Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

produced some liturgical diversity, but was practically successful in restoring peace to the church and quieting extreme demands.

The worship of God is in every generation a primary concern of the Church. For many years the Church of England has been engaged in an endeavour to amend the existing laws of public worship so as to make fuller provision for the spiritual needs of the Church and to bring order into the variety of usage which has become prevalent. This endeavour has for the present failed. It is impossible and undesirable to bring back the conduct of public worship strictly within the limits of the Prayer- book of 1662. Accordingly the Bishops, having failed to secure the statutory sanction which was desired and sought, are compelled in the present situation to fulfil by administrative action their responsibility for the regulation of public worship.

On September 20, 1928, the Bishops announced that they intended to consult the clergy and laity of their dioceses. These consultations have now been held in almost every diocese, and, in view of the information gained and desires expressed, the Bishops hereby resolve that, in the exercise of their administrative discretion, they will in their respective dioceses consider the circumstances and needs of parishes severally, and give counsel and directions. In these directions the Bishops will conform to the principles which they have already laid down, namely:-

(1) That during the present emergency and until further order be taken the Bishops, having in view the fact that the Convocations of Canterbury and York gave their consent to the proposals for deviations from and additions to the Book of 1662, as set forth in the Book of 1928, being laid before the National Assembly of the Church of England for final approval, and that the National Assembly voted final approval to these proposals, cannot regard as inconsistent with loyalty to the principles of the Church of England the use of such additions or deviations as fall within the limits of these proposals. For the same reason they must regard as inconsistent with Church order the use of any other deviations from or additions to the Forms and Orders contained in the Book of 1662.

(2) That accordingly the Bishops, in the exercise of that legal or administrative discretion, which belongs to each Bishop in his own Diocese, will be guided by the proposals set forth in the Book of 1928, and will endeavour to secure that the practices which are consistent neither with the Book of 1662 nor with the Book of 1928 shall cease.

Further: (3) That the Bishops, in the exercise of their authority, will only permit the ordinary use of any of the Forms and Orders contained in the Book of 1928 if they are satisfied that such use would have the good will of the people as represented in the Parochial Church Council, and that in the case of the Occasional Offices the consent of the parties concerned will always be obtained.

Source: The Times, July 9, 1929, p. 16; ibid., July 12, 1929, p. 19.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

G. K. A. Bell, Randall Davidson, Archbishop of Canterbury ( London, 1935), II, 1325- 1359.

-356-

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