Page 6, 11th July 1958

11th July 1958
Page 6
Page 6, 11th July 1958 — The Vocation of Anglicanissn is ultimately to disappear'

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Locations: ROME, Bristol, Gloucester


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The Vocation of Anglicanissn is ultimately to disappear'


By Rev.




AN Anglican writing in a Catholic newspaper on the Lambeth Conference begins at a disadvantage. He must inform and not offend and may succeed in doing neither. But having invoked St. Francis de Sales, the Patron Saint of Journalists. I will begin inoffensively with the words " Change " and " Cricket ".

How we have changed and are rchanging in "the other Garden". to borrow a description by the late Mgr. Knox in a sermon in Westminster Cathedral at your Centenary of Emancipation Festival, which I was privileged to attend, and at which, I recall, the Very Rev. Chancellor Jesse Collings (whose friendship I treasure) was Master of Ceremonies. He managed the vast assemblage of constantly moving figures like a great conductor of an orchestra. Things must have been going wrong al) the time, but the whole seemed smoothly perfect.

I recall, whimsically, other impressions. The Cardinals moved like processional rocks but the innumerable Bishops wobbled like Anglicans. One forgot to take his Mitre (or was it his skull cap?) off at the right moment and so all the rest were out of step. The singing +AA, lovely.

4Windfalls' I digress. Mgr.

" Knox was discussing " windfalls from the other Garden ". The other Garden has changed, I think, for the good. In an excellent pamphlet entitled " Lambeth and our Times ", published by our Church Information Board, in the sections," The changing pattern of Missionary work ", one may read: "'The vocation of Anglicanism is. ultimately, to disappear. That is its vocation precisely because Anglicanism does not believe in itself but in the Catholic Church of Christ; therefore it is for ever restless until it finds its place in that one Body."

This is a quotation from Bishop Boyne, of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A., and can be appositely juxtaposed to another by Renato Tulli, a native of Italy. long active in Italian Government work and chief translator for the Chamber of Ministers. Writing as an Evangelical Protestant in the April 28 issue of "Christianity Today ". an American publication. he says: "The Roman Church claims to be the true and unique depository of Christ's teaching and the matchless administrator of His saving power. To sustain these assertions, Rome states some fundamental points. First, she affirms, as a matter of course. that any religious society, and the Christian Church in particular, ought to be visible. Secondly. that the sacred deposit of divine revelation was concluded with the death of the last Apostle. Thirdly. and most important, as the process of revelation has been completed, the ministry of original teaching therefore has been replaced by the ministry of credited interpretation; Peter and his lawful successors, till the end of the ages, with the responsibility of vigilance (infallibly) for the conservation of the revealed deposit and the homogeneous discipline of Christian believers." Unhappily, Renato Tulli goes on to attack the Roman Catholic Church but one notices enthusiastic adjectives in the above quotation, the "she" (as if remembering the Mother of Churches). and the " ministry of credited interpretation ". I like that phrase. It reminds me of the Reserved Sacrament, which is " The Mass held in Meditation ". One thinks of Revelation as held in age-long Meditation and thus come the Marian doctrines, drawn out of the unfathomable deeps of the Virgin Birth. I commend this view to the Anglican bishops, amongst whom, 1 reflect, I might myself be moving with a Windward Island swept appearance, had I hut accepted a certain offer in the long ago, since when not even a perpetual curacy has come my way. wonder what it must feel like to be offered a "living ".

Mitres Bt.: i t is time to descend from the I sublime to the not-so, namely mitres. Anglican bishops. being susceptible to the dislikes of the minority, wear mitres severally, not collectively. But that signifies change. The late Prebendary Mackay, of All Saints', Margaret Street, and Father Bricoc, gave us a delightful revelation in "A Tractarian at Work ". My copy of this was destroyed in the great fire of St. Mary-of-the-Angels Song School in 1940, and I wish 1 could get another one. but I had made the extract. Our bishops were affected he the glamour of ' ritualism " at the time of which he writes—the middle of the last century. Several mitres from some Roman Catholic furnisher were sent to Cuddesdon for the inspection of the bishops who were assembled there. They were all, of course, of the exaggerated bulbous and lofty Renaissance type and the butler arranged them in the hall on the table where the hats were usually kept. " When the bishops emerged from the library there was a long silence and then Bishop Ellicott of Gloucester and Bristol walked forward to the table. Dr. Ellicott was a spare and shrivelled man with grey side whiskers . . He put one Of the mitres on his head and turning round, faced his brother bishops with a solemn face. There was it deep groan and an emphatic ` No'. the use of mitres was restricted to teaspoons and carriage panels until Bishop Kingbegan to wear a Gothic one . . The above reminds me of the tense moments in Canterbury Cathedral prior to the entry of Dr. Lang for his enthronement. 1 was representing the "Sunday Referee" and sat next to Sidney Dark, then Editor of the "Church Times". I whispered: "wonder if he'll wear a mitre ". Dark replied crisply: ,.Bet you two to one he doesn't . And he didn't. Nevertheless he wore a mitre in St. Paul's in 1935 and Dr. Temple wore one from the start. So much for change in vesture, but it is also visible in doctrine and worship. Not long ago 1 knelt near an Anglican bishop who was taking part in Benediction. including the Divine Praises.

Imagination THERE are four I. essences of childhood which, when lost by growing up, spell out the ending of romance. Those who, like Newman and G. K. Chesterton, grow up with them, become immorta.l. They are simplicity, unselfconsciousness, imagination and wonder, and the greatest of these is wonder. A good Catholic usually lacks the third of them. Unquestioningly he accepts the teaching of the Church. forgets himself in service and is tilled with wonder over the Mysteries of Faith. He makes an experiment that results in an experience. But imagination is lacking.

Now consider one of the changes that calls for an imaginative assessment. the Reformation. How many Catholics realise that Protestantism has practically abandoned the essence of its protest, which was justification by faith alone, by virtue of which (to use an infelicitious phrase) man was so hopelessly sinful that nothing could be done about it except to abandon himself to the mercy of God and trust in imputed righteousness? The revolutionary theory took the heart out of Protestantism during the last century. Man, instead of being hopeless, was getting "better and better " ! The Reformation stemmed from this false doctrine, the which. when accepted, made nonsense of priesthood and sacraments, but that was a by-product.

How many Catholics realise that at the time of the Reformation the population of England was only some five millions, of which but a fraction could have become aware of the severance from Rome until long after it had happened? The average Catholic imagines that the Church of England deliberately, knowingly and gladly repudiated all he holds dear, as he knows it now, in the twinkling of an eye, and supposes that we, who inherit the situation centuries after. are therewith content.

On to cricket As a consequence of the Reformation the Christian world is now divided roughly as follows, apart from preReformation schism: 400 million Roman Catholics. 68 million Lutherans. 41 million Presbyterians and Reformed, 40 million Baptists, 30 million Methodists, five million Congregationalists and a mere 40 million Anglicans. The Eastern Orthodox are reckoned as 160 millions. All these Christians, who are devoted to the Lord Jesus, multiply continually, apart, perhaps, from the Orthodox, although I understand they, too, have their missions.

Such a situation calls to high Heaven for help and to Catholics for prayer and penance in an era of sanctity unparalleled in their own history, upon which the Mother of God has set the seal of her approval. It calls for some majestic gesture, because keys are not only for closing a door but opening it. Anyway, to read the Reformation into the context of today is to fail in imagination. Anglo-Catholics can but pray that the Holy Spirit may move our Lambeth Bishops as touching what they should do, because Rome is the one Church inseparable from its doctrine, and that regulates its activities according to it. It cannot change. They must know that the Pope is the Supreme Head of some fifteen national Churches, each of which has been allowed to maintain its ' own customs and traditions. To be separate permanently or uniatc soon is the issue. Which brings me, with a sigh of relief. to cricket, because I hold that it " isn't cricket" to be controversial (if I have been). There is a charming story enshrined in the Anglican tradition which perhaps contains a moral. A visitor to Lavington, the country parish in Sussex from which Archdeacon Manning seceded to Rome, came upon a very old man, who was leaning over a gate in the setting of the sun, He had been one of Manning's boys. " I 'ear," he said, " 'as 'ow they are like to make the Archdeacon the Pope o' Rome."

A pause.

" I dearly 'ope they do," the old man went on, with a ghostly chuckle. " I dearly 'ope they do." And then, out of the deeps of his old Protestant heart, he added: "I dearly like to say. 'afore I die, as 'ow I played a game o' cricket wi' the Pope o' Rome."

Ex ore infantiimr.

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