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100 years ago: Rebuff from Hensley Henson

25 February 2022

February 24th, 1922.

THE Bishop of Durham has received an invitation to become a Vice-President of an Anglo-Catholic Congress for the North of England which is to be held in Leeds early in the coming summer. His lordship has communicated his reply to the Press. He observes that the aim of the Congress, “the conversion to our Lord of those who do not know Him”, is near to his heart, and that he would count it the highest of privilege if in any effective manner he could assist personally in that great adventure. But from study of the Report of the first Anglo-Catholic Congress he is convinced that the Anglo-Catholic movement is, with some necessary reserves, in principle and tendency not Anglican, or Catholic, but Roman. While, therefore, he applauds the pious zeal of the committee, and will pray that God’s blessing may rest on every honest effort, however shadowed by error, to win men to their true allegiance, he cannot feel himself free in conscience to comply with the request of the committee. So might some of his lordship’s predecessors have written, Longley, or van Mildert, or Baring. So would write very few bishops who have been consecrated since Dr Henson, or if declining the invitation they would have worded their refusal with a less patronizing asperity. His lordship condemns by implication not only the bishops from overseas who took so active a part in the first Congress, but his brethren, the late Bishop of Chichester and the present Bishops of London and Oxford. We do not suppose that his action will at all discourage the promoters of the Congress from pursuing their high aim.

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