Category Archives: Order of Corporate Reunion

Order of Corporate Reunion (1880)

The Triennial synod of this organisation was held in London yesterday, all the bishops of the order being present. Mass, according to the ancient Sarum rite, was said by the Bishop of Caerleon, and the synod was duly constituted under the presidency of the rector. A circular to the members of the order was approved, certain practical rules and regulations enacted, and the following protest was signed by the rector, Thomas, Pro-Provincial of Canterbury; Joseph, Provincial of York; and Lawrence, Provincial of Caerleon:—”In our first pastoral set forth on the 8th of September, 1877, we had occasion to protest against certain evil results of the long course of change, usurpation, and revolution which has prevailed in the public policy of our country, and which has disturbed all our own landmarks in Church and State, and grievously confounded all social order. It is now necessary, not only to renew that protest, but to include in it an instance which shows a still wider departure from the ancient line of the British Constitution. The subject upon which we are impelled by a sense of duty to make our public protest is weighty and grievous. It is the admission of an avowed and aggressive infidel into the Legislature of this country, against which we note with sorrow that not one of the bishops of the Established Church has lifted up his voice. The circumstances attending this lamentable proceeding are beyond expression distressing and shameful and, closely following upon it, we hear voices raised in favour of removing every check to the caprices of that assembly which has distinguished itself by the admission into its body of the individual to whom we are referring. Englishmen and fellow Christians, we solemnly protest against this iniquity, in the name of God.”

The Morning Post (London), September 9, 1880, p. 5.

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At All Saints’, Lambeth (1899)

THE services at All Saints’, Lambeth, where the Rev. F. G. Lee, D.D., has been Vicar for thirty-two years, have long been notorious. The following report of a choral celebration of Holy Communion fully justifies the reputation which the church has obtained.

The district of All Saints’, Lambeth, embraces some of the most squalid parts of South London. The church is situated in a by-street just off the thoroughfare widely known as the Lower Marsh, which runs from Waterloo Road to Westminster Bridge Road. The Vicar—the Rev. Dr. Lee—who has been there a great many years, has for a long time been associated with the “Catholic revival,” and in regard to both doctrine and ritual it has been always understood that you could be sure of the “correct thing” at All Saints’. Moreover, Dr. Lee is one of the clergymen connected with the Order of Corporate Reunion. It is commonly reported that he looks upon Rome with a tender eye, and there is reason to believe that whatever doubts certain advanced clergy may have about the validity of their Orders, he has absolutely none about his own. It is, too, an interesting indication of the Vicar’s sympathies that amongst the numerous cards at the west end of the church, begging you of your charity to pray for the repose of the soul of So-and-so, is one bearing the name of Cardinal Newman.

I do not know for how long All Saints’ has been notorious for its “Catholic” services, but certainly the church was never built for a display of advanced ritual. It does not even possess a chancel; it has an apse instead. But any difficulty on this score has been removed by the erection across the nave of the church of a wooden screen of slender build, and surmounted by a crucifix and six candles. Within this screen sat choir and clergy. The choir was not a large one, but two of the men had brass instruments, so there was a good volume of sound. Contrary to general custom the clergy seats are at the east end of the stalls farthest away from the people. The High Altar is in the apse. Just below the steps leading to the High Altar there are three chairs, and behind them a large reading-desk, all placed so that anyone using them would be facing eastwards. There are two side-altars, and the whole appearance of the east end seemed rather to suggest that of a not too well-kept Roman Catholic chapel. The church itself looked dirty and decayed; but it is clear that other things at All Saints’ need restoring besides the fabric.

The church seats something like 2000 people, for there are deep galleries along either side and at the west end; but on Sunday morning last, when I was present at Matins and at the choral celebration, it was almost empty. The congregation consisted of two men (one of whom was myself), eight women, and seven children, and of these one woman and two children left the church during the progress of the service. It is quite evident, therefore, that whatever may be the influence of Catholic doctrine and high ritual amongst the leisured classes of the West, they have no power to attract the masses of this parish. It was a melancholy sight-a congregation of seventeen in a church capable of holding 2000, and Dr. Lee, standing before the High Altar, attired in gorgeous vestments and celebrating the Communion to the accompaniment of organ, trumpets, and choir.

Of the service itself not much need be said. It followed the lines with which the reader is by this time familiar, except that the ritual was less ornate than that to be seen at the West End. But seeing that the offertories are so small in amount it is obvious that the strictest economy must be practised. Dr. Lee announced from the altar that on the previous Sunday they amounted to one shilling in the morning and two shillings at night, and threepence at a celebration during the week.

For the celebration there were four candles lighted at the High Altar. Dr. Lee was the celebrant. He wore a green chasuble, and was attended by a lad who acted as server. The Introit having been sung, he began the service at the north side of the altar, only crossing to the south side for the Collect and Epistle, both of which he read facing eastwards. He recrossed to the north side for the Gospel, but before he read it he bowed towards the elements. The sermon-a very short one-was preached by the curate, who, as he passed the small altar in the north aisle on his way to and from the pulpit, ostentatiously bowed towards it. But there was no other evidence of the Reserved Sacrament being there. During the offertory hymn Dr. Lee went to the south corner of the altar and washed his fingers with some water that was brought to him by the server from the credence table, and wiped them with a towel. Returning to the centre of the altar he read the Prayer for the Church Militant, adding to the clause, “And we also bless Thy Holy Name for all Thy servants departed this life in Thy faith and fear,” the words “Particularly those for whom we are bound to pray.” During the singing of the Sanctus the sacring-bell was rung three times by the server, and the celebrant bowed his head over the elements. The Prayer of Consecration was said with the accompaniments usual at such churches, the Benedictus was sung as a preliminary to it; during its recital the sacring-bell was rung at the words “This is My Body,” and again at the words “This is My Blood”; the host was elevated and the celebrant genuflected before the consecrated elements; and at the close the Agnus Dei was sung.

There were no communicants. Dr. Lee turned to the people with the paten in his hand, but no one approached, and he resumed the service. It seems strange that when the service is merely a Mass and not a Communion that the celebrant should not hesitate to use the prayer which contains the words “humbly beseeching Thee, that all we, who are partakers of this Holy Communion …”; but Dr. Lee used it on Sunday as I have heard other priests use it under precisely similar circumstances. The service was then brought to a close. In pronouncing the blessing Dr. Lee made the sign of the cross three times at the mention of the Trinity. A hymn was sung while the ablutions were being performed, and the service finally concluded with the singing of the Nunc Dimittis.

It is hardly necessary to comment upon a service of this kind; it carries with it its own condemnation.

The Roman Mass in the English Church: Illegal Services Described by Eye-Witnesses, Reprinted by Permission from The Record, with Introduction and Notes (London: Charles J. Thynne, 1899), pp. 50-53.

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A Chapter of Secret History (1922, 1945)

Being an Account of some little-known Bishops in the Nineteenth Century in England and of some facts in the history of the Order of Corporate Reunion
By Mar Francis Ernest Langhelt of the Free Anglo-Catholic Church
Reprinted at Glastonbury in 1945 by kind permission of the Church Times from its issue of April 28th, 1922, page 445.

In the years before 1866 desire for reunion with the historic Churches of the East and West had been shown very clearly in the Church of England. A petition, signed by some of the most influential of the Tractarian clergy, for instance, begged the first Pan-Anglican Conference of Bishops in 1867 to give effect to that desire. But the approach to the Christians of the East was in part affected by the controversy which had been aroused by the appointment of a Bishop at Jerusalem jointly by the Church of England and by the Lutheran Church of Prussia in 1841, a scheme which came to an end actually in 1881, and formally in 1886.

Among the bodies of Eastern Christians in Palestine the Jacobite Syrians have commonly delegated one of their bishops to deal with external affairs, a sort of Minister for Foreign Affairs, in fact, with the title of “Metropolitan of the World.” In 1865 this post was held by the Bishop of Emesa, M. V. Bedros, whose official title in his see was that of Peter the Humble, but whose name in religion had been Julius. Later he became Patriarch of Antioch under the title of Ignatius.

At Emesa on June 2, 1866, this Bishop consecrated M. Jules Ferrette to be a Missionary Bishop under the style of Julius, Bishop of Iona. The appointment was considered akin to the appointment of a Bishop in Jerusalem by the Crowns of England and Prussia, but it possessed this advantage; M. Ferrette had studied both the Presbyterian and Anglican systems, had become convinced of their worth and had been in touch with their Missions in the East. The new Bishop of Iona therefore came to represent the Jacobite Syrians in Europe.

Bishop Ferrette had had a wide experience. He had been a Dominican, professed in 1850 as Brother Raymond, Cardinal Patrizi had ordained him priest at St. John’s, Lateran, and his first Mass had been served by a fellow-ordinand, Edward Henry, afterwards Cardinal Howard (1829-1892). In 1860 M. Ferrette developed opinions about the divisions among Christians which he held to be inconsistent with his office in the Roman Communion, and these opinions led him to issue in 1865 an Arabic Liturgy, the first of a long series of liturgical and other pamphlets which may be found in the catalogue of the British Museum library, and which ended with a work published at Geneva nearly fifty years later (1903), Les Rites Essentiels du Christianisme, which gives defective forms for conferring the Sacraments.

In 1866 Bishop Ferrette, or to give him his official title, Julius of Iona, came to England and showed to various English clergy interested in Reunion his Letters of Consecration, avouched as genuine by the British Consul at Damascus, Mr. Rogers. Perhaps the most interesting and permanent record of Bishop Ferrette’s stay in England was his acquaintance with the very learned Dr. John Thomas Seccombe, who was then practising medicine in Norfolk. In 1867 Dr. Seccombe made a translation of the Great Catechism of the Orthodox Church, as well as a translation of the Holy Canons of the Seven Œcumenic Synods (published by Messrs. Simpkin, Marshall and Co.), which state that they are printed by authority of the Bishop of Iona.”

On September 20, 1866, Julius, Bishop of Iona, published in London The Eastern Liturgy, adapted for use in the West, with the object of promoting the Unity of Christendom. In the Pastoral prefixed to this book the Bishop declared himself “ready to give Holy Orders to pious and learned men, who, being duly elected, will declare themselves willing to conform to this Liturgy.”

To what extent this offer was accepted is not known. The Bishop of Iona presently settled abroad, first at Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A., later at Lausanne, and finally at Geneva. But whilst in England he consecrated as bishop an English priest, Richard Williams Morgan, to whom he delegated his functions. Bishop Morgan was grandson of John Williams (1745-1818), the well known Welsh priest who, for forty years, was Master of Ystrad-Meyric Grammar School. His mother married Richard Morgan, sometime Vicar of Llanvair Bala. Ordained deacon in 1841, priest in 1842, by the Bishop of St. David’s on the title of the perpetual curacy of Moughtrey, Montgomeryshire, from 1843 to 1853 he held the benefice of Tregynon, diocese of St. Asaph. He was a genius and eccentric, attacked his Bishop, Dr. Vowler Short, and 1855 requested the Archbishop of Canterbury to remove him on account of his ignorance of Welsh. Morgan was obsessed with a vision of a British Church which should restore the doctrine and discipline of the days before St. Augustine of Canterbury.

He held various curacies in England; from 1870 to 1874 he was at Marholm in Northamptonshire, which he left for Mapledurham in Oxfordshire, where he became acquainted with Reginald Blount, who was later connected with the Order of Corporate Reunion. Here he was consecrated by Bishop Ferrette, having been previously conditionally baptized, confirmed, and conditionally ordained, and here he published a Liturgy of the Ancient British Church under the pseudonym Pelagius. He describes himself as Hierarch of Caerleon. After his consecration he served as curate of Stapleton in Shropshire and last of all of Offord d’Arcy in Huntingdonshire, where he died in 1888. For Morgan’s action in remaining in communion with the English Church it has been urged that a somewhat similar precedent was established by the saintly Thomas Wilson, Bishop of Sodor and Man, when in 1749 he accepted the position of Antecessor of the Anatolian Synod of the Moravians, but it is fair to say that the Bishop was then eighty-six years of age and that there is nothing to prove that the position was more than a titular one—he performed no episcopal acts for them. But Bishop Morgan’s consecration would appear to have taken place with the clear object of furthering Christian reunion.

It has been said above that in 1866 Corporate Reunion was much in the minds of English Churchmen; it was not confined to them.

A practical scheme (suggested by some French Jesuit Fathers, it is said) was outlined in the January number of the magazine, Etudes Religieuses, Historiques et Litteraires for that year. The suggestion was made that Anglican bishops and clergy need not make implicit or explicit disavowal of their orders. “It would appear to suffice that they should submit to the reception of Holy Orders under condition.” This suggestion of conditional re-ordination, as a prelude to Christian unity, was taken up by the Rev. G. Nugee, who interviewed Cardinal Wiseman and then Pope Pius IX.

The account of these interviews given by Nugee was impugned after Cardinal Wiseman’s death by Mgr. Searle (Union Review, September 21, 1867), but the Editor of the Union Review maintained the accuracy of the account. Writers in a correspondence which appeared in 1909 in the Tablet asserted that Pope Pius IX., on the advice of Cardinal Mai authorized subsequently the consecration of the first bishops of the later-formed Order of Corporate Reunion. Whether the Order was suggested by the article or not, the principal object of the Order was to remove the hindrance to the reunion of Christendom by giving, to such clergy as desired it, conditional ordination from a source which would be recognized as valid by the Catholic West and the Orthodox East.

It is stated that at some date after 1866 one Scottish diocesan bishop received consecration from sources which would be recognized universally as valid, and had he lived the hindrance to unity which non-recognition of Anglican Orders entailed might have been removed. But in 1874 an Order of Corporate Reunion was founded owing its inspiration undoubtedly to that devoted worker for the Reunion of Christendom, Mr. Ambrose de Lisle Phillips of Garendon Park, near Loughborough. The Order sought to secure a triple episcopal succession derived from Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox sources, and three bishops for it were consecrated before July, 1877. These were, first, the Rev. F. G. Lee, D.C.L., Vicar of All Saints’, Lambeth, a first-rate antiquary, a poet and a most industrious writer; the list of his publications fills twenty-one pages of the British Museum catalogue. Second, the Rev. Thomas Wimberley Mossman, Rector of East and West Torrington, Lines, a devout and learned man who founded a Brotherhood of the Holy Redeemer there for candidates for Holy Orders; an Order the failure of which was partly due to its founder’s asceticism and to his belief that the living expenses of each member could be compassed upon £20 a year. The third bishop was the learned Norfolk doctor of medicine, J. T. Seccombe of Terrington, already mentioned in connexion with the work of Julius, Bishop of Iona, a county magistrate, a man of letters and an antiquary. Dr. Seccombe was well known to Mr. Ambrose de Lisle; in earlier life he had been a novice at the monastery of Mount St. Bernard which de Lisle had founded, but had returned to the Church of England. These three Bishops were consecrated respectively to the titular sees of Dorchester, Selby and Caerleon. With them were associated Bishop R. W. Morgan, whose consecration by Bishop Ferrette has already been mentioned, the Rev. Dr. Saxton (1806-1889), and the Rev. Joseph Dunne, Vicar of St. Mary’s, Wakefield. Where and by whom the first three bishops were consecrated has never been officially stated. Dr. Lee is believed to have been consecrated by a Greek bishop in communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople, in or near Venice; Dr. Mossman, according to a statement made by the Rev. J. Elphinstone Robertson, who was later ordained by him, was consecrated by the then Archbishop of Milan. The validity (as apart from the regularity, which is another matter) of the orders of these bishops has never, it is believed, been officially denied, but it is most desirable that all particulars of names and dates should be published.

That the men who began the Order acted with perfect sincerity and good faith cannot be doubted, their aim was to heal the divisions in the Church of God. Whether their methods were right and wise aroused much controversy at the time, and the leaders of the Anglo-Catholic Revival in England denounced the movement, as may be seen by a published “Statement of the Society of the Holy Cross” on the matter, issued in 1879. That is a matter of history, and the purpose of this article is historical. What is also historical is that later another bishop was consecrated for the Order by Dr. Lee, Bishop R. W. Morgan, and another prelate. This new bishop was the Rev. Charles Isaac Stevens, who acted as coadjutor to Bishop Morgan, and after his death assumed his title of Bishop of Caerleon. Later Bishop Stevens took a course very different from that designed for the Order of Corporate Reunion, and became associated with another prelate, Leon Chechemian. Chechemian was an Armenian Uniat who became a Protestant, and published an account of his life in a tract, “An Eastern’s Step from Darkness to Light.” On April 23, 1878, he had been consecrated as a Vartabed or Suffragan to his diocesan, but his consecration did not apparently confer the right to ordain to Major Orders. He arrived in London in 1885, and endured strange hardships, being at times a stableman and a sandwich man. In time he became acquainted with extreme Evangelicals, particularly with the head of the Reformed Episcopal Church, Bishop A. Richardson, whose orders were those of the English Church. He became known to Dr. Lee, to Bishop Stevens, to the Bishop of London (Dr. Temple), and to the Archbishop of Dublin, Lord Plunket, who in 1890 granted him a license in his diocese. Chechemian was then offered the headship of the Free Protestant Church of England. To settle any doubt of his status Bishop Stevens offered his assistance and consecrated Chechemian bishop.

Before his death in 1917 Bishop Stevens consecrated or assisted in consecrating two other bishops. One of these was the Rev. Andries Caarel Albertus MacLaglen, on November 2, 1897, the senior consecrator being Bishop Chechemian; and another, G. W. L. Maaers, who went to Spain to assist Senor Cabrera to found a Protestant Church in that country.

It is interesting, and may be of future importance, to note that the Orders possessed by these Protestant bodies, conferred through Chechemian, MacLaglen, and their coadjutors, are free from the objections alleged against Anglican Orders by Roman Catholic controversialists.

So ends a very curious chapter in the history of Holy Orders. Whether the present writer adds to the recital in future years must depend upon the spirit in which this is received. If it provokes harshness of judgment, evil speaking and censure, he will be little encouraged to furnish the detail which really furnishes the basis for its historical study.

He ventures to add this. To those who know how the members of the Order of Corporate Reunion set out with glowing hearts, filled with naught save the Love of God, to seek the unity of all who acknowledge the Name of His Son, this tale of wayward and obscure courses, and of long lives spent amidst waning hope must needs touch very near to the fount of tears. Yet there remains the absolute certainty that whilst the Wisdom of God may delay the desires of men, His Almighty Mercy will by some means, possibly by the strangest, grant to them the vision of their longing, and that, as the woman of Tekoah spoke, He Who is no respecter of persons shall yet devise the way whereby His exiles shall not be utterly banished from Him.

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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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Corporate Reunion [Arnold Harris Mathew and the Order of Corporate Reunion, 1913]

It is difficult to deal adequately with the ecclesiastical vagaries of the gentleman who calls himself Archbishop Mathew, for, drest in no authority whatever (but in a most gorgeous array of Gothic episcopal vestments), he continues to play such fantastic tricks before high Heaven as must surely give the angels cause for some poignant emotion. [We refer to a picture of himself, giving his blessing urbi et orbi, which is presented along with the first issue of The Union Review and may be had for framing, on terms mentioned in that periodical.] His latest enterprize, as announced in The Union Review, intended apparently to be the organ of the body, is to revive the old “Order of Corporate Reunion,” founded by Dr. Lee and others in 1877, and understood to be extinct long ago. But a certain Mr. Oliver Widdrington, writing to the Universe for February 21, protests against the statement that the Order is extinct and repudiates the notion that any surviving members could be so foolish or so ignorant of Catholic principles as to associate themselves with an “heretical Anglo-Dutch schism.” Manifestly one cannot revive what is not dead, and Mr. Widdrington assures us that the old Order is so far alive that it still possesses a “registrar.” However, as this official, according to the same authority, “has not issued notices for many years,” it is not to be wondered at that Archbishop Mathew thought the field clear for a resurrection of the former futile scheme. Readers of the Universe, in which paper a correspondence on the subject has lately appeared, may be puzzled to notice that the “organizing secretary” of the soi-disant revived Order signs himself “Francis Bacon, Bishop,” and gives Archbishop Mathew’s house as his address. I am credibly informed that there is not only an identity of residence but an identity of person between the two, in other words, that Archbishop Mathew uses “Francis Bacon,” one of his noms de plume, a fact which raises curious reflections when we see the two names mentioned separately in the prospectus of the revived Order as its “Honorary Prelates” and notice that “Francis Bacon” sometimes comes forward, for instance, in the Catholic Times of July 19th last year, as the champion of his “friend and superior,” the latter preferring to preserve a dignified silence under attack. Be that as it may, it is plain that the same characteristics of mystery and make-believe which brought to nought the aims of the previous venture are written large over this new attempt.

The whole conception is wrong from the beginning, wrong in its conception, wrong in its methods. God’s message, delivered and authenticated by the Church, is to the individual soul, not to “orders” or “societies.” He who believes that the sect he belongs to should seek reunion with Rome is bound to seek reunion himself, irrespective of the attitude or action of others. “Quid ad te? Tu Me sequere.”To refuse to put oneself personally into harmony with the divinely-appointed organization of the Church, under pretext of doing more for God outside that arrangement, is to assume a wisdom greater than God’s. We notice in these new plans exactly the same fallacies as marked the old, especially the fallacy that sacerdotal and episcopal powers can be lawfully conferred or exercised without jurisdiction, and an inability to see that once one has separated from the Church by schism or heresy one is no longer a Catholic till one has purged oneself of one’s guilt before a competent tribunal. Mr. Mathew may possibly be a Bishop, but he is certainly not a Catholic, he may have orders but he has no mission nor jurisdiction, and his projected association stands condemned, by experience as well as by reason, by its ideals no less than by its methods. If he wishes to re-enter the Fold, he should not try to climb over, much less to burrow under, but should apply to the Keeper of the Door.

—From The Month: An Illustrated Magazine of Literature, Science and Art (London: Longmans, 1913), pp. 294-295.

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