These schismatics are patiently waiting for Rome to move
Anglican Papa/his. By the Rev. Donald Hole. S.P.C.U. Tracts. (R. L. Elderton, Egdean, Fittleworth, Sussex. Is.)
Reviewed by PETER F. ANSON
THIS 28-page pamphlet will be useful to Catholics who wish to understand the point of view of
the extreme section of the AngloCatholic party in the Church of England towards Reunion with Rome. The greater part of it is taken up with a survey of the various abortive Reunion Movements which have been initiated since the Reformation.
Anglican, Papalists arc firmly con
vinced that the Church of England must not be regarded as a self-governing and independent Church, nor as a " severed limb " of the Western Church.
They recognise that they arc in a state of schism, but differentiate between formal and material schism.
They point out that the Provinces of Canterbury and York were forced into material schism against their will by the external power of the State, first under Henry VIII and then under Elizabeth.
They deplore the condition of the Church of England. and believe that their obvious duty is to try to remedy it by striving after i porate reunion.
But as the schism was corporate, they argue that the return to unity must also be corporate. The only thing that could compel them to secede from the " severed limb " would be if continued membership involved heresy.
They feel that there are more than enough signs that the " severed limb " is not dead but " bursting forth into a new and fruitful life," manifested by the restoration of worship, the production of recognised types of Catholic sanctity and the revival of Catholic devotion.
ANGLICAN Papalists adopt what to us is a curious attitude towards their bishops. They are proud of the fact that " the Catholic Revival in the Church of Englattd has been achieVed III defiance of episcopal authority."
other words, they are a law unto themselves in liturgical matters, and argue that as a " new Liturgy ivas forced upon the clergy without any ecclesiastical authority whatsoever," there is no moral obligation for theft It) use the Book of Common Prayer. Their plea for this freedom of worship is that owing to its state of schism from the Western Patriarchate, the Anglican episcopate is " incapable of exercisng the magisterial?, of teaching authority, which belongs to the Church as a whole." As Anglican bishops do not recognise the same Canon Law as is obligators in those provinces of the 'Western Patriarchate which are in communion with Rome, there is no need to give them canonical obedience. ' Par a Province cut off from the rest of Christendom is in an entirely anomalous position, and can only be restored to normality when ii is no longer isolated from the greater whole."
WHAT it all seems to amount to is
that Anglican Papalists are desperately anxious to join the Church of Rome, but they are prepared to wait almost indefinitely until Rome is willing to receive them, not as heretics but merely as it " severest limb " in a state of material schism. Meanwhile they feel that the Roman Surgeons have not diagnosed their symptoms correctly !
The average " born " Catholic will find it ahnost impossible to understand or appreciate these elusive arguments. He will probably put down this pamphlet in despair, having arrived at the impression that these men of good will who are striving so earnestly to recall all wanderers to the unity of the Church, are living in watertight compartments and that they cannot see the wood for the trees, so dense arc the clouds of incense anti so attractive the externals of worship with which they are surrounded. Perhaps a fierce tramontana or a scorching sirocco might help to drive away the mists which obscure their vision of the nature of the Church?
Meanwhile they themselves are convinced that " the Papalist Movement " must be " regarded as the • second spring ' of the Oxford Movement; and as bringing it to its logical conclusion
and full fruition. But to complete this may well take another hundred years. We do not know. The future is in God's hands. and may indeed contain some wonderful surprises... All we can do is to co-operate with the Div ine Purpose and leave the event