Later Phases Of The Anglo-Catholic Movement -- By: James W. White

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 047:185 (Jan 1890)
Article: Later Phases Of The Anglo-Catholic Movement
Author: James W. White


Later Phases Of The Anglo-Catholic Movement

Rev. James W. White

One of the most interesting and peculiar phenomena of ecclesiastical history may be observed in the later fortunes of the Oxford Anglo-Catholic movement. That it should display a continuous vitality and growth for half a century after the defection of its great originator and leader, and that too with him still alive and filling a most conspicuous place in the ranks of a rival communion, is certainly curious enough. One would have thought that when the legitimate terminus ad quern of the movement was fully shown by the secession of Newman and some hundreds of his followers to Rome, the remainder of its adherents would have been checked and silenced, and its influence soon dissipated. On the contrary, almost immediately after what seemed its overthrow, it consolidated itself into more aggressive shape than ever, found a new leader in Professor Pusey, and new blood and more sanguine spirit in the adhesion of Gladstone, J. B. Mozley, and others, and soon proceeded to greater lengths and bolder assumptions than its original projectors had hitherto ventured. The ritualistic revival that followed was apparently a surprise even to Pusey himself, and, instead of being discouraged by warnings of its peril on the Romeward side, the Anglo-Catholic party have only taken new confidence from the danger-signals they are able to keep burning, to invade the very precincts of the Romish arcana, and have gone on robbing Rome’s ar-

chives of everything material save the Holy Father and the shadow of his great name.

In the words of Dr. F. C. Ewer, one of their most prominent American representatives in 1883: “The children of the Anglican Church, in ever greater numbers, are beginning to have the courage of her convictions, and are ceasing to be afraid of anything, confession, prayers for the dead, unction of the sick, or anything else ‘which this church hath received from the early church.’ They claim the right to develop the religious orders of the church, to hold retreats and missions, to make and hear voluntary confessions. They do not rank confirmation, orders, marriage, absolution, and unction of the sick with the two great sacraments; but they admit their sacramental character. They believe that the plain English rubric provides that the eucharist shall be surrounded with its respectful and fitting adjuncts of vestments, lights, incense, song, and adoration. They refuse to be hindered from worshipping Jesus Christ when he is specially present in the sacrament of his body and blood.”1

Dr. Morgan Dix, the popular rector of Trinity Church, New York, boldly asserts that ...

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