Thursday, September 20, 2012

William Temple - film of his 1944 "Message From Canterbury"

In the film below, shot in 1944 after Canterbury Cathedral had suffered from bombs and incendiary raids, the choir sings traditional Anglican music, the “Red Dean”, Hewlett Johnson, processes to the rear door where he admits Archbishop William Temple, and they return to the altar area. 

Father Tony Clavier (from whose blog I pinched the video!) writes: “The cathedral is packed. Temple, the Christian Socialist, sounding like an ecclesiastical Churchill, but with rather more tortured aristocratic vowels, preaches an extraordinary sermon, in which he invokes Augustine and Ethelbert (with Bertha), Henry II and Becket, Henry VIII, Oliver Cromwell and Hitler, and then proceeds to lay out his vision for a Christian post war England. I’d never heard Temple’s voice before, all the more poignant because he was filmed shortly before his sudden death.” 

Temple (1881-1944) had been Bishop of Manchester (1921–29), and Archbishop of York (1929–42) before becoming Archbishop of Canterbury in 1942. A renowned teacher and preacher, he is best known these days for his 1942 book Christianity and Social Order, which set out a social theology based on the Anglican way, together with a vision of what would constitute a just post-war society. It is widely regarded as one of the tragedies of the 20th Century that Temple died in 1944, thus depriving Britain of his intellectual, political and spiritual contribution to its rebuilding. Even the short sermon on the video lends credence to that view!



David, Gillian and Families said...

A wonderful film of the city and Cathedral I knew as a boy and have returned to. An excellent sermon by Archbishop William Temple on the history of the Cathedral and on future hope in the midst of World War 2/

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