« AnteriorContinuar »
ious observances, as these took on more and more of a feminine color and tone? Is not one common, and not altogether groundless, complaint now that we need a more virile presentation of Christianity, in the pulpit and elsewhere? Will our efforts to recruit young men for the Ministry be helped or hindered by the invitation being extended to their sisters and female friends? We lament now that we do not get the strongest men: is this condition likely to be remedied by the association and competition of women with men in the Ministry?
(c) Practical inconveniences have to be faced. Already in mixed juries difficulties have arisen in the presentation of evidence of a repulsive or indelicate nature? Would women priests hear the confessions of men, or as bishops deal with cases of discipline in which sensual sins are involved?
It is impossible to avoid the question of marriage? Must clergywomen all be of a certain age?" Shall they be unmarried? Unless distinctly set apart and known to be unmarriageable, grave inconveniences will arise. This is the crux with Deaconesses. Some authorities expect a Deaconess to remain unmarried, but earnestly protest against any vow or rule of celibacy, which would serve as a protection; they throw the young Deaconess into close association with young clergymen and young doctors; and then are disappointed and grieved if she abandons her intention. Is this fair to any of those concerned?
If clergywomen are married, how are the rights of a husband and family to be harmonized with the demands of the Ministry? How are the primary duties of motherhood to be fulfilled by these ordained women? Are they, as has been recommended in the case of Deaconesses," to
21In the early Church forty, fifty, sixty years were fixed as the age for Deaconesses. Archbishop's Report, p. 12.
22 Report of Lambeth Committee, p. 104.
be dispensed for a time-and how often-from the exercise of their office that they may bear and rear children, returning when these duties are fulfilled to the pastoral care? Surely this will not be a fresh reason—and on the part of religious leaders for the Restriction of Families! These mere suggestions are sufficient to cover the whole proposal with ridicule.
Two arguments in favor of the innovation must be noticed: (1) the great difference in the status of women in the Apostolic age and now; (2) that the same arguments which are used above were urged awhile (and not so very long) ago against the admission of women to other professions, particularly those of medicine and surgery, of law, of politics. Now prejudice in these directions is largely overcome. In reply it may be asked (a) whether the general success of women-as distinct from a few exceptional instances in these lines has been so marked as to encourage further ventures along other lines? (b) Do women doctors or surgeons practise to any extent among men? To have a distinct clergy for each sex would make a schism in the Body of Christ deeper than that of Jew and Gentile.
(c) Whatever may be said about women's capacity for employment in these secular professions, the objection to their ordination to the Sacred Ministry is based not on social conventions but on deeply rooted distinctions, implanted by nature, between the sexes.
There is an instinctive shrinking-amounting to abhorrence from such proposals. As Catholic Christians we repeat firmly, we have-and will have-no such custom.
The Sources and Sanctions of Ecclesias
REV. EDWIN A. WHITE, D.C.L., D.D.
HE laws and regulations which govern the Church in this country are divided into five classes as follows:
1. The Constitution and Canons of the General Convention, forming a code for the uniform government of the Church in every Diocese.
2. The Constitution and Canons of the several Dioceses, of force only in the Diocese for which they are framed, and subordinate to the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention.
3. The Rubrics of the Prayer Book.
4. The Civil Laws of the nation, applicable to the whole Church, and the civil laws of the several states affecting the Church and its members in each state, in regard to corporate or personal rights, civil privileges, and the acquisition and preservation of property.
5. The Common Law of the Church.
Let us first consider the Common Law of the Church, because it is the least understood of the several branches of Ecclesiastical Law, and its operation less easily determined.
What is Common Law? No better answer can be given than that given by Judge Blackstone in his Commentaries, which are universally recognized as the highest authority on this subject. He says:
The lex non scripta, or unwritten law, includes not only general custom, or the Common Law properly so called, but the particular customs of certain parts of the Kingdom, and likewise those particular laws that are by custom observed only in certain courts and jurisdictions.
I style these parts of our laws leges non scriptae, because their original institution and authority are not set down in writing, as
acts of Parliament are, but they receive their binding power, and the force of laws, by long and immemorial usage, and by their universal recognition throughout the Kingdom.
The history of Common Law has been the history, not merely of our jurisprudence, but of the principles of civil liberty, our institutions, our literature, our religion. If it demonstrates anything, it establishes the superiority of a government and a justice founded upon general principles over that which reposes upon any collection of arbitrary written rules.
The Mosaic code was superseded by the Christian religion, but the Author of Christianity devised no code to take the place of that ancient code. He left His work to stand upon those beneficient principles which few and simple words were sufficient to announce, but which are comprehensive enough for all the vicissitudes of human life. Christianity was the first unwritten law; the Common law was its legitimate and necessary outgrowth, and in its turn, superseded, so far as our race is concerned, the second great code of the world-the Roman Civil Law. We might as well attempt to codify the applications of the principles of Christianity as of the principles of the Common Law. The process of growth and development that is essential to the one belongs equally to the other.
With this brief exposition of the history of Common Law, let us now turn to its practical application to the Law of the American Church.
The great body of the Common Law of England, and of its statute law so far as adapted to the situation of the Colonies, was brought to this land from the mother country and formed the basis of colonial law. The same principle holds true in regard to the basis of the Colonial Ecclesiastical Law. Those who were members of the Church of England continued to be members of the same Church when they arrived in this country. They brought with them the doctrines, discipline, rules and order of the
Church of England. They were all subject to the Ecclesiastical Law of the Church of England, except where it was expressly altered or necessarily inapplicable, and they continued to be subject thereto up to the time of the severance of the Colonies from the mother country by the Revolution; and though the independence of the United States dissolved the close connection between the Church in this country and the Church in England, it did not destroy the prevailing opinions of Churchmen as to matters and usages touching the Church. Our branch of the Church, in establishing her system of polity and law, must, obviously, have commenced her career with opinions, feelings, and habits, all derived from her association with and dependence on the Church of England. To the Common Law of the Church of England we must therefore look if we would rightly understand the origin of much of the law of the American Church.
Of what, then, did this Common Law consist at the time of the colonization of America? In the celebrated case of Bogardus vs. Trinity Church, New York City, the Court declared that, "The Common Law of the mother country as modified by positive enactments, together with the statute laws which are in force at the time of the emigration of the Colonists, became in fact, the Common Law, rather than the Common and Statute Law of the Colony."
The same reasoning applies to the Common Law of the Church. We have no concern with the Statute or Canon Law of the Church of England after the planting of the Church in the Colonies, as any Ecclesiatical Laws of the Church of England enacted after that period do not form a part of the Common Law of the American Church.
By common consent, buttressed by the decisions of the courts, this period is placed at the date of the Royal Charters to the Colonies respectively, if followed by a settlement, or the period of the first erection of a church and