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FROM-THE-LIBRARyOF 
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From the Library of 

Samuel L. Pollard 
Given by his family 



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2d. 



THE FAILURE OF 
ANGLICANISM 

AS SET FORTH BY 

FREDERICK JOSEPH KINSMAN 

LATE PROTESTANT BISHOP OF DELAWARE, U.S.A. 




FIFTEENTH THOUSAND 



LONDON 
CATHOLIC TRUTH SOCIETY 

72 VICTORIA STREET, S.W. 1 



C219 



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CATHOLIC TRUTH SOCIETY, 72 VICTORIA STREET, LONDON, S.W.I 



THE 
FAILURE OF ANGLICANISM 

AS SET FORTH BY 

FREDERICK JOSEPH KINSMAN 

LATE BISHOP OF DELAWARE, U.S.A. 

[THE following letter was written by the Right Rev. Joseph 
Kinsman, Bishop of Delaware, U.S.A., on July 1, 1919, to the 
Presiding Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of 
America, in order to explain why he could no longer continue 
to hold Episcopal office in that Church. It is interesting to 
Catholics, not because it tells them anything which they did not 
know about the character of Anglicanism, but because it illus 
trates the difficulties which those born and reared in that heresy 
encounter in their search for the truth, and the grace and 
courage necessary if they are to overcome them. Anglicans 
glory in the " comprehensiveness " of their Church ; it was this 
very " note " which at last convinced Dr. Kinsman that it was 
not the Church of Christ. Christ's Church is a teaching Church, 
whereas " to tolerate everything is to teach nothing," as the 
disillusioned Bishop came finally to realize. He was, of course, 
an advanced Anglican clinging pathetically to the " catholicity " 
of the sect in which he was ordained. He took his degree at 
Keble College, Oxford, and received his " orders" in England. 
In America he was a pillar of the High Church section, a vehe 
ment writer on its behalf, arid the recipient of many testimonies 
to his erudition in the shape of academic honours. He states 
in the following candid lines the reasons why he found it impos 
sible to hold jurisdiction in a Church which does not know her 
own mind, much less the mind of Christ.] 

The story of the author's life and conversion is given in detail 
in his volume Salve Mater (Longmans) . 



2 The Failure of Anglicanism 

v^ 

To the Right Reverend Daniel Sylvester Tuttle, D.D., 
D.C.L., LL.D., Presiding Bishop of the Pro 
testant Episcopal Church. 

MY DEAR PRESIDING BISHOP : 

I hereby present through you to the House of 
Bishops the resignation of my jurisdiction as Bishop 
of the Diocese of Delaware. 



RESIGNATION OF OFFICE 

1 take this step with utmost regret, both as relin 
quishing a post assigned me by the Church to which 
1 owe the greatest blessings of my life, and as sever 
ing my connection with the State of Delaware and its 
warm-hearted people, for whom during eleven years I 
have come to have an ever- deepening affection. The 
only post I could wish for myself is that of Bishop of 
Delaware. I resign it because I can no longer hold 
any post of authority in the Protestant Episcopal 
Church. Fuller experience which has come to me as 
Bishop and more thorough stud)- of the history of 
our communion have forced me to abandon the 
interpretation of the Church's position which I held 
at the time of my consecration ; and 1 can adopt no 
other which would warrant mv continuance in office. 



REASONS FOR RESIGNATION 

A brief statement of the opinions I have come to 
hold cannot attempt fully to justify them, though it 
will show the necessity of my present action. The 
Bishops will think me wrong as to facts or as to 
inferences, possibly as to both ; but, right or wrong, 
the opinions have been deliberately adopted, and 
must determine both my action and theirs in dealing 
with my case. 

The view of the Church's position which I have 
held, certainly the prevailing view in the House of 

120219 

NOV 1 8 1985 



Reasons for Resignation 3 

Bishops, is simply that the Episcopal Church, strong 
in its " appeal to antiquity," stands firmly for the 
doctrine of the Incarnation as contained in the 
Scriptures and the Creeds, and, by emphasis on its 
sacramental character, perpetuates the life of the 
Catholic Church. But I have ceased to believe and 
here I part company with the Bishops, and contradict 
my convictions and teaching in past years -that the 
actual facts bear out this contention. In spite of the 
greatest unwillingness, I have come to feel that the 
interpretation of the Anglican position which con 
nects it chiefly with the Protestant Reformation is 
the one more consistent with its history viewed as a 
whole ; and that its dominant tendencies are increas 
ingly identified with those currents of thought and 
development which are making away from the de- 
finiteness of the ancient Faith towards Unitarian 
vagueness. This would seem to me to be due not 
merely to local or temporary conditions but to certain 
informing principles always more or less apparent in 
Anglican history. To preserve balance and propor 
tion of the truth, the Episcopal Churches have aimed 
at comprehension by compromise. I have come to 
believe that this habit of compromise involves increas 
ing surrenders of truth, in spite of religious revivals 
aiming at stronger insistence on the ancient Faith. 

RESULTS OF OVER-COMPREHENSIVENESS 

The chief causes of difficulty for me have been 
three : (i) tolerance of denials of the Faith, seeming 
to indicate failure to defend the Church's doctrine ; 
(2) tolerance of imperfect views of Sacraments, seeming 
to result in failure rightly to use them ; (3) a theory 
of Orders which seems to nullify them. 

i. DENIAL OF DOGMA 

(i) Creeds. -It is unquestionable that the Anglican 
Communion is officially committed to the doctrines 



4 The Failure of Anglicanism 

of the Scriptures and the Creeds. Authoritative 
declarations have always asserted this, and would do 
so now. But custom seems to nullify this theoreti 
cal position : Consuetudo est optima legis interpres. 
Attacks on Creeds in general and on specific doctrines 
are common ; they are tolerated, sometimes encour 
aged, by those in authority ; they are made by those 
officially appointed to teach Creeds and defend them. 
For example, the Episcopal Church accepts with 
out question the doctrine of the Virgin Birth of our 
Lord as recorded in St. Luke's Gospel. The clergy, 
bound by oath " with all faithful diligence to banish 
and drive away from the Church all erroneous and 
strange doctrine," are theoretically bound to combat 
denials of the Virgin Birth in as resolute and business 
like a way as the Bishop of Ohio did thirty years ago. 
But is this now possible ? Denials of this doctrine 
have become common, e.g., among eminent divines 
in the English universities and in the larger American 
dioceses. Even in some cases formally brought to 
the attention of Bishops, there has been no public 
condemnation. In refusing to notice them, ecclesias 
tical rulers have represented a very general impatience 
with doctrinal discussions, an abhorrence of heresy- 
trials, and a disparagement of theological truth. No 
one Bishop can set up for his diocese a standard 
notably at variance with that of the Church at large, 
nor try to banish as " erroneous " from his own 
territory what is notoriously not " strange " elsewhere. 
In conniving at doctrinal laxity, he fails to vindicate 
the Church's theoretical position ; but he usually 
represents the tone and temper of his people due to 
the habitual restiveness at the supernatural prevalent 
everywhere in Protestantism. After long struggle 
against the conviction, I have been forced to admit 
that this toleration of doctrinal laxity seems to me to 
indicate that the Church's discipline fails to express 
and defend its doctrine, and creates an insuperable 
difficulty for those who believe in the fundamental 
importance of the historic doctrine of the Incarnation. 



Uncertainty about Sacraments 



2. UNCERTAINTY ABOUT SACRAMENTS 

(2) Sacraments. The Episcopal Church permits and 
encourages a variety of views about Sacraments. 
Its standard, however, is determined by the minimum 
rather than the maximum view tolerated, since its 
official position must be gauged not by the most it 
allows, but by the least it insists on. Its general 
influence has fluid qualities always seeking the lowest 
possible level. The stream of its life cannot rise 
higher than its source in corporate authority. In 
dividual belief and practice may surmount this ; but 
they will ultimately count for nothing so long as they 
find no expression in official action ; nor can the 
Church be judged by the standard of individual 
members acting in independence of it. 

Like many others, I attach the highest importance to 
the doctrines of Baptismal Regeneration, of the^Real 
Presence in the Holy Eucharist, of the Eucharistic 
Sacrifice, of the sacramental character of Confirma 
tion and Penance. All these doctrines the Church 
tolerates ; but, so long as equal toleration is given to 
others of a different or even neutralizing sort, it does 
not definitely teach them. To tolerate everything is 
to teach nothing. Hence though individuals among 
us may urge the importance of these definite beliefs, 
they cannot claim the full authoritative backing of 
that portion of the Church to which they profess 
allegiance. 

The sacramental teaching of the Episcopal Church 
is non-committal, with the consequence that its official 
teachers are habitually vague in their utterances, and 
that the beliefs of many of its members are approxi 
mately or actually Zwinglian. A general policy of 
comprehension by reduction of requirements to the 
lowest terms prevents conversion by rising to highest 
possibilities. Although there has been marked advance 
among some of our people owing to deeper hold of 
sacramental truth, there has been even greater advance 



6 The Failure of Anglicanism 

among others toward rationalistic scepticism. On 
the whole, the Church seems to be swayed by the 
tendencies of the age- opposed to the supernatural 
owing to ambiguities inherent in its system, always 
subject to an intellectual law of gravitation. 



3. ORDERS DOUBTFULLY VALID 

(3) Orders. The immediate occasion of my resigna 
tion has been a change of view concerning Anglican 
ordinations. I received and have conferred Orders 
in the Episcopal Church, believing Holy Orders 
to be a Sacrament of Divine appointment, necessary 
for valid ministrations. In this I simply shared the 
conviction of many English and American divines, 
certainly of most of the Bishops with whom I have 
had closest contact. Hesitation about the use of the 
word " Sacrament " as applied to Orders, as not one 
of those " generally necessary," cannot obscure the 
sacramental character of the formula, " Receive the 
Holy Ghost for the Office of a Priest (or Bishop) in 
the Church of God." In the best of company 1 
have taken this as representing the true teaching of 
the Anglican Communion about Orders, though it 
involved explaining away dubiousness elsewhere in 
formularies and in practice. 

During the past three years, however, I have been 
reinvestigating the question of Orders, being largely 
influenced to do so by arguments that Anglican 
Orders " have no special theory attached." This 
contention, though lacking support from many whose 
judgement is of special weight, has that of many 
great names, of the preponderance of lay opinion, 
and of important precedents. In comparing the 
arguments for esse and bene esse (the theory that the 
Church in ordination confers a Sacrament though 
many clergy do not know it, as contrasted with the 
other that the Church confers no Sacrament though 
some of the clergy think so) I have been forced to 



Orders doubtfully Valid 7 

admit that the defenders of the latter seem to make 
out the stronger case, and that this must be taken as 
the more probable opinion of Holy Orders in the 
Anglican Communion. I have yielded to the argu 
ments for this ; but I give up the Orders. 



FINAL DISILLUSIONMENT 

Consideration of this matter had created such grave 
doubts in my mind last December, that I had to 
refuse requests from the Bishops of New York and 
Pennsylvania to hold ordinations for them during 
Advent, at which time also I finally decided to resign 
my diocese. Only during the past month, however, 
have I been able to see what must be the further 
consequences for myself. 

To my mind, Orders to which " no special theory is 
attached " are Orders to which no special importance 
is attached. Orders of this description do have the 
theory attached that no special theory is necessary, 
which excludes the sacramental view. To the Orders 
of the Catholic Church the theory is always attached 
or rather, in them the principle is inherent that Orders 
is a Sacrament, perpetuating the Apostolate instituted 
by our Lord. If the " no special theory " be the more 
correct one, Anglican Orders are proved dubious, if not 
invalid through defect of intention. If so, I for one 
cannot perpetuate them, nor can I hold them. 

Doubtfulness about the character of Orders and 
the assumption that special forms in ordination are 
non-essential seem to underlie many prevailing schemes 
for promoting unity. Too often we are content 
with names without regard to the things they 
signify, giving the titles " bishop " and " priest " 
without clear apprehension of the offices they re 
present ; laying great stress on " Holy Communion " 
without full apprehension of what the central Christian 
rite really is ;' urging the use of the ancient Creeds, 
yet letting it be understood that those who wish may 



8 The Failure of Anglicanism 

say " Conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the 
Virgin Mary/' meaning thereby that Jesus was one 
of the sons of Joseph. 

"Is the Creed worth defending ? " " Are the 
Sacraments Divine mysteries ? " "Is Holy Orders a 
Sacrament ? " I believe the only answer the Church 
should make to all of these questions to be a prompt 
and emphatic " Yes"; yet I have come to feel that 
our communion by its non-committal attitude virtually 
answers " No." Hence I have no choice but to resign 
my place and to declare my withdrawal from the 
ministry : the Bishops have no choice but to accept 
the resignation and proceed to my deposition, since 
resignation for these reasons involves renunciation at 
least of the Discipline and Orders of the Protestant 
Episcopal Church. 

I ought not to regret doing what under the cir 
cumstances is necessary and right. I do sincerely 
regret that the action will cause pain to many and 
sever ties and associations which I supremely value. 
Though forced to give up the ministry of the Epis 
copal Church, 1 have not ceased to appreciate the 
depth and reality of its religious experiences, or to 
believe that through it Our Lord gives His grace to 
all who approach Him in good faith ; nor have I 
ceased to recognize that it is a training-school for 
saints and is making valuable contribution to American 
Christianity. My personal feelings for it can only 
be those of gratitude. To it alone I owe the convic 
tions which have led to my present action. 

With great respect and affection, 

Sincerely yours, 
FREDERICK JOSEPH KINSMAN. 

BIRCHMERE, BRYANT POND, MAINE, 
July 1, 1919. 



PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY THE CATHOLIC TRUTH SOCIETY, 
72 VICTORIA STREET, LONDON, S.W. i 

E March, 1932. 



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