Many contemporary readers on things Catholic, Anglican, and even Eastern Orthodox are at least familiar with the name John Henry Cardinal Newman, the 19th century Anglican who converted to Catholicism, if not with his whole story. Well, another Anglican who came after Blessed Newman’s time is Frederick Joseph Kinsman, a Bishop of the American Episcopal Church and Oxford trained Professor of Ecclesiastical History who converted to Catholicism in 1919 after resigning from his Bishopric in Delaware. While Newman’s Apologia Pro Vita Sua is his very scholarly review of his defenses for his journey to Catholicism, Kinsman’s Salve Mater is less scholarly and much more practical. Like Newman, He taught and lectured in many places, though his specialty was History and not Theology. What I find more practical about Kinsman is that, unlike Newman, he engaged with the Greek and Russian Orthodox Apologetic, which makes for something a tad more relevant to our contemporary times wherein we are beginning to see many traditional Catholics make an exodus to Eastern Orthodoxy in light of the current situation. Now, I don’t happen to agree with every point Kinsman brings up contra-Orthodoxy, but overall he summarizes the primary reason I chose to remain Catholic and not go Orthodox, namely, that the Papal office is as essential to the Church as the Bishop’s office, and thus we cannot have the Church at x-point in history with the Papacy and then y-point in history without the Papacy. Many Orthodox today are willing to concede a great amount of recognition of Rome’s authoritative primacy in the 1st millennium, though relegate its institution to more ecclesiastical institution, and thus leaving it to an institution even less divine than the office of Deacon. In other words, the Church can do with it or without it. Others, of course, not as plentiful, have stated that the current Patriarch of Constantinople assumes the same position of the Pope in the 1st millennium, and so attempt to say that the Orthodox have never really dumped the universal Primate from its constitutions, for reasons, at times, which run along the lines of synodality being non-existent without primacy. As faithful to history as this all may or may not be, the fact that there is a variety of divergent voices in Orthodoxy on the matter is already an indication which makes Kinsman’s apologetic contra-Orthodoxy just as relevant as it was to him in the early 1900’s. Ultimately, if the Papal office, being the office of St. Peter, is a creation of Jesus Christ, then the earthly Church has no rights to remove it from the visible constitution of the Church without axing off something essential to itself. Below, I have taken the time to type out large sections from Kinsman’s Salve Mater which deals with his reasons for going to Rome and not Constantinople. For those who wish to read more, I recommend getting the whole book, which can be read online for free here , or the physical book can be purchased at relatively low costs via AbeBooks.
“I saw plainly that if one accepted the Papacy as integral to the Church, infallibility, as defined, followed as a simple and obvious consequence. I was also beginning to have great admiration for Leo XIII, although I did not study his Encyclicals as carefully as I did later. On the whole, I was somewhat less ignorant of Roman Catholicism when I went abroad for the summer of 1905. The chief object of this trip, however, was to learn something at first-hand of the Greek Church, partly to stimulate my special interesting in everything Eastern-Orthodox, partly to strengthen my belief, frequently expressed in lectures, that the existence and history of the Eastern Churches was the great disproof of Roman contentions. I felt strongly that Constantinople was the chief outer defense of Canterbury; that the Russian Church afforded one of the chief bulwarks of the Anglican: that England and Ameria were best defended from Roman aggression by strategic war in the Balkans. Yet on this trip I had a striking illustration of the way in which forcible impressions come where and when least expected. On June 29, I spent the day in Kadi-Keui (Chalcedon), carefully looking up all remains of the days of the Fourth Council, having previously discovered the Chalcedonian marbles in the Suleimanieh Mosque in Constantinople and inspected the mummy of St. Euphemia, patron-saint of the Church of the Council, in the Patriarcheion. At the new Cathedral in Kadi-Keui I had a pleasant experience. A Greek priest who was showing me about, asked through the dragoman whether I was ‘Catholic or Protestant’. On my replying ‘Anglican’, he said ‘Oh, then we are great friends; come home with me for coffee’. This was a little thing, but seemed significant proof of Eastern backing of the Anglican position (I met no priests in Constantinople. I had a letter of introduction to the Patriarch from the Archimandrite Teknopoulos of London, with whom I had been in correspondence for several years, but had no presented it, having no suitable raiment with me for calling on patriarchs). Perhaps there never would have been a moment when I would have felt more the futility of Roman pretensions. Yet on leaving the Greek church and the friendly priest, I went to look in at the great Franciscan church close by, entering during the High Mass for the festival of St. Peter and St. Paul. There seemed to me something specially impudent in setting up this Latin church in Chalcedon with its memories of Canon 28, and I was not predisposed to be favorably impressed. Yet I knew at once that there was something more alive in this Latin church than in any of the many Greek churches which I had been haunting during the preceding fortnight. I had to admit to myself afterwards that of all I saw in the East, the one place which seemed instinct with missionary vitality was the one seat of Romanism I entered there: and I have never been able to shake off the impression made by that Franciscan church at Kadi-Keui, although I came home to lecture with more enthusiasm of the Eastern church, and to emphasize more than ever the supposed confutation of Petrine assumption by the Chalcedonian assertions, ‘The Fathers gave prerogatives of honor to the bishop of Elder Rome, because it was the Imperial city’.”
“During my life in New York, I had no contact with Roman Catholics, although constantly in touch with Eastern -Orthodox, chiefly the clergy of the Russian Cathedral and M. Lodygensky, the Russian Consul-General. But I was reading many books by Catholic writers, especially French historians, making much use of Duchesne and Batiffol: and it was a hobby of mine that we had much more to learn from Catholic writers than from rationalizing Germans, whose authority was slavishly followed by many in America and England…..”
“The chief difficulties were historical, and these such as seemed to relate to the Early Church and to the Eastern Churches, rather than to the Church of England. Greatest of all was the claim made for the Papacy. Once this could be accepted, ‘Rome’ would be recognized as the Catholic Church; and the one practical duty was simply obedience. (1) My belief was that history showed the Papacy to be a purely ecclesiastical development; due to the greatness of the Imperial city, to the Apostolic traditions of the See, to its consistently good record, to a combination of political conditions which forced it into prominence, and, quite subordinately, to the ambition of certain Popes. Most of its greatness seemed to have been thrust upon it by needs of the Church. Yet it was merely a Patriarchate inflated by feudalism, eminently useful in many ways in the Middle Ages, but corresponding to nothing in the Divine Constitution of the Church. Its claim to be this had been the great cause of disunion between East and West. This view was due to failure to see constitutional significance in Our Lord’s words to St. Peter and to the comparative lateness of emphatic assertions of the Petrine claim. I recognized that from the 5th century on, it had been made with increasing clearness and gradually wider recognition: I was disposed latterly to date it back to the beginning of the fourth century as something dimly acknowledged by the Church: and I knew that in Rome itself belief in the primacy as Petrine, not merely Roman, was attested for the late third century. I was convinced that medieval and modern pretensions of the Papacy were clearly disproved by the history of the early Roman church itself. The following passages from my History textbook indicate my understanding of the facts:
[Kinsman cites no source in this regard]
‘The Church of Rome was always the powerful church of Christendom; but its early precedence in honor and influence fell far short of the developments of medieval and modern times. The primacy of honor held by the Roman church is one thing; the monarchical supremacy of the Roman bishop is another. It is the last which constitutes the essence of the papal claim… There is no question of the existence of the claim, and of increasing acquiescence in it, from the 5th century onward. There is unmistakable proof of it at an earlier date, though it does not follow that it did not exist. The first indisputable evidence connects it with Innocent I (401-417); but it is not only possible, but probable, that it was inherited, rather than invented, by him. The evidence seems to show its absence from the minds of Roman bishops down to the middle of the fourth century; yet some of the late fourth century Bishops may have entertained it, especially Damasus I (366-384).’
‘Roman Catholicism combines the ideas of Romanism, the synonym of Empire, and of Catholicism, belief in the world-wide Church. In the successive aspects of Papal history, there is quite as much of Julius Caesar as of St. Peter. In theory, the association of Church and State was intended to spiritualize the State; as matter of fact, the effect has too often been to secularize the Church’.
‘Rome was Capital City of the Mediterranean world, the centre and source of political authority. Its church had always been the most powerful in the western half of the Empire, and also, more than any other one Church, influential everywhere. Its greatness was also due to its excellent record and its apostolic associations. It had always recalled its early connection with the great Apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul, and from the 3rd century emphasized its connection with St. Peter whose chair the Roman bishops occupied. But the theory that St. Peter and after him the Roman bishops were in a unique sense vicars of Christ does not clearly emerge until the 5th century’
‘The beginning of definite papal claims must be assumed for a time near the episcopate of Damasus; but circumstances paving the way for it are to be found earlier still. It is not unreasonable to connect the origin of papal thoughts with Constantine’s gift to Melchiades of the Lateran palace, property of the family of the murdered Empress Fausta….The kingdom of this world was seeking the favor of the Kingdom of Christ. Inevitably the great thought came that Christ had conquered Caesar, and that Caesar’s realms must henceforth be ruled in the name of Christ. Rome again should rule the world, but now in behalf of God: it was still to be ruling city, but as capital of God’s kingdom. Such an ambition for the Roman church and roman bishops was natural and noble. The trouble was that in the event the spirit of Christ affected the Empire less than the spirit of Caesar dominated the Church. The change in the Constantinian age must be taken into account in estimating the causes of the Papacy; there was solid ground for the stress laid centuries later on the forced ‘Donation of Constantine’….Quite apart from the greatness of the Roman church as Church of the Capital, there were features in its record which gave moral and ecclesiastical pre-eminence. During the first three centuries no other Church had so consistent a record for orthodoxy and good works. Rome had always been staunchly loyal to the faith, and had been the natural centre of the Church’s chief philanthropies. Moreover, no other Church had so rich an apostolic heritage. Many eastern churches had apostolic associations, and could claim to preserve intact apostolic traditions. Ephesus, for example, claimed a monopoly of St. John. But Rome traced its beginning to the two chief Apostles, both of whom, as martyrs, had ‘watered it with their blood’. Over their graves Constantine built the finest of the early basilicas. Rome was the Apostolic See, not only as the only see in the West having apostolic founders, but as having a memory of apostolic martyrs without parallel in Christendom. The traces of early art in the catacombs show how constantly the Roman Christians were thinking of their special connection with St. Peter and St. Paul’
‘Controversialists have tried to doubt on the connection of the great apostles, especially St. Peter, with Rome, and to do so have ignored a great body of evidence. At present no scholar of eminence undertakes to dispute the validity of this. We do not know details of the world of St. Peter and St. Paul in the Capital; but both died martyrs under Nero…: of St. Peter we know nothing clearly except the circumstances of his death. Tradition speaks of a connection of 25 years. It is possible that that period elapsed between his first arrival and his death; but he was almost certainly not in Rome for the whole time; nor was he regarded as head of the Roman church when St. Paul wrote to the Romans about year 56. From this epistle to the Romans we learn the names of many Christians then in Rome, representing apparently all parts of the Empire. It was inevitable that there should be many in the great central city, arriving singly or in small groups, joining others of their faith, gradually coming to know other sets of Christians, finally coalescing in one Roman church. Who was the first follower of our Lord to set foot in the pagan Capital, we do not know. ‘Christianity was self-sown in Rome’. There were numbers 25 years after the crucifixion and resurrection; the first probably came very soon after those events’
“I was never in the least unwilling to see evidence for the Petrine primacy, merely concerned to recognize no conception of primacy which the earliest evidence did not warrant. The chief fact that seemed to disprove the latter theories of this was the invariable coupling, in the few literary references to Roman beginnings which have survived the 2nd century, of the names of St. Peter *and St. Paul*. Rome was Apostolic See from its having been founded by 2 Apostles: it seemed to have been foreign to the mind of the early Roman church to think of St. Peter alone. This showed characteristic dependence on literary evidence only. The catacomb representations of St. Peter as Moses first made me see that this did not give the whole truth; and gradually I came to attach more importance to the evidence of local traditions and institutions after fuller study of De Rossi, Lanciani, and books of Mgr. A. S. Barnes. These studies were going on in seminary days; but I did not see their full signifance, owing doubtless to my belief that there was no Petrine primacy in Scripture.
“I was not unwilling to see this, and had no patience with people who slurrde over the Petrine texts. I myself habitually quoted and preached from them. yet I was convinced that our Lord’s dealing with St. Peter, as leading Apostle and typical disciple, even when recognizing their uniqueness, had no bearing on the constitution of the Church. With the fixed idea of ‘the Twelve’ as fundamental, I could see nothing essentially significant in the prominence of the One. Our Lord’s special relation to St. Peter I paralled with that to St. John. ‘Thou art Peter’ was illustration of the fact that true discipleshipt is founded on faith in our Lord’s divinity. Assuming parity among Apostles, in spite of the accidental prominence of a few of them, I went on to assume parity among Bishops, with no difference touching the constitution of the Church. What St. Peter was among Apostles, I recognized the Pope to be among Bishops: but I did not see that this was more than primacy of honor and influence. The petrine claims I believed to be an after-thought. It was only during the summer of 1918 that I saw more than this in the significance of the Petrine texts. I do not recall what led to this. I think it was recognition that our Lord’s commission of St. Peter is quite as formal as that of the Twelve; that, so far as the Gospels record, they are of parallel importance; and that it is just as reasonable to take the one set as part of the constitution and charter of the Church as the other. In any case, I can only bear my witness that, in daring to see special meaning for all time in Our Lord’s dealing with St. Peter without fear controversial admissions, I have a sense of freedom in reading the Gospels I have never had before. I have dropped fetters, not assumed them. I do not, however, as some do, find Petrine primacy in St. Paul’s Epistles.
“The crux of Papal contention is, of course, the meaning of our Lord’s commission to St. Peter. If the Church jude divino has a primacy in its apostolate, and a primacy therefore in its episcopate which perpetuates the apostolate, there are few or none who would question that this has existed in the Bishops of Rome. It has never been assumed that Rome usurped a primacy rightly established in Jerusalem or elsewhere. Granted a primacy, real not merely nominal, it must be conceded to the sole claimant, the Roman papacy.
“The evidence for the perpetuation of the primacy is analogous to that for the episcopate. The origins of the episcopate in our Lord’s choice and commission of the Twelve stand out in the clear light of Gospel testimony. By the last quarter of the second century, the episcopate is everywhere established, claiming to perpetuate the apostolate, and lasting unbroken to the present day. The evidence for it from this date is so full and irrefragable that it is futile to quibble at it. But for the intervening period of a century and a half the evidence is not so clear, but is sufficient. I think it was Bishop Gore who compared this to a tunnel, the darkness of which was broken by occasional lights, frequent enough to show that the apostolicate of the Gospels, and the episcopate of the age of Tertullian and Irenaeus are one in the principle and perpetuate divinely-given authority in the Church. THose who reject the evidence of the ‘tunnel’ period do so not because of its inherent weakness, but because of presuppositions that the apostolate represented nothing permanently essential to the Church.
“So of the primacy. Its Gospel origins and its historical establishment at a certain date are in bright light: but there is a ‘tunnel’ period for which the evidence is comparatively fragmentary. Yet it is quite sufficient except for those whose antecedent assumptions compel the rejection of all evidence whatsoever. As to the length of the tunnel there will be difference of opinion. Those who concentrate attention on Rome itself would consider it short than those who think more of general recognition without. It would seem to me that it does not terminate until the time of St. Cyprian; but I can see that any would not extend it beyond the pontificates of Eleutherus and Victor. That a ‘tunnel’ period of some duration must be recognized would seem obvious either from the standpoint of scientific history or of effective apoologetic. I have for many years been familiar with most details of this evidence without seeing their significance on account of my presuppositions, although I objected to too much explaining away of Victor and Stephen. It was to Batiffol’s Primitive Catholicism that I owe chiefly the dropping of scales, especially for his comments on the significance of the controversy between Pope Stephen and St. Cyprian and St. Firmilian…..
“The evidence for the early period is not so full as it becomes after the late third century: but it is sufficient to establish the principle of primacy, dimly exhibited and simply applied, but still continuous. It is closely parallel to that for the episcopate, as is natural, and has many analogies with that for the canon of Scripture. Those whose belief int he Papacy, rests, as it normally should, on their experience of the living Church of which it is living Voice, are not troubled by forged decretals or anything that belongs merely to a dim and dusty past. They are naturally irritated by antiquarian fidgets. They see that ‘the appeal to history’ is heresy when it signifies appeal from the living Church to a Church long dead: but they must also see that the appeal to History is an act of faith, when it signifies confidence that the Church is always the same, applying the faith once delivered to varying needs in varying ways, one in principle though manifold in application.
” The evidence for the episcopate and for the primacy are also parallel in what is continuous is the fact and principle, not the details in applications. It is, in this sense, and this only, that the Vatican definitions speaks of the ‘sure and constant witness of every age’. This is another way of speaking of ‘development’. It is often asserted that the decrees of 1870 forbade recognitions of this, making it impossible, for example, to hold such a theory as satisfied Newman in 1845. This is a mistake. Catholic writers, dealing with all aspects of the Church’s life, see development in one form or another continuous principles changing their outward form through the number, variety, and completeness of revelation and on the identity and continuity of principles underlying the life of the Church, there is full recognition of development both in faith and morals, by way of fuller apprehension of the content of revelation, and of more perfect application of it in practical detail.
“So of the primacy. What was divinely ordered in the constitution of the Church, by special commission of the ‘first’ among Apostles, was perpetuated in the Church by the line of those recognized as first among Bishops. Many opposed and criticized individual Popes and censured them for misuse of authority; but none questioned their first place . Whatever be the source of the assertion, wrongly attributed in the fifth century to the Nicene canons, the fact is indisputable, Ecclesia Romana semper habuit principatum (the Roman Church has always had the primacy). This principatus, by whatever name, it is called, passed through many phases and stages, paternal, patriarchal, feudal, regal, imperial. For great stretches of history it was deep-dyed with murky shades of secular ambitions and politics. In this it reflected the experiences of the Church as a whole, and of the episcopate in particular. But, from beginning to end, the principle of spiritual primacy has been the one safeguard of the Church’s unity and independence.
“Infallibility is simply an application of this. If the Pope holds highest authority in the Church, his official decisions represent the last word in controversy. Ultimate decision must rest somewhere; and those who believe in the infallibility of the Church, and in the primacy as integral to the Church, can have no difficulties over Papal infallibility. As defined by the Vatican dogma, this is strictly limited and constitutional, applying only to questions of faith and morals, when the Pope speaks as shepherd and doctor for the Church. The discussions of 1870 emphasized quite as much the limitations of the Pope’s primatial authority as the indisputable fact of it….
“Two sets of considerations have made me a believer in the Papacy, the first historical, the second practical. The latter forced themselves into considerations through my experience as an Anglican Bishop. For over ten years, I have been trying to act as Bishop of the Catholic Church of God, and to relate my official duties to the ruling ideas of the episcopate as they appear in the writings of the Fathers. Of these, two stand out in chief prominence: the episcopate was guardian of the faith, and it was the guarantee of unity. Matthias was chosen to be with the other Apostles a witness; similarly all bishops are witnesses to the risen Lord. Hence the solemn profession of faith at episcopal consecrations required by the Catholic ordinals. To ensure this, there must be authority to require loyalty to the faith, and an authority to interpret it. There can be no loyal witness unrelated to a principle of authority behind the official witnesses. I have been led to think of this, not as logical theory, but as practical necessity. As a Bishop, I wished to bear witness to the faith, and tried to do so in various formal ways. I was free to do so in any way I saw it. But there was a constant feeling of having ‘nothing behind’; that utterances, no matter what their substance, were merely expressions of individual opinion. The Communion for which I was commissioned to act expected me to be loyal to the faith only as not insisting on definite interpretations. Its articles must be treated as suscpetible of various meaning, some of these contradictory. I beleived in the literal Virgin Birth and literal resurrection. I taught both, and that they were of essential importance. Yet I might equally well, as at least two of my episcopal brethren did with equal formality, have taught that the two doctrines were not to be literally accepted, or especially to be insisted on. Church custom backed this attitude rather than the other. The Anglican system provides no good working safeguard of loyalty in witness, as none so keenly as a Bishop can feel. Among Anglican Bishops most are orthodox as concerns historic interpretation of the Christological portions of the Creed, a few heretical, a great number hazy and indifferent. All can express their views, or lack of them, and may do so with vehemence: the majority may repeatedly adopt asseverations of devotion to the ancient Faith: but so far as the Church system goes, official teachers must be left to jog alone, with no clear apprehension of dogmatic truth, no clear assertion of it, and nothing to clarify either apprehension or assertion. There is no ultimate authority to insist on loyalty to the faith once delivered. The historic episcopate was dogmatic in function, and intensely loyal in spirit: the Anglican episcopate, also loyal in spirit, is locally adapted by systems, political in England, congregational in America, into an undogmatic attitude, the actual influence of which is anti-dogmatic. Without a basis and background of cogent authority, the episcopate cannot function as witness to the faith. In theory, the devotion of conscience to our Lord may provide this: in the practical working system of the visible Church, something more is necessary…..
“Study of history always made me see clearly that in the see of Rome there had been the clearest loyalty to the Incarnation, an actual perpetuation of the faith of St. Peter, although I attached no theoretical importance to it…..Hence, the sense of the practical necessity of something like the Papacy to enable the episcopate to discharge its proper functions predisposed me to look more favorably upon its claims…Experience has shown that in actual practice neither Royal supremacy or General convention has been a satisfactory substitute for a Pope. Anglican bishops all may, and a few do, drift from the faith: and this must be so long as there is a hydra-headed hierarchy. The matter reduces itself to one of authority inherent in the priesthood — Sacrament of Orders. The Papacy merely focuses an authoritative priesthood. Belief in priests makes possible belief in the Pope: rejection of the Pope usually, though not always, involves rejection of any real belief in priests. The feeling here expressed does not indicate craving for authority as such, but rather a practical sense that central and ultimate authority is necessary to safeguard teaching and the tradition of the faith.
“The episcopate is not only divinely-established guardian of the faith but also the bond and guarantee of unity. Our Lord chose and commissioned Twelve apostles, who were to sit on twelve thrones: Bu He did not hereby inaugurate twelve churches. As St. Optatus comments (Contra Parmenian, II:6) ‘In a single chair unity was to be observed by all, so that the rest of the Apostles should not each maintain a chair to themselves; and that forthwith he should be a schismatic, and a sinner who against that singular Chair set up another’. The Apostolate was to be a united Apostolate, the foundation of One Apostolic Church; and through the unity of its governing College, all those admitted into the Church by Apostles were through them in unity with each other as well as with the Church’s divine head. The Apostolate bound them together and guarenteed the permanence of their union.
“So of the Episcopate, the extension of the Apostolate in time and territory. The Episcopate is essentially a united Episcopate, one, and the means of creating and preserving oneness among believers. The Apostles were severally and equally commissioned by Christ for the first order of ministry in the Church; so are Bishops. Yet individuality of commission involves no isolation in administration, in such a sense that the Church should be composed of disconnected dioceses and provinces in water-right compartments, making each individual Bishop [the] possible nucleus (Any belief in Episcopacy makes the diocese the administrative unity, the Bishop the centre of diocesan unity. Protestantism in all its forms abandons this, making the congregation the practical unit with parochial clergy as centres of congregational unity. Where Bishops are superimposed on this system, they are mere bumble-bees, flitting from one parochila flower-bed to another, extracting pollen for diocesan missions, and incidentally promoting cross-fertilization!). The Episcopate is one, a united Episcopate, not a collection of Episcopal units. If it ceases to preserve Catholic unity, it ceases to function as Episcopate in the historic sense.
“As a matter of fact, the oneness of the Episcopate has been secured through a Primacy. This is the point of the famous passage in St. Cyprian’s treatise on Unity. ‘Upon Peter, being one, He builds His Church; and though He gives to all the Apostles equal power…yet in order to manifest unity, He has by His own authority so placed the source of the same unity, as to begin from one. Certainly the other Apostles also were what Peter was, endued with an equal fellowship both of honor and power; but a commencement is made from unity, that the Church may be set before us as one…. He who holds not this unity of the Church, does he think he holds the faith? He who strives against and resists the Church, is he assured that he is in the Church?…..
“Belief in the unifying function of the Episcopate compels belief in a unifying force in the Episcopate; and hence establishes antecedent probability of such an institution in the Church as, in fact, has existed in the Papacy seated at Rome. The ancient Church knew of autocephalous Churches, like that of Cyprus, falling outside the ordinary gropuings into Patriarchates: but it knew nothing of diocesan or provincial isolation. Anything resembling the sixteenth century excursion of the provinces of Canterbury and York would not have been regarded as a phenomenon compatible with Catholic unity, but would have been promptly denominated schism.
“Unity is dependent on something that represents a centre. It cannot be created by agitated fragments of a circumference: it must issue from a central force and be sustained by centripetal instinct. There must be a centre of unity for the Church, visible centre for visible unity; there being no greater difficulty in believing in a primate as personal centre for the episcopate, than in a bishop as personal centre for his diocese, or a priest as personal centre for his parish. The recognition of the supreme example of it. Common sense may suggest what must be, if the visible unity of the Church is to be preserved: history shows what has been. The Roman Papacy has been the actual centre of the most obvious visible unity the Church has ever possessed; and attempts to preserve this on the basis of a non-papal episcopate have in various ways proved failures. Rejection of the Papacy has invariably associated itself with principles ultimately destructive of all unity in, and with, the Church. It is not possible to elaborate this point. I have chiefly in mind the results in the East and in England of subjection of the Church to civil authority. My present object is merely to put myself on record as having come to hold what had no place in my earlier belief and teaching, and to emphasize that the conviction springs from ten years effort to do the work of a Bishop of the Church of God with the constant sense of ‘nothing behind’.
“A Catholic Bishop should be filled with an intense consciousness of the unity of the Order to which he belongs, and of the unity of the Catholic Church, in which, through his office, the people of his diocese are held. It represents an instinctive hold on sacramental principle. An Angican bishop cannot have this. The Bishops of the Episcopal Church were the finest and most delightful set of men I have ever known, or expect to know: so far as personal respect and affection could create bonds, there exists among them a unity of mutual respect and good fellowship. They can co-operate in all sorts of good works and combine for effective denominational activities. They accomplish a most creditable quantity of work in the triennial fortnights of hustle known as General Convention. They are effective associates in their own House and in the Lambeth Conferences every ten years with all Bishops of the Anglican Communion. But this is not to experience the sacramental fellowship of which St. Cyprian writes or to share the consciousness of what their Order means known to Eastern and Roman Bishops. With the exception of certain inner groups, their association is more like that of a club of typical American citizens, determined to help along every sort of good work. I was forcibly struck with what is lacking in such episcopal experience as I knew in reading the sermon and addresses on the meaning of the pallium delivered on the occasion of the investiture of Archbishop Doughtery of Philadelphia…..
“The Papacy, with all the faults in successive holders, with all the admixture of sordid ambitions, utter worldliness, and despicable intrigue which have disfigured parts of its history, has nevertheless stood chiefly for the unity of the Church; and care for unity has been a leading cause of papal aggrandizement. As Duchesne comments , ‘Centralization is the organization of unity; it is also its safeguard’ . …
“The historical evidence which seemed to me most plainly subversive of papal pretensions was that of the canons of the Councils of Nicaea, Constantinople, and Chalcedon. The sixth canon of the first seemed to place Roman jurisdiction in Italy on par with that of Alexandria in Egypt and of Antioch in the Oriental Diocese: the third canon of the second gave the Bishop of Constantinople precedence after the Roman bishop, ‘because Constantinople was New Rome’, seeming to imply that secular greatness was the ground for ecclesiastical primacy in Old Rome: the famous twenty-eigth canon of the last of these Councils asserted this in set terms. That General councils should have pronounced this judgment was to my mind final, Roman refusals to accept these canons notwithstanding. With many others, I attached slight importance to papal witness to papal pretensions, although I had no sympathy with Presbyterians who refused to accept the testimony of Bishops as to episcopacy, or with the Independents who rejected Presbyterian notions of Scriptural polity because ‘presbyter was priest write large’. Yet I always gave respectful heed to the claims made by some very great Popes, especially Leo I, whose single-minded zeal for revealed truth and Christian unity was especially conspicuous . It was the reading of Allies’ Formation of Christendom in 1918 which first opened my eyes to the fact that it was Constantinople, not Rome, which imported imperial and secular standards into the Church; and that in the fourth and fifth century contests it was Rome which was really standing for the supremacy of spiritual authority, for unity, and for ecclesiastical independence. It was conceivable that Rome was in the right, the canons of Councils dominated by Constantinopolitan influence notwithstanding I knew well enough the Roman estimate of ‘Byzantinism’ but had never before felt the truth of it.
“At the conference with the Greeks in New York, the Athenian Metropolitan spoke of the impossibility of joint action by Eastern bishops until the governments of their respective countries should be at peace. He made evident the dependence of the Eastern Churches on political conditions and secular authority. It gave me a new view of Eastern ‘Erastianism’ in spite of my having thought much of the position of the Church in Russian: and for the first time there flashed across my mind a vivid sense of the need of political independence of the central and controlling power in the Church. I saw there was much to be said for the temporal sovereignty of the Pope , something to which I was certain I should never attach importance, even if I ever came to admit that papal claims were synonymous with the needs of the Church
“The Papacy stands for the principles not only of loyalty to the faith and unity of the Church, but also for spiritual independence. This I had seen in studying medieval history, and had always been in sympathy with St. Anselm, St. Thomas of Canterbury, with the Popes in the investiture struggles, even with Gregory VII, and all other champions of moral and ecclesiastical freedom from secular aggression. I had thought often of the disadvantages of State control of the Church in England, and doubted whether the Anglicanism could survive disestablishment and dispossession. This made less impression, however, than apparent evidences that the Eastern Churches are, and always have been, seriously crippled by dependence on the State, even outside the Turkish Empire. In their history was practical vindication of certain of the Roman contentions. I tried to be on guard against attaching too much importance to sudden impressions coming at a time when I knew I was in various ways rapidly Romanizing; but the obiter dicta of the Metropolitan of Athens seemed to precipitate knowledge of a variety of facts in the form of conclusion that, as between Rome and Constantinople, it was Rome who had championed ancient principle and the Church’s independence; and that acts of General Councils which reflect Constantinopolitan ambition deserve to be regarded with the suspicion they always encountered in the West. This was a great blow to my prejudices, since I had long felt that, however weak the case for Cranmer and Henry VIII, the position of the Eastern Churches was strong, both in itself, and as the great confutation of the full papal claims as distinguished from patriarchal priority. The conference with the Greeks deepened my feeling of the attractiveness of the Easterns, of the pain of separation from them, of the duty of unity: but it left also the feeling that the basis of unity was not to be found in the vague and thoughtless desire of certain Anglicans ‘for us all just to get together just as we are’ — to quote one of the American conferees — or, as I was disposed to assume, on approximately the Eastern basis of harking back to the Seventh General Council and St. John Damascene; but rather on the basis of recognition of one centre of visible unity in the living Church on the principles enunciated, and in the spirit exhibited by Leo XIII in his Encyclicals, Praeclara addressed to Easterns in 1894, and Ad Anglos in 1895. The various utterances of this worthy bearer of a great name are in line with the best things in Leonine tradition — lumen de coelo.
The sense of failures in the Anglican system, which came to me through episcopal experience, predisposed me to reconsider many things; and to consider favorably the papal system under which some of these failures seemed not to occur. The necessity of viewing things from unaccustomed angles gave new, and more practical estimates. Much against my will, I was driven to admit that a Bishop without a background of authority, compelling loyalty and compromising unity, is less than Bishop in the historic sense; and that episcopacy for discharge of its normal functions need just such a background as, in fact, the Papal system provides. This led to re investigation of historical problems with a willingness to revise old judgement, but with no disposition not fairly to face the facts. The result of this has been to leave the conviction that the Papal claim is vindicated by Scripture and History; and that, in the controverted historical points, it is the Roman Catholic writers who, on the whole, are in the right, and who usually display preponderance, not only of logic, but also of learning and common sense.”