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All Saints’ and the fallen

04 November 2016

November 3rd, 1916.

WITH an amazing lack of a sense of fitness, the Universities of Cambridge and London chose All Saints’ Day for the commemoration of those alumni who have fallen in the war. We expressed our surprise a year ago that the inappropriateness of that choice was not instantly apparent, but we preached to deaf ears. Yet we should have thought that the claims of All Souls’ Day would by this time have come to be recognized. It is true that the day is not entered in the Prayer Book Kalendar, but, for all that, it is found in many almanacs, and of late years it has been brought back into observance in many churches. A moment’s consideration would suggest that the purpose of All Saints’ Day is to celebrate in festal manner those whom the Church all through its history has recognized as saints. The commemoration of our dead is something entirely different from the observance of this great festival, and All Souls’ Day has its proper place and function in the scheme of our religious observances. Let us hope that, when November 2 comes again, the Universities of Cambridge and London will not repeat their error in taste and good sense. In the latter university, King’s College, at all events, has not followed the lead of the superior authorities, and held its commemoration of the departed yesterday.


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