The Altar Steps eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 477 pages of information about The Altar Steps.

“No, Mark Anthony,” the priest replied.  “I’ve done my work at St. Agnes’, and you’ve done yours.  Your business now is to take advantage of what has happened and to get back to your books, which whatever you may say have been more and more neglected lately.  You’ll find it of enormous help to be a good theologian.  I have never ceased to regret my own shortcomings in that respect.  Besides, I think you ought to spend a certain amount of time with Ogilvie before you go to Glastonbury.  There is quite a lot of work to do if you look for it in a country parish like—­what’s the name of the place?  Wych.  Oh, yes, quite a lot of work.  Don’t bother your head about Anglican Orders and Roman Claims and the Catholicity of the Church of England.  Your business is to save souls, your own included.  Go back and read and get to know the people in Ogilvie’s parish.  Anybody can tackle a district like St. Agnes’; anybody that is who has the suitable personality.  How many people can tackle an English country parish?  I hardly know one.  I should like to have you with me.  I’m fond of you, and you’re useful; but at your age to travel round from town to town listening to my begging would be all wrong.  I might even go to America.  I’ve had most cordial invitations from several American bishops, and if I can’t raise the money in England I shall have to go there.  If God has any more work for me to do I shall be offered a cure some day somewhere.  I want you to be one of my assistant priests, and if you’re going to be useful to me as an assistant priest, you really must have some theology behind you.  These bishops get more and more difficult to deal with every year.  Now, it’s no good arguing.  My mind’s made up.  I won’t take you with me.”

So Mark went back to Wych-on-the-Wold and brooded upon the non-Catholic aspects of the Anglican Church.



Mark did not find that his guardian was much disturbed by his doubts of the validity of Anglican Orders nor much alarmed by his suspicion that the Establishment had no right to be considered a branch of the Holy Catholic Church.

“The crucial point in the Roman position is their doctrine of intention,” said Mr. Ogilvie.  “It always seems to me that this doctrine is a particularly dangerous one for them to play with and one that may recoil at any moment upon their own heads.  There has been a great deal of super-subtle dividing of intentions into actual, virtual, habitual, and interpretative; but if you are going to take your stand on logic you must be ready to face a logical conclusion.  Let us agree for a moment that Barlow and the other bishops who consecrated Matthew Parker had no intention of consecrating him as a bishop for the purpose of ordaining priests in the sense in which Catholics understand the word priest.  Do the Romans expect us to believe that all their prelates in the time of the Renaissance had a perfect intention

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The Altar Steps from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.