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On the 26th of January, the State of Louisiana, in the exercise of her indefeasible right, severed her connection with the Government of the United States, resumed the powers of which she had divested herself, and became a separate and Independent Sovereignty. This act carried with it the political allegiance of her citizens. Their Supreme Government ceased to be that of the United States, and became that of the State of Louisiana, to which alone they owed a paramount fealty, and all the duties growing out of such a relationship. This change of allegiance, Churchmen shared in common with others, and it became their duty promptly to demonstrate their recognition of that change, in the forms in which the Founder of our Holy Religion required his followers to recognize de facto Governments. In the affair of the Tribute Money, he lays down the doctrine that such Governments have a right to claim from their citizens or subjects the support necessary for their effective maintenance, a right founded on the fact that the State, as well as the Church, is a Divine Institution, under whatever form of organization it may be presented. In the administration of Divine Providence, the Ruler of the Universe casteth down one and putteth up another, choosing for himself the instruments best adapted to effect his ends. So that, whether it be Sanhedrim or Cæsar, "the Powers that be are ordained of God." They are to be supported, not only with material aid and personal services, but by supplications and prayer. Hence arises the duty of the Church, on the occurrence
of any established change of Government, to alter her formularies, so as to make them conform to the new condition of things. It was clear, therefore, in the circumstances in which we were placed, that an alteration in the Services of the Book of Common Prayer, after the separation of Louisiana from the Government of the United States, was indispensable. It was an alteration forced by the necessity of obedience to the Law of Christ Himself. This was felt by the Clergy and Laity of the Diocese generally, not less than by myself. But under the Constitution and Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, there existed no authority accessible to us competent to meet the emergency. Section 14, Canon 13, Title I, it is true, gives to the Bishop of each Diocese authority "to compose forms of prayer, as the case may require, for extraordinary occasions;" and under its provisions I set forth for the National Fast the form appended to my Pastoral Letter of 28th December. The case now presented is altogether different. It called for an alteration in the matter of the Book of Common Prayer itself, a prerogative withheld from the Bishops, because expressly surrendered by them and their Diocesan Conventions, at the time they adopted the Constitution. This power is vested in the General Convention alone. In the 8th Article of the Constitution of the National Church, it is provided that "no alteration or addition shall be made in the Book of Common Prayer, unless the same shall be proposed in one General Convention, and, by a resolve thereof, made known to the Convention of every Diocese, and adopted at the subsequent General Convention." The delay involved in an effort to comply with this provision, even supposing, when it was allowed, it would have met the case, was manifestly forbidden by the pressing nature of the emergency. What, then, was to be done? A conflict now arose between the duty we, as a Diocese, owed to the provisions of a Constitution which bound us to pray for the Rulers of one Government, and the duty we owed to the Law of Christ Himself, which required us to pray for those of another. In such a case, the latter must, of necessity, prevail, though it be at the expense of the overthrow of
the Constitution whose provisions we should be forced thus deliberately to repudiate. It has prevailed. And although we have not as a Diocese, in our assembled capacity, pronounced upon and avowed this repudiation, yet we have done so in effect. My view of the duties of my office, under those circumstances, required me to address to you my Pastoral Letter of the 30th January, setting forth and directing certain alterations in the Book of Common Prayer; and your views of the duties of yours, authorized you to accept and use those alterations in the public services of the Church. Of the propriety and duty of the course we have pursued in this matter, notwithstanding the effect of our action on our relations under the Constitution to the Church in the United States, I have not a doubt, nor can the reasoning which has led us to our present position be successfully controverted.
There was a time in the History of the Church in Louisiana, when it was not under the authority of the Constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, and when there was no Constitutional Union existing between it and the Dioceses in the United States. The 5th Article of the Constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, provides for the admission of Dioceses not in Union, on their agreeing to accede to that instrument, and the Diocese of Louisiana having embodied the required stipulation, in the 1st Article of her Constitution, was admitted on application.
In accepting the constitutional connexion which was thus established, our Diocese did not intend to impose upon herself impossible obligations, which in any future contingency would conflict with her duties to Christ. There are duties and rights which, in the case of Communities as of individual Christians, are inalienable, and which, in the nature of things, must always be reserved. In the case under consideration, the duty we have performed and the right to perform it, are of that character; and to discharge the former, we have been obliged to resume the latter. And thus having the exercise of our original powers remitted us, we have been
forced, whether we would or not, into the position of Diocesan Independence.
It will be perceived, then, that our ecclesiastical position results from the political action of the State of Louisiana in separating herself from the Federal Government of the United States; and from the effect of that action on the provisions of the Constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. Not that it has been accomplished by any act of the Legislature of the State in an attempt to exercise direct civil control over the political or ecclesiastical relations of the Church. To such influences the Church in this country is happily in no wise subject.
But while the Church is entirely free from interference on the part of the State, she is nevertheless not exempt from the consequences of the action of the State on her present attitude in Louisiana. She assumes what her duty to her Lord requires her to assume, that, though she be compelled to set aside her obligations to her Ecclesiastical Constitution in the United States of America, she must follow her Nationality.
It must not be forgotten that a written Constitution, such as that which binds the Dioceses of the United States together, is a novelty in the Church, no other instance of the kind being known to her history. It was adopted in imitation of the action of the States within whose boundaries our Dioceses lay. It was a measure of expediency, and for all the purposes it was competent to serve, a wise one. But it was not a necessary condition of the Church's Unity. It served the purpose of binding the Dioceses in a Union of amity, and promoted their efficiency as propagandist of the Faith on this continent and elsewhere. It thus accomplished a holy mission. And while we with hearts filled with sorrow lament the uprising of the influences which have checked it in its blessed work, we yet cannot allow that its presence or its absence is material to the Unity of the Church. The destruction of this constitutional bond, while it may be lamented, carries not with it the destruction of the Oneness of the Body of Christ. The elements of which that consists are of a higher and more enduring nature.
Of the support we shall find in the history of the Church Universal in its first and present ages for the action of our Diocese, in accepting and maintaining, if need be, an independent position, it is not necessary here to speak. The normal condition of the Dioceses of the Catholic Church is that of separate Independence. A departure from that condition has ever been the fruit of expediency only.
Under the promptings of this expediency, I have, as the Senior Bishop of the Diocese in the Confederate States, in conjunction with the Bishop of Georgia, the next in seniority, ventured to address a Circular Letter to our brother Bishops in the Confederate States to be by them laid before their respective Conventions, inviting them to unite in a Convention to be held in Montgomery, Alabama, on the 3d of July next; the Convention, when held, to be composed of the Bishops of the several Dioceses in these States, and of three Clerical and three Lay Delegates. The object of this Convention is to consult upon such matters of interest to the Church as have arisen out of the changes in our civil affairs, with the view of securing uniformity and harmony of action.
I have heard from several of the Dioceses, and there is reason to believe that the measure will meet with general favor. A letter just received by me from the Bishop of Texas informs me that his Diocese, at its late Convention accepted the invitation and elected the requisite Delegates.
I have now respectfully to submit to you, my brethren, the proposal to unite on this measure. It cannot but be regarded as one of prudence and wisdom. And I humbly trust it may lead to such action as may secure to us all the freedom necessary to Diocesan Efficiency and all the Union which is demanded for the wisest application of our energies and resources.
The Clergy of the Diocese of Louisiana are requested to use the following Prayer, on the day appointed by the President of the United States, as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer; and at such other times as may seem advisable during the existing emergency.
Bishop of the Diocese of Louisiana.
Oh Almighty God, the Fountain of all wisdom, and the Helper of all who call upon Thee: We, thy unworthy servants, under a deep sense of the difficulties and dangers by which we are now surrounded, turn our hearts to Thee in earnest supplication and prayer. We humble ourselves before Thee; we confess that as a nation and as individuals, we have grievously offended Thee; and that our sins have justly provoked thy wrath and indignation against us. Deal not with us, Oh Lord, according to our iniquities, but according to thy great and tender mercies, and forgive us all that is past. Turn thine anger from us, and visit us not with those evils we most justly have deserved. Guide and direct us in all our consultations; save us from all ignorance, error, pride and prejudice; and if it please thee, compose and heal the divisions which disturb us. Or else, if in thy good providence it be otherwise appointed, grant, we beseech Thee, that the spirit of wisdom and moderation may preside over our councils, that the just
rights of all may be maintained and accorded, and the blessings of peace preserved to us and our children throughout all generations. All which we ask through the merits and mediation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.--AMEN.
To the Clergy and Laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church in
the Diocese of Louisiana:
MY BELOVED BRETHREN--The State of Louisiana having, by a formal ordinance, through her Delegates in Convention assembled, withdrawn herself from all further connection with the United States of America, and constituted herself a separate Sovereignty, has, by that act, removed our Diocese from within the pale of "The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States." We have, therefore, an Independent Diocesan existence.
Of the circumstances which have occasioned this act, it may not be necessary now to speak. They are familiar to you all. It is, however, our happiness to know that in canvassing the sum of the political grievances of which we have complained, we find no contribution made to it by brethren of our own household. Our Church in the non-slaveholding States, as everywhere, has been loyal to the Constitution and the laws. Her sound conservative teaching and her well-ordered organization, have held her steadily to her proper work, and she has confined herself simply to preaching and teaching the Gospel of Christ. Surrounded by a strong pressure on every side, she has successfully resisted its power, and has refused to lend the aid of her Conventions, her pulpits, and her presses to the radical and unscriptural propagandism which has so degraded Christianity, and plunged our country into its unhappy condition.
In withdrawing ourselves, therefore, from all political connection with the Union to which our brethren belong, we do so with hearts filled with sorrow at the prospect of its forcing a termination of our ecclesiastical connection with them also, and that we shall be separated from those, whose intelligence,
patriotism, christian integrity and piety, we have long known, and for whom we entertain sincere respect and affection. Unfortunately, the class they represent was numerically too small to control their section. They have been overborne, and silenced, and a different description of mind and character is in the ascendant. The principles and purposes of this party have long been the subject of careful observation by the people of the Southern States, and they have watched its rise and progress with anxious solicitude. They thought they saw in it, the seeds of all the evil from which our country is now suffering, and have not failed to employ all the resources at their command to avert it. Their efforts have been fruitless, and they have seen no way of escape from the consequences to themselves and their posterity, other than that they have taken. Of the justice of our cause, we have no doubt. Of the wisdom of the measures we have adopted to maintain it, we may judge from the character of the men who are engaged in supporting them. With here and there an exception, they represent the intelligence, the character, and the wealth of the State. We have taken our stand we humbly trust, in the fear of God, and under a sense of the duty we owe to mankind.
Our separation from our brethren of "The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States" has been effected, because we must follow our Nationality. Not because there has been any difference of opinion as to Christian Doctrine or Catholic usage. Upon these points we are still one. With us, it is a separation, not division, certainly not alienation. And there is no reason why, if we should find the union of our Dioceses under one National Church impracticable, we should cease to feel for each other the respect and regard with which purity of manners, high principle, and a manly devotion to truth, never fail to inspire generous minds. Our relations to each other hereafter will be the relations we both now hold to the men of our Mother Church of England.
But the time has not arrived for entering fully into the discussion of the questions suggested by this occasion, and I have so far remarked upon them, because some notice of our relations to the National Church from which we have separated,
seemed called for by the event, and because of the necessity that event creates for certain alterations in the services of our Book of Common Prayer.
In pursuance of this necessity, and under the authority of my office, I appoint, for the present, the following changes, and request my brethren of the Clergy to observe them on all occasions of public worship.
In the prayer for those in Civil Authority, for the words "the President of the United States," use the words "Governor of this State."
In the prayer for Congress, for the words, "the people of these United States in general, and especially for their Senate and Representatives in Congress assembled," substitute the words, "the people of this State in general, and especially for their Legislature now in session."
I also appoint the following prayer to be used during the session of the Convention of this State, and during the session of the Convention to be composed of such other States as have withdrawn from the late Federal Union, and propose to join Louisiana in the formation of a separate Government.
I remain, very truly, your obedient servant in Christ,
Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church
in the Diocese of Louisiana.
Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe, whose
never-failing providence ordereth all things in heaven and
earth: We, thy unworthy servants, commend to thy special
protection the Convention of this State,* now in session. Impress
them with a deep sense of the responsibility with which
they are charged. Grant unto them the spirit of wisdom and
moderation, the spirit of knowledge and of a sound mind, and
* Should the Convention of those States which have withdrawn from the Union be in session at the same time, introduce here the words, "and the Convention of Southern States." If either Convention should adjourn, the other being in session, the language used will be altered accordingly.
fill them, O Lord, with the spirit of thy holy fear. Preserve them from the delusions of pride and vainglory. Deliver them from the temptation to aim at other ends than those which promote thy glory and the best interests of their country. Save them from the fear or favor of men. Make plain their way before them, and strengthen their hearts, that they may pursue it with firmness, even to the end. And grant, O Lord, that through their labors, under the guidance of thy Good Spirit, all things may be so settled, that we may be protected and defended from all injustice; that our rights may be amply secured; and that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered, that we may joyfully serve Thee in all Godly quietness. All of which we ask through the merits and mediation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. AMEN.
To the Clergy of the Diocese of Louisiana:
The progress of affairs makes it expedient to direct further changes in the public services of the Church.
In the Prayer for those in civil authority, for the words "the President of the United States," substitute the words "the President of the Confederate States."
In the special prayer set forth in my letter of the 30th ult., for the words "and the Convention of Southern States," substitute the words "and the Congress of the Confederate states."
The prayer for the Legislature, as already indicated, will be continued during its sessions.
I remain very truly, your servant in Christ,
Bishop of the Diocese of Louisiana.
To the Clergy and Laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church in
the Diocese of Louisiana:
BRETHREN OF THE CLERGY AND LAITY--I have been informed
that, since the publication of my Pastoral Letter of the 30th January, some embarrassment has arisen in certain minds, as to the disposition of such funds as have been usually raised for Foreign and Domestic Missions.
The object of that Letter was to declare the theoretical status of our Diocese, consequent upon the change of our Nationality, by the separation of Louisiana from the United States of America, and to submit that status as my authority, in the face of my "Promise of Conformity" "to the Discipline and Worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America," for directing such changes in the Book of Common Prayer as a paramount expediency and the law of Christ Himself, in such a case demanded. It concluded nothing beyond. It, nevertheless, looked farther. It contemplated the merging of our State Nationality, perfect and complete in itself, into that of a Confederation, "to be composed of such other States as have withdrawn from the late Federal Union," and so, our Diocese into a Union with Dioceses in these States, under a common Constitution. Nay, more; it did not undertake to decide whether a Union of the Dioceses within the seceded States with those in the United States, from which they were thus separated, would, under any form, be "impracticable." It only indicated the relations which would subsist between them in case such a union should not be found feasible. It took the ground that, from the terms and conditions of the Book of Common Prayer, the Constitution and Canons of the "Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America," and from the necessities of the case, a separation of the Dioceses in the seceding States was forced from the Dioceses of the United States. It drew a distinction between Union in Legislation, whether Constitutional or Canonical, and Unity, in Christian Doctrine and Catholic usage. The former is national, and, therefore, local, and is subject properly to such changes as the law of expediency or of necessity may demand. The latter is universal, and beyond the reach of all changes in political government, being that in which consists the essence of the Oneness of the Body of Christ.
A change in Church Union, therefore, does not necessarily
involve a breach of Church Unity. "The liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free" may allow us, without offence, to accept a status which necessity, not to say the Providence of God, has forced upon us, provided the doctrine of his Church and the order of its administrations in all of those things which are vital, be left unimpaired.
The Confederation of these States, which, at the date of that Letter, was a foreshadowed event, has now become a reality. The organization of the new Government has been completed, and a permanent Constitution adopted. Time has not allowed us, as yet, opportunity to consult with our sister Dioceses as to the course proper to be pursued, either with reference to a separate organization, or as to what relations it may be practicable to establish with our sister Dioceses in the United States.
I cannot doubt, however, that some plan will be adopted by which the Dioceses of the Confederate States will be brought into a practical union, and I do not now see why some basis of connection may not be agreed upon, by which our respective organizations, North and South, while left free in all those respects in which freedom is expedient, may continue to act together in such things as are above the merely local, and in which greater efficiency would result from a union of our resources and energies.
These details, however, must be left to the developments of the future. In the mean season, as our confidence, in its largest measure, in the Christian integrity, zeal, and judiciousness of our brethren who have charge of the Foreign and Domestic Missions of the Church is undiminished, I recommend that such funds as may have been, or may hereafter be, collected for those objects, be sent forward as heretofore. Such changes as may be expedient will be made, as events progress, and as expediency may dictate.
I remain, very truly your obedient servant, in Christ,
Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church
in the Diocese of Louisiana.
GRACE CHURCH, ST. FRANCISVILLE,
MAY 1st, 1861.
The Bishop appointed the following
GRACE, CHURCH, MAY 2, 1861. By request of the Rev. C. S. Hedges, D. D., Chairman of Committee, the Rev. John Fulton, from the Committee on the State of the Church, presented the following
The Committee on the State of the Church beg respectfully to report: That there is great cause for gratitude to Almighty God for the continued prosperity of the Church in this Diocese. The large number of new Congregations admitted into Union with the present Convention, and the number of Confirmations, greater by one-third than any previous year, is an evident
proof that the hand of God is with us, and that the cause of our Zion is prospering within our borders.
But the shortness of the time allowed, and the importance of the matters falling under their consideration, compel the Committee to dismiss with these remarks the subjects commonly embraced in the Report they are required to make, and which, in general, relate exclusively to the internal operations of the Church. The state of the Church implies as well the state of her relations to the Church at large, as the condition of her ordinary operations. Therefore, the Committee feel themselves obliged to lay formally before Convention what they conceive to be our true relation to the whole body of Christ's Church Catholic, and particularly to that Branch of it to which we lately belonged--the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America;--a duty which is forced upon us by the fact that Louisiana has within the last year separated from the Nationality of which she previously formed a part and joined with other Sovereign States in forming a new Nation, to which she and we, her citizens, to-day owe our allegiance. The simple question which we have to meet is, whether any change in our relations, as a Church, to the Church in the United States, is, or of right ought to be, involved in the change of National relations which has taken place. In answering this question, the Committee asks to be indulged in stating briefly the reasons which have prevailed in bringing them to the conclusion they feel bound to lay before Convention. A brief, synoptical form will probably be found the best, as its deficiencies in mere detail can readily be supplied by the learning of the members of Convention.
First, then, The Diocese of Louisiana, like every other Diocese, is an integral portion of the One Catholic and Apostolic Church, in the Unity of which she cannot cease to be embraced, but by lapsing into heresy or schism; for the Unity of the Church Catholic is Unity in true Faith and Apostolic Order. Holding the Catholic faith, and having an Apostolic Ministry, rightly and duly administering Christ's Holy Sacraments, this Diocese possesses all that is essential to her being as a true and
valid member of the One Church Catholic and Apostolic. With these she would have been truly in the Unity of the Church, though she had never been conjoined with any other Dioceses in a Union such as that which forms the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America; and having these, though in the matter of her government, she should, by circumstances be dissevered for a time from every other Diocese, her Catholicity must still be perfect, and the Church's Unity in her regard unbroken. Acknowledging "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism," with the Universal Church, there is between her and all other Churches "Unity of Spirit" in the Apostolic "Bond of Peace." This Unity no mere political or National disturbances or revolutions can destroy, and this Bond cannot be impaired by any changes among States or Nations.
2. But Unions among Churches are altogether different from the Unity of the Church. The Unity of the Church is unity in believing and doing all that God has taught, and therefore as a matter of Divine precept, is eternal in its obligation, while Unions of Churches are voluntary combinations for purposes of practical expediency, and therefore may be changed whenever sound expediency requires that they should be dissolved.
3. And it does not appear that in the days of the Apostles, or for some time afterwards, any local combinations between Dioceses were formed. It does not appear that under Apostolic direction, Ephesus, with its Bishop Timothy, or Crete, with its Bishop Titus, were formally conjoined with any other Dioceses. On the contrary, it appears from the tenor of Holy Scripture, and the testimony of ancient authors, that every Diocese was originally independent of every other.
4. When for reasons of expediency unions among Dioceses were entered into, it was by free consent among the parties to them. Considerations of convenience required them to be limited in their extent, and at first of choice, afterwards by the decrees of Councils, they were made coextensive with the divisions of the empire which had been established by the Civil Power. In every Province the Senior Bishop, or the Senior
Church was allowed a certain precedence over the others, and out of this grew first the Metropolitical and afterwards the Patriarchal arrangements of the Church.
5. At the disruption of the Roman Empire the Provincial distribution of the Church was merged into the National. Bishops and Dioceses in every nation being drawn together by the influence of national affinity, combined for the common benefit, and chiefly for the sake of Liturgical Uniformity, in forming Churches conterminous in jurisdiction with the nations to which they owed temporal allegiance.
6. It was with the element of Nationality in Churches that the Papacy had most to contend, and side by side with the suppression of this principle we find the constant growth of Papal usurpations and corruptions.
7. It was natural therefore that the Church when reformed should resume that of which Rome had robbed her; and the fact is, that the articles and canons of our mother Church of England show her to be intensely National. Her Articles of subscription are such that she requires her Clergy to deny the existence in any foreigner of any power or authority ecclesiastical or spiritual within the Realm of England, or any of her dependencies.
8. Hence the Clergy of the United States, after the Revolution, having ceased to be subjects of the Crown, ceased likewise to be Clergy of the Church of England, so that the ecclesiastical Independence of the Churches in the Colonies was, of necessity included in the Independence of the Colonies themselves.
9. As was to be expected, the Churches of the United States and the Dioceses into which they were distributed, combined to form a Church as strictly National as that of England. After a careful study of her Constitution and her Canons, this Committee cannot forbear arriving at the determinate conclusion that they are of such a nature as to exclude from her any Diocese whose territory may have ceased to be a portion of the United States.
(a.) Her corporate style and designation is such as clearly to define her territorial limits. She is the Protestant Episcopal
Church IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Her boundaries are those of the United States, beyond which she does not seek to include any other Churches whatsoever.
(b.) By the Fifth Article of her Constitution, the implication involved in her corporate designation is defined in terms. By that Article, the admission of Dioceses into Union with the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America is limited to Dioceses formed, or to be formed, within the States or Territories of that country; so that none can constitutionally be admitted which do not lie territorially within her boundaries. It is evident that that which is an indispensable condition of admission to Union with her, must be indispensable to continuance in that Union. Consequently, when the State in which our Diocese is situated ceased to form a part of the United States, that condition failing on our part, we ceased ipso facto to retain that formal union with her of which territorial position within the United States is an indispensable condition. Had the Church in Louisiana, Florida, or Texas, been as perfectly formed and furnished as at present, they could not, previously to the annexation of those States to the United States, have been admitted, under this Article, to Union with the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. They were admitted, because, at the time of their application, those States lay within the boundaries of the United States. Having now ceased to belong to the United States, a fair construction of the Article requires us to hold them removed beyond the jurisdiction of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States.
(c.) But had any doubt been possible, under Article Fifth of the Constitution, that doubt would be removed by the express terms of Article Tenth. The Confederate States of America form a country foreign to the United States, and on failure of the Episcopate in any of these, were we to look to the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States for its continuance, the facts of the case would require application to be made, not in the manner heretofore open to us, but as is required by Article Tenth of the Constitution, in which special provision is made for the consecration of Bishops, not for foreign
Churches, but for foreign Countries. By this Article, such Bishops, so consecrated, would not be eligible to the office of Diocesan or Assistant Bishop in any Diocese of the United States, nor entitled to a seat in the House of Bishops, nor could they lawfully exercise any Episcopal authority in those States. In other words, as Bishops of a foreign country, they could not be, nor become, Bishops of the UnitedStates--a constitutional provision evidently reaching to Bishops now in this position, as well as to those who might thus, by possibility, be placed in it. Our Bishops are now Bishops of a country foreign to the United States, and cannot, therefore, by her own provision, any longer be regarded as Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States.
(d.) If anything were yet wanting to confirm the view that the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States is most distinctively and strictly National, it might be fully supplied from the Canon Law of the Church with respect to Foreign and Domestic Missionary Bishops. (See Title I, Canon 13, Section 7, Clauses 1 and 5; also Section 8, Clauses 1 and 2, of the same Canon.) The Domestic Missionary Bishop, whose jurisdiction lies within the States or Territories of the U.S., is entitled to a seat in the House of Bishops, from which the foreign Missionary Bishop is excluded. The former, moreover, is eligible to the Episcopate of a vacant Diocese in the United States; the latter is ineligible, but with the consent of three-fourths of the Bishops, Clergy, and Laity of the Church in Convention assembled. Thus, of two Bishops elected and consecrated in the same way, by the same parties, and governed by Canons of the same Convention, the one, because his jurisdiction lies within the United States, is invested with the right of voice and vote in the Convention by which he is governed, besides other important privileges, from which the other is excluded, for no other reason than that he is called to exercise his functions in a foreign land.
From all these considerations, and others too numerous to be embraced in the limits of this report, the Committee feel themselves compelled to the conclusion that, whereas, the
Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America is, and was, rightly intended to be a strictly National body, into which the Diocese of Louisiana was admitted, because, at the time of her admission, the State of Louisiana formed a portion of the United States; and whereas, Louisiana has dissolved the Union formerly existing between her and the United States, and so separated from that nation, therefore, the Diocese of Louisiana has ceased to belong to the National Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America. And whereas, the State of Louisiana has entered into a new Confederacy, and now is part of a new Nation, therefore, as the highest expediency has, from very early times, prompted such confederations among adjacent Dioceses of the Catholic Church as might advance their common wellfare; and as nature and experience, no less than the highest prudence, teach that such Confederations should be National, like that in the United States, therefore, this Diocese, in the opinion of this Committee, ought, in the exercise of that liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, to take such steps as may be necessary to the formation of a National Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America.
It is needless, after what has been previously said, that the Committee should declare that, so far forth as Louisiana is concerned, the Unity of the Church is unbroken; nor need the Committee frame new words to express the never-failing love which every member of this Diocese must always have for our brethren of the Church in the United States. We prefer, in this connection, to adopt the words of our Right Reverend Father, as we find them in his Pastoral Letters. They represent the cherished sentiments of every churchman in the Diocese:
"It is our happiness to know that in canvassing the sum of the political grievances of which we have complained, we find no contribution made to it by brethren of our own household. Our Church in the non-slaveholding States, as everywhere, has been loyal to the Constitution and the laws. Her sound conservative teaching and her well-ordered organization,
have held her steadily to her proper work, and she has confined herself simply to preaching and teaching the Gospel of Christ. Surrounded by a strong pressure on every side, she has successfully resisted its power, and has refused to lend the aid of her Conventions, her pulpits and her presses to the radical and unscriptural propagandism which has so degraded Christianity, and plunged our country into its unhappy condition.
"In withdrawing ourselves, therefore, from all political connection with the Union to which our brethren belong, we do so with hearts filled with sorrow at the prospect of its forcing a termination of our ecclesiastical connection with them also, and that we shall be separated from those, whose intelligence, patriotism, christian integrity and piety, we have long known, and for whom we entertain sincere respect and affection.
"Our separation from our brethren of 'The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States' has been effected, because we must follow our Nationality. Not because there has been any difference of opinion as to Christian doctrine or Catholic usage. Upon these points we are still one. With us, it is a separation, not division, certainly not alienation. And there is no reason why, if we should find the union of our Dioceses under one National Church impracticable, we should cease to feel for each other the respect and regard with which purity of manners, high principle, and a manly devotion to truth, never fail to inspire generous minds."
It remains then only that the Committee should present this most important subject for the action of Convention in the form of resolutions.
WHEREAS, The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, is and was rightly intended to be a strictly National body, not admitting into union with it Dioceses situated in foreign countries;
AND WHEREAS, The State of Louisiana has by ordinance dissolved the Union formerly existing between it and the United
States of America, thereby making the State of Louisiana foreign to the United States; therefore,
Resolved, That the Diocese of Louisiana has ceased to be a Diocese of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.
BUT WHEREAS, The universal experience of the Catholic Church has from a very early time shown the necessity of such local combinations among Dioceses as might advance the common welfare,
AND WHEREAS, Reasons of the highest expediency demand that the Church should in this respect follow the Nationalities which in the order of Divine Providence may be raised up, therefore
Resolved, That the Diocese of Louisiana loyal to the Doctrine, Discipline and Example of the Holy Catholic Church, and closely following the model of our Mother Church of England, and our Sister Dioceses in the United States, is desirous of entering into Union with the remaining Dioceses of the Confederate States for the formation of a National Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America.
Resolved further, That this Convention will appoint Delegates to represent the Diocese in a Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America, to be held at Montgomery, in the State and Diocese of Alabama, on the 3d day of July next.
All which is respectfully submitted,
C.S. HEDGES, D.D.,
W.T. LEACOCK, D.D.,
DAN'L S. LEWIS, D.D.,
GEORGE S. GUION.
On motion of Dr. J.P. Davidson, the Report of the Committee was received; and Convention proceeded to the consideration
of the Resolutions therein proposed for adoption. The Resolutions were then, on motion of Rev. John Fulton, seconded by Dr. Lyle, severally put, and, without amendment, carried.
ERRATA.--Page 6, ninth line from bottom, for "propagandist" read "propagandists." On page 7, ninth line from top, for "Diocese" read "Dioceses."