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“AUSTRALIA’S IDEALS” : Bishop Moyes’ Speech

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Tuesday 2 December 1930, The Sydney Morning Herald



“We must find an ideal and values that will overcome the class-consciousness that is a new and ill-omened fact within our midst. A false standard, a self-centred view of life, is condemning us to be a second-rate people, lacking unity and doing nothing well,” said Bishop W. S. Moyes, in his pastoral charge to the Armidale Synod, which opened in St. Peter’s Cathedral last night.

“Australian life was born in a fiercely competitive industrial era,” he continued. “The whole of our history lies within the period which succeeded the French Revolution and the Industrial revolution—a period filled with a deafening clamour for rights, and a few shrill protests about duties. Most of the early settlers had been sweated and soured by industrialism, and this has lasted through the years.

“Our nationalism is a struggle between the landless majority and the landowners, and though to-day there are few paupers and nearly everyone has some property to defend, the air is rent by the complaints of those who have less against those who have more. Economic ideals and a standard of living have claimed not only the chief places in our thinking, but have almost excluded all else. We have allowed politics to become an obsession and political parties to have almost a monopoly in the manufacture of public opinion. Our greatest ideal to-day is a standard of comfort, a search for material goods which cannot do other than estrange us from each other. Much of the world’s thought to-day has drifted by indifference and love of ease into a superficial materialism that has disturbed our traditional standards and left us a morally drifting people. To defeat the Russian idea, which finds a place in the minds of a section of our people, we must have an idea or ideal stronger and truer.

“The Communist idea is a living thing which, if it can find a foothold in a man or organisation, will work its way inwards and outwards until it has transformed the man and subdued the organisation itself. Nothing less than a great idea can counteract another idea—nothing less than an ideal that, containing what is good in Communism, its basis of brotherhood and sharing, will transform our ethical and political life. It is here that the Church has her place to express the real values of life, to inspire great ideals.

“The tragedy of the Russian Church lies in the fact that she depended for her appeal on magic, miracle, and ceremonial. She was tolerant of witches, sorcerers, and wonder workers, who infested the villages and preyed upon the peasants. She saw him wallowing in alcoholism, thieving, cruelty, and other vices, and hardly made an effort to regenerate him. The Bible he hardly knew.

“But are we better? Half of our people have forgotten to pray, if, indeed, some ever learned. Worldliness has become a mass phenomenon pervading all strata of society.

“World-wide unemployment seems to be without solution on the present basis of machine production, plus financial monopoly. Who can doubt that the real centre of trouble to-day lies in the fact that money power, which should be the servant to link up need with supply, has become the tyrant which keeps them divorced? The relationships of industry have in a measure had the right of love and brotherhood thrown over them in this generation. Finance, too, must come to be organised in the light of the same divine truth and the same human values.”

Written by macalba

April 15, 2010 at 8:04 pm

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