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THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND AND…

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THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND AND ROMANISTS. To the Editor of the Fret Press. Sir -It is not without regret that Churchmen, in the midst of their conflict with the heterogeneous in hosts that have assailed them, find themselves attacked by members of the Roman Catholic com- munion who push into the fray to succour men irom some of whom they differ in religious belief and sympathy far more widely than theyditter from ourselves. These Roman champions designate the Church or England by such curious combinations as The State Establishment," the law EstaWishment, and stigmatise the clergy as Act of priests, State-made parsons, and so on. -Ineix contention is that the Church of England, which they call a Protestant Church, came into exis- tence in the 16th oentury at the call of Henry the VIII and his Parliament, and that previously to the ilso-called Reformation" the Church of England was Roman Catholic but that in ceasing to bS Roman Catholic it necessarily ceased to be Catholic, for that there cannot be a catholic church that is not Roman, included, that is, in the Apos- tolic See. This is, perhaps, a fair statement of their ^Such a grave issue should scarcely be proposed in the contumelious terms quoted above; terms that are moreover, so vague as to be open to the charge of misleading, whether designedly or no the ignor- ant. When the Church is called The State Estab- lishment," &c., it can scarcely be meant that there was no connection between the Chureh and the State before the reign of Henry; or that there were no Acts; of Parliament about the Church before the same era, for our annals and statute books are full of the Church. But an ordinary reader on see- ing such compounds as law and State establishments might think that it was the scandalous peculiarity of the sixteenth century to have established the Church by law, and to have begun te legislate for it by the temporal power. The Church was by law established not for the first time in the six- teenth century, but as soon as there were English laws; and the great statutes of the kind, of the sixteenth century, were declaratory, that is, they brought in no new principle, but expounded the previous state. The contention of these controversialists, then, amounts to this,—not that the connection between the Church and State began in the sixteenth century, but that in the sixteenth century the temporal Power over-rode the Church to such an extent as to cause it to cease to be Roman, to cease therefore to be Catholic, and to survive only as an establish- ment," a "department of Government, or, if a church at all, a Protestant Church." The Anglican position, on the other hand, is that the Church of England never was a Roman Catholic Church, but a National Church at one time in communion with Rome, acknowledging the Primacy of the Bishop of Rome and admitting a certain concurrent jurisdiction; that at the Re- formation the Roman authority was rejected by this National Church, which nevertheless continued to be the same church as before, and which has continued to this day. This Church has always been catholic, if it ever became Protestant" also, it did not become Protestant at the Reformation but before. It protested against Roman claims and encroachments, and the English Parliaments passed notable laws in restraint of them, long ere Henry "broke the yoke of Rome." It is not denied by manv English Churchmen1 that some of the measures of tne Reformation were arbitraryviolent, ill- judged, or base in nature, but it is denied that any of them, or all of them together, put an end to one church and begun another or that the men who carried these measures stepped out of one church into another, or out of one church into a system that v.,awno church, but only an establishment. Perhaps I may be allowed to return to the subject in your columns. Yours. &c., R. W. DIXON. Warkworth, Northumberland, May, 1893.

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