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set himself to judge the Bishop of Lincoln, that his action was unconstitutional. They lost the habit of episcopal obedience, on which Newman so strongly insisted, at the time when the bishops were endeavouring to crush the ritualistic movement, and, although the bishops are either more favourable or less actively hostile to the movement than they were, they have not yet regained that habit. On the contrary, instances are constantly occurring to show that where the bishop's command is opposed to the private judgment of the clergyman, so much the worse for the bishop. Thus Anglican clergy at present recognise no courts, either final or of first instance, no living authority upon earth except their own individual opinion and will.*
This may be, as it is indeed claimed to be by many Anglicans, an advantage in such an institution as the Church of England, but it effectually hinders all corporate life and action, and is one of the sure signs by which it may be known that the Church of England is no“ part” of the One Visible Church, even if that were not impossible on other grounds.
The complete state of anarchy always prevailing has been so fully exposed by recent events that it has been seriously proposed to form an Anglican "Congregation of Rites." But is it probable that a clergy who have bowed to no authority hitherto, and have so long tasted the sweets of licence, would alter the ceremonial to which they and their congregations have become accustomed in obedience to an institution of this nature, or, in fact, would let it affect their practice at all ?
Another disadvantage which springs from the state of things depicted above is that the different sections are, in spite of the gradations between them, so radically separated from each other that there are practically several different religions within the same body. Between the highest Ritualist and the lowest Evangelical bordering on dissent there is, of course, an immense gulf. Neither would think of exchanging pulpits, neither would even think of entering the other's church : it would be an "abomination ” to either. But these are not the only distinct religions in the Anglican Church. The writer has heard a Ritualist say of a “High Churchman ” of the “glorified Mating" type: “Ours are two different religions,” and so they are. They may sometimes, for courtesy or policy, exchange pulpits; but “altars,” never !
Recently another religion has developed itself out of extreme ritualism, to which allusion has already been made. The old Ritualist
The writer is not unmindful that, since these words were written, a few High Churchmen, under the pressure of the Protestant attack, have held an unauthoritative meeting, in which a certain negative authority was allowed to the bishop, but its true value has been so thoroughly exposed by the comments of their own Church press and those of their party who were not present, that it is not necessary for him to do so.
considered himself very extreme if he had the “six points.” The latest has gone one (or rather many) better. Attention has already been drawn to his most recent efforts to convert the Anglican “Lord's Sapper” into as complete a resemblance of “the Mass” as possible. It may here be added that he observes all the Saints' days (with proper collect, epistle, and gospel) of the Catholic Calendar. To one accustomed to the ordinary Prayer-book service, however ritualistically performed, this must indeed amount to another change of religion. In fact, “old-fashioned” ritualistic laity have been known to leave their church for another where such a change has been introduced.
There are thus at least five different religions in the Church of England, if the Broad section be included. The extremest of all might be supposed by a shallow outsider to have most in common with the Catholic Church ; but in reality it has least, as being the most emphatic assertion of reckless private judgment, while the first lesson that a convert to the Church must learn is submission to authority.
When the state of things now prevailing is compared with that which obtained fifty years ago, before the movement began, the difference is so astonishing as to be almost incredible. The question that naturally suggests itself is—if so great changes have taken place in fifty years, what will have happened fifty years hence ? At present these conflicting elements are bound together by the artificial bond of the State. The question is, what would happen if that bond were removed, as seems not improbable may be the case some time or other ? The different parties would then either fall asunder, or some modus vivendi for the happy family other than that now prevailing would have to be arranged. If it came to a question of votes there is no doubt the vastly preponderating moderate party would be able to oust both extremes. But, if his "extravagances”. were sternly clipped by some "authority," what would the Ritualist do then? Yet if the Anglican Church is ever free to organise itself and direct its own affairs, it will reduce to some semblance of order the chaos that now reigns supreme.
Meanwhile, it is no wonder that Anglicanism instinctively dreads the Church it has dispossessed and whose orderly advance is slow, yet sure, whose ceremonial and teaching have always remained constant and invariable, while its own have gone through such remarkable fluctuations. It is no wonder that its public utterances show fear of that small, yet compact, firm, and united body, which always delivers the same message, and says now as from the first moment of its origin:
An extreme lay-Ritualist has described this as "the true religion”as distinguished from the old-fashioned six-point ritualism.
“ You are no Church; your ministers are no priests; you are in schism; return to the mother you have left."
It is no wonder that the Anglican Church finds it necessary so constantly to warn her children against the wiles of Rome, that in her public prints she magnifies the occasional and temporary defects that, as spots on the sun, will always appear from time to time on any institution with a human side to it, that she uses all the weapons she can lay her hands to of misrepresentation (unconscious, it may be hoped) and detraction. While the present writer was yet an Anglican ho felt so strongly the want of charity and truth in the constant attacks on “Romanism ” in a High Church publication that he wrote to the author expostulating with him. That author, an Anglican clergyman, answered to the effect that he (incumbent of a ritualistic church in London) found "the Romans " so active among his people that he considered such counter-irritation necessary. It is only fair to add that after this remonstrance his attacks were much more carefully worded and have so continued ever since.
This anti-Roman crusade is carried on (on these lines) almost entirely by the clergy. The ritualistic laity-i.e., such as really grasp and carry out this new creed of the nineteenth century,* are but a handful when all the mere hangers-on to ritualistic services have been sifted out. Of the principles, indeed, on which a large part of the members of such congregations attend these services, the following story may serve as a sample. A Catholic priest recently told the writer that a lady who attended a fashionable ritualistic church came to him and desired to become a Catholic. He told her it would be necessary that she should first receive some instruction, at which she seemed surprised. She did not return again for some considerable time, and when at length she came it was to say that as they had now started incense at her church she thought she would stop where she was.
While the Church Defence Institution lecturer, in seeking to establish the "continuity" of the Church of England, uses palpable distortions of history combined with the never failing appeal to Protestant prejudice, for the ritualistic clergy and the few laity of theological tastes a different line of defence has to be provided. The latest invention of this kind the Ritualists are vastly pleased with. It is that the “ Romans” have no jurisdiction in England. As the writer has already expressed his intention of not, in this article, entering into the field of controversy, it is not necessary here to say more than that this theory is of quite recent invention, ovidently framed to meet the peculiar circumstances of the case, and to justify the Ritualists in their present extraordinary position. On this theory you may believe in everything which the Catholic Church teaches except the Pope, but you must not believe in him, or at least must not say so, for that would stultify your whole position,
* An Anglican Church newspaper lately said that, “Three generations of men have been brought up under Catholic influences." Not a very long spiritual pedigree that!
Nobody, except themselves and those of their own following among the laity, believes in this interesting theory about jurisdiction which the ritualist clergy have invented. The ground on which it is supposed to rest is that the present bishops (taking their "orders ” for granted) occupy the "old Sees." In a purely external sense this is true enough. The fact that the lawful Catholic occupants were violently dispossessed in the time of Elizabeth for refusing to recognise her as “Sapreme Governor" of the Church in place of the Pope is not reckoned of great importance. This, it may be said, is the one bulwark which now stands between the Catholic Church and the extreme Ritualists, some of whom would probably be ready to accept all “the Papal claims” if only their "Orders” and “jurisdiction " were recognised. These, perhaps, are not facts with which every one is acquainted, but they are sufficiently familiar to the writer of this article.
Of course such a theory as this is caviare to the general multitude of Anglicans, who are not prepared to look upon the Anglican fold as a kind of extension of the Catholic Church and Anglican “ priests as a kind of irregular army of his Holiness, as a kind of spiritual « Bashi-Bazouks," in fact. It was in view of their belief in the eminent suitableness of this theory to modern needs that the young ritualistic party were so anxious that the Pope should recognise Anglican orders, and a disappointed young clergyman was heard to exclaim, when the decision became known, that the Pope would have to spend a considerable amount of extra time in Purgatory in consequence of his failing to rise to the occasion. It would have been, indeed, a great help to them in their controversy with Rome if they could have got rid of the awkward fact, which has been pressing on them like a nightmare since " the Reformation,” that, whilo they have always been obliged to acknowledge the Orders of Rome, Rome has never recognised theirs. Being thus handicapped at the start, they naturally wished to remove this obstacle and to meet on more equal terms, if only Rome would kindly have obliged them and altered her never-changing practice. The decision was decidedly “rough
“rough ” on them, as so many of them think themselves “ priests," but it could not have been otherwise as some of them afterwards confessed.
It is natural, therefore, that they should feel fear of Rome and show it in the way already indicated. It is a very one-sided fear. “ Rome" does not seem to have the same fear of them. She is not always exhorting her members to remain firm. She is not always
publishing on her side books like “Reasons for Rest in the Anglican Church," and the like. Why not? For the obvious reason that those who belong to her fold are not attracted by “the Anglican Church.” It rarely happens that one of her members joins it.
In such case a great fuss is always made, and the matter is advertised far and wide. It is said such an one has left “ the Italian schism” and joined “the Catholic Church of the country.” But such opportunities are, alas! infrequent, the deserters always of great insignificance, and their history and motives in seceding such as will not bear examination.
On the other hand, there is a constant stream both of clergy and laity passing over to the Catholic Church. If the Church of England is “the Catholic Church of the country," and commanding, as it certainly does, the most influential position of any religious body in England, why should this be ? Has the Roman Catholic Church anything to fear from those outposts of the Church of England which are planted in Catholic countries abroad ? No. And yet the members of the Church of England, in spite of all its prestige and its powerful position, are drifting gradually towards the Catholic Church, while the converse process does not take place. No wonder the Anglican Church resents and kicks against it, and offers what explanations she can. A favourite one is that those who “go over,” as she calls it, are of low intellectual calibre since Newman and Manning. The obvious reply to which is that if this be the case it is simply owing to the fact that the Church of England has bred no intellectual giants since then. While, as a matter of fact, most of the clergy who join the Church are really above the average Anglican parson in attainments, and that for the simple reason that as the change always brings more or less temporal disadvantage, it requires much thought and study of the whole question before intellectual certainty is arrived at, and afterwards & considerable moral effort to translate the conviction into action. Anglicans do their cause no good by such obvious pretences as this, which are so plainly the outcome of fear, spleen, and pique. Catholics have certainly no quarrel with Anglicans, so long as the latter confine themselves to the work of preparing the mind of the nation for re-entering the Catholic Church by softening the prejudices that exist against much of her teaching. But when they make for themselves the novel and unfounded claim to be “the Catholic Church of the country" to the exclusion of the One Universal Church, she cannot admit such a claim for a moment.
The publication of his Holiness's Bull denying the validity of Anglican Orders was very near causing a considerable secession of the extreme section of the clergy at the time. The writer could give some interesting particulars relative to this, but that he is doubtful whether to do so would not entail a breach of confidence. The following fact,