Above: Canterbury Cathedral, 1910
Publisher and Copyright Claimant = Detroit Publishing Company
Image Source = Library of Congress
Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-det-4a24699
FREDERICK TEMPLE (NOVEMBER 30, 1821-DECEMBER 22, 1902)
Archbishop of Canterbury
WILLIAM TEMPLE (OCTOBER 15, 1881-OCTOBER 26, 1944)
Archbishop of Canterbury
His feast transferred from November 6
So let us set ourselves to gain a deepening loyalty to our Anglican tradition of Catholic order, Evangelical immediacy in our approach to God, and liberal acceptance of new truth made known to us; and let us at the same time join with all our fellow Christians who will join with us in bearing witness to the claim of Christ to rule in every department of human life, and to the principles of His Kingdom.
–William Temple, April 17, 1942; quoted in Lee W. Gibbs, The Middle Way: Voices of Anglicanism (Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement Publications, 1991), page 130
The standard feast day of William Temple is November 6. To the best of my knowledge, no ecclesiastical body lists his father, Frederick Temple, on its calendar of saints. On this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, however, the two Archbishop Temples share a feast day–December 22.
Above: Frederick Temple
Image in the Public Domain
Frederick Temple was an educator, an educational reformer, a theologian, and a minister. He, born on November 30, 1821, debuted at Leukas (a.k.a. Santa Maura), the Ionian Islands, off the coast of Greece. His father, Major Octavius Temple (1784-1834) was there on imperial assignment. Our saint’s mother was Dorcas Carveth (born in 1805). He was one of five children. The family relocated to Corfu in 1828. Then, in 1833, Octavius became the Lieutenant Governor of Sierra Leone, serving until he died the following year.
The death of Octavius left the family impoverished. Frederick studied at Blundell’s School, Devonshire, from 1834 to 1839. Then, from 1839 to 1842, he attended Baillol College, Oxford, on scholarship, studying mechanics and the classics. He encountered Tractarians there and found himself more liberal than they were. From 1842 to 1848 our saint worked as a lecturer then a fellow at Baillol College. Along the way he became an Anglican deacon (1846) then priest (1847).
Frederick left Oxford in 1848. Until 1850 he worked at the Education Office. Then, from 1850 to 1855, he was the Principal of Kneller Hall, a training college for teachers at workhouses. Next (until 1857) our saint inspected training colleges. From 1857 to 1869, as the Headmaster of Rugby School, expanded the curriculum, presided over new construction, and functioned as a good example to everyone. On the side, from 1864 to 1867, Frederick served on the Schools Enquiry Commission.
Frederick contributed an essay, The Education of the World,” to Essays and Reviews (1860), a liberal Anglican manifesto. The volume proved to be controversial, partially because all seven authors favored freedom of inquiry in religion. In our saint’s case, his argument irked many people and led to allegations to heresy. He wrote of the parallels of human life (obedience during childhood, example during adolescence, and responsible freedom during adulthood) to three religious stages (the Law, the Gospels, and Pentecost). In the last phase, Frederick wrote, humankind must be free to make decisions while drawing from all worthy sources, mainly the Bible. Some critics accused our saint of being unduly optimistic regarding human nature and of ignoring sin and redemption. In response to the controversy he authorized the omission of his essay from subsequent editions of Essays and Reviews.
Our saint became the Bishop of Exeter in 1869 and served until 1885. Frederick encouraged secondary education. he also worked hard to implement the Elementary Education Act of 1870, which expanded the reach of elementary school access and improved attendance. Also during his tenure Frederick oversaw the creation of the Diocese of Truro from his diocese. And, on October 15, 1881, our saint and his wife, Beatrice Blanche Lascelles, welcomed their second son, William, into the world.
During his time as Bishop of Exeter our saint published The Relations Between Religion and Science (1884). He accepted both science and religion, acknowledging the reality of Evolution. He had already covered much of that material in a sermon, The Present Relation of Science to Religion (1860).
From 1885 to 1896 Frederick was the Bishop of London. During that time he advised the Archbishop of Canterbury, his friend, Edward White Benson, whom he succeeded in 1897. When our saint became the Primate he was already going blind. Yet he labored faithfully, attempting to settle ritualistic controversies and refuting the Papal bull (literally) regarding the invalidity of Anglican Holy Orders. Frederick died at London on December 22, 1902. He was 81 years old.
Another published work of our saint was “The Church’s Message to Mankind,” included in The Church’s Message to Men (1899).
Volumes about Frederick, at least in part, included the following:
- Archbishop Temple, Being the People’s Life of the Right Hon. and Most Rev. Frederick Temple, P.C., D.D., LL.D., Primate of All England, and Metropolitan (1903), by Charles Henry Dant;
- Six Great Schoolmasters (1904), by F. D. How;
- Memoirs of Archbishop Temple by Seven Friends (1906), edited by E. G. Sandford–Volumes I and II;
- Frederick Temple: An Appreciation (1907), by E. G. Sandford, with a biographical introduction by William Temple; and
- The Exeter Episcopate of Archbishop Temple, 1869-1885 (1907), by E. G. Sandford.
Above: William Temple
Image in the Public Domain
William Temple entered the world on October 15, 1881, when his father, then the Bishop of Exeter, was 60 years old. Young William grew up in a financially comfortable and artistically rich family. When his father was the Bishop of London our saint learned to play the piano and the organ. He also attempted to learn to play the oboe and the French horn and came to consider Johann Sebastian Bach to be
the supreme master who more than any other enables us for a few moments snatched from the passage of time to enter upon the experience of eternity.
–Quoted in Lee W. Gibbs, The Middle Way: Voices of Anglicanism (1991), page 114
The bookworm suffered from various illnesses, such as gout, throughout his life. He, like his father, had eye-related problems; William became blind in one eye, due to a cataract, in 1921.
William was also a natural intellectual. He, educated at Rugby School (1894-1900) and Baillol College, Oxford (1900-1904), was a fellow and lecturer in philosophy at Queen’s College, Oxford, from 1904 to 1910. Ordained to the diaconate in December 1909 and the priesthood in December 1910, our saint served as the Headmaster of Repton School, Derbyshire, from 1910 to 1914.
The priesthood had once been far from William’s mind, but it was his vocation. Allegations of heresy had delayed his Holy Orders, but our saint became a simultaneously relatively orthodox and heterodox figure after his ordination. The Incarnation occupied the center of his theology. The Incarnation, William argued, had made the universe sacramental. This understanding informed our saint’s opinion that one cannot properly divorce Christian doctrine from social justice. Thus he served as the President of the Workers’ Educational Association from 1908 to 1924 and joined the Labour Party. Christian disunity weakened the witness of the Church in the world, William knew. Therefore he supported ecumenism in general and the Life and Work Movement (1925f) and the Faith and Order Movement (1927f), predecessors of the World Council of Churches (1948), in particular. Our saint also favored the process that led to the formation of the Church of South India (1947). William also supported the ordination of women to the diaconate and the priesthood as early as 1916, but struggled with the fact that the ordination of women at that time would become an obstacle to ecumenism.
William entered full-time ministry in 1914. That year he became the Rector of St. James’ Church, Picadilly, London. On the side he also served as honorary chaplain to King George V and to Randall Davidson, the Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1916 our saint married Frances Anson; the couple had no children. From 1919 to 1921 William was Canon of Westminster. Next he served as the Bishop of Manchester (thereby becoming a successor of James Prince Lee) for eight years. As the Bishop of Manchester our saint offended cotton magnates by seeking to resolve a general strike peacefully in 1926. From 1929 to 1942 he was the Archbishop of York. Then he succeeded Cosmo Lang as the Archbishop of Canterbury.
William was perhaps the most renowned Archbishop of Canterbury since the English Reformation. He exercised the duties of the office during difficult times–World War II. Our saint advocated for aid to Jews fleeing the Nazis, visited soldiers and sailors, broadcast sermons to soldiers and sailors, led prayer services at factories, preached on Sundays when Germans were bombing, and supported a negotiated settlement to the war. He had to travel to and from his final public appearances in an ambulance and had to stand on one foot while speaking.
Wiliam died at Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, on October 26, 1944. He was 63 years old. Reinhold Niebuhr reflected:
Dr. Temple was able to relate “religious insights and social order” more vitally and creatively than any other modern Christian leader.
–Quoted in Lee W. Gibbs, The Middle Way: Voices of Anglicanism (1991), page 113
Major published works by our saint included the following:
- The Nature of Personality: A Course of Lectures (1911);
- “The Divinity of Christ” and “The Church” in Foundations: A Statement of Christian Belief in Terms of Modern Thought (1913);
- The Faith and Modern Thought: Six Lectures (1913);
- Christianity and War (1914);
- Theology: The Science of Religion (1914);
- Studies in the Spirit and Truth of Christianity (1914);
- Our Need of a Catholic Church (1915);
- Church and Nation (1915);
- Plato and Christianity (1916);
- Mens Creatrix: An Essay (1917);
- The Universality of Christ: A Course of Lectures (1921);
- Life of Bishop Percival (1921);
- Christus Veritas (1924);
- Personal Religion and the Life of Fellowship (1926);
- Christianity and the State (1928);
- Nature, Man, and God (1934);
- Readings in St. John’s Gospel (1939 and 1940); and
- Christianity and the Social Order (1942).
Understanding Frederick Temple increases one’s comprehension for his famous son. The apple, I contend, did not fall far from the tree. Although William Temple overshadows his father, nobody should minimize the importance of the elder.
As both Temples understood well, an excessively personalized Christianity divorced from social justice is heretical. They were good Anglicans and therefore men rooted in the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity as Jesus of Nazareth. As I have learned, the Anglican emphasis on the Incarnation (as opposed to the Lutheran emphasis on the crucifixion) lends itself to reading John 1:1-18, especially the part about God dwelling among us, and seeking to serve God in those around us. This point of view has led to ecclesiastical involvement in social justice movements. This has always been orthodox; turning away from the mandate to love one’s neighbor as one loves oneself has always been heretical.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
NOVEMBER 8, 2016 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF JOHN CASPAR MATTES, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND LITURGIST
THE FEAST OF JOHANN VON STAUPITZ, MARTIN LUTHER’S SPIRITUAL MENTOR
Almighty God, we praise you for your servants Frederick Temple and William Temple,
through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life..
Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,
whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
1 Corinthians 3:11-23
–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60