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On the Kalendar: William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher of the Faith

November from Les Petites Heures d'Anne de Bretagne

“November”, kalendar page from Les Petites Heures d’Anne de Bretagne (The Little Hours of Queen Anne of Bretagne), by the Maître des Triomphes de Pétrarque. From Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris (France).

William Temple was, successively, Bishop of Manchester, Archbishop of York, and Archbishop of Canterbury. Both of his parents were members of the aristocracy, and his father was also an Archbishop of Canterbury, but this privilege did not spoil him, as one biographer wrote. Temple had a deep concern for the social problems of his day: as an undergraduate, he participated in missions to the poor of the East end of London, and he had a life-long focus on bringing higher education to students of all social and economic backgrounds.

Temple was a popular preacher while a canon of Westminster Abbey. While Bishop of Manchester, he led other bishops in trying to mediate between the miners and coal owners during the General Strike. He also promoted an inclusiveness among Christians, inviting several nonconformist ministers to preach in the dicese.

While Archbishop of York, Temple wrote his three most important works: Nature, Man and God (1934); Readings in St John’s Gospel (1939 and 1940); and Christianity and Social Order (1942). Temple died on 26 October 1944, having served only a couple of years as Archbishop of Canterbury, but both the Anglican Church and the Episcopal Church commemorate him on 6 November.

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