THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, I rise in accordance with Notice to move to resolve, That in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act, 1919, this House do direct that the Prayer Book Measure, 192—, be presented to His Majesty for the Royal Assent. I have no hesitation at all in asking your Lordships to pass this Resolution, because I believe that by doing so you will at this juncture promote the strength and good order of the Church of England, and that that in itself will be for the good of the English people. But I find some difficulty as to how to put before you a matter which has been so long bandied about in discussion as this has.
It is not easy to tread usefully on trampled ground, where every critic has felt that he knew all about it, could say his say with ease and could constitute himself a judge as well. A more important difficulty is this. I shrink altogether from trying to handle here thoughts and doctrines which belong to the deepest and most sacred mysteries of our faith. I do not propose to do so; but I realise, of course, as your Lordships will realise, that in the hearts of many of us these are underlying the whole of the questions which are under consideration even while we skate on the surface of the subject. I find it yet further most distasteful to be at variance 772 with brothers in the Christian faith, with many of whose opinions I am in the profoundest sympathy although, I think, they are taking a mistaken attitude in this particular matter. I will say something more about that directly, but I was anxious to emphasise it at the outset. We shall hear statements on doctrinal and practical points in these debates and I do not propose to deal with them now. I want your Lordships to look largely at a large matter and, to use a common phrase, to regard the wood rather than the trees. I shall raise certain large questions myself in a few minutes, but first I want to say a word about the position of this matter in Parliament.
We hear words which I think windy and even foolish, to the effect that this is not really a matter for Parliament, that the Church has spoken its own voice decidedly and that the duty of Parliament is to endorse what the Church has said. I dissent altogether from that view and dissociate myself from those statements. We are acting under what is known as the Enabling Act. That Act, as a Bill, was introduced by me at this Table some eight years ago and I took care in introducing it (and others who followed me took the same line) to point out that, though Parliament was, and I think most rightly, substituting a workable for an unworkable system of Church legislation, Parliament was not depriving itself in the end of any fundamental right. I adhere to that to-day. Every member of this House has, in my view, his absolute right to vote freely upon a matter of this kind and it would be impertinence on my part to suggest anything else.
I do consider, however, looking at the matter if one may from what we call the moral aspect of it, that a man is bound before voting on this subject to have exercised very extreme care to know what it is that is asked for, who they are who are asking for it, how far they have really declared themselves on behalf of the Church of which they are members, and what would be the consequence in the country of the rejection of a united wish officially given by a united Church. Your Lordships have got or have had abundant literature from those who oppose us in these matters. It is urged on you that I and those who are associated with me in bringing forward this Measure are 773 doing by the Book all sorts ox dreadful things: that we (or I as Archbishop) are—I can quote some words for I have the papers with me—false to our ordination vows, that we flout the teaching both of the Bible and the reformed Church, that I and those who are with me are to be regarded as renegades contravening the whole principles of the Reformation, and that I am subtly trying to bring back into English homes the obscurantism and the error from which the Reformation set England free, and so on. I could multiply quotations almost unlimitedly. Your Lordships have probably read some of that literature, though not all. It is a little startling, and it is interesting and important and significant—I say it with great respect—to learn of the funds which are flowing into the coffers of those who, in order to expend these funds, circulate such a mass of literature. I have heard of a sum of £10,000 in the last few days added to the other funds for the circulation of that kind of literature. Well, so be it.
The attack has been largely against myself. I am an old man. I have been a Bishop nearly 35 years and an Archbishop for nearly 25 years and my life has not been lived in private or silently or unrecorded. Standing here I assure your Lordships to-day that I am absolutely unconscious of any departure from the principles of the reformed Church of England to which I declared allegiance at my ordination 52 years ago and I have striven to maintain them ever since. If I thought our proposal was calculated to controvert or to impair those principles I should not be standing here. But I believe nothing of the kind. When I read that flood of literature and note, the points that are brought forward, I rub my eyes and look afresh at our Book or at the Measure to find where are the points to which these vituperative epithets can properly be applied. In all seriousness I ask whether the arguments thus circulated are not preposterously overstrained, are not distorting altogether the true proportion of things; and whether those writers are not using deliberately inflammatory language of a quite inapplicable kind. I remember the phrase of a Scottish controversialist a generation ago in the height of a great conflict north of the Tweed—"Gentlemen, your tones are more tragic than the case will bear." I think that is true of 774 a good deal of the literature which I have read with respect and care but which I find strangely unconvincing.
After that diversion I come to three questions which I intend to answer if I can and which seem to me to be those to which your Lordships have a right to expect an answer. First, what adequate reasons have you for desiring a new or revised Prayer Be ok at all? Next, what do you regard as the outstanding difference between the rules of worship as surviving now and the rules of worship which will be ours if the Measure receives the Royal Assent? Thirdly, what good result or consequence do you expect to attain by passing this Measure into law? I think that fairly covers the ground of the criticism which we have to meet. The first question, then, is: What adequate reasons have you for desiring a new or revised Book at all? Well, I ought to know about that and, for what has happened in the last thirty years, I must bear my full share of responsibility. In the closing years of the last century, thirty years ago, it was said that indiscipline and confusion were rife in the Church's life. It was said then that it was due to a lack of due administrative power on the part of the Bishops who had then been holding office. I think it is very unfair to throw all the blame on them and, after all, the names of Tait, Benson, Magee, Fraser, Lightfoot are not the names of men who were either weak or careless, and they were the foremost administrators during those years. The cause of our difficulties lay deeper and it very soon came to light.
In 1899 it fell to me here at this Table on behalf of the Bishops, though I was not then Archbishop, to introduce a discussion on what was called indiscipline in the Church. Sir William Harcourt was at the time fulminating in the country and the echoes of denunciation against the Church were rife. If any of your Lordships would care to refer to the discussions which then took place—they were somewhat lergthy—you will find how we urged that what hampered the Bishops in doing their work was that they had only got the rules of 1662 to work upon and that in the then condition of the Parliamentary system of legislation it was impossible to alter them. There was no possibility of getting the subject properly 775 discussed in the House of Commons. Time for that was entirely lacking, but we were bound to go on and do our best as we were. We did go on and we did do our best. The difficulties went on, a few years passed, and in 1904 the noble Earl (who is not at the moment in his place) who was then Prime Minister, the Earl of Balfour, appointed a Royal Commission.
I may remind your Lordships of the terms of reference to it, the point being to show you that all that the Commission was asked to do was to deal with the question of discipline pure and simple. The words were:—To inquire into the alleged prevalence of breaches or neglect of the law relating to the conduct of divine service in the Church of England and to the ornaments and fittings of churches; and to consider the existing powers and procedure applicable to such irregularities and to make such recommendations as may be deemed requisite for dealing with the aforesaid matters.As your Lordships will see, the question was simply how better to bring about the due working of discipline, as we call it, in regulating and controlling the vagaries. The names of the men appointed on that Commission are somewhat important, because great care was taken that they should not be men who would be other than completely loyal to the principles of the Reformation. Lord St. Aldwyn was Chairman. He was an admirable Chairman who throughout showed the keenest interest in the whole matter and certainly no inclination to depart from principles such as I have referred to. Lord Alverstone was a member and took an active part, Lord Northampton, Chairman of the Bible Society, Sir John Kennaway, Chairman of the Church Missionary Society, Sir Edward Clarke, a Protestant champion and known as such for many years past—those with myself and two other Bishops and of course Sir Lewis Dibdin, a great authority on the law of the matter, formed largely the Commission. Only three of them now survive, Sir Edward Clarke, Sir Lewis Dibdin and myself.
We had two years of sittings. We sat one hundred and eighteen days and we issued in the end a unanimous Report, but it was not a Report which exactly corresponded with the limited terms of reference given to us. And why? No sooner had our examination of witnesses begun and our investigations into these 776 matters been carried steadily forward than we found that, however difficult it was to enforce discipline as things then were, the real mischief lay behind. It was that the rules which had to be followed and obeyed—or disobeyed, as many of them had to be—by the ordinary parish priest or the ordinary Bishop, were wholly out of date, and that it was quite necessary to get new rules laid down, new orders—marching orders I suppose they would be called—put into shape if we were to expect to be able to have an orderly mode of working within the Church and its life. I can remember how again and again Lord St. Aldwyn used to say: "What is the use of our discussing irregularities of this kind and their naughtiness"—as he used to call it—"where the rules themselves want amending?" We could not do it. There was no mode of getting the rules amended and there we were. When we put out bur Report we took care to call attention to that fact.
May I read a few sentences which are really important as showing the history of the matter?—… the law of public worship in the Church of England is too narrow for the religions life of the present generation. It needlessly condemns much which a great section of Church people, including many of her most devoted members, value; and modern thought and feeling are characterised by a care for ceremonial, a sense of dignity in worship, and an appreciation of the continuity of the Church, which were not similarly felt at the time when the law took its present shape. In an age which has witnessed an extraordinary revival of spiritual life and activity the Church has had to work under regulations fitted for a different condition of things, without that power of self-adjustment which is inherent in the conception of a living Church.I will read another sentence and that is all:—The inclination characteristic of the temper of the sixteenth century, to ignore all varieties of feelings and opinion existing among men of the same generation, and to make no provision for a change of feeling and opinion as one age succeeded another is one far-reaching cause of irregularity. It is … incongruous that the precise and uniform requirements which were in harmony with the Elizabethan ideas of administration should still stand as the rule for the public worship of the Church, under altered conditions and amidst altered ways of thought.And there are many other sentences of a similar kind which I could quote. We were unanimous in presenting these 777 points as the things that really needed to be considered if the matter was to be properly dealt with.
Throughout the whole discussion it was recognised, as you will see at almost every page, that the real difficulties centred round and in something connected with the celebration of Holy Communion. Among the recommendations issued by the Commission was that Letters of Business—your Lordships know the mode by which the Crown puts the Church in Convocation into action—should be issued. They were issued, and they were issued with due recognition of the lines suggested by the Commission as to what had to be considered. They were somewhat different from the reference that had first been made to the Royal Commission which dealt solely with the question of discipline. The Letters of Business issued to the Convocation contained instructions—
The Convocations received the Letters of Business and they got to work. It is and must be always a slow matter getting things through Convocation, because busy men have to meet only two or three days at a time twice or three times in the year. It is practically impossible to get forward with business in the case of men who are not like Members of Parliament with a primary duty to attend to Parliament and its work, but are men who have other things to do. The result is that the matter always hangs fire and drags. In this case, although ere long careful Reports were prepared and presented, the matter took a considerable time.
- "(a) To consider the preparation of a new rubric regulating the ornaments (that is to say, the vesture) of the ministers of the Church at the times of their ministrations, with a view to its enactment by Parliament; and
- "(b) to frame, with a view to their enactment by Parliament, such modifications in the existing law relating to the conduct of divine service and to the ornaments and fittings of churches as may tend to secure the greater elasticity which a reasonable recognition of the comprehensiveness of the Church of England and of its present needs seems to demand."
Your Lordships will find in the very well drawn Report of the Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament that one of the appendices sets out what those Reports were. It is worth your while looking through them if any doubt exists as to the thoroughness with which the matter 778 was threshed out and considered in all its details by the Church. After some years of that the War came, and the whole thing was interrupted, so that we had practically to begin over again. But suggestions did take shape by degrees and meantime the National Church Assembly, with powers which we are remembering to-day when we pass this Resolution which comes from the National Assembly, was formed in 1919 with full Parliamentary consent, at the Church's instigation and request. That made what we call the Enabling Act. Instantly the matter was further considered. Committees, lay as well as clerical, were appointed to consider what the Convocations had done and to argue the thing out afresh. There were lay committees, clerical committees and committees of Bishops—I will not weary your Lordships with the details. In the end, when the matter had gone through the various committees backwards and forwards and at last received final approval from the Assembly as a whole, it was put to the vote; and your Lordships have often been reminded what that vote was.
It was really a significant vote. There are 711 members in the Assembly, and 650, though they come from every corner of England, were there to record their votes. Of the Bishops, 34 voted for the Measure and 4 against. There are now more Bishops than there were then, and the Bishops created since, if they had been in the Assembly, would have swelled the majority, not the minority. There were 253 clergy in favour of the Measure and 37 against, and of the laity there were 230 in favour and 92 against. The total membership of the three Houses is: Bishops, 40; clergy, 319; and laity, 352; and, as I have said, out of 711 members 650 recorded their votes. Those figures are, I maintain, of supreme importance. What do they represent? It may be said that they do not represent the public opinion of England. We have heard it asked a dozen times: "How can you say that the laity who sit in the Church Assembly really represent the opinion of England?" They do not profess to represent the people of England, but they do profess to represent the Church of England, the people who care about these matters and go to church, who want to use their Prayer Book, who care 779 about the form that Book should take, who understand the question and who are the people really qualified to speak. To say that they represent only a small minority of the thousands who could be gathered in Trafalgar Square or the first thousand who cross London Bridge in the morning does not meet the case. We summoned the Church, in the most official way that it could be summoned, and it spoke, not only with no uncertain voice, but with an overwhelming majority in favour of going forward with this Measure.
Then outside diocesan conferences were held, both before and since, and these have recorded their votes, almost, all of them by very large majorities, in favour of the Measure. I cannot give precise statistics, for complicated reasons with which I will not trouble you. Some of the dioceses hold synods and not diocesan conferences for this purpose, and the statistical details would not correspond. But, roughly speaking, I do not think I am wrong when I say that 80 per cent, of the members of the diocesan conferences were in favour of the Measure and 20 per cent, against it. In addition there were, of course, innumerable petitions and memorials of all sorts, for and against the Measure, from meetings of all kinds which wished to take exception to it and from official bodies, mainly from parochial church councils and the rest, which wished to support it. I have all these petitions. They have all been carefully considered, not one has been neglected, and they formed the material before us for final consideration. It is sometimes said that a diocesan conference does not count because it is certain to support the Bishop. I do not want to dwell upon that point, but it is not exactly my experience in all the affairs of Church life. I would ask your Lordships to turn to the dioceses of Norwich and Worcester if you want to find whether that rule holds in every case.
I hope I have shown conclusively that this is no plan or fad or phantasy of the Bishops. It is commonly called the Bishops' Measure or the Bishops' Prayer Book. The Bishops were the people who, after the end of the discussion, had to hand the matter over for public discussion here and elsewhere. It came in the order of proceedings that the last word 780 should come from the Bishops, as it is practically necessary that it should, in this matter. But the Book is not the Book of the Bishops; it is the Book of the Church, drawn up by laity and clergy and finally approved and amended and put into its ultimate shape, with such additions or omissions as were thought desirable, by the Bishops. But the Book is substantially a Book with which the Bishops have no more to do than the clergy and laity in I he Assemblies. It is produced by those men who had to meet conditions that had been proved, that were everywhere found to exist and that gave rise to the votes of which I have spoken in Assemblies and elsewhere.
I maintain that every available means of securing corporate votes on the part of representative churchmen, those who were themselves going to use the Book and who understand it, has been adopted. No stone has been left unturned. Once you grant, as I suppose most people will giant, that some inquiry was necessary and some changes were desirable, we literally could not have done more than we did to secure the opinion of the Church upon the subject. It has sometimes been said, even within the last few days, that the Measure is being hurried through. Twenty-one years is a longish time, and for twenty-one years we have been debating this matter up and down, and, whether the Measure is good or bad, it is not a hurried one. It is not put before your Lordships in a hurry. That, I think, we may certainly say.
Having taken those pains—I come to my second question—what did we, or they, produce? We produced the actual Measure and the Book which lies on the Table and is in your Lordships' hands. It was especially in deference to the wish of the laity that we did not put out two books but one Book, containing the old Prayer Book as well as the revised one. It was by their wish that it was put out in that shape. That brings me to the second point. What do we regard as the outstanding differences between the rules of worship, as we have had them, and the rules of worship that will be ours if this Measure passes into law? What are they? I can deal with them only briefly, for it would be a long story and not very appropriate here to go into great detail. But I think I can show shortly what they are.
781 As regards rubrics generally, an enlarged liberty is given to the clergy under strict limitations, to vary usages and the order of services at different times and to secure—returning to the Commission's Report—the greater elasticity which a reasonable recognition of the comprehensiveness of the Church of England and of its present needs seems to demand.There is plenty of elasticity to-day. I do not know how many of your Lordships, when you go to church, especially in the evening, find that the Book of Common Prayer is strictly followed. I think your Lordships will sometimes find very little of the actual Book of Common Prayer as it: stands. The words may all be within the corners of it, but it is re-arranged and added to—in most cases, perhaps with admirable care and excellence, but under no control except that of the parish priest. Examples of that elasticity would be the liberty as to the use of the Athanasian Creed, the power to shorten certain services, such as the Litany and others, which are thought to be too long, and even the leave to the clergy to use extempore prayer, subject always to the permission of the Bishop, so as to check certain vagaries that might be found to follow that usage.
Then—I will dwell upon this only for a moment, for I think it will be discussed later in our debates—there are additional prayers for the King, more than there were in the Book as it was, and there is the right to use them in other places where they could not be used legally under the present Book, but could be introduced under the other Book. There have been imaginings that the Bishops tried to fashion a roadway, if I may put it so, for some supposed Republican priest, who might if he was a very ingenious man (and he would have to be an ingenious man), find a way of evading the prayers for the King in divine service altogether. The actual point was never suggested to us until it was too late for us to make an alteration, or we might have made it compulsory. The notion that the Bishops had a plan in their minds to facilitate a roadway for this Republican parson, who may or may not be existing, or someone who has a desire to impeach or interfere with the Royal supremacy, is a notion which is fantastic. Fantastic or not, it is not true. The idea was never 782 even suggested until it was too late for us to alter it, otherwise there would not have been the slightest difficulty in getting it altered. That is obviously the answer which the Bishops, when called upon to issue guidance and give instructions to their clergy as to the use of the Book, will give. They will take very great care that the prayers for the Sovereign are regularly used. That I can answer for without any doubt at all.
Another change is the introduction of prayers for present day needs which did not exist in 1662—prayers for the Empire, the Colonies and their Parliaments, for industrial problems, for foreign missions, for the League of Nations, and so on; and these are introduced in enlargement or enrichment of the present Book. Then comes a question which is a little more controversial in some people's minds—namely, prayers for the dead. The Royal Commission called attention to the fact that although the rubrics contain no provision for allowing actual specific prayers for the departed, there has never been in the Church of England any suggestion, that it was a false doctrine, or forbidden in the Church, although it was not prescribed. We have made it explicit now, and if your Lordships ask why, I answer simply: The War. Anybody who had to do with the War, and saw the way in which the homes of England were shattered by what happened in the War, and the need there was everywhere, the craving desire which existed, for some prayers in commemoration of the departed, in that specific form which does not depart from what is legitimate doctrine, will understand what I mean. That is to my mind the specific answer, and I am absolutely prepared to defend it.
Then a word should be said about the way in which quotations from the Bible are used with more carefulness of choice in the new Book, and with certain variations in the occasional offices. It did not seem to us exactly suitable that the patriarchal story should be taken as an example for Christian matrimony. That is modified in the new Book, and you will find slight changes where the New Testament rather than the Old Testament receives the emphasis that is wanted. Then there comes recognition of a more devotional spirit. That is a large question, and one which is not very easy to put into a few 783 words, but the Royal Commission called attention to it, and again and again other people have called attention to it, as something which is happening not only in the Church of England but in the whole country at large. There is a different thought about reverence and emotion, seen in the æsthetic side of modes of conducting services or arranging for services. Do not let anyone, however, think that it is a change that the Church of England has devised for itself. You will see it just as markedly in any Nonconformist chapel, and more markedly indeed, as it seems to me, among those—who certainly have no desire to depart from Protestant principles—of our brothers north of the Tweed.
I have been at pains to obtain a few copies of the monthly notices and orders of services in Edinburgh. There are no better known places in the Scottish metropolis than St. Giles Cathedral and St. Cuthbert's Church. People who had to do with those churches even fifty years ago, to go no further back, cannot but contrast the services in those places, and in those days, with what they are to-day. The contrast is even greater than that which is to be seen in most of our churches in this country. That is not a very strong point, perhaps, as an argument, but it explains why it has been found necessary to have it in mind in the changes we are making. I ought to add, of course, that no human being will allege that the change which I have alluded to betokens any change of doctrine or any departure from Protestantism—I mean, you can have these changes without departing from the sternest doctrines of Presbyterianism which you may desire to maintain.
Far the most important difference really relates to Holy Communion. That is extremely difficult to discuss here adequately, because deep doctrines are being dealt with. Of course I am most ready to meet any challenge which anyone may desire to bring forward with regard to the doctrinal significance of anything in the new Book, as contrasted with anything in the old, but I cannot go into such profound doctrines as the presence of our Lord, in argument on the floor of this House. I am ready to do it in the right time and place, but I do not think it would be right to do it here and now. Very great care indeed is needed in the 784 discussion of this matter, because of the fact that the abuse of what is right in regard to services of Holy Communion may lead possibly to superstitions of a grave kind. When you ask why was any change wanted in regard to that, I think it is constantly forgotten how great is the change in regard to the usage of, and frequency of participation in, Holy Communion. I am not discussing now whether it is right or wrong to multiply celebrations, but it is a fact, and there are many hundreds of parishes with thousands of parishioners who are now in the habit of having celebrations perhaps every day of the week, certainly on many days of the week, and often communicating many days of the week. The result is a gigantic increase in the number of people for whom provision has to be made, and who therefore want two things—first, a possible abbreviation of the services; and next, a greater variety in the services by the introduction of additional collects, epistles and gospels and the bringing in of anniversaries and so on, which will give the wholesomeness of a measure of variety to what is a stable, recognised and continuous service.
I think the reason of that and the need of that is very often forgotten when the matter is being discussed. But it would be erroneous altogether not to recognise that the temperament of very many Church people leads now to a wish for a different arrangement of the office from that which there was before. Do not let us exaggerate what the difference is. Our office is rearranged much more than rewritten; the words of the old office are mainly in the new office. In some cases the order of the prayers is different, and there is a difference in the introduction of a different prayer of consecration or canon as an alternative which may be adopted where it is desired. It is really a question of temperament. Many people like that better, many people do not. My own belief is that those differences are easily exaggerated, and that it would not be true to say that the one office presents a really different shape of doctrine from that which the other presents. Were I a parish priest I should certainly use both. I know that there would be in any large parish a great many people to whom the one would be preferable and a great many to whom the other would be preferable. It is mainly temperamental, 785 and I should find no difference whatever brought about by use of the one usage or the other. I venture to say that such differences of order and words as are suggested in the new office express quite as truly and even—because more broadly—someone might say more truly, the wide doctrine which the Church of England has always held upon that subject.
Those of us again who can speak from experience north of the Tweed know that no kind of harm occurs in Scotland from the fact that you have that alternative use; some of the churches there use one, and some use both. In St. Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh, you have at one hour the English office, at another hour the Scottish office, and I would defy you to make any distinction between the two groups of people that use them. Both these forms of the office are perfectly sound in the faith and are English and reformed in their character, and there is no real reason why we should not have both. I have never been able to share the feelings of some of my friends, even of some of my episcopal brethren, who think that there is something odd or strange or wrong in having two forms or canons of the consecration prayer. I do not understand why you should not have both if both are true.
What many people at all events regard as our most formidable crux is the permission for a carefully restricted use of reservation of the consecrated elements for the sick. I will make a confession which I have never made in public before. When I began to sit on the Committees which were dealing with this matter I was myself in hopes that we should not find it necessary to sanction reservation at all. It seemed to me that the dangers of superstition loomed rather large. I thought the need for it had not been adequately proved, and that I should feel doubtful whether I should ever whole-heartedly join in recommending it. I was convinced otherwise simply by the sheer strength of the evidence. I do think that the alleged need has been often exaggerated, and that the statements about it are mixed up with other things connected with fasting and the like, which are liable to distort people's view a little about it, perhaps unconsciously. But I am perfectly convinced now, on abundant evidence which I could adduce if necessary, of a real and honest need in certain places under our somewhat novel but 786 quite legitimate wish for more frequent communion. If these communions are to be maintained for those who are sick, and accustomed when well to communicate perhaps two or three times a week in their churches. I am convinced that something of the kind is necessary, though you should regulate it so as to prevent abuse. I would ask your Lordships not to make that question too big, and it can only become so by abuse, but we are doing the utmost we can to guard against that abuse.
Again, I would say it has been in Scotland for centuries the custom to have reservation where it was wanted in the churches. I have never heard of any harm arising from it whatever, and I have taken pains in the last few weeks to get into correspondence with the authorities of the Church in Scotland to find out whether those of them who are most afraid of Romish error are finding difficulty owing to its being legitimate under the Scottish custom to have such reservation. I find none. It is very rare; I believe it will be rare in England, too. The abuses which we are urged to anticipate would be certain to grow are, I will not say absolutely unknown, but are insignificant in amount. We have taken pains by the use of every bit of language that we can get to guard the Church against abuse arising in regard to the reserved elements. It is not reservation itself, it is what may follow from it that causes the difficulty. We have done all that we could to render, that as unlikely as possible by the careful words that we have used. We prescribe that it shall not take place in any church except with the licence of the Bishop, who is only to give that licence if he finds the need of it when shown to him, and when he has done it all, the cases in which he exercises it are to be safeguarded in every way we can suggest against the abuses of which we were afraid. Services of devotion, as they are called, before the consecrated elements are forbidden, and altogether the utmost care has been taken to guard against the superstition which might quite possibly arise.
We have a balance of difficulties—on the one side the risk which is there certainly, whether you think it large or not, of some superstitious use; on the other side the risk of withholding communion from those who really desire to 787 have it, and who ought to have it, and for whom it is difficult to provide in any other way. To refuse it in the face of that large wish would be a great responsibility. I believe that we are right in allowing the restricted use, and I am prepared at least to accept responsibility for the administration of it and for seeing how we regulate and control it. At the House of Laity, at the end of the last, group of their sessions, when this matter was passing out of their hands, a resolution was passed as follows:—That while this House believes that the great majority of the laity are satisfied with the present service of Holy Communion, the House will nevertheless agree to the insertion by the Bishops in the Prayer Book of one alternative form containing provision for vestments and reservation for the sick only, if in their opinion this will promote peace and order in the Church.Therefore they have not felt a fundamental objection. I have thus tried to deal with two of my three questions.
Summing up what I have had to say, you may ask again: "Do you really maintain that in the new Book as contrasted with the old there is no change of doctrine?" I am constantly quoted in that blunt form, as having said that there is no change of doctrine in it. I maintain that is substantially true; but I should like my exact words to be quoted lest I should be said to be departing from anything I have stated. This is what I said when I made a speech about it, and it is constantly quoted unfairly. My words are these:—I have thus briefly summarised what seem to me to be the more important proposals in our Draft Book. Important as they are, I wish to say emphatically that in my deliberate judgment nothing that we have suggested makes any change in the doctrinal position of the Church of England. The balance of emphasis may here and there be somewhat altered, but that mere fact will disquiet no one who remembers what different aspects of the truth have been emphasised by recognised Church leaders during the last four hundred years. The distinctive basis remains sure, and is enriched by the development of thought, the acquisition of fresh knowledge, and the upgrowth of new theories for the exposition of truth manifold yet one and indestructible.To those words I unhesitatingly adhere. But they are perfectly fairly summarised by saying that I do not consider that the new Book introduces any change of doctrine in comparison with the old.
788 I have tried to show, firstly, why we needed a Book and produced it, and, secondly, what it contains which differs from the old. Some of our friends who criticised our action originally thought that the proper course would be to produce a Book with all the minor changes and enrichments that were introduced and to leave out all that concerns the Holy Communion. I must have wasted my time this afternoon if I have not shown that our difficulties really centre on, and are concerned with, the Holy Communion. In the Royal Commission's Report there are three pages dealing with that one subject to one page dealing with any other. I urged this thirty years ago. I urge it still. It really surprises me that men whom I honour and respect, as I do some of those who advocate that plan, should think the suggestion that they make to be either practical in itself or conducive to peace. Candidly, it does not seem to me to be either. We have to face our real difficulties if we are to do any good at all. To attempt to leave the Communion office out would, in my view, be to shirk the task which has occupied us these many years, absolutely to invite disaster and strife or even chaos, and to leave an impossible task for those who come after us, or to ourselves if we are still here to administer the condition of things which would have come about had we taken that course.
Many of your Lordships have had in another capacity than membership of this House to deal with big problems on the land such, for instance, as where a long road over a moor or fields has had to be repaired. The road has got out of repair everywhere, but in one part of it the road has got so completely out of repair that it is almost impassable and you can hardly get along there without difficulty. It would never be said by those responsible for the care of it: "Repair the rest of the road, but leave that part entirely alone for somebody else to deal with some day in the future." That seems to me to be a perfectly good parallel with the suggestion that has been made, and I for one should not feel that I could give any support to a plan of that sort or believe it to be of the slightest use.
I think I need say very few words on the third question: What good results do you expect to attain from this? The 789 new Book is largely the outcome of a now spirit of loyalty among the clergy, a spirit which, as some of you, in the midst of so much controversy, may find it hard to believe, has steadily grown while the Book has been discussed and re-discussed. If you accept the Book that spirit will be encouraged and will grow. I have abundant evidence of how many there are who have been thought to be likely to be difficult to handle, if I may use that expression, in the future in this matter, who are entirely with us in regard to it. A few weeks ago I received a deputation from leaders among the Anglo-Catholic clergy, who wished to put before me a paper which had been drawn up by a large number of them in the time at their disposal. They said they could have got many more signatures. In conversation and in speeches on that occasion they said, in effect: "We at present are not acting in accordance with what this Book suggests. We are acting in that way because we are dissatisfied with what was possible under the rules of 1662, and we have made our own deviations from them. Give us the Church's voice as to what it wants to do and then you will find we will obey that voice and we will go with it and follow it." Here are their words:—We pledge ourselves us Catholic priests to give loyal acceptance to the Deposited Book, as put forward by the Upper and Lower Houses of Convocation and passed by the three Houses of the Church Assembly when it becomes the law of the Church.That is an important development.
It is not as if those men stood alone. Quite independent of them I have testimony from many parts of the country regarding those who are saying quite definitely: "Give us a Book which belongs not to 1662 but to 1927, which emanates not from the authority which gave us the Book of 1662 but from the Church in its Assembly, and after all these discussions you will find that we feel ourselves bound, whether we like it or not, to accept that as the voice of the Church and to follow it." It is not an easy or always a very desirable thing to make inquiries about what men may do in a supposed case, but there is one diocese in England where such inquiries have been made from individuals. Individual clergy have been asked what they feel about the new Book. Among them, of course, are men of a different view from 790 men of the kind I have spoken of. The result of the inquiry shows that out of 300 clergy 285 readily volunteered the pledge of loyalty to the new Book. That contrasts altogether with the kind of picture drawn with the lurid details that I have discussed. I speak with a full sense of responsibility when I tell you that that kind of picture is unreliable. There are, of course, men who are spendid men, loyal men in many ways, who are keenly opposed to the kind of changes I speak of and who are perfectly within their rights in saying so, vociferously if necessary. But it would be a mistake to regard them as more than the capable and voiceful witnesses of the other side, many of whom, remember, are saying what they say now before the Book has become law, in the hope that the Book they do not desire may not become law. Once it becomes law the review of it, as I am perfectly convinced, will be an entirely different one.
I mentioned Anglo-Catholics as speaking thus. There are plenty of Evangelical clergy who do not like some of the things in this new Book—as, perhaps, many of us feel that there are things in the Book which we do not entirely like—but they say: "Once the voice of the Church has spoken we shall fall into line with the rest." That, I think, will grow and increase and I venture to urge the importance of those considerations. I know that many do not share my optimism, but it is there and I cannot deviate from it. I pray you not to attend overmuch to, I think we may say, the comparatively few on either end wh are vociferous for the reason I have given, but who will, I believe, fall into line once our Book has become law, as I hope it may.
You ask what I think will be the consequences of adopting this Book. It will, I believe, enormously facilitate the work of the Bishops. The pathway for legitimate use will be broader and firmer and it will be found that we can reasonably prevent, as we never rightly could before, the transgression of its boundaries. We have helped the clergy and laity to fashion these rules and we have done it in the faith and fear of God. We mean ourselves, as Bishops, to observe the rules, a thing we cannot do exactly and literally with the Book as it now is, and we ask you to help us to go forward. I have formally promised publicly that 791 the Bishops mean to act together in this matter, and that they intend this Book to be obeyed and intend to use all their efforts to secure that it shall be obeyed. I cannot go further than again to assure you that, acting so together, we have said we would do it; and we will do it. Anyhow, those who oppose us bid us, I imagine, to go on administering the Church whether the Book passes or not. How are we going to do it if you deny us the armament and the strength for which the Church has asked with this tremendous united voice? The Church has asked that we should have a body of rules enacted by the Church itself, enacted not in 1662 but in 1927.
As my last word I would take still larger ground by saying that the giving to us of this Book would mean the liberation of the Church from the great mass of those petty strifes which have troubled us up and down the country in the past, and would conduce to the Church's firm progress towards doing better the work to which we long to give ourselves wholeheartedly and together both at home and overseas. Therefore I beg your Lordships to put aside technicalities, important as many of them are, and to realise the vast issue which may turn upon the vote you give forty-eight hours hence. We have talked about rubrics and special prayers and differences of view on important questions, but in my personal opinion there is a larger issue at stake than any of these. The Church of England, for which to-night I am spokesman, has a trust immeasurably great and sacred. From the depths of our hearts we want to use it aright. We want to use for the bettering of English life every ounce of the strength which by God's benediction is ours. We want that strength so consecrated and so united that it shall be irresistible for what we desire to effect in our country's life. For years we have been weakened and distracted by the strife and the arguments on sacred things which, within our own borders, have been keeping men apart. Thank God there has been of late—and I say this with absolute certainty—a growing resolve to attain a firmer unity. The hour has come when those hopes and endeavours may reach some measure of realisation. The Church of England has, to use a rough phrase, pulled itself together and the central cohorts of men and women who 792 really care, the men and women who, when they say their prayers and think about these things, use the Church's service for their aid, have united in asking for the enrichment of our common worship with a view to a new strength for our common work.
I quoted a few minutes ago the enormous majority by which our representative Church Assembly voted in favour of the Book. The fact that Bishops, clergy and laity have given so overwhelming a vote is itself an important thing, but far more important than the actual vote is the significance of the united voice, not of the clergy only but of the laity. Those, after all, are the people with whom the responsibility rests, the people on whom the trust is laid. They are the people who know what are the ideals, what are the aspirations which sway the people, and especially the younger people, of our land, and they have told us that they are practically at one—I will go so far as that—in wanting an enriched mode of worship with a view to a newly strengthened life for the facing of the problems of ignorance and wrong. That huge majority on the part of those who really know and care is a symbol; it may even become a sacrament. It means the starting afresh on the high emprise which is ours in England and overseas. It is ours at a time when new knowledge of every kind is at our call and new opportunities are within our reach. It is yours, my Lords, to say by your vote that you bid us go forward equipped for what we have told you that we need—better and ampler offices of prayer.
You can turn down our request if you will. I do not believe that you will do so. I am sure that you will abstain from an act which would be confusing and disheartening to us all. Disregard the clamour, the inevitable clamour, of a section on either side. Good and earnest men and women as they are, they fail to see the great significance of our united purpose and resolve. Regard rather the meaning of our eager and reiterated wish, alike in central Assemblies and in every diocese in the land; give us the new implement of power; we shall use it, God helping us, to His glory and the people's good. For twenty-five years it has been mine to bear the central burden of responsibility. An hour has come which I have never known before when, up and 793 down the land, we await the decision as to whether or no we are to be thus armed for united effort, united advance, inspired and uplifted by united prayer. From my heart I bid you give effect to our intense wish by passing the Resolution which is before you. I beg to move.
§ Moved to resolve, That in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act, 1919, this House do direct that the Prayer Book Measure, 192—, be presented to His Majesty for the Royal Assent.—(The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury.)
§ LORD HANWORTH
My Lords, after the lofty speech and the persuasive arguments of the most rev. Primate who has just moved this Resolution, I confess that it is with great diffidence that I rise to address your Lordships, but I feel that I should be wanting in courage if I did not at once rise and on behalf of those who act and think with me, express an unequivocal "No" to the Motion that is before the House. The most rev. Primate spent three-fourths of his time in forcing an open door. Before I come to the Motion, however, I must justify myself in taking so early a part in the debate. It is perhaps an act of foolhardiness that a junior Baron, a newcomer to your Lordships' House, should venture to tread on what is such difficult ground as that which lies before me, but I may be able perhaps, if not to justify, at any rate to palliate my interference, by saying that over a long period of years I have taken a deep interest in Church matters. I was one of those in the House of Commons who helped to pass the Enabling Act to which the Archbishop referred. I have stood by his side when he took the chair and I have made speeches on behalf of the Welsh Church to try to avoid its disestablishment. I was entrusted by Mr. Bonar Law with perhaps the very last negotiations which took place on behalf of that Church with Sir Basil Blackett for the Treasury, when £1,000,000 was handed over to the Church. I may also say that at the request of both Archbishops I sat on the Commission on the finances of the Church, and although I was not able to sign the Report—I was moved to my present post ere the Report was produced—I read all the evidence and I heard some of it. Therefore I am not unacquainted 794 with some of the problems which beset the Church at the present time.
I am going to ask your Lordships to take a wide view, a large view of a large matter. It is not for us to discuss personal prejudices, to recall the early thoughts of our early upbringing. We have got to direct ourselves to the question of whether this Measure will do good to the body politic at large. May I make one or two observations before I begin my argument? Let me say at once that I believe that the discussions that have taken place since the most rev. Primate placed this Book before the Assembly on February 7 last have done good and not harm. We are a religious nation, and it is, a good thing that at times we should consider where we are and whither we are moving. I have a great belief that the discussions which have taken place have been on a high level, a high level never reached before. The most rev. Primate has been in touch with every controversy in the Church since the days of Bishop Colenso, and I believe I should get his testimony to the fact that throughout the months from February there has been an endeavour to discuss this matter with a respect for the feelings of others which has never been known before. Except for one passage by one Bishop to which I will refer later, I do not think there has been any sentence which has done serious harm.
Let me add this: you must expect a certain number of persons, when they believe strongly, to write strongly. For my part I should not take exception to any passages which have been written or spoken about the views which I and others hold. I think myself that if you hold opinions sincerely and strongly it is almost impossible not to express them with an emphasis, which may cause some disquiet on the other side. At the same time, I do hope that in what I have to say I shall be able to express myself in a manner which will not do harm and will not cause pain to anyone else. Deep down in my heart for many years, throughout my whole political life, I have held this dear, that we should in no circumstances cause pain to those who differ on matters of religion. We are all entitled to our opinions, and, more than that, we are entitled to the respect of each other in holding those opinions. Let me reassure the most rev. Primate. 795 He seems to be a little disturbed by the sort of literature that has been flying about in the last week or ten days. With some knowledge of the House of Commons, and having passed through a good many contested elections, I am bound to say that, although I have found these things on my table, I have not looked at them very seriously because I have had deeper things to think about. The writers have expressed themselves rather crudely, perhaps, but I should like to say that I have not seen anything like abuse of the most rev. Primate. On behalf of all those with whom I act, let me assure him that these things will make no difference to their opinion of him, that they will in no way be deflected by any hard words that have been used to him.
Indeed, I would go further and say that, if every Bishop and if every parson was like the Archbishop of Canterbury, I should be content to have any number of Prayer Books of every kind and sort, and I should be content to trust his experience and judgment in using them to the satisfaction of the congregation. But, unfortunately, Bishops do not last for ever and Archbishops do not last for ever. One of the difficulties at the present time is that, although we have assurances from the Bishops of to-day, we have to think about the Bishops of to-morrow. We are discussing a Measure which is not for to-day, or for to-morrow, or for ten years. We are discussing something which is for generations which are to come. That is why less importance attaches to a resolution of the present Bishops as to how they will administer the Book. I want to know how the Bishops will administer it twenty-five years hence, and I think the greatest safety will be found in putting a rubric in the Book itself which will give something like a permanent safeguard, which may be binding not merely on an ephemeral body of to-day but on future generations.
Now I come to the Motion. We are told that this is the result of twenty-one years' work. I think I shall carry your Lordships with me if I refer to a sentence in the speech just delivered by the most rev. Primate—that the strongest case must be made out to justify a new Prayer Book, or an alter- 796 native Prayer Book. We are told that the new Prayer Book is an alternative Prayer Book, and that therefore it need not be used. I agree, but it is an alternative to one of the most sacred portions of the Prayer Book, and it is upon that that our chief opposition dwells. I should like to say that I am not going to ask your Lordships to consider small details or small points. Indeed, I would say that upon all matters which were touched upon between a quarter past four and five o'clock by the most rev. Primate, I think there is really no controversy. Enrichment of services, some new collects, some new services for particular occasions—everybody is prepared to allow them. I would go further and, speaking for myself, I would say that I am not going to ask your Lordships to consider vestures and ornaments. I agree with the most rev. Primate that in the course of the last generation new colour, new æsthetics, have been asked for. Let it be so. On such a matter I would not dwell or ask your Lordships to dwell.
But when we come to the question of whether it is wise to have an alternative service in the sense of an alternative Holy Communion, I turn to see what has been the opinion of those who are not unqualified to judge. Let me take the view of the Bishop of London. I will refer to a speech which he made in 1915, when a very considerable alteration was suggested in the office for Holy Communion. The right rev. Prelate, who has had great experience, said, speaking on April 28, 1915, that he objected to the immediate proposal, which was not for a complete service but for an alternative. I am not going through all his reasons, but the second upon which he founded his hostility to the amendment was that he would himself be considerably obstructed in his task of working his diocese if this change were made:he had been going round to all the deaneries, celebrating in the Churches, and sometimes the Rural Dean was Evangelical and sometimes a High Churchman, but at least they had one Communion Service—he might have had to stand at the north end sometimes, when the Rural Dean was an Evangelical, and take the east end position when he was not, but anyhow they all had the same service.Let me also remind your Lordships of a still later expression of opinion in 797 this matter. The Bishop of Gloucester, who is not yet, I think, a member of your Lordships' House, said in 1923:—I sincerely hope that nothing will be done to create two Prayer Books.… With regard to Holy Communion, it is difficult to conceive a more complete failure of statesmanship … (than) by allowing a discussion in exactly the service in which most of all we should be united.… May I express the hope that, whatever is done with the rest of the Prayer Book, we definitely refuse to acquiesce in any proposal to allow alternative forms of service?That is a weighty opinion. Who is the Bishop of Gloucester? Doctor Headlam is well-known. Perhaps he is one of the most learned of our Bishops. Many of us have read his book on the Church of England, and I suppose no better and greater exposition of the Church of England than that book has been published of late years. We may be pardoned if we ask what is the ground on which we are asked to set aside, in 1927, his opinion expressed in 1923, and how it is that we find him to have changed his opinion so completely. If these views were held by the Bishop of London in 1915 and by the Bishop of Gloucester in 1923, some of us may be pardoned if we have our doubts in 1927 as to whether this change is wise.
When we come to the effect of a dual service, the most rev. Primate said that he knew that it was used without misfortune north of the Tweed. But let us consider if from the point of view of those who are south of the Tweed. We have some evidence on this point. I quote one passage from the late Bishop of Salisbury, who spoke as having had experience in Scotland. His view, also expressed in 1915, was as follows:—I am the only Bishop in the room who has served a dozen years where there was dual use. I am afraid I must take exception to the statement that it has not been a cause of cleavage. On the contrary, it was a cause of cleavage.I venture to make these extracts not because I want in any way to weary your Lordships, not because I wish to be at all hard upon right rev. Prelates who may see ground for changing their minds, but because I do want them and the House to understand that, when we are questioning the wisdom of an alternative service, we are not extremists or partisans or persons who are putting forward some petty view of our own. We 798 are trying to take the same large view that was taken by the Bishop of London, the Bishop of Gloucester and the Bishop of Salisbury in the past, and we may be pardoned if, with, something of the conservatism that belongs to the English people, we find ourselves unable to change our view. I do say that on this matter it is vital that we should have unity in that one service.
Let me say a few words as to what is proposed in the Deposited Book. My remarks shall not be long, and I hope that they will in no sense be controversial. I will endeavour to put my points as clearly as I can. There are changes. I do not mind whether you call them a change of doctrine or a change of emphasis, and I am certainly not going to hold the most rev. Primate to any short summary of what, must, no doubt, need a much larger number of words to express fairly what he said. But whether it be a change of emphasis, whether the doctrinal position be quite the same or whether it be a change of doctrine, as Lord Parmoor has said—and, after all, Lord Parmoor held for many years a very high position as one of the officers in the Province of Canterbury—whichever view you take, there it is. We know, for the most rev. Primate, has said so, that the difference really concerns the question of the reservation. I am not going into detail, but there are many who look upon the significance of the reservation proposal with a doubtful eye. Indeed, we have the sympathy of the most rev. Primate, because he has told us that when he went into the debates on this very matter he was himself opposed to it, and it is only because he has heard this evidence, which we have not, that he has changed his mind. We have other opportunities, which are denied to the most rev. Primate. We go to our own parish churches, to the services that are available to us, we know what those services are and perhaps we see more largely than he does what is the danger of this reservation.
I am not going to touch upon what I know I shall at once be told is no part of the Prayer Book—I mean the Articles. Your Lordships are all familiar with the words in Article 28—"was not … reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped," and with the reference in Article 31 to the "sacrifices of the Masses," and so on. But your Lordships 799 are also aware that, for the purpose of preventing the very dangers which were found to exist in old days, there was the Black Rubric, and your Lordships are all familiar with that Rubric. We are told that there are to be strict rules under which reservation will be allowed and subject to which only it can be permitted. Your Lordships have the Deposited Book and you have the Pink Paper which contains the printed rules. You see what is to be done and how the Sacrament can be reserved in an aumbry in the north wall or in some other place approved of by the Bishop. In the now Prayer Book you have some general rubrics which are applicable to both services. Those general rubrics do not contain the Black Rubric. It is contained in the old service and in the old service alone.
That Black Rubric was included in the Revised Book which belonged to the Permissive Use Measure of 1923, and we ask, and we ask not unfairly, why was not the Black Rubric placed among the general rubrics applicable to both services? What is the meaning of it? I do not hesitate to say, as a lawyer, that, where you include one thing and leave out the other, some difference is intended. Where you have general rubrics applying to both services, and where, in particular, you have one service which does contain the Black Rubric, I ask why is it not included again in the alternative service? And if there are to be the regulations, which are to safeguard this use, why should not the Bishops have inserted the Black Rubric in the alternative service, and saved themselves a deal of trouble in making fresh regulations? It would then have been laid down, in plain terms, what in certain circumstances may be deemed to be idolatry, and the like. I do not refer to other words, because I do not wish to give pain to anybody. We are told that this service took shape by degrees. So far, then, we may say that we hold the same view as that with which the Archbishop went into the conference, and—I say this after what we have heard from the most rev. Primate—I believe that if you could alter this Measure you would immediately put in a clause, or alter the Book in some way, to safeguard the point and make it quite clear that the doubts and hesitations of the Archbishop himself were set aside, and that there should 800 be no possible ground for allowing what is distasteful to so many, and what in the past has undoubtedly led to unfortunate practices.
A word about the prayers for the King. I am not going to dwell at length upon that subject. What I am going to say is that it is doubtful how far they are enforced. It is doubtful, and in any new alternative service there ought to have been no doubt left whatever. It is not a question of thinking that the Bishops are Republicans, and setting out to allow Republican practices. Let me state it from another end. We go to church in our parishes, and know that the prayers for the King are omitted. I had information sent to me, which I believe to be not inaccurate information, that in the diocese of Exeter quite recently, complaint was made to the Bishop that a particular parson had omitted the prayers for the King. I was talking to a man who lives in Kent, and I was told that a parson there consistently left out the prayers for the King. Am I not speaking on a matter in which your Lordships will confirm me? Do we not know that these prayers are left out at the present time? If they are left out, it is not a question of having the Archbishop to read the service and therefore ensuring that they are read, but it is a question of having safeguarded, in any new Book, that the prayers for the King shall be said, and that the practice of leaving them out, which is all too common at the present time, shall no longer be possible. Let me say one more word. To leave the prayers for the King in any possible doubt is to my mind wrong. If you believe in prayer, is there one which has been so abundantly answered? And yet we are to leave in doubt a matter which every single loyal person in the congregation desires should be sufficiently and over-abundantly said. It is left in doubt. I am not going to put it higher than that.
Having criticised as I have done the alternative service, the alternative Holy Communion, and the actual position of the prayers for the King and the like, I come now to the Measure itself. Your Lordships cannot alter this, and this is what we have to affirm. Under Clause I an option is given to the minister to use the Book in accordance with the rubrics, tables and directions. There is no option 801 primarily to the congregation at all. It is not that the congregation may approach the minister, but it is the minister whose discretion is to operate. If a question arises between a minister, who determines to use the new Book, or, I will say, the alternative Holy Communion—if a question arises between such a minister and his church council, then the matter stands referred to the Bishop. But supposing there is no council (and in some cases there are no councils), what is to happen? In any case it stands referred to the Bishop, whose orders shall be final. Here it is that I do refer to one right rev. Prelate. The Bishop of Durham spoke of the "Protestant underworld." It is true that he qualified it by saving that he spoke generally, not particularly, or particularly and not generally. I do not care if he said I belonged to the Protestant underworld—
THE LORD BISHOP OF DURHAM
I explained that the Protestant underworld referred to those persons some of whose productions were quoted by the most rev. Primate.
§ LORD HANWORTH
I do not know what the right rev. Prelate meant, but his words do cause pain to a number of persons. Supposing a question arises as to whether a minister shall use the new alternative Holy Communion, and supposing there is a difference of opinion between the minister and his congregation, will those people, when the matter stands referred to the Lord Bishop of Durham, have confidence? When they know that they belong to the Protestant underworld, will they have confidence in that decision? I myself am accustomed to arbitration, and to the conduct of arbitrators, and when a person has expressed an opinion definitely in favour of one side or another, it is possible for the Court to remove him from the position of arbitrator. I say that if words of that sort had been used by a person who was going to be the arbitrator, and who had to decide questions of that sort as between party and party, there would be grave danger of the Court removing him from this position, as a man who had so expressed himself that he could not bring to bear that fair and independent judgment for which we ask. Those are two words which I think have 802 caused, and will cause, pain, and they do arouse a sentiment of want of security, which is unfortunate.
There are two more points which arise on the Measure itself. Clause 4 says that the Archbishops and Bishops of each province may from time to time make and at their discretion rescind such rules as are required or authorised, and so on. This is one of the worst forms of legislation at the present time. Why have these rules been made by a body which changes or whose emphasis changes? I do not say that their doctrinal position changes, but their emphasis changes, and you sometimes find, as one Bishop follows another, there is a distinct change of emphasis. These rules are to be made by the Bishops—I dare say corporately, but even corporately there is a change of emphasis—and we have no security in these rules that there shall be anything like real continuity. I should ask, and your Lordships would do so if you could alter a comma of this Measure, that instead of being left to rules it should be put into the rubrics.
Lastly I would allude to Clause 9, which gives me more disquiet than any other. Your Lordships know that when a man is made an incumbent he has what is popularly known as to "read himself in." In other words, he has to make a declaration in accordance with the Act of 1865, under which he has to say that he believes the doctrine of the Church as set forth in the Prayer Book, and that he will use the form in the said Book prescribed, and none other, except so far as shall be ordered by lawful authority. And although he took his vows at a time when the alternative service was not before him, Clause 9 now says that all the forms authorised by this Measure are to be "deemed to be ordered by lawful authority within the meaning of the Declaration of Assent contained in the Clerical Subscription Act, 1865." It is not easy to be sure that those words, "shall be deemed to be ordered by lawful authority" are only in reference to Clause 1. I have the uneasy and unsatisfactory feeling that we are imposing a new emphasis, a new perspective, upon a number of ordained ministers, by Clause 9. Your Lordships have always been tender to the consciences of ministers and to their attitude towards what they have undertaken. I need only recall the safeguards that were put into 803 the Deceased Wife's Sister Act, under which no possible censure could be imposed upon a minister if he disagreed with that Act. I have an uneasy feeling that we are imposing upon a number of ministers who hold different views a statutory loyalty to a new and alternative service; what the result will be I do not know, but I think it is extremely hard upon ministers. I cannot help feeling that if it were not that we cannot alter a comma of the Measure we should put in a proviso at once to safeguard the consciences of those whose consciences ought to be protected by the Episcopal Bench.
Now I come to the question of the large body of opinion that has acquiesced in this new Prayer Book. The new Prayer Book has been passed by the Church Assembly, and that is said to be, and no doubt is, a very important fact. But how representative is the Assembly? I have figures for only one diocese, but they are striking. One Bishop finds that out of a total population of 1,494,000 at the last census, 156,000 persons above the age of eighteen are registered on the parochial rolls. Of these only 8,832 attended the annual meetings, and if that diocese be taken as fairly typical of England, it follows that hardly more than 250,000 persons have even a direct concern in electing members of the House of Laity. The population of England exceeds 35,000,000, and about 14,000,000 record their votes at Parliamentary elections. If you compare those figures with the figures I have previously quoted you will see what a fiction is the representative character of the House of Laity. Those are the words of a Bishop. I am not going to quote him, because I do not want to be in any way personal or unfriendly to Bishops. I would ask your Lordships, who is your representative in the House of Assembly? Can anyone tell me who represents him in the House of Assembly? Having been a Member of Parliament, I know that as a rule one's constituents know to whom to write, but I confess that if I want to write to my representative in the House of Assembly I do not know who on earth it is to whom I should write.
Then we have the question of what the most rev. Primate described as the synod, or diocesan conference. Let it 804 not be forgotten, though perhaps the most reverend Primate is unconscious of it, that Bishops have a strange and subtle influence, which has perhaps a far greater effect than they think, but which leads the incumbents in their dioceses, perhaps quite subconsciously, to find their independence sapped and their judgment warped in favour of the views held by the man to whom they have sworn loyally, and to whom, with the splended attributes of English people, they desire to be loyal. Then there is another factor in those wonderful figures that we have heard quoted. Many people in the dioceses had the advantage of hearing Lord Hugh Cecil, who spoke to a great number of them; and, charmed as I always am by his eloquence, I cannot help feeling that if I had attended some of these diocesan meetings, perhaps not the first but the second or the third time, he might have charmed me into submission. Those figures are by no means to be taken at their face value. You may take no part in Church meetings, and you may not go to choose your representative in the Assembly, but when you go to church it often happens that you find practices going on in your own parish church, the house to which you have been accustomed to go, which you dislike, and, rather than cause pain, you silently and patiently, but regretfully, turn aside and take no part or lot in future matters.
I turn to the next point, discipline. How is discipline going to be enforced? We are told that the rules are being made more plain, and that then it will be more possible to establish discipline. The question of discipline is one on which really our views as to the Measure turn, for surely it is a poor thing to introduce alternative services, with the risk of possible cleavage, if we are not to have discipline enforced. But your Lordships observed the absolute silence of the most rev. Primate on the subject of any new or greater powers to enforce discipline than the Bishops held before. I am not going to quote—indeed I had not intended to think about it again, if the most rev. Primate had not mentioned it himself—his own words before the Commission, as to how the sands had run out, and drastic action must be taken. That was in 1903. I allude to it only as showing that the most rev. 805 Primate has been conscious of the need for drastic action and of the need for greater powers for enforcing discipline; but now we are asked to pass a Prayer Book and allow alternative services, although there are no increased powers of enforcing discipline.
What hope is there of better discipline? I suppose there are something like 19,000 clergy in this country belonging to the Church of England, of whom about 13,000 are beneficed, and we have the declaration of the 1,400 Catholic priests who say they will not obey these new orders of the Bishops. An honoured and respected member of your Lordships' House, Lord Halifax, and a great friend of mine a member of the other House, Sir Robert Newman, Canon McKay, and Canon Ross, have all written in the greatest honesty to say that they are not going to obey. More than that, the Catholic priests will uphold those who disobey any sort of orders that are made upon them regarding this question of reservation. It that be so, what hope is there of success? Let mo not be unfair. I am sure, not only from what the most rev. Primate said, but also from what the Bishop of London has said from time to time, that they desire to bring into line those who have crossed over the line. We know the Bishop of London. He is the friend of a great many of us. He says his powers must be of persuasion, advice, expostulation, and exhortation. But let me also pay this tribute to him. Would not that advice and that expostulation be given with the most tender and affectionate sympathy? I can imagine many people saying: "Yes, I agreed because the Bishop of London came to me. He has a way with him which made me yield." I say this quite honestly to him for we are old friends: If during this time he has failed—and in no diocese are there greater or more flagrant breaches of the law at the present time—what hope is there that without any new powers the Bishops will be able to enforce discipline? Not all Bishops have that sympathetic touch which the Bishop of London has; yet where he has failed, what hope is there that others will succeed? I say that on this point there is no hope, no reasonable hope that any greater discipline will be enforced.
Then, lastly, I come to the question of the chaos. How often has one been threatened in another place: "If you do 806 not pass this Bill, I tell this House here and now"—and so on. Have we ever been frightened? No. You can have a Measure establishing all that the Archbishop spoke of in three quarters of his speech which would be passed without any sort of difficulty. As to the rest, there may be wisdom in the words of the Bishop of Gloucester, that we should pause long and reconsider a second time as to whether we should have an alternative Book. I do not believe that your Lordships will attach any importance to the bogey of "chaos" in these matters. For the so-called restoration, or hope of the restoration, of discipline you are going to mark a definite cleavage. That cleavage will become more apparent because one body will support those who are in sympathy with them and others will support their own. With all respect to the Bishops, are they the only judges on this question? Very few lay Englishmen will take their religion from their officers. Experts are all very well. I have had some experience of them myself. Expert opinion often needs the correction of less concentrated opinion. As I have said before, I believe that the nation is sincerely religious, but they hesitate, to allow things to take place for which they have no taste and have good grounds for distrusting.
I summarise my objections to this Measure in this way. The dual service will cause and connotes a cleavage, and discipline will not be enforced. Certainly unity with the Free Churches is made, far more difficult than it would otherwise have been. Peace will not be obtained. Still one more reason—will you get candidates for ordination? This point came before me somewhat strikingly. When the uncertainty is brought home to the younger men, I believe they will hesitate long before they will undertake the ministry. Incidentally, as well as cleavage, I think you will have a shortage of candidates for orders.
Much has been said in recent times of the new views that are being accepted and the desire that our religion should be cleared of what may be called the accretions of past times. Many desire to be able to say "Credo" to a wider and more modern view. They desire to worship not in a spirit of any superstition or fear but, to quote the splendid 807 words of the great Apostle, "in a spirit of power, of love and of sound mind." Thackeray, in a splendid passage, says:—Does a week pass without the announcement of the discovery of a new star in the heaven, twinkling dimly out of a yet farther distance, and only now becoming visible to human ken though existent for ever and ever? So let us hope divine truths may be shining, and regions of light and love extant, which Geneva glasses cannot yet perceive, and are beyond the focus of Roman telescopes.I believe that gradually religion is being purged of old accretions. I believe that men desire, faithfully desire, to use their opportunity of adhesion. You may alter the centre of the circle and that may lead your circumference to change its place, but you will not cover more ground; and while you are altering the centre in one direction you may be leaving out something else in the other. I say: Do not let us put our eyes to the wrong end of the telescope, or bring back what has been discarded in the past and make it more difficult for your Lordships and for all sincere and devout adherents of the Church of England to attend the churches, where they have been accustomed to go in sorrow not less than on other occasions and render thanks for the great benefits they have received.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
My Lords, I always feel that a layman addressing your Lordships' House after a lawyer is at a disadvantage. He is particularly at a disadvantage on an occasion like this when he attempts to answer a lawyer so well known, so distinguished and with so much experience as the noble and learned Lord who has just sat down. The more so when I reflect that though the voice was the voice of the Master of the Rolls the sentiments were probably those of the Bishop of Norwich. We therefore find combined in one both the legal and episcopal objections to the Measure. I confess that I hope that an answer may be given, if not by me at any rate by plain laymen, members of the Church of England, to the various doubts raised by the noble and learned Lord who has just sat down.
In the very powerful and authoritative statement with which the most rev. Primate introduced the Measure, he told us, and I was glad he did, of the great services rendered in this matter by the late Lord St. Aldwyn. Lord 808 St. Aldwyn performed a great service to the Church when he acted as Chairman of the Royal Commission. He was convinced of the mischief that was done to the Church of England by lawlessness, and went on to say it existed on all sides, not on one side only. He saw it was necessary that there should be a new standard of law, that all parties who broke the law should realise that they did break it, and that we should, instead of the law which had broken down, have a law which could be obeyed by all parties in the Church. Until you have that new law it is really impossible to expect discipline from the clergy of the Church of England. That really is the answer to what was said by the noble and learned Lord who has just sat down.
It seems to me an inconceivable position that the Bishops should go to lawless clergy with the new Prayer Book in one hand and the new disciplinary measures in the other and threaten them with the one if they do not obey the other. Surely persuasion should always precede any attempt to put the law into action. There is far better hope that all parties in the Church will obey the law when they are approached by the Bishops rather in their attitude and position as their fathers in God than as possible prosecutors who are likely to put the law into motion against them. There is no single case in any human relationship in which I conceive that anybody would think it was a right thing to accompany persuasion with threats. Surely in the next year or two, while the long process goes on of the printing of the Prayer Book and while right rev. Prelates have the opportunity of seeing how far the new Prayer Book is being obeyed, the discussion on the new disciplinary rules will take place. I am quite sure the rules will be produced in your Lordships' House and become effective in plenty of time for them to have their particular effect in bringing the clergy and the laity of the Church into conformity with the law. Meanwhile we need the interval during which persuasion and the new sense of unity and concord in the Church of England should be allowed to have full play.
I confess that I am immensely impressed by the figures relating to the vote in Convocation. There the Bishops by 34 to 4, and the clergy by 235 to 32 voted in favour of the Deposited Book. In the 809 Church Assembly the Bishops voted in the same numbers of 34 to 4, the clergy 253 to 37 and the laity 230 to 92. The noble and learned Lord who has just sat down complained that very few people knew who were their representatives in the Church Assembly. That is not unnatural, because you do not have any immediate representative in the Church Assembly. The representatives to the Church Assembly are elected at the-diocesan conference and you cannot, therefore, point out one single man as being your own representative in the Church Assembly, because he is one of the delegates from the diocesan conference. In those circumstances I do not think it is surprising that one is unable to do it. The allegation hinted at by the most rev. Primate, that Bishops after all have no great influence upon the laity, is shown by the voting in those two particular dioceses that he mentioned. Both in Norwich and in Worcester—where I have the pleasure of living sometimes, without, I hope, giving too much trouble to the right rev. Prelate the Bishop of Worcester—though the Bishops were against the Book, there was as great a proportion of laity as there was in other places in favour of the new Prayer Book. That shows that the Bishops have not that influence over the laity which some people are inclined to think they have.
The curious fact is that there was a large majority against the Prayer Book in just those two dioceses where you have the extremists most gathered together. I think we ought to remember particularly and above all that it is the extremists on both sides who are against the Measure, and we who are accustomed to the old fashioned English way of believing in the via media may surely gain some encouragement from that consideration. After all the body which is most formidably against the new Prayer Book is composed of those whom the noble and learned Lord would call the most extreme Romanising section of the clergy. It is they who are more bitterly opposed to the new Prayer Book than any other section in the Church of England, and it seems to me a curious combination when I find my noble friend beside me (the Marquess of Lincolnshire) and the noble and learned Lord opposite (Lord Hanworth) united with that section in the Church to try 810 to procure the rejection of the Measure. That they should do the work of that particular section in the Church, I confess, surprises me a good deal.
It does not seem to me to be very difficult to give something at any rate of an answer to one or two of the arguments advanced by the noble and learned Lord. He asked what was the worth or the value of the assurances given by the Bishops. I think the answer is to be found in the fact that each successive Bishop is appointed by the Prime Minister of the day and the Prime Minister of the day has the responsibility of finding Bishops who will administer the law. I have no doubt at all that Prime Ministers, as in the past, will in the future take care to choose from amongst the clergy of the Church of England those who will act in harmony with the other Bishops whose obedience to the law is secured. I am not concerned to defend those rev. Prelates who have pronounced against alternative services—they are quite able to defend themselves—but I do think it is some testimony to the sense of unity and concord that some of them (two or three of them only were mentioned by the noble and learned Lord) should have been ready to give up their private opinion in order to secure general assent amongst the whole body of the Bishops. It seems to me a happy augury for the future that what has happened amongst the Bishops will, as I believe, win assent amongst the clergy and laity of the Church of England. We shall give up our own particular fads or fancies which are not in accord with the new Prayer Book and not in general concord with the principles of the Church of England.
I cannot imagine how it would be possible at any moment to separate the Book into non-controversial and controversial portions. The moment you begin to do that the non-controversial portion becomes controversial and it would be quite impossible, I am sure, to do anything of the kind. You only have to look at the Book for a moment to see how the new services for the Holy Communion and the alteration for the Morning Prayer are interwoven one with another. They are all interdependent and, when once you consider those alterations which are suggested it would be impossible in any way at all I think to 811 separate one part of the Book from another. With regard to the Black Rubric, though no expert in this matter I am prepared to offer a tentative explanation to the noble and learned Lord. He no doubt has observed that what is called the Black Rubric is, technically speaking, no rubric at all. Rubrics contain a direction as to what you are to do; they contain some direction as to how you are to act; but what is called the Black Rubric is nothing of the kind; it has much more a doctrinal significance.
§ LORD HANWORTH
May I interrupt the noble Earl for a moment? I am quite aware of that, but it passes by the name of the Black Rubric and I do not know how better to refer to it. It is a part of the Book of Common Prayer.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
I do not think the matter of names matters. It is what is contained in it. If I am right a rubric technically contains a direction to act and to do something. Every one of the rubrics which contains a direction to do something is repeated, but because this so-called Black Rubric does not contain any direction to do anything, but is more in the nature of something of a doctrinal character, there is no repetition of it as it is not a rubric. I think the noble and learned Lord has been a little misled by the fact that it is called a rubric. It was unnecessary, therefore, to reprint it, because, not being a rubric but being instead part of a declaration in the nature of doctrine, it has in the Deposited Book exactly the same value as it has had before. It is there for everybody to read, for everybody to see and for everybody to obey.
I turn to the question of the prayers for the King. There is, as your Lordships know, considerably greater variety allowed in the new Prayer Book than in the present one in the matter of prayers for the King. I would remind noble Lords that we are not allowed to use at Morning Prayer that long prayer for the King which is generally thought of when we speak of prayers for the King. The noble and learned Lord no doubt remembers that the Litany is appointed to be read then, and so instead of the long prayer there is only the short versicle or so found in the Litany. It is not to be used at Morning Prayer on Sundays, but instead of that there is very much more 812 variety in the way of prayers for the King. For my own part I believe that we do not want vain repetition in prayers. There is nothing more likely to assist real prayer than greater variety. It is just that greater variety which is given us by the new Book and which I think myself all would value.
I venture to say that the authority which is given for extempore prayer and time for silent prayer will in the end perhaps mean more effectual and more fervent prayer than the constant repetition of a single prayer in the present Book. The noble and learned Lord, I am afraid, is not likely to be persuaded in this matter, but I hope that those of your Lordships who have referred themselves to the Deposited Book and have seen how many prayers are there allowed for the King and for the Empire—there is a prayer for the Empire in which the King is mentioned first—will realise that there is more opportunity for prayer for the King in the new Book than there was before. For myself I confess that I do not share that distrust of the option which the noble and learned Lord possesses. The matter will be referred to the Bishops, and if there is no church council and if the laity do not object, then it is quite time they did bestir themselves and take more interest in the church which they ought to attend. I say quite frankly to the noble and learned Lord that I should rejoice to see opposition to the Prayer Book in places where hitherto there have been empty churches, because it will show that people are taking more and more interest in the Church. I believe that sentiment would be re-echoed by the Episcopal Bench. They would rejoice to see more interest taken by the laity than in the past, and if it showed itself in that way they would not altogether regret the fact.
There has been no real doctrinal change in the new Prayer Book. I am content for myself with what was said by the most rev. Primate and also by the members of the Episcopal Bench. I am content to be guided by them. But there is still another authority, the Ecclesiastical Committee of the Privy Council, which has said that in their opinion there has been no change of doctrine in that matter. I do not rejoice in that long vacation which would enable me to vary my legal studies by theological disquisitions; therefore I cannot pretend to 813 know so much about it as the noble and learned Lord. For my own part I am content with the assurances given me by those who in my opinion are best qualified to judge. Liturgical changes, quite certainly. Liturgical changes, meaning alterations in the order in which prayers are said, seem to me, so far as a layman may judge, to be altogether admirable. I am quite prepared to trust the authorities in a matter of this kind.
We want to get away from the ancient controversies of the last century in order that the Church of England may set to work with renewed energy to do her proper work, whether it be in the villages or in the big towns of this country. Too much time has been wasted on these controversies in the past, and it is high time we set ourselves to do our real work in the future. I am encouraged to think of the youth and vigour which since the War is concentrating far more on doing fresh work of this kind than on the old, very stale controversies of the past. I am encouraged by the knowledge that we have so much sympathy from amongst the Nonconformist Churches of this country. The Methodist Times, on October 13, said:—Free Churchmen as a whole, desire for the Anglican Church like liberty as they themselves possess. They believe that the Deposited Book, fairly used and interpreted, will be an instrument for peace.Then there is a letter from Dr. Garvie in The Times to-day, an admirable and most sympathetic letter. Dr. Scott Lidgett, in the Review of the Churches, of April 27, said:Nor can the Free Churches in the light either of their principles or their history treat the Prayer Book of 1662 as so sacrosanct that no revising hand may be laid upon it.… The difficulties of the situation are obvious. The care and the caution with which the Archbishops and Bishops have endeavoured to meet them are equally obvious. They are entitled to confidence in their goodwill, to admiration of their skill and to hope they may be successful.…One of the most hopeful features has been the co-operation of the Church of England and those great Nonconformist bodies in great matters of moral import to the nation. That co-operation will be reinforced. I have no doubt that it will grow in future and that it will be increased by the sympathy which has been given us on this occasion by the members of the Nonconformist bodies.
814 I will venture to read a short quotation from a leading article which appeared in The Times on Friday last. It seems to me to put the question before your Lordships in a very short and simple manner. The article says:—The real questions for those who have to vote in Parliament are not: Do I entirely endorse the Book? or, Do I strongly dislike it or any of its provisions? or, Do I not prefer the present Book? But, Do I see in this new Prayer-book a well-designed means to secure order in the Church of England? Will it help to maintain that ordered liberty which is the tradition of the Church? Will it assist those who attend public services to worship more worthily? Does it give to the Church a readier means of ministering to the needs of the nation?We are all agreed that some change is necessary, and we believe that this Book does meet the needs of the people of this country and of the Church to-day. We must all make some sacrifice for the common good. We may not like everything in the Book. We are obliged to give way on personal points for the good of the whole. The Enabling Act has been passed, and it now remains to your Lordships to give either an affirmative or a negative answer to the question before you.
I rejoiced in the passing of the Enabling Act, but never so much as now when I think it is unnecessary and even improper that your Lordships' House or another place of Parliament should be expected to discuss deep questions of doctrinal value. I am rejoiced to think that we need not go into questions of that kind. We have questions of a larger import before us to-day. I believe that I am saying what would have been said far better by my noble friend the Earl of Oxford and Asquith, who has asked me if I can to find a pair for him in favour of the Deposited Book. The question I would ask—and I would especially ask it of my noble friends who generally do me the honour of asking my advice—is this: How is it that they wish to deny to others the liberty they themselves have got under the new Prayer Book? Under the new Prayer Book they can use the old forms exactly as they exist at the present time. It abolishes nothing, but it enriches everything. Why is it that they will not give us the power and liberty which they have themselves?
I cannot, if they will allow me to say so, find it easy to reconcile their position with those principles of democracy expressed—to 815 compare smaller things with greater—in their attitude in such a matter as local option. They are anxious that people should be allowed to do what they like. Under the new Prayer Book they are allowed to do what they like. Why should they deny to us the power to do what we like in the matter of the Prayer Book? No congregation will be forced against its will to use the new Prayer Book, but there will be greater freedom and forms of service more appropriate, as we think, to the present day. It is in those circumstances and for those reasons that I venture to hope that your Lordships will agree to this Measure going forward for the Royal Assent.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LINCOLNSHIRE
My Lords, my noble friend Lord Han-worth, in the course of what I think all of your Lordships, whether you agree with him or not, must consider an extraordinarily able speech, spoke of the religion of this country, and I understood him to say that, on the whole, we were a religious nation. Somebody, I forget who, also said that the religion of Englishmen is what they are taught at their mother's knee. An instance occurs to me that I should like to mention—a personal one, but I hope you will forgive me for that. In 1848, which was a time of terrible trouble, of riot at home and revolution abroad, when altars and thrones were falling in all directions, I was taken to Church for the first time by my mother at the Royal Chapel at Whitehall. She said to me: "When the Creed is being said, I do not want you to turn to the Communion Table." Of course I did not do so, and I have never done so from that day to this, but afterwards I asked her: "Is it wrong to turn to the right or left, when the Creed is being said?" She said: "No. Why should it be? There is nothing wrong in that, but, what is wrong is what lies behind it." I shall never forget her words. She said that if the day should ever come when whole congregations all over the country should turn to the altar instinctively, it would be a terrible day for England and for the Church—that the Church would be at war with itself.
This prophecy has come true. The Archbishop of Canterbury, in the noble utterance that he made to your Lordships to-night, said: "The hour has come." 816 We see to-day vespers, the confessional, mass, reservation and adoration openly practised in many churches in England. With those tenets we do not agree, and we turn to our leaders in the Church for counsel and protection. What do we receive? In the words of my noble friend who has just spoken, we are told: "We will help you by persuasion and peace—peace by persuasion." We ask the Bishops for counsel. I should like very much to be allowed to try to express the gratitude that we feel towards his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury and his Grace the Archbishop of York for their very sympathetic attitude towards those of us who do not agree with this Measure. The Archbishop of Canterbury was good enough to ask us to meet him and to explain the words of the Prayer Book. The Archbishop of York went further and invited us to ask questions, which we did. He answered them with great directness and courtesy, and he went further and did something that we had no reason to expect for, though the meeting was held with closed doors, he gave his sanction for us to use the answers that he gave in the Press.
We are told that we are to consider carefully what we are asking when we take up the attitude that we have adopted. What we ask is not much, and I think it is a perfectly legitimate demand. All we ask, all we require, all that we should be satisfied with is that, in matters ecclesiastical as well as temporal, Englishmen should be compelled to obey the law. The question of discipline is a very large one. My noble friend Lord Stanhope has an Amendment upon the Paper which he will move later, and accordingly I do not propose to take up any more of your Lordships' time. There is only one thing that I want to say in conclusion. So far as I understand, we are told that this is not a Bishops' Measure. I suppose not, because right rev. Prelates on that Bench—I shall be corrected if I am wrong—have deputed one Prelate, and one only, to defend the line that they have taken and have left all the rest of the defence to the laity of your Lordships' House. They have entrusted the defence of this Measure to one of their body who holds an almost unique position. He has gained the respect and admiration of everybody by his eloquence and piety, and I think what has endeared him more 817 than anything else to the people of England is his great sympathy with the working classes of this country, but he has made some very strong statements in the country during the last two or throe years, and there is one to which I most respectfully ask your Lordships to allow me for one moment to refer.
The right rev. Prelate, the Bishop of Durham, in the June number of the Edinburgh Review, wrote as follows:—The Evangelical Party in the Church of England has been described as an army of illiterates generalled by octogenarians—a description which is more unkind than untrue.The atrocious crime of being an old man—a very old man if you like—I do not for one moment seek to palliate or deny, and I ally myself with that which has been called by the Archbishop of Canterbury an army—that mighty host of Englishmen all over the country who think as I do—senile, incompetent, illiterate, ignorant, not up-to-date, not in touch with modern ideas. I ally myself with all of them, but I say that there is one virtue to which I think we may fairly lay claim and that is consistency. I have no more to say, except to ask your Lordships and the Bench of Bishops whether they approve, in such a crisis of the Church, in such a solemn moment as this, of such language as I have just read to your Lordships. Now I have done. All I have to add is that I cannot believe that your Lordships, in the course of this debate, will ever be influenced by language or sarcasm or ridicule such as this. I, and all who feel with me, in spite of the fact that we are not the extremists which my noble friend charges us with being—I and all who conscientiously oppose this Measure stand shoulder to shoulder, resolutely resolved to stand by the old faith which we learned at our mothers' knee—the tenets of which four or five years ago the Lord Bishop of Durham was the chief protagonist and champion, the old tenets for which some of our forefathers fought, and for which John Hampden died.
§ THE EARL OF DENBIGH
My Lords, there are some forty Catholic Peers who have a right to vote in your Lordships' House, and I think therefore your Lordships' may like to know that, so far as I am aware, none of them will take any part in the debate or in the voting. We feel that 818 it is not a question in which we should interfere with our vote, and therefore we intend to do nothing. Speaking for myself, I should like to say that although we should all like to see peace in religious circles, I cannot imagine a more incongruous body to bring it about than the present modern Parliament, composed as it is of men of various religions, professed agnostics and free thinkers, and of others who, perhaps, never go near a place of worship from one year's end to another, except perhaps to see their friends married or buried, or to be married or buried themselves.
If it is to such a body as this that the question of the Prayer Book, which practically is to lay down the doctrines and rubrics of the Established Church of England, is to be referred, if peace should come all I can say is that many of us would be very surprised. Certainly there did not seem to be much prospect of peace held out by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hanworth. I see that Bishop Knox says:—It is not merely that the formal assent of Parliament to matters which it does not profess to understand is in the nature of a farce. The position is worse than that. Parliament is asked to uphold to England and the Empire as the type of the public worship and as 'the pure profession of the Gospel' a Book which it has had no time to examine, no power to amend, and no competence or training to estimate.All I can say is that I for my part feel intensely relieved that I shall have no responsibility in the matter.
§ LORD PHILLIMORE
My Lords, when I heard the first part of the speech of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hanworth, I gathered very distinctly that he was opposed to the Measure, but I could not find out why, and it was not until he had gone some distance in his speech that I discovered the reason was that he did not think it wise that there should be an alternative service of Holy Communion. The noble and learned Lord is a great authority on matters of law. He is, as he has told you, a devout Churchman, and he has done good service to the Church, but after all the fact that he does not think it wise to have an alternative service of Holy Communion, is not to be weighed against the opinions of the great majority of the Church Assembly—Bishops, clergy and laity—who devoted their minds to this subject for several years.
819 As I heard his speech develop I traced exactly the development which I have traced in the published works and speeches of his most respected brother, the Bishop of Norwich. Exactly the same principles were stated by the Bishop of Norwich in 1920, and I have read and studied all his speeches and pamphlets, I think. Alter the immaterial parts of the service, and those things which no one really too much cares about, says the Bishop of Norwich, but do not touch that which everybody does care about, and do not have an alternative service of Holy Communion, because it is not wise. After all this violent opposition there is no suggestion of anything doctrinally wrong. The noble and learned Lord contented himself with quoting three Bishops, who at one time had one opinion and who after long discussion and fresh information have now learned to be wiser than they had been before.
He went on, no doubt, to speak of the change of either doctrine or emphasis. I have heard that expression used once or twice—that there is a change of emphasis. Those rhetorical phrases must be carefully examined. If you talk of change of emphasis, I would refer to something which your Lordships are likely to hear before this debate is over. I understand that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Carson, has expressed his intention of opposing this Prayer Book. Now the noble and learned Lord and some others whose names I have heard mentioned are no doubt ornaments to any part of the United Kingdom in which they live, and we are very glad to welcome them into this island if they do not prefer to be in their own island; but, after all, they are all born of the Irish Church—and here is where my parable comes in. The Irish Church was separated by Statute from the Church of England at the time of the Disestablishment. It was free to make its own canons, and it set to work to make some canons and to forbid several ritual usages which are lawful in the Church of England. If there ever was a change of emphasis it was the change then made by the Irish Church.
Have we rejected the Irish Church in consequence? Do not its members communicate at our altars? Are not their priests as entitled as English priests to 820 hold English benefices? No Bishop can refuse them except on grounds on which he can refuse an English priest. If there ever was a change of emphasis it was the change made when the Irish Church got free and established its own canons, which it has been my fate quite recently to study. You can have what you may call some change of emphasis and yet have the same Church. The Scottish Episcopal Church, too, is in communion with the English Church. You have taken pains to give their clergy a position in which they can avail themselves of benefices in the English Church. Twice in the reign of Queen Victoria was there legislation upon the subject, the second time as late as the 27th and 28th years of the Queen's reign and the result of that is that, with a single previous permission of the Archbishop of Canterbury, every Scottish Episcopal clergyman is as entitled to serve in an English church and to hold an English living as an Englishman. And yet the Scottish Episcopal Church has two Communion offices, and one of those Communion offices is very like the new office which it is proposed to make the alternative English office. Several Colonial Churches have altered the English Liturgy. The South African Church has altered quite as much, I think, in the direction of the Scottish Episcopal Church as any; yet the Colonial clergy are again, under the Colonial Clergy Act, able to hold English livings under the same protection as Scotsmen. The change of emphasis is, after all, a very little matter.
Then the noble and learned Lord took some weapons out of that controversial armoury of which we have all seen so much in the last two months. I hope and trust he has not read a good many of the papers. I dare say their authors thought they were preaching to the converted, and did not send them to him. If he had read them I am sure he could not have spoken about not giving pain or hurt to anybody. Some of them are most disgraceful, most cruel to the faith of numbers of devout people, and, in addition—which is another matter—as offensive as possible to our Roman fellow-countrymen. Some of them are disreputable to the last degree. However, there are some others, and out of some of those I suppose these new points, which nobody ever thought of when the matter was before the Church Assembly, have been discovered. They have found, 821 after all, that possibly there are occasions when there will not be prayers for the King. What a godsend to the opponents of this Measure! Nobody had thought of it. If anybody had thought of it in the Church Assembly, which was full of learned and earnest opponents, the point, if there is a point, would have been cured at once. But, after all, what does it come to? There are two occasions which cannot be avoided when the King must be prayed for. The first and most important of all is in the service of the Holy Communion, when he comes into the Church militant prayer; and the other is the old ancient ritual prayer "God save the King"—Domine salvum fac Regem, which is historically of the greatest importance, because it is known that one of the great disputes has been, when a Republic has been established, whether that should be turned into Domine salvam fac Rempublicam. All this is because some clever person has found out what nobody had ever thought of—that on some future occasion there may not be a prayer for the King, and you are asked to believe that His Majesty is being insulted.
The other thing is the Black Rubric. The noble and learned Lord should have had his perceptions aroused by the expression "the Black Rubric"—the black red thing. Of course it is not a rubric. It is a statement of doctrine, and there are two exact parallels which nobody seems to have found—two other statements of doctrine in the Prayer Book, which are stated once and for all, and not repeated twice. Why should they be? Those other two are in the Baptismal Service. There is the statement that by God's Word infants who die after baptism shall be saved, and there is the statement about the use of the Cross in baptism. Those are two doctrinal canons, just as the so-called Black Rubric is a doctrinal statement; they are put once into the Prayer Book, and only once, though there are two services of Baptism and two services of Holy Communion. So again, if it had occurred to any of the thoughtful and anxious and earnest opponents who spoke during the debates in the Church Assembly to say that they wanted the Black Rubric printed twice, I dare say people might have obliged them.
822 Then again, unfortunately, the noble and learned Lord has not quite sufficiently studied some matters. He complained that where there was no parochial council there would be no power in the congregation to appeal to the Bishop. He forgot that where there is no parochial council the parish meeting takes the place of the parochial council, and has exactly the same power. In regard to the rules, after all, nobody seems to have read the Preface of the Prayer Book. The Preface of the Prayer Book provides that if people doubt or diversely understand something they shall refer to the Bishop, who, if necessary, shall put it before the Archbishop, and, just as those diverse doubts cannot touch the real rubric and all that the Bishops can do is to say that a thing is within or without the rubric, so these new rules are merely conjoint decisions of the Bishops or Archbishops as to what is within the rubric or what is not. I do not think it will be necessary to say anything more about the speech of the noble and learned Lord against this Measure. After all, it came to this: "I do not think it wise to have two services of Holy Communion; I think you are altering the emphasis, and I do not like reservation." I do not think I heard him say that he would not have it, but he did not recognise its practical use, which, after all, is the real matter; but he merely said in effect: "I do not like it because it may lead to something."
Now I would ask your Lordships to let me go a little bit into history. The great deadness of the Church of England, which arose when the non-jurors left it in the time of the early Georges, has been broken by three great religious revivals—the Wesleyan, the Evangelical (often called the Simeonite) and the Tractarian, which we may call the Puseyite. The Puseyite revival began in the year 1833. All three were devotional revivals really, but the Puseyite differed to some extent, perhaps some might say greatly, because it looked back into history and outwards to other countries. It was not so self-centred and it very soon took the form of increased outside devotion and care in the services. It is interesting to know—because people now talk of these people being lawbreakers, and the noble Marquess, Lord Lincolnshire, has talked about obedience to the law—that the first complaint against 823 the Puseyites was that they were too law-observant. There was a famous article in the Quarterly Review of 1843 which made that attack upon the Puseyites, which went item by item through the changes they were introducing—which were all restorations of law—and complained of them for being too finicking in legal matters.
It was only the other day that I had occasion to read the Diaries of Lady Frederick Cavendish. Your Lordships will remember that she was a niece and great friend of the late Mr. Gladstone, and very much concerned with him in Church matters. She was not a ritualist by any means, but a frequenter of humdrum churches and a great seeker after sermons. About the year 1880 she finds this article in the Quarterly Review of 1843 and she is astonished at the things they made a fuss about in 1843, upon which by 1880 everybody had come to agree. When I say "everybody" I ought to omit my Lord Lincolnshire. Let me remind your Lordships of what the things were that were complained of as innovations and as Popish between the years 1843 and 1880. These are the sort of things that horrified the people of that day: Surpliced choirs; turning to the east at the Creed, and intoning. I have seen a legal opinion prepared at the instance of Bishop Perry, of Melbourne, who after his retirement from Melbourne took very much the position that Bishop Knox is taking to-day after his retirement from Manchester, to the effect that any intoning was illegal and, if I remember rightly, the chanting of the Psalms except in Cathedrals was also illegal. Processions, if anything except the barest shambling of the choir after the clergyman into their seats, processions of the choir in surplices, if they were singing a hymn with a banner or a cross in front of them, were anathema. Flowers on the altar, crosses anywhere in the Church, though they were allowed outside, the use of the word "altar," though you were allowed to speak of the altar rails—all these things which nowadays you cannot get young people to believe could ever have been in dispute—I have tried it—were all matters of furious indignation in the period of which I am speaking.
Then came the ritual prosecutions. In those days, when I was young, I thought 824 very hardly of the prosecutors who prosecuted the clergy for ritual and of the Judges who condemned them. In my later life, for I am also an octogenarian, I have come to see that after all there were two sides to the matter; that devout, religious people were so accustomed to their old mode of service that it was a positive hardship to them to find any change, and that the more devout and the more religious they were the less likely they were to be sympathetic towards these innovations. However that may be, a series of ritual prosecutions began. Let my Lord Stanhope take this to heart. They were all before he was born and the worst consequences were over before he was of the age of discretion. He had better take that bit of history to heart before he makes his speech to your Lordships. One or two of those prosecutions failed. In the Knightsbridge Church cases, though the innovators, the Tractarians, had some losses, they had considerable gains. They had a canon of construction laid down which was greatly in their favour and to which they have always appealed ever since. But every other prosecution found its mark.
Will your Lordships remember that though the prosecutions were founded upon dislike of these things as Romish, they never dared to make it a legal point that these ritual acts were symbolical of untrue doctrine; perhaps "never" may be too strong, but they hardly ever dared to do it. What they did was this. They relied on the Act of Uniformity. They said: This is an Act which requires uniformity, absolute and rigid uniformity. There is a clause in the Act which says that there shall be no rite or ceremony other than or additional to that which is prescribed in the Book. I was much mixed up with these controversies then and I have been mixed up with them for sixty years. There were times when I could have said "other than or additional to" in my sleep. In blindly striking out at new proposals which they disliked the prosecutors and the Courts relied on those words "other than or additional to." In Martin versus Mackonochie the Privy Council carried it so far that they said it was unlawful for the clergyman, after he had consecrated the holy element in the bread, to kneel for a moment in reverence at the altar, to rise and consecrate the chalice and then to kneel 825 again. They said, "There is no prescription for it in the Book." They were like shylock, who said he could not find it in the bond. That being the case they condemned Mr. Mackonochie and ultimately, if I remember aright, he was suspended.
When you once come to that provision, the Prayer Book was never intended to be construed in that way. It was the successor of previous Prayer Books. The first Prayer Book was worked by a body of priests who had been doing service all their lives and who, naturally, except so far as they were taught by the new Prayer Book, imported their old usages, You could not construe the Prayer Book like an Act of Parliament. If you did it resulted in the dullest and barest and hardest and driest things. Nobody had done it and nobody has ever done it, according to that provision which was in the Prayer Book in those words, if you are to apply the Privy Council criteria.
What happened when these clergy were being pulled for any of these new usages? After a time, after they had been dragooned here and driven there, after five priests had been put in prison and two had been so persecuted that their lives were shortened—for that is what happened—the clergy began to say to the Bishops or to anybody else who came to them: "Why do you prohibit me doing this because you say it is not warranted by the words of the Prayer Book? You do not say it is doctrinally wrong; you say it is not warranted by the words of the Prayer Book. So-and-so breaks the rules more conspicuously than I do, and as for Archdeacon So-and so he is slovenly and omits his duty by not having services on Saints' days. At the worst I am only responsible for excessive zeal." It became impossible for the Bishops, particularly after the Public Worship Act, 1874, which exacerbated matters, to enforce all that. Not that they want any new Act of Parliament such as Lord Hanworth suggested, not that they want any great legal powers to enforce discipline, not that they want Lord Stanhope on the new Public Worship Regulation Act, but because no law will do which has not moral force to back it and because you cannot deprive one clergyman of his living or send him to prison for looking over a hedge when somebody else is not sent to prison for stealing a horse. It is for that reason you 826 want this Measure. It is because you want liberty and order.
I support it because it will lead to order through liberty instead of the present narrow construction and anarchy. It will take years before you get order. Anarchy which has lasted for forty years (since the Public Worship Regulation Act of 1874 showed its teeth in sending people to prison), not because the Bishops had not legal powers, but because they could not enforce them—they would have had to enforce them against everybody, including themselves—anarchy which has lasted for forty years will take a long time to cure. Much patience, much sympathy, much tender handling, much judicious language will be required to produce something like order. At this moment there is no order. Every man does that which is right in his own eyes and you cannot prevent him because there is no principle on which you can enforce the law against A. and neglect to enforce the law against B. It is for those reasons that I invite you to accede to this Measure (on which a great deal more could be said) which at least provides no change of doctrine and at the utmost a change of emphasis, alternative powers and liberty, and gives a chance that gradually and slowly the lines may be tightened and, within a large ambit at any rate, there may be order and no excess outside it.
§ Moved, That the debate be now adjourned.—(Earl Stanhope.)
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY)
In assenting to this Motion, as I think your Lordships will, it may be for the convenience of the House if I say that, having studied the list of speakers who wish to address this House, I think you will find it necessary to sit after dinner to-morrow.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned accordingly till to-morrow.