Archive for the ‘Edward Bouverie Pusey’ Tag

Feast of Edward Bouverie Pusey (September 18)   Leave a comment

Above:  Edward Bouverie Pusey

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Anglican Priest

Feast day in The Church of England = September 16

Feast day in The Episcopal Church = September 18

Edward Bouverie Pusey, born into a wealthy family, spent most of his adult life at Oxford University.  He, from 1841 the leader of the Oxford Movement, was a priest more influential in the Anglican Communion than most bishops were.

Pusey, born near Oxford on August 22, 1800, took naturally to university life.  He, educated at Eton then Christ Church, Oxford University, became a Fellow of Oriel College in 1824.  He spent 1825-1827, studying in Berlin and Göttingen, where he met leading German Biblical scholars and critics, as well as studying Semitic languages in Germany and at Oxford.  In 1828 and 1830 Pusey published An Historical Enquiry into the Probable Causes of the Rationalist Character Lately Predominant in the Theology of Germany (two parts), a work critical (in the academic sense of that word) of German Rationalistic theology.  He linked it to spiritually dead Protestant orthodoxy.  When certain people mistook the work for a defense of German Rationalistic theology, he withdrew the Historical Enquiry.  Also in 1828, Pusey married Maria Catherine Barker (1801-1839).  The couple had four children.  Our saint, ordained to the diaconate then to the priesthood of The Church of England, accepted appointment as the Regius Professor of Hebrew and Canon, a position he held for the rest of his life.

At Oxford Pusey met John Keble (1792-1866) and John Henry Newman (1801-1890), leader of the Oxford Movement, also known as Tractarianism and Anglo-Catholicism.  The Roman Catholic revival within Anglicanism was controversial.  Some opponents, who thought that Holy Mother Church was the Whore of Babylon and the Pope was the Antichrist, went to the logical and predictable extreme of labeling the Oxford Movement nothing short of Satanic.  For decades priests bowing to altars, candles being present on the altar, and other practices were controversial.

The Tractarians, whom Pusey joined in 1833, took their name from the Tracts of the Times series.  Our saint wrote some of the Tracts, notably #18 on fasting on its spiritual benefits) in 1834 and #67 and #69 (on baptism) in 1836.  The Tractarians, consistent with their priority on classicism, published the Library of the Fathers series.  Pusey translated the first volume, the Confessions of St. Augustine of Hippo, in 1838.

Pusey became the leader of the Oxford Movement in 1841, as Newman moved toward his conversion to Roman Catholicism, in 1845.  Our saint became so identified with the Tractarian Movement that “Puseyite” became a synonym for Tractarian.  He remained within The Church of England, so many who would otherwise have followed Newman into the Roman Catholic Church chose not to cross the Tiber River.

Pusey donated generously to churches for the poor and founded a religious community to minister to impoverished people.  The Sisterhood of the Holy Cross, also known as the Park Village Community, founded in 1845, was the first Anglican religious community founded since the English Reformation.  In 1856 the Sisterhood of the Holy Cross merged into the Society of the Most High Trinity, founded by Priscilla Lydia Sellon (1821-1876) in 1849.

Pusey frequently found himself engaged in controversies.

  1. In 1843 his sermon before Oxford University entitled “The Holy Eucharist, a Comfort to the Penitent,” in which he favored Transubstantiation, led to his suspension from the Oxford pulpit for two years.
  2. Another sermon, “The Entire Absolution of the Penitent” (1846), was a defense of the proposition that The Church of England had the priestly power to absolve sins.  This was the beginning of private confession in Anglicanism, a practice still too Catholic for many Anglicans.
  3. In 1862 Pusey accused Benjamin Jowett (1817-1893), the Regius Professor of Greek of heresy.  Jowett, a Hegelian, had written “On the Interpretation of Scripture” for Essays and Reviews in 1860.  Pusey found Jowett’s conclusions theologically erroneous.  The Chancellor’s Court acquitted Jowett, who remained at Oxford and received promotions.
  4. In 1865 Pusey wrote that barriers to Anglican reunion with the Roman Catholic Church included purgatory, indulgences, and Marian devotion.  During the next few years Newman and Pusey engaged in a long-form, written debate, topics of which also included Papal Infallibility and the Immaculate Conception.
  5. One of the controversies in The Church of England in the late 1800s was whether to remove the Athanasian Creed from Morning Prayer.  Pusey argued for retaining it.  Although that creed remained in the form for Morning Prayer in The Book of Common Prayer (1662), the practice of congregational recitation of that creed declined within Anglicanism.

Pusey, aged 82 years, died at Ascot Priory, Berkshire, of the Society of the Most Holy Trinity, on September 16, 1882.  He was a transformational figure and a positive influence within Anglicanism.

Pusey House, a religious institution at St. Giles, Oxford, constitutes a tangible part of our saint’s legacy.





Grant, O God, that in all time of testing we may know your presence and obey your will;

that, following the example of your servant Edward Bouverie Pusey,

we may with integrity and courage accomplish what you give us to bear;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 36:24-28

Psalm 106:1-5

1 Peter 2:19-23

Luke 3:10-14

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 591


Feast of Richard Meux Benson, Charles Chapman Grafton, and Charles Gore (January 14)   2 comments

Anglican Communion

Above:  The Flag of the Anglican Communion

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Anglican Priest and Cofounder of the Society of St. John the Evangelist



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Episcopal Priest, Cofounder of the Society of St. John the Baptist, and Bishop of Fond du Lac



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Anglican Bishop of Worcester, Birmingham, and Oxford; Founder of the Community of the Resurrection; Theologian; and Advocate for Social Justice and World Peace



January 16  and 17 seem to be auspicious days for celebrating founders of monastic orders.  So far the list has consisted of St. Antony of Egypt and St. Pachomius the Great.  With this post I remain within the theme yet depart antiquity for the 1800s.  Richard Meux Benson, Charles Chapman Grafton, and Charles Gore join the company of saints at this weblog.  The Church of England celebrates Gore’s life on January 17.  The Episcopal Church celebrates the lives of Gore and Benson on January 16 and the life of Grafton on August 30.  I have decided to follow the Episcopalian practice of joining Benson and Gore on January 16 and to depart from the Episcopalian practice of commemorating Grafton on August 30.  A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is my project–one of my hobbies–so I have full authority with regard to it.


This composite account begins with Richard Meux Benson, born to a wealthy family in London, England, the United Kingdom, on July 6, 1824.  He, tutored privately at home for years, went on to attend Christ Church, Oxford, where he met to major influences, the Tractarians Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800-1882) and John Henry Newman (1801-1890).  Our saint graduated with his B.A. in 1847 and his M.A. two years later.  Benson took Anglican Holy Orders in 1849, served briefly as the Curate of St. Mark’s, Surbiton (1849-1850), then became the Vicar of Cowley, Oxford (1850-1886).  In 1865, at Cowley, he, along with two other priests, founded the Mission Priests of St. John the Evangelist, which became the Society of St. John the Evangelist (S.S.J.E.) the following year.  The S.S.J.E. became the first stable Anglican religious order for men founded since the English Reformation.  Members, who were active in the outside world, lived communally, recited the Divine Office together daily, meditated privately at least one hour daily when possible, and spent designated days on spiritual retreats and in silence.


The two cofounders of the S.S.J.E. were Father Simeon Wilberforce O’Neill and Father Charles Chapman Grafton.  The latter, a native of the United States, had started his sojourn in England.  Grafton, born to a wealthy family in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 12, 1830, had entered the ordained life after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1853.  He, after studying with the Right Reverend William Rollinson Whittingham, the Bishop of Maryland from 1840 to 1879, entered the Sacred Order of Deacons on December 23, 1855.  Grafton served at Reisterstown, Maryland, for a few years.  He became a priest on May 30, 1858.  Next he served as the Curate of St. Paul’s Church, Baltimore, and as the Chaplain of Deaconesses in the Diocese of Maryland.  Our saint lived in England from 1865 to 1872.


Benson served at Cowley until 1886, when he resigned to devote his full attention to the S.S.J.E.  From 1870 to 1883 the order spread to the United States, India, and South Africa.  Our saint wrote the rule for the order, the Superior of which he remained until 1890.  Afterward he traveled the world for a few years.  Benson spent a year in India then eight years in Boston.  He spent the Lent of 1895 preaching and teaching in parishes in Baltimore, despite the fact that his high churchmanship  had prompted critical comments by William Paret, the Bishop of Maryland from 1884 to 1911.  Benson returned to England, where he remained for the last 16 years of his life.  He took communion every morning.  When he could no longer walk to take communion, someone pushed him in a wheelchair.  Benson died on January 14, 1915.

Benson wrote much.  Searches at yielded the following results:


Grafton returned to the United States in 1872.  He became the Rector of the Church of the Advent, Boston, Massachusetts, an Anglo-Catholic parish.  Grafton also left the S.S.J.E. due to a jurisdictional dispute regarding Benson.  Grafton did, however, help to found the American Congregation of St. Benedict, now the Benedictine Order of St. John the Beloved.  Then, in 1888, he, with Mother Ruth Margaret, founded the Sisterhood of the Holy Nativity.

Above:  The “Fond du Lac Circus,” 1900

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In 1888, the Diocese of Fond du Lac elected Grafton to become its bishop.  The consecration occurred on August 25, 1889.  Bishop Grafton expanded the diocese.  He did this via two financial channels–his wealth and the wealth of people in the East whom he persuaded to contribute.  Nevertheless, perhaps Grafton’s most memorable moment occurred in 1900, at the consecration of Bishop Coadjutor Reginald Heber Weller.  Grafton, an ecumenist with strong interest in ties to Old Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, invited distinguished guests to participate in the consecration of Bishop Weller.  Bishop Antoni Kazlowski of the Polish National Catholic Church and Bishop Tikhon (now St. Tikhon) of the Russian Orthodox Church joined Episcopal bishops in the conscration of Weller.  The ecumenical breadth of bishops offended many Protestant-minded Episcopalians, who also objected to the photograph of all the bishops in full episcopal regalia.  The sight of Episcopal bishops in copes and mitres was a cause of much ecclesiastical controversy.  In time the scandal of the “Fond du Lac Circus” died down.

Grafton died on August 30, 1912.  Two years later, Cathedral Editions of his complete works (Volumes I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, and VIII) debuted in print.


Charles Gore was sui generis–of his own kind.  He was a liberal–a social radical, even–yet many theological radicals considered him to be too conservative.  Gore valued tradition yet many traditionalists thought he was too liberal.  He was an Anglo-Catholic yet many Anglo-Catholics considered him to be insufficiently Anglo-Catholic.  Others expected him to fit into a round hole, but he was a gloriously square peg.

Gore, a native of Wimbledon, London, the United Kingdom, came from a privileged family.  His privilege continued as he studied at Harrow then at Baillol College, Oxford.  In 1875 he became a Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford.  He, a deacon in 1876 and a priest in 1878, served as the Vice Principal of the theological school at Cuddesdon from 1880 to 1883.  Next he was the first Principal of Pusey House, Oxford, from 1884 to 1893.

Gore was a popular preacher.  He served as the Incumbent of Radley from 1893 to 1894 before becoming the Canon of Westminster in 1894.  Sundays on which he preached were much-anticipated days for many people.

In 1887 Gore founded the Society of the Resurrection, which became the Community of the Resurrection five years later.  The new order started with six priests, and our saint served as the first Superior (1892-1901).

Gore became a bishop in 1902.  He served as the Bishop of Worcester (1902-1905), the Bishop of Birmingham (1895-1911), and the Bishop of Oxford (1911-1919).  He retired to London in 1919.  Our saint wrote and preached a great deal, lectured at King’s College, and served as the Dean of the theological faculty of London University (1924-1928).  He died of pneumonia on January 17, 1932, after returning from a trip to India.  Gore was 78 years old.

Gore’s theology included much room for ambiguity.  He embraced higher criticism of the Bible, allowing for the realities of science and history, yet he insisted on the veracity of biblical miracles and the truth of the Church’s ancient creeds.  Nevertheless, some traditionalists questioned our saint’s Christology, especially when he argued that Jesus, as God incarnate, had taken on human limitations to his knowledge.

Gore favored a reasoning faith, a synthesis of critical reason and Christian faith.  He called this synthesis liberal Catholicism.  (Note the lowercase “l” in “liberal,” O reader, for that is crucial.  There is such a thing as Liberal Catholicism, with strong Theosophical influences.  Gore was hardly a Theosophist.)  Gore’s liberal Catholicism included defenses of apostolic succession and support for tradition.  It did not, however, follow tradition blindly, for it accommodated reason, science, and history.  As Ross Mackenzie wrote of our saint in the Christian Passages section of The Episcopal Church’s Education for Ministry, Year Three (1991),

Catholicism meant for him the establishment of a visible society that is the home of salvation.  But it must be a liberal Catholicism, appealing to scripture, antiquity, and reason in its concern for liberty, equality, and fraternity, “real expressions,” he said, “of the divine wisdom for today.”

–Page 493

This Social Gospel aspect of Gore’s theology found expression regarding many issues.  Sound theology, he insisted, must translate into positive social action.  In 1889 he helped to found the Christian Social Union, an outgrowth of Tractarian social concern.  Gore criticized imperialism, including that of his own nation-state.  He also advocated for international reconciliation after World War I.  The passage of time has confirmed that Germany suffered due to the ravages of the Great War and to vengeful treaty provisions, leading to high levels of resentment.  Nazis fed off that sense of grievance as well as other factors.  The article of the article on Gore in Volume 10 of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1968) noted our saint’s concern with social issues such as housing, education, world peace, and industrial relations.  That author wrote that this concern flowed from Gore’s

fundamental theological conviction of the unity of grace and nature in the divine purpose.  From this premise he concluded that his pastoral office demanded the broadest concern for human welfare as well as watchful care for the good order of the church.

–Page 583

Many works by Gore and some about him came to my attention when I searched at, my favorite website.  I have divided these works into categories, the first of which is original works by Gore:

The second category is works to which Gore contributed:

The third category is books Gore edited:

The fourth category is works in which another person edited Gore’s words:

Finally, in its own category is a response to Gore:


The Synoptic Gospels tell a story about a wealthy young man.  In Mark 10:17-3, Matthew 19:16-30, and Luke 18:18-30, a rich young man asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life.  According to our Lord and Savior, this young man, who has kept certain commandments religiously, lacks one thing:

Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.

–Luke 18:22b, Revised Standard Version–Catholic Edition (1966)

The young man leaves a sorrowful person, for he trusts in his wealth, not in God.

Richard Meux Benson, Charles Chapman Grafton, and Charles Gore came from backgrounds of economic privilege, but did not trust in that privilege.  No, they trusted in God.  They cared about the problems of the less fortunate and of those near and far, and acted accordingly.  They built up the Church, for the glory of God.  They were trees which produced good fruit.







Gracious God, you have inspired a rich variety of ministries in your Church:

We give you thanks for Richard Meux Benson, Charles Chapman Grafton, and Charles Gore,

instruments in the revival of Anglican monasticism.

Grant that we, following their example,

may call for perennial renewal in your Church through conscious union with Christ,

witnessing to the social justice that is a mark of the reign of our Savior Jesus,

who is the light of the world; and who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Kings 19:9-12

Psalm 27:5-11

1 John 4:7-12

John 17:6-11

–Altered from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 171


Feast of Richard Frederick Littledale (January 11)   Leave a comment

Church of England Logo

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Anglican Priest and Translator of Hymns

The Irish-born Richard Frederick Littledale graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, with a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) degree in 1862, the same year he collected a Doctor of Civil Law (D.C.L.) comitatus causa degree from Oxford.  The priest served St. Matthew’s, Thorpe Hamlet, Norfolk, and St. Mary the Virgin, Crown Street, Soho, London, but spent most of his career on literary pursuits due to persistent ill health.  Littledale, an Anglo-Catholic, heard more confessions than most Anglican priests; only Edward Bouverie Pusey heard more than he did.

Littledale was a very intelligent man.  He, blessed with a nearly photographic memory, proved to be a formidable debater.  He put those skills to use in his Plain Reasons for Not Joining the Church of Rome, a defense of The Church of England.  And he was a skilled liturgist; he co-edited The Priest’s Prayer-Book (1864) and The People’s Hymnal (1867).  Littledale, a good friend of John Mason Neale,  collaborated with him on Biblical commentaries, including four volumes on the Book of Psalms.

Littledale, a trained linguist, translated hymns from six languages into English.  One of those works was “Come Down, O Love Divine,” which he incorporated into The People’s Hymnal.

Come down, O love divine;

Seek thou this soul of mine

and visit it with thine own ardor glowing;

O Comforter, draw near;

within my heart appear

and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.

Oh, let it freely burn,

till worldly passions turn

to dust and ashes in its heat consuming;

and let thy glorious light

shine ever on my sight,

and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

Let holy charity

mine outward vesture be,

and lowliness become mine inner clothing–

true lowliness of heart,

which takes the humbler part,

and o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong,

with which the soul will long,

shall far outpass the pow’r of human telling;

no soul can guess Love’s grace

till it becomes the place

wherein the Holy Spirit makes a dwelling.

Project Canterbury has a useful page of Littledale’s writings here.

I have sung this hymn and many others for years without knowing much or anything about those who made the hymn possible.  One of the joys of this new phase of my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is learning some of those stories.  The saints cover a great deal of theological ground.  For example, Littledale argued against converting to Roman Catholicism but Frederick Oakeley, the  next addition, did convert to it.  We Christians need not agree all or most of the time.  And, after a while, certain disagreements become minor or irrelevant points.  We humans fall into camps, cliques, and tribes naturally; I notice that tendency in myself.  And I defend my tribe (The Episcopal Church, mainly its left-of-center wing) vigorously.  But I do so as I recognize  that Christ has sheep in many folds, not just the one to which I have converted.





O God, by your Holy Spirit you give to some the word of wisdom,

to others the word of knowledge,

and to others the word of faith:

We praise your Name for the gifts of grace manifested in your servant Richard Frederick Littledale,

and we pray that your Church may never be destitute of such gifts;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Wisdom 7:7-14

Psalm 119:97-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16

John 17:18-23

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 720


Revised on November 21, 2016