Project Canterbury







At The Session of the General Convention





OCTOBER, 1886.





Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, 2008

OCTOBER 12th, 1886. A TRUE COPY.

The Bishop of Albany, Secretary of the Mexican Commission, presented to the House on behalf of that Commission, the following report, viz:

To the House of Bishops:

At a meeting held in New York on the 14th day of April, 1884, of the Temporary Board of Administration for the Episcopal Government of the Mexican Branch of the Catholic Church of our Lord Jesus Christ Militant upon earth, provided for by Article III of the "Covenant between the Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, of the first part, and the Mexican Branch of the Catholic Church of our Lord Jesus Christ Militant upon earth, of the second part, the Rt. Rev. H. C. Riley, D. D., Bishop of the Valley of Mexico, signed and presented to the Board, his resignation of the Jurisdiction of that Diocese in the following terms, to wit:

"To the Right Rev. the Bishops of Delaware, Connecticut, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Western New York, Long Island, and Albany, constituting the Mexican Commission of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.

Although the Diocesan Synod of the Valley of Mexico has, through its Standing Committee, asked me not to withdraw from my work, nor to resign the jurisdiction of that Diocese; and has made [2/3] this request, to use the Committee's own words, "unanimously, heartily, and resolutely."

Nevertheless, I, Henry Chauncey Riley, Doctor of Divinity, consecrated to the office of Bishop of the Diocese of the Valley of Mexico, by Bishops of the said Protestant Episcopal Church, in the City of Pittsburgh, on the twenty-fourth day of June, A. D. 1879, influenced by your fraternal counsel and request, do hereby present to you my resignation of my jurisdiction, as Bishop of the Valley of Mexico, and do hereby pledge myself to exercise no Episcopal Authority or perform Episcopal acts in said Diocese, or in the Republic of Mexico; and I further promise to forbear all exercise of the functions of my said office, except with the advice and consent of the Mexican Commission, or on the invitation of the Ecclesiastical Authority of some Diocese for service in the Diocese concerned, or in a vacant Missionary Jurisdiction by appointment of the Presiding Bishop of the said Protestant Episcopal Church. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand, in the City of New York, on the 24th day of April, A. D. 1884.


Which resignation was unanimously accepted by the Board of Administration, by which resignation Bishop Riley's relation to the said Church in Mexico ceased and determined.


WHEREAS, expressions of confidence and commendation previously given by the Mexican Commission to Bishop Riley, have been recently published, without dates, and without their authority and permission, as though expressing the present convictions of the Commission;
Resolved, That all these expressions are publicly withdrawn.


Resolved, That the Mexican Commission, still deeply impressed with the importance and prospects of the Reform Movement in Mexico, urges upon the Board of Missions the facts, that Bishop Riley's resignation of jurisdiction, and the desire of the Presbyters and Readers to be accepted, through their "Cuerpo Ecclesiastico" [3/4] and General Convention, as a Mission of this Church for the time being, make it possible and proper for the Board to act without regard to any pretended jurisdiction of the resigned Bishop or any protests from unauthorized individuals, and to assume charge of Missionary work in Mexico.


WHEREAS, The Mexican League has asked counsel from the Commission in reference to the sending of funds to Mexico.

Resolved, That the Commission adopts as its own the following letter of advice, sent by its President to the League under date of Aug. 6th, A. D. 1886.

Considerations for the Executive Committee of the Mexican League.

I beg leave to submit to the Executive Committee of the Mexican League my views as to the present condition of affairs in the Church of Jesus.

It has not been in my power at this season of the year to get a meeting of the Bishop of the Mexican Commission, but as the League took the advice of the Commission in adopting a schedule of appropriations, and as events have since occurred which would undoubtedly affect and modify the judgment of the Commission, I do not feel justified, under the present circumstances, in delaying this communication.

The facts I understand to be as follows:

1. In compliance with the urgent request of the Mexican League and with the advice of friends in this country, the Mexican Church, in a full Convention held December 28th, 1885, in the Capitol, expressly called to consider the subject, petitioned the Board of Managers of the Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States to be received as a Mission of that Church.

2. To the great disappointment of the petitioners, and of their friends here, this request was refused.

3. The clergy and congregations which had united in this Convention continued to be, after this refusal, as they were before, the Church of Jesus in Mexico. In the resolution which was adopted by [4/5] the said Convention, their Church existence was not renounced, but was to be held in abeyance temporarily, in case of their becoming a Mission. The proposal not having been acceded to, their status remains unchanged.

4. There had never been a satisfactory and conclusive settlement of the question of the Liturgy, between the Church of Jesus and the Mexican Commission, owing to Bishop Riley's inexplicable delays. The Rev. J. I. Maruri and other ministers, with the approval of the Chairman of the Commission and the officers of the League, introduced the Book of Common Prayer translated into the Spanish Language, and it was used in some congregations much to the edification of the worshippers.

5. In consequence of this application to be received as a Mission, and the use of the Book of Common Prayer, the Clergy and Congregations uniting therein have been subjected to unwarrantable persecution. They have been summarily expelled from the churches in the City of Mexico, and, of the clergy, the Rev. Eligio Lopez has been notified of suspension from the Ministry; attempts have been also made to distract the congregations in the Diocese of Hidalgo, under the pastoral charge of Rev. A. Carrion.

6. The expulsion from the churches was ordered by Mr. Albert E. McIntosh, acting, as he claimed, as agent for Bishop Riley, asserted to be the proprietor of the churches. One of these churches, San Francisco, was purchased in part by money raised for the extension of the Gospel in Mexico by friends in the United States.

7. Bishop Riley has given to the Mexican Commission his resignation as Bishop of the Valley of Mexico, and engaged to exercise no Episcopal Authority nor perform Episcopal acts, in his Diocese or in the Republic of Mexico.

8. He has, therefore, no right to interfere with the conduct of Divine worship, or to inflict penalties upon congregations using the Book of Common Prayer, whatever legal title of church ownership may be vested in him. Neither has Mr. McIntosh, a layman, any authority to exercise ecclesiastical discipline.

9. Of the congregations composing the Church of Jesus in Mexico, thirty-eight were represented in the Convention of December, 1885, and the action of the Convention was unanimous.

[6] Five congregations only, (in the Diocese of the Valley of Mexico,) declined to take part. This small minority is not warranted in calling itself the National Church, and assuming to control the large majority.

10. The Rev. E. H. Ortiz, according to the schedule, was to receive for work in the Diocese of Hidalgo, a salary of $60 per month. He took part in the proceedings of the Convention. After the answer to the petition was received, he resigned his position, and withdrew from the work. By doing so he forfeited his stipend. His officiating subsequently, by appointment of Mr. McIntosh in the Church of San Francisco, would not entitle him to continuance of such support. Mr. McIntosh has no authority to transfer laborers from one post to another.

11. I deem it of very great importance that the League in no way countenance the injurious treatment under which members of the Mexican Church are now suffering, as a penalty for action expressly advised by the League itself. In my judgment, pecuniary support should no longer be continued to functionaries, clerical or lay, in the two city churches, and the means for sustaining public worship should be extended to the ejected congregations.

(Signed) ALFRED LEE,
Chairman of the Mexican Commission of the House of Bishops.
Wilmington, Del., Aug. 6th, 1886.


Resolved, That the House of Bishops request the Presiding Bishop to communicate to the Board of Missions, and to the authorities of the churches in communion with this church, the action of the House contained in the statement, and first and second resolutions.

On motion of the Bishop of Albany the four resolutions contained in the Report of the Mexican Commission were adopted by the House.

I certify that the above is a true copy from the Minutes.
Secretary of the House of Bishops.

OCTOBER 25th, 1886.

On motion, the House went into Council. The Council having risen, the House resumed its session, and the following action of the Committee on the Mexican Branch of the Catholic Church was reported by the Council to the House of Bishops, viz:

On motion, the following resolutions were adopted, and ordered to be reported to the House of Bishops, viz:

Resolved: That this Commission recognizes the body known as the "Cuerpo Ecclesiastico" as the true representative and governing Body of the Church in the Valley of Mexico.

Resolved: That this Commission reports to the House of Bishops the fact that by the action of the Board of Missions a new method of dealing with the work in Mexico has been adopted at the suggestion of the Commission, viz., that during the abeyance of the autonomous Church, and in the absence of any Episcopal authority, the members of the Church of Jesus have been received as a Mission under the fostering care of this Church.

Resolved: That this Commission, with more than ever earnestness and emphasis, commends to the sympathy and generous support of Churchmen in this country those sorely tried and faithful souls who are striving to maintain and extend the Gospel and Kingdom of our Lord in their purity, in the midst of a corrupt faith and a corrupted society.

[8] Resolved: That the Commission asks all who are interested to remember that the Board of Managers can only give, to the sending out and support of the Clergyman to guide and counsel the Mission in Mexico, such moneys as are sent them for this special object.

Resolved: That the Mexican League is urged to add to its present appeals, the effort to obtain money for the Board of Managers to use in this way; and that the efforts of the Mexican League have the warmest confidence of the members of this Commission.

Resolved: That the above resolutions be reported to the House of Bishops as the final report of this Commission; and that this Commission, believing that its work is concluded, and its responsibilities transferred, asks to be discharged.


On motion, it was
Resolved: That the report of the Mexican Commission be accepted, and the Commission discharged, with the grateful thanks of this House.

I certify that the above is a true copy from the Minutes.
Secretary of the House of Bishops.

Resolution adopted by the Board of Missions, Friday, October 22d, 1886.

"Resolved, That the Board of Managers be instructed to make a sufficient appropriation to be taken from the offerings made for work in Mexico, for the maintenance in the City of Mexico, of a clergyman of this Church appointed by them on nomination of the Presiding Bishop, to whom shall be assigned the duty of counselling and guiding the work of those Presbyters and Readers who have asked for the fostering care of this Church to be extended to them as a Mission."

Project Canterbury