Imágenes de páginas

Episcopal Church the only true branch of the Catholic Church native to America-hence the only one that can logically claim to be the American Catholic Church? Now this is a very embarrassing question. In fact, it is so embarrassing that it is most carefully avoided not only by "Catholics," but by a large number of more moderate Churchmen who have been completely misled in their estimate of these matters by certain extravagant claims of modern Episcopacy. Yet this is the crux of the whole matter. In short, if he is cornered, and obliged to make a definite answer, the "Catholic" Churchman replies "No, the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Congregationalist and, in fact, the Protestant bodies generally, are not parts or branches of the Catholic Church, for the reason that they have not the Historic Episcopate which is absolutely essential to the ministry, Sacraments, and, in general, the being of the Church." Nullus Episcopus, Nulla Ecclesia ("No Bishop-No Church") is a fundamental motto, hence of all the so-called Protestant bodies existing in America, that which is now termed the Protestant Episcopal Church is the only one that can legitimately claim to be a true branch of the Catholic Church, for in this alone is the Historic Episcopate represented. It is for this reason, therefore, that it can alone claim in very truth to be the American Catholic Church, as it is the one distinctively American branch of that Church. This, then, is the significance of the proposed name. It at once emphasizes our connection with the true

Church Catholic, while it simultaneously differentiates us from all the Protestant "Sects." It will, of course, be immediately evident also to our readers what a wonderful advantage this name will have over the present clumsy title in promoting the cause of Christian Unity—especially in winning the Protestant "Sects" from the error of their ways, and giving them the opportunity of discovering the true Church Universal. As Dr. Manning so cogently expressed it upon the floor of the last convention, a Church that is leading the movement for Universal Christian Unity should not be encumbered by so narrow an appellation. It should have a more "Comprehensive" title-and what more "Comprehensive" than "American Catholic"? That is to say what more "comprehensive" than that designation which makes the Catholic Church coterminus with the Historic Episcopate, and consigns all nonEpiscopal bodies to the limbo of the "unconverted heathen." Lest it be thought that we are somewhat exaggerating the import of this view in its relation to the limits of the Catholic Church, it may be well to cite a few passages from the works of some wellknown authorities. Beginning with the Tractarians, whom all good "Catholics" regard as authoritative, and as pioneers in the exposition of their tenets within the English Church, we find the British CRITIC—“their principal organ in England"—thus expressing itself: "A Church . . . is such only by virtue of that from which it obtains its Unity—and it obtains its Unity only from that in which it centers,

viz.:-the Bishop. .. Therefore we declare that the Episcopal dignity is so necessary in the Church that without a Bishop there cannot exist any Church, nor any Christian man: no, not so much as in name. For he, as successor of the Apostles. . . is the source of and fountain, as it were, of all those mysteries of the Catholic Church, through which we obtain Salvation. And we hold the necessity of a Bishop to be as great in the Church as the breath of life is in a man, or as the Sun is in the system of Creation.” (Quoted by Schmucker, Hist. of All Religions, pp. 293, 294.) With the exception of that portion which denies that even individual Christians can exist apart from the Bishop (a matter upon which there is diversity of opinion) the above may be said to express the unanimous opinion not only of the Tractarians and their followers, but of many High Churchmen of the present time-"without a Bishop there cannot exist any Church"; ergo, all nonEpiscopal bodies are outside the pale of the Church. Says Bishop Hobart: "Whoever is in Communion with the Bishop, the Supreme governor of the Church on Earth, is in Communion with the Head of it; and whoever is not in Communion with the Bishop, is thereby cut off from Communion with Christ." (A Companion to the Festival and Fast, p. 59.) So also Dr. Dix tells us that no man can be "a lawful minister" who has not been "ordained by the Bishop." The "Protestant Sects" are not Churches at all, but have "cut themselves off from the Catholic Church, by abandoning the Catholic Ministry.”


(Trinity Church Catechism.) Again, the Rev. Walker Gwynne affirms that at the time of the Reformation, "large bodies of Christians under Luther, Calvin, Knox, and others, broke away from the Catholic Church in its corrupt state, and formed independent sects. . . . Instead of rejecting only the Roman errors, which were new, they rejected also the Catholic Ministry and worship, which were apostolic and old, and thus cut themselves off from the Catholic Church." (Manual of Christian Doctrine, p. 199.) He also informs us on the next page, that "The Catholic Church," from which the above mentioned Protestants "broke away" or "cut themselves off" is "the only way to Salvation." That it has "three great branches," viz.: "The Churches in Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury"; "The Churches in Communion with the Greek Bishop or Patriarch of Constantinople"; and "The Churches in Communion with the Bishop of Rome." All other "Societies today calling themselves Churches," have no right to the title they are mere “Sects." To the same effect the Rev. E. W. Hunter informs us that "The Church of God" is one, as to Holy Orders: Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, Holy as to teaching, Catholic as to jurisdiction, Apostolic as to origin." That "In these United States there are three religious bodies that fulfil these essential requirements, namely: The 'Protestant Episcopal' Church, The 'Roman Catholic' Church, The Greek Church. (The Holy Catholic Church, p. 11.) And again that "there are three principal branches of the


Holy Catholic Church: The Anglican, called in the United States the 'Protestant Episcopal'; the 'Holy Roman,' and the 'Holy Orthodox.' (Important Items Regarding the Church, p. 4.) He adds also that on account of our unfortunate title; "Protestant Episcopal," only two of these bodies are "popularly supposed to fulfill these requirements, viz. the "Roman Catholic and the Greek." Therefore, he argues that this "Modern and Sectarian" title. "which operates as an obstacle to Christian Unity" should give place to that of "The American Catholic Church." Numbers of other quotations could be adduced to the same effect but the above are amply sufficient to show that in the opinion, not only of our so-called "Catholic" Churchman, but also of a large number of High Churchmen, the Protestant Churches, so-called, are not churches at all but man-made "Sects." They have no part or parcel in the Holy Catholic Church, for they "broke away" from this Church, or “cut themselves off" from it by "abandoning the Catholic Ministry," that is the Historic Episcopate, which is so absolutely essential to the being of the Church that "without a Bishop there cannot exist any Church." Hence, as the Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Congregationalist, and the rest of the Protestant "Sects" are no part of the Catholic Church on account of the absence of the Historic Episcopate, and as we, the members of the Protestant Episcopal Church, are the only ones to retain this absolute essential, it follows inevitably that we, and we alone,

« AnteriorContinuar »