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The Authority of the Services for the Fifth of November, the Thirtieth of January, the Twenty-ninth of May, for the Accession of the Sovereign, Considered (1843)

The Authority of the Services for the Fifth of November, the Thirtieth of January, the Twenty-ninth of May, for the Accession of the Sovereign, Considered.
By Thomas Lathbury.
London: William Edward Painter, 1843.

THE following remarks were published last year in the Church of England Quarterly Review: and as the Fifth of November falls this year upon a Sunday—a circumstance which has necessarily directed attention to the authority of the service for the day—it has been thought advisable to reprint the article in a separate form. A few alterations have been made.

            The reader will perceive that I am an advocate for the use of the Four Services in their present shape. The various opinions which are entertained on the subject are noticed; and my reasons for thinking that the Clergy are under an obligation to use the present Services are given at some length. I am anxious for the Synodical sanction of the Four Special Forms; but I cannot feel with those who object to them solely on the ground of the want of Parliamentary authority. But in the absence of due Synodical authority, I am of opinion, that that of the Crown is, in such cases, not only sufficient to justify a Clergyman in using the Services in question; but that it is actually binding. At all events, the Bishops, ever since the Revolution, have sanctioned the use of the Services, and as the Crown, with the advice of the Privy Council (in which are the Archbishops), has actually enjoined them, I cannot think that any Clergyman is at liberty to depart from the ordinary practice. If a Clergyman is in doubt, his proper course is to consult his Diocesan. In all doubtful matters, the Bishop is to the Clergyman as a Rubric. In these days of excitement and irregularity, the only safe course is to consult the Diocesan in all doubtful cases. With respect to the Special Services, there is, in my opinion, no room for doubt, since the practice of the Church, coupled with the authority of the Crown for one hundred and fifty years, is sufficient to warrant their use; but assuredly, if doubts do arise, the only course which a Clergyman can pursue is that which I have pointed out, namely, to consult his Diocesan, and abide by his decision.

October 19, 1843. T.L.

THE term “State Services” is usually applied to certain occasional forms, which are appended to the Book of Common Prayer, though the designation is calculated to convey a somewhat erroneous impression of their true character. Though, therefore, we may adopt the designation, yet to proceed, we shall point out their character, by distinguishing between the portions, which have received an ecclesiastical sanction, and those, which have only been approved by the authority of the Crown. In consequence of the anniversary of the Martyrdom of King Charles I. falling on a Sunday in the year 1842, much was written, and in some cases with no small degree of ignorance of the subject, in the public newspapers, not always the best vehicles for the discussion of such matters. Several writers expressed their opinion, that a clergyman could not be censured for the omission of a special service; and the reason assigned for such a conclusion was this, that the service was not sanctioned by Act of Parliament. Others questioned, whether an action would lie against a clergyman for the omission, on grounds totally different, namely—that in their present form the services in question have not been sanctioned by Convocation. The advocates of this latter view argued, that the Ecclesiastical Courts would not censure a clergyman for the omission of a service, which had no other authority than that of the Crown.

            Now we have no sympathy with those who require the sanction of an Act of Parliament for any service. We cannot understand the feelings of the men, who wish to see the Church so kept in bondage by the State, that she can only move, even in inflicting censures on her own ministers, as the State may prescribe. Though we are advocates for the connexion of Church and State, feeling that the latter is more benefitted by the connexion than the former, yet we cannot desire to see all Ecclesiastical proceedings regulated by the State. The Church may surely prescribe laws and rules for herself, and the State is bound so far to sanction them as to make them obligatory; but the notion, that nothing can be transacted in our Ecclesiastical Courts, without the express authority of an Act of Parliament, is one, which must be repudiated by all true Churchmen. We cannot bring ourselves to believe, that the judges of those courts would feel themselves bound to abstain from all interference in cases, which are not expressly decided by Parliamentary authority. In our opinion, the Church should be so supported by the State, that after making laws for the government of her own members, and especially of her own ministers, the sanction of the civil legislature should be added, to enable her to act with authority and energy in administering censure or rebuke, in the case of any of her children who may require correction. We look upon the feeling in favour of Acts of Parliament in matters ecclesiastical as unchurchlike; and we trust that such a doctrine will find no favour among Churchmen. Let the Convocation meet, and frame laws according to the circumstances of the Church; and let the sanction of the State be granted, but by no means let us be subjected in spiritual matters to a body constituted as the House of Commons. Some persons speak with feelings of triumph of the Parliamentary sanction of the Prayer Book. But is our Liturgy the more valuable on that account? Or ought it to be more binding on the conscience, after a solemn declaration of conformity, because an act of the legislature has confirmed it? Having been sanctioned by the Church, ought not clergymen to be satisfied? Surely the sanction of Parliament is a matter of comparatively trivial consequence. We hold it to be the interest, as well as the duty of the State, to afford that sanction; but we at the same time contend, that it is not necessary, in order to endear the Prayer Book to Church men, or to render the obligations to conformity, on the part of the clergy, stronger. We do, then, sincerely grieve, when we find clergymen building so much on Acts of Parliament, as if our Liturgy stood in need of any such aid, or as if its character depended on any such sanction. We know well that the civil legislature can interpose its authority, and even sever the connexion between the Church and State; but we hold, at the same time, that no Parliamentary authority can impose a liturgy or a form of government on Christ’s Holy Catholic Church. Its sanction may be granted, for which we are thankful; but it can neither make nor unmake a Church, though it may frame a religious system, under the name of a Church, and call it the Established Church of the country. Woe, however, be to the State of England, if ever it interferes with the Church of Christ, so as to sever the connexion, and to establish an Erastian system in its room. But we have no such apprehension, and we have only noticed the subject for the purpose of showing the absurdity of, and delivering our protest against, the Erastian theory, that Acts of Parliament are necessary to make the laws, canons, ordinances, and even ritual of the Church, binding on Churchmen.

            With respect to the other class of objectors to the use of the State Services, as they are termed, namely, those who question whether an action could be sustained in the Ecclesiastical Courts for the omission of any one of the services in question, we can only say that our opinion is totally different. These objectors proceed on grounds widely different from those of the former class. They, like ourselves, think that the sanction of the Church is sufficient to render the use of a service obligatory on the clergy; but they are also of opinion, that, in the absence of such sanction, by which they mean an Act of Convocation, no action could be sustained against a clergyman, who should omit the special service, and merely read the daily prayers. We can fully enter into their feelings; but we think, that they are mistaken, both in the view itself, and also in their opinion respecting the proceedings of an ecclesiastical court, in the event of any such case being brought under its cognizance. Our reasons for such a conclusion may be briefly stated.

            The Church of England recognizes the supremacy of the Crown in matters ecclesiastical as well as civil; and though she has not decided how much power is attached to that supremacy, yet, on that ground alone, even were there no others in the particular case of the special services, we contend, that our Ecclesiastical Courts would decide against any clergyman, who should refuse to read the services in question, and who, in consequence, had been proceeded against by his diocesan. In such a case the question could not be raised except by the bishop; but, should he commence proceedings against a clergyman for the omission, and should the case be removed into the Court of Arches, the court would, we feel convinced, support the diocesan in his views, and proceed to pass sentence upon the individual. The censure, of course, would not be severe; but that suspension for a limited period would be imposed, we feel assured. The question, we admit, has never been decided; still we ourselves have no doubt respecting the decision of the court. On one occasion only, as far as we are aware, was the matter in a fair way for being brought before a judicial tribunal, and that was in the case of Johnson, of Cranbrook, in the last century. This gentleman omitted to read the service for the sovereign’s accession. In consequence of that omission, he was cited to appear before the ordinary. The case was somewhat singular. Mr. Johnson pleaded that he was bound to read the service according to the Book of Common Prayer, and no other—that the king was supreme only in his courts, and that he knew of no other supremacy except that which was thus exercised. He also argued that a royal proclamation, or order in council, had not the force of law. On this occasion the question appeared to be in a fair way for adjudication, as far, at least, as it could be settled by the decision of an ecclesiastical court; but, before any judgment was pronounced, the reverend gentleman submitted to his diocesan, confessing his sorrow for the step which he had been induced to take. Thus the matter remains still undecided, or, at all events, no authoritative decision has been pronounced.

            These services undoubtedly possess different degrees of authority. Still, we are of opinion, that the authority which they possess is sufficient to render their use obligatory on the clergy. We now proceed to give a brief history of the four services, with the various changes which they have undergone. We take them in the order in which they are appended to the Book of Common Prayer, of which, however, they do not constitute a part.


            The origin of this service is known to our readers, and need not be enlarged upon. It was first published in the year 1606, the year after the discovery of the Gunpowder Treason, and was intended to commemorate the merciful interposition of Divine Providence, in favour of our Church and nation, at that period. Like other special services, it was set forth by royal authority; nor did it possess any other in that and the succeeding reign. During the time of James I., and also in the reign of Charles I., until the clergy were almost all ejected from their livings, this service was duly read in our churches. When the Book of Common Prayer was proscribed, this service experienced the same treatment; for during the Commonwealth and the Protectorate, no form of prayer was allowed, the ministers being left to their own discretion in the management of public worship. At the Restoration, the Book of Common Prayer was necessarily rescued from the oblivion, in which it had been placed by the Presbyterian and Independent factions; and with the Common Prayer the service for the fifth of November was restored to use. In the year 1661 the service was revised by the Convocation: consequently, in the state in which it was published in 1662, it had the sanction of the Church—the highest sanction which can be pleaded; though, of course, we know that Acts of Parliament may interpose and overrule the decisions of the Church. Still, where no Act of Parliament interferes, the authority of the Church, duly expressed by Convocation, must be viewed as paramount by consistent Churchmen.

            The service, therefore, was settled by Convocation; and the observance of the day was enjoined by Act of Parliament. Thus the civil authority commanded all persons to observe the day as a day of thanksgiving; and the Church, or the ecclesiastical authority, prepared and enjoined a special service to be used on the occasion. Still the service was not sanctioned by Parliament; for when the Act of Uniformity was passed, the special services were not annexed to the Book of Common Prayer. This and the next two were ordered to be appended by royal authority.

            Matters continued in this state until the reign of King William. Shortly after his accession to the throne the special services were revised; and that for the fifth of November was materially altered. It happened that William landed on the fifth of November; and as the Church and the nation were delivered, by the Prince’s arrival, from the danger which then threatened them, it was deemed desirable to commemorate both events—namely, the discovery of the Gunpowder Treason and the coming of the Prince—in the same service; and certain changes were accordingly made, so as to render the form suitable to both occasions. These alterations were made by the bishops, and sanctioned by the Crown. They were not submitted to Con vocation; nor is it probable that they would at that time have been sanctioned by that assembly. All the portions of the service, therefore, which refer to King William are new. So that, as a whole, the present form has only the authority of the Crown, though the original parts have that of Convocation. Such is a brief sketch of the history of this service. The changes, which were introduced subsequent to the Revolution, may be seen, by comparing the present formwith the service in any of the Books of Common Prayer previous to that event.


            Some doubts were expressed by various clergymen, whether, as the 30th of January, in the year 1842, fell upon a Sunday, the form was to be used instead of the regular service. Their doubts arose from the punctuation in some of our Prayer Books, from which it was inferred, that the service was to be read on the Sunday, and the fast kept on the Monday. It seems strange that any clergyman should have fallen into such an error; for in that case we should have had a fast enjoined without a service. Had the parties who doubted referred to the service in its original state, they would have seen what was the intention of its framers; and it cannot be imagined, that those, by whom it was altered, intended to make any change in this respect. The original direction was clear enough, being couched in the following words: “If this day shall happen to be Sunday, this form of service shall be used the next day following.” Or had the parties referred to the Act of Parliament, they would have seen their error; for it is there expressed—“unless it falls out to be upon the Lord’s-day, and then the next day following shall be for ever hereafter set apart to be kept in all the churches and chapels of these your Majesty’s kingdoms.” The reason, too, for appointing the service for the following day, whenever it fell upon a Sunday, is obvious enough, namely, that it would be very unseemly to keep a fast on the Lord’s-day.

            As in the preceding service, we need not enter into its origin, since all the particulars are so well known to our readers. It was prepared and duly authorized by Convocation, in 1661, under the following title:—“A Form of Prayer, to be used yearly upon the Thirtieth day of January, being the day of the Martyrdom of King Charles I.” In this form it was appended to the Book of Common Prayer by the authority of the Crown. The observance of the day, as in the preceding case, is enjoined by Act of Parliament, and the ecclesiastical legislature provided the special service for the occasion. It continued in its original state until the accession of James II., when it was subjected to revision and alteration. The alterations, too, were important. It is remarked by Burn, that in the original service there was no “reflection on the first authors of the opposition:” but in the revision, even in the title, a great change was made, in this addition—“to implore the mercy of God, that neither the guilt of that sacred and innocent blood, nor those other sins, by which God was provoked to deliver up both us and our king into the hands of cruel and unreasonable men, may at any time hereafter be visited upon us or our posterity.” Several sentences were added to the introduction, and certain additions were made to the collects, corresponding in their character with the addition to the title. When King William came to the crown, no change was made in this service, so that we now have it in the form in which it was left by King James. Probably William was fearful of making the attempt to restore it to its original state. At all events, no alteration was attempted. As in the service for the Fifth of November, therefore, this form, in its present state, rests only on the authority of the Crown. The original portions, indeed, have the sanction of Convocation. A comparison of the present form, with the service, as it stands in the Prayer Book prior to the accession of James II., will show what changes were effected in 1685.


This was also prepared in Convocation in 1661, like the preceding, and was duly authorized by that assembly. It was intended to commemorate two events—the king’s birth and the Restoration. The twenty-ninth of May was the birth-day of the king, and on that day he made his public entry into the kingdom. Both these events were noticed in the original service, which was published under the following title:—“A Form of Prayer, with Thanksgiving, to be used yearly upon the Twenty-ninth day of May, being the day of his Majesty’s birth, and happy return to his kingdom.” The day was also appointed by Act of Parliament, to be observed for ever, though no notice was taken of the special service, which was prepared by Convocation, and sanctioned by the Crown, with the two preceding forms. On the accession of James II, this service was very materially altered. Changes were indeed necessary, for portions of the service referred to the birth of King Charles; and to have used it in its original form, after the death of the king, would have been singular. All those passages which referred to the birth of King Charles were accordingly struck out, both from the title and from the body of the service, and it was made to refer to the restoration of the royal family as well as of the king. In the service as altered in 1685 was the following rubric or notice:—“The office used hitherto upon this day, ever since it was by Act of Parliament established, relating, in several passages, to the birth and person of King Charles the Second, it is thought fit, now upon the occasion of his death, to alter it as followeth.” A royal order was also issued, authorizing the use of the service in its altered state. The order was as follows:–“The Form of Prayer, with Thanksgiving, heretofore appointed for the 29th of May, relating, in several passages of it, to the birth and person of our most dearly beloved brother, King Charles II., and so upon occasion of his death being necessarily to be altered, and it being now, by our special command to the bishops, so altered and settled to our satisfaction, as a perpetual office of thanksgiving for the standing mercies of that day, our express will and pleasure is, that it be henceforth printed and published as here it followeth, to be used henceforth upon every 29th day of May, in all churches and chapels within our kingdom and dominion of Wales, in such manner as is therein directed.” This order bears date April 29, 1685. The changes were necessarily somewhat numerous. At the Revolution the service was retained in the same form in which it still continues.

            Such is a sketch of the history of three of the special services; for the fourth, which we shall notice presently, is somewhat different in its character from the preceding. These three forms, in their original state, were appended to the Book of Common Prayer by a royal order, dated the second day of May, in the fourteenth year of the reign of Charles II. The same order was issued by James II., in 1685, respecting the altered services, and that for the fifth of November, which was not altered. After the Revolution, when the service for the fifth of November was revised, it was set forth by a separate order, dated October the 19th, 1690, and signed by King William. For several years some confusion appears to have existed on this point; for, in certain editions of the Book of Common Prayer, the service for November the fifth is accompanied by the separate order, and then, at the close of the third service, there is the order for the three together, according to the practice of the two preceding reigns. So, again, in some of the books of this period, the separate order for the Restoration Service is retained in the form in which it was issued by King James. However, the one order, in the usual form, was subsequently adopted, and continued in the succeeding reigns.

            Our readers are now in possession of all the particulars respecting these three services; but there is a fourth to which we may now direct attention, namely, the Accession Service. Its history is equally interesting with that of the preceding. Even in the time of Elizabeth, the day of her accession was observed as a holy day, a special service being appointed for the occasion. The seventeenth day of November, the day of her accession, was also observed, even after her Majesty’s death, as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God for the gracious deliverance wrought out for the Church by her instrumentality. A service was prepared and published, in the usual way, by royal authority, for this occasion, bearing the following title. “A Fourme of Prayer, with Thanksgiving, to be used of all the Queenes Majesties loving Subjects every year, the seventeenth day of November, being the day of her Highness entrie to her kingdom. Set forth by authority. Imprinted at London by Chris. Barker, Printer to the Queene’s Majestie, 1578.” The following direction occurs in the service —“You shall understand that everything in this book is placed in order, as it shall be used, without turning to ‘‘ fro, saving the 111 lessons taken out of the Olde Testament, of which you may chuse any one as you thinke best for the first lesson at this Morning Prayer. And in cathedral churches the minister may use eyther of the other 11 for the first lesson at Evening Prayer.” Another rubrical direction also occurs: “It is ordered that the Letanie shall not be omitted the seventeenth day of November, though it fall upon Monday, Thursday, or Saturday.” The following prayer, from the service, will be read with interest:—

            “O God, most mercifull Father, who as upon this day, placing thy servant our Sovereigne and gracious Queene Elizabeth in the kingdom, didest deliver thy people of England from danger of warre and oppression, both of bodie by tyrannie, and of conscience by superstition, restoring peace and true religion, with libertie both of bodies and mindes, and hast continued the same thy blessings, without all deserte one our part, nowe by the space of these twentie years:[1] we who are in memorie of these thy great benefits assembled here together most humbly beseeche thy fatherly goodnesse to graunt us grace, that we may, in worde, deede, and heart, shewe ourselves thankful and obedient unto thee for the same: and that our Queene, through thy grace, may, in all honour, goodness and godliness, long and many years reigne over us, and we obey and enjoy her with the continuance of thy great blessings, which thou hast, by her thy minister, poured upon us: This we beseech thee to grant unto us for thy deare sonne Jesus Christe’s sake, our Lord and Saviour, Amen.”

            Appended to the service are seventeen stanzas in rhyme, which may be seen also in Strype.

            This form was undoubtedly used during the reign of Elizabeth. In the reign of Charles I. a service was prepared for his accession and published in the year 1626. In 1640 it was also sanctioned by Convocation, so that the original service had the highest ecclesiastical authority. The canons of 1640 were, however, set aside by Act of Parliament subsequent to the Restoration; but notwithstanding this interposition on the part of the civil legislature, we may regard the old service as having received the sanction of the Church. At the Restoration, certain portions of it were adopted in the service for the twenty-ninth of May; but on the accession of James II., his Majesty ordered some of the bishops to prepare a form for the occasion. It was singular that James, who had long before avowed himself a member of the Church of Rome, should have taken so much interest in the matter as to desire a special service for any occasion. He may, however, have imagined that such a course would propitiate some of the members of the Anglican Church, which he intended to supplant as soon as circumstances permitted. The old service was, therefore, submitted to a revision, and, after many alterations, was set forth by royal authority in 1685. It was used during the short reign of King James: but, on William’s accession, it was laid aside. The reason may have been, that so much of the altered service for the fifth of November related to William’s arrival. We have already noticed the alterations in that service. Thus the three services only were retained during this reign; but when Anne ascended the throne, the Accession Service was again revived. The usual process was adopted: King James’s service was revised, and then set forth by the Queen’s authority. To the three preceding forms, the old order, as it stood in the time of Charles II., James II., and King William, was appended; and the Accession Service was accompanied by a distinct order in the following terms:—

                        “Anne R.

            “Our will and pleasure is, that this form of prayer, with thanksgiving, for the first day of August, be forthwith printed and published, and be used yearly, on the said day, in all cathedral and collegiate churches and chapels, in all chapels of colleges and halls within both our universities, and of our colleges of Eton and Winchester, and in all parish churches and chapels within our kingdom of England, dominion of Wales, and town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

            “Given at our Court at St. James’s, the seventh day of February, 1704, in the second year of our reign.

            “By her Majesty’s command,


            It has been the custom, on the accession of the sovereign, to issue the order for the use of these special services; for, unless such were the case, they would not possess any authority—at least, in their present form. The order continues in force only during the life of the sovereign, so that, at the accession of a king or queen, it must necessarily be renewed. On the accession of George I. and George II, the separate orders were issued, namely, one for the three services for the fifth of Novemberthe thirtieth of January, and the twenty-ninth of May, and another for the Day of the Accession; but, on the accession of George III., one order only was used for the four services, and this practice has since be continued.

            We believe that the preceding narrative embraces all the particulars connected with the history of the four services; and our readers will be able to trace the various changes to which they have been subjected since their original introduction.

One question now only remains—namely, their authority. We have already alluded to this point; but in the present day, when so many and such opposite opinions are entertained on the subject, we may enter upon it more fully. We are among those, who wish to see the Convocation of the Anglican Church revived. And were the Church permitted to speak through this authorized channel, we are quite sure, that she would confirm the use of the present services. It will be seen from the preceding narrative, that the Church has sanctioned the observance of the four days, and that she set forth certain forms suitable to the occasions. For instance, the old service for the Accession was sanctioned by Convocation in 1640, and the other three in 1661; and the main portions of all these forms are still retained in our present services. Still it is a fact, that the forms, in their present state, have not received the sanction of the Church through her Convocation; and every Churchman must admit, that it would be desirable to supply this deficiency, which can only be done by permitting the synod of the Anglican Church to assemble and transact business. We have already stated, that we cannot coincide with those who object to these forms, on the ground that they have not received a Parliamentary sanction; for, though we must submit to Acts of Parliament when they are enacted, yet we are by no means anxious to see the civil authority interfering in matters ecclesiastical: and, in our opinion, an Act of Convocation is, or ought to be, equally binding on Churchmen, and especially on the clergy. In considering this subject, therefore, we leave the Parliamentary authority quite out of the question; in other words, we should not consider that a Parliamentary sanction of the present services would render them a whit more obligatory on the clergy than they are at present. The legislature might indeed compel the clergy to use them, but we conceive that they are still under the obligation to do so; for, in the absence of Convocational sanction, we consider that they possess sufficient authority to render their use obligatory. We have confessed that we are advocates for the revival of Convocation, and that we are anxious for a full ecclesiastical sanction; yet, in the absence of that authority, we are satisfied, that the authority, which they actually possess, is sufficient to confirm their use.

            But it appears to us, that three of the services have virtually that very authority, for which these objectors plead. We do not value the Parliamentary sanction; but still we are of opinion, that the Acts of Parliament virtually recognise forms in addition to the usual services. Thus the Act for the observance of the Fifth of November enjoins all persons “to say morning prayer and give unto Almighty God thanks for this happy deliverance.” It is also enjoined, that all persons should resort to Church “where the said Morning Prayer, preaching, or other service of God shall be used.” But how could the people have given special thanks unless special forms had been appointed? The expressions seem to imply, that special forms were to be appointed. Were not the subsequent services, therefore, sanctioned by implication?

            The Thirtieth of January also is appointed to be observed “as an anniversary day of fasting, &c., to implore the mercy of God, that neither the guilt of that sacred and innocent blood, nor those other sins by which God was provoked to deliver up both us and our king into the hands of cruel and unreasonable men, may at any time be visited upon us or our posterity.” It is clear, therefore, that the Parliament concluded, that certain prayers were to be added to the daily service, since the end contemplated by the Act could not otherwise have been attained.

            So the Act for the Twenty-ninth of May enjoins that the people should observe the day “by rendering their hearty public praises and thanksgivings to Almighty God for all the aforementioned extraordinary mercies, blessings, and deliverances.” All persons are further enjoined to remain in the Church “during the said public thanksgiving, prayers, preaching, singing of psalms, and other service of God, there to be used and ministered.” This Act, therefore, cannot be complied with by the mere use of the daily service. To observe the Act, forms, specifying the particular mercies, must be introduced; and this is done in the present service.

            In our opinion, therefore, the advocates for Parliamentary authority have virtually what they want, at least with respect to three of the services. At all events, they must admit, that the Acts cannot be complied with by the mere use of the daily service. To us this is a question of very little moment. We introduce it, however, in order to show that the parties, who object to our present forms, because they are not sanctioned by Parliament, do not escape from the difficulty by adhering to the daily service, since by such a course they violate the injunctions of the Acts. It is evident that additional services are recognized, either as in existence, or to be framed; and assuredly this fact may be regarded as an implied sanction of the forms which were framed for the days in question. With such objectors, however, we have no sympathy, not being anxious for Parliamentary interference in the appointment of forms of prayer. We are satisfied, as we have stated, that there is sufficient authority for the use of the present forms.

            The sovereign is supreme as well in ecclesiastical as in civil matters; and the question is, does the supremacy involve the power of appointing special services for particular occasions? If it does not, then, we ask, on what authority do the forms of prayer, which are occasionally issued by the Privy Council, rest? During the present reign even, we have had several. What was their authority? They were prepared by the arch bishop; but they were set forth by command of the Crown. Could their use be enforced on the clergy? And on what grounds? We apprehend that a clergyman, if cited to appear in the ecclesiastical courts, would be subject to punishment for not using them. If this opinion be correct, then it will follow, that the use of the four special services is obligatory on the same ground, for they possess precisely the same authority. The Church has herself sanctioned the special observance of the days; and in appointing the original forms she has also given her sanction to a departure, on some particular occasions, from the usual service. We think, too, that the Crown, with the advice of the archbishops and bishops, and by virtue of the ecclesiastical supremacy, may appoint days of fasting and thanksgiving, prescribing, on such occasions, additional prayers. Particular days having been set apart both by the Church and the State, we conceive that the Crown may, from time to time, settle the details of the observance, by ordering the archbishops and bishops to draw up certain prayers, to be interwoven with the usual service. This is precisely the case with the services in question. On the ground of the supremacy, therefore, we are of opinion that the Crown has the power to appoint services for special occasions. It is sometimes said, that, in the case of the prayers, which are still occasionally put forth, they are merely additions to the daily service; whereas, the special forms for the four days actually take the place of a certain portion of the daily prayers. Our opinion is, however, that the ecclesiastical courts, on the ground of the royal supremacy, would decide that the services must be used, to the exclusion of those portions of the daily prayers, which are ordered to be omitted.

            Then the following rubric appears to be of great importance in the consideration of this question. It is the rubric after the Nicene Creed:—“And nothing shall be proclaimed or published in the church, during the time of divine service, but by the minister; nor by him anything but what is prescribed in the rules of this book, or enjoined by the Queen, or by the ordinary of the place.” It would seem that this rubric recognizes certain powers in the Crown to command the reading and publication of something in the Church. What ever the power may be, it must be by virtue of the supremacy. The Queen is supreme ordinary; and if in some cases the ordinary has power to resolve doubts and to settle points of dispute, surely the Crown possesses the same, if not greater authority.

            To us then it appears certain, that the use of the four special services is obligatory on the clergy. We take the ground of the supremacy, and that of the rubric after the Nicene Creed; and we might add the practice from the period of the Reformation to the present moment; and we are convinced, that on these grounds the ecclesiastical courts would enforce the use of the services in question. Were a clergyman to refuse to use either of the services, the ordinary might proceed against him. The case would be removed into the Court of Arches, and the ordinary would, in our opinion, be supported, and the clergy man censured. To omit the special services altogether for three of the days would be a breach of the laws of the Church, and also of the Acts of Parliament, since by both has the observance been enjoined: and it cannot even be pretended, that the intention of either would be complied with by merely using the ordinary service. To refuse to use the services, moreover, is a rejection of the authority of the Crown, and a condemnation of all the bishops of the Church of England, from the period of the Revolution, since all have sanctioned these special forms.

            It strikes us as very singular, that some persons, who question the right of the Crown to appoint special services, should use as an argument, the fact, that the daily service is enjoined by Act of Parliament, and that consequently the royal authority cannot enjoin another service to be used in its stead. We say that such an argument from certain persons is singular, since these very individuals denounce the interference of Parliament in other cases.

            But the Act of Parliament made in the twenty-fourth year of George II. enjoined the use of an altered calendar; and in this calendar three of the days are alluded to as “certain days for which particular services are appointed.” It has been argued by some persons, that the services alluded to in the Act were those of 1662, and not the present forms. We cannot concur in this opinion; for though the question is not fully cleared up by the terms of the Act, yet we cannot imagine, that the legislature, in the time of George II., could possibly have intended the services in their original form. Nor do we apprehend, that an ecclesiastical court would consider, that the present services were not intended. It is clear, therefore, that those persons who are so anxious for a Parliamentary sanction, have what they wish in the Act of George II., which certainly approves indirectly of three of the services which were then in use.

            Mr. Perceval, in the preface to his valuable little work, seems to imagine, that one of the services ought not to be appended to the Book of Common Prayer, and that the royal and university printers might be called to account for their conduct. He says, “A further question may be raised, namely, whether the printers to the Crown and the Universities are not liable to be called to account for appending the four services last mentioned to the Common Prayer, instead of the three more duly authorized ones.”[2] By whom, however, could the printers be called to account In the civil courts they would be justified; and in the ecclesiastical courts the power of the Crown would be undoubtedly maintained.

            In the time of Charles II., a special service was appointed to be used on the second of September, the anniversary of the day, on which the great fire of London commenced in 1666. It may have continued in use in the succeeding reign, though whether such were the case we cannot determine. However, at the end of some of the Prayer Books of the time of Charles II. a special service for the occasion may still be found under the following title:—“Forms of Prayer to be used yearly on the Second of September, for the dreadful fire of London.” Its observance was also enjoined by Act of Parliament as a day of fasting and humiliation for ever, to deprecate the wrath of God from the nation, and from the city of London in particular. The service in question was, we believe, authorized in the usual way, but we are unable to ascertain when its use was discontinued. Probably it was laid aside on the accession of James II., to whom any memorial of the fire must have been unacceptable, inasmuch as it was commonly attributed to the machinations of some members of the Church of Rome, though no such allusion is to be found in the service. At all events, we have not seen the form in any English Prayer Book later than the reign of Charles II., but it is to be found in several copies, of various dates, of the Prayer Book in French. This circumstance may, however, be accounted for. The first French edition was printed from a copy containing this particular form, and this first book served as a copy for the subsequent editions.

            These notices of our special services may prove acceptable to many of our readers. Churchmen in general, and even vast numbers of the clergy, as various letters in the public papers have testified, are profoundly ignorant of the subject. Some argue against their use altogether, while others view them as part of the Book of Common Prayer, simply because they are bound up in the same volume. Our aim has been to place the whole question in a clear light, and we trust that we have been successful in our object.[3]

[1] “Increase this number according to the yeares of her Majesties reign.”

[2] “The Original Services for the State Holidays, with Documents Relating to the same.” Collected and arranged by the Hon. and Rev. A. Perceval, B. C. L. London.

[3] Much information respecting these services may be obtained from the author’s “History of the Convocation of the Church of England.”


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Alternative Services: Using ‘1967’ (Series 2): Some Notes by E.C.R. Lamburn (1968)


This booklet is designed as a general guide to the Rite of Holy Communion as propounded by Alternative Services, Series II, which has proved so popular since its authorization in 1967. It is intended as a supplement to our larger ceremonial guide Ritual Notes, with which book it should be read in conjunction. 



In the past, celebrations have been thought of as being of two classes—solemn or low, the distinction being as to whether the celebrant sings or says his part. But there are indications that this distinction is disappearing; for example, it seems that there has been an official recommendation that a celebrant who cannot sing his part in an edifying manner had better not try to sing it. With this in mind, celebrations must be reclassified as follows. 

solemn Eucharist (‘High Mass’) is one in which the celebrant is assisted by a deacon and subdeacon, as well as the usual servers. It is perfectly permissible for a solemn Eucharist to be celebrated with a deacon only (and no subdeacon), in which case the deacon does all that the subdeacon would do except that the epistle is read by a lector, and the thurifer incenses the Blessed Sacrament at the elevations. 

sung Eucharist is a sung service at which the celebrant has no deacon or subdeacon; incense may be used, in which case the service approximates to a solemn Eucharist without sacred ministers; or it may be without incense, when it is virtually a plain celebration sung, though customarily there are two servers and not one only. 

A low celebration (‘low Mass’) may be taken in two ways. The first is used with a general congregation (as, for example, at the ‘eight o’clock’ on Sundays); in this form the celebrant takes the antecommunion away from the altar at the sedilia: or, when only a small congregation is present (as often on weekdays) he may take the whole service at the altar, going to the altar rail or chancel step for the readings. [For the meaning in these notes of the term ‘sedilia’ see below.]


According to the present usage, the altar book or missal contains everything that is needed for the Eucharist, and smaller books, such as the epistle book or gospel book, have been regarded as containing parts of the missal. But in the future it may well be that the missal will be split into two books for practical purposes; one, the missal proper, containing all the prayers of the rite, but not the readings; and the other ‘The Scriptures book’ containing the lessons, with the graduals, alleluias and tracts, and perhaps with the ante.communion at the sedilia in mind, the collects also, for use at the celebrant’s lectern. 

It will, of course, be possible to use two complete missals for these, or even one; in which case it cannot be placed on the altar until the offertory. 


Modern rules of ceremonial direct that the celebrant should conduct the antecommunion from ‘the sedilia’. But this term ‘sedilia’ must not be too rigidly interpreted. Its use arises from churches where there is no chancel, in which the sedilia, to the right of the altar, is the obvious place from which the celebrant would conduct a service not taken at the altar itself. But this is not altogether appropriate if there is a lengthy chancel, in spite of Anglican familiarity with it at ‘solemn Evensong’; for the celebrant is presiding (‘in the chair’) over the body of the people assembled in church; and his place should be chosen accordingly. He may therefore use a seat in front of the choir stalls on the epistle side; or his own stall if near the people on the epistle side; or even a seat behind the altar, provided that it does not resemble a bishop’s throne. In the last resort attention must be paid to local circumstances, and the celebrant’s place decided in the light of them. 


The rubrics of Series II give no indications concerning the posture of the people at any point. The reason is plain: it is not desirable to make rules on this matter while opinions as to what is seemly are changing. Hitherto, it has been customary to kneel for prayers, though by many it has been considered proper for the clergy, servers and choir to stand. But it is now realized that this is a relic of the days when the Mass was said silently and in Latin; so that all that the ordinary people could do was to immerse themselves in private devotions while the service was being read. Standing is, and always has been, the proper posture for prayers other than penitential. However, it is probably not practical to ask the ordinary congregation to rise to this height of correctness immediately; and therefore one may suggest the following custom. 

The people should stand throughout the service, except: (1) they sit for the scripture readings other than the gospel: and (2) they kneel for the intercession and the preparation of the people, standing for the kiss of peace (in whatever form it may be given): they kneel also for the consecration—from after the Sanctus until after the Communion; when all stand for the postcommunion prayer and dismissal verse (kneeling for the blessing if this is given). Furthermore, it is permissible for those who have not communicated to sit after the Communion is over until the postcommunion starts. But it must be emphasized that these are only suggestions, and in no sense rules—which if enforced would enjoin much more standing in place of kneeling.


The vestments to be used should be prepared beforehand by the sacristan. For a solemn Eucharist the celebrant’s vestments are in the centre, with those for the deacon on the right and those for the subdeacon on the left. 

The missal should be placed in some convenient place in the sacristy, where the celebrant can find the necessary places. When he has done so, at solemn and sung Eucharists, and also at a low celebration if the antecommunion is to be said at the sedilia, it is taken to be placed on the lectern before the sedilia, or on the credence when there is no lectern; and an acolyte will hold the book. If a second missal is available, it can be placed on the altar, on its desk, to the left of where the corporal will be. In this way the two missals will be complementary, one containing the collect and readings with the intercession, and the other the Preparation of the People and the Mass itself. But at a low celebration, when the Foremass is said at the altar, the use of one missal only will plainly be more convenient. 

For all celebrations the cruets of wine and water, the box containing the people’s hosts, and the lavabo dish and towel are on the credence. 

For a solemn Eucharist, and for a sung Eucharist if the M.C. has the right to handle the sacred vessels, the chalice, covered with the purificator, paten, pall, veil and burse, will be on the credence. For sung celebration when the M.C. has no such right, and if desired for low celebration, the chalice is prepared on the altar on the spread corporal. It is equally correct for the celebrant to bring in the chalice with him when he enters the church to say low Mass, spreading the corporal on his arrival at the altar.

A lectern should be provided in the midst of the choir or at the chancel step from which the lessons at a solemn or sung Eucharist may be read; and also if possible one before the sedilia unless the service is taken entirely at the altar.



The rubrics provide for an introit to be sung as the celebrant’s procession enters the church: it may be a psalm, a part-psalm, or a hymn. Presumably this is not intended to exclude the traditional forms such as are given in the English Hymnal, part xii, though there are suggestions that these traditional forms are likely to be superseded in the Western rite. If a psalm or part-psalm is sung, then, following the traditional usage, Gloria Patri is sung at the end, except in Passiontide and in requiems. The rubrics appear not to permit the reading of an introit at low Mass, this being essentially something that is sung; if the celebrant does wish to do this, he would read the introit silently (not audibly to the people) after saying the collect for purity. 

It is suggested by some that the preparation, with the celebrant’s confession, etc., has no part in this rite, it being included in the section ‘The Preparation of the People’ (vide post). But clearly, if it is said, it is the celebrant’s private preparation, said by him alone (or with the server), at solemn and sung Eucharists while the introit is still being sung: and it ought not to be said audibly with the people. It would conclude with the collect for purity said aloud. 

Whether or not the preparation has been said at this point, the collect for purity is said at the foot of the altar steps; at the end the celebrant goes up to the altar and kisses it in the midst. 

At solemn and sung Eucharist the incensing of the altar takes place while the introit is still being sung; and it is desirable that whenever practicable the celebrant in so doing should circumambulate the altar, and not incense merely the front and sides. The incensing should take place after the collect for purity has been said, and this would seem to necessitate its taking place during the sung Kyries if that collect is said—which is undesirable; the best solution is to take advantage of the rubric and omit the collect for purity. 

Unless the whole service is taken at the altar the celebrant at this point goes to the sedilia. [i.e. at all celebrations except when celebrated plainly and with only a small congregation.]


The rite permits certain alternatives at this point, namely the ninefold Kyrie in English or Greek, the decalogue with its customary responses, or the ‘summary of the law’ with its response. It is difficult to see just how the recitation of the decalogue fits into this rite: in that of 1662 it was a part of the people’s preparation-in fact, a conducted examination of conscience with acts of contrition, which in the course of time came to be little more, if anything, than a fixed Old Testament lesson interlarded with the farced Kyrie. But in the new rite of Series II the ‘preparation of the people’ is collected in another place and a real Old Testament lesson is given a formal place: and in consequence the use of the decalogue seems superfluous. [If it is considered necessary to recite the decalogue from time to time, it could be read as the Old Testament lesson.] The same applies with even greater force to the use of the ‘summary of the law’, which not only was never designed for examination of conscience, but introduces a fourth reading from Scripture in the form of a preliminary gospel badly out of place. It is therefore desirable that the ninefold Kyrie, whether in English or Greek, should always be used at this point. 

Under present rules the Kyries are always said, the priest and people saying the clauses alternately; if sung, the choir and people sing the whole without alternating with the priest. But there are indications that at some time in the future the Kyries and the Gloria in excelsis may become alternatives; and the rubrics of Series II would not forbid this. 

The Kyries, as the present order stands, are followed on many occasions (but not always) by the Gloria in excelsis. The occasions on which it is used are: 

(i) on all Sundays, except those in Advent and from Septuagesima to Palm Sunday, both inclusive; 

(ii) daily, even on ferias, during Christmastide and Eastertide;

(iii) on all feasts of first-, second-, or third-class rank—i.e. on all feasts whatever, and on Maundy Thursday; [For an explanation of these terms see Ritual Notes (Knott), Eleventh Edition, pp 260-261.]

(iv) in all votive services of the first, second, or third class, celebrated in white or red vestments (but not in those in which the colour purple is used); 

(v) in votive services of the fourth class ‘of the angels’; 

(vi) in a votive service of any saint celebrated on his own festival.

It is not said in the ferial services of Epiphanytide or Trinitytide, nor in any votive service celebrated in purple vestments, nor in any of the fourth class, with the one exception noted above, nor ever in requiems.

Briefly: votive celebrations apart, the Gloria in excelsis is used whenever the colour is white or red, and on green Sundays.

The priest, if he is at the altar, does not kiss it before turning to the people to say or sing The Lord be with you. The people respond, And with thy spirit; the priest says Let us pray; he pauses for a moment, and then reads the collect.

One collect only is said in any celebration. Unlike the corresponding rubric of Series I, Series II makes no provision for any collects other than that for the day, following in this respect the new rules of the Western rite.

When the celebrant is at the sedilia, the book is before him on a lectern, or an acolyte may hold the book before him.

During the whole of this section the servers and choir should stand; it is desirable that the people should also stand throughout, not kneeling at Let us pray—which is not, in fact, a direction to kneel, and should not be so understood.


Three readings from holy Scripture are provided—an Old Testament lesson, one from either the Old or New Testament (the ‘epistle’) and one from the gospels. The first is optional, but it is to be desired that it should be read at least at the principal celebration on Sundays and great festivals; and this appears to be the future ‘correct’ procedure according to the Western rite. The rubrics do not state what passages of Scripture are to be read on any particular occasion, this being apparently left to local discretion; the readings provided in 1662 and 1928, repeated in Series I, form no part of Series II, but those of 1662 would presumably be used as far as they go; but to disregard them is not a breach of the rubrics of Series II.

The Old Testament lesson is read at a solemn Eucharist by a reader, and not the subdeacon; at a sung Eucharist both this lesson and the epistle are read by lectors; it is not correct for the celebrant himself to read the epistle if there is anyone else present who could do so. The gospel is read at a solemn Eucharist by the deacon, and at a sung Eucharist normally by the celebrant; but if another cleric is present, he may read, vested in alb and stole; he receives the celebrant’s blessing before reading, and takes the book to him to kiss at the end. At a low celebration generally the celebrant will read, either at the chancel step if he has been at the sedilia for the collect, or from the footpace facing the people if he has been at the altar: if, however, no one is present except a server, the priest need not take the book from its desk when he reads. But if at a low celebration a priest or deacon is present (e.g. one who will later administer the chalice), he may read the epistle and gospel wearing girded alb and stole; or the server may read the Old Testament lesson and epistle.

No formula of announcement is provided. It seems that a proper form would be A reading from (the Prophet Isaiah) (the epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Romans) (the holy Gospel according to Matthew). The usual responses are made at the gospel. 

All sit for the Old Testament lesson and epistle; all stand and face the reader at the gospel. 

At a low celebration the lessons are read at the chancel step or from the footpace or altar rail, as noted above; if the celebrant wishes, it is not incorrect for him to give the book to the server to hold while he reads the gospel; otherwise he holds the book in his own hands. At solemn Eucharist all three lessons are read from a lectern; if a portable one is used, it is best placed either in the middle of the choir or at the head of the nave as may in each case be the more suitable: if a permanent (fixed) lectern is used, it does not matter at which side of the church it stands; the rule requiring that the epistle should be read on the side to the people’s right and the gospel to their left no longer applies when the lessons are read outside the sanctuary. 

After the Old Testament lesson, and after the epistle there may be sung or said a psalm or portion of a psalm, or a canticle, or a hymn. If the traditional forms from the English Hymnal, part xii, are used, the gradual will follow the Old Testament lesson, and the alleluia or tract the epistle: in Eastertide the first part of the great alleluia (up to the end of the first verse only) will follow the first lesson, and the remainder the epistle. If psalms or part-psalms are used, the Gloria Patri is not sung at the close of either. [If a hymn is used, it may be convenient to use one short hymn, part being sung after the Old Testament lesson, and the remainder after the epistle.]

The rubrics appear to permit these forms being read aloud at celebrations without singing. 

At solemn and sung Eucharist the usual gospel procession and ceremonies take place; though indeed it might be held that now that the gospel is merely a lesson and not a solemn proclamation they might be omitted. 

The verse The Lord be with you and its response should no longer be made before the announcement of the gospel. In the old Roman rite the catechumens were dismissed before the gospel, which then began a new section of the rite; now that the gospel is one of three readings this new start is superfluous. 

The sermon follows the gospel. If the celebrant or one of the sacred ministers preaches, he may if he finds it convenient remove his vestment and maniple; but there is no liturgical necessity for him to do so, as a sermon forms a part of the rite. 

The sermon may be, and usually is, preached from the pulpit; but if the celebrant is the preacher he may do so from the altar step or the chancel step; if one of the sacred ministers preaches, he may do so from the chancel step. 

The Nicene Creed follows the sermon on the days on which it is to be used. The rubrics direct that it should be said or sung on ‘Sundays and other holy days’. In greater detail it is used on these occasions: 

(i) on all Sundays, even though the service is not that of the Sunday but of some superseding feast or votive celebration of the second class in which the Creed would not normally 

be said; [For an explanation of these terms see Ritual Notes (Knott), Eleventh edition pp 260-261.]

(ii) on all feasts of the first class, and in all votive services of that rank; 

(iii) throughout the octaves of Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, including any feasts or votive services said during those octaves; 

(iv) on all feasts of the second class which are in honour of our Lord, or of the blessed Virgin Mary; 

(v) on the feasts of apostles and evangelists which commemorate their martyrdom (i.e. their natalicia). The Creed is not said, therefore, on the following occasions: 

(i) on the feasts of the Conversion of St Paul, St John before the Latin gate, the commemoration of St Paul on June 30th, or the feast of St Peter’s chains, which feasts do not commemorate the martyrdom of those apostles; [The rubrics require the Creed to be said ‘… on holy days.’ Whether this should include the feast of the Conversion of St Paul is not definite.]

(ii) on any second-class feast other than those noted in paragraphs (iii), (iv), or (v) above; 

(iii) on Maundy Thursday or in the Easter Vigil rite; 

(iv) in votive celebration of the second class unless celebrated on a Sunday or within the octaves of Christmas, Easter or Whitsun; 

(v) on vigils or ferias of the first or second class, unless it happens to be celebrated on a Sunday; 

(vi) on any feast, vigil, feria, or votive celebration of the third or fourth class; 

(vii) on account of any commemoration; 

(viii) in any requiem whatever. 

These rules as to whether the Creed should be used or omitted apply equally whether the service is said or sung. 

The celebrant begins the Creed, and the choir and people should not repeat the words I believe in one God. 

All bow at the holy name of JESUS; and also, but more profoundly at the clause And was incarnate … made man; but on Christmas day and Lady day (but on these days only) all kneel at these words. It is not correct for the choir to turn to the altar (turn to the east) during the Nicene Creed: the sign of the cross is not made at the end. 


Three alternative forms of the Prayer of the Faithful are provided. The first, as given in the main text, consists in effect of a series of biddings, each concluded by a versicle and response and a miniature collect; the second, given in the appendix, is the familiar prayer for all sorts and conditions of men, with congregational responses; and the third is a litany taken from the Scottish Prayer Book. The first would seem to be most suitable for the principal celebration on Sundays and great festivals, while the second is perhaps more suitable for week-days. The third could be used occasionally as an alternative to the first, and could well be used on special occasions such as Good Friday. 

It is neither necessary nor proper for the celebrant himself to conduct the devotion, except when the second form is used. The biddings and the litany may be led by a suitable lector 

(e.g. a priest in choir, or a reader), or the deacon of a solemn Eucharist. He stands at the chancel step or any other suitable place—even the pulpit may be used. 

When the first form is used care must be taken that the requirements of grammar are complied with. The leader begins Let us pray … Almighty God, who has promised to hear the prayers of those who ask in faith; and he must continue in some such form as this: We pray for the Church throughout the world . . . A wording such as Let us pray for . . . will not fit grammatically with the forms provided. 

In the first section, the bishop of the diocese should always be prayed for by name: in the second section the Queen should likewise be prayed for by name; and in the third any for whom prayers are specially desired. Generally speaking, it would be wise to pray for one special need of the Church, the world, or the local community in each section, varying them Sunday by Sunday. 

The last section purports to be a ‘commemoration of the departed’. In fact, it has two parts. The bidding and the versicle and response are indeed such: though just what is a ‘commemoration’ of the departed is not too clear. It can quite properly be turned into a prayer for them by using some such form of bidding as this: We pray for the repose of the souls of the faithful departed (especially N. and N. ), on whose souls may God have mercy. [Or perhaps the form in the Roman canon Remember, O Lord, thy servants and handmaids who have gone before us with the sign of faith and do rest in the sleep of peace (especially N. and N.) could be used.]

The prayer which concludes this section is, in fact, a commemoration of the Church Triumphant: ‘those who have died in faith’ are not the departed (the Church Expectant), but the saints in heaven; and we, quite properly, pray that we may join them in heaven. It is desirable that whoever leads these prayers should in his manner of so doing make this distinction clear. 

The celebrant, who remains at the sedilia throughout these prayers (unless he himself leads them from, e.g., the lectern) himself always reads the final clause, Grant these our prayers … 

If the prayer for all sorts and conditions of men is used (Appendix 2—a general intercession), the Queen may be named at the end of the first paragraph, and the bishop at the end of the second. 

The litany needs no special comment; the reader or deacon (if present) leads the petitions, while the celebrant says the final collect.

The Eucharist Proper


It is before the actual beginning of the Eucharist proper that Series II places the Preparation of the People; it constitutes what has often in the past come to be known as the ‘Communion Devotions’; but it includes rather more than did that section of the ‘Interim Rite’. 

Here must be raised again the question as to whether this section is to be held to include the priest’s preparation, hitherto customarily said at the very beginning of the rite (vide ante). In favour of this view it may be said that the rite gives no other preparation for the priest, it being therefore assumed that that is to be considered as included in the preparation of the people. But against this it can be said that the rite does not set out to give the celebrant’s private devotions (e.g. before Communion), but leaves them to his discretion; and this includes his personal preparation. Moreover, it will be seen that the rubric directs that the confession here is to be led by the ‘minister’, i.e. the deacon of solemn Eucharist, the M.C. of sung Eucharist or the server of a low celebration, and not by the celebrant himself. It is therefore not unreasonable to conclude that the ‘Preparation of the People’ means what it says, and does not include the preparation of the priest himself. For this reason it would seem best if the celebrant remained at the sedilia for this section of the Mass, though it would not be entirely incorrect for him to lead this part standing before the altar, even if he is to celebrate facing the people. 

Of this section the invitation, confession, and absolution are always to be used, but the comfortable words may (and can well) be omitted. The so-called prayer of humble access may also be omitted if desired: to do so would not be unreasonable, as this prayer is rather too subjective to form part of a liturgy; though no doubt many people would not wish to omit it. 

Section 22 is, in fact, the kiss of peace. For it the celebrant should certainly be at the altar, whether or not he has been there for the preparation of the people. He faces the people to say We are the Body of Christ…, and for the versicle and response which follow. 

If the kiss of peace is given in the customary manner, by embrace, there may be different opinions as to how far it should go. By tradition at solemn Eucharist the celebrant gives it to the deacon, the deacon to the subdeacon, and he to the clergy in choir and then to the M.C., who passes it to the servers. In this rite the subdeacon needs to be at the sedilia to bring the chalice to the altar at the offertory; but, of course, if need be the deacon could do this if it were thought proper for the kiss of peace to be passed on right to the servers: it would seem that until we have seen the working of the rite in greater practice than we have so far been able, we must leave this detail or even the manner of giving and receiving the pax, an open question. 

At a sung or low celebration the ceremonial giving of the kiss of peace is unusual. 

In some churches the congregation join in the kiss of peace, each member at this point shaking hands with his neighbour. 


This, of course, is the traditional name for that part of the rite here called ‘The Preparation of the Bread and Wine.’ The rubric says that a hymn may be sung during its course, and presumably this would not be so interpreted as to rule out an anthem. But there is no place in the rite of Series II for the old ‘offertory sentence.’

It is important to remember just what the offertory is. It is not, in spite of the name, an act of offering. The offering to God of what we often call the oblations is the consecration. The offertory is merely the preparation of the oblations; in domestic terms it is the ‘laying of the table’: the only suggestion of an act of offering is that of the people to the Church—the people bring their personal offerings, out of which is taken that which is to be consecrated in the dominically chosen form of bread and wine. The heading of this section ‘the preparation of the bread and wine’ therefore exactly describes what is done at this point in the service. Unfortunately many of the offertory prayers found in missals were composed and put to use after the common misunderstanding concerning the meaning of the offertory had arisen. 

It would not be wise to go into details as to how the offertory should be carried out. In view of the present day realization of the true meaning of the offertory it would not be in the least surprising if in the near future the whole of the traditional manner of making the offertory were changed to something radically different. However, it may be commented that the correct procedure according to the present Western use omits the making of the sign of the cross with the paten and chalice over the corporal; and the large host is left on the paten for the whole period from the offertory until the communion (more anglicano)—or in more common terms, it is correct to consecrate on the paten. The use of the ciborium is, however, not changed, and it is used as heretofore, when desired, for the communion of the people. 

Some priests like to end the offertory with the variable ‘prayer over the oblations’ (previously known as the ‘secret’). Provided that this is read silently and not, as in present-day Rome, aloud for the people to hear, there can be little objection to so doing; and indeed it makes a very suitable transition from the offertory to the consecration section. 


It is now better recognized than it used to be that the section once commonly known as the ‘preface’ and ‘canon’ forms one whole, and not two separate sections. In fact, that which is introduced by the dialogue known as the Sursum cordaincludes not only the preface and Sanctus but also the ‘prayer of consecration’ and the ‘prayer of oblation’. It was one of the more regrettable features of the rite of 1662 (which it inherited from that of 1552) that this section was interrupted at two points—after the Sanctus by the prayer of humble access, and after the consecration by the communion of priest and people and the Our Father. (In this connection it is worth noting that the Amen concluding the ‘prayer of consecration’ was not inserted into the rite until 1662.) 

The subtitle of this section is ‘the prayer of consecration.’ This is not contradictory to the title of ‘the Thanksgiving.’ It is, in fact, a continuing of the old Jewish form of blessing, such as our Lord would have used at the Last Supper. According to Jewish usage, a thing was consecrated by giving thanks to God for it. Consequently ‘consecration’ and ‘thanksgiving’ are in this line of thought almost synonymous terms. We consecrate our offering to God, made in the form of bread and wine as our Lord commanded, by thanking God for his mercies: and the form given in Series II follows this line in that it thanks God for his mercies and especially for creation, the incarnation, our Lord’s passion, resurrection, and ascension, and for the gift of the Holy Spirit, and not least for his gift to us of the Blessed Sacrament, the institution of which is solemnly narrated. 

It is to be noted that the new form rectifies one of the greatest defects of the rite of 1662 in that it thanks God for the whole of our Lord’s redemptive work, through the incarnation, passion, resurrection, and ascension; and is not, as is 1662, preoccupied with Calvary to the exclusion of all else, even his ‘mighty resurrection.’ At a solemn or sung Eucharist the celebrant should if possible sing the Sursum corda and preface to the traditional tone, and also the doxology of the prayer By whom and with whom, and in whom . . . world without end to the same preface tone. It is also perfectly correct for the whole of the rest of the prayer to be sung to its proper tone, which, however, is somewhat simpler than the preface tone; or it may be monotoned. 

After saying the words of institution over the host and chalice, the priest elevates each high enough to be seen by the people, and then, after replacing each on the corporal, genuflects. It is not correct to genuflect before either elevation. At the end of the prayer, after saying Through the same Christ our Lord, the priest uncovers the chalice without genuflecting (at a solemn Eucharist the deacon does this for him), then takes the large host in his right hand and the chalice in his left, and elevates both together: this second elevation is liturgically more important than those at the consecration. When the people have answered Amen, but not before, the priest replaces the host on the paten and the chalice on the corporal, and genuflects. 

Following the people’s Amen, the Benedictus qui venit is given. The wording of the rubric introducing it is strange; it merely says This anthem may be sung or said, not specifying, as did the rubric of the original draft, that it is to be sung at this point. This seems to be the obvious intention, and some prominent liturgical scholars have pressed for its singing at this point; but it could be that the rubric is so drawn as to permit its singing at its old point—after the Sanctus. Whether or not this is so is not clear, but it could well be argued that the Sanctus without the Benedictus fits in the thanksgiving better than if the two are sung or said as one whole. On the other hand, there are those who fear that to sing or say Blessed is he that cometh after the consecration tends to a receptionist view of the Blessed Sacrament. We must await some authoritative ruling. 


This is the technical name for the third section of the Eucharist proper, and the term used in Series II ‘the breaking of the bread’ is the same in simpler and less technical language. Its meaning is self-evident: originally it was not only the following of our Lord’s example ‘he broke it’ (the bread), but when the Eucharist bread was in the form of small loaves, it was a practical necessity. There are those today who would re-introduce the use of a loaf being brought to the altar and broken into fragments at this point; they consider that the true meaning of the Eucharist is better brought out by using the common things of life rather than the specially made, and that the essential unity of Christians is brought out by all partaking of one single loaf. [What is not seemly is to use small cubes of ordinary bread cut before the service begins.] On the other hand, there are very many who feel that the simplicity and reverence of wafer-bread, expecially in the fact that there are no crumbs when it is used, overrides the former consideration: in other words, for once the practical value outweighs the symbolic. It need hardly be added that the rubrics are so framed as to permit bread of either kind. 

The section of the rite is carried out thus. First the priest and people say together the paragraph The cup of blessing which we bless . . . of the one bread. Then the priest uncovers the chalice without genuflecting, takes the large host from the paten in both hands, and breaks it in half over the chalice in a vertical line. Then he places the half in his right hand on the paten, and from that in his left breaks off from the bottom a small particle, which he places in the chalice at the side where he will communicate; he consumes this particle at his own communion. He at once replaces the remainder of the half in his left hand on the paten beside the other and recovers the chalice again without genuflecting. Meanwhile at a solemn or sung Eucharist the choir and people sing the Agnus Dei.

The rubrics do not permit the saying of the Agnus Dei; it may be ‘sung,’ and there is nothing about its being said. However, it would not seem unreasonable if the priest said it silently as a private devotion. 

In the past it has been customary, following Western use, to change the text of the Agnus Dei in requiems, saying in place of Have mercy upon us or Grant us thy peaceGrant them rest, adding at the third repetition eternal. The rubrics make no mention of this, but perhaps it may be hoped that the continuing of the old custom would not be considered a breach of what is permissible. 


When the singing of the Agnus Dei is ended the priest and people say together the Our Father, the priest introducing it with the well-known formula. It is better said than sung, and a strict interpretation of the rubric could be held to require this; though to insist that the rubric actually forbade singing the prayer would be rather forcing the language. 

The Communion (‘the sharing of the bread and wine’) follows. It will be noted that the rubric seems to imply that the invitation Draw near . . . should be said before the priest ‘and the other ministers’ communicate; and this is in line with present Western usage. The order which should be followed is this: 

After the Our Father the priest says silently his prayers before communion; he genuflects, and rising, says I will receive. . . He takes both halves of the broken host in his right hand and the paten in his left, turns to the people and says the invitation Draw near. . . He turns back to the altar and receives his own communion in both kinds with the customary private prayers. He then takes the ciborium or paten with the people’s hosts and goes to administer to them as they kneel at the altar rail.

The rubrics are so framed that they permit the modern practice of receiving Holy Communion standing. However, it would seem that it might well be unwise to suggest that this be adopted in many Anglican circles, in view of the not very definite beliefs concerning the Blessed Sacrament that are still current: nevertheless it would be quite proper and permissible for the sacred ministers of a solemn Eucharist to make their communions standing, if they are to communicate. Unless the old and longer words of administration are retained (which is not desirable), the form is The Body of Christ or The Blood of Christ, to either of which each communicant answers Amen. The priest and all other administrants must take care to give each communicant time to say Amen before actually receiving; it is very easy to be so quick in the act of administering, with the shorter form, that the communicant has no real time to respond. The ablutions follow immediately after the Communion: and at a solemn Eucharist the subdeacon removes the cleansed chalice, once more covered with its veil, to the credence. At a sung Eucharist the M.C. may do this if he has permission to handle the sacred vessels. At a low celebration the chalice remains on the altar, as also at a sung Eucharist if the M.C. may not remove them: some priests put them to one side and bring the missal directly in front of them, and this makes for convenience in reading the postcommunion. 


The conclusion consists of the two usual features—a postcommunion prayer and a form of dismissal. The rite gives two alternative postcommunions, the first a shortened form of the familiar prayer of thanksgiving, and the second a new form to be said by all together. It may be suggested that the latter is most suitable for the principal Sunday celebration and great festivals, whereas the former could well be found better for week-day services.

The dismissal consists of the well-known formula. The celebrant, having kissed the altar, turns to the people and says or sings The Lord be with you; then he or the deacon, if there is one assisting, turns to the people and sings or says Go forth in peace, to which is responded Thanks be to God

The blessing is best omitted; it is liturgically superfluous, for the greater blessing has been already given in Communion; indeed, the verbal blessing only came into the service during the Middle Ages, when non-communicating attendance was the general rule. If it is said, the priest says it, without first turning back to the altar from The Lord be with you; he lifts his eyes and extends and rejoins his hands in the customary gesture; all others, of course, kneel. 

After this dismissal the celebrant and his ministers return to the sacristy and unvest. 

When further revision is contemplated

Series II has been authorized for four years, at the end of which period doubtless it will be revised. It is suggested that attention could well be given to the following points: 

(I) The intercession, in the form given in the general text, is awkward. It would perhaps be better if after a suitable introduction (forming a complete grammatical sentence), direction simply be given that prayers were to be bidden for (a) the Church and its needs, naming the bishop of the diocese, (b) the world and civil authorities, praying for the sovereign by name, (c) any local needs, naming as may be those for whom prayers are desired, and (d) the departed, also by name; the whole concluding with a suitable (and perhaps variable) collect. The intermediate minicollects are not very happy, and could well be omitted. 

(2) The form of general confession is rather too subjective for use in a service such as this; it would be better replaced by the short form We confess … , as in Series I. 

(3) The prayer of humble access is again far too subjective in form, and could well be replaced by something more objective. Dare it be suggested that the Roman form Lord I am not worthy . . . be said at communion-time? 

(4) The place of the Agnus Dei is perfectly sound when a short musical setting is used. But if a lengthy one is used it involves the action at the altar being suspended while the choir sing it out. It is difficult to see just how to overcome this without recasting the whole rite at this place; but the point is worth consideration. And could not the rubric be amended to permit the saying of the Agnus Dei when the service is not sung?

Rochester: W. Knott & Son, 1968.

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Venango County Rials

Compiled by Richard Mammana, 1998-2022

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Episcopal-Polish National Catholic Intercommunion (book announcement)

Intercommunion between the Episcopal Church and the Polish National Catholic Church: An Introduction and Sourcebook
By Richard J. Mammana Jr. (Author, Editor), Warren C. Platt (Introduction)
ISBN 9798402891548, paperback, 140 pages, $15.99. Book and cover design by Dom Benedict Andersen OSB.

The Episcopal Church and the Polish National Catholic Church—an American-based church formed in the early 1900s as an expression of Polish-American self-determination in religious life— participated in a local intercommunion agreement between 1946 and 1978. (The Anglican Church of Canada was also a party to this relationship during a slightly different period of time.) This local manifestation of Anglican-Old Catholic full communion, which itself began in the 1931 Bonn Agreement, involved practical sharing of Eucharistic fellowship, exchange in theological education, common responsibility for military and university chaplaincy, and ongoing theological-ecumenical discussions. It was the primary ecumenical relationship for each church during the twentieth century.

The proceedings of the 14 meetings of the intercommunion commissions and committees have until now been available only in typescript in scattered repositories. This first edition of the commissions’ minutes—supplemented by an extensive introduction—offers an unprecedented look at the practical working-out of an ecumenical relationship that ended in unilateral suspension over the question of the ordination of women. It will be useful to scholars of Anglicanism, Old Catholicism, ecumenical relations, ecclesiology, women’s ordination, Polish American studies, and conflict resolution.

Richard J. Mammana, Jr. is Associate for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations at the Episcopal Church Center in New York. The founder of, he is a member of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a parishioner at Christ Church, New Haven.

The Reverend Dr. Warren C. Platt is a priest of the Diocese of New York, and associate priest at the Church of the Transfiguration, New York. He is a retired reference librarian of the General Research Division of the New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.

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Dutch Strain in the American Episcopate (1915)

To the Editor of The Living Church:
WITH reference to the report and article on the above subject in THE LIVING CHURCH of the 20th inst., it is difficult to say whether I am more astonished at the groundless statements, the spirit underlying the report and article, or their appearance in the columns of a journal devoted to the work of the American Church and the standing of your paper.
In passing over the reference to “wandering gentlemen”—the judgment on the taste and language of this paragraph I will submit to readers of THE LIVING CHURCH, with a pious hope however that a few of them may wander about in the writer’s social circle.
The writer whilst acknowledging that my participation at the consecration of the Bishop of Cuba “introduced an element that, so far as it goes, would cure the alleged defects in Anglican Orders” which Pope Leo XIII. deemed of sufficient importance to invalidate those orders, yet in his opinion even an event of such far-reaching consequence as that seems insignificant in comparison to what he fears may have occurred—the violation of the letter of some canon, for he quotes with keen approval, evidently, the short-sighted action of Bishop Nicholson at the consecration of Bishop Weller, but every student of Church history to-day knows that on that historic occasion the American Church missed a unique opportunity which the sainted and learned Bishop Grafton of Fond du Lac clearly saw would constitute an important step towards the unity of Christendom. Unfortunately the narrower policy prevailed and the Anglican Church still stands to-day where she then stood, alone—not in communion with any of the other historic Churches of Christendom. Yet the article would still have the Church to-day persist in that calamitous policy-emulate the Bourbons-never learn from experience.
The statement that a technical question only was at issue in regard to that proposed act of full communion, it is difficult to reconcile with the fact that the Bishops named belonged to Churches which were not in communion with the Anglican Church, and, notwithstanding the recognition extended by the House of Bishops and Lambeth Conference, that recognition was all on one side, as subsequent official Russian and Old Catholic decisions only too clearly indicated, so that the action of the Bishops was a purely personal
I am also a member of the Dutch Old Catholic Episcopate, with one intermediary step, as the article truly asserts, precisely in the same order of succession as Monseigneur Herzog, who was consecrated by Bishop Reinkens, and the statement that I “belong to no ecclesiastical body that has been accorded the first vestige of recognition by any Anglican Body” is absolutely untrue, as there are several priests to-day serving in the American Church on Archbishop Mathew’s ordination, some of whom are not many miles from your editorial chair, and not merely priests, but there is also a Bishop of the same orders serving as rector in the Church in America. Even in my own case, I was licensed in an American diocese after my arrival here four months ago. Whilst in England there are two priests at this moment on the same orders licensed and serving in the diocese of London. If these cases do not constitute “a vestige of recognition” perhaps THE LIVING CHURCH will kindly tell us what does. The assertion based again on “common repute,” that I am “only one of a number of gentlemen occupying the like status,” is even more inaccurate than the next report quoted about certificates but which is also incorrect.
Another sweeping and glaring misstatement is that I am one of a number of men admitted to Episcopal Orders in a manner that is ecclesiastically irregular. Here I presume he assumed that I was consecrated by Archbishop Mathew after the resolution of the Bishops of the Union of Utrecht, but as usual it is an erroneous assumption, for although Archbishop Mathew claimed autonomy for the Church in Great Britain and Ireland from the Metropolitan see of Utrecht in 1911, the case was only formally and ecclesiastically pronounced upon at the Old Catholic Congress at Cologne in August, 1913, when the Old Catholic Bishops declared that they found themselves compelled to declare that “they regard as ended their ecclesiastical relations with Bishop Mathew.” This official breach of union between the Continental and English Old Catholics took place some time after my consecration as Regionary Bishop of Scotland. His relations with the Anglican Church, which were gradually straining since the publication of his pamphlet on Anglican Orders, were finally broken off when the Revised Order of Corporate Reunion was founded, through which he as prelate of the order and his Suffragan Bishop conditionally reördained about four hundred priests (mostly beneficed) of the Anglican Church who doubted their own orders; most of these men are still serving in the Church of England.
As Archbishop Mathew and his Bishops, priest, and people were received into union with the Orthodox Church of the East on the fifth of August, 1911, by the Prince Bishop of Beyrouth, consequently those priests of the 0. C. R. are in full communion with the Russian and other Greek Churches.
The assertion that Bishop Mathew has consecrated to the Episcopate “several parties, including myself, whether we accept the statement literally or in the sense in which it is generally understood among the class where such language is current, it is equally inaccurate, for since the establishment of the Old Catholic Church in Great Britain and Ireland and Archbishop Mathew’s consecration for this work by the Archbishop of Utrecht in 1908, he has consecrated altogether seven Bishops, and two of these had previously been nominated Monsignori by Rome, and have since, together with another Bishop, also an ex-Roman Catholic, returned to the Communion of that Church. Another Bishop, as already stated, is serving in the American Church in this country, whilst yet another is prelate of the Order of Corporate Reunion and Suffragan for the Archiepiscopal diocese: one is engaged in diocesan work in England, so I am the only “solitary wandering gentleman” left, and as my wandering to this country was at the suggestion of the Archbishop of Canterbury-of which the Presiding Bishop at the consecration was of course cognizant–I am afraid the solicitude expressed for the Church of England as to any possible embarrassment is misplaced.
Article VIII, Constitutions, quoted in the article, has no bearing whatever on the subject, and although Article VII refers to a “declaration,” it is not applicable to the present case.
I cannot help here contrasting the courtesy I received at the hands of the daily press, with its absence from certain Church journals, for when false reports were sent to some leading New York papers questioning my identity, consecration, and titles, they made full enquiries and enabled me to prove everything, and then amply apologized for the trouble they had given me.
As this letter contains nothing beyond a mere justification of my position, I shall rely on your courtesy and kindness to accord it the same prominence as the report and article, by inserting it in full. Thanking you in anticipation,
I am, yours very truly,

[It is always a misfortune to have questions of courtesy involved with questions of fact and of duty. With respect to any questions of the first nature, if we have been guilty of discourtesy to our correspondent we tender full apology. But the questions of fact and duty cannot thereby be altered. Our correspondent signs himself “Old Catholic Bishop” and now states, “I am also a member of the Dutch Old Catholic Episcopate with one intermediary step.” But two members of the last Old Catholic Congress in Europe, one of them a Bishop, have written us to say that no such Bishop was known to them, and our correspondent’s name does not appear in the list of Bishops of the Old Catholic Churches of Europe in the official year book of that body; while as to his status of Prince, if the embassy at Washington of the nation that recognizes that title would certify to it, any embarrassing misunderstanding would quickly be relieved. A statement has been published from the Austro-Hungarian consulate general in New York that no such title is known to any of the members of that office and that it is not listed in any of the state year books or almanacs available to them. We are not maintaining that these considerations ought to be treated as conclusive, and certainly if “the suggestion of the Archbishop of Canterbury” that our correspondent should come to the American Church was expressed in letters of introduction, clearly showing that the regularity of his consecration had been affirmatively passed upon by the Primate and commending him as Bishop to the American Church, much deference would very properly be shown to such letters. But our point is that the questions thus involved are sufficiently delicate to be referred to the House of Bishops, which has heretofore assumed jurisdiction, relieving individual Bishops of responsibility, when questions have arisen relating to the status of Bishops of foreign ordination whose title was perhaps not altogether clear upon its face. And the same reason that impels the caution of the “official Russian and Old Catholic” bodies, with respect to participation in a consecration within a Church not recognized by them as in full communion, must necessarily weigh equally with the American Church. But as to the incident relating to the consecration of the present Bishop of Fond du Lac, the editor carefully abstained from expressing sympathy with either of the two positions taken by Bishops participating, and prefers to continue that reticence. Our correspondent’s inference as to the editor’s sympathy must therefore be recognized as inference only, and not as receiving the editor’s endorsement by virtue of the fact of its publication.—EDITOR]
The Living Church (Milwaukee), April 17, 1915, pp. 826-827.

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The Revised Order of Corporate Reunion (1912)

By D. J. Scannell O’Neill
London, just now, seems to have more than her due share of bishops. Of course the only real bishop there is he who sits in S. Augustine’s chair at Westminster, holding authority from the Chief Bishop of Christendom. But unfortunately, certain men refuse him obedience and set up rival altars, despite the anathema levelled against such practice by S. Cyprian and the other Fathers of the Church.
Of these hireling shepherds we have the Protestant Bishop of London, Dr. Mathew (of whom we wrote in a former article); Dr. Herford, consecrated by the Jacobites; Dr. Marsh-Edwards, consecrated by Vilatte; Dr. Whitebrook, consecrated by the infamous Miraglia, and the two bishops, Howarth and Beale (Catholic priests of the diocese of Nottingham), lately consecrated by Mathew. Egerton, another of Mathew’s bishops, a few weeks since informed the Tablet that he was on the point of making his submission to the Holy See.
Dr. Mathew, after starting out on a kind of No Popery crusade, and finding it would not work, and that his offers of the episcopate to Father Paul of Graymoor, and the Rev. Spencer Jones, were indignantly rejected, has now decided to revive the Order of Corporate Reunion, made notorious by Dr. Frederick George Lee and Dr. Mossman, both of whom, however, submitted to Rome on their deathbed.
To foster interest in his reunion work, Dr. Mathew publishes a monthly magazine which he styles the Torch. Like everything else that Mathew attempts (save bishoping) the Torch is admirable after a fashion. In a late number we read the following concerning the purpose and plans of the revised society.
Since the extinction of the Order of Corporate Re-Union by the death of its three Bishops, the Rt. Rev. Frederick George Lee, of All Saints, Lambeth, the Rt. Rev. Thomas W. Mossman, of Torrington, and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Seccombe, who were all of them consecrated to the episcopate by the Most Eminent Lord Cardinal Archbishop of Milan in his domestic chapel, no definite step has been taken in the direction of Corporate Reunion with the Holy See.
The letter of Sacerdos Hibernicus in the Torch Monthly Review, of May 15, created a profound interest and brought together a body of persons who decided to revive the old Order of Corporate Reunion.
Facing the facts, that the Roman Church has repeatedly denied the validity of Anglican Orders, and that the ordinations of the Church of England are not recognized by any church claiming to be Catholic, the promoters of the Revived Order felt that all doubt must be set at rest so far as the Orders of clerical members were concerned, and they appealed to Archbishop Mathew, of the Old Roman Catholic Church, asking if he would accept the position of Honorary Prelate of the Order, and in that capacity give conditional ordination to such members as had received Anglican Ordination. His Grace replied expressing his willingness to become the Honorary Prelate of the Order and conditionally ordain such members as are clergy of the Established Church and who, having received conditional Baptism and the Sacrament of Confirmation, sign a profession of the Catholic Faith.
The Archbishop stipulated that it must be made perfectly clear to all concerned that his services, in connection with this delicate and important matter, will be given on the express condition that no fee, stipend or reward of any description whatever should be offered to or will be accepted by him.
The Order has now started on its way and seeks to enroll members. Mere Ritualists are not invited, but earnest-minded Catholics who sincerely desire to help forward the work of Corporate Reunion with the Holy See will be cordially welcomed.
The most charitable construction to be placed on this latest move of Dr. Mathew is that he is not mentally sound. Being an Irishman, it is strange that he has not sufficient humor to see the absurdity of falling away from the Catholic Church in order to assist others to unite with the Holy See.
The Fortnightly Review, XIX:18 (1912), pp. 515-516.

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Pacifico Murder Trial (1905)

The Allentown Morning Call newspaper carried the following short notice in its July 18, 1905 edition on page 7:

The victim, Mary Capona, is Maria Capone (March 5, 1895—April 20, 1903), who is buried in the “Old Cemetery” (Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Cemetery) in Roseto. She is listed in the U.S. Federal Census for 1900 as having been born in Pennsylvania to Michael Capone (September 3, 1850-December 25, 1927). He arrived in New York on June 2, 1888 from Naples on the steamer Cachemire in one of the major early groups of immigrants from Roseto Valfortore in eastern peninsular Italy who settled in Pennsylvania. Her mother Carmela Capone—identified in the article as Carmella Capona—was born Carmela Sabatino (November 7, 1858—March 16, 1938) in Roseto Valfortore and arrived in the United States on May 15, 1889.

“Elano Pacifico” is Adelina Pacifico, one of the first Italian Americans born in the major settlement of Roseto in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, on August 11, 1892—and my great great grandmother.

In the next newspaper mention on December 9, 1905, page 12, Adelina is called “Elina:”

On December 11, 1905, the case was quashed by Judge Henry Wyatt Scott (1864-1914), for whom Scott Park at the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh rivers is named:

Adelina was married six years later in May 1911 to Donato DeCesare (April 18, 1885—May 31, 1953). She gave birth to two daughters who died in infancy, and raised five surviving children: Carmela Anna DeCesare Mammana (1913-2012), Nicholas Alphonso DeCesare (1915-1992), Jane (Jennie) DeCesare Bossert (1916-1988), Lawrence DeCesare (1919-2018), and Vivian Flora DeCesare Gualberti (1926-2016). She was a member of St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church in Easton, and she died in that city on March 9, 1971. She is buried in the New Catholic Cemetery at Roseto.

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Erie County Mammanas from Messina


February 14, 2022 · 4:29 pm

Andaloro e Mammana in San Cataldo, Caltanisetta

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February 13, 2022 · 7:11 am

A Forgotten Memorial, by Duncan Convers (1921)

For some of us one day stands out in our spiritual and religious life above all others; when after a long struggle with ourselves we knelt down to tell the story of our sins to the merciful and compassionate Father, Son and Holy Ghost who declarest almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity, while vividly realizing that His priest too would hear, whose words of human sympathy would help our efforts to repent. Later, he gave us absolution in the form printed in the English service for the Visitation of the Sick. We heard them; “and there was a great calm.” Others can say: “I owe the victory over my habitual faults, under God, to the steady, persistent pressure of my confessor.” To whom are we indebted for this privilege? Each recalls different names; but all can mention one, who sleeps now in Grove Street Cemetery in the heart of New Haven, Oliver Sherman Prescott. The younger readers never saw him; the middle aged only when he was growing old and failing in powers; the older remember him in his prime; but few recall the years 1850 to 1853, when he faced in Boston four Church courts eager to punish him for the crime of willingness to hear confessions and give absolution; since no sworn testimony was presented that he had actually done so in a single instance. As there was then no court of error, appeal or review (call it what you please) he risked a sentence of “displacement” or “degradation”—which we now call “deposition.” Yet he and his proctor bravely fought it through, forcing even that court to hold that to teach confession and absolution was no “heresy”; at most a mere “irregularity.” The court had been ruled in some respects by general canons, in others by diocesan; therefore it was not strange that Bishop Eastburn and Dr. Slater held it to be essentially general and unlimited, in certain ways; while such an authority as Bishop Whittingham, doubtless upheld by Judge Chambers and Hugh Davey Evans, pronounced its sentence to be “irregular, illegal and of no force” outside Massachusetts. His letter is in the library of the General Theological Seminary.
The assertions of the Memorial can all be corroborated from other documents as accurate, except one, possibly two. Even the letters between Father Prescott and the diocesan authorities proposing a different certificate are bound up with pamphlets in vol. III of “Episcopal Tracts” in the Massachusetts Diocesan Library. The Memorial says four trials. Only three have come down. The fourth was not printed, probably. In the first, the court quashed the presentment as clearly insufficient; the Bishop named the second court, whose unfairness to the accused and discourtesy to his proctor, Mr. R. H. Dana, Jr. (author of “Two Years before the Mast”) was such as to make the reader angry, or send him into convulsions of laughter at its caricatures of justice and what a court should be or do. The last is the only trial upon the merits or in which any sworn evidence appears. The quashed presentment is amusing now; they proposed to try him for making his own voluntary confession, and gravely assumed that his faith in transubstantiation was shown by his turning his back to the people when pronouncing the usual ascription after the sermon! But the President of the Standing Committee had the grace to withdraw these at the trial. By the time the matter got to the General Convention all the fun was drained off, only bitter dregs remained. Here is the memorial never hitherto printed.

To the Right Reverend Fathers in God, the Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: The humble petition of Oliver Sherman Prescott, Presbyter, canonically resident in the Diocese of Massachusetts, showeth that he, your son and servant in Christ desiring to approach your venerable Body does acknowledge with a glad mind and ready will his duty of obedience to you as the representatives of the Church of God whose voice he is to hear and whose faith he is to teach in order to his own salvation and the salvation of those who may be committed to his charge.
That he does acknowledge in accordance with the constitution and canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church his amenability to the Bishop of the Diocese in which he is canonically resident.
That he entreats your consideration of the following statement:
That your petitioner has been presented for trial by the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Massachusetts to the Right Reverend Dr. Eastburn, Bishop thereof on charge of heresy and has been tried by a Court appointed for that purpose and has been found “not guilty of any offence for which he was presented, that notwithstanding this by a strange proceeding he has been suspended from all exercise of his clerical function until such time as he shall furnish to the Right Reverend Manton Eastburn, D.D., a certificate in the form following:
“I, the Reverend Oliver Sherman Prescott, Presbyter of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Massachusetts do hereby, ex animo, promise hereafter to refrain from teaching and inculcating that a Presbyter of this Church has authority to pronounce private absolution upon private confession, and from the practice of the same, except as it may be necessary in the Office for the
Visitation of Prisoners in which a prescribed form is provided or in the emergency which might arise in the administration of the Communion to one sick with a contagious disease.”
II. That this certificate is given wholly upon the differences between the Prayer Book of the Church of England and that of the Protestant Episcopal Church; and is a construction of those differences in direct contradiction of the Records of your House and dangerous to the peace and unity which so happily exists between those Churches.
III. That your petitioner is now bound by all the vows which the wisdom of the Church has imposed upon her ministers and therefore ought not to be required to take any others upon him.
IV. That the sentence is one not known to the Church. The canons provide but three sentences; viz., degradation, suspension and admonition, while this sentence is to sign a certain certificate unauthorized by canon, and without warrant of precedent. For refusing such illegal signature your petitioner is sentenced to a suspension so severe that it lacketh but in name the force of degradation.
V. That more than six months ago your petitioner offered to the Bishop, Right Reverend Manton Eastburn, D.D., a certificate mostly in the wording of that required by him, substituting in the place of “hereafter” the sentence “while I am under the actual and canonical jurisdiction of the Right Reverend Manton Eastburn, D.D.,” and for the expression “this Church” “the Church in this diocese,” which certificate was rejected by the Right Reverend Manton Eastburn, D.D., on the ground that it was limited in its terms, which fact proves that according to the mind of the imposer the vow required is intended to bind your petitioner to the Bishop of Massachusetts when he may have passed under the jurisdiction of another of your honorable body.
VI. That had the object of the Right Reverend Manton Eastburn, D.D., been to hinder in his diocese the giving of private absolution it could have been accomplished without public proceedings of any kind, since your petitioner acknowledged the full jurisdiction of any Bishop to hinder any priest in the exercise of that function and the word of a Bishop would be law to your petitioner, inasmuch as he believes that absolution given against the Episcopal command would be illegal.
VII. That though now more than three years since proceedings were commenced against your petitioner, during this time he has been subjected to four trials, and that through no offence of his own, but because of irregularities on the part of the ecclesiastical authority; that not only for three years has he been deprived of all manner of livelihood, but he has been involved in heavy expense, which he could not have borne but for the kindness of his father, and that he has submitted to these things and has abstained from the means of redress which were open to him because he desired above all things the good of the Church and had faith enough to believe that to her assemblies under the guidance of the Holy Ghost his grievances had but to be told to find redress.
Therefore, your petitioner, having this statement before him, believing himself to be unjustly condemned, uncanonically sentenced by the Right Reverend Manton Eastburn, D.D., Bishop of Massachusetts, and professing his entire and dutiful obedience to the Church of which you are the Right Reverend Fathers and Governors, and his confidence in the alacrity with which you will seek to do justice to an injury, your dutiful son and servant comes to your honorable body and humbly prays that you will be pleased to entertain this his petition and grant him relief from the disabilities under which he is illegally suffering. And your petitioner as in duty bound will ever pray.
(Signed) OLIVER SHERMAN PRESCOTT, Presbyter of the Diocese of Massachusetts.
New York City, October 10, 1853.

Had the memorial declared the accused to be “not guilty of any offence with which he was charged,” it would have been more accurate. The court held that certain specifications in the presentment were established as facts, but which they also held did not “sustain the charge.” For example, his sermon had styled St. Mary a “sinless mother,” thus holding the virgin birth; quite a different matter from making her an object of worship, the charge. He was guilty of the specification; not guilty of the charge. Mention of the “means of redress” open to him, refers to what he might have gained had he done as some of his friends and correspondents urged, ask a civil court for a writ of mandamus. In 1853 the suspended Bishop of New York was importuned to take that course, as in the opinion of such men as Horace Binney, Chief Justice Jones, of New York; Judge Redfield, of Vermont, and others, was sure to gain the desired end. But neither the Bishop nor the priest consented thus to “appeal to Cæsar.”
1853 may seem like ancient history, yet Dr. Muhlenberg and the others sent their memorial to that General Convention asking for a kind of concordat to unify American Protestant Christianity, which sounds not so very ancient after all. Party strife, more heated than today, made the discipline of the clergy the “burning question” of the time. The cases of Bishop Ives, of North Carolina, the suspended Bishops of Pennsylvania and New York, the failure to condemn the Bishop of New Jersey, brought Episcopal discipline to the fore. Father Prescott’s case brought a priest’s trial into the arena. It seemed like the attempt of Bishop Eastburn, assisted by his standing committee and many of his diocesan clergy, to meet the wish expressed by Bishop McIlvaine in his letter to Bishop Hopkins (see the latter’s “Life,” p. 235); “Go on, lead us all, dear brother, in faithfulness and boldness. We want boldness and unsparingness in these days. Be sure we must get to discipline, now that the truth is being undermined on every side; and then, when the hand of discipline is put out, and some Puseyite, distinctly for Puseyism, is disciplined, the real fire of our furnace will begin. But we must not fear! I see with you the necessity of a court of appeal in certain cases.” The partisan outburst of political methods over the Episcopal election in Pennsylvania in 1827 deepened in the General Convention of 1835, when a noble effort for missions was spoiled by a plan whereby party spirit was not only forseen but provided for, not provided against, was receiving its reward in the embittered trials of the decade. After 1853, the bitterness lessened. The astonishing sentence and decision in the Prescott case are summed up by a Maryland lawyer, a deputy to that convention in the True Catholic for March, 1852. “He has been convicted upon a charge, of which the court says he is not guilty, upon testimony which they suppose to have proved an offence not known to our ecclesiastical laws; but which did not, in fact, prove that offence, but only a willingness to do an act, which itself was not an offence known to our ecclesiastical laws.
Nor is the sentence less remarkable than the conviction. It sentences him neither to admonition, suspension or degradation, the only three punishments which our Church authorizes; but to sign a certain declaration, and if he does not, he is to be suspended, not for the offence, of which he has been so strangely convicted, but for not signing the document. The document is so worded as to require the unfortunate gentleman to declare by implication, that the Church of England teach false doctrine. We regret that the Bishop of Massachusetts has confirmed so extraordinary a decision. Mr. Prescott has refused compliance with this unauthorized sentence and has, in a respectful letter to his Bishop, as signed reasons which in our judgment are unanswerable.”
Without knowing the exact words in which Judge Chambers introduced the memorial into the House of Deputies and on request stated its object, the remarks in the discussion make it almost certain that he regarded it as a kind of petition for a court of appeal.
—Duncan Convers, “A Forgotten Memorial” in The New American Church Monthly, Vol. X, No. 4, (December, 1921) pp. 347-354.

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