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A non-combatant clergy

by
11 December 2015

December 10th, 1915

A DEAD-SET is being made by some sections of the Press against the two Archbishops for their action in prohibiting the clergy from offering themselves as combatants. Apart from the nature of the vows taken by the priesthood, it may be worth while to point out how small a body they form, and, consequently, how ill they can be spared from the duties which, as it is, cannot adequately be performed because of their disproportionate numbers. This is no question of “caste”, as the Pall Mall Gazette would have us believe, nor is the action of the Archbishops to be stigmatized as encouraging “a sentiment of popular cynicism towards the relations of official religion with the most righteous cause that ever claimed the sacrifices of manhood”. As regards the alleged paradox in asserting that it is the professional duty of a clergyman to refrain from fighting, we do not believe that the majority of Churchpeople would see any paradox at all. They would, we think, prefer that those who minister to them the Sacrament of the Altar should do so with hands unstained by blood. We regard the outcry against the Archbishops as a purely manufactured one, started by someone who dislikes the Church and worked up by journalists on the look-out for “copy”. The approval of the Director-General of Recruiting is, we believe, in accord with the general sentiment, certainly with the general sentiment of Churchpeople.

 

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