WE ARE publishing in this issue two letters bearing upon the election of Dr. John Torok as Suffragan Bishop of Eau Claire that are both interesting and important. It will be recalled that we reprinted in our issue of July 28th a letter from Canon J. A. Douglas, originally published in the Church Times, which appeared to cast doubt upon Bishop Torok’s consecration ten years ago and upon his election last May as Suffragan Bishop of Eau Claire. We observed at that time, “If Canon Douglas has in his possession facts that are not generally known and that ought to be taken into consideration by General Convention before ratifying Bishop Torok’s election, he ought either to make those facts public or to communicate them to the Presiding Bishop.” In reply to this editorial Canon Douglas has sent us the letter that we are publishing in this issue. In it he raises two points that he thinks ought to be cleared up. We referred his letter to Bishop Wilson of Eau Claire who is at once Bishop Torok’s Diocesan and the chairman of the special committee appointed by the Presiding Bishop to investigate Bishop Torok’s status, and we are also publishing his reply herewith.
It seems to us that Bishop Wilson has answered Canon Douglas’ objections very satisfactorily and we hope that his statement will remove any lingering doubts as to Bishop Torok’s status. The situation is admittedly a unique one and one for which there is no provision in the Constitution and Canons of our Church. Nevertheless, the project of which Bishop Torok’s election as Suffragan of Eau Claire is a part is so significant that we feel that no mere legalistic objection should be allowed to interfere with it. Bishop Wilson’s letter makes it clear that Bishop Torok has no “entangling alliances” that would complicate his status as a bishop of the Episcopal Church. The invitation to Bishop Weller to participate in his consecration appears to have come from the former Uniates who had chosen him to be their bishop, rather than from the Orthodox. Anyhow, Bishop Weller did not so participate, and discussion of that question is therefore futile and confusing.
The point is that Dr. Torok is a priest in good standing in the Episcopal Church, in Orthodox orders as a bishop, regularly consecrated but without present jurisdiction in any Orthodox Church, and Suffragan Bishop-elect of Eau Claire. The ratification of his election will make it possible for him to go ahead with the work among foreign-language Americans that was interrupted through no fault of his own a decade ago. Certainly there is no intention on the part of this Church or of Bishop Torok to infringe upon the rights of the Eastern Orthodox in this country or to proselyte among their members or the members of any other religious body. We are confident that if Canon Douglas is fully reassured on this point he will have his last objections to the project removed and, indeed, his letter so indicates.
—The Living Church, September 29, 1934, p. 385.
LIKE the Catholic Faith itself, the monastic idea, while fixed and definite in its essential qualities, is wholly mobile and capable of wide adaptation to changing social conditions. This is the salient mark of the vitality that inheres in both. It occurs to me that this is now a time for the further extension of this monastic idea.
I do not mean that such extension would in any way supersede existing forms of the religious life; rather, perhaps, it might reinforce them. All are necessary, for they are an essential part of the Catholic organism. Each sequent type is as valuable today as when, in answer to the compulsion of life itself, it came into existence. Benedictine, Cistercian, Carthusian, Franciscan, Dominican, Augustinian, Jesuit orders are all necessary, and it may be said that monasticism is an essential mark of Catholicity, absence of which from any religious organism is an evidence of its lack of verity.
From the layman’s point of view there seem to be certain lacuna; in the temporal organization of the Episcopal Church, and to me these seem to be as follows. There is no provision for the constructive and continued training of young priests “under service conditions” between their ordination and the actual practise of “the cure of souls,” except a curacy. No provision is made for instituting and serving new missions except through the makeshift of lay readers or the imposing on an already overworked parish priest of duties and obligations which ought not to be expected of him. There are hundreds of “weak” parishes that are not financially able to pay a living stipend to a resident priest and that must, therefore, pay “starvation wages,” depend on the inadequate substitute of a lay reader, or go without.
As Fr. Huntington says in The Living Church of June 9th, “In one diocese after another missions are being closed and parishes are unable to maintain a priest or even to hold services,” while Dr. Reinheimer (L.C., June 16th) says, “Only fifteen per cent of our congregations are numerically strong enough to maintain fully trained men.”
The bishops have no adequate mobile arm on which they can rely for mission work, emergency service, ad interim supply, etc. Necessary and well deserved holidays for many parish priests mean that frequently congregations have to get along sometimes for considerable periods with much curtailed services or with none at all. Finally, no just, adequate, or honorable provision is made for what are most erroneously known as the “superannuated clergy.”
In order to meet these lacks in an organization, I venture to suggest the establishment of what, for lack of a better name, I will call Diocesan Monasteries.
What I mean is the creation in each diocese, and in a central location, of a house with adequate garden and farm land, which will be an active center for the supplying of these defects noted above. As soon as they have been priested, young men would go at once to these houses under one-year vows, renewable for certain periods thereafter. Also; these same “superannuated clergy,” married or unmarried, would find there refuge for the remainder of their lives, with sufficient opportunity for continuing their work.
Each monastery would be independent and under discipline based on the Benedictine or Augustinian Rule. Life vows might be taken after a certain length of time, but this is no essential part of the scheme, rather the idea is bring together a constantly changing body of young priests and laymen if possible—living in close contact with old and tried men, continuing their studies, benefiting by association with age and experience, and ready at all times to be sent anywhere and do any-ling within their vocation, at the [orders of their Bishop. So long as they were in residence they would owe obedience to the Prior or head of the house, but when called out by the Ordinary of the diocese they become the Bishop’s men. They would be available to preach missions, take service during the holidays of parish priests or in case of illness or vacancies, or to perform any other clerical functions the Bishop might direct.
One very important work would be the ministering to parishes or missions that were unable to pay a decent stipend to a resident priest. No diocese should permit, as in many cases they do now, “starvation wages,” and where reasonable compensation could not be paid, the brothers of the Community would take charge. In this case the Bishop would direct the Prior to send a priest to the particular parish concerned, who would arrive on Saturday or the eve of a Holy Day, to hear confessions, visit any sick person, say Mass and preach on the following day, and then return to the monastery. All the brothers, whether junior or senior, would be liable for this duty, but enough men would always have to be left to administer the affairs of the monastery and say the regular offices.
Apart from the advantage it would be to the Bishop to be able to command such services, it could only be of benefit to the young priests to obtain ministerial experience in this way while they would have the valuable discipline of living for a time under Rule,, and they would also, as I have said, profit by constant contact with the older men of long experience.
So far as these latter are concerned, if unmarried they should live in the monastery and under the same vows that would hold in the case of the young priests; if married each family would have its own cottage and garden. These elders could serve the altars, take charge of the Offices, conduct conferences, continue instruction when they were competent and perform various clerical duties of management and administration. They would also, when it was possible, do the mission work, and the parochial supply referred to above.
INSOFAR as was possible, the community would be self-supporting. It would have sufficient land for gardens, farm, and pasturage. All its members would do their share of work on the land, in caring for domestic animals, and in the “processing” of farm products. It is perfectly possible, while it would be quite in line with present social developments, that various crafts and types of activity might become a part of the community life. The general idea, then, is to supplement the present diocesan activities, give the Bishop a strong arm for his service, and give aid and assistance both to youth and age. In addition to the service that could be rendered to young priests just out of seminary and to the older clergy who found themselves shelved or without means of subsistence apart from the charity of relatives or of the diocese or Church at large, such Communities as I suggest might serve good ends in furnishing places where young men might try out their vocations either for the monastic life or for the priesthood. Naturally, also, these Diocesan Monasteries would give every opportunity for retreats for clergy and laity, and for conferences on vital subjects; they might also provide homes for boy orphans, giving them both mental and manual training and fitting them for life either in the Church or the world.
In a word they would be self-contained, broadly inclusive communities, specifically Christian in conception, method, and way of life, not only supplementing the present organism of the Church, but providing enclaves of Christian living in the midst of a society from which this quality is fast disappearing. Something of the sort is bound to develop sooner or later. Indeed, in a way it seems already to be in process, though along exclusively secular lines, through the “subsistence homesteads” now being established by the President. Mass living and mass production as we see these phenomena in great cities and capitalistic industry are bound to break up and suffer a change so complete as even to approach reversal in motive and direction, for they are not consonant with human scale.
As Dean Gauss shows so clearly in his recently published A Primer for Tomorrow, purely secular efforts at social redemption cannot have issue in success. It is absolutely essential that, as was the case in the Middle Ages, there must be sanctions that transcend merely human and intellectual processes, spiritual standards and forces that establish codes of right values. Life has now become wholly secularized and largely materialized and on this road we proceed only to destruction.
I envisage these Diocesan Monasteries then, not only as practical and potentially valuable agencies in the active life of “the Church Militant here on earth” and as equally useful for young priests and old, but also, perhaps, as first steps toward a reordering of society along lines more consistent with the Mind of Christ and the avowed principles of the Catholic Church, than are those the world has followed with blind ardor since the Christian Middle Ages gave place to Humanistic Modernism.
—The Living Church, July 28, 1934, pp. 171-172.
SIGNIFICANCE doesn’t always go with size. In contemplating the edifying restorations of gigantic animals in the Natural History Museum it is a noteworthy fact that the majority of the enormous reptiles and mammals have given way. to less commodious fauna, and man, a rather insignificant biped, has come to dominate the universe. Nature’s bluff, so to speak, was called by a small biped. Nevertheless it is true that in many instances the bluff still works. Sheer size and overmastering dominations do possess a certain claim.to authority as they exert great power. In human history ideas germinating in the brain of some obscure thinker have been more potent in all respects than the dinosaur. Sheer size is not the all significant sign of greatness and power.
In matters moral the same parallel, holds. The rightness of what is right doesn’t depend solely upon the numbers of those who give their adherence to the right. Athanasius stood out once against the world, and’ the world was wrong and he was right. Our dear Lord Himself achieved His whole ministry of moral and personal leadership within the circle of an insignificant minority. The climax of His career was the lonesome Man dying alone on the cross save for two thieves on either side of Him, three believers below Him, and a sea of hatred all about Him. He was right and they were wrong.
GENERAL CONVENTION ratifies Lambeth’s declaration of intercommunion with the Old Catholics. Just what does this signify? On the continent there are several small groups of Old Catholic churches—in Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and scattered communities and individuals elsewhere. They all derive from two sources, Germany in the 1870s and Holland in 1770. Two streams have gone into the Old Catholic movement and it flows from a dramatic principle embodied in historic fact. When the alleged Jansenism of Jansenius was condemned by Rome, there were many who were convinced of the unrighteousness of the act. “Jansenism” at its best bore a stalwart and courageous witness against the practice of whittling down the austerity of the moral code of Christianity to the dimensions of human convenience. It was a needed corrective to the man-centered activism of the seventeenth century and the secondary place which God’s grace had come to occupy in the life of practical Latin Catholicism. There were many in France and others in the Low Countries who could not surrender their moral integrity to the policy of the Jesuits. Ultimately, when there was at stake the whole question of the freeing of Holland from subservience to Latin control, the Church of Utrecht achieved its independence. In this respect Dutch Old Catholicism was a kind of spiritual parallel to the wars of independence of Holland itself. The eighteenth century was not entirely a happy time for the little struggling Church of Utrecht, denounced by Rome as spuriously Catholic (since it was not in communion with the Pope) and by Protestants as equally spurious since it was too Catholic. With the most careful attention to the preservation of its own Catholic heritage, never succumbing to pressure and even persecution from the right and the1 left, the Old Catholic Church of Holland displayed a gallantry and courage the more significant because the less noticed.
FROM BEFORE the middle of the nineteenth century one group in Rome had been careful to see to it that only such bishops in Germany should be appointed as were “ultramontane.” German and Teutonic countries had been notoriously hostile to the extravagance of papal claims through the Middle Ages and after. The anti-Roman revolt, called the Reformation, found Germany and the Scandinavian countries the leaders in protest against the papacy and Rome. That spirit of criticism, of discriminating loyalty, and sturdy independence of moral integrity was characteristic of the Teutonic temper.
Plans had long been laid for the Council of 1870 at which the Pope was to be declared infallible. The coining event cast a long shadow before. Most illustrious and trenchant of opponents to the whole theory of Papal Infallibility was Prof. Döllinger of Munich. The German episcopate, as was so competently foreseen, was unwilling to express any opposition to the scheme. With innumerable Italian sees, some of them crowded for the purpose, arch-abbots and abbots galore, and a carefully prepared episcopate (especially in those countries where dangerous opposition was foreseen) the decree of Infallibility was proclaimed in 1870 despite the opposition of Döllinger and his few assistants. Secession from the Roman Church followed upon the proclamation of Infallibility. A not inconsiderable group of Catholics, especially in South Germany, were led by Döllinger out of the Roman obedience. In contradistinguishment to the novelties of modern Roman Catholicism they call their movement Old Catholicism.
Since the German group had no bishops they had recourse to the Utrecht Church in Holland in communion with whom they have ever since been. In the Kulturkampf they were used as pawns in Bismarck’s political game. Again, like their brothers of Holland, their lot has not been a happy one. In a country where Catholicism connotes Rome and the papacy, rejection of the papacy connotes Protestantism, and Protestantism connotes anti-Catholicism, the German Old Catholic Church has had a hard time securing public recognition of its character and quality. Both in Holland and in Germany Old Catholicism has had to survive by bracing itself constantly in two directions: against State subsidized Protestantism on the one side and powerful and aggressive Roman Catholicism on the other.
BY SHEER WEIGHT of majority opinion, if one were to put the question to a vote, Protestantism or Roman Catholicism might achieve a plurality. Roman Catholicism has grown enormously in Germany and Holland in recent years. Protestantism has had its ups and downs. Both have been strong and vigorous. If either is right then Old Catholicism must be Wrong.
Old Catholicism is willing to die and still more, willing to live for a principle. That principle is that Catholicism doesn’t need to be papal. In the lives of thousands of Old Catholics there must have come the question, which is more important, to be anti-Roman or to be Catholic? Social pressure has. been brought to bear for two generations past so intensely to sharpen the alternative that so constantly presses the Old Catholic: “If you really want to be anti-papal in the most effective fashion, become a Protestant”; “if you really value Catholicism why not become an adherent of the most effective Catholic organization in the world?” The innumerable scattered Old Catholic laymen have a very difficult time of it, for they never can escape the pressure of these alternatives. Some have to live in places where there is no accessible Old Catholic church and by virtue of their religious convictions they are excluded from the intimacies of social life. Very plausibly, they are assailed with the question, why don’t you be one thing or another—-either a Catholic or a Protestant? All praise to the courage of the Old Catholic laity!
Major persecution there has been little in recent years. In Austria they have suffered from minor disabilities, covert hostility, and incidental episodes of harsh treatment. In Switzerland the sturdy independence and desire for fair play of the Swiss temperament has offered a more congenial soil for the happiness of the small Old Catholic Church.
Now just how important are principles? Is the abiding witness to a principle, regardless of consequences, a thing of value to be highly esteemed ? The courage that led to martyrdom has been admired throughout centuries of Christian history. In the sharp paroxysm of acute persecution which issued in martyrdom, there is required a courage to die recklessly. But there is a twin brother to this kind of courage—the courage to live painfully. Only recently in Germany have the Old Catholics been free from petty tyrannies and minor persecution from Roman Catholicism. It takes courage of a high order to stick it out when there is not the exhilaration of severe persecution and the dramatic quality of an appeal to public opinion. This stedfastness and tough continuance under such disabilities has been a distinguishing mark of Old Catholic Church life.
The clergy have suffered even worse than the laity. There are not many of them in such large countries as Germany and Austria, still fewer in Switzerland. They live in comparative isolation from the life and society about them. Roman Catholics have little respect for a married priesthood, and on the whole the Protestant clergy do not welcome them to any fulness of fellowship. Their salaries are frequently pitifully meager. Their ideals are subject to misrepresentation and misunderstanding, sometimes due. to lack of interest and at other times to deliberate choice. As a whole the politicians and the important people regard the Old Catholic clergy and their Church as too insignificant to matter. The patience and persistence, the hidden devotion and sturdy loyalty, the lonesome-ness, and ofttimes isolation of the Old Catholic priest make him a dignified figure in the Christian world.
IN AMERICA there is a genuine branch of Old Catholicism, the Polish National Catholic Church. As an account of it has recently appeared in the columns of The Living Church (August 26, 1933) it is not necessary here to describe it further. Until some other groups of Old Catholics shall have organized themselves in America, this will be the only genuine Old Catholic communion in the United States. There are of course a number of so-called Old Catholic Churches and bishops. The test of genuineness is to be found in the fact of their being in communion with Utrecht. True Old Catholic bishops are bishops of a Church, not of a congregation. If ever you come into touch with a cleric who claims to be an Old Catholic but is not in communion with Utrecht or is a bishop or a priest in a vacuum you may be quite certain that he is not a genuine Old Catholic.
The episcopate and priesthood belong to the body of Christ. The hierarchy are as-much “members” as are any of the laity. A merely magical transmission of holy orders by a wandering bishop to a casual candidate hardly gives him the true status of a bishop or priest or deacon in the Church of God. Holy orders cannot be thought of as a mechanical transmission of some secret fluid by a person to a person: it is the commitment of a function of the body through its chief representative, the Bishop, to a member of that body for the service of other members thereof.
The Old Catholics have stanchly maintained this truth in theory and practice. They have been more than scrupulous in the tenacity with which they have held to and proclaimed newly recovered elements of the Catholic tradition. Centuries of Roman teaching, they discovered, inevitably had warped their perspective. Moreover, the movement has suffered devotionally from the circumstance that gave the movement birth. Continental Old Catholics, in restoring the Mass as the great popular act of worship, have not maintained the daily offering of the Holy Sacrifice, The whole spirit of the Old Catholic liturgy—evinced first of all by its translation into the vernaculars—has manifested the revival of a Catholicism in worship much earlier than Trent or even the Middle Ages. The liturgy of the Old Catholics is of course of the Western type. But by virtue of re-emphasis and recovery it has become preeminently what the word Liturgy meant to express—the people’s service. It is said or sung with great deliberation so that the words have their own effect. While the Mass is a holy action, it is also a proclamation of the world. It might be well for us not to over-look the important truth here enshrined. Christ crucified and risen is offered—but He is also preached and proclaimed—in the Eucharist.
We hail our intercommunion with the Old Catholics with deep joy and thanksgiving: May the years to come result in ever closer relationships between us, as well personal as official, so that the Northern Catholicism in its Teutonic and Anglo-Saxon traditions, as well as in the Latin form of the Polish National Church, makes for constant fertilisation and stimulation to us all as members of the one body in Christ.
The Living Church, December 15, 1934, pp. 737-739.
ON THE FEAST of St. John the Evangelist, December 27, 1933, the Frederic Cook Morehouse Memorial Library was dedicated by the Rt. Rev. Benjamin F. P. Ivins, D.D., Bishop of Milwaukee. Members of the Morehouse family and officers and employes of the Morehouse Publishing Co. were present.
The Morehouse Library is in the building that houses the publishing company and the offices of The Living Church, at 1801 W. Fond du Lac avenue, Milwaukee. It is established and maintained by these as a memorial to their former head, and is available as a reference library for the clergy and the public, who are cordially invited to make free and frequent use of it.
The library is housed in the former office of the late Frederic Cook Morehouse, which has been enlarged for the purpose. Although it is small, numbering only some twelve hundred volumes, it contains some valuable material not available elsewhere in Wisconsin, and much that is useful for reference, especially on the history, doctrine, and records of the Episcopal Church.
The nucleus of the library is a part of the personal library of Mr. Morehouse, whose name it bears. This personal library, which was a fairly extensive one, was divided into three parts after the owner’s death, June 27, 1932. The books dealing with municipal government, of which Mr. Morehouse had a representative collection, were given by his executors to the City Club of Milwaukee, of which he had served as president. Many of the general literary works and books of reference were given to the Milwaukee Public Library. The religious and theological works, as well as some of the historical and general ones, were retained as a basis for the Memorial Library. To these have been added other publications designed to make the library an up-to-date, well-equipped one, with its chief emphasis upon religious books, particularly those of the Episcopal Church and those relating to Christian unity. It is hoped that as the library grows, this emphasis will be maintained, so that in years to come it may have a really exceptional collection of books.
As is to be expected in a library founded in memory of the editor of a Church paper, the religious press is well represented. The library maintains bound files of The Living Church and the Living Church Annual, of which Frederic C. Morehouse was editor, and also of the American Church Monthly, Anglican Theological Review, Cathedral Age, Christian East, Christian Century, Churchman, Church Tunes, Commonweal, Green Quarterly, Guardian, Historical Magazine of the Episcopal Church, Irénikon, Spirit of Missions, and Theology. There are also complete files of certain Church periodicals no longer in existence, notably Findings in Religious Education, the Young Churchman, and the Church Eclectic. Secular periodicals of which bound files are maintained include Current History, the Literary Digest, Review of Reviews, and Time.
The Morehouse Library has an exceptionally complete collection of year books of the Episcopal Church. Beginning with Sword’s Pocket Almanac for 1827, continued to 1858, these include the Churchman’s Almanac, 1838-52, Church Almanac, 1852-91, American Church Almanac, 1893-1921, Whittaker’s Churchman’s Almanac, 1874-80, Churchman’s Year Book, 1870, and the Living Church Annual, 1882 to the present. The last named, now the only year book of the Church and much more inclusive than any of its predecessors, was a quarterly from 1890 to 1902. Year books of the Church of England, the Roman Church, and Protestant groups are included as well. The various clergy directories are also represented, including Lloyd’s, which has now become Stowe’s, and Crockford’s, covering between them the entire Anglican communion.
There is a complete file of General Convention journals, including that of the single General Council held during the Civil War by the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America. The library is also rich in official publications of the Church, such as reports and publications of the old Board of Missions, the National Council, and other agencies. Most of these were generously given to the library by the Department of Publicity of the national Church.
The Morehouse Library includes a good representation of liturgical publications, including various editions of the Book of Common Prayer—American, English, Scottish, Irish, Canadian, and translations used in various missionary jurisdictions throughout the Anglican communion. The Standard Prayer Books of 1892 and 1928 are on its shelves, the former being on loan from the diocese of Milwaukee.
The library plans to devote particular attention to pamphlet material related to religious and historical subjects. In the former category, a series of “Emergency Tracts” published by the Young Churchman Co. in 1891 and 1892 are worth noting, since they are now quite rare. They are devoted to a defense of the faith, and particularly of the Catholic character of the Church, in the light of current attacks, and have been given to the library by some of the heirs of the late Bishop Webb of Milwaukee. In the latter may be mentioned the publications of the Foreign Policy Association and the Carnegie Peace Foundation.
There have been a number of highly appreciated gifts to the library since its announcement last June. Among these, in addition to the one already mentioned, are a combination Bible and Church of England Prayer Book published in the 1660s and several other religious books given by Mrs. Isabella M. Butter of Milwaukee, originally belonging to her grandfather, William Arnold (1794-1863). Another old Bible, published in 1615, has been given by the Rev. A. L. Byron-Curtiss. Miss Anne Ambridge, grand-daughter of the Rev. Dr. William Bliss Ashley (1811-1893), has donated some interesting books from his library, including a book of hymns published in 1828 and a devotional book entitled The Religious Souvenir published in 1837. Washington Cathedral has contributed a complete file of the Cathedral Age, and the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge has made it possible to obtain an almost complete file of Theology.
Several year books and Church almanacs have been given by Miss Alice L. Snyder. The Rev. G. MacLaren Brydon, historiographer of the diocese of Virginia, has contributed valuable material on the Colonial Church. Other contributors, in addition to various members of the Morehouse family, include Bishop Parsons of California, the Rev. Robert D. Vinter, Miss Ruth Brewster Sherman, and Miss Sue B. White.
The Morehouse Memorial Library is anxious to add other worthwhile books, of particular interest to Churchmen, and would greatly welcome further contributions from interested individuals. Particularly desired are back files of the Spirit of Missions, the Anglican Theological Review, and the Churchman, unusual Prayer Book and liturgical items, the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, text books and works in the field of religious education, diocesan and parochial histories, biographies of noted Churchmen in all ages, out of print Church books and pamphlets of all kinds. The editor of The Living Church, who is also one of the custodians of the Frederic Cook Morehouse Memorial Library, would welcome communications from any readers interested in donating, or in leaving by will, items such as these to the library, where they will be permanently preserved, catalogued, and readily available for reference.
—The Living Church (Milwaukee), January 13, 1934, pp. 339-340.