Personal Responsibility and Interdependence
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 13 Aug 1963, p. 1-15
Ramsey, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Arthur Michael, Speaker
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Item Type
A joint meeting of The Empire Club of Canada, The English Speaking Union, The Canadian Club of Toronto, The Royal Commonwealth Society and The St. George's Society.
Links in the history of friendship and affection between Canada and Great Britain, with a personal example from the speaker. The Anglican Congress and the Anglican Church in Canada. The word "Empire" yielding to the word "Commonwealth" and what that means. Canada's role in the Commonwealth. The use of the word "free" in describing the Commonwealth, and in describing the Anglican Communion. Some words about Russia. Freedom of worship on the one hand, and intense pressure and persecution upon the Christian church on the other. Continuing Christianity in Russia. The incompatibility of Communism and Christianity. The co-existence of Communism and Christianity, with reasons why that is possible. Caveats in reference to "the free world" in contrast with the "Communist world." Aspects of freedom that we must be watching in the free world. The gift of freedom, and how it grows.
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13 Aug 1963
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Full Text
AUGUST 13, 1963
Personal Responsibility and Interdependence
AN ADDRESS BY The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Arthur Michael Ramsey, M.A., D.D. ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, PRIMATE OF ALL ENGLAND
CHAIRMAN The President, Mr. Arthur J. Langley



Our Father in Heaven, we thank Thee for all the blessings of life, and for the particular blessings of this time and place. We thank Thee for the Church, active in the world; and pray Thy blessing upon Thy servant, its Head in our midst. We pray for Thy blessing also upon the Congress of the Church being held in our city. May men and women of faith and good-will learn something afresh of the meaning of Thy will for their lives and for our common life. Now bless this food to our use, we beseech Thee, and us in Thy Service; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



Your Honour, My Lords, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen. This is truly a wonderful occasion for us all to meet together, The Royal Common wealth Society, The St. George's Society, The English Speaking Union, the Canadian Club and the Empire Club. It is a very happy circumstance that brings this momentous Anglican Congress to Toronto and gives us this opportunity to join together in this extraordinary meeting to hear our speaker today.

We are extremely grateful that at the outset of his absorbing Congress programme, His Grace has found the time to be with us and to bring with him his charming wife. The Honorary Secretary of the Royal Commonwealth Society has more to say on this subject-Mr. Brian Kelsey.


TO MRS. RAMSEY Mr. Brian Kelsey


On behalf of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Toronto, I am pleased to join with the other societies represented here today in welcoming Your Grace to Toronto. The Royal Commonwealth Society, representing, as it does, the interests and aspirations of the Commonwealth, is particularly gratified to have this opportunity to extend its welcome to Canada to the Head of the Established Church of the United Kingdom and of the Anglican Church throughout the world. It is also my special privilege and pleasure, on behalf of all present, to welcome Mrs. Ramsey, I would like to present this bouquet to Mrs. Ramsey as our special token of welcome to her and to express our great pleasure at having her with us.


The President, Mr. Arthur J. Langley MR. LANGLEY:

Your Honour, My Lords, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen. As President of the Empire Club of Canada it is my pleasant duty to welcome to this special luncheon meeting the members and guests of the English Speaking Union, the Canadian Club of Toronto, the St. George's Society, The Royal Commonwealth Society and the Empire Club of Canada. In addition to a veritable galaxy of notable guests whom we greet most warmly, we are privileged to have with us at this Head Table the distinguished representatives of all these organizations, and it is now my pleasure to call upon Mr. Harold Rea, the eminent President of the Canadian Club, to introduce our Guest of Honour.


A few days ago, my wife and I had a memorable experience while travelling by Jet across the Atlantic-when we found that our neighbours across the aisle were The Archbishop of Canterbury and his lady. As the plane landed at Malton, the first colourful figure to greet our vision was a Mounted Policeman in his scarlet uniform. I am sure every one in this audience, Your Grace, will be glad that once again the Mounted Police got their man and the right man at that. It is my privilege today to introduce the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury since the first Archbishop of Saint Augustine came to England, in A.D. 597 ... 1366 years ago. It would be impossible in many more minutes than those allowed me today to begin to mark the milestones and achievements in the life and work of our guest. A great Scholar in a family of scholars, Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, Ex-President of Cambridge Union ... and a man of many honours. He is a great believer that with diversity in religious faith there is still room for tolerance, the same fundamental ideas of what we call morality, and a steadfast belief in the Fatherhood of God and the essential Brotherhood of Mankind. Our guest's parish has been in very truth the World.

Like Saint Paul himself, our guest has travelled into many far lands in the service of his Master-to the United States widely and on several occasions, to Rome, Moscow, Africa, India, Turkey, Greece and most of the countries of Europe. He has gone on his missions of reconciliation and Christian fellowship believing that there can yet be essential unity in diversity.

In welcoming your Grace it is not necessary to remind you, nor I hope this audience, of the great debt which this land owes to what we call the Anglican Church. Your Grace's Church, too, helped to found some of our earliest and best Universities. For those things, for much generosity of the Church in England to its brethren in Canada, and for the unselfish and sacrificial noble army of missionaries, this nation will ever be mindful and ever grateful.

Sir, it is our sincere hope your deliberations during the Congress will be most fruitful and that you and your colleagues, assembled from all over the world, will be able to discuss and give leadership to solving some of the burdens facing us today. It gives me considerable pleasure and honour to introduce to this large gathering (comprising the members of The Empire Club, The St. George's Society, the English Speaking Union, the Royal Commonwealth Society and The Canadian Club); The Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Arthur Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of all England.


Mr. Chairman, Your Honour, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen: I thank you from my heart for myself and my wife for your very generous, heart warming welcome to us today. I have never seen so many people sitting down to lunch together before. I do not think I knew that it was possible for so many people all to have lunch together like this on one campus-or what should I call it?-and I should have been, believe me sincerely, very frightened because humanity in the lump and on a large scale is sometimes very frightening; but I am not frightened because I know that nearly all of the company are Canadians, and the last week or so in which we have been in Canada on our second visit has so warmed our hearts and made us utterly and entirely at home in this great and wonderful country.--(applause)

There are so many links in history of friendship and affection between Canada and Great Britain that probably every one of us cites different instances from his or her own experience. Let me tell you of one instance of that friendship and, indeed, intimacy which has sometimes moved me very much when I am at home.

In one of the chapels in my Cathedral at Canterbury., there is kept what we call the Book of Remembrance, and in that book there are commemorated the names of the men of our Kent Regiment, the Buffs, who fell for their country; but the very same book also commemorates the men of the great Canadian regiment closely allied in friendship to the Buffs, the Queen's Own Rifles, and every single day throughout the year this moving little ceremony takes place. A soldier of the Buffs comes to the Cathedral at eleven o'clock in the morning and turns over the page so that a new group of names is disclosed to be remembered and daily when that happens prayers are said commemorating those who gave their lives for all of us and for freedom and praying for the peace of the nations and that daily act in my Cathedral is a very vivid reminder of the friendship of our countries, of the ideals which we have in common and of the great hope with which we both look towards the future.

Here in Toronto, the Anglican Church in Canada and indeed Canada in so many aspects of its life, has, by its great generosity and hospitality, made possible the holding of the Anglican Congress in this place. The Anglican Congress here will, I am sure, help to deepen the friendship of our countries within the Commonwealth, atlhough of course, it will be doing more than that, we hope, because the Anglican Communion is a family of churches, some of them within the territories of the British Commonwealth, but some of them in territories far outside the Commonwealth and containing people of many nations and races. It is a family of churches which recognizes the Seal of Canterbury as the symbol of their common unity, but they are churches independent and equally held together by the bond of the Prayer Book which we all use, though there is small variance in our different churches serving one another and trying together to serve the world.

Among the hosts of my wife and myself today, there is the Empire Club. The word "Empire" is a word that has many historical associations and some of those associations are things which have certainly greatly benefited the human race; but today we know that, by and large, the word "Empire" has yielded to the word "Commonwealth". I think that if a visitor from another planet were to visit this planet and first of all see what an obstinate world we are, so full of the obstinacies of folly and stupidity and prejudice, and were then told that in the midst of this obstinate world there existed a family of countries held together in a commonwealth, not by any elaborate constitution, not by the domination of any one of them over the others, but simply by being a family of mutual trust, with the Crown as a symbol of that mutual trust and family existence, he would rather marvel and, indeed, I think it is something to wonder at with great gratitude indeed that such a thing as our Commonwealth exists.

I sincerely believe that this remarkable thing, our Commonwealth, in its creation and development owes a very great deal to Canada's own part as a pioneer in its company; for isn't it really, with historical accuracy and with no exaggeration, true to say that our Commonwealth has come into existence through the application to the whole group of what are now Commonwealth countries of that relationship which Canada originally discovered towards Great Britain and worked out with her? It is the application all round the world of something discovered within the history of Canada and its relation to Great Britain that has made the growth of the Commonwealth possible.

Now, I used a moment ago the word "free" in describing the Commonwealth. I think I also used the word "free" in describing our Anglican Communion. Let me make refer ence to a country with which we do not ordinarily associate the word "free", namely the country of Russia. Let me say a word about Russia, having visited that country twice in recent years.

People often ask me, as one who has visited Russia--my last visit there was just a little over a year ago -what is the state of Christian religion in Russia? Let me tell you just a little about that. The Soviet Government has a kind of two-fold policy towards the Orthodox Church, the historic church of the country. On the one hand, the State allows freedom for worship in a number of churches which are allowed to be open for worship, by a State licence. Those churches allowed to be open for worship are only a fraction of the ones that were open and filled with worshippers before the Communist Revolution. In the City of Moscow, for instance, some fifty churches are open and used, in contrast with several thousand that were opened in the older days. The churches that are open are crowded with Christian worshippers and it would not be entirely true to say that all those worshippers are elderly, because it is possible to see in Russia whole families worshipping together in church, parents and children alike, and it makes one realize the tremendous burden borne in Russia by the Christian homes which have kept the Christian faith alive.

There is that freedom of worship on the one hand, but on the other hand there is intense pressure and, indeed, persecution upon the Christian church

No sort of church activities are allowed outside the church building itself. No meetings, no schools, no clubs, no gathering of members of the church beyond a certain num ber, even in a private house, and this intense pressure of the banning of any sort of activity outside the actual church service is, of course, very restraining, indeed, and all the time intense anti-God propaganda goes on in schools, in colleges, on the radio and in many other ways as well. This double policy means that on one level the church is under intense pressure; in another way there is this certain liberty of worship.

In fact, Christianity does continue. It would take, I am sure, a very, very close knowledge of the country and, indeed, of the homes of the people to know how widespread the actual belief and practice of religion is or how largely it has disappeared under the pressures of the last decades; but it is very clear that the Christian religion in Russia is not disappearing.

I mentioned families and homes. Now, as it would take the most immense courage for a young man or woman in a school or university in Russia to declare themselves to be a Christian, we become aware that it is in the Christian homes of Russia that the real work of maintaining the faith has been, and those congregations in church owe their existence, I am sure, to a torch kept alive, alight in Russian Christian homes and when we pray for our fellow Christians in Russia, let us remember the Christian homes and the witnesses which, perhaps all unseen, they are carrying on.

Now, one or two questions have been put to me by interrogators in this country about this. One question put to me is: Do I think that Communism and Christianity are compatible or incompatible? To that question, my answer is emphatically that Communism and Christianity are incompatible, for after all, Christianity is a way of life based upon faith in God and a belief in the eternal value of the individual man and woman, and Communism is a philosophy of life which has as one of its essential ingredients the denial of God and the denial of that eternal worth of the man and the woman which is cardinal in Christian faiths. The two faiths are, I am sure, incompatible.

But then the interrogator sometimes goes on and puts a second question: Do I believe that co-existence is possible between Communist countries and the non-Communist countries? Here my answer is: Yes, I believe that co-existence is possible and I believe that co-existence is possible for two reasons. The first reason is that no one of any ideology can want a war that would become a world war, because in such a war there are no winners. The so-called winner is as vulnerable to destruction as is the so-called defeated enemy, if, indeed, the distinction is possible. For that reason, co-existence is, indeed, possible because no one wants the holocaust, and let me say that before I left England, many of us there were feeling great hope that a real break-through had taken place through the signing in Moscow of the Treaty restraining nuclear tests. A day or two before I left I heard our Prime Minister Macmillan, using a Canadian analogy to describe our hopes in England. He described how a vast number of logs being carried down a Canadian river can get totally jammed so that there might be for days and days a total stand-still, but the moving of just one single log can cause a break-through and eventually all the logs get moving again. Let it be our hope and our fervent prayer that the recent treaty really does mark a break-through that will lead to other acts of trust and other acts of agreement.

But a second reason that I believe that co-existence is possible is this, that in every man and woman, wherever he lives and whatever ideology he professes, there is a human ity, a human something deeper and more valid than the ideology to which he says he is committed. It is the existence of this genuine humanity in men of every country, every race and every professed ideology which is, I believe, the real promise, if we have co-existence and we avoid the folly of going at one another's throats, that one day it is this deep human something in man which will come to the top and control the situation, rather than the ideologies which divide him. But isn't that another way of saying that the victory for humanity is going to be one not by military means, wars and victories, but by truth banishing error and falsehood? It is the spreading of what we Christians believe to be true about God and about man as made in God's own image; it is the victory over that, conquering every force that denies it, which will one day make peace to be assured as the second nature and abiding state of affairs for the human race.

When, however, we use the term "the free world", in contrast with the "Communist world", we need to make one or two caveats. The term "the free world" is a very tremen dous term and we have to be asking ourselves whether our own freedom is as deep and true as it ought to be. Let me mention here two aspects of freedom.

We have to look to ways-perhaps subtle ways-in which even our own professedly free world freedom may be endangered. I often feel in my own country that the freedom of the mind is very much imperilled by people living in such a world of noise and sensation and suggestion-one thing after another. I believe that modern techniques of advertisement are very dangerous to freedom of the mind because they involve the art of getting people to do things that they may not really want to do. But, quite apart from the impact of advertising, the sheer speed and noise of life make it more and more difficult for us to step back and be quiet and to feel feelings which are our own and to think thoughts which are our own and genuinely free. Let us beware, in our own countries, of all that may hinder the freedom of the mind in that kind of way. I think it is specially a danger in overcrowded and highly industrialized communities. Here in Canada, while you have your highly industrialized regions, you have also so much space, and let us hope that by possessing so much space you will go on enjoying a certain free spaciousness in heart and mind and sympathy.

Another aspect of freedom that we must be watching in our free world is, I think, this-that freedom is not something that can survive simply by being protected behind a rampart. Freedom is something that grows by being created and by being exported and we need to be doing our utmost to be bringing the gift of freedom that we enjoy to other countries where freedom is in jeopardy, by spreading the ideals of freedom to counter false ideals and by also spreading the sheer necessities of life, helping countries that are far too hungry to be able to grow more food for themselves, and it is by this spreading of freedom where freedom is needed, that we help to conserve it for ourselves. It grows by creating itself, not merely by being negatively protected. In all these ways we know that our unity and service of humanity as Christians and our unity and service of humanity as a Commonwealth is well, and that the service of humanity in any great city, like the City of Toronto, is bound up with values and facts which transcend man altogether. The life of man is happy and free when man knows an absolute obligation towards things beyond himself and greater than himself.

A few years ago I was at a luncheon party of industrialists and business men somewhere in the north of England and some great industrialist from the English Midlands came to address the company about our future prospects, and he said at the beginning of his talk that he was going to limit the scope of his talk and define it as the prospects for the north-east for 1957 and he added, turning to me, "I confined myself to 1957 because if I wandered on beyond 1957 I might be encroaching on eternity and I understand that eternity is the prerogative of the Archbishop."- (Laughter)

But I would say that the concern of the Archbishop and equally the concern of all Christian men and women is both for eternity and for 1963.

We are called upon to be deeply sensitive to the needs of our fellow men and to their troubles, watching them and doing our utmost to help our fellows, individually, in cities and in national life and in the distresses of the world in every practical way that we possibly can, but knowing that we only do so when we are also fixing our gaze upon things that really belong to eternity. In thanking the clubs here in Toronto which have so generously entertained us today and in wishing to each of those clubs and to all their members good fortune in the coming days and years in the services which they are going to give and are giving to humanity, let me sum up by quoting the words of an old Christian writer of The Middle Ages, Thomas Campion. He said this:

The man of faith has two eyes. With his right eye he sees the things of heaven; with his left eye he sees the things of earth.

And let my final counsel to you all, if I dare give it, be that you keep both eyes open and alert.- (Applause)


Thanks of this meeting were expressed by Mr. G. Alec Phare, President of The St. George's Society of Toronto:


Your Grace. To the ordinary layman in Canada, those are somewhat unfamiliar words. We are happy that your presence with us today makes them fitting and appropriate.

The fact that you are with us brings to mind the story of the little girl, who, at some churchly function, had been chosen to present a bouquet of flowers to the Archbishop of Canterbury. On the important evening, the little girl's mother gave out her last minute instructions-"Make your curtsy prettily, and be sure to say 'Your Grace'." So the little, girl did make her curtsy, and then looked the Archbishop of Canterbury firmly in the eye, and-in a clear voice which reached every corner of the hall-said "For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful." Your Grace, we have received, and we are thankful. I am honoured in being allowed to convey the thanks of this audience to you for a gracious and stimulating address. In your remarks, particularly where you touched on co-existence without compromise, you have left with all of us both inspiration and challenge.

You have made friends here today-we know you will make many more before you leave Canada. The five organizations which make up your audience today all stand for different phases of love for England, and all those sterling qualities for which England has always stood. Will you take back with you our united greetings of affection and goodwill? In the present confusion of national and international affairs, Canada is trying to find itself and keep its house in order. When you get back home, we trust you will tell them that even though our attitude towards the Lords Temporal may seem a little confused, it does not extend to the Lords Spiritual.

In the great Anglican Congress which opens this afternoon, we unite in wishing you God's blessing as you explore political, cultural and religious frontiers-knowing that with it, nothing but good can come out of your deliberations. Your Grace, simply and sincerely, we thank you.


Now before we part, Your Grace, and as you stand on the threshold of your deliberations here in Toronto, we might all take with us some words that were subscribed to, here in this city, by a very distinguished Torontonian nearly 100 years ago. These thoughts transcend religious differences and apply as well to all problems and supposed differences-even in the political arena, where we observe the East-West struggle and they echo your words down the years and underline both the timeliness and timelessness of your message.

The man was John Strachan, the first Bishop of Toronto, and these are the words:

We should begin to collect and consider all the points about which we agree, instead of all the time contending about those on which we differ, and endeavour if possible, to form a basis on the points on which we are all at one, for I believe that all who impartially study their own hearts would soon perceive that there was no true ground for division and animosity, but much for unity and love.

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Personal Responsibility and Interdependence

A joint meeting of The Empire Club of Canada, The English Speaking Union, The Canadian Club of Toronto, The Royal Commonwealth Society and The St. George's Society.
Links in the history of friendship and affection between Canada and Great Britain, with a personal example from the speaker. The Anglican Congress and the Anglican Church in Canada. The word "Empire" yielding to the word "Commonwealth" and what that means. Canada's role in the Commonwealth. The use of the word "free" in describing the Commonwealth, and in describing the Anglican Communion. Some words about Russia. Freedom of worship on the one hand, and intense pressure and persecution upon the Christian church on the other. Continuing Christianity in Russia. The incompatibility of Communism and Christianity. The co-existence of Communism and Christianity, with reasons why that is possible. Caveats in reference to "the free world" in contrast with the "Communist world." Aspects of freedom that we must be watching in the free world. The gift of freedom, and how it grows.