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German pastoral letter

01 December 2017

November 30th, 1917.

TAKING new courage from the appointment of a Catholic Chancellor on the very day that should have seen the Luther Commemoration, the Catholics of Germany are beginning to make their voice heard. Last Sunday week a significant pastoral was read from all the Catholic pulpits of Germany. The archbishops and bishops of Germany began by professing their resolution to protect not only the altar but the throne from all enemies, without or within. They went on, however, to make demands on their own account. The bishops assert that it is the true interest of the State to restore to the individual that measure of freedom which has been lost during the war, when it was necessary to save the Fatherland by adopting measures of State Socialism and State supremacy, and it condemns all proposals for nationalizing elementary education, and all interference with the powers of the Church. The pastoral demands the establishment of secondary schools on a denominational basis, opposes the separation of Church and State, and describes as “senseless dreaming” the idea of a German National Church. The pronouncement is at least definite and courageous. Another and most laudable protest against the tendencies of the German State comes from Switzerland, where the German-Swiss Catholic organ rightly denounces the infamous proposal for “secondary marriages” which the German authorities — doubtless remembering Luther’s condonation of bigamy — are trying to popularize both at the Front and in the heart of Germany. The circulation of these proposals was promptly forbidden in Austria, though, as the Aargauer Volksblatt observes, “Austria is hardly a garden of lilies.”

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