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to spend any time on a study of the mere externals of religion. In lieu of that they have picked up scraps of information through what they have seen in their visits to churches where things are done as they should be. In some cases they have adopted practices which were not correct through visiting the wrong kind of churches. In other cases they have corrupted, unconsciously or through a desire to improve, the practices which they have observed in the right kind of churches.
In any case, as we go about the country, we are struck by the bizarre ceremonial which is practiced by many priests, especially in their celebration of the Holy Mysteries. One priest genuflects at the Sanctus; another prostrates himself and almost touches his head to the floor as he makes his communion; another extends his arms in the form of a cross throughout the whole action; another gives benediction with the Blessed Sacrament when he turns around to give the people the Holy Communion. We have even heard of a priest who when he said the Prayer of Humble Access pretended to be gathering up the crumbs on the floor in front of the altar! It is needless to say that there is no authority for such usages in Western Christendom. We do not pretend to know what they do in the East.
Of course our seminaries should train men in ceremonial as well as other departments of priestcraft. Then when they have parishes of their own they will not be so likely to make themselves ridiculous. But if a priest has not been properly instructed in the knowledge of Catholic ceremonial at the seminary, he should lose no time in getting hold of an authoritative book on the subject and making a thorough study of the whole question. There is no reason why we should be ignorant of the external side of religion any more than the internal. Our Lord gave us the
sacraments and a form of prayer. God made the human body as well as the soul. He also made the shell of the acorn as well as the kernel-and where would the kernel be without the shell? There is no virtue in just muddling through the worship of God. "God is not the author of confusion." Therefore "let all things be done decently and in order."
The Presbyterians and the Lambeth Appeal
THE Pan-Presbyterian Alliance, meeting at Pittsburgh in September, issued a pronouncement welcoming steps toward the reunion of Christendom, but insisting that there can be no progress toward reunion until the conferring churches recognize one another's church standing; or, in other words, until the Anglican Church does not require additional ordination of Nonconformist clergymen. The pronouncement was presented by the Rev. Dr. Carnegie Simpson of Cambridge, England. The following paragraph from the pronouncement is quoted from the New York Times of September 22:
The Council records its opinion that such conference must be as between churches meeting on equal terms and must be unrestricted as to all questions of ecclesiastical order. Further, its members are at one in declaring their conviction that there will be substantial progress toward reunion only when the conferring churches are ready frankly to recognize one another's church standing, and to accompany words of unity by acts of unity in the fellowship of the Lord's Table, and in co-operation in the Lord's work.
Which goes to show that the words of the Lambeth Appeal have not been carefully weighed. Certainly the Bishops said all that anyone could wish in the way of recognizing the church standing of every Christian denomination. As for demanding re-ordination it was expressly put on a conditional basis; and the Bishops said that our
clergy should equally be willing to accept conditional reordination at the hands of Presbyterians, Orthodox Easterners, and Roman Catholics. It is to us inconceivable that anyone who really wants unity should object to conditional reordination at the hands of any hierarchy in the world that might question the validity of his orders, if that act would forward the cause of unity.
The Situation in Palestine
THE average American Christian has only a vague notion of what is happening in the Holy Land. He knows that during the war it was conquered by the British under General Allenby, for that was in all the newspapers. Perhaps he knows also that in the peace settlements Great Britain has been given the mandate to govern Palestine. He therefore feels comfortable and happy about the outcome: that at last, after all these centuries of waiting, the Holy Land has come under the benignant sway of Christianity. What those foolish, impetuous Crusaders of the middle ages fought for out of due time, has finally been effected in a sane, modern fashion by the efficient British army. The land where Christ was born and lived and died has now come under the control of a Christian power. The Cross has triumphed over the Crescent!
It would be well for the average American Christian to awake from his dreams and acquaint himself with the facts. The Cross has not triumphed. The Holy Land has not come under the sway of Christianity, for the simple reason that the Christian government of England has seen fit to hand Palestine over to the Jews. Mr. Lloyd George has caused Sir Herbert Samuel, a Jew, to be appointed High Commissioner. The poorer Jews of northern Europe are now being encouraged to emigrate to Palestine by the help of Anglo-Jewish money. By the terms of the man
date Great Britain is pledged to make Palestine the Jewish national home.
What of it, asks the average American Christian, does not Palestine belong to the Jews? Has it not been their land for two thousand years? Why shouldn't they have it now? For the simple reason that it belongs chiefly to the Arabs, both Moslem and Christian. In 1912 there were in Palestine 78,000 Jews, against 600,000 Arabs (80,000 of these being Christians and the rest Moslems). By all the principles of self-determination Palestine is an Arab nation, with a scattered population of Jews and Christians forming a distinct minority. The Christians have remained loyal to their faith through centuries in spite of cruel persecution. The French government has exercised the protectorate for the Catholic interests. By the terms of the mandate that is now terminated.
What wonder that at present in Palestine the British are hated by everybody except the Jews,-by the French, the Arabs, the Christians, and the Mohammedans. The Jews love them for the enemies they have made. The Moslems and Christians, who have been age-long enemies, have been reconciled and banded together by their common danger. It was a golden opportunity which Mr. Lloyd George had, such as comes once in a millenium, to appoint a Christian governor for Palestine. The Arabs would have welcomed him with open arms. The magnificent cause for which so many saintly men laid down their lives during the Crusades would at last have triumphed, with the Moslems as friends rather than enemies. But it was not to be!
One of the most illuminating and interesting books that we have seen on the Jewish question is "The New Jerusalem," by Mr. G. K. Chesterton. He sees things pretty straight and is not afraid to tell what he sees. It is moreover one of the best things he has done, and we cordially recommend it to our readers.
The Re-Organized Churchmen's Alliance
THE Churchmen's Alliance, in its re-organized form, has placed all its executive power in the hands of laymen. This has been done in the hope of awakening the laity to a sense of their power and responsibility in promoting the work of the Church. This in itself, we believe, makes the Alliance a unique organization. Distinctly Catholic in character, it aims to be what its name indicates, an alliance of the various groups in our communion which are working towards a common end. It is in no sense a rival of such confraternities, leagues, and guilds as exist to promote a single cause, for it does not profess to be primarily a devotional body. It demands of course the regular prayers of its members, but it exists to spread the knowledge of the Catholic faith and to stimulate the Catholic life in all its aspects. It is, indeed, a union, and asks all who believe in its aims to become active members. It arranges for lectures and conferences, disseminates Catholic literature, and has its own organ, the Alliance Bulletin, which appears, at present, every other month.
The progress of the Catholic movement thus far in our communion has been largely parochial. The Alliance hopes by means of its various activities to give corporate expression to the desire of the laity for the full privileges of the Catholic life, and to give confidence and stimulus to priests and laymen who are working far from their natural friends and allies. If the Alliance can have the cooperation of all the Catholic-minded in America, it may in time become a natural spokesman for its members, and a force for the propagation of the faith. In proportion as it moves towards that ideal, it will have justified its exist