The Oud Katholiek (the Dutch Old Catholic newspaper) of December r, says The Guardian, contains an article, of which the following is a translation, upon the actions of Bishop Mathew
here in England :
Some time ago a rumour reached us from different sources, a a rumour which at first seemed to us incredible, which was, however, soon after stated by the English papers and the truth of which was later on confirmed by Bishop Mathew himself. The fact in question was this, that Bishop Mathew had consecrated two Roman Catholic priests as Bishops on June 13 last, and that these gentlemen declared that they remained "Roman Catholics." The other Old Catholic Bishops had received no official communication about these consecrations beforehand. In The Church Times of October 28 we read a letter from Bishop Mathew in which he defended himself against an article in the Katholik of Berne, and in which he appealed to the act of Bishop Varlet, who consecrated by himself an Archbishop for the Church of Utrecht. We must, however, remark that this instance is not well chosen by Bishop Mathew to defend his act, for when Bishop Varlet consecrated an Archbishop for the Church of Holland there was a church here which was prevented in an unjust way from filling the vacant see. Moreover the opinion of different authorities was first asked about the question of such an act being canonically allowed, and by consulting that opinion any character of secrecy was avoided. Bishop Mathew, on the other hand, had no need at all to consecrate two Bishops in secret—first, because for the few Bishop Mathew has behind him one Bishop is sufficient ; secondly, because there are now enough Old Catholic Bishops who could have assisted at a consecration if more Bishops were necessary for England, and if the candidates answered to the requirements put to them. Bishop Mathew seems to have a very extraordinary idea of a church. One hears that be is ordaining priests, that he is even consecrating Bishops ; but one hears nothing about the congregations for which those priests and Bishops are necessary, while Old Catholicism has always intended that a priest shall be ordained only when there is a congregation which needs his help ; this at least has always been the rule in the Church of
• Holland. Bishop Mathew seems also to have an extraordinary idea about his membership of the Old Catholic Bishops' Conference, and to be ignorant that it is his duty to inform his brother Bishops beforehand of any consecration, that the case may be duly examined and all precautions taken that no unworthy person be consecrated. If we look at the case once more we see this : Bishop Mathew consecrated two Roman Catholic priests as Bishops, as they say themselves, unconditionally and without signing the Convention of Utrecht. Bishop Mathew consecrated two Roman Catholic priests as Bishops, knowing that they were Roman Catholics and would probably remain so. Bishop Mathew consecrated two Roman Catholic priests as
Bishops without informing his brother Bishops beforehand, as was his duty.
The conclusion is therefore obvious that Bishop Mathew has acted against the Convention of Utrecht (x) by consecrating Bishops without informing his brother Bishops, (2) by consecrating secretly, (3) by consecrating these Bishops alone, and (4) by consecrating persons who belonged to another Church. Therefore we should like to ask—Has Bishop Mathew considered that by so acting he has, properly speaking, given up communion with the other Old Catholics ?