Archive for the ‘Henrietta Octavia Barnett’ Tag

Feast of John Dalberg Acton (June 19)   Leave a comment

Above:  John Dalberg Acton

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN EMERICH EDWARD DALBERG ACTON, FIRST BARON ACTON AND THIRTEENTH MARQUESS OF GROPPOLI

(JANUARY 10, 1834-JUNE 19, 1902)

English Roman Catholic Historian, Philosopher, and Social Critic

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Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

–Lord Acton

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John Dalberg Acton comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997).

The first issue I choose to address is the question of the hyphen.  Depending on the source one consults, one may read our saint’s name as John Dalberg Acton or as John Dalberg-Acton.  If one consults editions of our saint’s writings published during his lifetime, as one can easily do at archive.org, one sees his name listed both ways.  I choose to forgo the hyphen.

Lord Acton was a child of expatriates.  His grandfather had been Sir John Francis Edward Acton, Sixth Baronet Acton (1736-1811), a Neopolitan admiral and prime minister.  Our saint’s mother was German, hence “Dalberg” in his name.  Lord Acton’s father was Sir Richard Acton, who died before 1840.  Our saint, born in Naples, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, on January 10, 1834, grew up with his stepfather, Granville George Leveson-Gower, Second Earl Granville (1815-1891).  The stepfather, prominent in the Liberal Party, brought Lord Acton into the orbit of William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1868-1874, 1880-1885, 1886, and 1892-1894).  Lord Acton became one of Gladstone’s chief advisors.

First, however, Lord Acton had to study and travel.  He studied at Oscott College, Warwickshire, then continued his studies in Munich.  Our saint’s teacher and mentor in Munich was Father Johann Josef Ignaz von Döllinger (1799-1890), a Roman Catholic priest, historian, and theologian.  Döllinger taught Lord Acton proper historical methodology.  The two men remained friends and allies for the rest of Döllinger’s life.  Our saint also traveled in Europe and the United States before returning to England in 1858.

[Aside:  I have made a note to myself to add Father Döllinger to this Ecumenical Calendar eventually, on schedule.]

Lord Acton blended public service and private-sector religious activity for a while.  From 1859 to 1864, he edited The Rambler, renamed Home and Foreign Review in 1862.  (He succeeded John Henry Newman in that role.)  Our saint could not imagine not being a Roman Catholic, even when maintaining that identity became difficult for him.  Pope Pius IX (reigned 1846-1878) was, for most of his papacy, a reactionary; he disapproved of modernism, science, constitutional government, the loss of the Papal States to the new Kingdom of Italy, et cetera.  Lord Acton, however, approved of all of the above.  According to our saint, there was no discrepancy between correct Christian doctrine and the properly rigorous, scientific study of the past, and, for that matter, science.

Lord Acton retired for public life circa 1870.  He, the First Baron Acton from 1869, openly disagreed with Pio Nono and papal allies in person at the First Vatican Council (Vatican I) in 1870.  Our saint never supported papal infallibility.  Father Döllinger also argued against papal infallibility and kept doing so after Vatican I.  He, excommunicated in 1871, joined the Old Catholic Church and continued as a priest.  Lord Acton somehow talked his way out of an excommunication.  That conversation with Henry Edward Manning (1808-1892), the Archbishop of Westminster from 1865 to 1892, must have been exceptional.  Lord Acton was not renowned for personal diplomacy.  In fact, he did not suffer fools easily.  His customary bluntness made him many enemies.

Lord Acton married Bavarian Countess Marie von Arco-Vallery in 1865.  The couple raised three daughters and one son.

Lord Acton offered a distinct political philosophy.  He would have argued with Samuel and Henrietta Barnett regarding Christian Socialism.  (I support disagreement among saints on my Ecumenical Calendar.)  Lord Acton drew influences from Edmund Burke (1729-1797) and Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859).  Our saint, an opponent of nationalism, had an internationalist approach.  His background informed that opinion.  Our saint argued that the union of sacred and temporal power was dangerous.  He also distrusted any state with what he considered excessive power.  Such a state posed a threat to liberty, he insisted.  And, when one’s conscience conflicted with the state, our saint favored acting on conscience.  Lord Acton was neither an anarchist nor a libertarian.  The state was necessary and could be a force for he good, he understood.  Our saint also made a distinction between the nation and the state, and understood the Biblical concept of collective responsibility.  He cautioned

The nation is responsible to heaven for the acts of the state.

Lord Acton was primarily a historian after Vatican I.  He wrote and lectured on an elite academic level.  Our saint, the Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge (1895-1902), died in Tegernsee, Bavaria, German Empire, on June 19, 1902.

Lord Acton was a man of his time.  He pondered principles quoted in his faith, in real time.  He also changed his mind over time, as well-adjusted people have done since time immemorial.

His example challenges us to do the same in our contexts.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 10, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINT ENRICO REBUSCHINI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND SERVANT OF THE SICK; AND HIS MENTOR, SAINT LUIGI GUANELLA, FOUNDER OF THE DAUGHTERS OF SAINT MARY OF PROVIDENCE, THE SERVANTS OF CHARITY, AND THE CONFRATERNITY OF SAINT JOSEPH

THE FEAST OF ANNA LAETITIA WARING, HUMANITARIAN AND HYMN WRITER; AND HER UNCLE, SAMUEL MILLER WARING, HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT IVAN MERZ, CROATIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL

THE FEAST OF JOHN GOSS, ANGLICAN CHURCH COMPOSER AND ORGANIST; AND WILLIAM MERCER, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT VASILE AFTENIE, ROMANIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP AND MARTYR, 1950

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [John Dalberg Acton and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Samuel and Henrietta Barnett (June 17)   4 comments

Above:  Portrait of Samuel and Henrietta Barnett, by Hubert von Herkoner

Image in the Public Domain

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SAMUEL AUGUSTUS BARNETT (FEBRUARY 8, 1844-JUNE 17, 1913)

Anglican Canon of Westminster, and Social Reformer

husband and partner of

HENRIETTA OCTAVIA WESTON ROWLAND BARNETT (MAY 4, 1851-JUNE 10, 1936)

Social Reformer

June 17 is the feast day of the Barnetts in The Church of England.

Even if The Church of England had not paired the Barnetts on a feast day, I would have decided to do so anyway.  The couple was a team from the day they married in 1873 to the day Samuel Barnett died in 1913.  I have established emphasizing relationships and influences as a goal for this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Samuel Augustus Barnett, born in Bristol, England, on February 8, 1844, was a son of Mary Gilmore and iron manufacturer Francis Barnett.  Our saint, an 1867 graduate of Wadham College, Oxford, joined the ranks of Anglican clergymen that year and became the Curate of St. Mary’s, Bryanston Square, Marylebone, London.  He married Henrietta Octavia Weston Rowland in 1873.

Henrietta, born in London, England, on May 4, 1851, was a socially conscious heiress.  Her mother was Henrietta Monca Margaretta Didges.  Our saint’s father was Alexander William Rowland (d. 1869), in the oil business.  Her mother predeceased her father.  Young Henrietta, altruistic from an early age, attended a boarding school in Devon.  Starting in 1869 or so, she worked with Octavia Hill (1838-1912), active in efforts to improve slums in London.

The work in which the Barnetts engaged together, starting in 1873, flowed from their faith and their Christian Socialist ideals.  Samuel served as the Vicar of St. Jude’s, Whitechapel, London, from 1873 to 1894.  He led an congregation in a slum.  He, the founder (1869) of the Charity Organization Society, worked with Henrietta in improving the lives of people in Whitechapel.  The couple addressed housing.  Substandard housing was a major problem.  The Barnetts lobbied for building suitable residences.  They also enriched slum dwellers’ lives with art; the couple founded the Whitechapel Art Gallery.  Urban children needed countryside holidays.  The Barnetts raised funds and arranged for those holidays.  Entertainment was another need the Barnetts worked to provide.  Education was, of course, vital.  The Barnetts founded a night school for adults.  Samuel also served on school committees.  Through Toynbee Hall, of which Samuel was the first warden (1884-1906) and in which Henrietta taught, tutors from Oxford lived and taught in the slum.  Jane Addams (1860-1935) and Ellen Gates Starr (1859-1940) modeled Hull House, Chicago, Illinois, on Toynbee Hall.  Henrietta’s sister, Alice Marion Rowland Hart (1848-1931) also taught at Toynbee Hall.

Above:  Toynbee Hall

Image in the Public Domain

The Barnetts wrote books together.  These included:

  1. Practicable Socialism:  Essays on Social Reform (1888, 1894),
  2. Religion and Progress (1907),
  3. Towards Social Reform (1909),
  4. Religion and Politics (1911),
  5. Worship and Work (1913), and
  6. Vision and Service (1917).

Samuel also wrote Perils of Wealth and Poverty, published posthumously in 1920.

Samuel, a Canon of Westminster (1906-1913), died in London on June 17, 1913.  He was 69 years old.

Henrietta continued in good works until 1936.  She founded Barnett House, Oxford, for the study of social sciences, in Samuel’s honor.  She wrote Canon Barnett:  His Life, Work, and Friends (1918)–Volumes I and II.  She also wrote books on topics ranging from child rearing to working for economic justice.  Our saint had formed the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust, which entailed building mixed-income housing, in 1903.  Henrietta, form 1924 a Commander of the British Empire, took up painting during her final years.  She, aged 85 years, died in London on June 10, 1936.

The Barnetts understood the Biblical mandate to help the less fortunate.  They knew that those blessed with privilege have a responsibility to aide those not blessed in that way.  Our saints accepted that the more one has, the more responsibilities one has.  They acted accordingly, for the glory of God and the benefit of many people.  They were faithful partners of God.

The poor will always be with us.  That is a fact.  Increasing numbers of the impoverished can, of course, cease to be poor.  Poverty is a function of various factors, not the least of which is institutionalized artificial scarcity.  Therefore, individual actions help alleviate the problem, but institutional revolution is necessary to make substantial dents in poverty.  The ultimate solution to institutionalized artificial scarcity resides in the purview of God, whose partners we are supposed to be.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 8, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JULIANA OF NORWICH, MYSTIC AND SPIRITUAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ACACIUS OF BYZANTIUM, MARTYR, 303

THE FEAST OF HENRI DUMONT, ROMAN CATHOLIC COMPOSER AND ORGANIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAGDALENA OF CANOSSA, FOUNDRESS OF THE DAUGHTERS OF CHARITY AND THE SONS OF CHARITY

THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER OF TARENTAISE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP

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Almighty God, whose prophets taught us righteousness in the care of your poor:

By the guidance of your Holy Spirit, grant that we may

do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in your sight;

through Jesus Christ, our Judge and Redeemer, who lives and reigns

with you and the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 55:11-56:1

Psalm 2:1-2, 10-12

Acts 14:14-17, 21-23

Mark 4:21-29

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 736

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