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´╗┐Title: Breaking with the Past - Catholic Principles Abandoned at the Reformation
Author: Gasquet, Francis Aidan, 1846-1929
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  _Four Sermons Delivered at St. Patrick's Cathedral
  New York, on the Sundays of Advent, 1913_







     _Censor Deputatus_

     _Archbishop of New York_

January 3, 1914




THE Rt. Rev. Francis Aidan Gasquet, Abbot-General of the English
Benedictines and Chairman of the Commission appointed for the revision
of the Vulgate or Latin Bible, gave a course of sermons at the High Mass
in St. Patrick's Cathedral on the Sundays of Advent, 1913, on "Catholic
Principles abandoned at the Reformation."

These sermons attracted very wide attention. The subject chosen, while
seemingly a familiar one, proved most interesting to the vast
congregations, drawn by the fame of the preacher as a historian of the
Reformation period. His manner of treatment had much to do with the
profound interest manifested by his listeners. All attempt at pulpit
oratory was cast aside, and the preacher confined himself to a clear
unvarnished tale of the causes that led up to the so-called Reformation.
He showed himself a complete master of the question. As announced in his
opening sermon, the Rt. Rev. Abbot did not seek to be controversial, but
purely historical, and this purpose he followed to the end, basing all
his statements on documents whose authenticity could not be called in
question. He made clear what Cardinal Manning has so often repeated,
that England did not give up the Catholic faith of centuries, but was
simply robbed of it.

It was my pleasure to be present at all the sermons, and to be held
under the spell of his simple eloquence, and to experience the appeal
his strong arguments must have made. The main thesis which the learned
Abbot sought to establish was that the doctrines of the Church in
England had been reconstructed under Lutheran and Calvinistic influence,
and the cultural beliefs held by the Church from the time of Christ had
been rejected. This was especially true of the priesthood. By Act of
Parliament a new form of ordination, carefully and systematically
excluding every word that could be interpreted to mean that the
candidate was to be a sacrificing priest, was introduced.

In these days when there is a strong movement on foot without the fold,
to restore the unity of the Christian faith, we can indulge the hope
that the four lectures of the distinguished Abbot will prove fruitful.
They are on subjects so vital to unity; _i. e._ the Supremacy of the
Pope, the Sacrifice of the Mass, the Eternal Priesthood, the Universal
Church. We pray that these sermons will attract the attention of many
outside the Church, and make them meditate on the bitterness of breaking
from their "Father's House." May God's holy grace prove stronger than
prejudice, as it has so often in the past, and may it soften the hearts
which have been hardened by cruel legislation rather than by wilful

     _Archbishop of New York_.

The Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, 1913






TO-DAY we begin the work of Advent. During these weeks of preparation
for the great feast of Christmas it is usual and useful to turn our
thoughts to some of the great principles upon which our faith as
Catholics is grounded, in order that we may realise more fully all that
our Blessed Lord's coming into this world has done for mankind in
general and for our individual souls in particular. It will not
therefore be altogether foreign to this purpose if during these Sundays
of Advent I ask your consideration of certain Catholic principles which
appear to me to have been deliberately abandoned in the great religious
revolution of the sixteenth century, known as the Reformation, but to
which our Catholic forefathers in England and in Ireland clung with
heroic constancy and for which they suffered loss of worldly goods and
even laid down their lives.

And first, I should at the outset like to disclaim any desire to enter
into mere matters of controversy. In these days, when so many
aspirations and prayers for a return to Christian Unity are being
uttered and which in the face of the common enemy find an echo in the
heart of every Catholic, the bitterness engendered by the controversial
spirit is, to say the least, wholly foreign to the work of Union. But as
a first step to that Christian Unity we all pray for, it is surely
necessary to recognise the points of departure, out of which our
differences have grown. We cannot proceed far along the path towards
agreement unless we understand how we first began to differ, and
therefore, not in any spirit of bitterness or controversy. I desire to
speak of facts as they seem to me, and to point out what was really done
at the time of the Reformation in England, which still has obvious
consequences in all English-speaking countries. As far as I am concerned
at present those who hold that what was done in regard to religion in
the sixteenth century was well done may continue to hold this belief.
All I desire at this time is to ascertain _what_ was done.

Now the first point of attack made on the traditional teachings of the
Catholic Church was upon the spiritual jurisdiction of the Pope. We
Catholics hold and believe that our Lord came down on earth and became
man to redeem us, not as a mere historical fact, which was once done and
completed by His death upon the Cross, but that the work of this
redemption was to be applied to the individual soul, through the work of
the Church He established on earth. This Church was to minister to souls
through the Sacraments He instituted, the grace He had purchased for
them by His Passion and Death, and it was to be the fount of all truth
and teaching. We Catholics further believe and hold that our Lord
established this His church upon the authority of St. Peter and his
successors, as the necessary basis of unity of faith and discipline. To
us this seems so certain that it is inconceivable that our Lord, who was
God and had all knowledge of the working of the human heart and mind,
should not have provided some such an authority as that of the Pope, as
the necessary bond of unity of the Faith. Mind, I am not proving this in
any way: I am but stating it as the firm and unchanging belief of

Up to the time of King Henry VIII., and indeed till the end of the first
half of his reign, this, which is our belief, was that of England and
Ireland in common with all other parts of Christendom before the revolt
of Luther a few years before in Germany. Of this I do not think there
can be much doubt, except perhaps in the minds of professional
controversialists. Let me give a few examples of English teaching on the
subject. In the University of Oxford, up to the Reformation, there was
no more honoured theological authority in the schools, than the
celebrated Duns Scotus. This is what he taught as to papal authority:
"It is of faith that the ever Holy Roman Church, which is the pillar and
ground of all truth and against which the gates of hell cannot prevail,
admits of no error and teaches the truth. Hence they are excommunicated
as heretics who teach or hold anything different from what She teaches
and practises." This is clear enough teaching: and no less clear is the
declaration made by the representatives of England and Ireland in the
Council of Florence, which was held in A. D. 1417, a century and more
before the breach with Rome. At that Council there were present more
than a hundred British Bishops and Prelates. Peculiar circumstances
called for a declaration of their loyalty to the Universal Church, and
this is one clause in that declaration: "Moreover the Kingdom of
England, thanks be to God! has never swerved from its obedience to the
Roman Church: it has never tried to rend the seamless coat of Our Lord:
it has never endeavoured to shake off its loyalty to the Roman

Ten years later again, in 1426, Pope Martin V. in a letter to the
Archbishop of Canterbury, states as a recognised fact, that not only had
the Roman Pontiffs supreme authority as a fact, but that this authority
was derived as of divine institution from our Lord Himself and he tells
the archbishop that he is bound to protect "the rights and privileges of
the Roman Church and the Apostolic See, which Christ Himself gave by His
divine Word, and not men." This is the distinct claim put forth by the
Pope, and Archbishop Chicheley in his reply, made on behalf of the
English Church, fully and frankly admits this claim, and makes it quite
clear that the traditional teaching of the English Church in regard to
the Papacy was that it was of divine institution and not that its
authority was of ecclesiastical institution, and still less that England
or Ireland had ever given its obedience to the Pope on grounds of
national policy or expediency and not on a dogmatic basis. The matter is
put clearly enough to remove all doubt in the letter addressed to the
Pope by the University of Oxford at the same time as that of Archbishop
Chicheley in behalf of the English Bishops. "We recognise in your
beloved person (that of. Pope Martin V.) the true Head. We profess
without doubt and from our hearts (that you are) the one Supreme
Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth and the true successor of St.

That this remained the firm and unshaken faith of the Church and people
of England and Ireland right up to the final breaking away from Rome we
have ample and positive proofs. Out of many I will cite one testimony.
When the teachings of the reformer, Luther, began to find adherents in
other lands, King Henry VIII., with the help of Bishop Fisher, himself
composed a book in defence of the Sacramental teaching of the Church.
This volume was taken to Rome by one of the English Bishops and
presented to the Pope in full Consistory on October 2, 1521. On behalf
of Henry, the envoy in the presence of all the Cardinals and Ambassadors
made public declaration of the entire loyalty of the English nation to
the Holy Roman Church and its Supreme Pontiff. "Of other nationalities,"
he says, "let others speak. But assuredly my Britain--my England, as in
later times she has been called--has never yielded to Spain, never to
France, never to Germany, never to Italy, never to any nearer nation,
no, not even to Rome itself, in the service of God and in the Christian
faith and in the obedience due to the Most Holy Roman Church; even as
there is no nation which more opposes, more condemns, more loathes this
monster (_i. e._ the Lutheran apostasy) and the heresies which spring
from it." It was for the volume then presented and for the declaration
then made that Henry received the title of "Defender of the Faith" from
the Pope.

Suddenly and almost as a bolt from the blue, difficulties between the
King of England and the Pope began to show themselves. Grave events
often spring from slight causes, and, whatever may be said by
professional controversalists, there can be no doubt that it was a mere
love affair of Henry VIII., which initiated the royal policy and finally
dragged England into schism and heresy. [1] To some, people, indeed, in
these days the action of the Pope in refusing to allow Henry to have his
own wilful way in putting aside his wedded wife, Katherine, and to marry
another woman, with whom he had had illicit relations, may appear to
have been the height of unwisdom. Certainly as a result it has had the
most disastrous consequences to the English Church. But this at least
all must confess: that the Pope's courageous action is a manifest proof
of the impossibility of ecclesiastical authority interfering without
right reason with the indissoluble sanctity of a true Christian

[1] This statement was challenged in the press. It is difficult to see
how it can be questioned by anyone who has read the history of this
period. Those who are interested may be referred to an excellent article
in _America_ for Dec. 20, 1913, "What to say and how to say it."

To obtain the support of Parliament the King suggested that the nation
had incurred the extreme penalties of _praemunire_ by admitting the
legatine powers of Cardinal Wolsey, even though this had been done with
his royal knowledge and authority. His lay subjects were at once
pardoned for a mere technical offence against the statute laws, but the
clergy were excluded, in order to hold the penalties _in terrorem_ over
them. With his royal hand on the throats of his ecclesiastical subjects
he demanded a recognition of his Headship over the Church in England,
and finally Convocation, after a debate which extended over two and
thirty sessions, gave an unwilling assent to a clause admitting the King
as "the Protector and Supreme Head" of the English Church. This was the
thin edge of the wedge by which the cleavage from Rome and the Pope was
subsequently effected. At the time, there can be no doubt that the
inward meaning of the acknowledgment was not understood. Dean Hook says
that the statement was not "regarded as inconsistent with the legitimate
claims of the papacy," and as Froude admits, it is certain that "the
title was not intended to imply what it implied when, four years later,
it was conferred by Act of Parliament, and when England virtually was
severed by it from the Roman Communion."

In 1532 by an Act entitled "The Submission of the clergy" the king
received their pledge not to legislate in ecclesiastical matters in
Convocation without his royal leave. By this "Submission" the English
Church deprived itself of all corporate action; and in the same year the
aged Archbishop Warham died. "We cannot doubt," writes the late Dr.
James Gairdner, the most competent judge of the events of this reign and
himself not a Catholic, "We cannot doubt that the event (_i. e._ the
death of the Archbishop of Canterbury) at once suggested to the King a
new method of achieving his end" and divorcing Queen Katherine. He
obtained from the Pope the appointment of Thomas Cranmer, a priest who
in defiance of the canons had secretly married in Germany the niece of
Osiander, the German Reformer, as a second wife.

Having secured this appointment from the Holy See, the King directed
Cranmer to consider the divorce question, and the decree having been
pronounced by the subservient archbishop, Henry made Anne Boleyn his
Queen on June 1, 1533. Six months later the Convocations of Canterbury
and York, under strong royal pressure formally accepted the declaration
that "the Bishop of Rome has not in Scripture any greater jurisdiction
in the Kingdom of England than any foreign bishop." Finally in March,
1534, the severance of England from Rome ecclesiastically was effected
by the _Supreme Head_ act which styled the King the only "Supreme Head
in earth of the Church of England" and granted him the most ample powers
of ecclesiastical Visitation. Then the final touch was given to the work
by the _Act of Verbal Treasons_, by which it was declared to be high
treason to "imagine" any bodily harm to either the King or Queen or "to
deprive them of their dignity, title, style," etc.

The change had now been effected: England was cut off from the
jurisdiction of Rome. Some men, like the Venerable Bishop Fisher,
Blessed Sir Thomas More, the heroic Carthusians and others, refused to
burden their consciences by taking the required oath and preferred
imprisonment and death. For the most part the clergy and monastic houses
gave way and did what was required of them. But there can be little
doubt that the nation at large disliked the King's proceedings. In spite
of the act for _Verbal Treasons_, which was wide enough to catch anyone
guilty of a mere expression of opinion, "on no other subject during the
entire reign have we such overt and repeated expressions of
dissatisfaction with the King and his proceedings," as Dr. Gairdner with
the fullest knowledge of this period declares. For, as he says, "the
ecclesiastical headship was without precedent and at variance with all
tradition:" . . . "It was a totally new order in the Church."

My purpose does not lead me to speak of the exercise of ecclesiastical
jurisdiction by the King, in virtue of this new Headship over the
Church. As, by virtue of his authority, he had bidden Archbishop Cranmer
to pronounce the sentence of divorce, which the Pope had refused, so in
the dissolution of the religious houses, he pronounced the monks and
nuns in his kingdom freed from the vows they had made to God. In the
exercise of the royal supremacy in matters ecclesiastical he appointed
Thomas Crumwell, a layman, his Vicar General, and in this capacity,
Crumwell presided at all meetings of Bishops and regulated all
discussions upon spiritual affairs.

There were various other religious changes initiated during the
remainder of this reign, like the destruction of shrines and the
prohibition of devotion to the saints, but it is one of the perplexing
problems of this time why there was not a more radical reconstruction of
religion in England upon the lines of the Lutheran principles of the
Reformation. The fact is that, though for his own purposes Henry was
willing enough to get rid of the Pope, he was never a Lutheran at heart.
He had defended Catholic principles against the German Reformed
doctrines in his work on the Seven Sacraments. He never wholly lost his
Catholic instinct, and to the last he maintained with a strong hand the
ancient Catholic Sacramental teaching, and in particular in regard to
the most Holy Eucharist and the doctrine of Transubstantiation. In this
regard the reforming party, as long as he lived, was kept in check and
had to wait for the King's death to secure further changes.

To us Catholics, by the act of cutting England from Rome, the principle
of Christian Unity was rejected and sacrificed. The branch cut from the
tree no longer feeds upon the sap of the parent stock, and
disintegration is merely a matter of time. We who look back over the
centuries, which have passed since the severance of the English Church
from Union with Rome was effected, can see how the disintegration as to
doctrine, has gone on ever since. Few can deny that it is still
proceeding at a rate, which is rightly alarming those who still cling
even to the shreds of the religious formularies evolved in the
Reformation settlement. Hundreds of religious bodies, all claiming to be
Christian and all differing on vital and essential matters of belief,
can be seen round about us to-day. The process of division is still
going on and it must continue where there is no authority to speak with
a divine commission. We Catholics, as we review this chaos, may well
thank God that our English and Irish forefathers have fought and
suffered to maintain for us the Christian principle of a Supreme
authority in religion.




TO-DAY I propose to speak about the Most Holy Eucharist. The Sacrifice
of the Mass is the central doctrine of our religion. In it, as we
Catholics firmly believe, there is renewed on the Christian altar the
sacrifice of Calvary, and by God's power, at the words spoken by the
priest, the bread and wine is changed into the very Body and Blood of
our Lord. The word used by the Church to express this change of
substance is Transubstantiation; and in the mystery of our Faith we hold
that we have, under the outward appearances of bread and wine, the true
and real presence of our Blessed Lord. As truly and as really as our
Saviour, God and man, walked this earth in the days of His pilgrimage,
blessing the sick, curing diseases at His touch, and teaching the way of
life to the multitudes, so do we firmly believe and hold, that He is
amongst us to-day under the Eucharistic forms, ready to help and
encourage the weary, to console the afflicted, to bring the assurance of
His pardon to the penitent.

I am not proving this. I am only stating it, as the firm faith we hold
as Catholics. Moreover, not only is the Mass our Christian Sacrifice;
but in the Holy Eucharist we have the food of our souls and the proper
sustenance of our spiritual life in this world. We hold and truly
believe that in Holy Communion we receive really and in fact, and not in
any mere figurative sense, our Blessed Lord Himself--Body, Soul and
Divinity. This is our faith to-day as it was the unbroken belief of the
Catholic Church from the earliest tunes. All round about us now we see
other religious bodies, claiming to be Christian which do not share our
teaching, and it is good to try and understand how this has come about.
The key to the explanation lies in the teaching of Reformation
principles in the sixteenth century.

When Henry VIII. died, on January 25, 1547, for the first time in
history the king had made himself supreme not only in affairs of State
but in religion. Many minor changes, besides the destruction of the
religious life and the suppression of the monasteries, naturally marked
and followed upon the rejection of the Catholic principle of papal
authority and the assumption by the king of Supreme Headship over the
Church in England. The hopes, entertained by the German Reformers of
being able to obtain the adherence of the king and people of England to
their reformed doctrines, were disappointed during Henry's life. On his
death their hopes revived. Edward VI., a boy, only nine years of age,
succeeded to the throne, and the supreme power in the State was seized
by those whose sympathies were known to be on the side of the German
Reformation. The Lord Protector, Somerset, became the highest authority
in the State, and Archbishop Cranmer, for years a Lutheran at heart, was
the chief ecclesiastic in the realm.

As one of the first acts of the reign, all the bishops were compelled to
take out fresh Commissions from the Crown for the exercise of their
episcopal offices. In this Cranmer set a willing example of obedience;
and in the preamble of the new Letters Patent the royal power was set
forth as the source of all jurisdiction, civil and ecclesiastical.

Within a month of Edward's accession, the images of saints in the London
churches were dishonoured and mutilated, and sermons were preached,
without punishment or rebuke, against the observance of Lent and other
Catholic practices. Other changes in the line of the Reformation
followed quickly one upon another. Images, shrines and pictures of Our
Lady and the Saints were ordered to be destroyed, and the Litany of the
Saints, hitherto said in procession, was made into a prayer to be said
kneeling. All this was a sufficient indication of the trend of mind in
the men now in power towards the Reformation doctrines of Luther and the
other continental heretics.

For objecting to these changes some of the bishops were lodged in
prison, and in the course of a general Visitation of churches in the
diocese of London, whilst the Bishop was in prison, the images in St.
Paul's and other city churches were pulled down and broken up; the
painted pictures and frescoes upon the walls--"the books of the poor and
unlearned" as they were called--were covered with whitewash, and in
their place the Ten Commandments were written upon the plaster.

The first Parliament of this reign met in November, 1547, and the
important matter--from a religious standpoint--discussed and settled was
the introduction of Communion under both kinds--or as some modern
writers put it "the restoration of the cup to the laity." This change,
significant as it was, might mean little more than the rejection of a
disciplinary law of the Church, which had been introduced many ages
before for wise and obvious reasons. But to those who will study the
history of the controversies of the sixteenth century, the
reintroduction of Communion under both kinds was an outward
manifestation of the rejection of the Catholic Eucharistic doctrine,
which taught that our Blessed Lord was present, whole and entire, Body,
Soul and Divinity in each and every portion of the Most Holy Sacrament.
And, as St. Thomas teaches in his dogmatic hymn of the Holy Eucharist,
in every part and portion, "_integer accipitur_"--is received whole and
entire in Holy Communion. The history of the passage of this measure
through Parliament makes it clear that many of the Bishops and other
prominent ecclesiastics were opposed to this departure from existing
Catholic usage and that it was in reality imposed by the authority of
Parliament upon the Church under the plea that it was "conformable to
primitive practice." The Bill was but the beginning of other and more
important changes. The replies made at this time by Cranmer and other
innovating prelates to certain questions upon the nature of the Mass
leave no doubt as to the lengths they were prepared to go ha the
direction of Lutheran Eucharistic doctrine. The archbishop declared that
"_oblation and sacrifice_" were terms improperly used about the Mass,
and that it was only a "memory and representation of the sacrifice of
the Cross." In other words, Cranmer and the four other English bishops
who agreed with him, rejected the Sacrifice of the Mass as it had
hitherto been received in England as in every other part of the Catholic

To carry out the new order of Communion a form, founded upon the
celebrated work of Herman the Archbishop of Cologne, which had just
appeared in an English translation, was issued and ordered to be
inserted in the Latin Mass. The process of spoliation of the Church
begun in the reign of Henry VIII. was continued. A bill, strongly
opposed by churchmen, was passed in the House of Lords, giving to the
Crown all colleges, free chapels and chantries as well as the property
of all guilds and fraternities. By this measure the gravest injustice
was done to the members of the guilds, which were the charitable
associations, insurance societies, burial and sick clubs of Catholic
England. The funds thus confiscated for the most part represented the
savings of the poor. Moreover, religion suffered the gravest injury by
the confiscation of the chantry funds and the revenues for anniversary
prayers for the dead. These were in many cases at least intended to
supply the services of additional curates for the work of larger
parishes and for annual gifts to the poor.

In the second year of the King's reign Cranmer intimated that the
Council had ordered the discontinuance of the old Catholic practices of
blessed candles, blessed ashes and blessed palms, as well as the Good
Friday ceremony of honouring the crucifix, known as "creeping to the

All these changes were, however, only indications of the more serious
attack on the Catholic doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, which was being
engineered by the now almost openly avowed English Reforming party,
headed by Cranmer. On December 14, 1548, a draft of a new Prayer Book in
English to supersede the ancient Missal and Breviary was introduced into
the House of Lords and there followed a long debate upon the doctrine of
the Blessed Sacrament, contained in the service, which was intended to
take the place of the ancient Mass. This part of the new Book of Common
Prayer has a special interest and significance.

In the course of this debate it appeared clearly that Archbishop Cranmer
had given up all belief in the Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation
and in the sacrificial character of the Eucharist. In the account of
this discussion it also appears that the word "oblation," which had been
left in the proposed new Canon when the draft was shown to the Bishops,
had been struck out of the document presented to Parliament for its
approval, without their knowledge or consent. On January 15, 1549,
Parliament by statute approved the new form of service to take the place
of the Mass; its authority being simply a schedule of an act of
Parliament; the Church in synod or convocation almost certainly having
had nothing to say in this vital matter of doctrine and practice.

It is not infrequently asserted that after all, except that the new
Communion service was in English, there was little or no change made in
form or substance. In other words, that the office of Communion, in the
First Prayer Book of Edward VI.--the Book of 1549--was the Latin Mass
translated into English. Whatever else it was, whether a return to
primitive observances or an adaptation of ancient foreign liturgies, or
any other thing of the same nature, it was most certainly not a
translation; not even a free rendering of the Latin Mass into the

Those who are familiar with the Latin Missal, or those who will take the
trouble to examine it, will see at once that the Mass consists mainly of
two parts,--the first a preparation for and leading up to the second. In
the former we have the prayers and supplications with passages of Holy
Scripture from the Epistles and Gospels, selected by the Church as
appropriate to the feast or Sunday upon which they are read. In this
part also we have the ceremonial offices arranged for the offering of
the bread and wine prepared for the Christian Sacrifice, accompanied by
prayers expressing the idea of sacrifice and oblation.

Thus, for example, at the offering of the bread the priest says these
words: "Receive, O Holy Father, Almighty and Everlasting God, _this
spotless Host,_" etc. When he offers the chalice with the wine and water
in it he says: "We offer up to Thee, O Lord, the chalice of Salvation,
beseeching Thee of Thy mercy that our _sacrifice_ may ascend with an
odour of sweetness in the sight of Thy Divine Majesty," etc.; and he
adds: "May the _Sacrifice_ we this day offer up be well-pleasing to
Thee." Finally, bowing down before the altar, the priest says: "Receive,
O Holy Trinity, this _oblation_ offered up by us to Thee," etc., and,
turning to those who are assisting, he says: "Brethren, pray that this
_sacrifice_, which is both mine and yours, may be well-pleasing to God
the Father Almighty." To this the people through the server reply: "May
the Lord receive this _sacrifice_ at your hands," etc. Everyone who will
carefully examine these prayers must see that the main idea contained in
all is that of _sacrifice_ and _oblation_. In the same way the prayer
called the Secret, which follows upon the offering of the bread and wine
for the Sacrifice, though it varies with the feast celebrated,
practically always contains some mention of the oblation or victim to be
offered. Thus on this, the second Sunday of Advent, the Secret prayer
contains these words: "Be appeased, we beseech Thee, O Lord, by our
prayers and by the _sacred Victim_ we humbly offer," etc.

In the second part of the Holy Mass we shall find, if we use our
Missals, or Mass books, that there is one unchanging ritual _formula_
called the "Canon," during which the words of Consecration are
pronounced by the priest over the bread and wine. By the efficacy of
these words, as we Catholics believe, the substance of the bread and
wine are changed by God's power into the Body and Blood of Christ; and
in this Sacred Canon the Christian sacrifice is perfected. Naturally we
should expect to find in this solemn part of the Mass the same idea of
sacrifice and oblation clearly expressed. And so it is. The priest begs
Almighty God "to receive and to bless these gifts, these _oblations_,
these holy and _spotless hosts_, which we offer up to Thee;" and "to be
appeased by this _oblation_ which we offer." Again he prays: "Vouchsafe
to bless this same _oblation,_ to take it for Thy very own . . . so that
on our behalf it may _be made into_ the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ,"
etc. To this he adds: "Wherefore we offer up to thine excellent Majesty
. . . a _Victim_ which is pure, a Victim which is holy, a Victim which
is stainless, the holy Bread of life everlasting and the Cup of eternal
salvation." Then after the words of Consecration, bowing down before the
sacred species on the altar, the celebrant says: "Humbly we beseech
Thee, Almighty God, to command that by the hands of Thy holy Angel, this
our _Sacrifice_ be uplifted to thine altar on high."

Now let us understand what was done by the English Reformers in the new
service drawn up in 1549 to take the place of the ancient Mass. In a
general way it may be said that up to the Gospel the first Communion
service followed outwardly at least the old Missals. The ritual offering
of the bread and wine, however, with the prayers expressing oblation and
sacrifice--a part which was known as the Offertory--was swept away
altogether in the new service. In its place was substituted a few
sentences appropriate to almsgiving and a new meaning was given to the
word "Offertory," which has since come to signify a collection. This
change is significant of the Eucharistic doctrines of the German
Reformers and is fully in accord with Cranmer's known opinions in regard
to oblation and sacrifice, every expression or idea of which was
ruthlessly removed from the new Book. The old prayer, called the Secret,
which almost invariably contained a mention of the Sacrifice about to be
offered, was left out.

Following upon the Offertory and Secret comes the Preface, or immediate
preparation for the sacred Canon. This, with certain unimportant
changes, was allowed to stand in the new composition as it was in the
Missal. But the last words of the _Sanctus_, with which the Preface
invariably concludes: "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the
Lord," although allowed to stand in the first Book of Common Prayer of
1549, was removed in the subsequent Book of 1552, and does not find a
place in the present Communion Service. The reason for this later change
is obvious. With the new Canon we come to understand the full
significance of the changes made in the new liturgy. Our present
detailed knowledge of the Canon of the Mass goes back for thirteen
hundred years, and, with the exception of one short clause inserted by
St. Gregory the Great, it has remained unchanged to the present day.
This alone is a sufficient testimony to the veneration in which the
prayer was regarded. It was a sacred heritage, coming to the Catholic
Church from unknown antiquity, and it was substantially the same in
every Western liturgy.

The Canon of the First Communion service was, so far as _ideas_ go, an
absolutely new Canon. Outwardly, even, it was so different to the Canon
of the Mass that it was characterised by the common people as "a
Christmas game." It offers prayers to God in place of "these gifts,
these offerings, these holy undefiled sacrifices" of the Catholic Canon;
and in a word, every idea or expression of the ancient doctrine of
sacrifice was studiously omitted by the composers of the new Prayer
Book. In fact, the words of "Consecration," or as they are now
frequently called, "Institution," which it might have been supposed even
Cranmer would have respected as too sacred to touch or tamper with, are
changed for a formula taken from the new Lutheran use of Nuremberg,
which had been drawn up by Osiander, Cranmer's relative by marriage.

In brief, then, it is impossible for any unbiased mind to compare the
ancient Canon of the Holy Mass--the Canon which still exists unchanged
in our Missals to-day--with the relative part of the new Communion
service without seeing that both in spirit and substance the First
Prayer Book of Edward VI was conceived with the design of getting rid of
the Catholic Mass altogether. [1] It was as little a translation of the
Latin Missal as the similar Lutheran productions of Germany, which were
ostensibly based upon the design of getting rid of the sacrificial
character of the Mass altogether. The First Prayer Book of 1549 merely
represented one stage of the downgrade of Eucharistic doctrine in
departure from the old Catholic beliefs towards the more advanced
Protestant schools of thought represented by Calvin and others. So
another--the second liturgy of Edward VI--was soon in preparation and
was issued in 1552.

[1] For the convenience of those interested this comparison may be found
at the end of this lecture.

In one thing only did it differ. In the First Prayer Book the Communion
service contained some shreds of a Canon,--a new Canon, it is true, but
a Canon,--whereas Luther's declared intention was to get rid of what he
called "the abominable Canon" altogether, leaving only the words of
Institution. This too was effected in the Second Prayer Book of 1552. In
this also there is one significant omission amongst a number of other
changes. From the "Sanctus" after the Preface and immediately leading up
to the Canon the words "Blessed is He who cometh in the name of the
Lord" are omitted as if to emphasise the rejection of the doctrine of
Transubstantiation in the new formulae.

It is unnecessary to do more than point out that the rejection of
authority in religious matters had already the consequences which any
reasonable man would have prophesied for a system of religion founded
upon the royal power, or, as in this case of the young King Edward, upon
the personal opinions of his ministers. It is in some quarters the
fashion nowadays to assume that there were no substantial changes in the
Liturgy of the Church at this period, and that the Catholic Mass and the
Anglican Communion service to-day are essentially and substantially the
same. To any one, who will put the one by the side of the other and note
the changes and omissions, it must appear as clear as the noonday sun
that there is a difference, essential and substantial, depending upon
doctrinal teaching, on which there should be no misunderstanding. I am
not here concerned to determine whether these changes were good or bad.
What I wish to make clear is that these changes were made, and that they
are significant of a change in doctrine.




  Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts
  The Heavens and earth are full of Thy glory
  Hosanna in the highest
  Blessed is he that Cometh in the Name of the Lord.[1] Hosanna, etc.

--to receive and to bless these gifts, these oblations, these holy and
spotless hosts which we offer up to Thee--

Wherefore, we beseech Thee O Lord to be appeased by this oblation which
we . . . offer

Vouchsafe to bless this same Oblation to take it for Thy very-own . . .
so that on our behalf it may be _made into_ the Body and Blood of J. C.,

Wherefore . . . we . . . offer up to thine Excellent. Majesty ... a
Victim which is pure, a Victim which is holy, a Victim which is
stainless, the holy Bread of life everlasting and the Cup of eternal
salvation . . .

Humbly we beseech Thee, Almighty God to command that by the hands of Thy
Holy Angel, this our _Sacrifice_ be uplifted to thine Altar on high


[Our Lord] who made there [upon the Cross] by his one oblation once
offered, a full perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and
satisfaction . . . and did institute and in his holy Gospel command us
to celebrate a perpetual memory of that his precious death. [2]

--to receive these our prayers and supplications [3]--
which we offer unto [3] thy Divine Majesty.

Vouchsafe to bless and [3] sanctify these thy gifts and creatures of
bread and wine, that they may _be unto us_ the Body and Blood--

Wherefore... we do celebrate and make here before Thy Divine Majesty,
with these Thy holy gifts the _memorial_ which Thy Son hath willed us to
make . . . desiring [thee] to accept this our _Sacrifice of praise and
thanksgiving_ . . .

and we offer and present unto Thee ourselves, our souls and bodies to be
a reasonable, holy and lively sacrifice to Thee

accept this our bounden duty and service
and command these our _prayers and supplications_ by the ministry of Thy
Holy Angels to be brought up into Thy holy Tabernacle [4]

[1] _Blessed is he who cometh_, etc., left out in 1552 and subsequent

[2] This is still found in the Communion Service.

[3] Omitted in 1552

[4] Omitted in 1552. The _American_ Service has _accept this our bounden
duty and Service_ as above, _but_ LEAVES out "_and command these_," etc.




LAST Sunday I spoke of the Catholic doctrine of the Mass and the Holy
Eucharist; I pointed out what our faith taught us about the Blessed
Sacrament and how the Mass was to our Catholic forefathers and to us
to-day, the central act of worship of God; and that the Holy Communion
in a very true sense is the food of our spiritual life, as it binds us
to God and brings Him into our lives in truth and in reality, which is
the end and object of every act of religion. I pointed out to you that
by the principles of the Reformation, adopted by the followers of the
Lutheran theology in England, the Mass, as a "Sacrifice and Oblation,"
was not merely attacked doctrinally, and spoken of by the men of the "New
Learning" with scurrilous profanity, but destroyed altogether, as far as
it was possible for them to do. The service of Communion in the New Book
of Common Prayer, designed to take the place of the ancient missals, was
drawn up in such a way as to get rid of every expression of the Catholic
doctrine as to the Sacrifice of the Mass, absolutely. If the old dictum
_lex orandi est lex credendi_--prayer follows belief--has any
application at all, it must be obvious in this case that the authors of
the new English Prayer Book had completely rejected the Catholic belief
as to the Most Holy Sacrament. The proof lies not in the new forms only
when compared with the old, but in the clear and definite statements of
those who had the main share in drawing up the Communion Service of the
Book of Common Prayer and the chief part in imposing its acceptance upon
the people of England.

I know well that in comparatively late times one school of thought in
the English Church have endeavoured to get back to the old Catholic
doctrine of the Sacrifice of the Mass. Some have been so dissatisfied
with the formula of the Communion in the Book of Common Prayer that they
have added to it and have even in some cases made use of our ancient
Canon from the Latin missal. In other instances, as in the Communion
Service in the American Church, a longer Canon had been adopted, taken
from the First Prayer Book of 1549 and arranged differently from that of
the Second Book now in use in England. But the doctrine in this is in no
sense our Catholic doctrine. For, although the words "sacrifice" and
"oblation" may be found in it, as indeed in the Anglican prototype, the
word signifies not the Catholic sacrifice, the offering up of the Body
and Blood of our Lord as a living victim upon the altar, but as the
words in the Communion office define it, "our sacrifice of praise and
thanksgiving," in which "we offer and present ourselves, our souls and
bodies, to be a reasonable, holy and living sacrifice unto thee." Mind,
for my present purpose, I am not here contending that the work of the
Reformers in the 16th century in thus composing a new formula was wrong.
All I would insist upon is that this was in fact done; that certain
ancient Catholic principles were abandoned in the New Communion Service,
and that this new Book by the authority of the State was imposed upon
the consciences of all.

That the change thus forcibly effected was disliked very generally
cannot be doubted. The new Service was ordered to come into general use
in the Churches on Whitsunday, 1549, and the very next day the people of
Stamford Courtenay in Devon compelled their parish priest to return to
the old missal. This was but an indication of the spirit of the people
and a beginning of those numerous disturbances in various parts of the
country which for a time seriously alarmed the men in power. In
Oxfordshire the rising was put down with a firm hand and many priests
were hanged from the towers of their parish churches, as the obvious
leaders of their people to resist these innovations. In Devonshire the
rising took a more serious aspect and the people assembled in their
thousands demanding the restoration of the Latin Mass and the abolition
of the new service in English, which they described as "a Christmas
game." "We will have," they said, "the Mass as of old and the Blessed
Sacrament hanging in our churches"; and to show the religious character
of their revolt against the State-imposition of the new form of
religion, the insurgents carried the Most Holy Sacrament in a pyx in
their midst, and marched with processional crosses and banners. By the
aid of foreign mercenaries--German and Italian--they were defeated, and
thousands, some say twenty thousand of the men who rose in defence of
the Catholic doctrine of the Mass were slaughtered.

We have now to go a step farther in our contrast of our Catholic belief
with the Reformation principles. This morning I propose to speak of the
sacred priesthood. The Catholic doctrine of the Sacrifice of the Mass
imples a sacrificing priesthood. To us a priest in the first place is a
man chosen, set aside and consecrated for the service of the altar. He
is a man and, alas! sometimes, in spite of the dignity of his calling,
he shows himself to be very human; but by the vocation of God that is
given to him and by his ordination at the hands of the bishop he
receives a character which nothing can take away and which enables him
to stand before the altar and offer the Christian Sacrifice. At his
word, spoken by the power God has given him, he changes the elements of
bread and wine into the true and real Body and Blood of Christ, and
offers them to God a sacrifice for the living and the dead. This is the
Catholic belief as to the priesthood, and it has been the belief of
Catholics from the earliest ages. I am not concerned to prove this, but
merely state it as a part of our belief.

As might be expected, the doctrine is set forth clearly in the form of
Ordination, to be found in the ancient Pontificals, or Books containing
those forms, which to-day are practically the same as those used in
England in the sixteenth century. If we take the rite of Ordination to
the priesthood we shall immediately note in the address of admonition to
the candidates that the Bishop speaks of the purity of life necessary
for those "_who celebrate Mass and consecrate the Body and Blood of
Christ_"; whose hands are anointed "that they may know that they receive
the grace of _Consecrating_"; and who receive the chalice and paten to
show "they receive the _power of offering sacrifices_ pleasing to God,
since it belongs to them to consecrate the sacrament of the Body and
Blood of the Lord on God's altar." The candidate is likewise reminded of
the excellence of the _priestly office_ by virtue of which the _Passion
of Christ_ is daily celebrated on the altar.

In the course of the rite, the priest's hands are blessed, since he is
to _consecrate the sacrifice_ offered for the sins and offences of the
people; and he is given the chalice, etc., to show forth and emphasise
the _power to offer sacrifice_ and _celebrate the Mass_; and in the
final blessing God is asked to bless the newly ordained in the priestly
order who is to offer _Sacrifices_ pleasing to Him. In a word the whole
Ordination service in the Catholic Pontifical reiterates and most
emphatically states the fact that the priest is ordained to offer up the
Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ upon the altar. This is the
dominant note running through the entire rite: the ordained is made a
"sacrificing priest." Towards the close of the ceremony, and after the
new priest has acted as such by co-consecrating with the Bishop at Mass,
the Bishop gives him the power of jurisdiction by placing his hands upon
his head saying: "Receive the Holy Ghost: whose sins ye shall forgive
they are forgiven," etc.

This was the rite of Ordination to the priesthood which was in existence
in England at the time when the First Prayer Book of Edward VI was
imposed on the English clergy and people. On the face of it there could
be no possibility of allowing this old Ordination service to stand as it
was. The Mass had been changed into a Communion service,--a memorial of
Christ's Passion,--and the doctrinal teaching of the former had been
made, rightly or wrongly, to give place to the Reformed principles
clearly expressed in the latter. The notion of oblation and sacrifice
was now wholly foreign to the Eucharistic teaching, as understood by the
followers of the Lutheran German reformed religion, who had presided
over the composition of the new Prayer Book. It became therefore
necessary to draw up another form for the Ordination of ministers,
conceived on the same doctrinal basis as that of the Book of Common

This new Ordinal was in fact already prepared when the Prayer Book was
issued, and on January 5, 1550, a Bill to sanction it was introduced
into the House of Peers. It gave rise to much discussion, and for
refusing to assent to it one of the bishops was lodged in the prison
where others of the Catholic-minded prelates were already confined. The
"New form and manner of making and consecrating archbishops, bishops,
priests, and deacons" was, however, approved of by Parliament in
anticipation and ordered to be ready for April 1.

The new Ordinal did in regard to the ancient Catholic Pontifical what
the Communion service had done for the Missal. Having first swept away
all the minor Orders and the Subdiaconate, the new form carefully and
systematically excluded every word that could be interpreted to mean
that the candidate was ordained to be a sacrificing priest. For the most
part the new rite was a new composition, drawn up to meet the doctrinal
views as to the Holy Eucharist of the English Reformers of advanced
Lutheran principles. One of the few passages of the Pontifical preserved
in the Ordinal were the words, "Receive the Holy Ghost: whose sins ye
shall forgive," etc, which accompanied the Imposition of Hands after the
ordination in the ancient rite and conferred "the power of the Keys." In
the new rite this subordinate form became the substantial form of the
new Ordination service, although in it there was for a hundred years,
until 1662, no mention of the Order conferred. There can be hardly any
doubt that this omission came about by the adoption of the old form by
the compilers of the new Ordinal. In the case of the Catholic Pontifical
no such specific mention was called for, as when used in that to convey
jurisdiction, the priest was already ordained and had co-celebrated with
the Bishop.

Once more I repeat that I am not here concerned with any discussion as
to whether the new Ordinal was better or worse than the ancient
Pontifical. I desire merely to bring out the facts and to make it clear
that the service of Holy Communion in the Book of Common Prayer and the
Ordination service in a doctrinal point of view go together. They are
the expression of a change, of a serious organic change from the ancient
teachings of the Faith, as expressed in the Missal and Pontifical. The
Prayer Book and the Ordinal of Edward VI were the serious expression of
the deliberate alteration in the Eucharistic teachings of the official
heads of the Church in England at this time. They constituted a break,
clear, sharp and decisive with the past. There can be no doubt of this
in view of the facts. The change may have been for good or for ill, but
it can hardly be denied that it was made, and made not by accident but
of set purpose. It was a deliberate breach in the continuity of teaching
as to the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrifice of the Mass, which had
existed in the Church in England from the earliest days of Christianity;
and the new teaching found its expression in the new formularies. [1]

[1] The subsequent history of the Anglican Church shows that even the
need of Episcopal ordination was not considered absolutely necessary for
the administration of the Sacraments in that Communion. It was not,
indeed, until 1662 that it was legally necessary for a beneficed
clergyman to have been so ordained. Bishop Hooker himself admitted the
ministration and received the Communion from the hands of Saravia who
was a Calvinistic minister. The truth of this position is upheld by the
present Anglican Bishop of Durham in a letter to the London _Times_ of
Dec. 13, 1913. He cites as witnesses: "Bancroft, who carried his
colleagues, including Andrews, with him in consecrating Presbyterian
ministers Bishops for Scotland in 1609; Andrews, who claims 'our
government to be by Divine right, yet it follows not that a Church
cannot stand without it': Ussher, who says (to Du Moulin), after a
solemn assertion of the greatness of Episcopacy, that he is prepared, to
receive the Blessed Sacrament at the hand of the French ministers if he
were at Charenton' . . . and Cosin, asserting in his Will his 'union of
soul with all the orthodox,' 'which I desire chiefly to be understood of
Protestants and the best Reformed Churches.'"

There can be no doubt as to what the ardent Reformers, who had the
matter in hand, intended to do. The press teemed with books of ribald
denunciation of the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Orders of the ancient
Catholic rite were derided in such terms as "greasy and stinking"
Orders. Moreover, the destruction of the altars obviously emphasised the
change which had taken place. The abolition of the Sacrifice and the
Sacrificing priesthood made them obsolete and unnecessary. Bishop
Ridley, a reforming prelate of the most uncompromising type, directed
the Churchwardens of London to pull down the popish altars and to
procure in their place "the form of a table" in order "more and more to
turn the simple from the old superstitious opinions of the popish Mass."
The substitute for the Catholic altars was to be "after the form of an
honest table decently covered," and was to be placed anywhere in the
chancel or choir, as was found most convenient. At St. Paul's, London,
for example, various experiments were made both as to the best position
of the table and as to how best the minister could stand at it. Four
years later Bishop White of Winchester taunted Ridley about this. "When
your table was constituted," he said, "you could never be content in
placing the same, now east, now north, now one way, now another, until
it pleased God of His goodness to place it clean out of the Church."

Beyond this the altar-stones, which by solemn rites and the unction of
Holy Oil had been consecrated to God for the Sacrifice of the Mass, and
upon which the Body and Blood of Christ had been offered daily for the
living and the dead, were not only pulled down, cast out of the church
and defaced, but were out of derision and contempt set in the floor or
the doorway that the passer-by might tread them under foot; or were
turned to other still more debased uses. To us Catholics the consecrated
altar, with its relics of the saints and the memories of its hallowed
consecration, is the most sacred thing, set apart to God's service,
together with the chalice and the paten in which and upon which the
mystery of the sacramental renewal of Christ's Passion is effected by
the words of the priest. It was this hallowed stone which was treated
with disdain and dishonour. To those who would have us think that the
whole of the changes made at the time of the Reformation were mere
protests, against what they please to call the abuse of the Mass, in the
multiplication of Masses for the living and the dead, the fact of the
contemptuous and wholesale destruction of the ancient altars and the
substitution of a moveable table, should be sufficient to show that it
was no abuse that was thought of, or aimed at, but the abolition of the
Sacrifice altogether.

But there were other indications that this abolition of the Mass and
priesthood was the set policy of the men in power at this time. A more
advanced Calvinist than even Ridley urged the party forward on the down
grade of Catholic doctrine. In 1550 John Hooper was offered the
bishopric of Gloucester, but refused it, partly because of the mention
of Saints in the New Ordinal, but mainly because of the vestments, which
he would be called upon to wear and which he regarded as aaronic
abominations. "You have got rid of the Mass," he said, "then rid
yourselves of the feathers of the Mass also." Later, however, when in
doctrinal principle Cranmer and others had advanced further in the
direction of Calvin, Hooper was consecrated according to the new Ordinal
on his own terms. The Mass was gone; the priesthood had passed away; the
altars were pulled down in the sanctuaries; the consecrated stones were
broken and dishonoured, and why should not the Vestments--Aaronic
abominations--indicative of the sacrificial character of the priest be
dispensed with also?

The time was propitious for Cranmer to take measures for the final
destruction of the old order. Since the imposition of the First Book of
Common Prayer he had had time to grow out of his previous Lutheranism
and had come under the spell of Calvin and his adherents in Geneva. The
Reformer had written to Cranmer a personal letter urging him to be more
active and hasten on the movement of Reform. The Archbishop of
Canterbury had replied begging Calvin to ply King Edward with letters
urging him to eradicate the last vestiges of the old superstition. This
was the spirit which presided at the composition of the Second Book of
Edward VI. It was issued in 1552, and before this commissions were
dispatched throughout the country to seize in the King's name all church
plate and vestments.

I have already spoken a word about this final recension of the Liturgy
of Edward VI. It is here sufficient to say that it was Calvinistic in
its conception and doctrine. In the First Prayer Book there was some
slight outward resemblance to the Mass. This was swept away, and, to use
the expression of one who lived at the time, this new liturgy "had made
a very hay of the Mass." Of the ancient _Canon_, which the Apostolic See
had possessed from the earliest ages and had kept inviolate, nothing was
allowed to survive, even as to form. Great Popes like St. Leo and St.
Gregory had inserted a few words into this inheritance of the Church
with fear and reverence. Such men would have considered it sacrilegious
and impious to alter or reject any part of it. Cranmer and his followers
felt no such scruples. They first mutilated it and altered it to their
heart's content and finally got rid of nearly every word of it
altogether. The outcome of their work may be studied in the Anglican
Book of Common Prayer to-day, where the Communion Service is
substantially that of the Book of 1552.




BEARING in mind what the Catholic teaching was and is in regard to the
Supremacy of the Pope, the Holy Mass and the sacrificial character of
the priesthood, we can understand how far away from these teachings the
legislation of King Edward's reign had carried England. To our Catholic
forefathers in the beginning of the 16th Century, as to us to-day, the
Pope was the Supreme Head of the Christian Church and the foundation of
Christian unity. The Mass was the great Christian Sacrifice in which the
bread and wine were substantially changed into the very Body and Blood
of our Blessed Lord. The priest at his Ordination was given a
sacrificial character, expressed clearly in the rite, empowering him to
offer up the Eucharistic Sacrifice upon the Christian altar. In the
second quarter of the 16th Century all these points of belief were
changed by a small but determined band of English Reformers.

For a few years, on the death of Edward VI, Mary restored the old
religion; the papal supremacy and jurisdiction was again acknowledged;
the altars were once more set up; the ancient liturgy of the Mass was
read again from the old missals; priests were again ordained according
to the rite in the Catholic Pontifical, and the ordinations of those who
had received orders under the Edwardine Ordinal were rejected. I pass
over the reign of Queen Mary, which came to an end with her death in
November, 1558. I am dealing with Catholic beliefs contrasted with the
principles of the Reformation, and in this brief reign of Queen Mary the
country returned to union with Rome, and all that this implied.

Of this reign, however, I may be allowed perhaps to add the verdict of
the late Dr. James Gairdner, a non-Catholic historian, than whom no one
has a greater right to speak with authority. "History has been cruel to
her (Mary's) memory. The horrid epithet 'bloody,' bestowed so
unscrupulously alike on her and on Bonner and Gardiner and the bishops
generally, had at least a plausible justification in her case from the
severities to which she gave her sanction. . . . Among the victims, no
doubt, there were many true heroes and really honest men, but many of
them also would have been persecutors if they had had their way. Most of
them retained the belief in a Catholic Church but rejected the Mass and
held by the services authorised in Edward VI.'s reign. But of course
this meant complete rejection of an older authority--higher according to
the time-honoured theory than that of any king or Parliament--which had
never been openly set aside until that generation."

With Queen Mary's premature death religious difficulties revived. At
first it was not generally known whether her successor, Elizabeth, would
remain staunch to the old religion or favour the new, although there
were suspicions that she was inclined to the latter. She was welcomed as
sovereign by all parties, Catholic as well as Protestant, and no one now
I believe credits the silly story that she was forced into the arms of
the Reformers by the refusal of the Pope to recognise her as lawful

Almost from the first it was easy to conjecture which way lay her
inclination. By the advice of Cecil, her chief adviser, she formed a
secret cabinet within a cabinet, which occupied itself with a project
for "the alteration of religion," as it is called in the document still
extant. Those "now in the Pope's religion" were to be got rid of, and by
process of law all were to be made to "abjure the Pope of Rome and
conform themselves to the new alterations." What these "alterations" in
the form of religion signified is not doubtful. They meant the
reintroduction of the liturgical reforms of Edward's reign, including
the abolition of the Catholic missal and Ordinal.

One of the first measures proposed to Parliament at the beginning of the
new reign was the Act of Royal Supremacy. Its object was of course to do
away with the Spiritual Supremacy of the Pope and substitute that of the
Crown, and a stringent oath admitting this was to be required of all
holding any office in the State. By this, every adherent of the old
faith was deliberately excluded from any and every position in the
Church or State.

At this time ten of the English Sees were vacant and the brunt of the
battle for the preservation of the old religion fell upon the diminished
number of Bishops in the House of Lords. Their hands were, however,
strengthened greatly by a solemn pronouncement made by the clergy in
Convocation, wherein they declared their entire belief in the Catholic,
as opposed to the Reformed teaching of the existence of the "natural
body of Christ" under the "species of bread and wine" in "the Sacrament
of the Altar, by virtue of the word of Christ, spoken by the priest."
They declared also their belief in the doctrine of Transubstantiation
and in the Sacrifice of the Mass, and at the same time affirmed "that to
Blessed Peter and to his lawful successors in the Apostolic See, as
Vicars of Christ, has been given the supreme power of feeding and ruling
the Church of Christ upon Earth and of confirming their brethren." The
English universities at this time also made the same declaration. Thus,
when change of religion and the readoption of the principles of the
Reformed Churches of Germany which had ruled in the days of Edward VI.
was in the air, the unfettered Church in England, the bishops, clergy
and the teaching bodies boldly declared for the old catholic faith of
the Holy Eucharist, the Mass and the Supremacy of the Pope.

But, the power was again in the hands of those who desired the
"alteration of religion," as it was called, and this was effected mainly
by three acts of Parliament. By the first, the tenths on Ecclesiastical
property were given over to the crown; by the second, the Supremacy of
the sovereign in matters ecclesiastical was reaffirmed; and the third,
the Act of Uniformity authorised and imposed under serious penalties the
Reformed Prayer Book of Edward VI. in place of the ancient Catholic
Missal and Pontifical. The Bishops in the House of Lords fought these
measures step by step and unanimously voted against them. With a few
unimportant modifications the new Eucharist office was that of the
second Book of Common Prayer of 1552--the Book, from which every vestige
of the mass in its essential parts had been removed. After a struggle,
in which by some means the defenders of the old religion delayed the
passage of the measure, it was passed by a majority of only three votes,
and without the support of one single spiritual peer. To a man the
Bishops of the Church opposed the Bill. The famous speeches of Bishop
Scot and of Abbot Feckenham, in which they challenged history to produce
a single instance where the bishops of any church were not consulted and
listened to in so momentous a change, were the last constitutional
efforts of the Church of England to prevent the innovations in matters
of religion being imposed by Parliament upon the consciences of those
who regarded them as heretical. The very narrow majority, which carried
this religious revolution, makes it more than likely that their
arguments had weight. There can be no reasonable doubt that had ten
episcopal sees not been vacant at this time the intentions of the
Government would have been defeated, at least for a time, and the new
Liturgy would not then have been imposed upon all by an act of
Parliament. As it was, the Elizabethan settlement of religion--as it is
called--rested obviously on the infallibility of the odd three votes of
the majority.

It was now that the "Act of Uniformity in Religion" came to be enforced.
By it the Tudor maxim _Cujus regio ejus religio_--that must be the
religion of a kingdom, which is the religion of the ruler--was carried
out in practice. The form of religion authorised by the Queen and the
Parliamentary majority was the only one allowed. The consciences of
individuals were disregarded, and just as in the days of the persecuting
pagan Emperors Christians were compelled by force to throw incense on
the altars of the pagan gods, so now with equal disregard for freedom of
conscience Catholics--those who refused to accept the Elizabethan
settlement of religion--were forced by fines, imprisonment and other
penalties, to attend the new services in their parish churches. They
became known as "Recusants" for refusing to be present at the Communion
Service of the English Prayer Book, which had again taken the place of
the Holy Mass.

Then, too, began a systematic attempt to stamp out the old religion. The
priesthood was proscribed, and priests were hunted down and exiled for
offering up the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; and, during the centuries of
persecution, which began with the reign of Queen Elizabeth, hundreds of
priests and others were put to death for the sole crime of having said
or having been present at the Mass. In the well-known phrase of one of
the present English cabinet ministers: "It was the Mass that mattered,"
and the real struggle was for this all along the line. To the Catholic,
who realised all that the Mass meant,--how it was the centre of his
religion and the sublime Christian Sacrifice, it was a point of honour
and conscience to imperil fortune and even life for so sacred a
heritage. To the Protestant in those days the Mass was a fable and
dangerous deceit, and with Luther he desired above all things to root
out this superstition from the land; and so, as there could be no Mass
without a Mass-priest, all the efforts of those in power were directed
towards extirpating all those who continued in spite of the laws to
exercise their ministry, and to prevent others coming from abroad to
continue their work, when they either perished on the scaffold, or worn
out by the long continued persecution and constant searches for them,
passed away in their hiding places. In England and in Ireland the record
of this terrible time makes us wonder how it was possible that any
remnant of the old religion could have survived.

Cecil, who was the master brain directing the policy of Queen Elizabeth,
had counted upon the gradual extinction of the old Marian priesthood and
the consequent eradication of the old Faith from the hearts of a people
left without priest or teacher or Sacraments. From 1580 the coming of
the Jesuits and seminary priests from abroad, to keep the light of the
Faith alive if possible, in spite of fines and the rack and gallows,
made it clear to the all-powerful minister that he had miscalculated the
effect of his repressive policy. From that time the persecution began in

What contributed no doubt to increase the trials of the English and
Irish Catholics was the embarrassing excommunication pronounced by Pope
Pius V against Queen Elizabeth. It furnished the government with a
weapon they were not slow to seize upon, by making it appear to the
popular mind as if a political offence, if not a criminal treason, was
connected with the exercise of the Catholic faith. Catholics for being
Catholics were henceforth treated as traitors. For the last twenty years
of this reign, with one exception, there were numerous executions for
religion in England. Most of those who suffered thus were
priests--Mass-priests as they were called in derision of their sacerdotal
character. Thousands of men and women also were punished under the penal
laws for the exercise of the old religion. Fines and imprisonment were
the lot of those who refused at any price to accept the religious
settlement of the sovereign--to accept the form of religion which their
consciences refused. The sad records of this period show that many a
Catholic family was impoverished and destroyed by the fines levied upon
it. Gradually even great estates had to be sold to meet the demands of
penal laws against recusancy--the refusal to attend the Protestant
service. Then followed a long period of repression and ostracism. For
two centuries the unfortunate papist was shut out of the life of the
nation and subject to every insult and baseless accusation. One writer
who lived during this period says of this system: "The experience of
Elizabeth's reign had shown that the infliction of actual death roused a
life-giving enthusiasm among Catholics themselves and sympathy in the
witnesses of their sufferings. The penal system now introduced was the
preference for gagging a man, binding him hand and foot, bandaging his
eyes and imprisoning him for life, rather than killing him outright."

Everywhere throughout England and Ireland there was a stolid and heroic
resistance to the imposition of the new form of State church on the part
of those who remained true to the old religion. Looking back to those
days of darkness and despair it seems impossible to believe that any
remnant of those who would not bow their knees to Baal could survive the
system by which it was hoped to crush them. And when liberty of
conscience was at last accorded it was more in the spirit of compassion
than in any expectation that they could revive and live again that it
was given. As well might the world think that the worship of Pan or of
Jupiter would spring again into life as that the poor, despised, dying
Catholics could expand and grow once more into a position of respect and
influence, reasserting and publicly upholding the principles of the
Catholic Faith, for which their forefathers in England and Ireland had
suffered persecution and even death.

These principles I have endeavoured to set out during the past four
Sundays. Mainly there were only three, which were attacked by the
upholders of the Reformation doctrines. The Papal Supremacy over the
Church, the safeguard of unity of Faith, and a mark of the Church,
Christ established in this world; the Christian Sacrifice--the Mass,
attacked and swept away by the Reformers; and the Priesthood in its
sacrificial character, which was the necessary consequence of the
Eucharistic doctrine upheld by the German and English Reformers. There
were of course many minor points of Catholic belief and practice which
were attacked and destroyed in these days; such, for example, as
devotion to the Mother of God and the Saints, and the long established
custom of blessed ashes and candles and the creeping to the Cross on
Good Friday. But the main lines of departure from the Catholic Faith
along which the Reformation moved were the three I have indicated. A
return can be contemplated only by frankly facing the issues. To-day we
find men of the highest intelligence and good faith claiming to have the
same Christian sacrifice and the same sacrificing priests as the
Catholic Church, and they are using a Communion Service from which of
set purpose every notion of Oblation and Sacrifice has been ruthlessly
removed, and their ministers are ordained by an Ordinal, which
designedly was composed to express the rejection of the sacrificial
character of the Christian priest. The prayer for Christian Unity must
go up from every heart, but if it is to be something more than
sentiment, the facts must be faced frankly and with courage.


  Short History of the Church in England. _Gasquet_.
  Henry III and the Church. _Gasquet_.
  Roman Law and Canon Law. _Maitland_.
  Lollardy and the Reformation, 4 vols. _Gairdner_.
  History of the Reformation. _Blunt_.
  History of the English Church in the 16th Century. _Gairdner_.
  The Eve of the Reformation. _Gasquet_.
  England under the Old Religion and Other Essays. _Gasquet_.
  What then happened at the Reformation (in above).
  Henry VIII and the English Monasteries. _Gasquet_.
  Henry VI and the Book of Common Prayer. _Gasquet and Bishop_.
  What Edward VI did with the Liturgy (in England under the Old Religion).
  Anglican Ordinations (in above).
  Anglican Ordinations. _Canon Estcourt_.
  The Pope and the Ordinal. _S. Barnes_.
  The Elizabethan Religious Settlement. _H. N. Birt_.
  Hampshire Recusants. _Gasquet_.
  The Line of Cleavage (C. T. Soc.). _H. N. Birt_.
  Parker Society publications.
  Catholic Truth Society--various Historical Papers.
  The Ecclesia Anglicana, for what does it Stand? By the Bishop of
    Tanzibar, and subsequent correspondence in the _London Times_,
    December, 1913, and January, 1914.

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