ONCE again THE LIVING CHURCH welcomes to its reading circle a considerable group of Churchmen, whose subscriptions, given to another periodical, will be filled out with copies of THE LIVING CHURCH. The Angelus, heretofore published in Chicago, is now consolidated with THE LIVING CHURCH. Paid up subscribers to the former will receive THE LIVING CHURCH to the value of their unexpired subscriptions, copy for copy. Thus, for every number of The Angelus due them, one number of THE LIVING CHURCH will be sent, beginning with the present issue. The fact that The Angelus was a monthly while THE LIVING CHURCH is a weekly periodical, will of necessity change the date of expiration, which may be discovered by each subscriber who will examine the address label of THE LIVING CHURCH. Subscribers to The Angelus who were already subscribers to THE LIVING CHURCH will find due credit to have been given them, by setting forward the date of expiration.
THE LIVING CHURCH has already welcomed in recent years to its number of readers the subscribers to The American Churchman and to Catholic Champion, and it is a pleasure once more to have the opportunity of speaking, welcome to as group of readers who are in general sympathy with the Catholic Movement in the Anglican Communion, or who are so broad minded as to desire to come into touch with the thought of Catholic Churchmen.
PERHAPS this consolidation may make it wise for us to stated once more the principles for which THE LIVING CHURCH stands. It is our hope, as it is also very kindly stated by the retiring editor of The Angelus to be his desire, that those who have been readers of that publication will transfer their support and their sympathy to THE LIVING CHURCH. In order that they may do so, it is right that they should be informed in advance precisely what editorial viewpoint characterizes this publication.
The Church is the Church of God. Her faith is that which was divinely revealed to and reposed in her. Her sacraments, and rites are of divine obligation. Her paramount duty is to lead all men to worship their King and to conduct themselves as loyal members of His Kingdom.
We look out upon the ecclesiastical world, and we perceive the Church which is described by inspiration as the “Body of Christ,” the “Bride of Christ,” in a sadly disordered condition. All persons baptized with water in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, are thereby incorporated into the Person of Jesus Christ, because they are thereby grafted into the Church which is His Body. There can be but the one Church of Christ, because there can be but the one Body of Christ. History shows us that that Church early became known among men as the Catholic Church.
But the Catholic Church, though one with a spiritual unity which cannot be broken because it pertains to the unity of the Person of Jesus Christ, is yet to-day in an abnormal condition of interrupted communion between its several parts corporately and between its many members individually. We perceive three great currents in the life-giving stream which flows from the Person of Jesus Christ, through the sacraments, to His children, as these course through the branches of the Church that have respectively grown around the nations of the Orient, the Latin race, and the Anglo-Saxon. And besides these main currents, we perceive that, especially among the Church’s children in Anglo-Saxon lands, a great number have cut themselves off from the visible communion of the Church, grouping themselves into voluntary associations which, though commonly termed churches, can be recognized as such only in a sense subordinate to that in which the Catholic Church, founded by Jesus Christ, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, is called a Church. Members of voluntary churches, therefore, when baptized, are, members primarily of the holy Catholic Church, but who have grouped themselves into voluntary religious associations, in opposition to the historic though localized organization of the Catholic Church.
The communion of the Catholic Church in which our lot is cast, we commonly term Anglican. Drawing its origin and early sustenance from the Church in Continental Europe, it remained in communion with other West-European national Churches until the sixteenth century, when the clash between the Latin and the Anglican types occurred, as previously the Latin and the Greek types had clashed. Where once there had been but one, and then two, distinct communions of the Catholic Church, there have since been three. And in the Anglo-Saxon or Anglican communion, more than half her children have abandoned her formal communion—they cannot abandon their inherent membership in the Catholic Church—by giving their allegiance to voluntary sects.
The problem of to-day is the reconciliation of all these warring factions, together with that of the best shepherding of those who are loyal to the Church. In the solution of both phases of this problem, differences have arisen among Churchmen.
The popular Anglican call to unity has been based upon (a) the surrender of everything not deemed absolutely essential to the Catholic Faith, with (b) the call to outside Christians to reform themselves of their errors and enter into communion, or at least into alliance, with ourselves.
The call to unity upon the part of Catholic Churchmen has been based upon (a) the presentation of the maximum of the privileges, blessings, and graces reposed by our Blessed Lord in His Church, the practice of all of them, the revival of, every helpful agency tending toward “the culture of the spiritual life, and (b) the call to Anglican Churchmen to reform themselves of their errors, mistakes, and worldliness of life, that this communion of the Catholic Church may be so purified that those children of the Church who are outside her fold, may become more willing to return and that ultimately the several distinct communions may be re-united.
Between the two sets of principles there is a distinct cleavage; and THE LIVING CHURCH adheres unalterably to the second. In using the phrase “Catholic Churchmen” to describe those who are in general agreement with these principles, it is not intended to deny that other Churchmen also are Catholics. The whole Church, in all her parts, is Catholic. All her people are pledged to be Catholics, however feebly many of them fulfil their pledge. The phrase Catholic Churchmanship does not imply in a single school of thought a monopoly of the characteristic called Catholic; it implies rather a call to the observance of those sacraments, rites, customs, beliefs, and measures which, having become through many ages common to the whole Catholic Church, rather than to local portions of the same, are thereby rightly termed Catholic. The antithesis to Catholic Churchmanship, as thus understood, is a Churchmanship which substitutes modern experiments and rational speculation for Catholic faith and practice.
That there are differences in details among Catholic Churchmen is not denied. Since Catholicity is not an intellectual snuffer, it is inevitable that there should be. THE LIVING CHURCH tries consistently and conscientiously to lead Catholic Churchmen to pull together, in spite of differences among themselves. They have not always done so; but they are doing so today far more generally than they have done in years past. They are learning that each Catholic is not the central incarnation of wisdom in the Catholic Church, and that the motto of Catholicity is not the sure warrant that every man who differs with the ego is necessarily wrong. Catholic Churchmen who are happily endowed with independent intellectual powers will sometimes differ with THE LIVING CHURCH. Sometimes, no doubt, they will be right and THE LIVING CHURCH wrong. The latter claims no authority beyond the authority that adheres to earnest endeavors to be helpful, to be constructive, to be a unifying rather than a divisive force, not only among avowed Catholic Churchmen but in the Church at large. How far THE LIVING CHURCH is able to realize its own ideals, each reader has the opportunity of judging for himself. It can be greatly assisted in its work, if the whole body of Churchmen who have at heart the spread of Catholic principles will give it a united support, even though they may sometimes disagree with editorial expressions in detail.
Catholicity among Churchmen is very largely a matter of degree, and, happily, only the merest fraction of men who have run individualism mad are to be deemed outside its pale. THE LIVING CHURCH counts no man uncatholic but him who renounces Catholic doctrine. Perceiving, however, that there is an enormous mass of only latent or partially developed Catholicity in the Church, THE LIVING CHURCH seeks to be helpful in further developing it, and in leading Churchmen to fulfil in their lives, that which they have professed with their lips.
THE FOLLOWING is the announcement of its consolidation with THE LIVING CHURCH, which is made by The Angelus in its July number:
“‘THE ANGELUS’ TO UNITE WITH ‘THE LIVING CHURCH.’
“On the title page of THE LIVING CHURCH will be found these words: ‘A Weekly Record of the News, the Work, and the Thought [442/443] of the Church.’ This expression tells fully the description of the foremost weekly in the American Church. We use strong language because one cannot adequately explain otherwise the excellent policy which the editor of THE LIVING CHURCH is maintaining in dealing with the perplexing subjects now before this Church for solution.
“The latter has kindly consented to have The Angelus unite with THE LIVING CHURCH, and from this on all subscribers to the former who are paid to any date in advance will receive the weekly LIVING CHURCH to the full value of the amount so paid. Should any person be a subscriber to both and have a credit on the Angelus books, the credit will be allowed him on his subscription to THE LIVING CHURCH.
“A prominent Bishop, not hailing from Catholic Wisconsin, recently said to us in speaking of Catholic advance: ‘We have some Bishops and lots of priests, but where are the laymen?’ THE LIVING CHURCH is after the last mentioned class, and the more the readers of The Angelus back up THE LIVING CHURCH, the more they will be doing to disseminate Catholic truth among the lay people of the Church, who seem now to be gradually gaining a more receptive mood for the right understanding of the things pertaining to their religion.
“We hope that every reader of The Angelus will welcome the privilege of becoming a supporter of THE LIVING CHURCH, and to do his utmost to promote the circulation of that paper both in his own community and elsewhere.”
From The Living Church, July 30, 1904, pp. 442-443.