Anglo-Catholics Speak

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Kenneth Leech

Born in 1939 to a working-class family in Greater Manchester, Kenneth Leech studied history at King’s College, London, and then trained for ordination at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, in 1963. He served in parishes in Hoxton, Soho and Bethnal Green, becoming one of the Church’s foremost experts on the drug culture and related social problems. He also pioneered the Church’s engagement with racism. His espousal of ‘contextual theology’ provided a bridge between academic theology and the Church. Since founding the Jubilee Group in 1974 he has been a leading representative of Anglo-Catholic socialist tradition, and a prolific historian of the movement. (From the Church Times, London)

The cross stands as a symbol of the falsehood and demonic nature of all religions which sanctify established injustice, religions of the status quo, which continue to reproduce Calvaries all over the world. The cross is a crisis point for all societies which seek to produce men and women of quiescence, men and women who are trained to give unquestioning, uncritical obedience to worldly powers and not to Christ; a crisis point for all systems of violence, systems which are bound to lead to the reproduction of Calvaries great a small; a crisis point for all who despise the weak and the small people, and in so doing despise Christ. (from We Preach Christ Crucified, 1994)

For the Incarnation is more than a belief, it is a principle of life and of transformation. The principle that salvation and all spirituality comes through the flesh and through matter lies at the heart of the entire Christian understanding. Spirituality which is rooted in the Incarnation can never be world-denying or private. Nor can it be reduced to the “imitation of Christ”. Rather it is a call to be transformed into the divine life.

One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.

Wherever men and women are despised, rejected, and abused there is Christ. Such solidarity with the victims of injustice and oppression must always override any temptation to judge or condemn. It is the critical test of fidelity to the way of Christ.

To be a Christian, to be en Christo, is to be part of an organism, a new community, the extension of the Incarnation.

Evelyn Underhill

We are being shown in the incarnation something profoundly significant about human life — God speaks in a Son, a baby, and reversed all our pet values. God speaks in our language and shows us God’s secret beauty on our scale. We have got to begin not by an arrogant other-worldliness, but by a humble recognition that human things can be very holy, very full of God, and that high-minded speculations about God’s nature need not be holy at all; that all life is engulfed in God and God can reach out to us anywhere at any level.

Hallowed be thy Name: not described: or analyzed be thy Name. Before that Name, let the most soaring intellects cover their eyes with their wings, and adore.

Take the present situation as it is and try to deal with what it brings you in a spirit of generosity and love.

For the fully Christian life is a Eucharistic life: that is, a natural life conformed to the pattern of Jesus, given in its wholeness to God, laid on the altar as a sacrifice of love, and consecrated, transformed by God’s inpouring life, to be used to give life and food to other souls.

There is no place in my soul, no corner of my character, where God is not.

Try to arrange things so that you can have a reasonable bit of quiet every day.

You don’t have to be peculiar to find God.

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You cannot claim to worship Jesus in the Tabernacle, if you do not pity Jesus in the slums… It is folly — it is madness — to suppose that you can worship Jesus in the Sacraments and Jesus on the throne of glory, when you are sweating him in the souls and bodies of his children.

—Bishop Frank Weston at the 1923 Anglo-Catholic Congress

In the worship of Jesus really present in the Sacrament of the Altar before you, all human hearts can join, and especially secularists, for when you worship Him you are worshipping the Savior, the social and political Emancipator, the greatest of all secular workers, the founder of the great socialistic society for the promotion of righteousness, the preacher of a revolution, the denouncer of kings, the gentle, tender sympathizer with the rough and the outcast who could utter scathing, burning words against the rich, the respectable, the religious.

—Stewart Headlam “Sacramental Socialism” (c.1890)

The story of every parish should be a love story…One possible definition for a parish is that it is God’s way of meeting the problems of the unloved. This meeting between God and the unloved, the unwanted, takes place in the preaching of the Word, in the Sacraments, in the social life of the parish made possible by the climate of acceptance which is engendered by those who have been baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith.

—Kilmer Myers

The Eucharist is the principal act of Christian worship because it embodies the central truth of the Christian faith: God has pitched God’s tent in our midst, in our own flesh, redeeming our nature, binding us to one another, and filling the whole creation with the effulgence of God’s glory.

In the secret places of their hearts, modern men and women are seeking themselves. They sense, although they cannot believe it, that they have enduring value, that there is more to themselves than their employers, their accountants, their government, or even their families can possibly know. What the world craves is the assurance that there is “a splendor burning in the heart of things.”

—John Orens in “The Anglo Catholic Vision”

Holiness is the brightness of divine love, and love is never idle; it must accomplish great things. Love must act as light must shine and fire must burn.

—James Otis Sargent Huntington, OHC

Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.

—Gilbert K. Chesterton