Halifax, Charles Lindley Wood
HALIFAX, CHARLES LINDLEY WOOD
Second Viscount Halifax, Anglo-Catholic leader who worked for reunion of Catholics and Anglicans; b. London, June 7, 1839; d. Hickleton, England, Jan. 19, 1934. His mother was the daughter of Charles Grey, British prime minister. As a student at Christ Church, Oxford, he developed a great interest in the oxford movement that remained the chief enthusiasm of his long life. Forsaking a promising political career, he accepted in 1868 the presidency of the English Church Union, a society organized to promote Tractarian principles. Retaining the presidency until his death, except for an 8-year interval, he made the Union a powerful force. Under his talented and courageous leadership, it frustrated the attempts of enemies to defeat tractarianism in the courts. As a Tractarian he was convinced that anglicanism was, despite aberrations, a part of the historically continous Catholic Church and, as such, the possessor of valid orders. He believed it only a matter of time before the entire Church of England would return to the anglo-catholic tradition. In this sanguine frame of mind and with the encouragement of his friend, the French priest E. F. Portal, he submitted the question of the validity of anglican orders to Pope Leo XIII. A papal commission, after minute investigation, concluded that the continuity of Anglican orders had been broken at the Reformation. This conclusion, officially embodied in the apostolic letter apostolicae curae (1896), was a profound disappointment for Halifax.
Several developments induced Halifax and Portal to renew their efforts for reunion after 1920: the progress made by the Anglo-Catholic party in the Church of England, the great appeal for reunion of all the churches made by the Anglican bishops at the Lambeth Conference in 1920, and finally the warm reception given to their ideas by Cardinal mercier at a meeting in 1920. Under Mercier's chairmanship representatives of both communions engaged in the malines conversations between 1921 and 1925. These terminated with the deaths of Mercier and Portal in 1926 without producing any definite results.
Bibliography: j. g. lockhart, Charles Lindley, Viscount Halifax, 2 v. (London 1935–36); The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 1885–1900) 919–921.
[t. s. bokenkotter]