The History of the Romeward Movement in the Church of England, 1833-1864 by Walter Walsh

800px-Pieter_Bruegel_the_Elder_-_The_Tower_of_Babel_(Vienna)_-_Google_Art_Project_-_editedI recently came across this history of the Oxford Movement in England.  I will be posting interesting quotes from the book as I read it, and anyone can find the text free here:

Here is an Amazon review of the book to whet the appetite of anyone wondering what it is about:

An Amazon Review of This Book:

Excellent Book, January 14, 2009  By D. Philip Veitch “Bibliophile” (Jacksonville, North Carolina USA)

Walter Walsh, an Evangelical Anglican, exposed the strategic and tactical war plans against Protestant Anglicans crafted–carefully and secretly–by the 19th century Tractarian, Oxfordian, and Ritualistic Romanisers (TORR hereafter). The toxicity of battle is exposed in The History of the Romeward Movement in the Church of England, 1833-1864. The book is also freely downloadable at www dot books dot google dot com with an author-book search.

TORR had governing, global, national, doctrinal, liturgical, and anti-Reformation objectives. Subordinate the English Church to Rome, seize assets, livings, institutional structures, and obliterate the Protestant face of worldwide Anglicanism. John Henry Newman, the Commander-in-Chief against Protestant Anglicanism, penned the now-infamous Tract XC as an early broadside.

In Tract XC–as Walsh shows ably–Newman sought to obliterate the Protestantantism of the XXXIX Articles with this goal: “… ascertain the ultimate points of contrariety between the Roman and Anglican Creeds, and to make them as few as possible.” His opinion of Article XXII’s adverse language (purgatory, pardons, worshipping and adoration of images and relics) referred only to corrupt Roman practices. Romish doctrine did not mean Tridentine doctrine. Pardons were only “reckless indulgences from the penalties of sin obtained on money payments.” Other hot zones emerged: prayers for the dead, supremacy of the Rome, auricular confession, reservation in communicating religious knowledge, pardons, processions, altar crosses, crucifixes, processional crosses, raised stone, mixing water with the wine, elevation of the elements, bowing to the elements, crossings, genuflections, Requiem Masses for the dead, sacerdotal vestments, ornaments, and the establishment of convents. As Walsh demonstrates, this was contrary to the established practices of Reformed England of over three hundred years.

Tract XC also had another ancillary objective. Newman, at that time, was seeking to stanch secessions to Rome. Rev. Lockhart noted, “On us young men Tract XC had the effect of strengthening greatly our growing convictions that Rome was right and the Church of England wrong.”

If De-Protestantization as a mission objective failed, some were to fight from behind the lines. Writing to De Lisle, Newman noted: “I perfectly agree with you in thinking that the Movement of 1833 is not over in the country…also, I think it is for the interest of Catholicism that individuals should not join us, but should remain to leaven the mass.”

Derision, belittlement, and contempt were attitude were frequently used and demonstrated. Walter Walsh offers many examples of the anti-Protestant bigotry. Keble: “Anything which separates the present Church from the Reformers I should hail as a good idea.” Rev. William Palmer expressed vitriol. “I utterly reject and anathematise the principle of Protestantism as a heresy…And if the Church of England should ever unhappily profess herself to be a form of Protestantism then I would reject and anathematise the Church of England…In conclusion, I once more publicly profess myself a Catholic and a member of the Catholic Church, and say anathema to the principles of Protestantism….especially to those of the Lutherans and Calvinists, and British and American Dissenters.”

Rev. Dodsworth, a Newman sympathizer, summarized TORR victories. “I think its tendency towards Rome has been very decisive and very extensive. Look at the Church of England as it was fifty years ago, or even thirty. At that time it would have been thought Popish to speak of the Real Presence; the doctrine of the Eucharistic Sacrifice was scarcely known in the teaching of the Church. Auricular Confession, counsels of perfection, the Conventual life…we all identified with Popery. But now these doctrines and usages are quite current amongst Anglicans…just it not also be admitted that the revival of these things amongst Anglicans is so far a witness in favour of Rome?” Dodsworth would later swim the Eenglish Channel and Tiber River.

However, Protestant Churchmen rallied to the battle line. Protestant divines were in an uproar as Walter Walsh shows. Four learned adversaries opposed the TORR-agenda (March 8, 1841). The Oxford tutors were: T.T. Churton, Vice-Principal of Brasenose College, H.B. Wilson, Fellow and Senior Tutor of St. John’s College, John Griffiths, Tutor of Wadham College, and A.C. Tait, Fellow and Tutor of Balliol College (Tait, a Broad Churchman, would later fleet up to become the Archbishop of Canterbury). “Dangerous” was one of several terms for Newman’s writings.

Stiff resistance and pro-Protestantcame efforts came from a meeting (March 15, 1841) between Oxford’s Vice-Chancellor, the Heads of Houses, and Proctors. The leadership reaffirmed that that every Oxford student shall be instructed in and subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles. Further, “the modes of interpretation as are suggested in the said Tract, evading rather than explaining the sense of the Thirty-Nine Articles, and reconciling subscription to them with the adoption of errors which they were designed to counteract, defeat the object, and are inconsistent with the due observance of the above-mentioned Statutes. P. Wynter, Vice-Chancellor.”

Evangelicals had target-acquisition as the Ritualistic paper, Church Review (Jun. 21, 1865) observed, “The Protestant is quite right in recognising the simplest attempt at Ritual as the `thin edge of the wedge.’ It is so….It is only the child who is not terrified when the first creeping driblet of water, and the few light bubbles announce the advance of the tide; and the Protestant is but a child who does not recognise the danger of the trifling symptoms which are so slowly and surely contracting the space of ground upon which he stands.”

Rev. William Simcox Bricknell marshaled a literary salvo with The Judgment of the Bishops upon Tractarian Theology (1845). The terms used for the Tractarians, or TORRs, were unflattering and unsupportive. Bp. Musgrave (Hereford) spoke of sophistry, evasion, and Jesuitical dishonesty. Bp. Monk (Gloucester and Bristol) invoked terms such as astonishment, concern, ingenuity, sophistry and vanity. Bp. Phillpott (Exeter) summoned terms such offensiveness, indecency, absurdity, incongruity, unjustness, sophistry, and variations from the facts of the Reformation and English Reformers. Bp. Blomfeld (London) referred to Tridentine colouring to the XXXIX Articles and the duty of the Episcopal bench to `banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines.”

William Goode, one of the ablest champions against Tractarians in favour of the English Reformed Church, wrote The Divine Rule of Faith and Practice. (This book is also available at books dot google dot search dot com. With respect to Rev. Goode, the Lord Chancellor Selborne summed it up. “When William Goode, afterwards Dean of Ripon, in his Divine Rule of Faith and Practice, called the Fathers themselves as witnesses in favour of the direct use of Scripture for the decision of controversies, some of those who placed confidence in the Oxford Divines, but were themselves ignorant of the Fathers, waited anxiously for answers which never came.”

An overwhelming broadside against the Tractarians appeared with the publication of the 55-volume Parker Society Series (1840-1855), a series from the pens of the English Reformers. Supported widely and decisisvely by Bishops throughout England including the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, these works are still the finest responses to Anglo-Catholicism sought by John Henry Newman, John Keble, E.B. Pusey, R.W. Ward, Mark Pattison, William Gladstone, Lord Halifax and others.

Walter Walsh’s work is a decisive contribution to the literature on Anglicanism, Protestantism, Anglo-Catholicism, and the other tags noted by this review. This book is a must for the scholar of 19th century, Victorian, English and Anglican history.