Thread: Edwardian-era Mystery Worshpping Board: Oblivion / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by Bran Stark (# 15252) on :
 
I thought the members of this forum might be interested in this little find on Google Books: the 1906 report of the Royal Commission on Ecclesiastical Discipline, containing numerous detailed accounts of Ritualist worship observed by horrified low churchmen. Most of these accounts are followed by rebuttals from the clergyman who had lead the service, and the rebuttals can be just as amusing as the reports. It seems there were very established conventions for such communications; replies like

quote:
Such statement is in the main correct, but I entirely repudiate the colour attempted to be given to the facts.

Without pledging myself to all the details, I have to say that the ceremonial used in my church is that ordered expressly or by implication by the ornaments rubric, to the provisions of which I consider myself bound to conform.

appear over and over again, with only very minor differences in wording.

Some of the Ritualists, however, were less coöperative:

quote:
DEAR SIR: I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 31st October, containing some anonymous testimony as to a service in St. Dyfrig's Church.

I have no answer to make to the allegations of anonymous spies and informers.-I remain,
Yours faithfully,
Hector A. Coe



[ 18. November 2015, 15:43: Message edited by: Bran Stark ]
 
Posted by Galloping Granny (# 13814) on :
 
Have you seen a copy? In something like a diocesan library? If not, how do you expand the three sample pages? I see Abe Books have a copy for $59.
I'd love to read more.

GG
 
Posted by Bran Stark (# 15252) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Galloping Granny:
Have you seen a copy? In something like a diocesan library? If not, how do you expand the three sample pages? I see Abe Books have a copy for $59.
I'd love to read more.

GG

Three sample pages? The entire book is viewable on Google Books for me. Perhaps it just doesn't work on your computer for some reason.
 
Posted by Albertus (# 13356) on :
 
Try this.
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
I rather like the reply to the Commission from the Vicar of Roath (in Cardiff)
quote:
In reply to your communication of 16th June, I beg to state that I have no desire to enter into any competition for veracity and truthfulness with the spies who are apparently furnishing so much evidence for your Commission.

With the greatest respect for the Members of the Commission, it would, in my opinion, be an utterly undignified proceeding to put my word against the word of a reporter whose very name even is not given to me.

My invariable rule is to treat anonymous charges with silent contempt. But my silence must not be regarded as an admission of the accuracy either of the observation or the imagination of the reporter, who asserts that he attended a service in the unconsecrated mission church of St Agnes in this parish.

If the evidence with regard to this church is published, I must request that in common fairness this letter be published also.

I love the bit about "silent contempt" and the reporter's "imagination".

After delivering this masterly put down he signs himself off
quote:
F J Beck
Vicar of Roath, Rural Dean of Cardiff, Hon Canon and Precentor of Llandaff Cathedral


 
Posted by Albertus (# 13356) on :
 
...so there!

What about this splendid piece of evidence, relating to the Stations of the Cross at All Saints Scarborough:

quote:
Copy of printed notice affixed in three places to the
main walls of All Saints', Scarborough, about
October, 1902, and continuously kept there, up
to the present date, December, 1904.
"THE STATION PICTURES.
"The vicar of this church wishes to notify
visitors that the pictures were placed here before his
institution (1901) and (like screen, side altar, and
lamps) without a faculty. Artistically painful,
historically misleading—they contravene as ' Orna-
ments ' the Law and the Traditions of the Church of
England. They could and would be removed by
faculty, were it known what to do with them there-
after."
(Signed) P. D. EYRE.


 
Posted by The Scrumpmeister (# 5638) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Bran Stark:
quote:
Originally posted by Galloping Granny:
Have you seen a copy? In something like a diocesan library? If not, how do you expand the three sample pages? I see Abe Books have a copy for $59.
I'd love to read more.

GG

Three sample pages?
Yes. It shoes a little window from each of three pages of the book and that's it. There's a little link that says, "Where's the rest of this book?" which links to a page explaining why it isn't available in full.
 
Posted by Siegfried (# 29) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Scrumpmeister:
quote:
Originally posted by Bran Stark:
quote:
Originally posted by Galloping Granny:
Have you seen a copy? In something like a diocesan library? If not, how do you expand the three sample pages? I see Abe Books have a copy for $59.
I'd love to read more.

GG

Three sample pages?
Yes. It shoes a little window from each of three pages of the book and that's it. There's a little link that says, "Where's the rest of this book?" which links to a page explaining why it isn't available in full.
Google may believe it to still be under copyright in your jurisdiction, then.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
What a fascinating document.

I note that All Saints Clifton used so muuch incense that the reporter could tell, for certain, what was going in. That still happens there some time.

They had their knives out for Fr. Stanton of S. Alban's Holborn. The thousands that lined the streets for his funeral are testimony to his pastoral work amongst the poor. I doubt that the judges had any interest in the poor.
 
Posted by Zappa (# 8433) on :
 
But I bet the angels danced as they welcomed him home.

What a wonderful thread amidst all the doom and despair!
 
Posted by BroJames (# 9636) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
They had their knives out for Fr. Stanton of S. Alban's Holborn. The thousands that lined the streets for his funeral are testimony to his pastoral work amongst the poor. I doubt that the judges had any interest in the poor.

Wasn't that Father Mackonochie (whose curate Stanton was)?
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
They had their knives out for Fr. Stanton of S. Alban's Holborn. The thousands that lined the streets for his funeral are testimony to his pastoral work amongst the poor. I doubt that the judges had any interest in the poor.

Wasn't that Father Mackonochie (whose curate Stanton was)?
Both of them. According to this Stanton's funeral procession was a mile long
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
... They had their knives out for Fr. Stanton of S. Alban's Holborn. The thousands that lined the streets for his funeral are testimony to his pastoral work amongst the poor. I doubt that the judges had any interest in the poor.

I don't think that's entirely fair. If one can get access to some of the rest of the report - try here - the commissioners recognise this and are reluctant to stop effective pastoral work among the poor.

This next bit will shock enthusiastic ecclesianticists. Unless one has grown up in circles where the history of anglo-catholic extremism is part of one's folk mythology, there's a lot about mid to late nineteenth century CofE history that's very difficult to get one's head round. It's a bit weird why matters of arcane (and clearly illegal) ritual detail should be so much an issue of conscience that one might insist on disobeying one's bishop and risking prison for the sake of it. How and why were people who with one hand were deeply committed to evangelising the poor, with the other were so equally committed to what seem objectively now to have been minutiae?

I may come back to this later, but there's much about the spirituality of that period - and I'm old enough to have known plenty of people who were alive in 1906 - that it's now very difficult to get emotionally inside.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
Enoch makes an interesting point. In my former RL this is what we called historical consciousness, where one of our challenges is understanding that people thought and responded differently.

These folk saw what we call munitiae as signs and expressions of theological content and perspective. Might I cf. my argument that the use of the maniple reminds clerics of their diaconal mission?

In themselves, they are nothing at all, but as the individual wearing a Rangers shirt in the middle of a few hundred Celtics fans can tell us, symbols have a an impact.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
... They had their knives out for Fr. Stanton of S. Alban's Holborn. The thousands that lined the streets for his funeral are testimony to his pastoral work amongst the poor. I doubt that the judges had any interest in the poor.

I don't think that's entirely fair. If one can get access to some of the rest of the report - try here - the commissioners recognise this and are reluctant to stop effective pastoral work among the poor.

This next bit will shock enthusiastic ecclesianticists. Unless one has grown up in circles where the history of anglo-catholic extremism is part of one's folk mythology, there's a lot about mid to late nineteenth century CofE history that's very difficult to get one's head round. It's a bit weird why matters of arcane (and clearly illegal) ritual detail should be so much an issue of conscience that one might insist on disobeying one's bishop and risking prison for the sake of it. How and why were people who with one hand were deeply committed to evangelising the poor, with the other were so equally committed to what seem objectively now to have been minutiae?

That is a different report - 1897. The one we are discussing is 1906.

In the 1906 report, the only time that the poor are mentioned is when they ask if ritualist services are 'helpful' to them.

That is the only mention of the poor after 52 days of deliberation which take up 1,800 pages of reporting.

As for folk mythology - yes - I have seen the maniple at Walsingham which cost Fr. Tooth a jail sentence.
 
Posted by Albertus (# 13356) on :
 
No, the 1906 report is there. And given that it is a report on public worship, surely the main question that should be asked in respect of the poor- or of any other section of the worshipping public, for that matter- is about the utility or helpfulness of various forms of worship to them? That is the key pastroal question that this subject raises. What else would you expect?

In any case, I don't actually know, and I bet you don't avcually know either off the top of your head, what all the Commissioners did or did not think about the poor and do or not to to help them.

[ 23. November 2015, 19:33: Message edited by: Albertus ]
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
Granted the needs of the poor are not the foremost consideration in this enquiry, the question should be, 'Why did the Establishment spend so much time and effort on persecuting clergy for trivial ritual infringements, while ignoring the persistent bias against the poor in British society, and the Church's collusion with it?' Rather like the present obsession of the C of E establishment with sexual behaviour and particularly with persecuting faithful Christians whose only crime is to love someone of their own gender.
 
Posted by Albertus (# 13356) on :
 
Have you read the conclusion of the 1906 report? It advocated widening the law of worship in the CofE in order to achieve a uniformity that was realistic and less likely to give rise to prosecutions.
And if you are or claim to be a national church there is a respectable theological and indeed pastoral case to be made for achieving some degree of uniformity of practice.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
I think the bit about 'the' maniple, or for that matter any other maniple epitomises what puzzles me.

How does insisting that wearing a maniple is so important that one is prepared to go to prison over it, inspire your congregation to love the Lord their God with all their hearts, with all their minds, with all their souls and with all their strengths, and their neighbours as themselves?

The nobility of sanctity that causes clergy to stick at their posts in a cholera epidemic is profoundly inspiring. But what has making such an issue about liturgical minutiae got to do with that? Were there no other slum clergy who loved the poor and stuck by their congregations but had a different churchmanship - or even no particular churchmanship? And how can it be a matter of conscience to suspend all eucharists in one's church because the Bishop of London has told you not to celebrate in exactly the way you wanted to? This is the stuff that it's very difficult to get inside the mind of now unless one has grown up in the sort of ecclesiastical circles where this is part of one's party myth. I haven't. My background is MotR to evangelical. So it isn't part of my mythology.

The other question is were the godless multitudes going to flock into a church then because the incumbent wore a maniple? Are they, for that matter, any more likely suddenly to do so now, because (to instance three examples within a few miles of here) the clergy do not wear vestments at all, all services are 1662 or the community takes its stand on a particularly Calvinist interpretation of the 39 Articles in all their fulness?


Going back to the report, something which it doesn't cover, is that it would be quite interesting to know what was going on in 1906 in the run of the mill churches that weren't getting up their bishops' noses. What was most ordinary peoples' experience of worship? By 1906 the bands had long gone. Hymns Ancient and Modern had replaced metrical psalms. I suspect in most churches by then the psalms were chanted. The English Hymnal had not yet appeared. It did so in that year. The Quicunque Vult seems to have been quietly dropped. but were things much the same as I can first remember them 50 years later, or were they different in other ways?

It's also quite interesting that there were almost no infringing churches in Wales. One often gets a feeling now that Wales is slightly higher and more old fashioned in a 1950s sort of way than England. It looks as though then it was slightly lower and more old fashioned in a C19 way then.
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
Oh I agree, Enoch. (Why is it this thread has stirred me to comment when I have been happily ignoring SoF for ages?) I don't think we can ever get our heads round the particular obsessiveness of some of these clergy, or indeed their protestant opponents.

The nearest I can come to understanding what was going on is to see in the light of the anti-Erastian perspective of the Oxford Movement. Despite the myth (and the reality of many committed priests like Father Stanton), most of the early anglo-catholics were not socialists. But the movement itself started as a protest against state interference in the life of the Church. And while it is neither here nor there whether or not the priest wears a maniple (and the successors of the 'martyr' priests are likely to have abandoned them these days as RC rubrics command), the fact that they were forbidden by State decree, rather than the laws of the Church, is something they felt duty bound to protest about.

The anglo-catholics saw various ceremonies and vestments as indicating their belief in a particular theology of the eucharist. That is why their opponents campaigned so viciously against them. Nowadays it seems quite normal to see an evangelical Archbishop in a chasuble, and happy to swing a thurible. I imagine ++Justin's own theology is more nuanced than either side in those wars. But there are plenty of Anglicans who don't believe in the Real Presence in any objective way; who question terms like 'offering' and 'altar', and yet who tolerate or even enjoy the symbols of these beliefs. That seems strange.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
But the movement itself started as a protest against state interference in the life of the Church.

You can't have it both ways: either you are Established and have state interference, or else you are Free Church. Mind you, even Rev. Orchard at the King's Weigh House Chapel ran into problems: as you can see here (on the left of the page).
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
Actually no. The Tractarians believed that the C of E was the historic Catholic Church in this country. Not an independent sect, nor a department of state. (I don't mean 'sect' disparagingly, even if some of them might have. I just can't think off hand of a better word.)
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
I suppose one question for those of a dogmatic persuasion. Did Father Mackonochie and others believe that if they left out any of their extras, the maniple etc,, their Holy Communion/Eucharist/Mass/Lord's Supper/Breaking of Bread Service/Holy Liturgy did not work, the bread and wine would not become the precious body and blood?

So did they believe that up in the churches of Islington, which I think would have been predominantly evangelical, the services didn't take? And did (perhaps even do) some of their opponents believe that if the priest wore a maniple or muttered bits of Latin under his breath, God would absent himself from all that went on there?
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Actually no. The Tractarians believed that the C of E was the historic Catholic Church in this country. Not an independent sect, nor a department of state. (I don't mean 'sect' disparagingly, even if some of them might have. I just can't think off hand of a better word.)

Sorry, second post

Yebbut. I believe that, and I'm not a Tractarian.

As far as I know, not just Laud (with whom I'm not in sympathy), but Cramner, Hooker, Andrews, the Wesleys and virtually everyone else official in the CofE and the CinW has believed that.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
No, the 1906 report is there. .

Sorry, overlooked it in haste.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
Much as I despise those who complained, I could see myself in similar circumstances today when it comes to those evangelicals who wear street clothes - no ronbes, let alone vestments, who pour left over consecrated wine down the drasin and who don't follow the lectionary.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
I suppose one question for those of a dogmatic persuasion. Did Father Mackonochie and others believe that if they left out any of their extras, the maniple etc,, their Holy Communion/Eucharist/Mass/Lord's Supper/Breaking of Bread Service/Holy Liturgy did not work, the bread and wine would not become the precious body and blood?

So did they believe that up in the churches of Islington, which I think would have been predominantly evangelical, the services didn't take? And did (perhaps even do) some of their opponents believe that if the priest wore a maniple or muttered bits of Latin under his breath, God would absent himself from all that went on there?

No they didn't. The argument that the C of E is 'the catholic church of this realm' means that its orders are valid so that evangelicals' sacraments are those of the catholoic church.

As for ritual and dressing up, Newman is believed to have stood at the north end of the holy table in surplice, scarf and hood for all his time at Littlemore.

[ 24. November 2015, 18:49: Message edited by: leo ]
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
Another thought on whether they thought vestments were essential - Stanton is quoted as saying that h COULD go to court in a dressing gown and slippers BUT....
 
Posted by Fr Weber (# 13472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
I suppose one question for those of a dogmatic persuasion. Did Father Mackonochie and others believe that if they left out any of their extras, the maniple etc,, their Holy Communion/Eucharist/Mass/Lord's Supper/Breaking of Bread Service/Holy Liturgy did not work, the bread and wine would not become the precious body and blood?

So did they believe that up in the churches of Islington, which I think would have been predominantly evangelical, the services didn't take? And did (perhaps even do) some of their opponents believe that if the priest wore a maniple or muttered bits of Latin under his breath, God would absent himself from all that went on there?

No they didn't. The argument that the C of E is 'the catholic church of this realm' means that its orders are valid so that evangelicals' sacraments are those of the catholoic church.

As for ritual and dressing up, Newman is believed to have stood at the north end of the holy table in surplice, scarf and hood for all his time at Littlemore.

Correct. The Tractarians were mostly interested in recovering Catholic theology and pushing for the church to be self-governing. It wasn't until the next generation that ritual and ceremonial started to become re-Catholicized as well.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
quote:
Bran Stark: Edwardian-era Mystery Worshpping
No comments on the hardness of the pews. Or on the quality of after-service coffee [Disappointed]
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
quote:
Bran Stark: Edwardian-era Mystery Worshpping
No comments on the hardness of the pews. Or on the quality of after-service coffee [Disappointed]
Do you mean gin or sherry (with ref. to S. Alban's)?
 
Posted by Albertus (# 13356) on :
 
Or both (is S Mary Bourne Street mentioned?)
 
Posted by Cameron PM (# 18142) on :
 
This reminds me of the services my great grandfather recorded in his journal - he was quite the armchair "liturgist", and a tractarian too.
 
Posted by Bran Stark (# 15252) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
quote:
Bran Stark: Edwardian-era Mystery Worshpping
No comments on the hardness of the pews. Or on the quality of after-service coffee [Disappointed]
Do you mean gin or sherry (with ref. to S. Alban's)?
You know, it would be interesting to learn when the whole "after-service coffee" tradition began!
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
Am fairly sure that it began with the Parish Communion Movement where they served a full breakfast after mass.
 
Posted by Jengie jon (# 273) on :
 
Not really sure. Coffee after church is relatively recent in the UK, tea after church I can remember from my childhood in Non-Conformist Churches but it was coming in then.

Jengie
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
Coffee, as opposed to half-a-teaspoon-of-instant-brown-powder-plus-lukewarm-water, is still a rarity in most C of E churches.
 


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