One of the most interesting questions now confronting the ecumenical movement is that which raises the issue of whether or not the Catholic Church can recognize the validity of Protestant Orders. On that consideration, in fact, rests finally the sine qua non of any true union of the Churches: the recognition by Rome of the Protestant congregations as canonically valid Churches, and therefore as equal partners. This book is the first modern work to give exhaustive historical consideration to a small, but important, part of that issue: the condemnation of Anglican Orders, pronounced by Leo XIII in 189, as ""absolutely null and utterly void."" Hughes' investigations, as those of any good historian, are not intended to take one side of the question or the other, so far as theological considerations are concerned, but ncrely to establish the circumstances of that pronouncement. The conclusion that he draws, however tentatively, is that the papal investigation which preceded the condemnation was insufficient -- a less careful historian might have said ""biased"" -- and that, a new, more through, and more objective study should be made of the entire question. Aside from its intrinsic worth as a work of profound scholarship, the book is important as the first step toward a more realistic definition of the nature of the pastoral ministry, of the limits of papal magisterium, and of the meaning of the term ""Christian unity."" It will be important for both Protestant and Catholic theologians.