May I request the hospitality of your columns to express, as a Jew. a very personal tribute to the memory and work of Anton Wallich Clifford. He was a splendid Catholic, a wonderful man, and one who served his Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, so well, in the case of his fellow human beings?
I knew Anton since the early days of thc Simon Community and with much affection and esteem I observed how he poured out his love for those who in society needed it most — the dosser, the alcoholic, the rejected, the homeless, the drug addict, the mentally disturbed and all those who for a variety of reasons, arc unable to cope with the stresses and strains of daily life.
He loved people, particularly the poor and the outcast and was the embodiment of that classic affirmation of Jesus: "A new commandment I give you, that ye love one another. as I have loved you, that ye also love one another". (John 14:34).
Anton gave hope and faith, counsel and guidance, as well as practical help, to the countless numbers who came to the simon Community, and they loved him because of it, and they who worked with him, loved him as well.
I have no doubt that Anton shortened his life. because he lived, not apart from those he served, hut with them. of them, and as one of them. A true martyr of the church. He died early in life. so that others could live.
The greatest compliment and honour that a Jew can give to a nonJew is to say of him, that he is a Tzarldik, which is the Hebrew word for a righteous man, and we who are Jews believe that a righteous man is a friend of God. Anton was a Tzeddik, a righteous man, and our rabbis taught that the righteous of all nations shall have a seat in Heaven. In the Ethics of the Fathers, which can be found in the Jewish Daily Prayer Book, the great Rabbi Tarphon said: "The day is short and the work is great, and the labourers are sluggish. and the reward is much.
Anton laboured in the vineyard of the Lord both day and night, and I both knew and believe that he will have his reward and that he will enjoy the Shechina, the glory and the presence of Almighty God. May he be blessed for ever and reign with the saints in Heaven.
It was my privilege with my good friend Fr Alban Carroll, of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement to call on Anton at St Joseph's
House, previous to his being admitted to hospital, and we visited him while he was there and had a long conversation. Sad and most moving it was, to see his coffin being carried out of St Dominic's Priory, to a piper's lament.
Anton in his Catholic life, had a tremendous sense and awareness of the Presence of God, pious and devout, with his rosary and prayer book, he gave a full response to the call of Christ and the Holy Spirit.
It is good to know that the church. with its majesty, glory and spiritual rights, can produce such sons and men as Anton Wallich-Clifford, whn exemplified all that is finest and best if, the Catholic Faith.
Now that he has departed this life, let us who knew him treasure his life and work in our hearts. It would be a nice thought if a Memorial Trust Fund would be created so that all of Anton's friends could contribute to it — and perhaps, too, an annual lecture to his memory.
May the Simon Community continue and grow in strength. Shalom -peace be with you all.
David Cohen 3 Dundalk House, London El.