The Socialist Christian Catechism
Historical Note: Those who still feel themselves to be part of the radical Anglo-Catholic tradition may be interested in the following document composed by two young Anglican priests in the East End of London in 1947. One, Jack Boggis, had been a member of Conrad Noel's Catholic Crusade until it disbanded in 1936. The other, Gresham Kirkby, was a member of the League of the Kingdom of God - which, he claims, was never dissolved, makng him its last surviving member!
The Socialist Christian Catechism
Some who read The Socialist Christian Catechism will recognize that peculiar, somewhat self-mocking tone, a sort of ironic defiance in the face of political and ecclesiastical realities, which has always tended to modify the solemnities of the catholic socialist movement in the Anglican Communion. But the summer of 1947 saw the independence of India and Pakistan, and Fr Gresham Kirkby remembers going to the altar of the Church of St Peter, Becontree, on August 15th of that year to celebrate not only the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary but the beginning of the end of the British Empire. -- John Rowe
- What is a Socialist Christian?
A christian who works for an international, socialist order of Society.
- Why does he work for this?
Because he believes in the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth.
- What is the Kingdom of God?
An order of justice, love and peace, for whose coming on earth Jesus taught us to pray.
- What other names are there for this New Order?
The New Age, the Divine Commonwealth, the City of God which St John saw coming down from Heaven to Earth.
- What do you mean by Socialism?
Socialism is a system based on common ownership.
- Why do Socialist Christians believe that the Kingdom of God demands a socialist order?
Because common ownership is based on natural law, the revelation of the Bible and the Christian tradition.
- Do Socialist Christians believe in the possibility of a socialist order?
They believe that this is within the purpose of God, and is a necessary development out of the collapse of capitalism.
- Do Socialist Christians believe in a particular form of socialism?
. They believe in a socialism which combines justice and freedom.
- Have they any pattern for the emerging socialist order?
They see the pattern in the holy and undivided Trinity, variety in unity and unity in variety, wherein none is greater or less than another and all are equal.
Evils Which Socialist Christians are Pledged to Fight
- The earth is the Lord's etc; therefore God is the only Landlord
- He has made of one blood all nations, and therefore they adopt as their banner the red flag of international brotherhood.
- God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and therefore they strive to break down all that divides humanity.
- Christ came to cast fire on the earth, therefore they look for the revolutionary purging of the empires of this world and the destruction of the forces of evil.
- Through the death and resurrection of Christ the New Age has dawned; therefore they
proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God as a revolutionary religion.
- Christ must reign until he has abolished all rule and all authority and power, and therefore they defy all tyranny wherever it is found.
- The Spirit of God stirs men to revolution, and therefore they recognize in the movements
of the people the working out of the divine purpose.
- Only in holy fellowship can the life of man achieve its fullness, and therefore they seek to
create among men free associations for the common good.
- Sin mars all human aspirations and achievements, and therefore they recognize the need
for forgiveness and grace.
- The Kingdom of God on earth is a divine purpose for all creation; therefore they look
beyond the coming of the Kingdom to the time when God shall be all in all.
The Heresies' Principal Shrines
- Property for power
- The wage system
Social Reformism, which bolsters up the capitalist system.
Bureaucracy, which stifles initiative.
Fabianism, which hands over control to the do-gooders.
Dictatorship, which betrays the revolution.
The Four Marks of Socialist Order
The Four Great Teachers
- Common Ownership
- Democratic Control
- Free Association
Hancock, who proclaimed 'the banner of Christ in the hands of the Socialists'.
Headlam, who taught that 'it is the Mass that matters'.
Marston, who saw that the Church is 'God's co-operative society'.
Noel, who gave us the people's Life of Jesus.
Annual Festival: May Day
- The Brickmakers' Strike
- The Year of Jubilee
- Samuel on Monarchy
- Elijah humbling Ahab
- The Maccabean Struggle
- The Jerusalem Collective
- The Peasants' Revolt
- The Tolpuddle Martyrs
- The General Strike
- The Red Flag
Principal Shrine: Thaxted