What He Said

I say a Church which allows people to serve at her altars not holding a doctrine which may be said to be a doctrine of this Church, is cruel to them, if she perpetually requires them to say what they do not believe; and therefore, while it would be hard for me to accept, in deed I would oppose to the utmost of my power anything which should throw the slightest doubt upon [this doctrine], I for one should be prepared to refer to this Committee on the Revision of the Rubrics, provided such a commission should be appointed, the consideration of some means whereby the Bishop of the Diocese, or the ecclesiastical authority of the Diocese, should have the power to protect and to defend real and true conscientious scruples wherever they might be.
James DeKoven “The Canon on Ritual, and the Holy Eucharist,” an address to the General Convention in 1874 (on baptismal regeneration — but applicable, it seems to me — much more broadly, and not by any means unilaterally)

2 thoughts on “What He Said

  1. Later, he considers the possibility of someone saying, “We have come to see whether you are symbolizing wrong doctrines” (my emphasis). DeKoven recognizes that ritual behavior expresses doctrinal claims quite apart from the utterance of particular words — excellent!
    And he goes on to say in conclusion:

    “Let this Church on this doctrine preserve its equanimity. Let it study. Let it read. Let it pray. Let it think. Let men who have the grace and the gift of understanding pour forth their contributions; and if there are things that ought not to be said, we may be sure that free thought, free play, free consideration, and full consideration, never harmed the Church in any way; for, mark you, it is a philosophical truth, which no man can read ecclesiastical history without understanding, that no doctrine, though it be formulated never so often, becomes the doctrine of any Church until that doctrine receives the moral unanimity of its members; and if any one here should be tempted either by Rubric or by Article to attempt to take away from the doctrine of this Church on the Eucharist, it would only be endeavoring to do something which in time to come this Church will rise as one man, clerical and lay, and sweep away.”

  2. Wow. DeKoven? Really? Excellent.

    Thanks for posting this, AKMA. I appreciate it. It’s akin to some Orthodox sayings out there. They go something like: Every Orthodox saint is only 80% orthodox. I always get it wrong. Suffice it to say, Augustine was a saint but he wasn’t always right.

    Peace and All Good Things to you, sir.

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