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THE WAY WE WERE: Archbishop criticises ‘materialistic megalomania’

Northern Ireland – News Letter

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher, travelled to Northern Ireland in March 1960 to take part in a number of engagements to mark Saint Patrick’s Day.

In his main engagement at the first afternoon service in Downpatrick Cathedral Dr Fisher stressed the importance of “little peoples” and criticised the form of “materialistic megalomania” which dominated modern society and which “thought nothing was good unless it was impressive”.

Taking as his text, “Fear not, little flock, for It is your Father’s; good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (St Luke 12), he said he wanted to dwell on the importance of little peoples, because it was an essential part of the Christian way of life that “we should be little men and women in the presence of God”.

He remarked: “The strength and power was God’s, not ours. It is one of our glories, as Christians, that there are little groups all over the world living as vital parts of the social structure.”

He continued: “At the same time it is distressing to find men among us terribly consumed by a form of materialistic megalomania. They think nothing was any good unless it was impressive and large.

Dr Fisher asked: “What are they trying to do at the present to the little county of Rutland?” He answered: “They are trying to cut it up, for what – efficiency. I do not; want to decry the urge for efficiency, but this urge has done little to abolish poverty and other human wants. Efficiency is only safe when it is, kept firmly under control of the spirit of man and God.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury declared: “This is an example of the threat of megalomania when it gets out of hand. The fault is partly due to covetousness and idolatry which is next door to covetousness.

“There is peril in the threat of megalomania. The Church itself in its long history has fallen victim to this lust for greatness – greatness of political, spiritual and theological power.

“When the Church surrenders to the quest for power it loses the virtue which Christ gave to little folk. There is no harm in littleness if it did not mean the threat of losing heart and hope.”

 

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Northern Ireland – News Letter

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher, travelled to Northern Ireland in March 1960 to take part in a number of engagements to mark Saint Patrick’s Day.

In his main engagement at the first afternoon service in Downpatrick Cathedral Dr Fisher stressed the importance of “little peoples” and criticised the form of “materialistic megalomania” which dominated modern society and which “thought nothing was good unless it was impressive”.

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Taking as his text, “Fear not, little flock, for It is your Father’s; good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (St Luke 12), he said he wanted to dwell on the importance of little peoples, because it was an essential part of the Christian way of life that “we should be little men and women in the presence of God”.

He remarked: “The strength and power was God’s, not ours. It is one of our glories, as Christians, that there are little groups all over the world living as vital parts of the social structure.”

He continued: “At the same time it is distressing to find men among us terribly consumed by a form of materialistic megalomania. They think nothing was any good unless it was impressive and large.

Dr Fisher asked: “What are they trying to do at the present to the little county of Rutland?” He answered: “They are trying to cut it up, for what – efficiency. I do not; want to decry the urge for efficiency, but this urge has done little to abolish poverty and other human wants. Efficiency is only safe when it is, kept firmly under control of the spirit of man and God.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury declared: “This is an example of the threat of megalomania when it gets out of hand. The fault is partly due to covetousness and idolatry which is next door to covetousness.

“There is peril in the threat of megalomania. The Church itself in its long history has fallen victim to this lust for greatness – greatness of political, spiritual and theological power.

“When the Church surrenders to the quest for power it loses the virtue which Christ gave to little folk. There is no harm in littleness if it did not mean the threat of losing heart and hope.”