The Theology of Economics. To the Editor of The New English Weekly
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[ 65 The Theology of Economics To the Editor of The New English Weekly The New English Weekly, 4 (29 Mar 1934) 575-76 Sir, – To some, at least, of your readers it must be a matter of regret that a paper which is able to express itself so clearly on political and economic matters should have to take refuge (page 532, lower right hand corner) in cloudy truculence when it concerns itself with ecclesiastical polity.1 As one who was in sympathy with the Archbishop of York’s proposals before they were known to the New English Weekly, I should be interested to know what this paper thinks of them;2 and as you say only that “There can be no hesitation in the minds of normal people about the side they are to take,” I have what is to me the still more vital interest of wanting to know whether Iam,accordingtothejudgmentoftheNewEnglishWeekly,anormal person. It strikes me further that your Theological Editor is inclined to interpret the words Thy Kingdom Come . . . in earth in a way of his own. I do not know what he means by its “native condition of spirituality”: at what date was the Kingdom of Heaven born? And when he speaks of “agony and passion” he is transferring to the Incarnation two terms which are properly applicable to the Atonement.3 What does your Theological Editor or Leader Writer mean by the “Kingdom of Heaven upon Earth”? What does he mean by saying that the ideal mission (I do not know how an ideal mission differs from a mission) of the Church is not of saving souls alone but of creating a divine society of Mankind upon Earth? Is not the saving of souls the only way to create a divine society upon Earth? I should like some assurance that by “the Kingdom of Heaven upon Earth” your Theological Editor does not mean the National Dividend.4 I trust that I have not been prejudiced – though in the spirit of one laying his cards upon the table I mention the point – by your writer’s using the verbs to pose and to sense.5 T. S. Eliot Essays, Reviews, Commentaries, and Public Letters: 1934 66 ] Notes 1. “Notes of the Week,” NEW, 4 (22 Mar 1934), [529]-32. 2. As reported in the 15 Mar issue of NEW, “The Archbishop of York has followed up his recent notable Encyclical on the Economic Problem with an appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to use a Budgetary balance for the increase of Unemployment allowances rather than for the remission of Income-tax” (507). 3. “Is the Kingdom of Heaven to be sought and found upon Earth or is it to be left to be possibly realised in its native condition of spirituality without the agony and passion of its incarnation?” (532). 4. “For unless the Church is by both profession and fact a conscious and leading agent in the task imposed upon it by its presumed Great Founder – the task of creating the Kingdom of Heaven upon Earth – it must not only be the case that the Church is Weakness if not Heresy Incorporated, but its reason for existence is under suspicion as possibly actively anti-Christian. Either, that is to say, the Church must openly profess and strive to fulfil its ideal mission, not of saving souls alone, but of creating a divine society of Mankind on Earth, or, for those to whom the original message still appeals, there can be no further use for the Church or for any communion save hostility with it” (532). 5. “The issue is posed in the discussion that has ensued among Churchmen upon the publication of the Archbishop of York’s appeal on behalf of the Unemployed; and that a considerable number of people have already sensed the importance of it is evidenced in the wide public and private interest taken in it” (532). ...


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