16 AUGUST 1930, Page 19


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.]

Sul,— Mr. Clayton's articles give voice to what so many people feel but have not the eloquence to express about the Church of England. To an ordinary layman brought up in the ordinary way the Church of England now presents itself as absorbed in matters and pursuing actions that make to him no appeal at all.

If anyone wishes to ascertain what subjects the clergy of the Church of England regard as absorbing, he should examine the progranunes of the Church Congresses for the last ten years.

He will then discover that no interest seems to be taken in all the troubles and miseries of the world ; the programmes have no relation to men's lives and conduct ; nothing about our prisons and their inmates, and the problem of their-fate on release; nothing about the shameful crowding of young and old in single rooms leading direct to the commission of incest; nothing about the dreadful evils of betting which lead so often directly to embezzlements and the ruin of a family; nothing about those who soak themselves with whisky into a premature grave; nothing about cruelty to children which occupies the ceaseless struggles of a great lay society; nothing about cruelty to animals which is in like case.

Being myself in a very humble way occupied in the ever- lasting fight against all forms of cruelty to a ' Ls, I watched for many years the programmes of Church Congresses in vain for any, even passing, allusion to that awful evil, till at last I lighted on a subject set down for discussion which I hoped might afford me an opportunity of bringing the attention of the Congress to it.

A discuision was announced as dealing with " The Spirit of God in Nature." Honoured with the permission to represent some of the chief humane societies in England, including the R.S.P.C.A., the Dumb Friends' League, and many others, I went to Southport and requested permission, as their repre- sentative, to address the Congress, but the Bishop of Liverpool, who was the chairman, refused to let me speak.

Then, in their outward and visible actions, the Church of England presents to us laymen two outstanding characteristicS First, the large majority of the bishops deliberately defy and break the law. Secondly, vast numbers of the lesser clergy, besides abetting the bishops in this law-breaking, give the impression to the ordinary layman of pursuing a ritual in the services of the Church as little distinguishable as possible from the ritual of the Roman Church.

Mr. Clayton's articles are a fine appeal to the Established Church of England to leave these practices and courses and to imitate the hundred and more devoted chaplains who went to the Front, dealt with the fighting men " in every phase of duty, in every sort of suffering and temptation," and died [This letter has been shortened for reasons of space.—En. Spectator.]