I think the statements made on this subject so far have seemed to minimise the actual difficulties, chiefly because the writers have not wished to appear uncharitable. If I try to clarify the situation. hope that it may be in all charity. But the facts need to be stated, as an Anglican sees them.
1. While it is true that Anglicans are in a state of schism which they did not create themselves, it is also true that the schism was not finally accomplished by the Anglican Church. The excommunication of Queen Elizabeth on the grounds of her illegitimacy and of those who gave her allegiance was the final severance, and that was the act of Rome. The English are a practically minded race. and the position demanded was impossible for most people. One realises the political implications which led to this disaster, and that today no doubt such an act would be impossible. But we have looked in vain for any such admission of this on the other side.
2. At first the validity of Anglican Orders was contested on the grounds of the Nag's Head Fable. When this was proved to be a fable, the question was then decided upon the ground of intention. Arguments on both sides have been brought forward as to the actual intention behind the English Ordinal. but in the confusion of the times, there cannot really he any definite conclusion based on the documents extant. None of them are conclusive.
On the other hand. on the basis of the doctrine of development. and I believe on scholastic tenets. the fact that the Anglican Church has always stood by her belief in the necessity of Ordination, the Creeds (including the Athanasian) and never has submitted to the Protestant theory of the Ministry nor the Protestant professions .of Belief, and the emergence of the Anglo-Catholic Movement, surely point to the fact that the belief in the Catholic Faith could not be held unless it were implicit already in her formularies?
3. Although the argument from experience may be doubtful. yet those of us who have felt a vocation .to the Priesthood in the Anglican Church would find it very difficult to say that we had
been deceived about this after years of experience.
4. On the question of Transubstantiation, although an AngloCatholic does believe in the Real Presence, generally he is unable to accept scholastic philosophy as an explanation of this. He can believe in the Mystery. but prefers not to try and explain it.
5. South India is regarded as no more than an expedient. rather like the recommendation of St. Paul to the believer to live with the unbelieving partner in the belief that the latter would be sanctified and the hope that he or she would be converted. The alternative would seem to he the one adopted in the 16th century. in fact, the outlook of that time still seems to be very dominant at times.
Finally, as the usual documents quoted cannot be exactly interpreted why not base future discussions and action upon something which is specifically stated ? The Anglican Church has always claimed her right as part of the Catholic Church as "professing the faith of the primitive and undivided Church as based on Scripture, defined by the first four General Councils and reaffirmed by the Fathers of the English Reformation" (Resolution proposed to Lambeth Conference, 1867), At the time of Elizabeth, a Canon directs preachers "to be careful that they never teach aught-except what is agreeable to the doctrine of the Old and New Testaments and what the Catholic fathers and ancient bishops have collected out of the same doctrine."
Would it not be more profitable if the whole question of unity was approached from this
position ? That the Anglican Church takes her doctrinal stand on the faith of the Catholic Church up to the time of the four General Councils ? From Rome's point of view. this may appear incomplete. hut at least it could not be designated. as either erroneous or invalid, and that would be something concrete epee which to work and pray.
A. R. Janes The Parsonage.
St. Michael's Home. A xbridge, Somerset. Fr. A. H. Simmons and his followers are not the only Anglican clergy who firmly believe in this and claim this. Indeed. once you have by-passed our extreme Protestants and "vague nothingarians" you are left with the bulk of the Anglican clergy. And they. whether "High" or "Low" ceremonial. would all claim two things: (1) that they inherit the Catholic Ministry in a sense which
Protesant Pastor does not, and which a Roman and Catholic priest does: (2) that the Church's Eucharist, which only such may properly celebrate, is sacrifcial in some sense.
The argument then goes on as to just what this means. and how astray some medieval views were. and how reconciling some modern Roman views (such as those of Dorn Odo Casel) arc. But, while hesitating to define. most of us firmly believe in the reality of the sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist, and continue to claim our right to perform this.
(Rev.) William P. Wylie. M.A. Pershore, Worcs.
Its your report on Tyburn shrine (December 28) it is said that during the previous three months building and labour costs had "leaped" by (11,000. bringing the estimated cost of the shrine from (68,000 to £79,000.
What does this mean? On the Pace of it. that wages and the cost of building materials have in the period increased at a rate of 64 per cent. per annum. Without disrespect I find this incredible. Or does it mean that the survey of quantities was by that amount inaccurate? Or that there were at the outset no clear and complete designs and specifications of what was to be done?
Much money has already been given and appeals are being made for more. Those who have given and those now asked to give might expect a further report in your columns giving all the present relevant facts and a revised forecast, and explaining why the job was not put out to tender at a fixed price.
E. R. Simmons, The Athenaeum, S.W.I.
(We have asked Mother Assistant
111 7-0711r1r I() fru IWO the above letter nevi ts.rek-Editor.)