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A bishop in wartime

by
31 October 2014

THE Bishop of Chelmsford's primary address to his Diocesan Conference contains some excellent remarks on open churches and frequent worship, not only in war-time but at all times. The churches should always be kept open, as being not the private preserves of the incumbents and churchwardens, but places of which the people have the right of user. Here every day the offices of Morning and Evening Prayer should be recited, unless the curate should happen to be really let or hindered. His lordship's substitution of "really" for "reasonably" clearly implies that he will have no quibbling of the kind that excuses the curate from his obligations on the ground of study or parochial visitation and the like. A further instruction to the clergy was that on every Sunday at least and every Holy Day there should be a celebration of Holy Communion, that the fasts as well as the feasts should be announced in church, and the duty of fasting be enjoined by the clergy and observed by the laity. . . . It is to be regretted that his lordship entered into a discussion of the legality of incense and vestments. . . But perhaps when the period of twelve years, which the Bishop allows for the settlement of the dispute about legality, shall have expired, we shall find the Bishop of Chelmsford considerably advanced on Catholic lines.

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