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Bishops’ call to prayer

08 January 2016

January 7th, 1916

WHEN the archbishops and bishops summoned the faithful to penitence and prayer, it might have seemed ungracious — it would certainly have been quite useless — to criticize their choice of the days to be observed. Arrangements of this kind when once made cannot be altered. It seemed better to work for the end in view, and to reserve protest. Now that the days of special devotion are over we make that protest, and express the hope that in future there may be a choice of dates less open to grave objection. The selection of a day in the octave of Christmas, the Feast of the Circumcision and the octave-day of St Stephen for penitence and prayer in view of temporal needs was, to say the least, an unfortunate intrusion upon the thoughts which the Church sets before her children during the forty days of joy. It suggested that the beginning of the civil year was really of more importance than any prescription of the Church’s Kalendar. . . Apart altogether from ecclesiastical considerations, there were objections to the choice of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day which might have been taken into account. The social observance of New Year’s Eve has in late years rivalled that of Christmas. Towards the end of last week the daily papers thought it worth while to devote whole columns of space to the discussion of the attractions in the way of dances and dinners offered by the larger hotels. These matters are not perhaps within the cognizance of the authorities. But they cannot have failed to influence adversely the observance of the three days. . .


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