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.