Pastoral Letter

Excerpt from an address read aloud on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England, on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, September 8th, 1877.

Pro Deo, pro ecclesia, pro patria

In the Sacred Name of the Most Holy, Undivided and Adorable Trinity, Father Son and Holy Ghost. Amen

†Thomas, by the Favour of GOD, Rector of the ORDER OF CORPORATE REUNION, and PRO-PROVINCIAL OF CANTERBURY; †Joseph, by the Favour of GOD, PROVINCIAL OF YORK, in the Kingdom of England; and †Laurence, by the Favour of GOD, PROVINCIAL OF CAERLEON, in the Principality of Wales, with the Provosts and Members of the Synod of the Order, to the Faithful in CHRIST JESUS, whom these Presents may concern; Health and Benediction in the LORD GOD Everlasting.

EVERY faithful Christian must surely be distressed and bewildered at the spectacle afforded by the evil state into which the National Church of England has been brought by departure from ancient principles and by recent events. A long course of change, usurpation, and revolution has moved all her old land-marks. The evil is continually working; no man being able to foresee whereunto it will grow, or what will be the end thereof. Two things are certain, however: on the one hand, that all semblance of independent existence and corporate action has departed from the Established Church, so that she is given up, as it were, bound hand and foot, and blindfolded into the toils of her enemies; while, on the other hand, these enemies are waiting to rob her of her privileges and possessions, and are even now debating how to divide the spoil.

We affirm, that in the Providence of God, the evil itself has opened the door to a remedy. For the Bishops of the Church of England, having yielded up all canonical authority and jurisdiction in the spiritual order, can neither interfere with, nor restrain, Us in Our work of recovering from elsewhere that which has been forfeited or lost - securing three distinct and independent lines of a new Episcopal Succession, so as to labour corporately, and on no sandy foundation, for the healing of the breach which has been made.

In thus associating ourselves together, we solemnly take as the basis of this Our Order the Catholic Faith as defined by the Seven General Councils, acknowledged as such by the whole Church of the East and the West before the great and deplorable schism, and as commonly received in the Apostles´ Creed, and the Creed of Nicaea, and the Creed of St. Athanasius. To all the sublime doctrines so laid down, We declare our unreserved adhesion, as well as to the principles of Church constitution and discipline, set forth and approved by the said Seven General Councils. Furthermore, until the whole Church shall speak on the subject, We accept all those dogmatic statements set forth in common by the Council of Trent and the Synod of Bethlehem respectively, with regard to the doctrine of the Sacraments…

Thanking Almighty God most humbly for the restoration of Brotherhoods, Sisterhoods, and Guilds, We solemny affirm that the Monastic Life, duly regulated according to the laws of the Catholic Church, is a most salutary institution, in perfect harmony with the spirit of the Gospel; and is full of profit to those who, being carefully tried and examined, make full proof of their calling thereto. Our services will always be at the disposal of such - upon whom We invoke the Divine blessing.

As regards the chief aim of this new Order - Corporate Reunion - it is needful to remark finally, that, while We have to deplore the divisions existing amongst the churches, We cannot unchurch any having a true succession. Therefore, We pray for all, We remove all stumblingblocks in the way of union amongst the baptized, whom We hail and regard as brethren, while, on disputed points of Church opinion not yet defined by lawful Authority. We appeal to a free General Council, with earnest prayers to God for its speedy assembly and guidance by the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Bishops of the Order of Corporate Reunion