Sunday, January 23, 2011

18Jun1877, "The Priest in Absolution" Scandal

LONDON, June 18th-24th, 1877.
—Had a talk with Mr. Majendie about an unspeakably shocking book called "The Priest in Absolution," which has somehow got out, tho' it must be said it was only intended for the use of certain clergy. It is put forth by a body called "The Soc. of the Holy Cross," to which many distinguished "advanced" High Churchmen have given their names; but Mr. Majendie, who is intimate with many Ritualists, and a very High Churchman himself, knew nothing of it till it was called attention to in the H. of Lords the other day; and is greatly scandalized and dismayed. If private Confession makes it necessary to print such things, it certainly is a fatal objection to it as in any sense a system. But I have long felt that, inasmuch as it is impossible to prevent people going to confession, or clergy from hearing them, the only possible security against folly, rashness, and all evil results, is for Bishops to forbid clergy acting as confessors until they have reached a certain age, and can properly be depended on for wisdom and calmness and self-control....

Wed., 20th. Went to see dear Augusta Noel [FN: Daughter of the 6th Earl of Albemarle, wife of Ernest Noel, M.P.] ; she is laid up on her sofa, and has a new story on hand. I shot Dizzy in a brougham, looking more horribly like a fiend than ever; poor old wretch—green, with a glare in his eye.

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