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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
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.
Our very able Chairman, feeling no doubt that
enough is enough, thanked him warmly, and suggested that Major Douglas
would now speak on Christianity.
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.
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:
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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?
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?
Or, as Frederick of Prussia, the so-called Great,
put it, slightly differently:
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.
The first point to which due weight must be
given is that there is a great deal of realism in both of them.
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 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.
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
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
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.
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."
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
There is no race on earth which attaches more
importance to heredity than the Jew, for Jews.
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
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
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.
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?
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.")
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.
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
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."