The battle for Benediction

29 March 2019

March 28th, 1919.

Sir, — In your leading article of March 21, while you remind us that it is occasionally right to obey an unlawful command, “to resist an unlawful command is sometimes the only way to secure its nullification.” You value Benediction, but consider that a bishop has the right to forbid it. You contend that a priest has no right to introduce a devotion, without episcopal sanction, merely because it is good and invigorating; that way lie all kinds of irregularities, and it certainly would be silly to introduce a devotion, with or without episcopal sanction, merely because it is traditional. There is, you would admit, a strong case for the introduction of any devotion which can claim past tradition and present helpfulness.

We should all be agreed that (1) Benediction, (2) the All Souls’ Requiem, (3) Processions of the Host, (4) the custom of saying “Glory be to Thee, O God,” at the Gospel — to mention four practices not explicitly in the Prayer Book — are admirable. Should we encounter the opposition of The Church Times if we refused to abandon these practices at the bidding of the diocesan, or the support of The Church Times if we abandoned the first and respectfully refused to abandon any of the others? For if you deserted us on the question of customs two, three or four, how could we ever look to you for leadership again? . . .

3rd Sunday in Lent.

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