Project Canterbury

In Defence of the English Catholic.

By Frank Weston.

London: A.R. Mowbray; Milwaukee: Morehouse Publishing, 1923.


The two articles from the Morning Post in which I answered the Bishop of Durham’s attack on Anglo-Catholics, are here reprinted with the concurrence of the editor, and at the request of many whose judgement I respect. They are reprinted as I originally wrote them, without any change at all. But I take this opportunity of trying to explain my mind on a few points in which I have been challenged from one side or the other.

(i.) When I say that Anglo-Catholics are only asking that the English bishops should recognize their teaching as a legitimate interpretation of the Anglican formularies, I do not mean that I wish to see three or four alternative religions under the auspices of our bishops. Catholicism can ultimately have no rival, in the nature of the case. But as things are to-day we have first to obtain recognition, and then commend our gospel to men’s consciences: there is no other way open to us. Like our Master, we are witnesses to the Truth; and since His kingdom is not of this world we must avoid all worldly methods in our spiritual warfare. To-day Catholicism has many rivals: and we must meet them in Christ’s way, and in Christ’s way alone. If we are thus loyal to Him England will become Catholic. Whereas If we plot and scheme to win power and influence we shall be traitors to the Christ, and fail of any good work for the Church He died to found.

(ii.) Some in high places have taken me to task because I warned members of the Congress not to part with their tabernacles. It was supposed that I was here advising priests to resist their bishops in an official attempt to substitute aumbries for tabernacles. Now I do not wish, on the eve of my departure for Africa, to enter into a dispute [7/8] upon the relative values of aumbries and tabernacles. But I desire to place on record my ignorance of the new episcopal policy. Aumbries as receptacles for the Most Holy had not come within my notice at the time of the Congress. What I had in mind was the fact that, up to date, no rubric authorizing perpetual reservation had found acceptance in the National Assembly, and the original rubric that shuts it out was still standing in the name of the Upper House of Canterbury Convocation. And I felt bound to warn Anglo-Catholics not to allow themselves to be deprived of perpetual reservation and the right of access to the Blessed Sacrament. In some dioceses priests are still penalized for thus reserving the Most Holy. And if the ecclesiastical courts be reformed before this matter is rightly determined some priests may be deprived.

(iii.) It has been alleged against me that I urged the Congress to fight for Devotions to the Most Holy and for Benediction. This is not the case. I made no reference to either. Of the right of adoration I did speak for a moment. The absence of Devotion and Benediction from the Eastern Orthodox Church makes it impossible to exalt them to the rank of Catholic essentials. Differences of opinion as to their value in practice, among those who use them, demand caution in spreading them broadcast. And I avoided all reference to them.

My personal opinion, if it be desired, can be found in a little book on the subject, called God With Us; or it may be deduced from the fact that in my own diocese we are accustomed to Benediction. We do not find it dangerous, because our people are, on the whole, regular at Mass and Communion, and really believe in God.

It seems to me that in these matters we ought to seek freedom of action. None should have these rites forced upon them; no faithful communicant, regular at Mass, should be deprived of them if they are found spiritually useful. And we all should learn to “live and let live.” I fail to understand the mind that is agitated because I find my Saviour Jesus in Benediction; just as I fail to [8/9] understand how any one who believes that the Sacrament is Jesus can use It as a weapon for a party triumph.

(iv.) My call to the Congress to bring back obedience into our offering of the Holy Sacrifice was badly misunderstood. It has always worried me that we should offer the sacrifice of Christ’s obedience in a spirit of self-pleasing. And I made an appeal for obedience. But, being myself a diocesan bishop, I did not ask for obedience to the mere opinion of the individual bishop.

If the Holy Sacrifice is to be offered obediently, obedience must mark bishop as well as priest: otherwise it will still be offered in self-pleasing, the self-pleasing of the bishop.

What is needed, therefore, is a common loyalty to Catholic tradition custom on the part both of bishops and priests. I put it that the bishop should use his Synod, or at least allow an appeal to Catholic custom.

And to this I stand. To remove disobedience from the priests and allow it to the bishops is to leave the altar a centre of self-pleasing.

Once more, I appeal to all priests who call themselves Anglo-Catholics to do what lies in their power to co-operate with the bishops in securing order and discipline, in the true Catholic sense of the words, in all that has to do with the divine Liturgy. And I appeal to English bishops to recognize that the English Church is not a self-contained entity.

(v.) And, now, must come a few words about the telegram to the Pope.

For the telegram no one. has any responsibility except myself and the meeting of the Congress that gave me leave to send it. I did not consult the Committee beforehand. All I said to any one about it was said in the Albert Hall, at the meeting. So that the Committee is quite free from responsibility in the matter.

Why, then, did I suggest it?

Because it was, to my mind, an evidently right thing [9/10] to do. In 1920 we bishops who met at Lambeth publicly called upon all Christian people to pray and work for reunion. We declared that reunion with Rome was our Lord’s will. We pointed out how specially close were our ties with Rome and the Orthodox East. And publicly expressed our determination to submit ourselves to the conscience of the Roman Church in the matter of Orders should terms of reunion be in other respects settled. I was, therefore, strictly within my rights in assuming that in all parishes, more especially in Anglo-Catholic parishes, the bishops’ words had been read, explained, and emphasized; and that for the last three years English Church people had been stirred up to desire, and pray for, reunion with the Roman and Orthodox Churches. On the platform of the Congress was an Orthodox Archbishop, in whose person we did honour to the Orthodox Patriarchs. It was only fitting, then, that we should pay such honour as was possible to the Pope of Rome. Hence my proposal that we should respectfully greet him, and call to his mind the fact, that we are humbly praying for the day of peace. It seemed so obviously right! And in spite of many bitter, angry letters and press-articles, it still seems to me obviously right, courteous, and Christian. For were the Pope our enemy, Christ would still bid us love him! And as for asking, for an affront to the English Church, even were this as true as in fact it is false, we are not excused from acting Christianly by fear for our own dignity. No! the action of the bishops in the Lambeth Conference of 1920 is a sound precedent for the dispatch of the telegram. And if I am denied this precedent, I fall back confidently upon our Lord’s own teaching. I remain impenitent about the telegram.

Of course, I feel sympathy with priests whose flocks are affrighted: I know how easily English people shy at mention of the Pope. But I humbly submit, as a member of the Lambeth Conference of 1920, that the priests were then given a glorious opportunity, by some 250 English bishops, of accustoming their flocks to a vision of a reunited Christendom, with the Pope as the central figure; and they appear to have missed it! May I, as humbly, suggest that before [10/11] the telegram be quite forgotten the Lambeth Appeal, in its relation to reunion with Rome, be explained to the people concerned?

(vi.) But I cannot leave the matter here. For I am attacked from another side. I am called to task because, while I was instrumental in the dispatch of the telegram to the Holy Father, I have also declared that no Anglo-Catholic can rightly accept the present claims of the Roman Church, and have said that Roman Catholics do not read their definitions in one and the same way. It is only fair, and courteous, that I should make clear what I mean by these words, although I do so on the condition that, as I am now leaving for my diocese, I be excused controversy.

The present claims made for the Papacy that no Anglo-Catholic can rightly accept are, chiefly, these:—

(a) We are bidden to deny that we are bishops and priests of the Catholic Church; and to confess that our Sacraments are not valid. Catholic Sacraments. To yield to this Roman claim is to deny Christ in our priesthood and in our Sacraments. It is to follow Peter in his sad denial, “I know not the Man.”

While we are ready, other things being settled, to bow to Rome’s conscience in the matter of Orders, that our ministry may be accepted at Rome’s altars, we cannot deny that we are bishops and priests, and have said Mass, absolved sinners, and confirmed God’s people.

(b) While bishops are on paper given a lofty position in the Roman scheme, in practice they have not Apostolic freedom, nor have they full power within their dioceses. They are held bound to renew their faculties from time to time; and are liable to have their faculties withdrawn by the Pope’s fiat.

The best instance of this claim in the working is found in the history of the Vatican Council. Bishops who dissented from its teaching were compelled to promulgate it under threat of withdrawal of faculties. Thus the Pope is given by present Roman custom a power over bishops that does not find any authority in the earlier ages of the Church. [11/12] And this custom cannot be acknowledged as Catholic and Apostolic.

(c) The present Roman claim in the matter of the Vatican definitions and doctrines is that we accept them in their literal meaning.

Our reply is that in their literal meaning they are not in harmony with the facts of history. And, further, we point out that Roman Catholics who are true to the facts of history have other interpretations of the Vatican definitions, under which they see in the Papacy a fruit of evolution or development. We have been told recently by a Jesuit father that there is no difference of opinion upon this matter among Romans. I have only to name Manning and Newman, Wiseman and Lord Acton, Father Woodlock and Monsignor Duchesne, and the differences leap to the eye. My reading of Roman Catholics is wide enough to convince me that a theory of a developed Papacy is permitted to her children who know history. This theory cannot be reconciled with the Vatican teaching unless explanations of its wording are allowed. And, while no Anglo-Catholic can accept the wording as it was meant by those who drew it up, we are encouraged to hope that one day adequate explanations will be given us. I have been wrong in the word restatement in this connection: it is a word of evil associations. But explanations are certainly possible, seeing that Acton and Duchesne died in grace, and Roman teachers of authority still teach a development in the Papacy down the ages.

(d) The last claim I will mention here is in that sentence in the Papal definition of the Pope’s teaching office which tells us that his ex cathedra decrees are irreformable, apart from the consent of the Church.

I am fully aware of many private explanations, given by Romans, to make this definition, less difficult to those who know the history of the Church. As it stands the wording is impossible to Anglo-Catholics, as to Orthodox Catholics. What is wanted is an official explanation that will make the Papal definition covet all the facts. For in this point, as in that just considered, an explanation is needed that will cover [12/13] the differences in actual position and power of Clement I, Stephen, Leo I, Gregory the Great, Hildebrand, Innocent III, Pius IX, and Pius XI. And, in spite of some Jesuit fathers, we have faith in God that, in His good time, the Roman See will explain our difficulties in such a way that these present claims will cease to be an unnecessary burden. What Rome freely tolerates within her borders cannot, in the last resort, be a final barrier against us who are supposed to be outside the pale.

(vii.) In conclusion I ask leave to make a final appeal to all who read this pamphlet.

The world is facing towards ruin. The Church, rich in personal piety, does not make men, as a whole, see Jesus: in her moral and social life she does not manifest Him. Even were the whole of Christendom to become, to-morrow, one in faith and doctrine in union with the Apostolic See it would still fail to reveal Jesus in its corporate life. Jesus of Bethlehem is centre of a fellowship; while the Church, as a whole, connives at divisions of classes and castes, of races and colours. Jesus of Calvary is naked; the Church, as a whole, acquiesces in, and largely uses, men’s lust of possession. Jesus of the Blessed Sacrament is slave of the human race; the Church speaks the languages and thinks the thoughts of the prosperous, whose merit it is to be “kind to the poor,” if so be the poor keep their place. In the Anglo-Catholic Congress, during three days of steady teaching, we arrived at a new vision of the Church revealing, in her corporate life, parish by parish, the true character of Love incarnate.

Are we to refuse the challenge Christ has thus thrown down to us?

The press has done its best to make us forget the Christ, and return to wallow in the mire of old controversies. The religious press is still hard at it, with its Roman controversy and its attack upon “extreme” Anglo-Catholics. And meanwhile the vision is becoming dim, and may easily vanish from our eyes.

Had our press leaders seized the opportunity we might [13/14] by this time have gone some little way towards facing the difficulties of revealing Christ, Love’s Son, in our parochial life. As it is, this task still waits upon their pleasure who put ecclesiastical questions in the forefront; and, using as a standard their own opinions, measure all things in the light of their own orthodoxy.

Yet a day of the Lord is evidently at hand: a day, if not the day itself.

And in a day of the Lord he serves best who puts behind him, for the time being, his own soul’s petty interests and marches by Love’s side to the work of humble service.

In one sense it is, of course, profoundly true that our ecclesiastical position matters a very great deal, seeing that it is bound up with our relation to Christ. But it is equally true that, at the present moment, an Anglo-Catholic has no call to worry over telegrams to the Pope, over aumbries, or even over what Father Woodlock thinks of him: his call, clear and definite, and perhaps for the last time, is to upset the present way of life and establish a fellowship here on earth in which the Lord Jesus, when He comes to judge, may find Himself obeyed, revealed, and adored.

It is only in the measure that we thus obey His will that we shall know of His doctrine. And not till we have done our best to re-establish this fellowship of love may we hope to see the Spirit of love reuniting Christians within the one visible Catholic Church here on earth.



No. I

IT is a pity that the Bishop of Durham was not present at all the meetings of the Anglo-Catholic Congress. His suspicions, his opinions, his judgement would no doubt have been modified had he studied that of which he wished to write. And in answering him, as I am asked to do, I must spend a little time in correcting some of his misapprehensions.

First, as I made clear in one instance at the Congress, I was not working in with a settled policy of the Congress Committee. Arriving from Africa shortly before the meetings, I had no consultations about the Congress with the Committee except on the question of the Congress funds: how they were to be collected and how used. I was quite honest in saying that we went into the Congress waiting upon our Lord’s guidance. And no one knew beforehand what I was going to say on the last night, just as no one knew beforehand that I would propose to send a telegram to the Pope.

Secondly, I am a simple-minded missionary. I do not move in the “political” circles loved by our English leaders, nor am I in touch with them. The proposal that we should telegraph to the Holy Father came from my heart: just as, in the last Lambeth Conference, my heart led me to plead for a letter from the Bishops to the Holy Father. It is only in an atmosphere of ecclesiastical politics and strife that my proposal can be regarded as prompted by “political” motives. And I claim that the greetings were in strict harmony with the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ.


My opinion as to the impossibility of admitting the present claims of the Pope is well known to Dr. Henson: and, to the best of my knowledge, the Anglo-Catholic Congress shares it. No Anglican can rightly submit to the See of Rome to-day. We must work and pray for the time when, the Pope having restated his claims and set up constitutional government at Rome, the English Church can as a body hold communion with the premier bishop of Christendom. Meanwhile, we must behave to the Holy Father as Christ’s law of love requires, ardently desiring the visible unity of the Church.

And, thirdly, the Bishop of Durham is quite wrong in saying that Anglo-Catholics desire to “dominate” the English Church. They ask no such thing. They believe, of course, that if their message be given a fair chance it will one day triumph. But they have no wish to interfere, by any other means at all, with those in the English Church who differ from them. What they ask for is official recognition. They regard it as a scandal, in the strict sense of the word, that bishops will not enter churches just because the Blessed Sacrament is reserved therein, and refuse to license curates to such parishes. They are afraid lest the prohibition of tabernacles be carried through the Houses of Convocation, and reservation of the Sacrament made illegal. They plead, therefore, with all their power that their doctrinal basis shall be acknowledged as a legitimate reading of Anglican formularies in the light of the teaching of the whole Church down the ages.


It is, indeed, a fair claim. The English Church appeals to Scripture and to antiquity. She makes room for such men as. Dean Rashdall, Mr. Major, Dean Inge, and the Bishop of Durham. Is she to shut out, as Dr. Henson would shut out. Bishop Gore, Dr. Darwell Stone, and Lord Halifax? Anglo-Catholics say they are tired of being tolerated as well-meaning but misguided men. They are sick of the treatment meted out to men like Stanton and Dolling and they claim definitely that their dogmatic position be stamped as legitimate by the English bishops to-day. Moreover, as the Bishop of Durham has suggested, the Anglo-Catholics are not of one mind about non-essential matters. They speak with one mind and one voice about the Blessed Sacrament, that it is the Lord Christ Himself, Who is, as the Catechism says, “taken” from the priest’s hands and “received by the faithful in the Lord’s Supper.” They speak with one heart and with one voice about the conscience-stricken person’s duty of “opening his grief” to God’s minister that he may receive “absolution”; as also about the essential unity of the Church, which, from the Apostles’ times, has been bound up with the threefold ministry. And they claim the right to take their children to hear the weekly sermon ordered by the Prayer Book to be preached at the Holy Communion Service.

They lay great stress upon certain Catholic customs, such as fasting Communion, and they expect their priests to wear the vestments and use the ornaments ordered by the Prayer Book rubrics. They refuse to be bound by the individual opinions of archbishops, sitting without real authority to decide ecclesiastical questions; just as they refuse to obey the judgement of civil courts that tamper with the things of God. But they are not all of one mind, by any means, about Devotions and Benediction. And to accuse them of desiring to dominate the English Church in any other way than by the triumph of their essential message is to misunderstand their whole position and aim.


This said, let me deal more directly with some of the Bishop of Durham’s assumptions. He assumes, first, that there is a consistent body of theology that can properly be called the peculiar teaching of the Church of England. And he dates this teaching from what he calls the Reformation settlement. I submit that he is wrong in his assumption.

There has been no settlement of doctrine since the [17/18] Reformation. The history of the English Church, since Henry VIII upset its balance, has been one of doctrinal controversy. Such settlements as were made took the form of articles of truce. And it was only by forcing men on either side to hold their peace that such articles of truce could be maintained. From the death of Henry VIII until the flight of James II it was continuous war within the Church as to which party should triumph. Under Edward VI foreign Calvinists were near a victory. Mary helped the Papal party to a temporary triumph. Elizabeth went back on the Papists and took a moderate line; the Stuarts favoured High Churchmen; Cromwell smashed the Church’s power for the moment; and Charles II effected a working compromise. James II looked Popewards, and was driven out. And after Anne Churchmen went to sleep under the influence of foreign rulers.


Where, then, is the settlement of doctrine to which the Bishop of Durham refers?

All he can rightly say is that we have our Prayer Book, and our Thirty-nine Articles, which have survived, in spite of this war of opinions. He cannot rightly claim that there is only one interpretation of these very human documents. For in any one age of intellectual activity within the English Church we find varieties of interpretation and practice. Had it not been so, the Oxford Movement, with Keble, Newman, and Pusey as its leaders, could not have wrought the change that marked the nineteenth century. The Tractarians had no difficulty in proving that the Anglo-Catholic doctrine has always been held within the Anglican Church, and before and since the Reformation.

The Bishop of Durham’s second assumption is, therefore, found to be baseless. He assumes that we Anglo-Catholics are dishonest in our official conformity with the English Church. We are guilty of a lie in subscribing to the doctrinal standards of the Church of England. And, being liars, we need not hope to arrive at the goal of truth. I say this assumption of his is baseless.

[19] The English Prayer Book and Articles were drawn up and imposed on Englishmen in order to keep within the one national communion of Christians all Churchmen who would resist Papal claims on the one hand and Continental Protestantism on the other. It was, further, required that they should pledge themselves to renounce certain popular errors which had come to disfigure the old Catholic religion, and certain new-fangled Protestant doctrines that had crept in from Germany and Geneva. Laud was a true son of the English Church, and became Primate of All England. And Laud was an Anglo-Catholic. Laud would have been quite happy presiding in the Albert Hall. He would not be so happy reading Dr. Henson’s writings!


A third assumption of the Bishop of Durham is equally baseless. He assumes that the English bishops to-day impose the ordination oath on their ordinands in one clear, well-understood sense. This is quite clearly not the case. I am content that the present Archbishops of Canterbury and York give their decision here. I ask: Did the Primate of All England regard Dr. Henson and myself as meaning one and the same thing when we subscribed to Anglican standards before his Grace consecrated us? Or Dr. Guy Warman and Dr. Paget, now of Chester? Or Dr. Watts-Ditchfield, whose soul God rest, and Dr. Burrows, of Chichester?

Every one, except the Bishop of Durham, knows that the English standards are purposely drawn up to include as many as possible of the English people. There are limits, but they are wide. As I see it, the essential points of Catholic theology are insisted on, and the essential points of Church organization. But, since different minds lay stress on different doctrines, only the essentials are required of all alike.

This arrangement may be faulty; it is, however, historically the fact. Cardinal Bourne may not approve of it. The Bishop of Durham denies it. But it exists, despite them both. And in God’s providence it is helping towards the return of England to the Catholic faith of Christendom.


And this brings me to Dr. Henson’s great error. He assumes that the Church of England is an entity, an individual entity, apart from all other like societies. And here he gravely errs.

The Church of Christ is one and one only. It is the fellowship of those in whom He lives and loves and works. There cannot be two Churches, any more than two Christs. True, on the surface, the Apostolic rulers of the one Church, the bishops, have broken off into sinful groups, through ambition, through misunderstandings, and through political schemings. But the one Church remains one, and tends to undo these superficial regroupings, and to reassert its fundamental unity. Rome, the East, and England may have desired each to stand alone. But the Christ is slowly triumphing. And a power that no one can resist is working for the reassertion in visible form of the Church’s underlying unity. We may not live to see the triumph: it is working, none the less. And we are not afraid for the English Church. She will survive the present discords, for Christ Himself will one day resolve them into a new harmony, the harmony of His one visible Church here on earth and beyond the grave.


One other point I must notice in the Bishop of Durham’s indictment, and one only. For to-morrow I wish to speak of Anglo-Catholicism itself. His Lordship makes the point that many Anglo-Catholics do not use the form of service to which they pledged themselves at their ordinations. But Dr. Henson must be fair. Who does use that form and none other?

It is admitted on all sides, by all schools of thought, that the Form of 1662 does not meet the needs of the present age. And to the best of my knowledge no one is now called to account for varying the Form, or substituting other formulae, except the Anglo-Catholics.

Low Church, Moderate Church, Broad Church [20/21] expurgate the Bible and the Psalter; make changes in, or omit, the Athanasian Creed; mutilate the Communion Service, starting sometimes in the middle; cut down Morning and Evening Prayer, adding little prayers of their own; and generally do what they believe the present age requires. And no one complains. All admit that modification is to be tolerated pending the revision of the Prayer Book and the re-creation of genuinely ecclesiastical courts. But let an Anglo-Catholic make modifications, and he is denounced as a dishonest man! It is none the less a fact that the new order of Holy Communion, or Mass, proposed by the Anglo-Catholic party contains nothing that even Dr. Henson can show to be contrary to Anglican standards and formulae.


My last word to-day is an appeal to the readers of this paper. Before you accept the Bishop of Durham as your champion on the side of Church order and discipline; before you condemn us, as dishonest men, at his bidding; ask his Lordship how he reconciles with Anglican standards of doctrine his treatment of the Lord Christ Himself. The Bishop asks for a committee to reopen the Western Church’s decision that no one shall be married again after divorce. And why? Because he thinks that the Lord Christ was quite unable to legislate for the twentieth century! In Dr. Henson’s view, Christ could not foresee our conditions; He could not give us the counsel we need!

The Reformation Settlement, as interpreted by Dr. Henson, is so truly final that he is justified in dubbing me a liar for claiming to be a loyal English Churchman. The Lord Christ’s teaching, on the other hand, was so tentative and inadequate that the Bishop of Durham and his fellows can bring Him up to date!

We Anglo-Catholics appeal from the Bishop of Durham to Christ, the Truth incarnate.


No. 2

WHAT does Anglo-Catholicism mean? At what does it aim? It is based on the conviction that Christ founded a fellowship in and around Himself, meaning it to be visibly one all down the ages. Within this fellowship all His followers were to live in brotherly love, overlooking the differences set up by race and caste and colour. It was to be a true league of nations; not an external organization of conflicting tribes, but an interior leaven of unity leavening the whole human race.

But in order to establish it He had to commit it to men’s hands. He founded it on His own manhood, giving it a governing body of apostles or bishops; He placed within it His own Spirit of Life, with a sacramental means of imparting life and grace to all its members. To it He committed His message; His gospel of redemption and His moral teaching. Through it He planned to influence and win the world.

Christ’s fellowship has, therefore, acquired and stored up a body of experiences, together with all the gifts it received from Him. In its gospel, its Bible, its ways of worship, its creed, and its traditions, it has a treasure-house of truth for us to-day.

But the bishops have fallen out. Human ambition, with envy, jealousy, and other sins, has split the governing body into three groups—Roman, Eastern, and Anglican. And each group has tended to claim exclusive right to speak for Christ. The Roman group has gone beyond the other two, and has allowed itself to claim for its Head divine rights and authority for which there is no evidence. The Eastern group remains what it always was, conservatively loyal to the earlier form of authority, which the whole fellowship once acknowledged. And the Anglican group. [22/23] small and insular for many years, but now large and worldwide, has until recently held aloof both from Rome and the East.


But in spite of these tragic differences between the three groups of bishops, the one fellowship of Christ has remained; one because Christ is one; one in its ministry and sacramental life; one in creed and essential belief; one in its essentially supernatural life. The Anglo-Catholic is a member of the Anglican group who refuses to acquiesce any more in the separation of the three groups of bishops.

He refuses because Christ wishes to see a visibly united fellowship. He refuses because his own sense of unity gives him no peace till he actively rebels against this separation. He refuses because the heathen world is being mistaught the Gospel, having forced on it the evil fruit of our divisions. He refuses because the world’s sickness can only be cured by the one visibly united fellowship of Christ.

What, then, is the Anglo-Catholic aim? He wishes to recall English Churchmen to belief in the unity of Christ’s fellowship. For example, the Low Churchman is so taken up with personal salvation as to forget that a Christian is just one of a vast family. He tends to isolate his relation to God from all his other relationships. He is careless of the Church’s customs and traditions. He exalts his own judgement and opinions. And he regards the bishops of the Roman and Eastern groups as, at the best, misguided traditionalists. His heart goes out to, Free Churchmen and others of like mind with himself. And a pan-Protestant alliance against the ancient Catholic fellowship is his inevitable goal.

The Anglo-Catholic will have none of this. He demands that the corporate character of our religion be once more recognized; that our relations with God include our relations with men; that the unity of the one supernatural fellowship be acknowledged, and the bishops of the other groups be recognized.


As against the Broad Churchman, the Anglo-Catholic pleads for the recognition of a revelation committed by Christ to His Apostles, and handed on down the ages through the bishops of the fellowship. He does not refuse new light. Cautious he naturally is, but he follows God’s Spirit. His contention is that truth is a unity, and God’s messages in various ages cannot contradict one another. The Church is the treasury of truth; her ministers are its guardians. And she must see to it that each generation receive the revelation as it was originally given.

As against the “Moderate” Churchman the Anglo-Catholic stands for the reality of the supernatural. He clings to the ancient sacramental system. He believes that God’s Spirit uses material things as His instruments, just as He shows Himself in nature. Above all, he lays stress on the Blessed Sacrament, the bread from heaven. To him the Sacrament is the Christ; the Mass is the sacrifice of Christ which Christ Himself pleads; and where the Sacrament is, there worship must be given to Him. Round the Sacrament he gathers the best that nature and art can afford, offering material riches to the Lord of all things. And this he does knowing that the Sacrament is the one and only centre of unity for Christ’s fellowship in East and West.

With regard to the Roman Church, the Anglo-Catholic stands in a position of great difficulty. He acknowledges the Pope as premier bishop of Christendom; he sees in him the Father of the faithful, were only the fellowship to be visibly one. But he cannot admit the present Papal claims, or submit to them for a moment. So that while English Churchmen suspect him, Roman Churchmen deride him; he is abused on all sides; yet he does not despair. Striving to be a Christian and a gentleman he humbly seeks peace with the Pope, while stoutly refusing to yield to claims that conflict with the truth as it is in Christ. And, trusting Christ, he is content hopefully to wait. The day [24/25] will come that the Papal claims will be adjusted, and a constitutional government set up once more within the one visible fellowship of Christ. In that day the Anglo-Catholic will be justified.


Meanwhile, what is the Anglo-Catholic’s positive policy?

(i.) Assured by adequate evidence of history that the  English group of bishops is within Christ’s one fellowship, he works to make clear the Catholic, or universal, character of the English Church. He interprets her Prayer Book and formularies in the light of the faith and practice of the other groups of bishops. In this he is but following in the footsteps of many Anglican bishops since the Reformation. He is true to the Prayer Book’s claim that her reformed rite omits “no established doctrine or laudable practice” of the ancient Church of England, “or, indeed, of the whole Catholic Church of Christ.” And he desires to persuade all men of the truth of his contention.

(ii.) He lays the greatest possible stress upon the offering of the Lord’s Supper, or Eucharist, or Mass. This is the one service in the Prayer Book in which a sermon is ordered to be preached. It is the chief service the book provides. And it is the one service, or liturgy, common to all three groups of bishops. Moreover, it is the representation in our midst of the mysterious offering of Himself in which Christ maintains the union of God with the human race; it is the symbolic setting forth of the return of man to God, as also of eternal Love’s desire for man. And in our communion with God in Christ through the Blessed Sacrament is found our daily, supernatural food.

This liturgy, commonly called the Mass, the Anglo-Catholic makes as beautiful as he can. And he studies in every possible way to minimize our differences with the other groups of bishops, and to emphasize our common, corporate worship. Hence the stress laid on vestments and other ornaments. Insularity and individualism are hateful at such a moment. There is no room for anything [25/26] that does not in some way belong to the common life, the corporate tradition.


(iii.) Again, the corporate nature of our religion and our common membership in the one fellowship have an important bearing upon our conduct. We are not free to do what we like. Our actions effect others besides ourselves. We have a responsibility towards the one fellowship. Hence the Anglo-Catholic lays great stress upon discipline and penance. He emphasizes what the Prayer Book says about confession of sins, and about ecclesiastical absolution, or reconciliation with God and the Church. He desires all men to- see that, having sinned against God and the Church, they should seek reconciliation with God and the Church in the way of ecclesiastical penitence common to all three groups of bishops.

(iv.) Time and space alike fail for setting out all the aims of Anglo-Catholics. I have given some examples of the working of the corporate as opposed to the individualistic mind. I would now speak of matters that are not essential and yet desired by many Anglo-Catholics.

There is a good deal heard about devotions to the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. Now on these matters there is no one tradition common to all three groups of bishops; and no agreement, even within the Roman group, as to the spiritual usefulness of these practices. Men vary in temperament and tone of mind. What the Anglo-Catholic demands in this matter is liberty. He wishes the doctrinal basis of such practices to be conceded, and the practices themselves allowed to such as desire them, under conditions that will safeguard their rights who cannot profitably use them. The whole question could be quite simply settled were the English bishops to approach it from this point of view. We ask for liberty—liberty for those who desire such things, and equal liberty for those who cannot use them.

(v.) It is quite true that much pain and grief are caused by parish priests who impose their opinions on an unwilling [26/27] congregation. But this is true of Low Churchmen and Modernists as well as of Anglo-Catholics. And it is partly the fault of our bishops. For they themselves are mostly chosen from the ranks of the Low Church, the Modernist, and the Moderate. They do not try to remind their flocks of the paramount duty of coming to a new state of mind, the mind that will welcome corporate life in one visible fellowship. Even their own appeal for unity, issued at Lambeth in 1920, has failed to arouse our bishops, as a whole, to this task. So that, roughly speaking, the Anglo-Catholic is made to feel an outcast; and too often the sense of loneliness leads to a loss of sympathy with difficult or ignorant parishioners.


But the Anglo-Catholic Congress did not concern itself with these matters. It took a far wider view. It came to the conclusion that the weakness of the whole Church everywhere lies, in its failure to show Christ in His one fellowship to a world that is hungry for Him. And its chief resolution, to which I as chairman was privileged to give voice, was to this effect.

The Anglo-Catholic would henceforth set himself to walk with the Christ of Bethlehem, aiming at truer fellowship between man and man, class and class, nation and nation. Class, caste, colour, and race were barriers to be thrown down, in the light of the one fellowship of Christ, the Catholic Church. Again, he would seek humbly to walk more loyally with the Christ of Calvary. He would, first, cast away luxury and self-indulgence, limiting his expenditure on himself, and imitating the naked Christ.

He would seek to obey Christ more truly, and not least in his ministry at the altar. Given sympathetic bishops, who believe in the unity of Christ’s Apostolic Church and fellowship, and its constitutional government, he would co-operate with them in restoring obedience to the English Church.

Once more, while refusing to have reservation of the Blessed Sacrament prohibited in the new Prayer Book, he [27/28] would show that his belief in Christ of the Sacrament carried him also to see Christ in all men. Hence he would, with all his power, serve Christ in suffering mankind. He would no longer quietly leave Christ in a slum tenement. He would not let Christ receive less than a fair day’s wage; nor be offered less than a fair day’s work. In brief, he would make men see that the Lord Christ is King of the whole area of human relationships.

This was the real message of the Anglo-Catholic Congress. And men like the Bishop of Durham, and some editors of what are called religious papers, have taken on themselves a very heavy responsibility in diverting men from consideration of this message, and calling them back into the poisonous atmosphere of ecclesiastical controversy.

I beg all men of goodwill to close their ears to these ecclesiastical critics, and to join their prayers with ours that a new spirit of service may fall upon all who profess and call themselves Christians. We worship Christ on His Throne; we adore Him in His Sacrament; and we would learn to serve Him in our fellow men.


I AM asked to speak to you, at the end of the Congress, upon our present duty as Anglo-Catholics. And to that I now address myself. I am purposely not saying anything about the present duty of the Anglo-Catholic Congress Committee, for any view that I have upon that I hope to communicate to-morrow. My duty as your chairman is this—to try to sum up as clearly as I can the things that we have been learning, or at least the things I hope we have been learning, during these three days.

Our present duty as Anglo-Catholics is to make a far deeper surrender to our Lord Christ, and to make it over a far wider area than ever before. We are to make such a surrender of self to Christ over the whole area of our life that, were He to choose to come on earth to reign in His own Person, neither you nor I would find it necessary to alter the principles upon which we conduct our whole life. That is the point. Were He to come, the principles which we hold would not require to be altered. In this sense I recall you and myself to Him.


I want you, first, to listen to the call of the Christ of Bethlehem. He is eternal God made Man for you, made Man for me, Jesus the Babe of Bethlehem. I want you to listen to Him as He leaps from the Father’s throne across the gulf that separates Creator from creation, across the gulf that separates holiness from sin; to listen to Him as He leaps the gulf and appears un human form amongst us men; and listen to Him as He says to you, “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples. If ye have love one to the other.” I recall you to the Christ of Bethlehem, and I suggest to you, as I have [29/30] suggested to myself, that it is our present duty to return into our own; parishes, and into our own dioceses, and to see whether it is not possible to work out the baffling problems, in the solving of which we so often lose our love and come to care only for ourselves. There in your own parishes; there, not in your parishes only, but in your rural deaneries, shall we say; there where you have the problem of the rich and the poor, the problem of the educated and uneducated, the problem of the master and the man, of the employer and the employed—there set yourself to work out the problem of fellowship. See if it be not the case that some of us are called by our Lord to take a leap, after the manner of His, a leap that will carry us out of that state into which we were born, or which we have made for ourselves, into a new kind of state, a state of life in which we can help to build up the fellowship of man with man in Christ. I recall you to Jesus of Bethlehem. I challenge you to look to Jesus of Bethlehem and summon Him to move in and around your parishes, from altar to altar, from church to church. I challenge you to summon Him! You dare not, and I dare not! When, with one heart and one voice, will His family stand before Him round the parish altar, heart to heart, with hearts raised to Him? When? That is your problem, the problem of the Anglo-Catholic.

Now in this no one can throw stones. There are individuals whose efforts must shine in the sight of the angels. But as a corporate body, no communion, no Church, no society, can claim to have done more than touch the problem. Brethren, if you ask me what is your present duty, I tell you—that first. Get back into your parishes and rural deaneries and dioceses, and work out what Christian fellowship means. Discover for yourselves such a fellowship as shall not make you ashamed in the sight of Jesus. Do not ask md how it is to be done. If I knew, I would tell you. It is a problem, a problem that Christ can help us solve if only we will be true to Him. It is a most difficult and dangerous problem. We cannot simply sweep away all the social customs in which we have been born and bred—and God forbid that we should try. We cannot pretend to an equality of culture, of taste, of temperament that in no case can be seen to exist. But if God leaped a gulf for you, you can leap gulfs for God—that first. We are recalled to the Christ of Bethlehem, the Christ of fellowship.


Secondly, I recall you to the Christ of Calvary. I remind you and myself that the reality behind the Catholic movement, the reality at the foundation of the Church of Christ, is the crucified Man Christ Jesus. I remind you that the hope of your salvation, and the justification of your claim to attention from the world, is just the naked Christ of Nazareth, and to Him I recall you. An Anglo-Catholic is an English man, or an English woman, who is following after Jesus along the old catholic path. The path is catholic, but do not boast about your path! Fix your eyes upon Him Who goes before you, Jesus, the naked Christ. Brethren, I recall you, in His Name, to the imitation of His Passion, in a degree that has become foreign to most of us. You must set yourselves, here in the midst of London, to show that it is perfectly possible to lead a happy, wholesome life, developing your true manhood, without in any way forsaking the simplicity which goes with the Cross of the Christ of Nazareth. You can do it if you will. Make it one of the conditions of membership in the Anglo-Catholic Congress that you shall live simple lives, and that you shall fight against luxury and self-indulgence. Encourage the rich to set a limit to the amount of money they use upon themselves. Let them do it not under pressure from the Chancellor of the Exchequer but out of personal devotion to Jesus.

And I would say to my brethren in the ministry that the priesthood, of which we Anglo-Catholics talk a very great deal, implies a strictness and a sternness in the following of Christ that is sometimes sadly to seek. We priests need to believe that we are consecrated to give our wills to Jesus, and in giving our will to leave ourselves. [31/32] body and soul, in His hands, that He may do what He will with us; and therefore we have to be extraordinarily careful to shut ourselves off from those things in the world that so easily distract our minds from Him. We must have a far stricter standard, a far sterner following of Christ, for the Christ of Calvary calls you. Brethren, consider. We meet and we count our thousands now, and had we an altar here that we might offer our Mass, how glorious we should think it! But if you had brought the naked Christ, now glorious, here in His sacramental Presence and pleaded His Sacrifice before the Father, where would have been the sternness, the strictness, in us the ministers, the acolytes, the worshippers at the altar? Obedient self-sacrifice marks the sacramental Jesus, and we—Well, we know what we are!

And beyond that call to us His ministers, there are those yet waiting their vocation. There are young men, boys, young women and girls, to whom life is opening out. What has the Anglo-Catholic movement to say to them? We need the young men in the priesthood, if God calls. We need the women in the religious life, we need them in the work of teaching for the Church. We need men and women, priests and other workers, abroad in the foreign mission field. And where are they? Why don’t they come? Because we are not yet recalled to the Christ of Calvary. There is no other reason.

And I put it to you who are parents, to you who hope to be parents hereafter, what has the Christ of Calvary to say to you? Nothing? Do you remember how He reached His Cross? Do you forget who it was who lived alone that He might carry His Cross? Do you forget how His Mother was bidden to be content and live with the beloved disciple? Fathers and mothers, can you not give to Jesus some of the joy He has given to you? Dedicate your children. Rejoice that they should go into priesthood, into the religious life. Look at the Catholics in Ireland—five and six of one family are in the priesthood and in religious Orders. Look in France, the number of men and women from one [32/33] household In priesthood and in religion. And then look in your English homes! I recall you to the Christ of Calvary; listen to Him, brethren.

And I want, if I may, to make one other point as we dwell on Calvary. I want you Anglo-Catholics to consider how you are going to make the picture of the naked Christ real to the world, unless religion can be presented to people as a matter of discipline. Ideally we move in an atmosphere of self-sacrificing obedience. Ideally, as I set out to go to the altar of God, I step out in definite obedience to offer the sacrifice of Christ’s obedience. I ask you. In the ordinary English parish church how much obedience is there? I am not asking for obedience to individual bishops. I ask for obedience to bishops in as far as they obey the Catholic Church. I want you to get nearer to those English bishops who understand us a little; I want you to make it clear to them that it is becoming intolerable to you that your daily and Sunday Masses should be without that consecrating sense of obedience which should mark the priest from the moment he begins to vest until he has completed his work and said his thanksgiving. And I want you to plead with the bishops that they shall trust you, and that with you they shall try and see how best to arrive at some understanding covered by the practice and custom of the Catholic Church. I would never ask a priest to obey the mere dicta of a bishop. I have been a bishop for fifteen years, and I do not think I have ever asked a priest to obey my mere opinion; but I always beg of them—and they listen—that when in Synod we are on the whole agreed that this is Catholic, and this is useful, and this is needed, they should obey. And, even if they do not quite agree, they obey.

Again, I speak to some of you lay people—there is your confession! Are you going to obey about that How long are you going to hold back before you make your confessions to God and His Church in the presence of His priests? How long are you going to hold back from acknowledging your corporate guilt and your responsibility to the Church. How long?

[34] And fasting! Do you fast? Do you know what it means really to fast? We have not learnt much about it in England, and yet we are beginning to look for dispensations from fasting Communion! There is a sort of air of softness—yet He calls you. What does it matter if you get a headache, when you are representing Calvary before the Father Do you want to feel especially well and buoyant as you come from the contemplation of Christ on Calvary Brethren, you know you don’t.


In the last place, I recall you to the Christ of the Blessed Sacrament. I beg you, brethren, not to yield one inch to those who would for any reason, or specious excuse, deprive you of your tabernacles. I beg you, do not yield. But remember, if you have to struggle, if you have to fight for the Church, that the Church is the Body of Christ, and that you fight in the presence of Christ. Do not forget that. I want you to make your stand for the tabernacle, not for your own sakes, but for the sake of truth first, and in the second place for the sake of reunion hereafter. For the truth, because the one thing that England needs to learn is that Christ is in and amid matter, God in flesh, God in Sacrament. But I say to you, and I say it to you with all the earnestness that I have, if you are prepared to fight for the right of adoring Jesus in His Blessed Sacrament: then, when you come out from before your tabernacles, you must walk with Christ, mystically present in you, through the streets of this country, and find the same Christ in the people of your cities and your villages. You cannot claim to worship Jesus in the tabernacle if you do not pity Jesus in the slum. Now mark that. It is the gospel truth. If you are prepared to say that an Anglo-Catholic is at liberty to rake in all the money he can get, or that he may take his income no matter what the wages are that are paid or what the conditions under which people work; if you say that an Anglo-Catholic has a right to hold his peace while his fellow citizens are living in hovels below the level of the streets—then I say to you, you do not know the Lord Jesus [34/35] in His Sacrament! You have begun with the Christ of Bethlehem, you have gone on to know something of the Christ of Calvary, but the Christ of the Sacrament—not yet! Oh! brethren, if only you will listen to-night, your movement is going to sweep England. If you listen! I am not talking economics, because I do not understand them: I am not talking politics, because I do not understand them: I am talking Gospel. And I say to you that if you are Christians, then your Lord is one and the same with Jesus on the throne of His Glory, with Jesus in His Blessed Sacrament, with Jesus received into your hearts in Communion, with Jesus Who is mystically with you as you pray, and with Jesus enshrined in the hearts and bodies of His brothers and sisters up and down this world. And it is folly, it is madness, to suppose that you can worship Jesus in the Sacrament and Jesus on the throne of glory when you are sweating Him in the bodies and the souls of His children. It is our present duty to serve Jesus in the souls and bodies of our fellow men.

There, then, as I conceive it, is our present duty. And I beg you, brethren, as you love the Lord Jesus, consider that it is at least possible that this is the new light that the Congress was to bring us. You have your Mass, you have your altars, you have begun to get your tabernacles. Now go out into the highways and hedges, and look for Jesus in the ragged and the naked, in the oppressed and the sweated, in those who have lost hope and in those who are struggling to make good. Look for Jesus in them; and, when you find Him, gird yourselves with His towel of fellowship, and wash His feet in the person of His brethren.

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