THERE is unfortunately a wide gulf between the Roman Catholic and Anglican views on Church authority. Roman Catholics claim universal jurisdiction for the Pope as by divine law,1 and the Anglican Article 37 denies such jurisdiction. Further, Roman Catholics believe that a divided Church is impossible, and go on to assume that their communion, which claims to be the whole Church, must be so. Anglicans believe that the Church militant ought not to be divided, but in fact is. They frequently express their faith in "one Catholick and Apostolick Church", and suppose, for example, that the provinces of Canterbury and York are provinces of that Church and that Christians all over the world who are in communion with the see of Canterbury are bona fide members thereof, in spite of their separation from the Roman see. "The divisibility of the Church", says Dom Chapman, "is the cardinal doctrine of Anglicanism and its most fundamental heresy." During the last hundred years a vast number of controversial books have been published on this dispute. They often turn on the authority held by the early bishops of Rome, both sides quoting from the fathers in support of their views. This is sometimes called "the appeal to history". The most popular of such works are Roman Catholic Claims by Charles Gore, 1st edition 1888, 11th edition 1921, and the reply to the 9th edition by Dom John Chapman, called Bishop Gore and the Catholic Claims, 1905. The chief excuse for my book is that extracts from the fathers, when seen in their context, so often give a different picture from that which they give when quoted briefly by controversial writers. Most readers of controversy have neither the time nor the knowledge to enable them to go to libraries, check the references, and translate into English. Yet it is obvious that an author with art axe to grind must never be taken at his own valuation. He needs to be checked at every turn. Our Documents are therefore collected to put at the disposal of the English reader the raw material necessary for the study of this dispute. Most of them are quoted or cited in one or both of the two books just mentioned, and reference to these is given in all such cases at the end of the Document, the author's name and page number only being printed. By using these two works mainly for the selection of the Documents, I have kept the book within bounds, and I hope I have been balanced in my selection. I should have liked to avoid all notes and comments, but this seemed impossible. It has been necessary to link the Documents to the history of the Church, and in some cases to show how they have been used by the axe-grinders. To do this fairly is not easy.
E Giles, Brother Hermenegild TOSF, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1495911438, ISBN 13: 9781495911439