Conrad Noël, the 'Red Vicar' of Thaxted - and influences on the East End
To create the demand for the Catholic Faith, the whole Catholic Faith, and nothing but the Catholic Faith.
To encourage the rising of the people in the might of the Risen Christ and the Saints,
mingling Heaven and earth that we may shatter this greedy world to bits.
|We must mark the sinister proposals that are being made in high places for such social reconstruction as will inevitably forbid the restoration to the poor of hard-won liberties willingly surrendered during the war ... Reconstruction without revolution is evil, for Reconstruction must be the outcome of Revolution. In the Battles that will have to be fought against the forces of death, whether frankly reactionary or masquerading as State Socialism and Social Reform, we must ally ourselves with the forces of life, and with St. Ambrose of Milan, with St. Thomas of Canterbury, with Our Lady of the Magnificat. And in the coming rebellion against the Prussians in England, Catholics will need such fiery allies to save them from the tame surrender of Nonconformist and Agnostic labour leaders, and to steel our spirits in these days when 'whoseover killeth us will think that he doeth God a service'.|
|Heaven forbid that Trade Unions should trust the leaders they elect, but Heaven forbid that they should continue to elect such leaders! Much better that the rank and file should kick over the traces than follow placemen, gas bags, puritans and lobby worms who misrepresent them, but if the rank and file had been more creative it would have produced leaders it could have followed.|
|The rich and their toadies KILLED CHRIST. Our
Rulers, the Empire, the Rich, and those who surround them Kill Him NOW.
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these (the IRISH AND THE MINERS), Ye have done it unto Me.
|The revolutionary teaching at Thaxted may be
studied in books and pamphlets on sale in the church, but the Thaxted
experiment is by no means only concerned with the pulpit and the press,
but just as much with the life of a group and the expression of that
life in worship. Thaxted is becoming a place of pilgrimage for those who
are tired of the sluggish routine and conventionalism of much modern
Nonconformity and of the 'C. of E.' We are proud to claim membership in
the Church of England for she is the Church of Anselm, of Becket, of
those such as Langton and John Ball who fought for the freedom of the
people, the Church of Laud in his fight against a narrow Calvinism and
the oppression of the poor, and in still more modern times, the Church
of Maurice and Kingsley, of Scott Holland and Stewart Headlam. All this
the 'Church of England' calls to mind, but the 'C. of E.' is only
another name for the Establishment, and the Establishment is the
religion of the ratepayer, and the religion of the ratepayer is not a
religion but a disease.
Now what is there in the Thaxted worship which scandalizes the 'ratepayer' and attracts many in the town itself and many pilgrims from all quarters? Perhaps it is the homeliness and unconventionality which many people appreciate. The organ and surpliced choir no longer predominate. The processions on High Days and Holidays include not only the ceremonial group in bright vestments, but the people themselves, children with flowers and branches, women in gay veils, men with torches and banners, all this colour and movement centering round the Lord Christ present in the Eucharist. We preach the Christ Who all through His life stressed the value of the common meal, the bread and wine joyously shared among His people, the Mass as prelude to the New World Order in which all would be justly produced and distributed. The Lord thus chose the human things of everyday life, the useful bread and the genial wine, to be the perpetual vehicles of his presence among us till His kingdom should come on earth as in Heaven. But all this involves politics, and we are often rebuked for mixing politics with religion. Well! the blind following of any political party, the politics of the party hack, these are certainly not the business of the pulpit; but politics, in the wider sense of social justice, are part and parcel of the gospel of Christ and to ignore them is to be false to His teaching. Worship and beauty are not to be despised, but worship divorced from social righteousness is an abomination to God.
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