Friday, 8 March 2013

Alice Thomas Ellis, bane of modernism

Today (8th March) marks the anniversary of the death of one of British Catholicism's stalwart figures, Anna Haycraft who wrote many books under the name, Alice Thomas Ellis.

Half Finnish and half Welsh, it was in her more mature years that her work began to be published and, indeed, she wrote for The Catholic Herald, among others, for some years until her article criticising the Bishops of England and Wales brought the wrath of Cardinal Hume upon her head, who, it is alleged, complained to the editor of The Catholic Herald resulting in ATE being unceremoniously sacked by the paper.

She was unrepentant and continued to berate the forces of liberalism that raged in the Catholic Church of England and Wales at that time.

In her book 'Serpent on the Rock' she travelled around Britain and Ireland seeking views from laity and clergy alike as to the state that the Church was in. She found, quite expectedly that the Church was in a parlous state with little or no sign of the reverent, spiritual Church that had led her to convert as a young woman.

After her dismissal from The Catholic Herald she wrote a fine piece headed: "I accuse the Catholic Bishops".

She punched home the message of abandonment in the 1970s, 80s and 90s:

"Between 1980 and 1995 there was a net loss of 50,000 practising Catholics. This disaster was never publicised. Instead we heard constantly of the glorious ecumenical work being done by the Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool (the Most Reverend Derek Worlock)......."

She suffered the loss of her son, Joshua, through a tragic accident and wrote thse words in his memory:

     for whom the sun
  did not stand still
  but as you fell headlong
    so set for you,
    as suns return
  you too, most sweet beloved,
    will return
  and in the name of him
   whose name is yours
    rise again."

After the death of her publisher husband, Colin Haycraft, she returned to live in Wales in a house strewn with large statues of the saints.

At the time of writing her "I accuse the Bishops" article, Liverpool Archdiocese was without a leader.

Most poignantly, (given that Liverpool is currently leaderless again), she made this comment when asked: "Who would you like Liverpool's next Archbishop to be?"

Her answer?

"Well, I think that a Catholic would be nice"

                          ALICE THOMAS ELLIS 9 SEPTEMBER 1932 - 8 MARCH 2005

Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace. Amen

Posted by Richard Collins - Linen on the Hedgerow

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. I never read her books, but think I shall try and find at least one. We need prophets in the marketplace, and this small tribute points to her courage. May she rest in peace.


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