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100 years ago: Press and Prayer Book

27 January 2023

January 26th, 1923.

UNMINDFUL of its old traditions, the Morning Post is beating the Protestant drum and rallying Protestants to the defeat of the proposals for the revision of the Prayer Book. But its zeal is not according to knowledge. For example, our contemporary observes that “for the present Calendar with the Table of Lessons it is proposed to substitute a table containing the names and titles of numerous saints, such as ‘Vincent, Spanish Deacon, and Martyr,’ ‘Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome,’ ‘Venerable Bede of Yarrow,’ ‘Faith of Aquitaine, Virgin and Martyr,’ and so on; an imposing hagiology.” These instances of “ substitution” are singularly unfortunate, for if our contemporary had taken the trouble to glance at the existing Calendar with Table of Lessons it would have seen that all the four saints whom it names, and against whose intrusion into the Calendar it seems to protest, are, in fact, already there. This sort of criticism only reveals the ignorance of those who make it. For the rest, the Morning Post thinks that if an alternative use is provided, ‘‘the uniformity of the Church of England will be rent in twain.” Our contemporary hastens to admit that no such uniformity exists at present. But what does not exist, obviously cannot be riven, and the argument falls. The present confusion is described by the Morning Post as “a certain variety of practice, according to the wise and liberal tradition of the Church of England.” That variety of practice at present covers the use of the Roman Mass in Fulham and evening communions in Bayswater, a toleration which is probably more liberal than wise. It seems to us that the adoption of the proposals for revision would make for a greater degree of uniformity than the rejection of them which the Morning Post counsels.

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