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Out of the question: Catholic Apostolic liturgy

by
20 April 2010

Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or would like to add to the answers below.

Your answers

I wish to know more about a Prayer Book printed in 1920, entitled Liturgy, with no reference to any specific Church. Its contents are similar to the 1662 BCP, and include Catechism, Churching of Women, some very long prayers at the Communion, and a service for the Consecrating of “Angels”. Plainsong chants are printed for the Psalms. What denomination might still use this book?

The “Liturgy” was that of the deno­mination that emerged in the 1830s, often called “Irvingites” (because of the early link with Edward Irving), but who called themselves the Catholic Apostolic Church rather than take yet another denomina­tional and therefore divisive title. (Albury, Surrey, was where the work emerged.) It was international, and especially strong in Germany and Holland.

Its members were doctrinally orthodox in every way apart from their conviction that 12 of their number were called (by word of prophecy) to be apostles, for the end-times that would soon culmin­ate in Christ’s return.

The eucharist (very little like 1662, in fact) was long, dignified, and imbued with an awareness of the Holy Spirit (whose vocal gifts were occasionally heard).

“Angels” was their name (based on Revelation 2.1,8,12, etc.) for bishops. Their altars were finally “covered” for eucharistic worship in the 1950s when the priests had all died, because only an apostle could ordain, and the last had died in 1901.

My grandfather was the priest of the Islington congregation in which my faith was nurtured, and he died in 1950. The denomination was re­ferred to by its members, not so much by its title, but as “The Lord’s Work”, and so it seemed, in its beauty, to me. I am glad that I had that start, even though I am now of the Affirming Catholicism persuasion.
(The Revd) John Latham
Market Harborough

. . . Worship was Catholic in style, with vestments and incense, holy water, and reservation of the sacra­ment; oil lamps were used as being more authentic than candles.

The Catholic Apostolic Church was mainly an urban phenomenon, flourishing among the manufactur­ing middle class of Victorian Eng­land, and supported by the gener-osity of their tithes.

It began to decline in the early 20th century when the last apostle died. By the 1930s, many members, including my family, had found a spiritual home in the Catholic wing of the Church of England.

Its great church in Gordon Square, London, is well worth a visit. It became the University Chaplaincy in 1963, but closed in the early 1990s, as the ordination of women was unwelcome to its trustees; it is now the Forward in Faith church.
(The Revd) Joanna Yates
London NW7

. . . In due course, all the orders were incorporated, from priests through exorcists to door-keepers. . . Members were offered sacramental hospitality by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1958, when their last priest died. In some centres, Holland and elsewhere, they also continue with non-sacramental worship led by under-deacons.
(Canon) Chad Coussmaker
Tourrettes-sur-Loup, France

. . . It maintains (though does not seem to open) an important Lon­don church by J. L. Pearson in Little Venice, and a church in Surrey at Albury, where some of the original “apostles” are buried in the village churchyard. Gathered under the Apostles: A study of the Catholic Apostolic Church (1992) was written by a former member, G. C. Flegg, but he had problems eliciting in­formation from the trustees; their charitable activities can be seen on the Charity Commission website.
(The Revd) Peter Kettle
London SW19

. . .They invented the doctrine of the “Rapture”. . .
(The Revd) J. D. Wright
Whitehawk, Brighton

. . . There were seven Catholic Apostolic churches in the London area. . . My copy of the Liturgy was given to me by my godfather on 5 June 1933, my seventh birthday. For further information, please contact me, via the Church Times.
F. N. S.

Your questions

What was Dupanloup’s Method of the Catechism (100 Years Ago, 1 April)? Was it widely adopted in the Church of England?
A. M.

Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question, Church Times, 13-17 Long Lane, London EC1A 9PN. questions@churchtimes.co.uk

 

Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question, Church Times, 13-17 Long Lane, London EC1A 9PN. questions@churchtimes.co.uk

 

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