Category Archives: Episcopal Church history

Bishop Grafton on Bishop Peterkin’s “Open Letter” (1911)

To the Editor of The Living Church:[1]

MY good brother, Bishop Peterkin, is in favor of retaining the word Protestant in our Church title because it involves a denial of the Real Presence in the Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, and Sacramental Confession. These doctrines, he holds are Roman errors, repudiated by our Reformers, and not in the Prayer Book. On the other hand, many conservative Churchmen of different schools object to the term “Protestant” because it has come to mean a rejection of authority, of the plenary inspiration of Holy Scripture, of the supernatural generally, and miracles. It echoes the rationalizing spirit of the day, tends to a denial of the Deity of Christ, of the Virgin Birth of Christ, of the Resurrection of the body.

Modern Protestantism stands, therefore, for a decadent Christianity. As conservative and evangelical Churchmen we wish, therefore, to get rid of the title.

In the interests of peace, I would point out that what we Churchmen agree in believing, is not the Roman doctrine but one which is largely repudiated by Protestant sectarianism. We believe in the Real Presence. But our belief does not involve the Roman doctrine of Transubstantiation. Rome makes the manner of the change wrought by the consecration a dogma. We do not pretend to define the manner, but leave it a mystery. The Presence is after a heavenly and spiritual manner, ineffable and sacramental, and not in accordance with natural laws. Sectarian Protestantism denies the Real Presence and regards the Communion as a mere commemoration service. The word Protestant is thus associated with Zwinglianism. This is not the doctrine of the Prayer Book or of our reformers. Do we wish to be Zwinglianists? Shall we not get rid of a title that so compromises us?

Then as to the “Sacrifice of the Mass.” We do not hold that the Eucharist is a repetition or an addition to the work of the Cross. We do believe it is a sacrifice or offering made to God. Thus our Prayer Book bids the priest say, “these thy Holy Gifts which we now offer unto Thee.” Our American Prayer Book also calls the holy table an altar, and an altar implies sacrifice. Now our Lord’s Sacrifice had three parts to it. He freely offered Himself in the Upper Chamber. He offered Himself with the shedding of Blood on the Cross. He presented Himself as the Lamb slain before the Eternal Father in heaven. In the Eucharist we commemorate the voluntary offering of Himself. We make an unbloody and symbolical memorial of His death on Calvary, and plead, in union with our ascended Lord, the all-sufficient merits of His sacrifice. But in Protestant sectarian meeting-houses there are no alters, for they have no sacrifice to offer. Protestantism thus denies the existence of a form of worship which is essential to our Church. Ought we not to unite in repudiating a title which denies what our Church and our Prayer Book teach?

Again, then, as to “Eucharistic Adoration.” We Catholics do not adore the elements. Why not take our word as brother Christians for it? If we knelt down in worship before Christ when visible, we could not rightly be accused of worshipping His dress. Now our acts of worship are not paid to the elements, which are like the veils of His Human Body, nor to His Human Body apart from His Soul, nor to His Soul apart from His Divinity, nor to His Divinity apart from His Divine Person. His Divine Person is the object to which our adoration is paid.

He does not move from the right hand of Power, but abiding in His Spiritual Body the Church, makes Himself manifest within it, even as we believe that, without moving, He appeared to Saul on the roadway to Damascus. Our acts of worship, being directed to the Person of the Son of God, cannot be censured as idolatry, or Romanism, or as denied by our Prayer Book.

The worship of God enters largely into our Communion. On entering the church, which is God’s covenanted meeting place, we kneel down and recognize His Presence, but do not worship the building. Protestantism does not do this. It does not believe in the doctrine of holy or consecrated places or things. It regards the Communion elements as simply unchanged bread and wine. It received them sitting in its pews, with the bread and wine passed around on a waiter. Why, out of fear that our Eucharistic Adoration means something we repudiate, do you wish to retain the term Protestant, which implies something Churchmen of all schools abhor?

“Sacramental Confession” is, I know, a bugbear. It cannot however be denied that provision is made in the Prayer Book for confession before God in the presence of a priest, and a form of absolution given for the priest to pronounce. When, by whom, or how often, it is to be resorted to, are too large questions for present treatment. But all of the Catholic school recognize that it is not obligatory—as Rome teaches—but voluntary. It is a prerogative of priesthood and the right of the laity to use it as they please. It is an ancient mark of the Apostolic Catholic Churches. To deny it, by the use of the term Protestant, is to disparage our own heritage. Our Church certainly holds that her priests have power to declare and pronounce to penitents, the absolution and remission of their sins. This, sectarianism denies. Why then adopt a name which rejects what we Prayer Book Churchmen hold?

Let all Churchmen try to draw together. Each school needs the others. They are, when charitably understood, complementary, not contradictory. Much of all our differences lies in words. It is largely through verbal misunderstandings that we are kept apart. Thank God, however, theology is not religion, and it is religion that makes us all of one heart.

C. C. Fond du Lac.

[1] The Living Church, October 14, 1911, pp. 813-814. This letter responds to Bishop George W. Peterkin’s open letter (September 30, 1911, pp. 744-745) on the shared “distrust of Catholic advance which so generally characterizes Virginians.” Peterkin was the first Bishop of West Virginia, serving from 1878 to 1902.

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Evening Communions and Individual Communion Cups, by Charles Chapman Grafton (1911)

To the Editor of The Living Church: [1]

THERE are two un-Churchly customs, one of which, we believe, started in England. These customs are evening Communion, and the giving of the Sacrament in individual cups.

When the custom of having early celebrations increased in England, the Low Church partisans there introduced what was then unusual, the practice of evening Communions. It was a partisan move for the purpose of counteracting the practice of coming to the Communion early and so fasting. Fasting Communions became common, not on account of any English Church law, but as a matter of devotion and reverence. The fresh, early morning before the day’s work had come in was found to be a fitting time for devotion. The partisan excuse for evening Communion was that it met the wants of the servant class and working people. It was seemingly insincere, and a manufactured subterfuge to cover up a partisan movement; for it was obvious that the Roman Catholic Church, which largely dealt with those classes of persons, found no difficulty in getting them to early Communion. It is a growing sign of Christian consideration of others’ feelings that now evening Communions in England are diminishing. We trust it may be so here, where the restoration of good feeling amongst the different schools is the most important need for union.

The other un-Churchly custom is that of the introduction of individual cups.

We are sorry to think that the real reason for their introduction is a partisan one. It gives great pain to a large class of devout Church people, and introduces another cause of division amongst us. Love and charity towards their brethren should lead to its withdrawal. The excuse for it is the danger of infection. But as no instance of infection had been proved, and medical experts have said the danger was infinitesimal, the reason appears to be more fictitious than real. Moreover we believe that our Lord will protect His own Sacrament, and that His promise must here apply: “If ye drink of any deadly thing, it shall not hurt you.” Those who believe that the element, by consecration, has been changed from its natural use, cannot believe that any physical harm can come from receiving the chalice.

What, however, shall a Catholic-minded communicant do, finding himself where this un-Churchly custom has been introduced? In my judgment, the priest has broken the rubric. The rubric requires him, in consecrating, to take the Cup into his hands, and in giving the Sacrament, to give the Cup. Is it not the Cup which has been consecrated that he is to give into the hands of the people? He is not to give any cup, but the Cup in which the wine was consecrated. Would he not break the rubric by giving any other? If he should prepare all the individual cups previously and consecrate them, all the symbolical significance of drinking of one cup would be lost.

On the other hand, if he fill the individual cups from the chalice or vessel in which he has consecrated, he runs the great risk of spilling the sacred element. For the wine cannot be poured from the consecrated chalice or other vessel in which he has consecrated, in the small quantities of two or three drops, without some being spilt, if there are many cups. Nor can he cleanse all the cups, taking ablution in each, without seeming irreverence and greatly prolonging the service, or else falling into the greater irreverence of not taking the ablutions and so cleansing the cups.

What then is the devout communicant to do where the individual cups are used? The rubric and custom of the Church appear to be broken. Holy Scripture, in joining the partaking of the Cup of Blessing or one consecrated Cup, seems to be violated. Possibly Churchmen might be willing to be governed by our Lord’s action in the Last Supper, who did not have individual cups, but the one Cup which He blessed and of which all the apostles received.

The custom of individual cups seems to me so un-Churchly, unrubrical, so distrustful of Christ’s protection, that I should advise a devout communicant, where individual cups were used, to go to some other church to receive his communion, or to leave the parish.

C. C. Fond du Lac.

[1] The Living Church, August 26, 1911, p. 577.

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Roman Imitations, by Charles Chapman Grafton (1911)

To the Editor of The Living Church:[1]

I feel very strongly the importance of Catholics avoiding even an apparent imitation of Roman ceremonial. There is, or was (for I hope it has passed away with the late secessions), an idea, that if our ritual could be made like that of Rome, it would help on a reconciliation. But the present attitude of Rome shows this to be an impossibility. Reunion with Rome as an end of our movement should be dismissed from every Catholic-minded Churchman. For Rome does not ask for our agreement with her in Faith, but for submission to papal authority. There is a vast difference between the Catholic religion and the papal monarchical system. The latter is, we believe, a perversion of the Gospel, a destroyer of unity, a promoter of schism, a claim unsupported by Scripture or tradition, and a form of anti-Christ. Even if reunion were within the scope of possibility, an agreement with her in details of ritual would not aid the result. What we must do is to make it clear to our fellow-Churchmen that our Catholic movement has neither in thought or wish a return to papal submission. If we are to gain the good will of our Evangelical and High and Broad conservative brethren, we must make this obvious by our teaching and practice. It is only so that we can succeed.

Now the omission of the Nicene Creed in our weekly Eucharist gives the impression to our brethren that it is a Romish imitation. Are we not here, as in other cases, to consider our weaker brethren, and to avoid any appearance of evil? Ought we not to make any personal sacrifice in order to demonstrate our loyalty to our Book of Common Prayer? Does the allowed omission of the Nicene Creed in the first Prayer Book of King Edward VI. give us any authority to do so, who have promised our obedience to the present book? The omission is not so obviously a return to an English precedent, if such a return were allowed, as it is to an apparently Romish imitation. Allowing the good intentions of all our Catholic friends, we would, however, kindly ask them: Is the omission wise? Also, may we not say the same as to the shortened Mass?

Again, may we urge all our Catholic friends strictly to conform to the rubric which bids the consumption of the Sacred Elements left over from the Communion of the people to be made after the Benediction? It perhaps will surprise some churchmen to learn that there are any priests who consume the Sacred Elements after their own or the people’s Communion. Why do they do this? The only reason I know is that they do it in imitation of the Roman rite. Now our prayer Book, with seemingly great wisdom and devotion, reserves the Blessed Sacrament to the end of the service. The people standing, sing the Gloria in Excelsis in Its presence, as an act of devotion. We regard it as one of the most glorious heritages of our American Liturgy. But our friends set the rubric aside, and consume the Elements before the Benediction. No wonder the Church loses confidence in any party or cause that allows such a custom! Now wonder that these men look Romewards.

Another apparent imitation is the covering of the Sacred Elements, after the recitation of the canon, with a silk veil, instead of a “fair linen cloth,” a direction which we put in by the reformers for the purpose of protecting the Blessed Sacrament from pollution by flies or other insects. Symbolically, it has a beautiful reference to our Lord’s Body when taken down from the Cross, being wrapped in fair linen. It also bears witness to our Lord’s Blessed Body and Blood being present, though under sacramental veils. In the Roman rite, the Mass being over, when the priest has communicated, the Sacred Elements are covered with a silk veil, like that which is used by many of our clergy when bringing in the empty Chalice and Paten at the beginning of the service. A covering by the silk veil thus teaches the Roman doctrine that the Mass is over, and is a sign to our people that the Sacrament is no longer there. Be this as it may, it is a Roman and not an Anglican practice.

Again, we fear that some are still governed in their ritual by the book Father McGarvey put forth before his secession to Rome. He was, as his secession proved, a Romanist at heart. His apparent desire was so to interpret our rubrics as to make them conform with Roman practice. He sought in many ways to undermine the loyalty of our people. It seems a small thing, but why should a priest go to the epistle end of the altar to say the concluding prayers? The Roman priest does this, for having consumed the Blessed Sacrament which he had consecrated, he naturally returns for the concluding prayers to the epistle side, where he began the service. But with us the Blessed Sacrament is still unconsumed. Why then should not the priest stand before it, as he had previously done? Why go away, and leave It, and go to the Epistle side? It is, we grant, very immaterial.

There are a good many other smaller points like these which we would respectfully bring before our good Catholic friends, as one who has had the great cause so long and so deeply at heart. The first and great work to be done in the Church is to unite the Evangelicals, the Conservative-broads, the old-fashioned High Churchmen, and ourselves together in loving Christian fellowship, in mutual trust, and toleration, and cooperation in the building up of our communion.

C. C. Fond du Lac.

[1] The Living Church, July 1, 1911, pp. 303-304.

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Where Should the Priest Begin the Holy Communion? by Charles Chapman Grafton (1907)

To the Editor of The Living Church:[1]

I HAVE little or no interest in the ritual question raised by the Bishop of Marquette. In this time when men calling themselves Churchmen are, under the pretense of defending Christianity, undermining its very foundations, and in the presence of an apostasy unparalleled in the history of Christendom, this matter of ritual seems too trivial for consideration. We are living in an awful and most solemn time when the final anti-Christ is making his most subtly satanical attack on Christianity.

I do not care where one stands at the beginning of the Holy Eucharist. For forty years I have always begun at the Epistle side, and have seen most celebrations begun in that way. It is now the established custom in England and America of a very large number.

I have adopted it, as I suppose others have done, not because it is like the Roman way, but as the best interpretation which, as a lawyer trained, I could give a difficult rubric. The intention of the rubric, as a directory one, must be assumed to be the determination of the place where the priest shall stand. It must be interpreted, therefore, as designating that one place for him and not leaving him to make his own choice of position.

Which of the interpretations does this best?

The rubric reads: “Standing at the right hand of the table.” Does this mean the Epistle or Gospel side? Is the “right hand” to be determined by the table as facing the priest, or by the priest as facing the table?

The arguments in favor of the Gospel side are that in changing from the English rubric which placed the priest at the “north” side, our revisers probably meant to denote the same side without reference to the points of the compass, which, in the loss of the orientation of our buildings, was not advisable. We are, however, obliged, in considering a law, to derive its intention from the law or rubric itself, and not from the supposed purpose of its legislators. Obliged thus to interpret the rubric by itself, its construction must be governed by the intention to designate the position of the priest.

Contemporaneous exposition of a law may be referred to in cases where the law is ambiguous. Until the rubric is shown not to be clear by itself, contemporaneous exposition may not be appealed to. In this case, whatever was the usage in the early part of the last century, it was a continually changing usage and therefore can have little weight, legally considered, in understanding its meaning.

Whatever weight a judicial mind would give to these two reasons, there is this fact in the case which requires consideration: the table may, by the rubric, be moved about and placed in the body of the church. This was done in Puritan times and the rubric still allows it. It might be so placed that the smaller or Gospel end would be turned technically eastwards. In this case the “right side” would be what we now call the back of the altar. I have known clergymen taking that position. A table, therefore, that can be turned about and turned around, has no fixed portion which can be called its right side. The Bishop of Marquette also claims that the rubric would be complied with by the clergyman standing either in front of the Gospel side or by taking up an entirely different position both in respect to the people and the altar at the north or Gospel end. According, then, to this interpretation, no one position is designated to the exclusion of all others, and the clergyman is left to make a choice. This interpretation, therefore, is to be rejected because it defeats the intention and purpose of the rubric.

It seems, then, that it is more in accord with the rubric’s intent to define the right or left hand by the clergyman’s attitude to the table rather than by the table’s attitude to him.

In the marriage service the parties are placed, according to the rubric, “the man on the right hand and the woman on the left.” The Bishop of Marquette says this could not refer to the table because there is no reference to the table in the marriage service. I would respectfully call his attention to the fact that there is a reference to the table in the form given in the English Prayer Book. There “the minister, after the blessing, goes to the Lord’s table.” The Psalm ended, “the man and the woman kneel before the Lord’s table and the priest, standing at the table, shall say,” etc. The reason why the rubric that states that the minister shall go to the Lord’s table, etc., was left out of the American Prayer Book, was because there was ordinarily no recess chancel with a distinction between the nave and the sanctuary. The American usage assumed that the parties would present themselves before the priest standing at the table. Therefore, the direction that the man and woman shall stand on the right and left, while it may refer to each other, may also refer to the table. If it does refer to the parties themselves, anyway it places the man, who is said to be on the right hand, on the Epistle side of the altar. But it was not so much for this reason I have given, that I and others have been led to adopt our present practice.

Though I have, therefore, been led to think that when the priest is bidden to stand on the right hand of the table, the right hand is determined by the priest’s attitude as he faces the altar and not as the altar faces him, for this interpretation gives him no choice of position, while the other interpretation makes his position an indeterminate one which vacates the legal interpretation of the rubric.

But as I have said, it is not a matter in which I feel any concern, especially with the tremendous issues now before the Church, which should lead all conservatives to drop minor questions and rally to protect our Church from what seems to some an impending apostasy.

C. C. Fond du Lac.

Bishop’s House, Fond du Lac, Wis.

[1] The Living Church, March 9, 1907, p. 654. Grafton responds to a letter to the editor by Gershom Mott Williams (1857-1923, Bishop of the Diocese of Marquette from 1895-1919) in The Living Church, March 2, 1907. Three further letters on the subject of the position of the celebrant during Holy Communion followed on March 15, 1907, when the editor declared “The discussion of this subject is now at an end” (p. 691). Notwithstanding this statement, further letters on the topic continued on March 30, 1907 (pp. 768-769) and April 6, 1907 (p. 804).

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Children at the Eucharist, by Charles Chapman Grafton (1907)

To the Editor of the Living Church:[1]

ONE regrets to find any one so narrow-minded as to forbid the presence of children at the Eucharist. But loyal Churchmen, one would think, would be willing to be guided by the Prayer Book. When children are baptized their sponsors are bidden to have them “hear sermons.” Now the only place where sermons are ordered by the Prayer Book is in the Communion service. Surely if, in obedience to the order in the Prayer Book, children are taken to that service, has a Bishop a right to forbid their presence at it? As there is no provision for the withdrawal of any, they have a right to stay through. The Spiritual advantages to the children are very great, and we encourage in our diocese what are called children’s Eucharists, but here we are merely pointing out the illegality of forbidding their attendance.

C. C. Fond du Lac.

[1] The Living Church, August 31, 1907, p. 603; reprinted in Works, Vol. 7, pp. 215-216.

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The Holy Eucharist, by Charles Chapman Grafton (1902)

To the Editor of The Living Church: [1]

A CORRESPONDENT in your January number, after referring to my Tract on the Holy Eucharist, asks me two questions: “Does the Bishop mean to imply that by the act of consecration the Body of Christ is made by the priest?” Our answer is in the negative. No, he does not. The next question is, “Does he mean to say that by the invocation of the priest the real Body and Blood of Christ are brought from the right Hand of God the Father Almighty and placed on the altar, etc.?” Again, the answer is in the negative.

            The questions of your correspondent show that gross misunderstanding exists concerning the doctrine of the Real Presence as taught by the Catholic School of Churchmen. In the interests of Christian charity and of that unity amongst ourselves, upon which the future usefulness of our beloved Church so much depends, let me try to explain this matter.

            The first difficulty to be cleared up relates to Christ’s Ascension. What is meant when the Apostles, St. Paul and St. Peter say, “He is at the right hand of God?” God is not a Being having material or corporeal parts, a right hand or a left hand. God is everywhere, for all things created are in Him. He is indeed “above all,” being separate from all, but is by His Omnipotence and Omnipresent Energy “through all and in us all.”

            The Son of God made man is now reigning in that Human Nature, with its glorified and spiritual Body, which has been gathered into union with the Godhead, and made partaker of His power. “Christ,” says Bishop Pearson, “is said to sit down at the right hand of the Father in regard of that absolute Power and Dominion which he hath obtained in heaven.” Our Lord Himself declared this truth, saying, “Hereafter shall the Son of Man sit at the right hand of the Power of God.” It means that He is gathered into it and shares in it as the angels do not. While, therefore, although our Lord’s glorified Humanity is not by itself omnipresent, yet by virtue of its union with the omnipotent Deity, Christ can, without its involving any change of locality, make Himself and His Blessed Body present where he will. St. Stephen saw Him as in heaven, St. Paul in the roadway.

            This answers the two questions. The priest does not by consecration make a new Body, nor is Christ “brought” down nor in any material way does He move.

            For the further aid of those who seek not controversy but are willing to be taught by the Spirit let me try and explain something further concerning this Blessed Mystery of condescending Love.

            Christ founded His Church and it was made a living organism on the day of Pentecost. He did not go away from it at His ascension. Many persons make this mistake. They think of Him as gone off to some distant locality. He did not, however, go away from His Church, but remained within it. This He declared He would do. He would not only send the Holy Spirit, but “I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you.” The Spirit was not to come to take the place of an absent Lord, but “I will be with you always unto the end of the world.” “Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.” Thus He went away, by an ascension to the Right Hand of Power. He went from a visible companionship with all the collected Apostles, that He might be with each of them and their successors and all His followers as they became separated in all lands. Remaining, He dwells in His Church, which is a temple of living stones, a spiritual organism of which He is the Light and Life. What Almighty God is to the material universe, that the Son-Man is to this new spiritual creation. The Light and Life go out from Him and His Humanity to bless and sustain every member of it. It is by the ordained means of the sacraments that the Light and Life are communicated to us. It is by the Holy Spirit that dwells in the Church that those sacraments are made effectual signs and instruments of grace and our hearts by repentance, faith, and love are prepared beneficially to receive them. So it comes to this: That Christ stands in the midst of His Church, ever present to all within it. He now, as when He stood at the Holy Table at the Last Supper, takes, by means of His authorized agents and ministers, the Bread and Wine, and by His Word and Spirit gathers them into union with Himself and calling them after their divine engrafting declares them to be His Body and Blood. That Body indeed can never again be broken or that Blood again be shed, and so the priest in giving the sacrament says “the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” “the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given and shed for thee, preserve thy body and soul to everlasting life.” But that which is not only received, but “given” and “taken,” though in this heavenly and spiritual manner, is as our articles declare “The Body of Christ.”

            It would greatly aid concord amongst Churchmen of all schools if they would realize what these words “heavenly and spiritual” signify. They mean in their deepest, fullest sense that the whole transaction of the Eucharist takes place in the Kingdom of Heaven and by the power of the Holy Spirit. The whole transaction is done—not in the material, natural world, but in the spiritual organism or Kingdom of Christ. Every person and thing and act and word connected with the Oblation, Consecration, Reception belongs to this spiritual Kingdom and makes the whole transaction, from first to last, in all its processes and gift, a divinely spiritual one. How the outward sign and inward gift are united is a mystery which cannot be explained by any natural law or by human philosophy. The Gift cannot properly be assented to be “under” or “in” or “below” or “above,” or by any like terms which necessarily denote locality. Taking our blessed Lord’s words literally, all we can say is: it is a Mystery, the work of the Spirit, and that the two parts are sacramentally and supernaturally identified.

            But while that which is present and the sphere of that Presence, and the Power by which it is effected, and the persons, priests and people—all belong to the spiritual order, yet it does not follow that Christ, in the totality of His two natures, is not present (or He is not otherwise) by virtue of the consecration and the Spirit’s power.

C. C. Fond du Lac.

[1] The Living Church, January 15, 1902; reprinted in Works, Vol. 7, pp. 201-205. Transcribed by Richard Mammana, 2012.

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The Polish Catholic Petition (1903)

During the year we had the honor of presenting to the House of Bishops a letter from the Right Reverend Dr. Kozlowski, the Polish Catholic Bishop, asking under the terms put forth by the Lambeth Conference and the General Convention, for Christian recognition and fellowship. Bishop Kozlowski was consecrated in Europe by the Old Catholic Bishops, with whom in the person of Bishop Hertzog, our Church has long been in friendly intercourse and with whom at the meetings held at Berne and elsewhere our Bishops have met in Conference. Bishop Kozlowski is an ecclesiastic of recognized scholarship and high standing in the Communion to which he belongs. The self denying and holy life he leads bears witness to the integrity and nobility of his character. The work among the Poles in which he is engaged is one of great importance and fraught with most fruitful consequences. There are at least twenty if not more ecclesiastics under him and a staff of teachers and sisters are engaged in his hospital and school work at Chicago. The movement in which he is engaged is of wide extent and more than sixty thousand Poles have turned to him for spiritual guidance. Responding to the invitation of our church he asks not for absorption into our Communion, but for Christian fellowship and intercommunion. He stands as do the Old Catholics in Europe on the broad principles of Catholicity and the Faith as set forth in the ancient Creeds and recognized Ecumenical Councils. One with us and the Eastern, Russian, and Greek Churches, he repudiates the Roman papacy and its modern additions to the faith. He is reforming the Latin liturgy and putting it into the language spoken by his people. To the objection sometimes made that the Old [44/45] Catholics in Europe, are, in consequence of separation from Rome, in schism; our reply is that the sin of schism in the case of a separation always lies with that party which demands uncanonical and unscriptural terms for communion and as modern Rome does this she is in schism everywhere. It is Rome that is the schismatical body, not the Old Catholics. If ever there was a man raised up by God to do a reforming work in the Roman Church in this Country, we believe he is to be found in this brave, noble hearted and sincere follower of Jesus Christ. Of course his work will be subjected to every kind of misrepresentation and every thing that malice and intrigue can effect will be done to hinder it. It needs not only our sympathy and response, but the aid which a rich Church like ours should give. Not being a party movement it ought to appeal to all Churchmen. It is here in America that the greatest religious struggle for Apostolic order and evangelical truth, against papal error and sectarian loss is going on, and in helping this brave Bishop we shall most efficiently aid Christ’s work. God forbid, that to those who are struggling up out of the mists of mediaeval darkness and seeking release from the shackles of papal bondage, the voice and the hand that refuses Christian recognition and help comes from our Church.[1]

[1] “THE POLISH CATHOLIC PETITION” in Journal of the Twenty-Ninth Annual Council of the Diocese of Fond du Lac, Held in S. Paul’s Cathedral, Fond du Lac, on the 2nd Day of June, A.D. 1903 (Fond du Lac: P.B. Haber, 1903), 44-45.

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Ralph Adams Cram on the General Convention (1916)

To the Editor of The Living Church:[1]

We are called at this time, and through this War of Wars, to reëstimate our philosophies, to test by newly revealed criteria many dogmas and formulae held for long to be axiomatic, to scrutinize anew many institutions, methods, long accepted principles, that we may see how they stand the touchstone of revealing events. Government, education, economics, society, industrial civilization, all must submit themselves to the new and mordant tests, and more than all—for us at least—must the Church come under the same testing.

As Sir Thomas Browne says, “But the long habit of living indisposeth us for dying,” and so the long habit of peace indisposeth us for action, hence spontaneous movement towards analytical scrutiny is as hard for us as a prompt reaction to new and catastrophic stimuli. Still, the question forces itself on us: did the Church, there in England, here in America, rise buoyantly, or even tediously, to her anomalous and appalling opportunities? And again, is she taking thought now, not only of the novel conditions opening before her but also of those even more startling and challenging conditions that must confront society when peace has been reëstablished and the long, hard era of readjustment and regeneration opens before?

Has the Church made herself the spiritual leader of the people in this most grievous testing of souls, has she sloughed off old prejudices, old habits born of inertia and of jealousy, has she discarded the narrow shibboleths of faction, the rallying cries of partisanship, and, with a single view to the healing and saving of souls, given herself over to the one labor of meeting the heart-breaking appeals of a world almost in its death agony?

These questions are pertinent on the eve of General Convention. No assemblage of the shepherds of the flock of Christ and of its representatives has ever come together in this country under such conditions as hold at this moment. If the time of Convention is given over to the sole consideration of the old divisive issues that served their turn during a dead peace; if we are to hear nothing but Panama, the Open Pulpit, the curbing of monastic orders, the disloyalty of Catholic Churchmen, the heretical tendencies of Broad Churchmen, the Protestantism of Low Churchmen, has not the Church in America failed of her opportunity, and if she fails now, under the greatest test and ordeal of five centuries, will not her candlestick be removed?

I plead as a layman, for the lifting of every discussion in General Convention, and of the Convention itself, to a level of charity and Apostolic zeal and truly Catholic constructiveness. Unless the Church can take back into its hands the spiritual leadership partly surrendered and partly wrested from it, then the case of society is hopeless, and those conditions which made the war will continue until descent ends in the abyss of another Dark Ages. The trial by fire that is on all the nations is not withheld from the Church: will she meet this trial and come through it, not only unscathed but purged and regenerated?

The great question to-day is how, already, has the Church met the test and how shall she meet it in the future? Has she stood fearlessly for righteousness before the concentrated materialism of the last two years, here in America, and without regard to policy or profit: has the English Church done the same? And if not, why? New needs of the soul have fought their way through tears and agony to cry aloud for help and fortitude and consolation: how have these been met in England where a nation is at the same time bowed in desolation and exalted by the consciousness of immortal sacrifice?

It is for us to find the answer to these questions. If they are the answer of failure we must know this for our warning; if of success, then for our guidance. I hope that not only may General Convention be transformed into a great and fearless inquiry into the state of the Church, but that, as a detail, a small commission of bishops, clergy, and laity may be sent at once to Great Britain to study there the methods the Church is following in adapting herself to these anomalous conditions. If one has a right to judge, there seems to have been conspicuous failure in some cases, conspicuous success in others.

We should know of both, for from both we may learn. What have such bishops as London to say, bishops who have been at the front and lived with the men in the trenches, and who have also been at home and have seen the heart of a nation at the point of breaking, saved only from this by the consciousness of a glorious renunciation and sacrifice? What has Fr. Carey to say, back from his chaplain’s duty on the ships of the North Seas—and Fr. Figgis and Fr. Waggett, and Dr. Campbell? There is a vast amount of testimony to be had for the asking, and a great and constructive lesson to be learned from it all—learned, and applied as well.

In any case, let the next General Convention take its place as the Great Synod that forgot for a time the contests and the bickerings of peace, and met in Apostolic temper to meet the universal challenge of a world at war.


Boston, September 12, 1916.

[1] The Living Church (Milwaukee), September 30, 1916, pp. 771-772.

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The Italian Conference, by Thomas Burgess (1919)

For the first time—September ninth, tenth and eleventh—our Italian missionaries have met and prayed and eaten and hobnobbed and planned together. Called by our new Americanization department (“foreign missions at home”), to New York from Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and places between, they came, seventeen of our twenty-two Italian clergy in active service. Four others have not yet returned from war service, and only one other could not come.

“Why, I know you, quoth the priest from Gary, Indiana, to the curate of Calvary, New York, “you used to go to school to me in Italy. That was nine years back. This was said on the close of the General Theological Seminary on the first afternoon of the conference, as they were coming in to find the rooms assigned in Dodge Hall.

For three days the seminary was taken charge of by the conference. The dean had kindly invited us and placed at our disposal a dormitory, a lecture room and the chapel. Between sessions and services and late into the nights on the close or gathered on chairs and desks in the dismantled rooms the welkin rang with vociferous Italian and English.

If nothing more had been accomplished than the mere get together, the time and money was most well spent.

But much more was accomplished, which bids fair to be a great new beginning of the grasping of our opportunity to minister to the nearly three millions out of four utterly unchurched men, women and children of our neighbors from sunny Italy. These are a mighty means for the upbuilding of our country, if given a helping hand; or a mighty menace, if let alone to lapse still further into neglected atheism and the prey of the forces of discontent. It depends on the Nation-Wide Campaign what our answer shall be.

The conference began with a session in the Italian language.

At four o’clock Father Huntington, O. H. C., gave the first of the two meditations in the chapel, which were to set the spiritual tone of the conference and crystallize its aim, “The Glory of God, the saving of the lost, the sanctification of the faithful.” Such are the essential roots of true Americanization. Evening Prayer was said in Italian, with English hymns.

The next morning we gathered at the Altar, making our special intention the work in hand.

At ten o’clock came the morning’s session of the conference, held in the Church Mission House. At this were not only the Italian clergy but a goodly number of native-born Americans who have been most active in our Italian mission field at home, coming from Erie, Boston, Philadelphia and nearer places and New York, a bishop, priests and laymen and women. Here are the subjects discussed, each discussion led by a ten-minute paper prepared beforehand:

An Italian Periodical, the Reverend Nicola Accomando; The Second Generation, the Reverend F. I. Urbano; Training of the Clergy, the Reverend T. E. Della-Cioppa; Unification, the Reverend Siste Noce (who came all the way from North Carolina, where he is trying to recover from a breakdown from years of overwork): Social Service, Deaconess Gardner: Neighbors, Miss Skinner; Spread of the Work, the Reverend Oreste Salcini.

The discussions were exceedingly lively at times à la Italienne—not the easiest matter in the world for the presiding officer—and “change of name” and “ceremonial extremities” crept in out of order and had to be referred back to the General Convention.

Nevertheless the spirit was fine and the papers and talk thoroughly worth while. On the stroke of twelve we all went downstairs to the chapel for the usual noonday prayers.

Next, the conference walked way over to the Grace Chapel Settlement House for luncheon, presided over by Dr. Slattery, and served in the building where for many years Italian work has been done with the full equipment it ought to have everywhere. There 1,000 Italians have been confirmed and nearly 20,000 visits a year are received from Italians seeking advice on American life. After the luncheon the conference continued.

That evening was the great service in the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. To be sure the congregation was not as large as hoped for, for all New York had turned out that day to greet General Pershing and had watched for hours the parade of the famous First Division. You could not blame the people for being tired. But the choir was nearly full with some one hundred and fifty choristers, the combined Italian choirs of the city, lifting to God their glorious Italian voices, and the Italian clergy and a number of other clergy.

The service was sung in Italian, except America and The Star Spangled Banner, different Italian priests taking part and Canon Nelson, who has done so much for Italian work, reading the lesson. Addresses were made by Bishop Burch, Mr. Fred C. Butler, Federal Director of Americanization, representing Secretary Lane, of the Department of the Interior: and the senior Italian priest present, the Reverend Carmelo DiSano. This last spoke in Italian, gesticulated dramatically and drew forth and waved at the right place a small silk American flag. Of course our flag and that of Italy were carried in procession and also a beautiful banner of one of our Italian Church societies. It was an inspiring service.

At the seminary dormitory that night we sat around and discussed theology and kindred topics till after midnight.

Next morning, after the Holy Eucharist and breakfast in the little restaurant where we ate together, came the final session. There we summed up the results of our discussions and parted with mutual congratulations.

Here are the resolutions adopted by the final session:

General Missionaries: That two missionaries be appointed by the General Board of Missions for itinerant work among Italian missions, and to survey and establish new missions.

Uniform Control: It is the opinion of this conference that the Italian work and missionaries should be taken under the authority of the General Board, and the salaries paid by the same.

Hymnal: It is the opinion of this conference that, although it is advisable to use the English Hymnal, an Italian Hymnal is necessary. That the Hymnal prepared by the Reverend Della Cioppa be published.

Prayer Book: That this conference of Italian clergymen recommends to the Commission on the Italian Prayer Book, that a new translation be made instead of correcting the old one.

Periodical: This conference commends that an Italian periodical be published for use by all Italians in this country for their Americanization and religious instruction. That it be published by the Department of Christian Americanization, with the co-operation of a committee of Italian priests, selected by the secretary of said department.

Bi-lingual Publications: It is the desire of this conference that the publication of condensed service books or pamphlets be made in Italian-English in parallel columns.

English Language: Although in many cases the use of the Italian language is absolutely
necessary, this conference commends the wide-spread practice of using the English language as much as possible in the services and instructions.

Thanks: Vote of thanks to the Secretary.

The Spirit of Missions (New York), October, 1919, Vol. LXXXIV, No. 10, pp. 661-662.

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The Eastward Position, by Charles Chapman Grafton (undated)

Undated twelve-page typescript by Charles Chapman Grafton (1830-1912), transcribed in 2012 by Richard Mammana from scans provided by Canon Matthew Payne, Archivist of the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac

Whether it is one of the signs of the Second Coming of Christ or not, certain it is that there is an increasing desire among all Christian people for more generally recognized union and fellowship. Never, we believe, was there more earnest and continuous prayer being made that the wounds in Christ’s mystical body might be healed. Partly it may come from a realization of the increasing strain of conflict with unbelief, and the potency of the malefic forces of evil. Partly it may come from the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, impelling Christians to a more loving union among themselves. In no part of the Christian family is this duty more imperatively pressing than among English Churchmen.

Entrusted as God has the Anglican Church at the present time, with an evangelizing mission—imperative, world-wide—love must first assuage our internal strife that God may the better do His work through us.

Internal union is the urgent need and duty of the hour. Everything that separates Churchmen into antagonistic sections hinders that fellowship which should bind us together in Christ.

In our zeal for the maintenance of our theological opinions concerning the faith, we are apt to exaggerate their importance and make them sources of needless division. We must often have presented to the angels the spectacle of men neglecting their chief duty of extending the Kingdom of Christ while engaged in quarrels over subordinate and unessential details. God grant that this evil spirit of suspicion and distrust and discord be cast out from us and that we come to sympathise more with one another and understand one another better and dwell together as brethren.

[2] Looking to the English Church, as one turns to a spiritual Mother, the writer, being an American Churchman, has wondered why what is called in England the “Eastward position” should be made a party matter. In America, the Bishops and Clergy, whether called “high” or “low,” or “broad,” alike almost universally take that position when consecrating the elements. He remembers seeing the North End taken but once, in a clerical life, which now covers upwards of fifty years. It was then by a high Churchman who said he took that position because in the old dispensation the victim was slain at the North Side of the Altar. It seemed to him the most proper and significant as being the sacrificial side. His was an exceptional case. The Eastward position has become in America eliminated from party strife and is no sign of a party badge. Surely it would be of advantage if it could be so in England. For everything that divides Churchmen, hurts the Church and hinders Christ’s work.

One road to peace is to enlarge the category of things unessential. Let us in view of our common perils, “lighten the ship.” How foolish now seems the violence once displayed over the colour and material of the preacher’s gown. Of little consequence was it how he dressed, whether in black silk or white linen; the one all essential was the spirit with which he spoke and above all value was the message which he delivered. In like manner it is not essential to our Lord’s true and spiritual Presence, whether, in consecrating, the priest stands at one side of the Table or another. The all-absorbing fact in that divine mystery is, that Christ verily and indeed is there and by a faithful reception we can become partakers of Him. In the pulpit the clergyman, in delivering the Gospel message, is the ordained [2/3] representative of Christ as the Prophet and Teacher of mankind. At the Holy Table he is the minister of Him, Who, as our Great High Priest, blessed and brake the Bread at the last supper and offered Himself to death upon the Cross. At whatever side of the Table he stands, the clergyman is the official representative of Christ, as the Priest, and the holy gift of Christ’s Body and Blood is the same. Why, then, should the position be made a mater of division among us? In Russia there is a sect of “Old Believers” who make it a ground of complaint and separation, that the Orthodox walk round the Altar one way, from West to East, and not by way of the sun from East to West. It seems very foolish, to say nothing more, but is not this, our controversy, of just about the same character?

Quite a number of the clergy, we believe, look upon it in a mere conservative way. They have been accustomed to take a certain position and continue from habit to do so. They think that the one they have chosen is the one directed by the Prayer Book. At least, they think it to be the best interpretation they can give to the rubric. The greater number of the clergy, high and low, desire to be loyal, and if they think the question to be an open one, hold that their own practice and position is allowable. But after all, there is a diversity of practice whose significance has been exaggerated by party spirit; and if without sacrifice or principle uniformity could be brought about, would it not be better for the two schools of the Anglican Church in this respect to be in harmony? Do we not all desire to minimize our differences and come as far as possible into a loving and Christian agreement? If in America it is so, and there the position at the consecration does not divide Churchmen, why should it not [3/4] be so in England? It is but a little thing, but every barrier that is removed between Churchmen and between parties is a great gain for God. Only let the conservative clergy of all schools grow in better accord and Christian fellowship and the Church will receive a new gift of light and love from the Holy Ghost. The exigencies of our time and the future of the Church cry out to us to get together as brethren. Believing that the clergy generally desire to following the directions of the Prayer Book and be loyal to it, let us lay aside our prejudices and anew seek to discover the true interpretation of the rubric involved and be guided by it.

We thus assume that those whom we address are sincerely desirous of obeying the Prayer Book, and are willing, whatever their custom may have been hitherto, to follow its directions.

It is very difficult for any one of us to acknowledge he may have been mistaken, and it may require heroic courage to alter a life-long practice. But as writing for God and for the love He bears His Church, we will examine the question legally, honestly and disproportionately, believing that God will bless it to all humble-minded and charitably inspired souls.

The question such a person puts to himself is, what does the Prayer Book direct? His resolution is, by God’s grace I will follow it.

The Rubric reads thus:

“When the Priest, standing before the Table, hath so ordered the Bread and Wine, that he may with more readiness and decency break the Bread before the people and take the Cup into his hands, he shall say the Prayer of Consecration.

[5] The first and only postulate we make is, that by its terms the object and purpose of this Rubric is to determine the place where the Priest shall stand when about to consecrate. The Priest is not to determine it for himself. It is to be determined for him, by the Church. He is not to please himself or to have a choice in the matter. He is given a command which he is to obey. This being the purpose and object of the Rubric it must be so construed as determining that position. We submit this is the one and only legal way of regarding it.

It is not merely the only legal view we can take of any Rubric, but this view is corroborated by its history. During and before the period of the Commonwealth, many and angry contentions had arisen about this very matter. The communion table had in many places been moved out into the body of the Church by the Puritans. They had gathered about it as at an ordinary table, sitting about it as at a common meal. Churchmen like Bishop Wren, who had taken the old Eastward position, standing before the Table with his back to the people, had been for this very matter tried and condemned. There was throughout the church great diversity and a widespread confusion. As the Restoration of the final revision of the Prayer Book the Bishops inserted this Rubric to settle the matter. It was inserted to determine the place the Priest should occupy at the Consecration.

We will therefore assume that our postulate is granted by our readers.

Let us then examine the Rubric and see what is the position it bids the priest take. First, it is stated that the Priest shall be found “Standing before the Table.” Why, we may ask, [5/6] was the word before used in the Rubric and not some other term of local designation? Why was not some point of the compass taken, as one is in the rubric at the beginning of the communion service? Why did it not say north side or east side, or right or left side? Because the Table had by the Puritans been moved out from the chancel and could be turned about at will, and so no one particular place could be designated by any one point of the compass. What would be north or south, right or left, would be changed by every changed position of the Table. The makers of the Rubric were therefore obliged to designate the point they had in mind by some other terminology. The problem before them was how to designate the place where the priest was to stand so that it could not be affected in whatever way the Table might be turned. We shall see presently how they did this and in such wise as that no moving of the Table could affect the rubric’s meaning or change the designated place.

We must then assume they used the word “before” as best suited to carry out the intention of the rubric, which was, it is agreed, to state the position the Priest was to take.

What then does the term “before” in reference to the Table signify? Since we have agreed that the Rubric, being of an imperatively directory character, must designate some one particular side as to the priest’s position at the Table, what particular side or spot does it describe?

It is obvious that taken by itself alone, the word is an ambiguous one and may have one of two meanings.

First,—“before the Table” may mean “in the presence of the Table.”

[7] No matter, said one of the Judges of the Privy Council, when the case was being argued before him, on which side of a table I am sitting or standing, I may be said in any position to be “before the Table.”

This is true. But it cannot have that meaning assigned to it here, because, in that case, at whatever side of the Table the Priest stood, he would be before it. The Rubric would thus fail of being a directory one. It would not point out, as we agreed it should, the one place where the Priest should stand. He would be left to make his own choice. He would not be obeying an explicit command. As the purpose of the Rubric is to designate the position to be taken by the priest, the word “before” cannot mean “in the presence of,” but must mean some one particular side.

The question next is:—Can we discover from the Rubric itself what that side is? We might imagine a rubric so ambiguously worded as to make this impossible. Were the makers so unskilled as not to be able to meet this difficulty? They have gone through a large and trying experience concerning this very matter. Their attention had been especially called to it.

They could not have been so stupid as not to have weighed every possible subterfuge by which their intention could be set aside. Be this as it may, in the construction of all Canons, Statutes, Laws, Rubrics, we are bound to be guided by those wise rules which the science of the law has demonstrated to be the only sure way of arriving at their true meaning.

Now one of these laws of construction is that we must so construe a law or rubric as to carry out its purpose and also that [7/8] like or similar words used in any law must be construed as having the same meaning. Let us then apply this principle, and see if it helps us out of the difficulty. Now the word “before” is used in the Rubric designedly twice. The Priest is not only to stand “before the Table,” but he is also to break the Bread “before the people.”

What, then, we ask ourselves, does “before the people” mean? It cannot mean “in the presence of the people,” nor “in the sight of the people.” For it would not, so construed, determine the Priest’s position, and the Rubric we have seen must be construed strictly according to its purpose which is to define one position to the exclusion of all others.

If, then, the word “before the Table” designated one side of “the Table,” so the word “before” in this place must likewise signify one position in relation to “the People,” for the same word in a law must have the same meaning assigned it in one place as in another. And as the object of the Rubric was to designate the position of the Priest, this term must be construed to further the end for which the Rubric was made.

Now the phrase “before the people” as designating a position to be taken by the Clergyman has but one signification. It cannot mean behind the people, nor can it mean on one side, or the right or the left flank of the people. When a Colonel is bidden to stand before his regiment, or a Captain before his company, it does not mean either behind them or on one side, but in front of them. And if the priest is thus placed in front of the people, the people by the same direction are placed behind him.

We now see why the makers of the Rubric avoided taking the points of the compass, or using any old liturgical terminology [8/9] to disclose the Priest’s position. For had they done so, it could have been easily evaded by a removal or turning about of the Table or by the people surrounding it. So they wisely took two objects, viz: the Table and the People. Their purpose could not then be evaded wherever the Table might be placed. The Priest was bidden so to stand, as at the same time to be “before the People” and “before the Table.”

Since the word “before” must be legally construed as having the same signification in each clause of the Rubric, and the Priest is directed by the word “before” not to stand behind the people or at one side of them, but, they being behind him, in front of them, so likewise he is bidden by the same word “before” not to stand behind the Table, or at one end or side of it, but in front of it.

Why, it possible may be asked, is not the Priest before the Table and also before the people, when standing at the so-called North End of the Altar? Because in that case the word “before” would be used ambiguously, i.e. in two different senses. While the clergyman would be “before the people” in that, though standing sidewise, he would yet be in front of them; he would not be before or in front of the Table, but at one side of it. He could only be said to be “before it” in the sense of “being in its presence,” which we found must be a rejected signification. It has to be rejected because it does not designate one particular side of the Table to the exclusion of all the others. The term “before the people” means, therefore, somewhere in front of them. In front of them must signify the locality whither the faces of the body of the people are turned. The Table [9/10] likewise has a back side and a front side. “Before the Table” here then must mean the front of it or the way it faces. The two objects given by which the Priest’s position is fixed, are the people and the Table. The front side of the people is that side of them, considered as a body, that faces the Table; the front side of the Table is the side of it that fronts or is turned towards the people.

The Rubrical direction then, so far as we have examined it, places the Priest somewhere between the people and the Table. He must be before the people as they face the Table and before the Table as it faces the people.

But if the Rubric had only said this, the place of the Priest would still be undetermined, for he would be in front of both the people and the Table, whether he was standing close to the people, or midway between the Table and the people, or with his face turned towards the people, or if he were standing sidewise.

The makers of the Rubric, who were not unskillful men and also had had to cope with a great deal of ingenious Puritan evasion in this very matter, framed their Rubric to meet this further necessity. They seem to have carefully studied how they could, with their experience of the past, frame a Rubric which would meet all efforts to evade it and which would embody their own practice.

So they added some further directions, skillfully working them into the Rubric, which did two things. First having, as we have seen by their direction, placed the Priest between the Table and the people, they ordered him to stand not near the people but [10/11] ordered him to stand not near the people but close to the Table. He must so stand near the Table that he “may order or arrange the Bread and Wine.” Thus he was placed between the people and the Table, but close to the Altar.

Moreover lest he should face the people while he consecrated, they also ordered that so standing he must break the Bread and take the Cup into his hands. This direction turns him with his face and both hands towards the Altar, where the Elements have been ordered to be placed. In order to break the Bread and take the Cup into both hands, he must, to do this, be turned fully around towards the Table. He cannot perform these acts with his face to the people and his back to the Altar. He cannot do it as he is directed if he stands sidewise, for then he would have but one arm and one hand towards the Table. And having turned towards the Table there is no direction that he should take any other position.

Thus the Rubric places him between Table and people and close to the Altar and turned towards it. There is one further point the authors of the rubric seem to have had in mind. It was and is still customary to place the Elements before or at some part of the service on the Table and by custom in a central position or the middle of it.

When Bishop Wren was tried, in the time of the Commonwealth, and it was charged that he took the Eastward position at the time of the Consecration, and did not stand at the North End, he pleaded that being short of stature, it was both inconvenient for him standing there to reach over to the distant Elements, in the middle of the Table, and that obeying the Apostolic injunction, “do everything in decency and order,” the position he adopted was the [11/12] most seemly and decent. The please was scornfully rejected. When the Bishops at the time of the Restoration, and Wren was one of them, formed this rubric, they very naturally embodied Wren’s plea within it. Not only did they frame a Rubric which should place the Priest next to the front of the Table and turned toward it, but placed where he had ever been accustomed to stand, viz: in the middle of the Altar as the place where he could with “more readiness and decency,” according to their view, break the Bread and take the Cup into his hands. We submit that what is called the Eastward position is shown to be he legal and the correct one.

The idea that the Reformers of 1662 had any notion that it was of any doctrinal significance, or of devotional value for the people to see the manual acts finds no warrant in Anglican theology or the Rubric. Yet we should in conclusion deal with what seems to be with some, more like an unreason prejudice, than a real difficulty.

If the English clergy would unite with their American brethren, in adopting this legal common sense construction of the Rubric, the two communions would become more assimilated, and by the removal of the question from the area of party strife, the cause of Christian unity and harmony among ourselves, so necessary, so imperative for the future of England’s Church, would be greatly forwarded. The prayer of every true lover of the Anglican Church must be, that her members miss not the day of their visitation, but with loving tolerance of even brothers’ weaknesses, rally together to withstand the assault, it may be the final one, between unbelief and worldliness and the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

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