Page 6, 28th October 1955

28th October 1955
Page 6
Page 6, 28th October 1955 — After twelve years in file controversy over the Church of South India

Report an error

Noticed an error on this page?
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it.


Locations: London, Canterbury, Chicago


Related articles

Let Yourself Be Caught Up In Benedict Xvi 's Heavenly Vision

Page 8 from 21st December 2007

I Choose

Page 6 from 3rd September 1965

Domesticated Traveller Who Shaped The 19th Century Church

Page 7 from 11th February 1983

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Page 6 from 7th November 1997

The End In Sight-

Page 3 from 20th July 1945

After twelve years in file controversy over the Church of South India




II II gh ROSS Will a 111S4111 THE return of England to the Faith has seemed to me, at least since I was 17, the only thing really worth lighting for.

Brought up in a Nonconformist home, I saw, inevitably. the way to a in the early twenties, through the " Free Catholicism " of Dr. Orchard. who was a close friend of my father's! His submission did not surprise me (one Of the last things that he did as a Nonconformist was to address a summer school of Congregational ministers which my father had organised at Cambridge and there was no longer much doubt in our minds that the end was not far off). hut I did not feel impelled to follow him. The reasons are not relevant in a short article. though it is perhaps right to mention that for 14 years I attended Mass regularly. and made what I understood to be a "Communion of desire."


VET when the time came when I could no longer escape taking orders myself. I deliberately chose (and. at the time of that choice, was unmarried) to take Anglican Orders. There were two reasons for this. One was that I was quite convinced that. historically speaking, Anglican orders were valid—and nothing, until the decision of Convocation last Jul. shook that belief. which was not arrived at light other was the conviction that the English people would under God be brought hack to the true Faith by the "Catholicising" of the Church of England. To a " cradle Catholic " this must sound odd, though in all humility I suggest that is because. since he has never had to " come home," he cannot quite realise how near the Far Country can he. Even as a Nonconformist I never questioned Papal Infallibilits, which seemed only common sense. As an Anglo-Catholic. I never said anything but the Roman Mass (though occasionalls for pastoral reasons I interpolated some prayers from the Prayer Book). As an ordinaed, it never occurred to mc that I was being ordained into anything but the Catholic Church, and I made it quite clear that, were Anglican orders infallibly condemned, I should submit within 24 hours. It is ironical that the whole of my 12 years as an Anglo-Catholic priest were lived under the shadow of the "Church of South India" and that. in the end. this was to provoke the equivalent of an infal lible condemnation.


IT was my intention. when I was ordained, to live quietly at Cambridge doing pastoral work and writing theology, and I had been accepted for ordination by the Bishop of Ely when 1 emple. who was then Archbishop of Canterbury. sent for me and asked me to change to London because he had special work, in connection with the South India scheme, which he wished me to do for him. articles I was writing on theological matters at that time. I had usualls submitted the MS first to him. especialls when it touched on controversial points such as the meaning of the priesthood or the Apostolical succession.) He thought that FM understanding of Nonconformity would make me the person he wanted. 1 was not anxious to become involved in the South India matter, especial's' as I was not quite sure exactly where he stood. hut after a very long and searching discussion of the doctrinal points involved, decided 1 must do as he asked. provided that one question could he answered satisfactorils. Much daring. I asked it.

" If it came to a choice between a Protestant accommodation and an insistence on full Catholic doctrine. which side would Your Grace he on ? "

For a moment he looked incredulous that I could ask such a question. and then answered : ..Yours, of course."


ON that assurance I did as he asked and arrangements were made for me to switch my ordination frOm

the diocese of Ely to that of London.

As Temple died before I had finished the statutory two years " serving my title," the particular post he was making for me did not come into being; but, had it done so. I have enough trust in Temple's integrity (it will he remembered that among Bishop Hensley Henson's published letters there is one on the occasion of Temple's death in which he says he understood that Mrs, Temple " succeeded in 'making Willie a good Catholick.") to know that I could have served him in it without modifying the Anglo-Catholicism which made me oppose on principle the Church of South India which was brought into being after his death.


TWO days after my

ordination, Temple rercived at Lambeth a deputation including Canon V. A. Dcmant. the Rev, E. K. Talbot of the Community of the Resurrection, Mr. T. S. Eliot, Lord Sankey and Lord Quickswood, which pointed out that the scheme for the Church of South India offered no security of orthodoxy, that its treatment of the ministry and the sacraments was unsatisfactory. that it would introduce schism into the Anglican Communion and that the religion latent in the scheme was " undenominational."

This was followed. later the sense year. by the famous "The Unity of the Faith : An Open Letter to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury," from the Superiors of six

of the Anglican religious corn munities in which, after an um answerable (and so far unanswered' examination of the theological principles underlying the C.S.I.. they stated that, unless these were hrought into line with essential articles of Christian belief. " thine arc many hundreds. we might say thousands, of loyal clergy. with strong lay support. who could not in conscience continue in communion. rnediately or immediately. with a Church in which these or equivalent guarantees of right belief were not observed "


AS long as Temple lived. the Church of South India was not formed—and since its formation, under the present Archbishop of Canterbury, depended on driving four Anglican dioceses in India into schism, 1 make bold to suggest that. had he lived, it would never have been formed. The inauguration of the Church of South India in the September of 1947 presented Anglo-Catholns with a new and dangerous situ -

s tion.

It was hoped by the authoritSe that the Lambeth Conference or 1948 would set its seal on tie recognition of the C.S.1, by hu Church of England, hut this was prevented by the energy of a coin mittee of Anglo-Catholics, of which Dom Ciregory Dix was the moving spirit and I was also a member. One day the full story of this. as of the later and more important "resistance policy " of the Annunciation Group, may he written, but obviously I am precluded from writing about it at this point, though it is permissible. I think. to reveal that the opposition to the Archbishop's Pan-Protestant policy. of which recognition of C.S.I. is the essential key, was led at Lam bethand the Anglo-Catholic cause saved. as far as it was saved --by the late Bishop of Chicago. There was—and is no single Bishop on the Bench whose " Anglo -Catholicism " can be trusted.


THE years between Lambeth 1948 and the Con vocations of July, 1955, when the Anglican Bishops unanimously and officially admitted that Church of South India Orders were equal in validity to their own (and so justified A pos. tofu-a, Curse) is the story of a rearguard action fought under conditions of extreme difficults. Readers of Tile Ca itotIC HERALD. which offered us hospitalits when our own Anglican papers refused to print even the news of it, know something of it: and this is not the place to dwell on lost battles. The death of Dom Gregory Dix, who had been the unchallenged leader of Anglo-Catholicism in its fight to maintain at least a minimum of Christian orthodoxy against South India. was a Mow from which we did not recover. Many who would have followed him, left to their own devices, went back on their tracks and. like some of the religious orders. added further confusion to an already confused laity. The policy in the London diocese of putting into churches once lamnue for their Anglo-Ciitholicism High Church clergy of the " Protestant-in-Chasuble" variety (so that to the inexpert eye it looked the same, though it was in fact quite different) fatally weakened the Anglo-Catholic cause at the

And those London

blog comments powered by Disqus