A beautiful reflection on the spirit of the Anglo-Catholic liturgy among the poor:

“The worship of God in which they joined was, by the violent contrast to all else in their lives, at once a vindication of the other-worldliness of their faith and an implicit condemnation of the filthy environment amid which the social sin of an acquisitive and complacent ruling class had condemned them to live.

So regarded, the ritual, which mainly centered round the Presence of our Lord amid surroundings more hostile than those of his very Nativity itself, was not ’empty’ but full of a profound significance; not ‘meaningless’ but clamoring for an interpretation even more far-reaching than most of those who practiced it knew how to provide.” ~ Maurice Reckitt

How did they do it – those Anglo-Catholic Priests of the London slums? How were they able to combine the radical power of the Liturgy with the cause of the poor, without overwhelming them with ‘smells & bells’ and ‘ritualism?’ Was it their audacity; their uncompromising commitment to tradition vs. today’s concern to simply accomodate church seekers? Did they simply take joy in their worship, live into the fullness and beauty of common prayer? Was it because they recognized Christ’s real presene in the bread and wine?