Words from an American Prophet

Each month we will be using this column to highlight either one of the Saints, a Mystery of the Kingdom or a recent "Defender of the Faith".

This month we are featuring a writing by Canon Bernard Iddings Bell, a once well known prophet in the United States who already saw in the 1930s the afflictions of today's church

"Wherever one puts the blame, no candid observer can deny the facts. The on the make people, having bought up the Church as a sort of plaything, are now tired of their toy; and the public at large, having learned by experience how rarely is any spiritual challenge to be met within [our] church, leaves our pews unoccupied and our preachers unheard. We have our reward.

"And Anglo-Catholics have not mattered very much either - chiefly, I think, because they have not understood the Church in which they were working or the essentially prophetic nature of their life and work. They have expected to be liked by its usual people, and by its ecclesiastics... [now] they have gotten so used to looking after their private practice as to have lost interest in the public health of the communion. If so, both they and the communion must share the blame.

"And there are many more priests, and even bishops, ready in an emergency to stand with the Catholics, than all men understand. Of course, most of these are only semi-Catholic; but they are on their way, and they do respond to vital and clear challenge if those who make the challenge are humorous, kindly, and really Catholic.

"Would we spread respect for Catholic doctrine and promote Catholic worship? Then we must live the Catholic life ourselves. Even the inertia of the Episcopal [Anglican] Church is powerless before love, for love is of God.

Taken from the periodical of the "Evangelical and Catholic Mission" and originally published in "The Living Church"

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