Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Foundations of the Anglican Church, CX

William Juxon, Archbishop
of Canterbury from 1660
until his death in 1663.

All good things must come to an end—and so too the Cromwellian dictatorship over the Commonwealth. In this posting, we will look at the restoration of Crown and Bishops in England after the Civil War and the Commonwealth. 
Oliver Cromwell died on September 3, 1658 and was succeeded as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth by his son, Richard.  Richard lacked his father’s resolve and in the face of conflict between the Army and civilian government, resigned.  The majority of the English people had grown very disillusioned with Puritan government.  The draconian laws that restricted any games or pleasure on the Sabbath, the abolition of holydays—including and especially Christmas, the wordy and drab forms of worship in the churches, the excessive Calvinistic moralism all combined to wear down even the dour English.  With the resignation of Richard Cromwell as Lord Protector and the aimless policies of the Council of State—the group that had served as the “Privy Council” to Cromwell Senior and Cromwell Junior, the administration of government began to implode.  The office of Lord Protector was replaced by a seven (later eleven) member “Committee of Safety.” This arrangement lasted only two weeks.  Fighting broke out in England as the Royalists under George Booth began to push against Parliamentarian government.  General John Lambert defeated Booth’s army and tried to put down the rebellion but Cromwell’s governor of Scotland, George Monck, saw the inevitable end of the Commonwealth and led his forces to defeat Lambert.  Monck entered into secret communication with Charles II, son of the “martyred” Charles I, who issued the Declaration of Breda from his exile in the Spanish Netherlands.  This declaration promised a general pardon for all involved in the rebellion against the monarchy, assured all who had purchased or legally obtained property during the Cromwell years that they would retain ownership, and finally promised payment of back pay to the army and guaranteed all officers that they would continue to serve under the monarchy as they had under the Commonwealth.  Eight weeks later Charles was back in England and on the Throne. 
One of the first concerns was to restore the Church to its former status.  In 1662 Parliament passed an act of Uniformity imposing a new Prayer Book and requiring ordination by a bishop for all clergy.  Those who had been ordained according to Presbyterian polity during the Commonwealth were required to submit to re-ordination by a bishop.  Approximately 2000 clergy refused and lost their livings.  The Act of Uniformity also imposed a new Book of Common Prayer upon the English Church.  Anglicans and Presbyterians had met for the Savoy Conference in 1661 but in the end were unable to agree on a liturgy acceptable to both sides. The failure to agree on a liturgy and the disenfranchisement of those clergy who would not accept Episcopal Ordination (or re-ordination in the case of those already ordained during the period in which the episcopacy was abolished from 1646 until 1660) led to a final separation of the Presbyterian/Congregationalist faction in the Church of England from the Anglican/Episcopal faction.  Those who broke with the Established Church were referred to as non-Conformists (because they would not “conform” to the official rites) and included Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists.  (The Methodists, originally a 18th century movement within the Church of England also joined the non-Conformists when it broke with the Anglican Church.  More will be written on that in later posts.)
The Episcopacy was restored in the Church of England in 1660 and William Juxon, who had been Bishop of London before the suppression of Episcopacy in 1646 was named Archbishop of Canterbury, thus guaranteeing continuity in lineage and Apostolic Succession (at least according to Anglican perspectives) with the pre-Civil War bishops.  Similarly Accepted Frewen (yes, his first name was ‘Accepted’—that is the sort of things evangelicals do to their children), one-time bishop of Litchfield and Coventry before the Civil War, was named to York guaranteeing the succession in the Northern Province as well. 
In doing some background for this entry I found out that George Montaigne who served briefly as Archbishop of York before the Civil War and previously held the sees of Lincoln, London, and Durham had, among his consecrators when consecrated as Bishop of Lincoln in 1617, one Marco Antonio de Dominis who himself had been the Catholic Archbishop of Split in Dalmatia.   De Dominis had apostatized when caught in a political dispute between Venice and the papacy.  He later returned to the Catholic Church, and he was still later tried for heresy.  Be that as it may, it is interesting to note that Catholic lineage was re-instated into the Anglican line as early as 1617. De Dominis also was co-consecrator for Nicholas Felton who served first as Bishop of Bristol and later as Bishop of Ely.  Montaigne had little chance to consecrate bishops himself when Archbishop of York—he only held the see a few months before his death, but as Bishop of Durham he probably would have been a co-consecrator for a number of bishops in the Northern Province and as Bishop of London for a number of bishops in the Canterbury province.  


  1. Catholic lineage had been reinstated in 1617? Do you mean that the Anglicans had derived their orders from other than Catholic sources?

    I have read that Wesley may have been consecrated a bishop by a wandering Greek but was unaware of any earlier Eastern connection with the possible exception of a ancient Archbishop of Canterbury.

  2. Well, the Catholic view has been that the episcopal consecration of Matthew Parker was invalid both for reasons of intention and for defect of form. Personally, I think that serious study in the last century of various ordination rites in the Eastern Churches which Rome recognizes calls into question the judgment against Anglican Orders on the question of form. As for intention, that is always a difficult matter to judge without explicit statements from all involved, but it can be presumed that while the intention of both the consecrating bishops and the bishops being consecrated may have differed from traditional Catholic doctrine, there was certainly an implicit intention to do what Christ commanded his Church to do in the ordination of priests and the consecration of bishops. I find it interesting that in the consecration of Bishops Montaigne and Felton that the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time, Richard Bancroft, would have gone out of his way to choose a Catholic (admittedly at that time apostate, but still validly consecrated by Roman standards) co-consecrator. It may show some uncertainty among among Anglicans about their apostolic lineage; it may have been done to assert the validity of Anglican Orders to Rome. However the "problem" with Cranmer's Ordinal, used for the 1559 consecration of Archbishop Parker was not "fixed" until the 1662 Ordinal. So if the rite were defective in 1559 it was still defective in 1617 for the ordinations in which Archbishop de Dominis participated. I do think there is a significant "if" however as to the invalidity of the Anglican Rite. Curiously enough, when he was Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, then Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) offered the Church of England an re-examination of the question of Anglican Orders if they Church of England did not go ahead with the ordination of women to the priesthood. As the Church did approve the ordination of women, the offer was moot but it is significant that there was an openness to examine the question again.