REJECTED PRAYER BOOK
[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—Whilst sectional or party interests find expression, there does not seem to be much of an attempt at a synoptic view Of the serious situation created both for Church and -State by the rejection of the Prayer Book Measure, and the Bishops' determination to reintroduce it through the Church Assembly to Parliament. This must be my excus for asking apace in your columns for an attempt to visualize softie of the realities of the present impasse (1) Any pressure, from whatever quarter it may come, to Secure party advantages out of the present troubles in which the Church is involved, must force fair-minded non-party Men to take sides ' and thus unwillingly accentuate party differences. Any campaign to curtail the generous corn_ prehensiveness of the Anglican Communion will be .stenitly resisted. Any attempt to purge it by a policy of persecution will meet with violent opposition (a) from those whose legitimate place in the Church has been vindicated by an overwhelming majority of its members, and (b) from those who in the light of the War would rather see the Churches in the future drawing together and removing barriers than perpetuating ancient hostilities and renewing sectarian
• (2) Although for the moment a minority inside the Church, backed by a majority outside it, considers Anglo-Catholicism to be " disloyal" to the tradition of the Church of our fathers, many of us are convinced that much for which it stands has a perfectly legitimate place and value and is fully in accord with the historical position of the Church of England As Catholic though Reformed. Men who have enjoyed• its benefits are not prepared to believe that Anglicanism is at the crossroads and Must choose between Geneva or Rome. They regard the Church of England as a " Bridge-Church " between these two extremes. As such it has been, still is, and may continue to be a shelter for all those Who otherwise are spiritually homeless, being unwilling either to repudiate their Catholieism at the dictation of 'Continental Protestantism or to surrender their freedom under the Roman yoke.
(3) The spirit of the recent Papal Encyclical makes it all the more imperative for our " Bridge-Church " to widen its borders, to enlarge its comprehensiveness and in a spirit of Christian toleration to teach the world the meaning of the maxim "to live and let live."
(4) The realities of the present situation force us to ask a plain question : Do we wish to drive Anglo-Catholics into open revolt ; and if so, why.? The answer to this question defines for us the task immediately facing the Church, viz., a mission of instruction to convince the nation of what the Church itself is already convinced, i.e., the legitimacy of much in our present teaching and in our forms of worship which is mistakenly denounced as "Roman." -If the vote in the House of Commons MRS : a faithful reflection of the opinion of large sections of our people concerning the place and position of the Church of England relative both to religious bodies outside the Church and to the Roman Communion, it constitutes an indictment against the teaching ministry of the Church and must be dealt with at once. Our task is to convince people (a) why we are not one amongst a large number of Protestant sects, and (b) why we are Catholics but not Roman Catholics. We must show that there is a legitimate place for the full values of a sane Catholicism, if not in the chapels, certainly in the churches which do not acknowledge Papal claims in the sphere of jurisdiction. The Church of. England is convinced that it is Catholic. It must now convince the nation that it is not at the same time Roman.
, (5) The opposition in some Protestant CIHATtetS- to the New, Prayer Book revealed the fact that " disloyalty " to the . standards of our Prayer Book . teaching is , by no means ,confined, to any one party.. or school of thought, whether High,'-Low, or Broad. If, Then, discipline is to be exercised
at all, it must be applied all round. . . . .
, (6) Our immediate need is to close our ranks. Our Bridge- Church is a precious heritage so valuable for . the whole of Christendom that we must preserve it at all costs, . Extremists may yet wreck it if we do not rally round our leaders in loyal