Follow by Email

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Eric Gill-Christian Revolutionary

Eric Gill, 1882-1940, Catholic convert, Lay Dominican, artist,writer, typographer, influential person in the Arts and Crafts movement.From his youth on he had a tremendous interest in social justice.  Gill rejected the tepid Anglican conversion of his family and created his own system of religious thought.  Later he realized that his system was essentially Catholic, so he converted.

A stone carver, he soon acquired apprentices and the association of like minded artists.   They owned some communal equipment, including a printing press.  They felt there should be a spiritual order as well so they joined what was then known as the Third Order of St. Dominic, now the Lay Dominicans.

The group founded itself as a guild and became known at the Guild of St. Joseph and St. Dominic. This group was essentially modeled after the medieval guilds, but with some influence of religious organizations in it's constitution, and definitely in the English Arts and Crafts movement.  As many of it's members were Catholic much of their work was church pews, stained glass, etc.

The guild was influenced by Fr. Vincent McNabb O.P. who like Eric Gill and another member,Hilary Pepler, who had been a Quaker but became Catholic, had a passionate interest in social justice. Social Justice has the common good as it's purpose of action and is concerned with ther question of the distribution of wealth. The members of the guild tried to apply the distributist theories of G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc.  they owned land in common and equipment in common and owned tools of their trade as craftsmen.  They sought to depend not on large capital or on government. Eric Gill and the other members lived at the Ditching Common

Vincent NcNabb, Eric Gill and the guild influenced the Catholic Workers movement and specifically the idea of "agronomic universities" of Peter Maurin.  Indirectly they influence contemporary communitarian thought in general.

Eric was a pacifist who, like Dorothy Day, believed that peace was not possible without social justice. he called himself a "Christian Revolutionary" and believed in living a life of poverty.  He believed when we accept the life of poverty, will will attain peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment