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100 Years Ago: Recklessness and reunion

August 21st, 1908.

WE SEEM to notice, as the outcome of the Report of the Lambeth Conference, an almost reckless advocacy of reunion. To those who allow themselves to be swayed by sentiment, the fact that we are divided seems to outweigh all consideration of the causes of our unhappy divisions. They, therefore, urge us to make peace at any price, to regard what we call principles as matters of scarcely any importance. If those who take this view are allowed to force the pace, it is easy to see that we shall soon arrive at a reunion that is nothing more nor less than undenominationalism in a fresh guise. Let us suppose, for example, that we effected a reunion with some Protestant body that possessed some claim to valid orders, that used that claim for the ground of its affiliation with us, but put it aside in its relation with other societies which reject the historic Episcopate. What sort of union would that be where one of the parties recognised, and the other refused to recognise, a third religious body? . . . Moreover, the basis of reunion must by no means exclusively be the common pos­session of a valid priesthood, but also the common acceptance of the Catholic Creed. We notice that the Lambeth Conference desired to estab­lish relations with a Society which has no Creed, and which, though its liturgy for Easter Day contains a sort of paraphrase of the Apostles’ Creed, does not enforce the use of that or any liturgy. . . Excessive amiability and complais­ance may lead us into dangerous error.

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