Index        May 2024               The Newstart OnLine Journal           Pages 10               Item 8   

The Realistic Position of the Church of England

By Major C. H. DOUGLAS

Some years before the termination of the First Armistice, it was arranged that with the Dean of Canterbury, Dr. Hewlett Johnson, who I was assured was both a Christian and a Social Crediter, I should address a large meeting in a leading South Coast town.

The meeting was crowded, and as was proper, the Dean of Canterbury took the honour.

The general idea of the meeting had been to stress the contention that the policy embodied in Social Credit proposals was in consonance with, and was intended so far as possible to derive from, the philosophy of the Christian Church.

Somewhat to the disruption of this idea, however, Dr. Johnson delivered a somewhat comprehensive lecture on the A + B theorem, a subject which, however ably treated, is not easy to adapt to the needs of a general audience.

Our very able Chairman, feeling no doubt that enough is enough, thanked him warmly, and suggested that Major Douglas would now speak on Christianity.

It may be felt that the subject of this article has been suggested by the various pronouncements of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on the problems of industry and social structure. But infact, not only should I not object to the interest of the Church dignitaries in the matters of the everyday life of this world, but it appears to me to be axiomatic that a religion must have a politics, although not a technical politics.

But as an individual of, I hope, ordinary common sense, as well as a member of the Church of England, I feel that I am justified in asking that its politics shall be coherent and not in conflict with Christian philosophy as I understand it, when it is put forward under the prestige of high office in the Christian Church.

I cannot object to, although I may dislike, anything Dr. Hewlett Johnson says or writes in admiration of a regime founded on massacre and perpetuated in tyranny and marauding; but I can and do protest when it is done by the Dean of Canterbury, without a disclaimer of its fundamentally anti-Christian philosophy, principles, and practice.

This is, I think, much what most people feel about the Church of England as a whole; they love its exquisite liturgy, the mirror of a nobler day, and they would agree that it holds many good and able men; but it simply does not register. It is so tolerant that it is difficult to name anything to which it objects; its clergy in the main purr with satisfaction at every fresh robbery by taxation, it is so democratic that if you don't like its principles, and can get a majority vote, more particularly of the people, it will change them; and its only slight aversion appears to be from England and the English.

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There is a reason for this, and it is this reason which I feel brings the subject within the orbit of constitutionalism - a subject which must have attention, if we are to survive, as a preliminary to better things.

To indicate what I have in mind, consider the famous First Clause of Magna Carta : "Quod Ecclesia Anglicana libera sit et habeat omnia sua jura integra" which is translated by Mr. Ashton:

"That the Church of England shall be free, and enjoy her whole rights and liberties inviolable."

It has been claimed that this clause, the importance of which must be realised as something basic to social life was a claim for independence of the Pope which is just plain nonsense. It was imposed upon King John, not upon the Pope who is expressly stated to have confirmed it, and was a declaration of independence in certain well defined areas from interference by the King or any other power in matters proper to the Church and religion - matters which are more familiarly known as Canon, and also to some extent Common, or Natural Law.

We have here, in fact, an unequivocal declaration against monocracy.

It should be noticed that three partial sovereignties were present on that little island of Runnymede on a June morning in A.D. 1215, and it is important that Magna Carta strengthens and confirms all of them - the Church, the King, and a much more real democracy than anything we have nowadays.

It is patently false to suggest that the barons acted only for the nobility. They were the spearhead; but the preamble to the document states that it is framed by the advice of the Archbishops of Canterbury and Dublin, inter alia.

The contrast in the spirit of the law with that of current legislation is fundamental. The over-riding intention is to establish every man, of whatever degree, in his rights, not to take them away. Clause 69 states that "All the aforesaid custom, privileges and liberties... as much as it belongs to us towards our people, all our subjects, as well clergy as laity shall observe as far as they are concerned towards their dependents."

The entire document may be searched without success in identifying a portion of the population which does not matter a tinker's cuss; the names of spivs and drones are happily omitted; and even the Jews, while mentioned without enthusiasm, are by implication confirmed in their rights where they have not encroached upon excess.

And it will be noticed that these rights and liberties are not contingent on the success of the export drive.

Now, in order to constitute a sovereignty there must be present form, substance and sanction. To say that the Church of England is the same church, and has the same kind of sovereignty, as the Church in England at the time of King John, is simply to ignore history.

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I am not at the moment discussing doctrinal matters which are clearly outside my competence. It is the constitution and its nature with which we must come to grips.

And the post-Reformation Anglican Church owes its origin and existence to a series of Statutes which clearly indicate that it is a State institution and a State vassal. It has no sovereignty.

It should be fairly clear from the argument of the preceding paragraphs that the question which I believe is technically known as "the validity of Anglican Orders" has a highly practical aspect for the ordinary man.

The basis of the claim to a particular kind of sovereignty by the Christian Church must depend upon its origin and its allegiance; to say that a church which is established by statute, can be disestablished by statute, and has its higher officials, archbishops, bishops and principal deans, appointed by the secular government of the day, is the same thing as a Church which assists in forcing a king to sign a document declaring it to be free and inviolable from himself or any secular authority, and appoints its officials from outside and without reference to his jurisdiction, is infantile.

With some hesitation, I suggest that the question arising out of the Christian Church, is not the same, either in nature or degree, as that involved in the acceptance of what is vaguely called Christianity which for the most part is merely Liberal Judaism.

It is the Doctrine of the Incarnation.

At bottom, what we have to make up our minds upon is whether human political action is subject to the same kind, or some kind, of compulsion to be "right" as we accept in doing a multiplication sum, and if so, whether the Christian Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, is the living incarnation of that "right "-ness.

Magna Carta remains as a witness that this conception was inherent in English life seven hundred years ago.

Tern pora rnutantur, mutamur nos in illis.

In .1917, Lord Sumner in the House of Lords said "My Lords, with all respect to the great names of the lawyers who have used the phrase 'Christianity is part of the law of England' it is really not law, it is rhetoric."

And in the same connection, Professor Holdsworth "But, like many other parts of the law and Constitution of England, these are survivals of an older order, from which all real meaning has departed with the abandonment of that mediaeval theory of the relationship of Church to State, to which they owed their origin" (Holds-worth, vol. 8, p. 403).

And so we arrive at Professor Laski "The core of the British Constitution is the supremacy of Parliament."

King, Church and Commons have all gone, although their ghosts remain, and we have monocratic government by what Mr. Laski quite incorrectly calls "a Committee of the Legislature."

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The nature and gravity of the situation with which we are confronted will be almost wholly missed if we do not give full recognition to the essential falsity of our current institutions. The average U.S. citizen cannot be persuaded that England is not a mediaeval feudalism because we still remain the titles of King, Lords and Commons, and the Horse Guards, to his great delight, still wear armour.

If he could understand it, he would be astounded to learn that it is because this country ceased to be a feudalism more than four hundred years ago that the American Colonists revolted against the British Parliament.

For convenience, perhaps I may repeat here the quotation from "Origins of the American Revolution" John C. Miller, p. 216: "In rejecting natural law, Englishmen" (i.e., the post-Reformation Englishman) "also denied the colonists' contention that there were metes and bounds to the authority of Parliament. The authority of Parliament was, in their opinion, unlimited; the supremacy of Parliament had come to mean to Englishmen an uncontrolled and uncontrollable authority. Indeed the Divine right of Kings had been succeeded by the Divine Right of Parliament . . . "

This unlimited and undivided supremacy is expressly excluded from the United States Constitution. The Colonists were in fact contending for one of the fundamentals of feudalism, which, as Professor Holdsworth points out, "has departed with the abandonment of that mediaeval theory of the relationship of Church and State to which they owed their origin."

If there is one thing more than another which history teaches, it is that Governmental systems do not change human nature, but they can, and do foster various aspects of it.

Mediaeval systems may not have eliminated robbery and oppression; but it is certain that they did not legalise it.

Had a fourteenth century English King seized land as our contemporary Government seizes land through Agricultural Committees, and otherwise, on any flimsy pretext, or extorted taxes without representation (our contemporary Parliament is neither representative nor possessed of authority), the country would have been aflame with revolution in much less time than the American Colonists required to organise their resistance.

Now, it is obvious that while the authority of "Parliament" (really, the Cabinet) may in one sense, as the mid-Victorian Liberal, Lord Courtney of Penwith, proclaimed it to be, "absolutely unqualified, embodying the supreme will of the State" to which "every partial authority must yield" (Working Constitution 01 the United Kingdom, 1901), it should be recognised just what that means.

For all practical purposes, a man has "unqualified supremacy" to jump off Beachy Head; but he cannot avoid the consequences. A Cabinet can pass laws confiscating, under the name of taxation, the work of that man's lifetime or the land his family has dignified for centuries; but it cannot avoid the consequences.

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The crucial issue is, what will those consequences be? Or to put the matter slightly otherwise, is there a moral "law" connecting political transgression with national punishment?

Contemporary Governments clearly think that there is not; that they are free to legislate in a moral vacuum.

Can anyone point to a pronouncement of the Church of England, as such, which contests that idea? Assuming that so-called nationalisation of this or that has any virtues, which is far from self-evident, has the Church ever criticised the methods by which it has been achieved?

The reader will probably have by now suspected that we are coming to grips with the preamble to the

Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion,

"The political has nothing in common with the moral . .. Our right lies in force.

The word 'right'is an abstract thought, and proved by nothing. ... The result justifies the means."

Or, as Frederick of Prussia, the so-called Great, put it, slightly differently:

"Above all, uphold the following maxim 'that to despoil your neighbours is to deprive them of the means of injuring you." (Political Testament, pp 8-9, Boston Edition, 1870).

It is unnecessary to waste time on the "forgery" issue in regard to the Protocols. The Protocols have existed for at least forty years; and they are certainly one of two things - either a Plan or a Prophecy. Someone or some group either drew up the most able and cold-blooded scheme, which requires and has obtained world-wide and powerful co-operation; or someone or some group was and is gifted with a clear insight into what it is the fashion to call "trends," surpassing anything in history, and more precise and unequivocal than anything recorded and historically proved of the "old testament" prophets.

But at the moment, this issue is not vital.

What is the philosophy, and, in consequence, the policy embodied in the Protocols,

and in Frederick of Prussia's "Political Testament"?

The first point to which due weight must be given is that there is a great deal of realism in both of them.

Proctocol No. 1 premises that "men with bad instincts are more numerous than those mainly actuated by good; that everyone would like to become a dictator if he could, and rare are the men who would not be willing to sacrifice the welfare of all for the sake of securing their own welfare."

The quantitative estimates may be excessive; but the general statement is not unjustified.

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It is not necessary to go outside the experience of an ordinary lifetime to learn that the doctrine of original sin has a real meaning, while anyone who has penetrated even the fringe of Big Business and world politics cannot fail to have sensed something of the spirit which the Protocols embody.

It is not the everyday transactions of commerce which are objectionable, such as the abused profit system, or the "capitalism" of the local garage proprietor. For the most part, the wickedness of the world is not even understood by the masses who are affected; and it is never attacked in Party Politics.

It is important to notice that the "Elders of Zion" whoever they may be, have certain premises in common with their irreconcilable antithesis, Christianity. Both philosophies explicitly and implicitly condemn and discredit the idea of human equality. (" In my house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you." "Doth a bad tree bring forth good fruit?" "He that would be greatest among you, let him be your servant.")

There is no essential difference in the premise; there is every difference in the policy as we can see when we come to examine that aspect.

There is nothing in the Protocols so devastating as the injunction: "Cast not your pearls before swine, lest they turn upon you, and rend you," although the same idea is emphasised.

But the agreement on premises goes further.

Both Christianity and the Protocols recognise the primacy and formative nature of ideas. "My Kingdom is not of this world." "There is nothing more dangerous than personal initiative" [the pursuit of an inborn ideal, Protocol V, par II, Marsden Translation.

Christianity, moreover, does not scorn this world.

"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you."

It is not improper to say that Christianity is inter alia a technique by which a man, by control of his ideation, may gain such part of the world as in the nature of things appertains to him, and there is no injunction of which I am aware against that. But there is a warning. "What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

The objective of the Protocols is to gain the whole world. It would be possible to pursue this aspect of the matter to much greater length. The objective I have in mind, however, is to establish the fact that the Protocols are a Book of the Bible of Anti-Christ, and that its policy, Communism and Socialism, which can be easily linked with Frederick of Prussia as their first prominent and identifiable exponent, are essentially the policy of a religion, of which the energising factor is physical force and the fear of it.

And the policy of that religion is plainly labelled in the names Communism and Socialism - it is the treatment of men as a collectivity.

The civilisation which results from that policy is exemplified in Russia and in that to which we are fast moving in this country, the Police State, with its "direction" of "labour" (notice the collectivity).

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Its essential characteristics are fear and violence - of the Protocols.

The civilisation of Christianity was incompletely embodied in the culture of medieval Europe, and is exemplified in Magna Carta. Its essential characteristic is courage, allied to "love," cf. "Perfect love casteth out fear" (a rather unsatisfactory translation). The knight of chivalry, the militant Christian ideal, watched his armour alone in the chapel through the night, and then went out to do battle alone for love against fear and oppression - a very complete allegory.

The "mass" is unsaveable, just as a mob is insane (" without health"); the object of Anti-Christ is to keep mankind in ever larger mobs, thus defeating the object of Christ, to permit the emergence of self-governing, self-conscious individuals, exercising free will, and choosing good because it is good.

The energising factor is attraction, inducement.

With such apology as may be necessary for this incursion into theology, we can return to the unsatisfactory part which the Church of England plays in the world drama, and the altered attitude which seems to be essential to its survival.

It appears to be axiomatic, as the Roman Catholic Church contends, that Socialism and Communism must be fought by any church which calls itself Christian, whatever may be the differences of opinion as to the weapons to be employed. A church which cannot see that Europe was free and attractive to just the extent that it was Christian, and is torn with dissension and is losing its charm to the extent that it is Socialistic, has betrayed its vocation.

The able Jew, Lord Samuel, who leads the Liberal Party in the House of Lords, commenting on the reform of that body, said, "It is indefensible that a man should sit in the House of Lords because his father sat there before him."

It is one step, and not a very long step from this to the position that it is indefensible that an Englishman should sit in the House of Lords (or Commons) just because an Englishman sat there before him.

We have, of course, taken that step a hundred years ago, but we camouflage it by "naturalisation" and a careful suggestion that it is enlightened to ridicule heredity, except in racehorses.

We are all citizens of the world, nowadays. Family is a myth; the zoo is the unit.

There is no race on earth which attaches more importance to heredity than the Jew, for Jews.

I am not at the moment concerned with the heredity principle - the point at issue is that Lord Samuel, by dismissing it lightly as indefensible, was employing the same tactic as that employed against the Christian Church - to deny the validity of its origins. Just a little at a time of course; but the direction is unmistakable.

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Before the Church of England can become what it should be, an integral, primary, and effective part of the Constitution, so that the phrase "Christianity is part of the Law of England" may have real meaning, it is faced with the problem of restoring its locus standi.

It must be insisted tlhat Christianity is either something inherent in the very warp and woof of the Universe, or it is just a set of interesting opinions, largely discredited, and thus doubtfully on a par with many other sets of opinions, and having neither more nor less claim to consideration.

The Roman Catholic Church has always recognised this, and has never wavered in its claims. It may be (and here I write with diffidence and proper humility) that the most direct path to an effective Church, is at least, close rapproachement, and at the most re-union of all the Churches making claims to Catholicity.

But on the matter of the appointment of its high officials, Archbishops, Bishops, and Deans, I do not feel so diffident, because that is a principle of organisation, in respect of general experience in which I have at least average experience. Whether disestablishment is consequential or not, it appears to be beyond question that Church officers should be free from outside patronage,

Quod Ecclesia Anglicam libera sit, et habeat sua jura integra.

In this connection, the Houses of Convocation, which are part of the Constitution, advise the King, and sit contemporaneously with, but separately from, the Houses of Parliament, might have an important part to play.

During the current local government elections, the Scottish Catholic Bishops have circulated a letter to their members, "To be read at all public Masses on any one Sunday before the municipal elections in 1947."

After remarking that: "A few years at most, will decide whether the Christian tradition which has made Europe is to survive, or atheistic materialism is, for a time at least, to triumph.. . ", it offers three considerations to govern the exercise of the vote, of which the last is: "No Catholic can in conscience vote for the representative of a party which denies the fundamental truths of Christian philosophy."

Have the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England issued any similar advice? And, supposing that they had, and their perplexed flock had appealed to the Dean of Canterbury and the Bishop of Birmingham (both, incidentally, nominees of Mr. J. Ramsay Macdonald) for a statement of the "fundamental truths of Christian philosophy", what answer would they have received?

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The great difficulty which besets this subject is that "the Mills of God grind very slowly, though they grind exceeding small" . . . It is in this that, by itself, pragmatism fails, as it is failing in "Britain ", and most of all in politics.

A given line of action, dictated by immediate expediency, may appear to be beneficial; but the subsequent result may be found to have intensified the evil. A severe pain may be alleviated by opium; but an opium habit is almost certainly deadly.

The philosophy of Christianity, as I apprehend it, contends for certain immutable principles which may have many permutations (" Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my Word shall not pass away.")

The business of the Church in politics is to be the Authority on the Mills of God, which are, of course, inter alia Political Principles which can be checked like any other genuine Laws, by their observed operation over a sufficient period of time.

It is this latter fact which has inspired the falsification of history, the attack upon tradition and hereditary instinct (probably subconscious memory) and the other defensive and offensive measures outlined in the Protocols.

The first recorded, anonymous election of which we have knowledge, resulted in a victory for Barabbas, who was a robber, and the murder of the Founder of Christianity.

What has the Church to say of the spread of secret, anonymous balloting as a principle on which to rest civilisation?

Speaking for myself, I should reject the so-called old testament as containing little which, for the purposes of contemporary religion, is not purely negative - a warning. Its connotation with "the Chosen People" myth has distorted any usefulness it might have, and if it is to be retained, it requires treatment in a highly critical spirit, completely divorced from reverence. It is only necessary to observe the extent to which the world tragedy is complicated by Zionism to recognise its vicious effects.

The Jewish question is a mass of untruths, half-truths, and false materialism, and one of the essentials of any solution is to strip it of the occultism which is its chief ally.

What has the Church of England to say of Secret Societies?

In considering the general policy which appears to lead to a re-incorporation of the Church as a living and vital element in daily life, it appears to me to commence with a repudiation of rationalism and its absurd claims.

"Reason," as I understand it, is nearly synonymous with logic, of which mathematics is a special example. It is a pure mechanism, just as a slide rule is a mechanism, and as such, is deterministic. You put into the mechanism practically anything you please, and you get out something which was inherent in what you put in, but nothing further.

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If I say that (a+b)2 =a2-2ab-b2, I can apply that very useful piece of information to a number of concrete problems, but they must, on each occasion, concern similar objects. It is no use saying that the square of a apples plus b oranges gives you some information about bananas. It does not.

The whole validity of the Christian Church rests upon the acceptance of certain premises. Those premises are not provable by reason, or they would not be premises. But they are provable or disprovable by experience, and to my mind, quite a surprising number of the Christian premises will stand that test.

Given that attitude, and the proper and reliable historical background, an immense power could be built up as a instrument of higher legislative criticism. It does not appear that legislation is a proper function of the Church, and in fact there is far too much legislation (it is absurd that legislation should be a continuous product, much like automobile manufacture, but less useful).

The Church has a locus standi on "The Just Price". The Church as such, does not appear to be properly much concerned with physical science, and the incursions of Bishop Barnes would seem to confirm that view. But one subject of mathematical science does come clearly within its province - that of Time. I am sitting by my desk. It ,is five o'clock. I get up. The fact that I was sitting by my desk at five o'clock, is now what we call a memory. But, humanly speaking, I know that my desk will be there in five minutes, that is to say, at five minutes past five, so it is difficult to believe that both the desk, and five minutes past five, are not together in existence now.

"As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end."

What do they mean by that?

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