ANGLICAN 496 ANGLICAN glican prelates of any generation, since, according to theologians like liellarmine, even an heretical min- ister's intention is sufficient as long as it is a general intention to do what Christ does or His true Church does, whatever tliis may be. But, it is replied, it is impossible not to recognize that the minister's intention is an essential element. Why, for instance, is there a valid consecration at Mass when the priest pronounces the words, "This is my Body", but no valid consecration when he pronounces the same words in the presence of bread whilst reading from St. Matthew's Gospel in a community refectory? Still the Church trusts to the Providence of God to watch over all such defective intentions as are not externally manifested, and assumes that the minis- ter's intention is correct in every serious adminis- tration of her own rites, even when he is — like Cran- mer, for instance — a person of heterodox opinions. Where, however, a defective intention is manifested externally, she must deal with it, and that is what has happened in respect to the Anglican ordinations. The rite, as has been explained, was altered in Ed- ward VI's time to give expression to a heterodox belief concerning the nature of Holy Orders, and was likewise ado])ted in this sense by the Elizabethan authorities. When, then, they proceeded to admin- ister it, the only reasonable interpretation of their action was that they conformed their intention to their rite, and hence that, from a Catholic point of view, their acts were invalid on a twofold ground: the defect of the form and the defect of the intention. 6. In modern times the Anglican clergy often ap- peal, as confirmatory of the above doctrinal and historical considerations, or even as having an in- dependent value, to what may be called an experi- ential argument. "It is all very well", they say, "to bring forward these external arguments to discredit our orders. But we have an internal testimony which appeals to us more powerfully, namely our intimate consciousness of the spiritual benefit we experience when we make use of the sacraments of which our orders are the source to us. If they were invalid orders, how is it conceivable that God should so bless their use to those who have recourse to them?" This is an argument which no one has stated more forcibly than Cardinal Newman in the Third Lecture of his "Anglican Difficulties", where, too, the most searching answer to it may be found. Here it will be enough to say (1) that for those w'ho bring it forward it proves too much, since Wesleyans and others could claim as much, and on the same grounds, for their own ordinances, which no one supposes to be dependent for their efficacy on the validity of an Apostolical succession; (2) that it con- founds the efficacy of a rite ex opere operate, or as an appointed channel of sacramental grace, and its efficacy ex opere operantis, or as a stimulus to the piety of well-disposed hearts; (3) that the rule of the Catholic Church is, while by no means under- valuing the evidential power of internal experience, to interpret this and detect its true bearing by ap- plying the test of her own divinely authenticated external teaching. The Bull of Leo XIII. — From the foregoing ac- count it can readily be understood why the prac- tice of re-ordaining convert clergJ^nen has subsisted. Anglicans, howeer, ha^'e always resented this prac- tice, and maintained that the Holy See could never have sanctioned it had the facts been properly pre- sented. In 1894 this contention was pressed upon the notice of some Krench ecclesiastics by some An- glican leaders who were discussing with them the prospects of corporate reunion. The result was that the I'Vench ecclesiastics brought the matter to the notice of I,eo XIII, a.ssuring him that this impres- sion prevailed among many well-disposed Anglicans, who felt that they were being unfairly treated. Tlie Pope was moved by what he heard, and determined that he would have the whole question re-investi- gated thoroughly. Accordingly, he selected eight divines who had made a special study of the suljject, and of whom four were known to be disposed to rec- ognize Anglican orders and four to be disposed to reject them. These he summoned to Rome and formed into a consultative commission under the presidency of Cardinal Mazzella. They were given access to all documents from the archives of the Vati- can and the Holy Office which would throw light upon the points at issue, and they were bidden to sift the evidence on either side with all possible fulness and care. After sessions which lasted six weeks, the Commission was dissolved, and the acta of its discussions were laid before a judicial com- mittee of cardinals. These, after a two months' study, in a special meeting under the presidency of the Pope, decided by a unanimous vote that Angli- can orders were certainly invalid. After an interval for prayerful consideration of this vote, Leo XIII determined to adopt it and accordingly published his Bull "Apostolica; Cura;" on the ISth of Septem- ber, 1S96. In this Bull he begins by exp-essing his affectionate interest in the English people and his desire for their return to imity, and by reciting the circumstances which had led to the issue of this solemn decision. He then calls attention to the action taken in the same matter by his predecessors. In the reign of Marj', when she and Cardinal Pole were engaged in reconciling the kingdom, letters of direction were sent to the latter, which, as their text shows, required him to treat those who had re- ceived orders by a form other than " the accustomed form of the Church" — a phrase which, says Pope Leo, can only refer to the Edwardine Ordinal — as needing to be ordained or consecrated afresh. At that time, then, the Holy See judged the Anglican form to be insufficient, and that it persisted in this adverse judgment is manifest from the fact that for more than three centuries it has sanctioned the practice of re-ordaining absolutely the holders of orders obtained through this form; for "since in the Church it has always been a firm and established rule that the sacrament of Order ought not to be repeated, it never could have silently acquiesced in and tolerated such a custom", had it deemed the Anglican form to be in any way sufficient. More- over, continues the Bull, the Holy See not only acquiesced in the practice, but on many occasions gave it renewed sanction by express judgments, to two of which, the second being that of John Clement Gordon, it calls particular attention, repudiating in connexion with this latter the allegation that the rejection of Gordon's previous orders had been mo- tived by any other cause than the character of the Anglican rite (a copy of which was procured and examined by the judges), or even that in judging of the rite the essential point considered was the omLssion in it of any tradition of the instruments. This account of the practice of his predecessors forms the first part of the "Apostolicie Cune", and in view of it Leo XIII obsercs that the question could not really be considered still open. He has wished, however, "to help men of good will by shew- ing them the greatest consideration and charity," and he proceeds to expound the principles on which the Anglican Rite is judged by himself, as well as by his predecessors, to lack the conditions of validity. "In the examination", he says, "of any rite for the effecting and administering of Sacraments, distinc- tion is rightly made between the part which is cere- wonial and that which is exucntial, usually called the 'matter' and 'form'. All know that the Sacraments of the New Law, as sensible and ellicienl signs of invisible grace, ought both to signify the grace which they eflect, and effect the grace which they signify.
Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/556
This page needs to be proofread.