Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Dutch Touch

A study in irrelevance.

Recently, in private e-mail, the Dutch Touch was mentioned, to borrow the phrase coined by Fr. John Hunwicke for the Infusion of Old Catholic Orders into Anglican Orders by co-consecration. It was mentioned by someone who seemed to suggest that I might consider Anglican Orders to have become valid by the Infusion. Indeed, some who call themselves Anglican may embarrass the rest of us by holding this position, but I do not. We never needed the Infusion, and our Orders were defended against Roman non-sense quite thoroughly before the idea ever presented itself into our history. Reassuring ourselves was never the motive.

For those who are not familiar with the history of this Infusion, I will explain briefly and simply, as to the historic facts and to the concept. In the 1930s the Church of England invited Old Catholic Bishops to participate in consecrations of new bishops. The Dutch Old Catholic bishops, Mgr. Henry van Vlijmen, Bishop of Haarlem, and Mgr. John Berends, Bishop of Deventer, took part in the consecration of Anglican bishops in St. Paul's Cathedral, in 1931 and 1932. The first co-consecration was that of Bishop Graham-Brown, a well known Anglican of the Evangelical party (as it was defined in the 1930s, which is considerably different from how contemporary Reassereters have redefined it). From Bishop Graham-Brown infused orders spread; and the co-consecrations were repeated in several venues, such as co-consecrations with bishops of the Polish National Catholic Church in the United States, so that by the early 1960s every Episcopal priest had these orders in his lineage, catching up with the rest of the Anglican Communion which had been thoroughly infused since some time during the 1950s. Therefore, the Orders of all Continuing Anglicans began (1978) with this in our history; all Continuing Anglican Orders have the Infusion somewhere in their family tree. And, to this interesting fact I have only a two word reaction: Who cares?

Unfortunately, some of our Roman Catholic detractors have assumed, wrongly, that the Anglicans sought co-consecration because Rome considered Old Catholic Orders valid, and this meant that Anglicans could supply what was missing, or fix their allegedly bad and defective orders. But, as documented by Brian Taylor 1 from correspondence between Archbishop of Canterbury Cosmo Lang and other high ranking Church of England officials, the expressed, written and recorded motive was ecumenical. Not only was it to serve as a way to improve relations with the Old Catholics, but to make Anglican orders "more acceptable to Rome in the event of some future Reunion." 2

The idea, therefore, was never to make them valid, or more acceptable to ourselves. It was an ecumenical gesture, and as such a potential gesture for some day in which it may please God to grant Catholic unity in the West. But, Anglicans had already defended their orders many times over the centuries, and at no time after the Infusion was it mentioned as a relevant factor by any serious Anglican apologist, not even by those who noted it, such as Claude Beaufort Moss in 1965. 3 Dom Gregory Dix made no mention of it in 1944 when writing The Question of Anglican Orders, Letters to a Layman 4. Neither did E. J. Bicknell's book A Theological Introduction to The Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England, in any of its later editions after revision in the 1950s, so much as say one word about it in the portion of the book where Anglican orders are defended. 5 In short, the Anglican apologetic treatment of the Infusion appears to be summarized by my own reaction: "Who cares?"

Frankly, Saepius Officio,written in 1897 by the Archbishops of England (Canterbury and York) said everything that needed to be said in defense of our Orders, and the best summary anywhere is that of Bicknell.

As for the subject of the Infusion itself, it is a relic of an innocent age of ecumenical hope, that innocence and hope that would suffer destruction for the official Anglican Communion in 1976. If the Infusion may help someday between orthodox Anglicans of the Continuum and Rome or, restart some ecumenical relations with the Polish National Catholic Church, then maybe it will not have been a big wasted effort after all.

Until such a time, who cares?
1. In his 1995 paper, published in Great Britain, Accipe Spiritum Sanctum.

As our reader who goes by the name of Canon Tallis also pointed out in a comment months ago:

"Marc Antonio de Dominus, sometime Archbishop of Spaleto and Dean of Windsor, participated in Anglican consecrations in the Caroline age before he made the mistake of returning to Rome and their so kind ministrations? I think someone in the Continuum needs to reprint Littledale's The Petrine Claims and make it required reading for both postulants and the clergy."

2. This possibility was never rejected by Anglicans. See this older post analyzing a section of Richard Hooker's Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.

3. THE CHRISTIAN FAITH: AN INTRODUCTION TO DOGMATIC THEOLOGY - By CLAUDE BEAUFORT MOSS, D.D.LONDON - S.P.C.K 1965 Holy Trinity Church Marylbone Road London NW 1 - Printed in Great Britain by Richard Clay (The Chaucer Press) Ltd Bungay Suffolk - First published in 1943 - Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram 2004

4. Westminster : Dacre Press, 1944.

5. A Theological Introduiction to the Thirty-Nine Articles, (Downloadable) Wittenberg Hall Copyright: © 1955 Public Domain (originally printed before revisions in 1919)


Sandra McColl said...

With due respect to Fr Hunwicke, I think the attribution of 'Dutch touch' to him may be a tad generous. I heard the expression in Oz long before I heard of Fr Hunwicke.

Veriword is 'corpun' (in honour of the octave, no doubt).

Canon Tallis said...

Has everyone forgotten Marco Antonio de Dominus, Archbishop of Split, who participated in the consecration of at least one bishop in England. But as that one consecration became crucial to the continuance of the English episcopate during the Cromwellian interregnum, said line has continued since In Anglican orders. But as stated no one would pretend that they depend upon them.

By the by, it is my understanding that the famous response of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the papal bull singed by Leo XIII was actually written by the Reverend Thomas Alexander Lacey whose skills as a Latinist were such that Leo asked why Rome lacked an equal.

T. A. Lacey is one of my heroes in that his ordination to the priesthood was delayed because he would not promise his ordinary that he would NOT obey the Ornaments Rubric and confine himself to wearing only a surplice or surplice and cope in the celebration of Holy Communion.

poetreader said...

I don't think I'm alone either in doubting whether a "Consecration" by invalid "bishops" under an invalid authority would necessarily be rescued by the presence of one valid bishop among the coconsecrators. In other words, I tend to agree with some of the RC apologists that, if the orders were not valid, then the supposed infusions would not have remedied that, and they would still be invalid -- or at least, I wouldn't stake my soul on such a possibility. Our orders are valid and have been right all along. Therefore no such infusion was necessary -- but such coconsecrations do constitute a beautiful expression of Christian unity.


John A. Hollister said...

Canon Tallis referred to "Marco Antonio de Dominus, Archbishop of Split, who participated in the consecration of at least one bishop in England. [T]hat one consecration became crucial to the continuance of the English episcopate during the Cromwellian interregnum...."

I have read, but never troubled to verify, that one of the sources for restoring the English episcopate after the Stuart Restoration was the separate Irish episcopate which had existed in theoretical independence of the Church of England (although with frequent individual exchanges of personnel prior to Cromwell).

Having studied Irish history in Ireland in the 1960s, I find this suggestion perfectly plausible in the context of the times. That, of course, would provide yet one more series of arguments against the silliness of "Apostolicae Curae".

John A. Hollister+

Canon Tallis said...

The major figure in the consecration of English bishops after the Restoration in 1660 was William Juxon who had been with Charles I when he was martyred. Juxon had remained in England during the interregnum living quietly, but also doing confirmations and ordaining deacons and priests. You might say that he served as the underground church in England when any use of the Book of Common Prayer was a criminal act. Somewhere in the few books I have left to me I believe i have a list of the bishops who consecrated Juxon and those who assisted in his consecrations as Archbishop of Canterbury. Irish bishops probably assisted in such consecrations as well but Juxon was the central figure although he was only Canterbury from 1660 until 1663.

Incidentally, and perhaps someone will remember what I do not, but I have read that a linguistic analysis of Apostolicae Curae indicates that it was most likely written in England by someone with a predominately Irish education. This would indicate that it was not Leo XIII's work, but something forced upon him by the curia and the Roman episcopate in England. I suspect that my forgotten source was something I had found in the British Library.

Sandra McColl said...

I'm inclined to agree with Ed, although my real concern is not whether or not an infusion from a single 'valid' co-consecrator could 'revalidate' a line that had lost continuity with its apostolic roots, but that I simply have no interest in being part of a tradition that lost its continuity with its apostolic roots in the first place, and stayed out of that continuity for nearly 400 years. Just what particular tradition are we seeking to preserve and carry on if Hooker and Andrewes and Pusey and all the rest were merely misguided masqueraders in the dark centuries of broken succession?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Canon Tallis wrote:

Juxon had remained in England during the interregnum living quietly, but also doing confirmations and ordaining deacons and priests. You might say that he served as the underground church in England when any use of the Book of Common Prayer was a criminal act.

I have often thought that the first Continuing Church bishop was St. Athanasius. It seems that the first Continuing Anglican bishop must have been Juxon.

Canon Tallis said...

Father Hart, that is why I really like the way that you think. But when you remember that it was it successor's successor who was the leader of those who became the non-jurors. So his example probably did mean something.

It should also remind all of us that we, as Anglicans, have been down this road before.

David Chislett said...

With Fr Hunwicke's permission I given his famous 1994 article on the Duth Touch a home in cyberspace to encourage people not to take small bits out of context. It is a really important article.

Go to:

+David Chislett

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Yes, well the paragraph starting with the words, "Catholic Anglicans are likely to..." does not speak for me. I am not "likely to" at all.

...however, instead, they composed a new rite which, because it eliminated references to sacrifice, consecration and priesthood...

Amazing how many people comment on the Ordinal without noticing what it says.

We thank God that throughout the Protestant Apostasy of the Sixteenth Century...

What about Roman apostasy?

We helped to torture and kill those who perceived themselves - and were perceived by others - to be maintaining these things.

Maintaining with them the order to start a civil war and murder the queen.

So, when our Victorian predecessors reclaimed for us recognition of our Catholic status...

Gee, I say that same thing about the English Reformers. Ahem! In Victorian times the Apostle's Creed and the Creed called Nicene were not rediscovered; neither the Creed call the Athanasian. Neither was the Ordinal rewritten. They acquired a sense of dignity and placed emphasis on the Tradition that had never been lost, even in places where it was somewhat buried. Just as Rome never lost the Gospel completely, but buried it and made it hard to find.

As an objective fact, I am morally certain that our Orders are valid: but I feel that (especially to Anglicans who respect the Holy See) this disciplinary decision - idem caput disciplinae - has a juridical status to which we should be prepared in humility juridically to submit.

To part A, amen. To Part B, Horsefeathers! (to be polite).

Fr. Hunwicke's difficulty is to be expected in England, and outside of the Continuum. There the Orders that were valid are now compromised. From inside that mess I can see why Rome, with clear definition, appears so attractive. From inside my corner of the Church Rome does not appear nearly so attractive, and perhaps that is because from this corner a light shines to expose with clarity what we are looking at. Not so in Fr. Hunwicke's corner, poor fellow.

Canon Tallis said...

Father Hart, I must very sincerely thank you for your response to Fr Hunwicke's article. I must admit I agree entirely with you and would probably have been tempted to make a far sharper reply than you did. I should probably have more charity around this issue, but the snarkiness of English Anglo-papists (Catholics they are not) infuriates me. One wonders why they bothered with ordination in the English Church at all as they give it and its history scant respect. But the Roman See with its history of decadence and worse they seem to hold in greater respect than Holy Scripture or our Lord himself.

The worst is that Rome has scant respect for all of the things so important to classical Anglicans, i.e., the Canon, the Scriptures, the Fathers, the Creeds and the Councils except those which no one outside the Roman obedience would claim as eccumenical.

Rome, or at least the nations whose national churches are of the Roman obedience, are losing Europe just as eighty years ago they let it slip into the hands of the Fas cists, but Anglicans on the banks of the Tiber never seem capable of asking themselves why Germany, Austria, France, Portugal, Spain and even Italy can barely be called Christian - let alone Catholic - countries and with in a generation certainly won't be? And what of Rome then? Will the Patriarchal See of the West find itself in the same shape, the same situation as all of the other Patriarchal Sees with the exception of Jerusalem?

You cannot do things little and big which visually have the effect of making Rome an authority if not the authority without eventually losing faith in who and what you are and are intended to be. And, that, more than anything else is why we should never do so and never allow it to be done.You can't keep flying the other guys flag without coming to believe that he's the king.

And what of

Fr. Robert Hart said...

One of my favorite scholars, in fact my Bishop, has responded to an earlier comment about authorship in an e-mail (in this case about Saepius Officio 1897:

The Latin response to Apostolicae Curae was written by Bishop John Wordsworth. The Latin style of the reply was indeed said to have impressed Leo XIII.

Sandra McColl said...

I think I have done Fr Hunwicke an injustice. I see that his use of 'Dutch Touch' predates my knowledge of both it and him.