On the twelfth of March, 2020, the Anglican Church of Canada released a document entitled “”. This was a response to the World Health Organization’s, in obedience to their Communist overlords, having declared the bat flu to be a pandemic. It began by outlining the practices that our Anglican bishops had begun to put in place in the interest of being “actively engaged in the protection of themselves and those around them”.
I am not going to go through the whole list. I thought at the time that this was all a lot of hooey and everything that has subsequently occurred has confirmed me in that opinion. One of the practices, however, stood out more than all of the others because of its intense theological ramifications. There are, of course, theological ramifications to this entire attitude of allowing politicians and power-mad medical bureaucrats to dictate how the Church worships, allowing the sanctity of the Church to be invaded by the same intrusive health measures that have made everyday mundane living so miserable and thus interfering with the Church’s being a holy sanctuary from the evils of the temporal world, and essentially telling the Church to walk by fear rather than faith, the opposite of the Apostolic injunction. There was one practice, however, that had much more specific theological ramifications than all of this. This was:
communion in one kind only;.
This practice explicitly disobeys the Thirtieth of the Articles of Religion. That article is entitled “Of both kinds” and reads:
The Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the Lay-people: for both the parts of the Lord’s Sacrament, by Christ’s ordinance and commandment, ought to be ministered to all Christian men alike.
Even more astounding than the fact that our Church was so brazenly doing what its Reformed Confession forbids was the theological justification we were given for this. We were told that Concomitance was the official teaching of our Church. Concomitance is the idea that although the bread is specifically said to be the Body of Christ and the wine is specifically said to be the Blood of Christ, both Body and Blood are received in each element because they cannot be separated, any more than the two natures of Christ can be separated in His One Person. This was the argument the Church of Rome used to justify her breaking from the universal practice of the Catholic Church of the first Christian millennium, the only one of the Churches to emerge from the Primitive Communion of Churches to do so, by withholding the Cup from the laity. It was a nice way of smearing anyone who objected to this papal innovation with the implication that their Chalcedonian orthodoxy was questionable.
Concomitance was revived in certain Anglican circles in recent decades for reasons that had nothing to do with the practice of withholding either of the elements. This was to accommodate people who for personal reasons could not take either the bread or the wine. Someone struggling with bondage to drink, for example, might for this reason abstain from the Cup. There were also those who could only receive the Cup because gluten intolerance prevented them from taking the bread. Many priests found in the old Roman doctrine of Concomitance an answer to the pastoral dilemma of how to counsel people in such situations. However, as with other recent instances of our Anglican leaders sacrificing our Reformed and Catholic heritage in the name of pastoral issues this has born rotten fruit and now we find this doctrine being used to justify the very practice to which the Reformers rightly objected.
“Fateor etiam sub altera tantum specie totum atque integrum Christum verumque Sacramentum sumi” is not an article of any of the Creeds received by the Anglican Church from the Primitive Catholic Church (Apostles, Nicene-Constantinopolitan, Athanasian) nor is it one of the Articles of Religion, the Reformed Confession adopted by the Church of England in the Elizabethan Settlement. These words, which translate into English as “I also confess that under either species alone Christ is received whole and entire, and a true Sacrament” are found in the Creed of Pope Pius IV, produced by the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and issued by bull of said pontiff in 1656. This is a document in which the Church of Rome added its late innovations to the essential tenets of faith contained in the ancient Creeds and declared them to be on par with the same, a very serious break from Primitive orthodoxy. In both practice and doctrine, therefore, at the beginning of the bat flu panic our present Anglican leadership betrayed our own tradition, one which conforms both to Scripture and the Catholic tradition of the first millennium, and adopted a practice the Roman Church had introduced no earlier than the thirteenth century and made uniform throughout their Communion as late as 1415 AD, and a doctrine which the Roman Church, doubling down on its errors in response to the Reformation in the sixteenth century, declared to be a tenet of the faith essential to salvation, on part with the articles of the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds.
The Thirtieth Article makes it quite clear what the official position of the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion is with regards to the Roman practice of withholding the Cup. Let us now listen to what the greatest apologists and doctors of our Church have said in the past in defence of this position.
In 1562, the penultimate year of the Council of Trent, the Right Reverend John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury, published his Apologia Ecclesiae Anglicanae in Latin. From Scripture and the Patristic writings, he defended the sixteenth century reforms of the Church of England as restoring the Church to the state of its original, Primitive Catholicism. Two years later, the popular standard English translation by Lady Ann Bacon was published. The translator, the daughter of Edward VI’s tutor and the mother of Sir Francis Bacon, was, like her sisters (the poets Lady Elizabeth Russell and Lady Catherine Killegrew, and the translator Lady Mildred Cecil Burghley who was the wife of Elizabeth I’s chief advisor and spymaster William Cecil) was an accomplished scholar. The following is from her translation of Part II of Jewel’s Apologia:
Moreover, when the people cometh to the Holy Communion, the Sacrament ought to be given them in both kinds: for so both Christ hath commanded, and the Apostles in every place have ordained, and all the ancient fathers and Catholic bishops have followed the same. And whoso doth contrary to this, he (as Gelasius saith) committeth sacrilege. And therefore we say, that our adversaries at this day, who having violently thrust out, and quite forbidden the Holy Communion, do, without the word of God, without the authority of any ancient council, without any Catholic father, without any example of the primitive Church, yea, and without reason also, defend and maintain their private masses, and the mangling of the Sacraments, and do this not only against the plain express commandment and bidding of Christ, but also against all antiquity, do wickedly therein, and are very Church robbers.
Next, let us turn to the Most Reverend and Right Honourable William Laud, who was the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury during the reign of the Royal Martyr, Charles I, and who was himself martyred for the Primitive faith and practice of the Church of England by the fanatics who had taken over Parliament a few years before the same villains murdered the king. Before he became the Anglican Primate, however, during the reign of Charles’ father James I, shortly after his consecration as Bishop of St. David’s, Laud was asked by the king to debate with John Percy, the Jesuit chaplain employed by George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham. The transcribed debates were published with the collection of Laud's contributions eventually being given the title A Relation of the Conference Between William Laud, Late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury and Mr. Fisher, the Jesuit, “Fisher” being a pseudonym for Percy.
We find the following from Laud in this work as part of an argument against the inerrancy of Church councils:
And that a council may err (besides all other instances which are not few) appears by that error of the council of Constance. And one instance is enough to overthrow a general, be it a council. Christ instituted the sacrament of his body and blood in both kinds. To break Christ’s institution is a damnable error, and so confessed by Stapleton. The council is bold, and defines, peremptorily, that “to communicate in both kinds is not necessary, with a non obstante to the institution of Christ.” Consider now with me, is this an error or not? Bellarmine and Stapleton, and you too, say it is not; because to receive under both kinds is not by divine right. No! No sure; for it was not Christ’s precept, but his example. Why, but I had thought that Christ’s institution of a sacrament had been more than his example only, and as binding for the necessaries of a sacrament, the matter and form, as a precept; therefore speak out, and deny it to be Christ’s institution, or else grant with Stapleton, “it is a damnable error to go against it.” If you can prove that Christ’s institution is not as binding to us as a precept, (which you shall never be able,) take the precept with it, Drink ye all of this; which though you shift as you can, yet you can never make it other than it is, a binding precept.
A few pages later Laud raises the issue again, this time addressing the doctrine of Concomitance:
Secondly, I will instance in the institution of the sacrament in both kinds. That Christ instituted it so, is confessed by both churches; that the ancient churches received it so, is agreed by both churches: therefore, according to the former rule, (and here in truth too,) it is safest for a man to receive this sacrament in both kinds. And yet here this ground of A. C. must not stand for good; no, not at Rome; but to receive in one kind is enough for the laity. And the poor Bohemians must have a dispensation, that it may be lawful for them to receive the sacrament as Christ commanded them. And this must not be granted to them neither, unless they will acknowledge (most opposite to truth) that they are not bound by divine law to receive it in both kinds. And here their building with untampered mortar appears most manifestly: for they have no show to maintain this but the fiction of Thomas of Aquin, “That he which receives the body of Christ receives also his blood per concomitantiam, by concomitancy, because the blood always goes with the body:” of which term, Thomas was the first author I can yet find. First then, if this be true, I hope Christ knew it; and then why did he so unusefully institute it in both kinds? Next, if this be true, concomitancy accompanies the priest as well as the people; and then, why may he not receive it in one kind also? Thirdly, this is apparently not true: for the eucharist is a sacrament sanguinis effusi, of blood shed and poured out; and blood poured out, and so severed from the body, goes not along with the body per concomitantiam.
Laud’s protégé Jeremy Taylor, who would become Bishop of Down and Connor after the Restoration, made this same argument against Concomitance in his Ductor Dubitantium, originally published in 1660. This lengthy treatise, published in English translation under the title “The Rule of Conscience”, was written in several books. Book II, chapter 3, includes a lengthy debunking of the practice of “Half Communion” as commentary on Rule IX “The Institution of a Rite or Sacrament by our Blessed Saviour is a direct Law, and passes a proper obligation in its whole integrity”. Taylor’s entire treatment of the matter is worth reading as it is very thorough. I will only quote the following pertaining to Concomitance:
The dream of the Church of Rome, that he that receives the body receives also the blood, because, by concomitance, the blood is received in the body, is neither true nor pertinent to this question. Not true, because, the eucharist being the sacrament of the Lord’s death, that is, of his body broken and his blood poured forth, the taking of the sacrament of the body does not by concomitance include the blood; because the body is here sacramentally represented as slain and separate from blood; and that is so notorious that some superstitious persons, A. D. 490, refused the Chalice, because (said they) the body of Christ represented in the holy Sacrament exsangue est, it is without blood, but now the Romanists refuse the Chalice because the body is not without blood: they were both amiss; for it is true the body is represented Sacramentally as killed, and therefore without blood, which had run out at the wounds; and therefore concomitance is an idle and an impertinent dream: but although the body is without blood in his death; yet because the effusion of the blood is also Sacramentally to be represented, therefore they should not omit the Chalice.
Dr. Henry Hammond, who ministered to the Royal Martyr as chaplain and who helped keep the orthodox faith alive during the period of the Puritan Tyranny, dying on the very day Parliament voted for the Restoration, had this to say in his A Practical Catechism:
Christ’s pleasure was, that all that were present should partake of both elements in the Sacrament, the wine as well as bread; as may appear by the plain words, “Drink ye all of this,” and “they all drank of it.” And if it should be objected, that the ‘all’ were disciples, and so, that no others have that full privilege to drink of the cup, the answer is clear, first, that by this argument the bread might as well be taken away from all but disciples too, and so the laity would have no right to any part of this Sacrament. Secondly, that the practice and writings of the ancient Church, which is the best way to explicate any such difficulty in Scripture, is a clear testimony and proof, that both the bread and the wine belong to all the people, in the name of His disciples at that time.
George Bull, ordained a priest by Robert Skinner the ejected Bishop of Oxford during the Cromwellian tyranny before Charles II was restored to his throne, following the Restoration was made rector of the two small parishes of St. Peter’s and St. Mary’s in Suddington which he served jointly for almost thirty years. After this he was preferred to the rectory of Avening in Gloucestershire, in the cathedral of which he was already a prebendary. A few years before his deprivation in the non-juring controversy, William Sancroft, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, appointed Bull to the archdeaconry of Llandaff. He was consecrated Bishop of St. David’s when he was 70 years old in 1705 and died five years later. In the course of his ministry, the story of which was told in a very readable biography by his friend the lay writer Robert Nelson which came out three years after his death, he wrote a number of polemical theological works that established his theological reputation abroad. One of these, his Defensio Fidei Nicaenae, published in 1685, was a demonstration, contra the claims of certain continental theologians, that the ante-Nicene Fathers held to the Trinitarian theology expressed in the Nicene Creed. This work, and its sequel Judicium Ecclesiae Catholicae which rebutted Simon Episcopius’ claims that the deity of Christ was not regarded as absolutely essential to the faith by the Nicene Council, won him the praise of Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Meaux in France. Through Robert Nelson, a friend of both who acted as intermediary, Bossuet expressed his high views of Bull’s work and questioned why Bull was not a member of the Roman Communion. Bull, in answer to the question, wrote Corruptions of the Church of Rome which was published in his life. After his death, and after the publication of Robert Nelson’s biography, a document by Bull that Nelson had alluded to but believed to be lost surfaced, under the title “A Letter to the Countess of Newbrugh” which answered a tract written by a Roman apologist under the title “The Catholic Scripturalist” which purported to prove the Roman position from the Scriptures. The manuscript was brought to Bull’s son, Robert Bull, who arranged for it to be published together with Corruptions of the Church of Rome under the title A Vindication of the Church of England.
In both documents joined in this one work, Bull addressed the matter of Half-Communion. To the Countess of Newbrugh he wrote:
One of the points he undertakes to prove out of Scripture is the Half-communion, or receiving the Sacrament only in one kind, viz. the bread, practiced and (not only so, but) enjoined in the Church of Rome. I know your ladyship to be well-versed in the Holy Scriptures, and therefore humbly beseech you only to recollect what you have read therein concerning this matter; as, That our Saviour instituted and commanded the Sacrament to be received in both kinds; and that every institution and command of Christ, especially in so important a matter as is the great Sacrament and most mysterious rite of Christianity, ought with all possible care and exactness of religion to be observed, that St. Paul, in pursuance of our Saviour’s institution, enjoins, that every Christian, after due examination, should not only “eat of the bread,” but also “drink of the cup” in the Sacrament, that it appears the Apostolic Church did accordingly receive the Sacrament in both kinds, and then I shall leave it to thy ladyship’s conscience, to judge of the intolerable impudence of those hectors in divinity, who dare undertake the proof of such things out of Scripture, as may be discerned by all to be manifestly repugnant thereunto. Indeed, that the Romanists have no ground in Scripture, or primitive antiquity, to rob the laity of one half of the Communion, is plainly confessed by that very Council which first established this sacrilege; I mean the Council of Constance. For the Fathers of that Council (if it be lawful to give that title to a sorry convention of men so wholly regardless of the command of Christ, and the practice of the Apostolic Church, yea, of the whole Church of God, for many ages after) in express terms acknowledge, that Christ instituted the Sacrament to be received in both kinds, yea, that it was so administered and received in the primitive Church; yet with a non obstante, notwithstanding all this, they boldly and blasphemously decree against communion in both kinds, as a thing dangerous and scandalous; and the decree denounceth excommunication to the priest that shall dare to administer the Sacrament as Christ appointed it. I wrong them not. All this is plainly delivered in the thirteenth session of that Council. And think you not, madam, that those were rare Scripturists? What Christian is there, that bears any due honour to Christ or respect or reverence to His commands, whose soul does not rise up against such an antichristian decree?
Later in the same treatise he addressed Concomitance:
For when they tell us, that the people receive a perfect sacrament only in one kind, because both the body and blood of Christ are truly and perfectly contained under each species of the Sacrament, they egregiously prevaricate in a matter of great concernment to the souls of men. For, 1. If this be true, then our Saviour did superfluously institute the Sacrament to be received in both kinds: for if there be a perfect sacrament in one kind only, to what purpose did Christ institute the other? 2. It is most false that the body and blood of Christ are sacramentally in each element: for it is the bread only that doth sacramentally signify and exhibit the body of Christ, and the wine only that doth sacramentally signify and exhibit the blood of Christ. 3. That which doth not perfectly represent and set forth the death and passion of our Lord, is no perfect sacrament, (for this is the very end of this divine institution, “to shew forth the Lord’s death”;) but communion only in one kind, doth not perfectly represent the death and passion of our Lord Jesus: therefore communion only in one kind is no perfect sacrament. The effusion and shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross, (which is so considerable a part of His passion, as that it is everywhere emphatically insisted on in the Scriptures of the New Testament, and Christ Himself, in the very institution of the Sacrament, urgeth it, when consecrating the cup He saith, “This cup is the new testament in My blood, which was shed for many;” I say, this effusion of Christ’s blood, is in the communion only of the bread so far from being perfectly, that it is not at all represented, but totally obscured. And therefore, 4. Some of the more ancient and learned writers among the Papists themselves have plainly confessed, that communion in one kind is but an imperfect sacrament.
To the Bishop of Meaux he declares the Roman practice to be:
manifestly against our Saviour’s first institution of the Sacrament, against Apostolic practice, and the usage of the universal Church of Christ for a thousand years, as is confessed by divers learned men of the Roman Communion.
He expresses indignation against the “Trent Creed” (the aforementioned Creed of Pope Pius IV” for declaring Concomitance, which he calls the “insolent (and as I may justly term it) antichristian decree of the Roman Church in this point”, to be an essential of the faith to be denied on penalty of eternal damnation and astonishment that the Trent Fathers, against the express hopes of many in the Roman Communion that the reforms of the Council would restore Communion in both kinds to the laity:
turned a deaf ear to their loud cries and supplications, only bidding them believe for the future, (what they could not believe,) that half the Sacrament was every whit as good as the whole.
To these could be added countless other similar quotations from almost every published orthodox Anglican divine from the Elizabethan Settlement through to the Oxford Movement but I think I have made my point. Should anyone object that I have cited only from the kind of Anglican theologians who stress the Catholicity of the Church of England – her continuity with, and in the Reformation recovery of some aspects of, the doctrines and practices of the Primitive Church of the early centuries – I will simply point out that no disagreement on this particular point could possibly be logically expected from the kind of Anglican theologians who stress the Reformed character of the Anglican Church and understand this character primarily in terms of conformity to continental Protestant, usually Calvinist, theology. John Calvin’s views of withholding the Cup from the laity and the doctrine of Concomitance were identical to those of Laud and Bull. You can find them expounded upon at length in the seventeenth chapter of the fourth book of his Institutes of the Christian Religion, see especially paragraph 47. The Twenty-Second Article of the Lutheran Augsburg Confession insists, like our Thirtieth Article, and at much greater length, that Communion is to be given to the laity in both kinds. Needless to say, the corresponding Article in the Apology for the Augsburg Confession says the same thing. Article VI of the Smacald Articles takes the same position and dismissed the doctrine of Concomitance as sophistry. It would be bizarre, therefore, if the Anglican theologians who stressed the evangelical character of our Church would, contrary to the Lutherans and Reformed, disagree with Jewell, Laud, Hammond, Taylor and Bull and accept the doctrine of Concomitance, and, of course, they did no such thing. William Henry Griffith-Thomas, an evangelical Anglican theologian who from 1910 to 1919 was Principal of Wycliffe College in Toronto, in his commentary on the Thirty-Nine Articles entitled The Principles of Theology, clearly identified Concomitance with the Roman doctrine and practice and declares the Anglican position to reject it. This book came out in 1930.
Therefore, when our leadership today tells us that Concomitance is our official doctrine, to justify doing what Article XXX clearly forbids, they are going against the clear historical and traditional consensus of Anglicanism in both its High and Low forms. This sort of thing has become far too common in recent decades, as more and more of our ecclesiastical leaders no longer feel themselves bound to keep their doctrine and practice in any meaningful way within the limits of the Historical Formularies (Restoration Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal, Thirty-Nine Articles, Books of Homilies). In this particular instance it was done to justify their support for draconian health policies enacted by our governments, provincial and Dominion, which by their actions have been demonstrating a similar disregard for the limits imposed upon them by constitutional law and protected rights and freedoms. Ironically, had they decided that they now believed in Transubstantiation and so come around to the position of Constance and Trent, this would have been a much less contemptible reason for their abandonment of traditional Anglicanism on this point.