SO LONG as Archbishop Tikhon remains Patriarch the Soviet Government cannot safely proceed with his trial before the Revolutionary Tribunal. Therefore it is trying to displace him in favour of a Patriarch who will be more willing to do the Soviet bidding. He has refused to resign, but has consented to suspend the exercise of his authority until the meeting of a Convocation. This Convocation is being packed by the Bolshevists in order to procure the deposition of the Patriarch and the election of another. The arrest of the Patriarch has produced, naturally, demonstrations in his favour. The churches of Moscow are thronged, the Soviet has been obliged to forbid outdoor processions and services, and to give instructions to local soviets to combat the growing popularity of the Patriarch. It is attempting to divide the clergy by compiling lists of the ‘‘loyal” and the “disloyal”, and to secure without open resort to armed force the accomplishment of its will, which is ultimately the confiscation of the treasures of the Church. These, however, are not solely in the guardianship of the clergy, the congregations are equally with the parish priests custodians of Church property.
Horatio Bottomley’s fall
June 2nd, 1922.
[Horatio Bottomley MP is jailed over his fraudulent “Victory Bonds” scheme.]
THE real tragedy of Mr Bottomley is not that he is a thoroughly bad man, but that he thinks that he is a thoroughly good man, honest according to the standards of the circles in which he worked, philanthropic, anxious to do all that he can for those whom he still calls “the boys”, but the victim of hard circumstances, and — in the case of the prosecution which has ended in his conviction and sentence — of an almost inhuman vindictiveness. In reality, he did what many do daily, from the boy who takes half-a-crown from the till to put it on a horse to the man who is involved in many financial transactions and borrows from one concern to help another through a time of crisis. That is to say that he has made himself a false conscience, he has persuaded himself that he was doing no more than is permissible. But to the boy there comes a time when the favourite does not win and accounts are found to be half-a-crown short, to the financier there comes a time when the enterprise for which risks have been taken fails instead of recovering, and the money cannot be replaced because it is altogether lost. Mr Bottomley is no common, plausible rogue. Finance of a dangerous sort is the main interest of his life, his medium of self-expression. He knows the ordinary man through and through, and he has only had to hold out his hands for money to be poured into them; thousands have trusted him with their money as they have endorsed his judgments. Now the crash has come. The law, very properly, is severe on those who juggle with trust funds. But we shall altogether misjudge Mr Bottomley if we place him among those rogues who know themselves to be rogues. He has yet to know himself, and in the next seven years he may come to that knowledge.
The Church Times digital archive is available free to subscribers