only positive, but restraining—making excessive definition by the whole Church practically impossible.

"I am not enamoured with the term ' infallibility,' for it is readily and widely understood in the mechanical sense of the Vatican decree, and of much undiscriminating language concerning (Ecumenical Councils. There neither is nor can be an absolute basis of certainty that any specific method of ecclesiastical utterance will invariably exclude error. The Lord's promise, and subsequent history, do justify belief that the whole Church will never be committed to erroneous teaching by its agents and councils, and that those who are devoutly loyal to the Catholic system will securely gain sufficient knowledge of truth for guidance into life eternal—all the guidance really essential. It is in this sense that the Catholic Church may be called 'infallible '—not as able always to answer questions with accurate finality, but as a guide of souls which, in matters of salvation, can never lead astray those who are loyal to its working system and implicitly accept the teaching embodied therein." [Hall, Francis J., Review of Cadoux's "Catholicism and Christianity," The Living Church, March i, 1930, p. 611.]


We come now to the consideration of the South Pole of the Compass—the Ministry of the Church. The ministry in its widest sense is the most effective instrument of the Holy Spirit in bringing men to Christ. I say in the widest sense, by which I mean that every baptized Christian is, in one sense, and a very real one, a minister. Just as every baptized person is a Christian and, by virtue of his baptism, a member of the Holy Catholic Church, so he is a potential messenger of the Spirit and capable of bringing other souls to our common Lord and Master. After all, holy living is the most effective preaching and ministry.

But for our present discussion we shall limit our consideration to the ordained ministry. The Anglo-Catholic maintains that the Apostles were commissioned ministers—sent, authorized and empowered by Christ himself to do the work appointed them. Hence their authority was not self-assumed, but delegated by Christ. St. Paul always stoutly maintained that he was specially commissioned by Christ, and the Twelve, after some hesitancy, accepted him and his claim. The Apostles delegated their authority by ordaining deacons and presbyters. This was the general rule, whatever the exceptions may have been. That the laity had certain rights in the selection of those to be ordained is evident, as the whole body of Christians picked out those whom the Apostles were to ordain as the first deacons.

The Anglo-Catholic has strong convictions that the Church is the Body of Christ, that it is the great instrument for producing Christlike living and for bringing in the Kingdom. To it has been entrusted the deposit of saving faith and the ministration of saving grace for the accomplishment of these purposes. It is essential that the faith be taught and practised and the means of grace administered in each generation and handed on to succeeding generations. Hence he is bound to take seriously the question of Orders.

The Preface to the Ordinal of the Book of Common Prayer reads: "It is evident unto all men, diligently reading Holy Scripture and ancient authors, that from the Apostles' time there have been these orders of ministers in Christ's Church—bishops, priests and deacons."

The Anglo-Catholic does not necessarily hold that our Lord instituted the threefold order of bishops, priests and deacons just as we have it now. The functions of each order may vary somewhat in different times and places. A priest, for instance, was at one time another name for bishop. Now it is another name for presbyter. It may be, as Lightfoot asserts, that "the Episcopate was formed, not out of the Apostolic order by localization, but out of the presbyteral by elevation." The principle of delegated authority is not thereby violated. Whatever differing types of organization might be found in different localities, the principle of a commissioned ministry was maintained, and survived in the threefold order of bishops, priests and deacons, while all others disappeared. From the early second century until the sixteenth century throughout the Church this ministry crystallized into the threefold order set forth in the Preface to the Ordinal, and was universally accepted and never seriously challenged as the authoritative ministry of the Holy Catholic Church.

The Anglo-Catholic sees no reason to doubt that in adopting this order the Church was guided by the Holy Spirit according to the promise of Christ, and thinks that the burden of proof rests on those who deny this rather than on those who accept it. [Hodgson, "Essays in Christian Philosophy," pp. 145-146, Longmans, Green and Co., 1930.] Most Christians, including Protestants, accept the Canon of Scripture as set forth by the Church in the Council of Carthage of A.D. 397. A great many Protestants accept the Apostles' or Nicene Creed or both as a sufficient statement of the Christian Faith. Both of these important developments were effected, we believe, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Yet before the Canon of Scripture was formulated or the Faith of the Church crystallized in the Creeds, the historic ministry of bishops, priests and deacons was universally accepted throughout the Holy Catholic Church, East and West, as far North as Britain and as far South as Egypt and Africa. Did the Holy Spirit, who led the Church aright in the matters of Creed and Scripture, fail or err in the matter of the ministry, which was of no less importance? We think not. Was not the guidance of the Spirit in the ministry as true and valid as in the other two standards of the Church? We believe that it was.

The history of the acceptance of Papal claims was in marked contrast to this. First, such claims were not accepted in the early centuries of the Church anywhere. Second, they were never accepted by the Eastern Church at any time from the first days until the present.

There is a suspicion abroad that a bishop is a pope writ small. This is far from the case either in the past or the present. "So far from it being true that we witness a gradual extension of the powers of the episcopate in the early centuries, there is more difference between a bishop and a presbyter in the second century than in the third and in the third than in the fourth." [Mackenzie, "The Case for Episcopacy," p. 62, S.P.C.K., 1929.] That is, the presbyter rises in the scale of power and authority. Speaking of to-day, a bishop's powers are strictly limited. He is neither monarch nor autocrat. He cannot come within a parish's boundaries for official acts of any kind (except once a year for an official visitation) unless invited. He cannot compel a parish to accept his nominee nor remove a rector without moral or doctrinal cause substantiated in an ecclesiastical court. He cannot control the purse strings of any parish.

The Church of England at the Reformation, in contrast to the Continental Protestants, retained unbroken the historic succession of bishops, priests and deacons, and its validity is to-day recognized by the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is true that Pope Leo XIII. in 1896 condemned Anglican Orders. It is common knowledge that Continental Roman theologians advised his recognition, but English Roman Catholics clamoured for condemnation in the expectation that converts would be greatly increased. Torn between these two factions, Pope Leo XIII. sided with his faithful English followers and condemned Anglican Orders. Unfortunately for him, he gave his reasons, which, if true, invalidate not only Anglican Orders, but Roman Orders and the Orders of all Christendom well. His condemnation was on two grounds which abandoned all the absurd Roman arguments such as Nag's Head Fable. The first ground was the Anglican Ordinal's supposed deficiency of form. Yet every ordinal up to the Middle Ages was thus deficient, which would invalidate Roman Orders. The other ground was that of intention. The Pope's statement of this reason would also invalidate Roman Orders, for it was never part of the primitive ordinals. Anglo-Catholics stand solidly for the historic ministry without denying the Holy Spirit's blessing on those who reject it. But they feel that reunion on any other basis is unlikely for three reasons: First, the obligation of trusteeship and the importance of historic continuity; second, because seven-tenths of the Christians of the world accept this threefold order; third, because Protestants themselves are not of one mind about any other order.


"A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, as a means whereby we receive this grace, and a pledge to assure us thereof." Anglo-Catholics follow general Catholic teaching in accounting the Sacraments to be seven in number: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Holy Order, Holy Matrimony, and Unction. They are divided into two classes, major and minor or greater and lesser. The Major Sacraments are Baptism and the Holy Eucharist; the Minor are Confirmation, Penance, Holy Order, Holy Matrimony, and Unction. The former are so called because they are generally necessary to salvation and are to be received by all men; the latter are thus classified because they are not generally or universally necessary to salvation and need not be received by all men. It is not necessary for all men to be ordained or married or receive Holy Unction, however salutary those Sacraments are for many men.

The Sacraments are moral instruments and not magical. Their beneficial effects depend upon moral conditions of faith and repentance in those who receive them, whereas the distinctive mark of magic is that it works automatically and independently of moral conditions. At the same time, the grace of the Sacraments is present independent of the moral condition of the recipient; it is only their beneficial effect which depends upon the worthy reception, use and co-operation of the recipient. Moreover, the grace of the Sacrament is not nullified by the unworthiness of the minister, for Jesus Christ is himself the Minister and the Church's earthly ministers are but his agents.


Baptism is the Sacrament of initiation and incorporation into the Body of Christ—the Church. Through Baptism we become members of the Holy Catholic Church, just as through birth of American parents or through naturalization men become citizens of the United States of America.

Baptism is administered with water—either immersion or pouring—in the Name of the Blessed Trinity. The minister may be anyone and the Sacrament cannot be repeated. In case of doubt, hypothetical Baptism should be administered.

Secondly, the Holy Spirit is given in Baptism for remission of sin if we fulfil the conditions of faith and repentance. This applies particularly to adults, for infants have no actual or personal sin. For both infants and adults it is remission of the guilt, so called, of original sin. It places the penitent or infant on a new footing, makes him partaker of the grace of righteousness, and thus becomes the instrumental cause of his justification.

Thirdly, in Baptism the Holy Spirit is given for regeneration, which is not to be confused with conversion of heart. It is a biological change rather than a moral change, the gift of a new germ or seed which is destined to bear fruit depending upon the co-operation and moral response of the baptized.

Fourthly, Baptism initiates the sanctifying grace of the whole sacramental system and must precede all the other Sacraments. It confers an indelible "character" or status, as do Confirmation, Holy Order and Holy Matrimony, and should not be repeated. In case of a fall from grace, restoration is to be effected without re-baptism.


Confirmation is the Sacrament of strengthening) complementary to Baptism. "In Baptism we receive the Holy Spirit in this sense that we are thereby taken into the Body of Christ, which is the centre of the Spirit's operation, and become the permanent subjects of his work. But it is in Confirmation that the Holy Spirit becomes a formal gift to the soul." [Hall, F. J., "The Church and the Sacramental System," p. 304, Longmans, Green and Co., 1920.]

The sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit received in Confirmation are: wisdom and understanding, counsel and ghostly strength, knowledge and true godliness, and holy fear. Wisdom, understanding, knowledge and counsel apply to the intellect; ghostly strength or spiritual fortitude to the will; true godliness or piety and holy fear or anxiety to please God to the affections.

Confirmation is effected by the laying-on of hands by a bishop, or in the East by presbyters with oil blessed by a bishop. In Apostolic times, and to-day in the East, it was administered immediately after Baptism. In the West it was deferred for practical reasons, and is normally administered when the child has reached the age of discretion.

Dr. F. J. Hall, the foremost Anglo-Catholic theologian in the American Church and recognized as such throughout the Anglican world, states in his book "The Sacraments":

"The chief immediate purposes fulfilled by the Confirmation gifts are three.

"(a) They serve to fortify the soul against the dangers attendant upon adolescence—the fires of youth, and the mental and spiritual unsettlement which is apt to attend the transition from childhood to maturity. . . . Confirmation should therefore be administered before the age of puberty arrives.

"(b) Confirmation is the appointed instrument of lay ordination, of admission to the royal priesthood in which every Christian is designed to have a part—for example, in offering the Eucharistic Sacrifice. It is true that not all have the same office in priesthood, and further ordination is required before the ministerial and representative functions in priesthood can be performed. But the layman's part is not less real than that of the ministerial priest, although confined to unofficial participation; and Confirmation is his ordination and the means of his equipment for priestly action.

"(c) Finally, Confirmation not only ordains the Christian for his part in offering the Eucharistic Sacrifice, but affords needed grace for his worthy reception of the wonderful gift of the Body and Blood of Christ in that Sacrament. This explains the Catholic principle that Confirmation should ordinarily be received before admission to Holy Communion." [Hall, F. J., "The Sacraments," Longmans, Green and Co., 1921.]


You have doubtless heard it stated that with Anglo-Catholics " it is the Mass that matters." This is true if by it we understand that the Eucharist is the working centre of the sacramental system in which are focussed vital aspects of truth, grace and worship, with no disparagement of other Sacraments. The Eucharist is unquestionably the highest act of worship, the perfect prayer because it contains all the elements of prayer, such as praise and adoration, thanksgiving, confession, intercession, and prayer for self.

The Eucharist is a memorial of the past, a reality of the present, and a pledge of the future. It is a memorial in that it poignantly recalls the incarnation and perfect life, the atoning death, the glorious resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ our Lord, and all that he has done for us and all men. It is a present reality in that by means of it we have certain contact and fellowship with our ever-living Lord and Saviour. It is a pledge of the future in that it assures us of the life beyond the veil with the Risen and Ascended Christ in life eternal.

The various names applied to this great Sacrament emphasize some particular aspect of its many-sided character. The "Lord's Supper" suggests that it is our spiritual food for this life and the life to come. "The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ which was given for thee preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life."

The "Holy Communion" suggests that it is our covenanted means of fellowship and communion with our living Lord and Master, and through him with all men.

The term "Holy Eucharist" is taken over from the New Testament word "eucharistia"—a giving of thanks: or "eucharisteo"—I give thanks. In the darkest days of the Church Christians have ever been able to give thanks in this Sacrament and to sing the Sursum Corda—"Lift up your hearts"—for their blessings in the midst of affliction. Thanksgiving is the dominant note of this Sacrament, and a note which most needs emphasis in the lives of the vast majority of Christians.

The "Blessed Sacrament" is another name much used, and in the Eastern Church the "Holy Mysteries" is the usual term applied. The word "Mass" is more or less a pet name, late in origin, in derivation obscure, conveying no particular emphasis, but including any or all. Perhaps in the popular mind the word or emphasis most closely associated with it is the "Sacrifice of the Mass." This will be considered later.

Concerning the Eucharistic gift, the theological position of Anglo-Catholics needs explanation. Many critics seem to assume (Stewart appears to be one of them) that the doctrine of the Real Presence and the doctrine of Transubstantiation are one and the same thing, and that if one believes in the former he must also believe in the latter. This is an error. One may believe in the reality of the Atonement without being committed to any particular theory of the Atonement, and the Church has, as a matter of fact, never put forth an official theory of the Atonement. Now, Transubstantiation is an attempted explanation of how Christ's Body and Blood are present in the Sacrament, or how the bread and wine become the sacramental Body and Blood. It is based on medieval philosophy which is not acceptable to most moderns. It is the official teaching of the Roman Church, and was set forth by the Council of Trent. Consubstantiation is another theory of Christ's presence in the Sacrament, and Luther's theory is generally classed as such. While individual Anglo-Catholics may believe in Transubstantiation, it is not accepted by the majority, and Anglo-Catholic theologians warn us against it and its unfortunate terminology unless it is interpreted in quite a different way from the medieval manner.

How the bread and wine of the Eucharist become the Body and Blood of Christ after a special, sacramental and heavenly manner and still remain bread and wine, and how our Lord is really present (real as being the presence of a reality), is a mystery which no human mind can satisfactorily explain. It is a mystery of the same order as how the divine Logos could take upon himself human nature and become man without ceasing to be divine. It is a mystery of the Faith, and we were never promised that all the mysteries would be solved in this life. The plain man (and some not so plain) is wisest in sticking to the oft-quoted lines ascribed to Queen Elizabeth, but probably written by John Donne:

"Christ was the Word that spake it;
He took the bread and brake it;
And what the Word did make it,
That I believe and take it."

The mysteries of the Eucharist are three: The mystery of identification, the mystery of conversion, the mystery of presence. The first and primary mystery is that of identification; the other two are inferences from it. The ancient Fathers were free from Eucharistic controversy because they took their stand on the first and primary mystery—that of identification—and accepted our Lord's words, " This is my Body," " This is my Blood," as the pledge of the blessings which this Sacrament conveys. We have since the early Middle Ages lost their peace because we have insisted on trying to explain unexplainable mysteries.

But let it be repeated, Anglo-Catholics are not committed to the doctrine of Transubstantiation; they are committed to the doctrine of the Real Presence.

In what sense is the Eucharist a sacrifice? Many suppose that Anglo-Catholics in emphasizing this aspect believe that in the Eucharist the death of Christ is somehow repeated. Such is a perversion of Catholic doctrine.

The Eucharistic office reads: "All glory be to thee, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that thou of thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption; who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world." Anglo-Catholics say "Amen " to that. The Eucharist is a sacrifice in the following ways: First, there is an element of sacrifice in the offering of our alms and oblations of bread and wine. Second, there is the offering of our prayers and thanksgiving. Third, there is an offering of ourselves, our souls and bodies. Fourth, the offering of the consecrated elements of bread and wine—the sacramental Body and Blood of Christ.

All of these offerings except the last are imperfect. The last is perfect because it is identified with the glorified heavenly Body and Manhood of Christ. By uniting all our offerings with him who was offered once for all on Calvary, and presenting them in and through him to the Heavenly Father, they are accepted as though perfect. It is thus because they are joined with the one perfect Sacrifice on Calvary that they are acceptable. It is because we represent and plead that one perfect Sacrifice and are united with him that we have assurance of our acceptance with God. The atoning death of Christ, together with his resurrection and ascension, accomplished the potential salvation of all men. But the actual salvation of men depends upon man's appropriation of the benefits of that Sacrifice. Otherwise Church and Creed and Bible and Sacraments are all unnecessary and superfluous. To keep ever fresh in men's minds man's need of identifying himself with the one perfect Sacrifice on Calvary, and his need of appropriating to himself the benefits of it, is one of the great functions of the Eucharist. It is a sacrifice in that sense.

It is impossible in the space at our disposal to discuss all phases of this great act of worship, this powerful instrument of grace. I shall merely point out a few other points of emphasis by Anglo-Catholics. FASTING COMMUNION is an ancient practice and is enjoined as of great devotional value and discipline. It is a matter of discipline and not of doctrine.

RESERVATION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT is also of primitive authority and dates back to the time of Justin Martyr (A.D. 150), if not beyond. Modern conditions are hastening its spread, if those unable to come to church are to be communicated with the Blessed Sacrament as they have a right to be. ADORATION OF THE RESERVED SACRAMENT is incidental to reservation for Communion. It does not mean adoration of the elements, but of Christ present in the Sacrament. It is justified if it can be shown that it involves no new doctrinal implications, but its practice should be conditioned by sacramental appreciation, training and understanding of any particular congregation where it is to be used.


In an address before the New York Federation of Churches, the Revd. Harry Emerson Fosdick was reported in the Christian Century, February 24, 1927, to have said:

"We modern Protestants fail in some things. Our Roman Catholic brethren in keeping the confessional have pretty nearly wiped us off the stage in one feature of human service. Through the confessional they have built up an amazing service for the treatment of sick souls. A good priest, through the confessional, can develop a treatment for the individual, and we have nothing to compare with it. For six years I have conducted—Baptist though I am—what I call a confessional. I am not afraid to recover things the Protestants threw away—beauty of service and the confessional. I have an office where people who know they are spiritually sick and mentally disturbed can come with their problems. Why shouldn't I minister to them? Never again will I be without such a place where people can meet me alone. Week after week I meet pretty nearly as many people as a priest. They are mentally unbalanced— sick souls who need ministration. We need a renaissance of what our fathers used to know as evangelical preaching. We Protestants have thrown out beauty of service, the confessional and the old-style evangelical preaching. We retreat to discussing themes instead of wrestling with human souls for life or death. Do we really care about the individual? Our business is not with vastness or immensity, but with the individual. There is the crisis of the world's destiny."

Anglo-Catholics agree with all this, but they go much farther than Dr. Fosdick believes in going. They claim to be able to do for a penitent all that any Roman Catholic priest is able to do in administering what is known in Catholic theology as the Sacrament of Penance.

In the English Order for the Visitation of the Sick the direction occurs: "Here shall the sick person be moved to make a special confession of sins, if he feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter. After which confession, the priest shall absolve him (if he humbly and heartily desire it) after this sort:

"Our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath left power to his Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in him, of his great mercy forgive thee thine offences: AND BY HIS AUTHORITY COMMITTED TO ME, I ABSOLVE THEE FROM ALL THY SINS. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

The Office of Institution of Ministers in the American Prayer Book reads (the bishop speaking): "And also hereby do institute you to said parish possessed of full power to perform every Act of Sacerdotal Function among the people of the same." The use of all forms of absolution in the Prayer Book is significantly and explicitly restricted by rubric to "the priest." In the Anglican form of ordination of priests the bishop says to the ordinand: "Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of a Priest in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the Imposition of our hands. Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained. And be thou a faithful Dispenser of the Word of God, and of his holy Sacraments; in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

Genuine repentance will always secure Divine pardon for Christians independently of the Sacrament of Penance. But we know from experience that many souls need formal assurance of this, and that sin hardens men's hearts, making repentance difficult without the grace this Sacrament affords.

Penance involves contrition or sorrow for sin, confession with sincere purpose of amendment, absolution by a priest and satisfaction.

The benefits of Penance are these: (a) Full pardon for sins, (b) It is curative in that it deepens contrition, the necessary condition of forgiveness, and fortifies the soul with special grace, (c) It brings full reconciliation to the Church, (d) It is an effective means of progress towards perfection.

A popular idea is that you have only to confess, get absolution, and then you can do what you please. This is a parody of the Church's teaching. As in other Sacraments, the benefits are conditioned by the penitent's sincerity of purpose. If one is not sorry, if one does not confess truly, if one does not purpose amendment—in short, if one obtains a priest's absolution by fraud, such absolution is null and void. Such playing with holy things increases the sinner's guilt instead of remitting it, and may end in his damnation, as St. Paul plainly says in connection with the Eucharist.

The seal of the confessional is the secrecy concerning the confession which the priest must at all costs maintain. He must reveal it to no one, even on pain of gaol or death.


Holy Order is the Sacrament by which ministers of the Church are ordained, and which determines their official status as deacon, priest or bishop. Its effects are in Catholic theology three:

(a) The conveying of indelible "character" to its recipient. "Once a priest, always a priest," just as "once a Christian (through Baptism), always a Christian." Deposition does not destroy this character. It forfeits the right lawfully to exercise it and forbids the right of jurisdiction. Restoration does not necessitate reordination.

(b) The power and authority pertaining to the particular order to which the candidate is ordained is conveyed by the Sacrament of Holy Order. This involves mission and jurisdiction—the latter being variable and depending on canonical regulation. In theology this is called "gratia gratis data."

(c) Grace for the minister's personal sanctification and the needs of his order is conferred. This is called "gratia gratum faciens." . . . The benefits of this grace depend upon the subjective moral conditions and co-operation of the recipient.

All the Sacraments except Holy Order (and, in the West, Confirmation) may be administered by the priesthood represented by the presbyters. Since we did not give special consideration to the "priesthood" in the section on the Ministry (the South Pole of the Compass), let us briefly consider it here. I quote from Hall, "The Church and the Sacramental System."

"Protestants have usually been constrained by New Testament teaching to accept the doctrine of ecclesiastical priesthood. It is admitted by many of them that the continuing office of Christ as our Saviour is truly priestly. How anyone can intelligently avoid such admission without rejecting the Epistle to the Hebrews is hard to understand. It is also urged by them, as if it were inconsistent with official priesthood, that every Christian is a possessor of priesthood by virtue of his Christian status; and St. Peter's words, 'Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood ... a royal priesthood' (i St. Peter ii. 5, 9), are quoted in support of what is described as' the priesthood of the laity.' Now, of course, and Catholics agree with Protestants here, if Christians share in priesthood, it is because of some kind of participation in Christ's priesthood, for there is no other true priesthood. Furthermore, St. Peter does not teach that Christians are so many separate priests, but that they share in one priesthood of Christ. And all Christians share in it because they are all members of his Body.

"It is this organic aspect of things that at once protects from displacement the sole mediatorship of Christ, and explains the consistency therewith of ministerial priesthood in the Church on earth. The ministerial priest has no other priesthood than that of the laity, and to set lay priesthood and ministerial priesthood in sharp antithesis is misleading. [Italics mine.] There is but one priesthood; and the participation in it of ministers and laymen is equally real, is equally grounded in membership of Christ's Body, and is unalterably conditioned by interior organic relations which preclude external substitution or intervention by ministers between the laity and Christ. The difference between those to whom the name 'priest' is technically applied—the technical limitation must not be overlooked—and laymen is not one of kind of priesthood, for all have the same priesthood, fundamentally speaking. It lies in the offices fulfilled in this priesthood. Not all have the same office therein (see Romans xli. 4-7). The 'priest' technically so called has an official or ministerial part in it, whereas the rest participate in his priestly ministrations unofficially and personally. He is their leader and organ, but the function is as truly theirs as it is his. This function is organic, an act of the Body of Christ, and the ministerial organs are organs of the Body. They are also ministrations of Christ, but only because their ministrants are organs of his Mystical Body—not less so because the relation involved is of Christ's appointment and of the Holy Spirit's effecting."


Holy Matrimony is the Sacrament of marriage between baptized persons, sanctified to supernatural ends. It is the Church's intention that the union shall be permanent so long as life shall last; that the man shall have one wife and the wife one husband. If any persons are joined together other than as God's Word doth allow, their marriage is not lawful in the Church's jurisdiction.

The parties married are the earthly ministers. The function of the priest is to solemnize their union before God and to give God's blessing to them.

Christian marriage is the foundation of Christian family life, and the Christian family is a fundamental institution in any Christian civilization. The Church in upholding strongly Christian marriage is merely protecting the foundations of society.

Divorce which includes the right of remarriage is forbidden; divorce which is merely legal separation is allowable and the communicant rights of the individuals are not affected. In case communicants of the Church who are divorced remarry, their rights as communicants of the Church are forfeited.


Unction is the Sacrament of anointing the sick with oil, accompanied by prayer, after the admonition of St. James. In the Roman Church it is almost entirely limited to extreme unction—anointing when death is imminent. This is an unwarranted limitation, if not a perversion. In the Anglican Communion this Sacrament was neglected for centuries, but is now more frequently practised. In the new American Prayer Book of 1928 a specific provision for unction was made.

Undoubtedly, if the Church had been true to her mission in the use of this Sacrament we would not now be so afflicted by healing cults which have repudiated not only the Sacraments of the Church, but the faith as well.

While the primary purpose of this Sacrament is physical healing (and decidedly efficacious in mental, nervous or functional diseases), it has spiritual benefits as well, and the spiritual powers of the sick are fortified by its use.


It is possible that, having come thus far, you may say to yourselves, "I am disappointed. Nothing has been said as to the importance of holy water or relics." If you are disappointed for this reason, I am complimented, for it has been my endeavour to show that Anglo-Catholicism is no dilettante expression of Christianity. Its cardinal beliefs and principles are deep and not shallow, old yet ever new, tried and not found wanting in meeting the spiritual needs of men in the past, and capable of grappling with the spiritual needs of the men of to-day.

Certain other beliefs and practices need a brief exposition. PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD are a natural development of prayers for the living. If the living need our prayers, why not the departed? If they do not need them, it is only because they are in heaven. Anglo-Catholics, in common with many other Christians, believe that only a very small number of those who die enter heaven immediately. What revelation we have, together with the deductions of reason from the evolution of life and the development of character, leads us to believe that the souls of the departed enter the Intermediate State—the Church Expectant—and there continue their course in perfection until fitted to enter the Church Triumphant, or heaven. Many Evangelical Churchmen have had a great change of mind on this subject, more particularly since the war. The late Bishop Brown of Virginia led the fight in the General Convention in America to have more direct prayers for the departed in the new Prayer Book, and he largely succeeded. Such praying is rapidly being accepted among Anglicans everywhere as a normal thing. It is a much more healthful practice than spiritualistic experiments into which people are often plunged who know not the Church's more comforting and helpful doctrine in such matters.

THE INVOCATION OF SAINTS is what its name suggests—invoking the aid of the saints who have passed from the Church Militant, but who are, we believe, still concerned as to how the battle goes. Strictly speaking, we should ask God for their prayers and intercessions, but the popular mind ever takes the short cut. No doubt this practice needs to be guarded against abuse, but so do most other good things in life. I hope that my father, my uncle who was a priest, my grandparents and other departed relatives and friends, are still praying for me, for I need their prayers. Is it too much for me to ask that saints such as Paul and Peter and Francis of Assisi pray for me? True, it may be bold, and I am not worthy. But those most Christlike will look, not on my unworthiness, but on my need. So I have boldness to ask for their prayers along with the prayers of the living.

All Christians have some "ritual" or ceremonial —that is, some form or forms of conducting worship. It may be much or little, formal or informal. But nevertheless it is CEREMONIAL. Anglo-Catholics are differentiated from others in the popular mind largely because they have often been innovators or because they conduct the Church's services differently from some of their brethren. The basic philosophy for Anglo-Catholic ceremonial is that God is God of Beauty as well as God of Truth and Goodness, and that ceremonial is properly sacramental in principle—the outward and visible sign of an inner and spiritual truth (instead of grace) in this case; that external expression is necessary; that we properly worship God with our body and the senses as well as the mind and the spirit; that we learn through the eye and the nose, as well as through the ear; that ceremonial and ornaments should be suggestive of the doctrines believed and taught; that atmosphere is important, and that of the Church should be unique for stimulating the devotional life. No ceremonial or ornament should be used unless it means something—spiritually speaking.

The battles of the past in this field were waged around the so-called "Six Points of Ritual"—altar lights, Eucharistic vestments, the eastward position, wafer bread, the mixed chalice and incense. All except incense are now in fairly common use.

In one generation Protestants themselves have made great changes in ceremonial expression—mostly in a more Catholic direction. Many Protestant churches are now being built after the Catholic order, with the Holy Table in the central place of honour and with the pulpit placed at one side. Vested choirs are rapidly becoming the order of the day. Both the Presbyterian and Methodist governing bodies in America have officially set forth liturgical orders of worship. We have heard no loud outcries of "Popery," or that they are "headed straight for Rome"!


When all is said and done, Anglo-Catholicism is a vigorous, virile movement which has profoundly affected the Anglican Communion. It was never so strong as it is to-day. It is definite in faith and practice, yet flexible in secondary matters. It has unbroken continuity with the Holy Catholic Church of the past, yet is awake to modern needs. It has respect for authority and love for liberty. Provincial in origin, it has attained a world-wide outlook and status.

No men would be more amazed at its progress and development in the last one hundred years than its first leaders—Keble, Newman and Pusey. This being the case, who can surely prophesy its future growth and development in the next hundred years? But we can feel sure that the essence of its beliefs and principles will not change, however remarkable may be their changing emphasis and application. "New times bring new duties," but they bring old duties also. The future is in the Hand of God, and we may devoutly trust in his overruling providence and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, in the sincere hope that he will allow the Anglo-Catholic Movement to fulfil its fundamental purpose of leading the Anglican Communion throughout the world in witnessing before the world to a democratic Catholicism, until the severed parts of the Body of Christ become the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of the future.

Project Canterbury