11 July 2008


Today, to the licensing of Fr Baker as hon. Curate at S Thomas's. The legal form required him to say that he was all for the Historic Formularies Of The Church Of England. But father didn't specify what he meant by that. I think I know what our Historic Formularies are. They consist mainly of the Five Articles passed by Convocation in 1559, and afterwards subscribed by the Universities.
I. That in the sacrament of the altar, by virtue of the words of Christ duly spoken by the priest is present realiter, under the kinds of bread and wine, the natural Body of Christ conceived of the Virgin Mary, and also his natural Blood.
II. That after the consecration there remains not the substance of bread and wine, nor any substance but the substance of God and Man.
III. That in the mass is offered the true Body of Christ and his true Blood, a propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead.
IV. That to Peter the Apostle, and his lawful successors in the Apostolic See, as Christ's Vicars, is given the supreme power of feeding and ruling the Church of Christ militant, and confirming their brethren.
V. That the authority of handling and defining concerning the things belonging to faith, sacraments, and discipline ecclesiastical, hath hitherto ever belonged, and ought to to belong, only to the pastors of the Church; whom the Holy Ghost for this purpose hath set in the Church; and not to laymen.

This brings complete clarity into the questions of the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England. It means that any subsequent enactments which are ambiguous or wayward have to be interpreted in accordance with and in subordination to these principles; so as not to contradict them. Article V also clarifies the question of the Law of Worship of the Church of England. Liturgies imposed by Parliament clearly lack authority. Eureka! How wise we were, at S Stephen's House in the 1960s, as we subscribed the then oaths before ordination, to say loudly ...'and I will use the forms in the said book prescribed [the Prayer Book] and One Other', as we clutched our trusty English Missals in our hands. Modern ordinands, of course, have a much simpler oath to swear: simply that they will only use 'what is allowed by canon'. 'Canon' clearly refers to the 1984 Codex Iuris Canonici of the Western Church.

Happily, it also clarifies the status of recent decisions of General Synod. In as far as they might contradict what the Holy Father has said, Article IV renders them null and void.


Nebuly said...

I wish this were true - but is is fairy land.

English Catholic said...

But it isn't actually true is it?

The 'Church of England' has never taken these to be her historical formularies.

It isn't enough to recognise Peter's authority it principle, it must also be obeyed in practise.

It is clear that the successors of Peter do not recognise the 'Church of England' as being part of the universal Church, so no Anglican can both accept Peter and remain Anglican.

gengulphus said...

…as we clutched our trusty English Missals in our hands…

It is strange, then, that this same generation should have done all in their power to subvert and destroy the established traditional spiritual and liturgical practice of the 'catholic party' in the C of E, and so gleefully rushed to impose upon their unwilling flocks every meretricious article suggested by the 'false spirit of the Council' - from the polyester pixie-hooded 'chas-albs' to bird-table altars constructed in plywood, and so recklessly compromise the architecture of ancient buildings in the interests of imposing a doctrinaire and largely misplaced aggiorniamento.

This programme of reform and destruction has been so absolute as to render absurd the occasionally expressed catholic anxiety as to whether any refugees will wish to bring with them and retain any comforting relics of C of E devotion with them. What do they have left to bring?

Origen remarked to Gregory that - the narrative of the O.T. notwithstanding - those who come out of Egypt rarely bring with them anything suitable for the service of God. An observation which could not be more lamentably true in this case.

[I too made my ordination vows on the English Missal - but this was through an entertaining oversight on the part of the guestmistress at Posbury St Francis. An error which she did not regret at the time, nor I subsequently.]

Father TE Jones said...

There are some RC's who suggest converts can never be 'real'Catholics becuase they lack the lifetime formation, there are some Anglo-Catholics who contend that RC's can never be really English, because they don't recognise the Dunkirk spirit when it is slapping them in the face!
This is of course observation and might not reflect my own point of view!

Little Black Sambo said...

Gengulphus, you are dead right. Do the kind Romans who talk of an Anglican use realize how few Catholics in the C of E would desire any such thing, with their contempt for "half-timbered" language and their impatience to imitate whatever is done at St Joseph's down the road?

johnf said...

Fr Jones
You say that there are some RC's who suggest converts can never be real Catholics because they lack the lifetime formulation? Really? I've never met anyone who voiced that opinion. It could be argued that converts tend to be the better (i.e. more enthusiastic) Catholics because they know what they have missed.

Fr Hunwick in an earlier post said that there are Catholics who have a visceral hatred for Anglo Catholics - that also surprised me - a bit thunderstruck actually...

Little Black Sambo said...

JohnF, you have only to read the comments posted on Damian Thompson's blog to see that what Fr Hunwicke said about visceral haters is true. There are some very kind and charitable commenters, but plenty of the other sort as well.

The young fogey said...

1559, Father? That year sounds wrong. These sound more like the Six Articles IIRC during the (awful in some ways but definitely not Protestant) Henrician period. IIRC 1559 is when the religious lives of most English people substantially changed as the 1549 BCP obviously was still the Mass (so why the Catholic Anglican martyrs that year?) and nobody outside big cities like London used the Protestant 1552. In 1559 the Mass disappeared from the parishes and you had church in the round in the chancel/choir with a table set lengthwise down the aisle.

This statement of faith, which is very good, seems unlikely from the Anglican Church in the Elizabethan era.

English Catholic, the hope of Anglo-Catholics until recently was the Dutch touch, as an AC priest called it: thanks to Old Catholic bishops co-ordaining Anglicans since the 1930s the question of Anglican orders arguably was made irrelevant and so corporate reunion with Rome could happen.

gengulphus, yes, I've seen that. Men Father's age who turned on it all.

I like half-timbered language.

William Tighe said...

When the first Elizabethan Parliament opened in January 1559, just after the Queen's coronation, it was plain which way the religious wind was blowing*, but given the uncertainty strength of the opposition to any breach with Rome which Parliamentary legislation would face, the Crown's ministers solicited reforming proposals from the Convocation of Canterbury, which responded in February with the five articles which Fr. Hunwicke has presented here. They were totally ignored, of course, even though they were formally presented to Lord Keeper Bacon, along with the concurrence in them by the academic convocations of both Cambridge and Oxford.

The definitive study* of the enactment of the Elizabethan Settlement and the accompanying Parliamentary debates and maneuverings is N. L. Jones' *Faith by Statute: the Parliament of 1559 and the Elizabethan Settlement* (London, 1981: Royal Historical Society). Jones shows how adroitly the Catholic bishops and their lay supporters in the House of Lords fought against the proposals, playing on doubts about whether a woman could be in any sense "head" of the church and on attachment to the Latin services on the part of many peers -- an opposition that the Crown was able to counter only by authorizing a further plunder of the Church's lands, thus detaching some of the more venal conservatives from the bishops, and by staging a rigged religious debate and, on the basis of some of the Catholic bishops' refusal to allow the Crown to set the terms of the debate, then place under house arrest and thus remove form the lords three of the most vocal Catholic bishops. But despite all this, while the Act of Supremacy passed by a five-vote margin in the Lords, the Act of Uniformity passed there by only two votes.

* Jones' book discredited the arguments advanced by J. E. Neale in a famous 1950 article that what Elizabeth desired in 1559 was a restoration of the 1549 Prayer Book, but was forced to accept a slightly moderated version of the 1552 BCP in order to please "proto-Puritan" sentiment oin the House of Commons. Between 1950 and 1980 a complete list of MPs in the 1559 House of Commons came to light, which showed that there were very few definite Protestants of any sort among the MPs, and so the effect of Jones' book was to restore the traditional view that the Queen got more or less what she wanted in 1559. Recently, however, Roger Bowers, a musicologist at Cambridge, has found clear evidence that in the early months of 1559 some of the services from the 1549 Prayer Book were in use in the Chapel Royal, and has subjected a letter from Edmund Guest (Bishop of Rochester from 1560 to 1571 and of Salisbury from 1571 to his death in 1579) to Sir William Cecil -- a letter that was supposed to come from 1552 and to be a description for Cecil of how the 1552 BCP differed from the 1549 one -- to close analysis, and has proved that the letter was actually a "cover letter" for a now lost revision of the 1549 BCP Communion Service to make that service minimally acceptable to English Protestant clerics and returning exiles; and so that it actually dates from early 1559 (see Bowers' "The Chapel Royal, the First Edwardian Prayer Book, and Elizabeth's Settlement of Religion, 1559," *Historical Journal,* 43:2 [2000], pp. 317-344). It may even have been the case that two rival Bills were introduced in the Commons in February 1559, one (the Government Bill) proposing a revision of 1549, another the restoration of 1552. The fact that the bishops and their allies in the Lords were able to eviscerate the Supremacy by allowing the Queen to take the title if she wished to do so but providing no means form her to enforce it, and to dash any proposal to alter the Latin services whatsoever, apparently caused the Queen to throw her lot in with the firm Protestants, and to take the drastic measures to undermine the opposition in the House of lords to which I alluded above.

William Tighe said...


The fact that there were very few firm Protestants among the MPs in 1559 means that the proposed bill to restore the 1552 BCP instead of a modified 1549 (which, to judge from Guest's letter, provided two separate services, an "antecommunion" without the Sacrament for most Sundays and a separate "Lord's Supper" to follow on immediately on those occasions when it was to be celebrated) was probably "put up" by some of the Queen's own Privy Councillors, who did not dare to express their dissent form the Queen's desires openly, but maneuvered behind the scenes in the Commons to push events in a certain direction. It was a tactic later use again and again in the course of the reign (as in the matter of the fate of the Scots' Queen).

Nebuly said...

William Tighe is most illuminating. My reading of the Bowers article was ( from memory ) that he presupposed a more radical Commons which favoured and introduced a pro 1552 Bill . The Tighe solution is fascinating.

Whatever, it would appear that Elizabeth produced living space for the more Catholic-minded Anglican. Would that her successor and namesake might see the renewal of an Elizabethan Settlement today

William Tighe said...

"My reading of the Bowers article was ( from memory ) that he presupposed a more radical Commons which favoured and introduced a pro 1552 Bill."

You may be right about what Bowers' article presupposes, although he isn't very clear about this. Still, Jones' book is conclusive in demonstrating the non-exitence in the 1559 Commons of what Neale termed "the Puritan Choir" in later Parliaments. (Indeed, those of us "old Eltonians" who attended Sir Geoffrey's seminar in the late 70s and the 80s can recall lots of presentations along the lines of how many of the more effective [although rarely the more vocal] members of this "Puritan Choir" doubled as "men of business" for those Privy Councillors who sat in the Commons: aiding in the drafting of legislation, steering it past hurdles, and so forth -- such that what may appear at first sight as "opposition" to policies and measures supported by the Crown, upon further scrutiny often turn out to be evidence of factional squabbles within the Privy council, or else efforts to push the Queen in uncongenial directions.

The weakness of Jones' thesis (as I pointed out to him at the time) was that it fails to account for such things as the Latin Prayer Book of 1560 (with its restoration of such things as "Requiem Communions" and a rite of private absolution), the queen's effort in 1560 to compel the restoration of rood screens, anf her attempts initially to enforce the wearing of the full set of Catholic vestments, at least in the Chapel Royal, before she reluctantly settles for copes in her Chapel and surplices elsewhere. Bowers' hypothesis (whih I heard a couple of years ago from Diarmaid MacCulloch had been controverted, but I have not read any attempted refutations) has the advantage of making sense of these odds and ends, and at the same time of the final result.

Nebuly said...

Yes, I have read assertions that he is wrong to attribute the musical settings as fresh composed for example. The thesis being that they simply got out their old stuff after the Marian interlude. However he does cite musical style and development against this thesis and also the age of some of the composers as being too young to have written in 1549.

For all her quirks I still think Elizabeth gave traditionalists room - and thus made possible the later emergence of Bancroft and the High Church Tradition