`Ethos and the Oxford Movement: At the Heart of Tractarianism

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Alongside this, the universities became the breeding ground for a movement to restore liturgical and devotional customs which borrowed heavily from traditions before the English Reformation as well as contemporary Roman Catholic traditions. The immediate impetus for the Tractarian movement was a perceived attack by the reforming Whig administration on the structure and revenues of the Church of Ireland the established church in Ireland , with the Irish Church Temporalities Bill This bill not only legislated administrative changes of the hierarchy of the church for example, with a reduction of bishoprics and archbishoprics but also made changes to the leasing of church lands, which some including a number of Whigs feared would result in a secular appropriation of ecclesiastical property.

The Tractarians criticised theological liberalism. Their interest in Christian origins caused some of them to reconsider the relationship of the Church of England with the Roman Catholic Church. The Tractarians postulated the Branch Theory , which states that Anglicanism along with Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism form three "branches" of the historic Catholic Church.

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Tractarians argued for the inclusion of traditional aspects of liturgy from medieval religious practice, as they believed the church had become too "plain". In the final tract, " Tract 90 ", Newman argued that the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, as defined by the Council of Trent , were compatible with the Thirty-Nine Articles of the 16th-century Church of England. Newman's eventual reception into the Roman Catholic Church in , followed by Henry Edward Manning in , had a profound effect upon the movement.

Apart from the Tracts for the Times , the group began a collection of translations of the Church Fathers, which they termed the Library of the Fathers.

The collection eventually comprised 48 volumes, the last published three years after Pusey's death. They were issued through Rivington 's company with the imprint of the Holyrood Press. The main editor for many of these was Charles Marriott. A number of volumes of original Greek and Latin texts was also published.

'Ethos' and the Oxford Movement : At the Heart of Tractarianism

One of the main contributions that resulted from Tractarianism is the hymnbook entitled Hymns Ancient and Modern which was published in The Oxford Movement was criticised for being a mere " Romanising " tendency, but it began to influence the theory and practice of Anglicanism more broadly. Paradoxically, the Oxford Movement was also criticised for being both secretive and collusive.

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The Oxford Movement resulted in the establishment of Anglican religious orders , both of men and of women. It incorporated ideas and practices related to the practice of liturgy and ceremony to incorporate more powerful emotional symbolism in the church.

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In particular it brought the insights of the Liturgical Movement into the life of the church. Its effects were so widespread that the Eucharist gradually became more central to worship , vestments became common, and numerous Roman Catholic practices were re-introduced into worship. This led to controversies within churches that resulted in court cases, as in the dispute about ritualism. Partly because bishops refused to give livings to Tractarian priests, many of them began working in slums.

From their new ministries, they developed a critique of British social policy , both local and national.

One of the results was the establishment of the Christian Social Union , of which a number of bishops were members, where issues such as the just wage, the system of property renting, infant mortality and industrial conditions were debated. The more radical Catholic Crusade was a much smaller organisation than the Oxford Movement. Anglo-Catholicism — as this complex of ideas, styles and organisations became known — had a significant influence on global Anglicanism. One of the principal writers and proponents of Tractarianism was John Henry Newman , a popular Oxford priest who, after writing his final tract, " Tract 90 ", became convinced that the Branch Theory was inadequate.

Concerns that Tractarianism was a disguised Roman Catholic movement were not unfounded; Newman believed that the Roman and Anglican churches were wholly compatible.

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Ethos and the Oxford Movement

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