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Yet the fact remains that there are such people in the Church. Some of them are devotedly attached to Morning Prayer. When the Holy Eucharist is substituted for it, they feel deeply aggrieved, as if their most sacred rights had been trampled upon. We recently heard an intelligent Churchwoman say of her rector, after he had established the late Eucharist as the chief parochial act of worship every Sunday, that he had been guilty of offending Christ's little ones, and that "it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." We did not ask her how obeying the precept of Christ could offend those who professed to believe in Christ, as she was too angry to converse intelligently. Her state of mind however was fairly representative of a certain type of Protestant Episcopalians.
What is the explanation of this fanatical preference for Morning Prayer?. It may be traced no doubt to several causes. The most obvious cause is long-established custom. "The memory of man goeth not to the contrary." Where it has for generations been a family tradition to attend Morning Prayer and Litany on Sundays, with the variation of Holy Communion on the first Sunday in the month, one naturally resents having such a tradition upset. Along with this tradition has often gone the conviction that the Communion is too sacred an ordinance to be observed every Sunday. Too great familiarity might breed contempt for these holy rites. It is like the excessive reverence of Scotch Presbyterians for the Lord's Supper on the rare occasions when they partake thereof.
In answer, it must be insisted that both of these sentiments are exaggerated. It is possible to make too much of tradition, especially when the tradition is mistaken. Our Lord condemned the Pharisees for making the commandments of God of none effect through their traditions. It is
also possible to be too reverent, as when reverence keeps us away from our Lord. We may be sure that He would rather have us come into His presence every Sunday fully sensible of our own unworthiness, than once a month trusting in our own righteousness. If for no other reason, it gives Him more abundant opportunity to do something for our souls.
Another cause for attachment to Morning Prayer is the fact that it makes slight spiritual demands upon members of the congregation. They can sit comfortably through the lessons and let their minds wander far afield. Practical business men cannot be expected to fuss with a prayer book, or find their places in the Psalter. They leave that to a few of the more devout women. Besides it might be embarassing to them to read such rapturous expressions of devotions as, "My soul is athirst for God," or "I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord, with my whole heart." The service is short,-they can listen passively without committing themselves to anything. For the few prayers they can lean over with their heads in their hands. The young women can join in on their favorite hymn tunes, no one would expect the men to sing! After all the main thing is the sermon. The preliminary devotions are soon over. If the sermon is interesting, one may listen. If not, one may think of many things and criticize the preacher at dinner. It is all so delightfully informal and natural,—nothing supernatural about it. There is none of that mystical tommy-rot that High Churchmen are trying to bring into the Church. One may simply spend a pleasant hour with one's social set, paying the necessary respect to the Deity. And then if members of other Protestant bodies, or even unbelievers, happen to attend the service, they will hear or see nothing that will give them offense. Take it all in all, Morning Prayer and sermon is an admirable service that pleases everybody, except the Catholics; and they have no business in a Protestant Church.
RT. REV. ARTHUR C. A. HALL, D.D., LL.D.
The Ministry of Women-Report of a Committee appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. S.P.C.K. 1919. The Place of Women in the Church, in Handbooks of Catholic Faith and Practice, edited by Dr. Sparrow Simpson. R. Scott, 1917.
The Early History of the Church and the Ministry. Essays edited by Dr. H. B. Swete. Macmillan, 1918. Report of the Lambeth Conference of 1920. S.P.C.K. Report of the Resolutions of the Lambeth Conference, by the Theological Committee of the E.C.U. Part I.
T is desirable clearly to define the purpose and limitations of this article. There is no intention to disparage or undervalue the work of women in the Church; nor to deal here with the distinct question of their participation in councils of the Church, whether parochial, diocesan or other. The question to be considered is whether they are admissible to Holy Orders.
I. Authority might be thought to settle the question. St. Paul's words are certainly applicable: "We have no such custom, neither the Churches of God." (1 Cor. xi.16.) The Committee appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to consider The Ministry of Women' in their report, contained in a book bearing this title, say: "We find no
'The terms of reference to this committee, appointed in 1917, were "The sanctions and restrictions which govern the ministrations of women in the life of the Church, and the status and work of deaconesses." Those signing the Report were Bp. Ryle (Dean of Westminster), Bp. Talbot (Winchester), Bp. Burge (then of Southwark, now of Oxford), Bp. Paget (then of Stepney, now of Chester), Dr. Armitage Robinson, Dr. Frere, Dr. A. J. Mason, Dr. J. P. Whitney (now Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Cambridge), Dr. Weilbreght Stanton, Mr. F. C. Eeles and Miss Alice Gardner. Appendices are published along with the report, each dealing with a special department of the subject, the contributors, in addition to members of the committee, being the late Bp. Collins (of Gibraltar), Bp. Maclean (of Moray), Prof. C. H. Turner, Mr. Hamilton Thompson, Prof. Cooper (of Glasgow), and Deaconesses Siddell and Barker (of England), and Sanford (of America).
evidence for the admission of women to the priesthood. Save among heretical or obscure sects, there have been no Christian priestesses." Montanists apparently allowed a woman to celebrate the Eucharist; but Tertullian's testimony to the practice of the Church (A. D. 200) is clear: "It is not allowed to a woman to speak in church, nor yet to baptize or offer, nor to claim a share in any work of men, to say nothing of the sacerdotal office." Again, the Committee make this summarizing statement:5
"The Twelve Apostles were men; and the Seventy who were sent forth to preach the Kingdom were men. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was instituted in the presence of the Apostles only. The Apostlic commission recorded in John xx. 19-23 was delivered to men. The Evangelistic charge narrated in Matt. xxviii. 16-20 would appear to have been delivered to 'the eleven disciples.' These facts taken together are proof that there were functions and responsibilities which at the first our Lord assigned to men and did not assign to women. As regards spiritual privilege there was entire equality between the sexes. As regards religious vocation and public duties there was no such identity. All branches of the Church have hitherto interpreted this testimony of the Gospels to mean that the government of the Church and the responsibility for the Ministry of the Word and the Sacraments were entrusted to men."
In face of these admissions it may well be asked whether a national Church (whatever exactly that may be) has the right on its own authority, or acting by itself, to make such an innovation on the general practice of the Catholic Church, as admitting Women to Holy Orders would be.
3See Swete's Essays, pp. 273 and 293.
De Virg. Veland., 9.
5Pp. 2 and 3.
Whether it has the right or not, it is certain that such action on the part of the Anglican Communion would make an insuperable bar to reunion with "other historic branches of the Catholic Church" which the Committee of the Lambeth Conference urges we should do nothing to retard. That this would be the effect of such action is made abundantly clear in letters from representatives of the Greek and Russian Churches in England, printed in The Church Times for December 31, 1920. The Archimandrite of the Greek Church wrote: "My answer to the questions cannot but ground itself on the Canons of the Church, which explicitly forbid women to take any active part in ministrations in Orthodox churches during the Liturgy or any other religious service performed in the presence of a mixed congregation of the faithful."
The Roman Catholic Church adheres to the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas, who after weighing contrary arguments, including that based on the gift of prophecy to women, concludes that the male sex is required for the Sacrament of Orders, and that though all the ceremonies of ordination were performed in the case of a woman, she would not be ordained.
Are we to follow the lead of the more radical of Protestant bodies, like the Universalists in this country, concerning whom the writer was told some years ago by one who had studied at Tufts College, and had been a Universalist minister before seeking Holy Orders in the Church, (1) that practically all Universalists in New England were now Unitarian in belief, and (2) that there were more women than men in the Divinity School at Tufts? That such an innovation would be contrary to the mind of the
7Pp. 635, 6.
8Summa Suppl. Quest. xxxix. Compare Maskell, Monumenta Ritualia Eccl. Angl. vol. II, pp. cvii, cviii.