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100 years ago: Suspend the Convocations

10 July 2015

July 9th, 1915

IF THE Whigs were in power to-day they would find little excuse for procuring the suspension of the Convocations on the ground that they concerned themselves overmuch with the affairs of Church and nation, and were far too active. . . . Two or three times in the year numbers of the clergy are assembled, at great expense in London and York. Proctors leave their parishes, archdeacons are torn from the discharge of their archidiaconal functions, Victoria-street becomes black with gaiters. There is much debate on a high level of eloquence, much discussion on the wording of the resolutions which convey to an eagerly expectant world the authentic voice of the Church in England. But the form rather than the matter of the debate seems to be accounted the essential thing. Convocation is just as eloquent and enthusiastic on dilapidations, which it has discussed any time these twenty years, as on questions which demand the best thought of the Church. When, therefore, Convocation gives its resolutions to the world, they are not received with much deference. This week, for example, an evening paper observes that Convocation has just managed to conclude a debate which was begun last April, and has arrived at the remarkable discovery that Christianity is not concerned merely with the private life of the individual, a conclusion which has the merit of avoiding all censure. It is scarcely worth while to summon the Convocations to discuss platitudes at enormous length, and, since contentious business is ruled out, the sessions might profitably be suspended for the duration of the war.

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