the science of sacraments

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THE SCIENCE OF THE SACRAMENTSCHARLES WEBSTER LEADBEATERTable of ContentsPART I INTRODUCTION Preface by +John Kersey Author’s Foreword to the Second Edition Chapter I: A new idea of church worship PART II THE SACRAMENTS Chapter II: The Holy Eucharist Chapter III: Baptism and Confirmation Chapter IV: Holy Orders410 14 1836 245 270Chapter V: The Lesser Sacraments PART III342THE INSTRUMENTS OF THE SACRAMENTS Chapter VI: The Church Building Chapter VII: The Altar and its Appurtenance




PART I INTRODUCTION Preface by +John Kersey Authors Foreword to the Second Edition Chapter I: A new idea of church worship PART II THE SACRAMENTS Chapter II: The Holy Eucharist Chapter III: Baptism and Confirmation Chapter IV: Holy Orders4

10 14 18

36 245 270

Chapter V: The Lesser Sacraments PART III


THE INSTRUMENTS OF THE SACRAMENTS Chapter VI: The Church Building Chapter VII: The Altar and its Appurtenances Chapter VIII: The Vestments PART IV OTHER SERVICES OF THE CHURCH Chapter IX: Vespers and Solemn Benediction Chapter X: Occasional Services Appendix: The soul and its vestures Notes 431 450 471 490 356 369 388


The completed Eucharistic Edifice


List of DiagramsNumber 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Description The Formation of the Pavement The Relation between the Celebrant and his Ministers Censing the Altar The Order of the Formation of the Bowls at the Kyrie The Varied Types of Forms built at the Kyrie shown in Cross-section Censing the Oblations The Change which takes place at the Consecration when the bread becomes the Host Interplay of Forces in Church after Consecration The Symbolism of the Holy Eucharist The Reservoir The Awakening of the Human Principles at Ordination Ground Plan of an Ideal Church Flow of Forces through Stole Stole Cross Flow of Forces through Cope Flow of Forces under Alb Flow of Forces in the Chasuble The Crosier Interplay of Forces in Church at Vespers An Ultimate Physical Atom The Human Principles Etherio-Atomic Philosophy of Force from The Principles of Light and Color, Chapter XI: The Laws of Attraction, Edwin D. Babbitt, New York, 1878 Page 62 68 87 100 102 142 183 190 197 290 299 357 399 399 403 405 410 426 433 474 485 476


List of PlatesNumber 1 2 Description The Completed Eucharistic Edifice (Fig. 1) The Church of Santa Sophia at Constantinople. (Fig. 2) Cross-section of the Church. (Fig 1) The Asperges Bubble as formed by the Celebrant. (Fig. 2) Cross-section of Bubble. (Fig. 3) Cross-section of western part of Bubble. (Fig. 1) The Asperges Bubble when enlarged during the Psalm. (Fig. 2) Cross-section of Bubble. (Fig. 1) The Asperges Bubble after its expansion by the Angel. (Fig. 2) Cross-section of Bubble. The Mosaic Pavement (Fig. 1) A Portion of the Pavement. (Fig. 2) A Single Block. (Fig. 1) Formation of the Petals. (Fig. 2) Crosssection of Vortex. (Fig. 3) Order of Formation of Petals. (Fig. 1) Cup-like Form. (Fig. 2) Cross-section showing two sets of Petals. (Fig. 3) Crosssection showing changing outlines of Form. (Fig. 1) Elongated Cylindrical Form. (Fig. 2) Cross-section of Form. (Fig. 1) Oblong Form. (Fig. 2) Cross-section of Form. (Fig. 1) The Eucharistic Form at end of Kyrie. (Fig. 2) Cross-section of Form. The Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti at Palermo (Fig. 1) The Low Dome after first paragraph of Gloria. (Fig. 2) Cross-section of Form. A Mosque at Cairo (Fig. 1) The Eucharistic Form at end of Gloria. (Fig. 2) Cross-section of Form. The Imposition of Hands at the Consecration of a Bishop An Altar (Fig. 1) Veil and Burse covering the Chalice. (Fig. 2) The Chalice, Paten, Ciborium etc. (Fig. 1) Monstrance. (Fig. 2) Priest vested in Cassock and Amice. Page (Frontispiece) 24 38

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41 47 60 63 94 95 96 97 103 104 106 107 109 329 375 384 387


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(Fig. 1) Priest in Cassock, holding Biretta. (Fig. 2) Bishop in Cassock. (Fig. 1) Priest in Surplice and Stole. (Fig. 2) The Vestments of Acolytes. (Fig. 1) Priest vesting for the Celebration of the Eucharist. (Fig. 2) Deacon vested as when assisting at the Eucharist. (Fig. 1) Priest in Chasuble Front View. (Fig. 2) Priest in Chasuble Back View. (Fig. 1) Bishop in Mozzetta. (Fig. 2) Bishop in Mantelletta. (Fig. 1) Full Pontifical Vestments Front View. (Fig. 2) Full Pontifical Vestments Back View. Vortex and Shaft formed at Vespers Appearance of Spheres at moment of Benediction

390 394 397 408 417 422 437 444

NOTE The Liturgy of the Liberal Catholic Church is singularly rich in passages of poetic beauty and high aspiration, and, although copious extracts have been embodied in this work, the Liturgy itself should be read to obtain an adequate idea of its worth and personal appeal. Copies may be obtained from St Alban Press (Liberal Catholic Church of California) at



PART I INTRODUCTION Preface to the New Edition by +John Kersey, Co-Presiding Bishop of The Liberal Rite and Administrator of the Independent Liberal Catholic Fellowship The Science of the Sacraments is one of the most important of the major works of +C.W. Leadbeater, since it illuminates the significance of the sacraments as they have come into being within the Liberal Catholic movement and in which form they essentially remain unchanged today. C.W.L., along with his spiritual brother +James Ingall Wedgwood, was on the cusp of major change in Catholicism beyond Rome. Their work represented a response to the Oxford Movement within Anglicanism, but conceived from an unquestionably Apostolically valid and independent standpoint. Unlike the Anglo-Catholics, they did not have the challenge of trying to effect change within an inflexible and fearful establishment held together only by centralization and dogma. Instead, having separated from +A.H. Mathews Old Catholic Church of Great Britain, they were faced with the position of creating a church from the grass roots, and were considerably aided in this aim by being able to graft those roots onto the Theosophical Society of which both men were leading members. It is important to emphasize, because it has been so often misunderstood in later years, that neither C.W.L. nor Wedgwood desired to elevate the Theosophical Society into a church, nor to create a church that would merely echo Theosophical beliefs. The intention was much more adventurous and thus much more allencompassing; a church of freedom of faith and conscience, that permitted a specifically esoteric, yet fully Catholic understanding of the sacraments in line with the Wisdom Tradition as a whole. As the L.C.C. Presiding Bishop Emeritus, the Most Revd. Ian Hooker, has written,



Notwithstanding his heavy reliance on the members and resources of The Theosophical Society, Wedgwood was not building a church just for theosophists. From the beginning he saw the LCC as a haven for open-minded, liberally inclined Christians, no longer comfortable in mainstream churches. In time, he believed, these people would form the majority of Liberal Catholics. (The Liberal Catholic vol. 68 no. 1, Easter 2000) The Liberal Catholic Eucharist as explained in this work is not a Gnostic Mass, nor less a revision as was to take place in later years when Vatican II transformed the Mass into a praise and worship service. It is instead a radical reinterpretation of the context of the Eucharist seen within a theological standpoint of esoteric magic and universal salvation; it is Catholicism expressing the love of God to the full without the burdens of needless guilt and fear, and the false totem of the temporal power of the church. That power which is present and it is immeasurable is spiritual in nature and subsists within the sacraments themselves and thence in those who participate in their offering. The Science of the Sacraments has always excited controversy within Liberal Catholicism. C.W.L. is certainly free in expressing his clairvoyant and occult insights in areas which may appear provocative or arguable. His science is not science as we understand that word today, but is instead science in the sense of spiritual knowledge. It is important also to recognize that the Notes to many sections, demarcated in this and other editions by a smaller typeface, are not the work of C.W.L. himself but instead (as he acknowledges) are the outcome of the clairvoyant insights of the Rev. Oscar Kllerstrm, printed verbatim just as they were sent to C.W.L. Yet, as the conclusion to the whole work points out clearly, this is not a blueprint for belief, or a dogmatic assertion of the position of the Church. Rather, it is C.W.L.s profound spiritual journey writ large, testament as much to the man and his times as to the illumination he offers. The reader should feel that the statements within the work are as much propositions for discussion as explanations of how things came to be. And, as they do so, they may 11


reflect that C.W.L., with his immense, insatiable spiritual curiosity, would have been the first to have initiated such a discussion and to have maintained it with that passion and faith which can only be borne of deep esoteric investigation. In as much as we can identify a key theme within The Science of the Sacraments, it is that of the immensity, omnipresence and unconditionality of the love of God. The role of the Church, her Sacraments and her ministers is to assist the seeker in the experience and appreciation of this central and all-encompassing truth concerning the nature of the divine experience; that salvation is not reserved to the few, and that the diverse faiths are not incapable of resolution and co-existence as parallel paths up the holy mountain towards eternity. Because of this factor, The Science of the Sacraments stands as a powerful call against the fractures of denominationalism, now even sadly prevalent within Liberal Catholicism itself, and calls Christians to unity of experience and common understanding. More than this, it presents us with the background to a liturgy that is complex, beautiful, that does not diminish or talk down the mystery of God, and that