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RITUALISM, ANGLICAN - With the sole assistance, after volume VI., Or


Origin in Traetariapiam (§ 1). Logical Character of Transition (§ 2). Parallel Movements (¢ 3). Legal Questions and the Source (¢ 4). Decision Favorable to Ritualism U 5). Decision Adverse to Ritualism 0 6). Attempts to Relieve the Stress (§ 7). The Work of the Commission (¢ 8). The Archbishop's Decision (¢ 9). Definitive Settlement not yet Reached (§ 10). The New Commission's Report (§ 11). Results; Present Statue (§ 12).

" Ritualism " is used as a popular catchword to describe the second stage of that movement in the English Church which in its earlier condition had been named Tractarianism (q.v.). The name first appears, probably, in connection with the riots in London at St. George's in the East in 1859 (cf. quotation from East London Observer of May, 1859, in Bryan Ding, Sacrilege and its Encouragement . a Letter . . . to the Lord Bishop of London, London, 1860)..

The revival of interest in Roman dogma, effected by the Oxford writers of the Tracts for the Times, was naturally suceeded by a revival of interest in Roman observances. This practical

r. Origin revival carried the movement into in Tractari  novel circumstances and situations;

anisnn. for the earlier detection and exhibition

of that sacerdotal structure of the

church which had been secured to it by struggles of

the Elizabethan divines, was carried on, of neces­

sity, in the intellectual, academic region. The claim



asserted had, first, to make good its doctrinal status: it had to begin by working its way into the mind and the imagination. The Tractarian writers recog­nized this necessary order; they anxiously held aloof from precipitating those effects, which they, nevertheless, distinctly anticipated from this teach­ing. " We the old Tractarians," wrote Dr. Pusey in the Daily Express, May 21, 1877, " deliberately abstained from innovating in externals." " We understood the `Ornaments Rubric' in its most obvious meaning, that certain ornaments were to be used which were used in the second year of King Edward VI.; we were fully conscious that we were disobeying it; but we were employed in teach­ing the faith to a forgetful generation, and we thought it injurious to distract men's minds by questions about externals. We left it for the church to revive " (Letter of Dr. Pusey to English Church Union). Also, Letter to the Times, Mar. 28, 1874: " There was a contemporary movement for a very moderate ritual in a London congregation. We (the Tractarians) were united with it in friendship, but the movements were unconnected."

As soon as their teaching had secured believers, it set itself to apply its principles in action; and this active application of recovered belief in a sacerdotal church inevitably took the form of re­covering and reasserting that litur 

z. Logical gical structure which still underlay the Character of Book of Common Prayer. The move 

Transition. ment, in making this fresh effort,

passed from the study to the street;

it became practical, missionary, evangelistic. It

insisted that its work upon the masses, in their

dreary poverty, demanded the bright attraction

and relief of outward ornament and the effective

teaching of the eye. This change from the univer­

sity to the town was signalized by the establish­

ment of, e.g., St. Saviour's, Leeds (to which the

Tractarian leaders lent all their authority), and of

the Margaret Street Chapel, under F. Oakeley, a de­

voted companion of J. H. Newman.

The transition to ritual was not only a practical expediency, it was also the logical outcome of the new position; for the doctrinal revival lay in its emphatic assertion of the conception of mediation, of mediatorial offering. This mediation was, it taught, effected by the taking of flesh; i.e., of the outward to become the offering,  the instrument of worship. The body of the Lord was the one ac­ceptable offering, sanctified by the Spirit; and in and through that mediatorial body all human na­ture won its right to sanctification, to holy use. The spirit needs, according to this teaching, an out­ward expression to symbolize its inward devotion. Its natural mode of approach to God is through sacramental signs; and the use of special sacra­ments justifies, of necessity, the general use of visi­ble symbols. If grace comes through outward pledges, then devotion will obviously be right in using for its realization forms and signs and ges­tures; love will be right in showing itself through beauty; and prayer and praise will instinctively resort to ceremonial.

Nor was the pressure toward ritual merely doc­trinal. The double movement in the church had

its parallel in the secular world. The spiritual re­vival of Wordsworth had its reflex in the emotional revival of Walter Scott. The set of

3. Parallel

things was running counter to



bareness. The force and reality of

imagination in the shaping of life's in­

terests were recognized with the glad welcome of a

recovered joy. A touch of kindliness repeopled the

earth with fancies and suggestions, and visions and

dreams. This world was no longer a naked factory,

housing the machinery of a precise and unyielding

dogma; nor was it the bare and square hall in which

reason lectured on the perils of a morbid enthusiasm;

it was a garden once more, rich with juicy life, and

warm with color. This literary warmth mixed itself

in with the doctrinal movement toward the enrich­

ment of the churches. The emotions were making

new demands upon outward things; they required

more satisfaction. They had been taught by the

novelists to turn to the past, whether of cavaliers

with plumes and chivalry, or of the Middle Ages

with wild castles and belted knights, and praying

monks and cloistered nuns. All this world of strange

mystery and artistic charm had become alive again

to them, and the revival made them discontented

with the prosy flatness of common life. The churches

were responding to a real and wide need when they

offered a refuge and a relief to the distressed imag­

ination. Everywhere began the Gothic revival.

The restoration of the disgraced and destitute par­

ish churches, which had become practically neces­

sary, was taken up by men full of admiration for

the architecture which had first built them. They

were passionately set on bringing them back as far

as possible into their original condition. The archi­

tects thus were, indirectly, ardent workers on the

side of the ecclesiastical revival. They eagerly

studied liturgical correctness in restoring the beauty

of the chancels, in placing the altar at its proper

height and distance, in arranging the screen and

the stalls, the altar rails and credence table. This

combination of ecclesiastical and architectural sen­

timent was greatly furthered by the Cambridge

Ecclesiological Society, which did much to foster

antiquarian exactness, and to promote active efforts

at restoration (A. J. B. Hope, Worship in the Church

of England, London, 1874). This architectural

movement, which dated its earliest impulses from

J. H. Newman's church, built at Littlemore amid

much ferment and anxiety, culminated in the vast

achievements of Gilbert Scott and George Street,

whose handiwork has been left in restored churches

throughout the length and breadth of England.

[Worthy of mention here is the new Roman Catho­

lic cathedral of London, consecrated 1910. Even

though it does not belong to the Anglicans, it ema­

nates from the same source as that named in the

text and the aim was to make it primitive Byzan­

tine in style.] This general restoration of order and

fairness into the public services, which ran level

with the renewal of church fabrics, roused much

popular hostility, which made itself known in riot­

ous disturbances, chiefly directed against the use

of the surplice in the pulpit, following a direction

for its use given in a charge by Bishop Blomfield in



But just as the artistic movement deepened from the external ornamentation of the Waverley novels into the impassioned mysticism of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the pre Raffaelite brothers, so the architectural revival deepened into

4. Legal the symbolism of a more rapt sacra­

Questions, mentalism.

This it was which pro­

and the duced the historical crisis; and this

Source. crisis became yet more critical by

forcing into sharp antagonism the civil

and ecclesiastical jurisdictions which were called

upon to deal with the renovating ministers. The

story of the movements turns around the various

legal judgments given to determine the sense of the

" Ornaments Rubric," i.e., the rubric inserted, in

its first form, into the Prayer Book of Elizabeth,

and reinserted, in a slightly changed form, in the

Prayer Book of the Restoration, prescribing the

ornaments of the minister and of the chancel during

all offices (see ORNAMENTS). The aim of the Eliz­

abethan divines had been to secure the main work

of the Reformation, and yet to protect the liturgy

from the " loose and licentious handling " of the

more eager of the Marian exiles. They had therefore

accepted, with some important alterations, the sec­

ond of the two Prayer Books of Edward VI. as

the standard of the Reformed services; but, owing

to the strong pressure of the queen, they refused

to adopt it also as the standard of the ornaments;

and for this they went back to an earlier date, the

second year of King Edward VI., when much

ritual remained which the first Prayer Book of Ed­

ward VI. had accepted, but which the second book

had rejected. There is no doubt that this in­

cluded and intended chasubles and copes, albs

and tunicles (see VEsTMENTs A" INSIGNIA, EC­

CLESIASTICAL), with other details of altar fur­

niture. The question that arose was as to how

far this rubric, when reenacted in the Act of

Uniformity (see UNIFORMITY, ACTS OF), was in­

tended by the divines of the Restoration to retain

its full original sense. In its earlier form it was

prescribed " until the queen should take further

order." Was that " further order " ever taken;

and, if so, does the later condition of the rubric, in

omitting any reference to this " further order,"

assume that order, or ignore it? If it ignored it,

why was it never acted upon? For certainly these

ornaments have never been in full use. But, if it

assumed it, how was it possible not to define what

the " order " was, or to prescribe still the second

year of Edward VI. as the standard, without a hint

of any qualification? Around this main issue a

swarm of complicated historical, legal, and litur­

gical arguments arose; and who was to decide among

them? Here started up a new difficulty.

The juridical relations between Church and State were the result of a long and intricate history, which at the Reformation had finally assumed this gen­eral form. The old machinery of ecclesiastical courts remained entire consisting of the bi chop's courts of first instance, in which the bishop's chancellor adjudicated; and the archbishop's court of appeal, in which the dean of arches gave judg­ment, as the embodiment of the archbishop. But

from this, again, there was to be an appeal


the king; and for hearing such appeals a com­posite court had been erected by Henry VIII., the court of delegates, the exact

g. Decision jurisdiction of which had never been

Favorable clearly defined. This had continued,

to Ritualism. rarely used, dimly considered, until,

without anybody's notice, a great legal

reform, carried out by Lord Brougham, was discov­

ered to have transferred, without intending it, all

the power of this court of delegates to a certain

committee of privy council, composed and defined

for other general purposes. When suddenly there

was need of a final adjudication on anxious and agi­

tating spiritual questions, it was this committee of

privy council which the rival parties found them­

selves facing. It dealt with the question of bap­

tism, in the case of George Cornelius Gorham (see

GORHAM CASE); and Bishop Blomfield of London

had in consequence, speaking in the house of lords,

protested against the nature and character of the

committee as a court of final appeal in ecclesiastical

questions. No change, however, had been effected;

and in Mar., 1857, the question of ritual was brought

before it, on appeal, in the case of " Westerton vs.

Liddell," in which case the ritualistic practises of

St. Barnabas, Pimlico, had been condemned in the

consistory court of London and in the court of

arches. Amid great excitement, the committee

pronounced that the rubric permitted generally the

use of those articles which were prescribed under

the first Prayer Book, and therefore sanctioned the

use of credence table, altar cross, altar lights, col­

ored altar clotbs, etc. From that moment the Rit­

ualists have acted steadily in the belief that this

legal decision was but affirming that which is the

plain, historical sense of the words in the rubric,

and have pressed, often with rashness, sometimes

with insolence, for the revival of all the ritual which

this interpretation justified. In accomplishing this,

they have been aided, advised, and sustained by

the elaborate organization of the English Church

Utlion, numbering now over 20,000 members,

formed for the defense and protection of those who,

in carrying out the rubric so understood, were men­

aced by perils and penalties. For however favor­

able single congregations might be, yet the work of

revival had to be carried on, (1) in defiance of the

long unbroken usage, which had never attempted

anything beyond that simpler ritual which had

been adopted and allowed as the practicable mini­

mum under Elizabeth and Charles II.; (2) in de­

fiance of the bishops, whose paternal authority was

generally exercised to suppress, by any pressure in

their power, any sharp conflict with this common

custom; (3) in defiance of fierce popular suspicion,

roused by dread of Romish uses, such as broke out,

e.g., in the hideous rioting at St. George's in the­

East (1858 60), which the weakness of the bishop

of London and the apathy of the government al­

lowed to continue for months, and finally to suc­

ceed in expelling the rector, Bryan King, and in

wrecking his service; (4) in defiance of the court of

final appeal, which in a series of fluctuating, doubt­

ful, and conflicting judgments, had created a deep

distrust of its capacity to decide judicially questions

so rife with agitated feelings and popular prejudices.


This distrust strongly roused by the Mackon­ochie judgment (1868) and the Purchas judgment (see PURCHAS, JOHN); in which it was supposed, in spite of obvious paradox, that everything not men­tioned in the PrayerBook was disallowed and illegal  culminated in the Ridsdale judgment (1877), in which it was declared that the " fur 

6. Decision ther order " allowed by the queen had

Adverse to been taken in the issuing of the adver

Ritualism. tisements under Archbishop Parker


and that the divines of Charles II. therefore,

when they permitted the ritual of the second

year of Edward VI., really intended only so

much of it as was required in the Elizabethan ad­

vertisements. This startling decision the main block

of High church clergy found it impossible to respect

or accept; and this repudiation of its verdict brought

to a head the protest that had been made ever since

the Gorham judgment against the validity of the

court itself as an ecclesiastical tribunal. This last

problem had been made critical by the famous Pub­

lic Worship Regulation Act (1874), introduced in

the house of lords by the archbishop of Canterbury,

in disregard of the protests of the lower house of

convocation, and declared in the house of commons

to be a " bill to put down ritualism " by Disraeli,

then prime minister, who, in spite of Gladstone's

impetuous opposition, carried it, amid intense ex­

citement, in an almost unanimous house. This bill

swept away all the process in the diocesan courts;

it allowed any three aggrieved parishioners to lodge

a complaint, which, unless stayed by the bishop's

veto, was carried before an officer nominated nor­

mally by the two archbishops to succeed to the

post of dean of arches on its next vacancy. From

him the appeal would be, as before, to the privy

council. Thus the scanty fragments of ecclesiastical

jurisdiction, which, under existent conditions, might

be supposed to balance the civil character of the

court of appeal, were all but wholly abolished. The

attempt to enforce this bill by the bishops was met

by absolute resistance, ending, after being chal­

lenged at every turn by technical objections, in the

imprisonment of four priests. In this collision with

the courts, the Ritualists had the steady support of

the mass of High church clergy, who had held aloof

from their more advanced and dubious ritual. This

support evidenced itself in the '" Declaration " of

over 4,000 clergy, headed by the deans of St.

Paul's, York, Durham, Manchester, and others


The condition of things had become intolerable; and in 1881 a royal commission was issued to con­sider the whole position of ecclesiastical jurisdiction. A similar mode of relief had been attempted in 1867, when a royal commission on ritual had been ap­pointed, which under the chairmanship of Arch­bishop Longley, after taking an im­7. Attempts mense mass of evidence, and after

to Relieve prolonged discussions had issued a

the Stress. report on the crucial point of the " Or­

naments Rubric," which recommended

the " restraint " of the use of vestments, " by pro­

viding some effectual process for complaint and

redress," but which, by the use of the word " re..

strain," declined to declare their illegality, and then had found itself unable to attain anything like unanimous agreement on the nature of the legal process which it proposed to recommend. The inner history of the commission will be found in A. R. Ashwell and R. G. Wilberforce, Life of . . . S. Walberforce, vol. iii. (London, 1882). No legislation on the main subject followed this divided report. But convocation in 1879, and the Pan Anglican Synod in 1880, had come to resolutions more or less in accord with the commissioners' report, in the sense of recommending a prohibitory discretion to the bishop in any case where a change of vesture was attempted. Such a recommendation seemed naturally to allow and assume the abstract legality of the change. Yet the courts of law had finally decreed vestments illegal, and the majority of bish­ops were prepared to accept their interpretation; and, as long as they did so, no terms of peace could be found on the basis of the proposal in convoca­tion. For even though the bishops were willing to abstain, in favorable cases, from pressing the legal decisions, they were forced to set the law in motion by the action of a society called the " Church As­sociation," which exerted itself to assert and sup­port the rights of any parishioners who might be aggrieved by the ritual used in any church. Thus the exercise of discretion was made all but impos­sible to a bishop, who could only veto proceedings brought against a clergyman by giving a valid rea­son, and yet was forbidden to offer as a valid rea­son the possible legality of the vestments.

The commission on ritual, therefore, had left the conflict still severe and unappeased. Only the Sig­nal to relieve its stress had been given. For the last act of Archbishop Tait, on his death­& 2014-07-19 18:44
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