We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


In this defence of the English Church, I have frankly admitted all the faults of undiscipline, doctrinal compromise and reaction which we think can be fairly laid to our Church's charge. I believe that these are to be set over-against the arrogant claims, the exaggerations of truth, the falsifications of history, the accretions of error, which must be laid to the charge of Rome. Which set of faults is the greater which Church is more guilty in the eyes of God it is not for us to determine, it is not our business to attempt to determine. The evils of a Church into which by God's providence we were new-born, granted she be a Church, are not an excuse for leaving her, but a spur to action. And I am sure that we Anglicans feel a hearty thankfulness to Almighty God, that He has caused our lot to be cast in a Church, which, however deeply she has sinned, can acknowledge her sins; which, however great her defects even in her authoritative formulas, is not prevented by any arrogation to herself of what belongs to a greater whole, from confessing them and openly seeking to reform them. Better anything than to be unable to bear the light: better anything than to be unable to face the facts of history and frankly accept them: better any evils than to have to speak deceitfully for God.

Further than this, however much there may be to be regretted and reformed in the teaching and practice of the Anglican Church at the present day, I must in fairness say that there is no even unauthorized practice of the English Church which I had not as soon be responsible for, as for that withdrawal of the chalice from the laity, to which the whole authority of the Church of Rome is committed:-- that I have never heard a sermon in an English Church more to be regretted than one it was once my lot to hear in Strasburg Cathedral, in which Christ was preached as the revelation of Divine justice and Mary as the revelation of Divine love: I have not read in Anglican biography anything which I should more desire to disown than Mother Margaret Mary Hallahan's description of the Pope saying Mass:-- "When I heard him sing Mass I cannot express what I felt: it was the God of earth prostrate in adoration before the God of heaven"! I have not been confronted in an Anglican book of devotion with any prayer more impossible to pray than

Soul of the Virgin, illuminate me;
Body of the Virgin, guard me;
Milk of the Virgin, feed me;
Passage of the Virgin, strengthen me;
O Mary, mother of grace, intercede for me;
For thy servant take me;
Make me always to trust in thee;
From all evils protect me;
In the hour of my death assist me;
And prepare for me a safe way to thee;
That with all the elect I may glorify thee;
For ever and ever.

Thus, all things considered, we Anglicans thank God that He has put us elsewhere than in the Roman Church, though we would fain give her an ungrudging recognition of her glories, and are very far from believing that all even of her educated members need be conscious of that temper in her modern theology which to us is so intolerable.

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