restricted access The Church Assembly and Social Credit. To the Editor of The New English Weekly
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214 ] The Church Assembly and Social Credit To the Editor of The New English Weekly The New English Weekly, 6 (28 Feb 1935) 422 Sir, – I hope and believe that the difference between myself and Mr. Maurice Reckitt is more verbal than real. I assumed, even if I did not make explicit, the difference between the Report of the Commission and the debate on the ReportintheAssembly.1 Iwas notfinding faultwiththeReport,butwiththe debate.2 When I wrote, my feelings were inflamed by the words of Lord Hugh Cecil, Mr. Assheton, Sir Francis Fremantle, and the Bishop of Jarrow.3 I should like to draw a distinction between the use of the terms “the Church” and “Churchmen.” I indicated a point beyond which I thought that “the Church” should not go; but I should think poorly of Churchmen, as human beings, if they were unwilling to go farther: I might even say that it seems to me to be the duty of Churchmen to go farther than the Church should go. When Mr. Reckitt says that he does not think that Churchmen are justified “in associating religion categorically with any particular secular theory,” I am in agreement, except that instead of the term “religion,” which I do not much like, I should prefer “the Faith.” But I should add that I feel that Churchmen, as individuals, might well advocate whatever secular theory seems to them most nearly compatible with their Churchmanship. By all means let Churchmen “draw constructive deductions from their premises ”: Mr. Reckitt does that, and so, I hope, do I. In so doing, we commit no one but ourselves. It is not the business of the Church to commit itself to any particular secular solution; but it is very much the business of individual Churchmen, as they take their membership of the Church seriously, to be ready to commit their individual opinions. T. S. Eliot Notes 1. Established by Parliament in 1919, the Church Assembly Act provided for an Ecclesiastical Committee, consisting of fifteen members from the House of Lords and fifteen members from the House of Commons chosen by the Speaker of the respective House and appointed only for the duration of each parliament. This committee was granted the authority to determine and express the Church’s mind on a range of issues. [ 215 The Church Assembly and Social Credit 2. In response to TSE’s letter of 14 Feb (5.210), Maurice Reckitt, who was a member of the Church Assembly’s Social and Industrial Commission, wrote in the 21 Feb issue of the NEW: “I would like . . . to draw a distinction between the debate on the Report and the Report itself ” (403). 3. For the comments by Mr. Assheton and the Bishop of Jarrow, see the issue of 14 Feb (5.212 nn. 4, 5). Lord Hugh Cecil and Sir Francis Fremantle (1872-1943), Conservative MP for St. Albans and member of the Commission, both criticized the report. The former “said the report was not illuminating, and failed to serve its purpose,” while Fremantle claimed that it “was likely tounsettlepeopleratherthantohelpthem.HewanteditburiedinthearchivesoftheAssembly” (The Times, 7 Feb 1935, 9). ...


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