SIR,-Onc is struck by the friendly tone of the letter from the Secretary of the Confraternity of Unity, however much one disagrees with it, and for this reason it deserves sympathy and respect.
Perhaps a phrase of his sums up where he and his colleagues are mistaken, when he refers to the " poor old Church of England in her perhaps consciousless and, in very truth, painfully slow via crucis into the arms of Peter." Are they not setting sentiment before reason and history, and imagining that they owe loyalty to an institution set up by the English Government in the sixteenth century, when in truth they owe it to the Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ fifteen centuries earlier ? There is no evidence that the Church of England is moving towards the " arms of Peter." I wish there was.
The writer refers to the desirability of an approach to the Bishops of London, Oxford and Exeter; these are fine men and no doubt excellent diocesans but they do not represent the Anglican Church as a whole. Some weeks ago, in the Convocation of Canterbury, they were, along with the Bishop of Chichester in a minority of four to sixteen, when two important changes were made in the Canons; in that dealing with marriage the word " indissoluble " was altered to "permanent," a change which is certain to have disastrous results in the years to come, and while provision was made for thc anointing of the sick, it was deliberately ruled out that those in danger of death should be urged to make a confession.
One can imagine what men such as Dr. Pusey and Dr. Liddon would have to say. I fear that a Church whose senior province passes such far-reaching motions is not moving towards " the arms of Peter."
Sta.-The Anglo-Catholic problem is doubtless somewhat without my province, nevertheless I can claim in my Dissident Orthodox days to have had considerable contact with Anglican clergy of all schools of thought. Like the English Secretary of the Confraternity of Unity I was labouring and praying for the return of Christendom to obedienceto the Apostolic See of Rome.
With all due respect I must say that the Anglican Church was to me
an insoluble puzzle. The AngloCatholics claimed that the Protestant Evangelicals were decreasing in numbers and influence and the Evangelicals used to tell me that the " Spikes " had shot their bolt. My own impressions as an outside observer led me to conclude that both were indulging in wishful thinking. In the South the Anglo-Catholic movement is undoubtedly strong but in the North, generally speaking, it is the other way round. Proportionately Anglo-Catholicism is much more favoured by the clergy than by the laity and it is regarded by a very large percentage of Anglican laymen as " a fad of the parsons." I have personally seen more than one parish split in twain because a new vicar has
introduced certain " Romish practices " such as candles on the " Communion table," " Mass vestments," and so on, against the wishes of the laity. Most unholy shindies took place in some parishes because the vicar took the Eastward position when celebrating Holy Communion. The Church Association-a still very influential organisation with the gift of many livings
in its possession exists for the specific purpose of combating AngloCatholicism within the Church of England. Local schisms are by no means infrequent and whole parishes of laymen and laywomen have literally walked out of their parish churches and started another place of worship within the confines of their parishes in defiance of vicar and Bishop alike, as a protest against what they believe to be the illegal Catholic practices of the clergy. In these " schismatic chapels or churches " the Book of Common Prayer 1662 is strictly adhered to and people have the type of worship to which they are undoubtedly devoted. One or two small Protestant churches whose doctrine and worship is pure Book of Common Prayer (1662) Anglicanism and with a ministry of Bishops, presbyters and deacons exist in this country and the U.S.A. as a direct result of these schisms.
The far greatest number of Anglican lay people arc central churchmen with no very great liking for either High or Low Church and with a distinct dislike of extreme Anglo-Catholics. In scholarship and learning my own experience led me to the view that the modern school of thought within the Anglican Communion in England possessed the leading scholars, except for one or two exceptions in the AngloCatholic fold.
I am afraid that " The English Secretary of the Confraternity of Unity" is himself looking at the situation through very rose-tinted spectacles. By far the greatest number of Anglicans are in sympathy with the aims and objects of a conference upon reunion between Anglicans and Free Churchmen which presided over by the Bishop of Derby, Dr. Parkinson. commenced in 1947 and brought together Anglicans, Baptists, Congregationalists, Methodists, Moravians, Presbyterians and other Free Protestant bodies. In March, 1949, this conference published an interim report showing a large measure of agreement An interesting paragraph (1 (b) ) appears on page 11 of this report. It states as follows : " Is episcopacy a part of Peter; one cannot forever live in a land of dreams, even beautiful pretation of ' the historic episcopate would be allowed as is at present allowed within the Anglican Communion'."
In due time every truly "Catholic minded" and honest non-Roman must, if loyal to his conscience, make humble submission to the See of Peter one cannot forever live in a land of dreams. even beautiful dreams. There is certainly much beauty of liturgy and great and profound Christian piety within the Church of England. there is of course much truth and also much error, there is a great deal of uncertainty and doctrinally speaking no absolute certainty about anything. Newman, Manning and hundreds of other pioneers in spiritual progress have shown the way and blazed the trial. May one not respectfully suggest that theirs was and is the better way. in fact the only way.
Late Orthodox Archpriest (Dissident).
Kensington, W.14, SIR,-May 1 answer one point in the reply of the " English Secretary of the Confraternity of Unity " to my
recent letter in your columns ? In referring to the Clergyman who spoke of the Church of Christ in this country as the " Irish and Italian Missions." he says. " these good people are not to be confused with the ever-growing pro-Papal wing within the party. which actively seeks. and whole-heartedly desires, unity with the Holy See." It may interest him to know that the same clergyman. in the same letter, refers to himself as " au ardent worker for Reunion, possibly on a Uniate basis" (whatever that may be). It would appear, therefore, that the unnamed clergyman, in spite of his phraseology, is a " genuine Extremist." In fact, 1 should not be at all surprised to learn that he is a member of the "Confraternity of Unity."
EX-HIGH ANGLICAN CLERGYMAN.
Si,-Re " Anglicans " (14-4-50), may I quote Leo XIII : " We wish to direct our exhortation and our desires in a special way to those who are ministers of religion in their respective communities. They are men who from their very office take precedence in learning and authority and who have at heart the glorification of God and the salvation of souls. . . And we ourselves in every lawful way shall continue to promote their reconciliation with the Church, in which individuals and Masses, as we ardently desire, may find so much for their imitation."
(" Apostolicae Curae.") "Lead Kindly Light."
R. E. SCARLET-I.
26 Mayflower Road, S.W.9.