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Bill for ‘concubinage’

20 October 2017

October 19th, 1917

IT IS immensely gratifying to find that important organ of Evangelical opinion, the Churchman, definitely associating itself with us in our remarks on the proposed Matrimonial Causes Bill, on behalf of which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his friends are agitating. “This Bill”, we wrote, “reduces marriage to the level of concubinage.” It is a Bill for the abolition of marriage. The Churchman entirely endorses this view. In some other remarks it goes further, in recognising the fact that the English Church, in common with the Western Church, will have nothing to do with absolute divorce, with divorce a vinculo. Many Evangelicals, unfortunately, have weakened the defence against divorce and all its evil consequences by consenting to divorce on the ground of adultery, and holding that it is permissible at least to the innocent party to contract a fresh union. This illogical position is quite incompatible with any adequate theory of the sanctity of the marriage-tie. Divorce for any cause is a breach in the stronghold of marriage, which it is ultimately impossible to prevent from being ever widened by fresh irruptions of its profaners. If all Churchmen stood as one man for the principle of the life-long obligation of the marriage-vow, we could put up a good fight against such attacks as that which we now have to meet. As it is, in consequence of divided opinions and of uncertain teaching, or of the lack of any teaching at all, the ordinary Church of England man imagines that the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage is a mere invention of High Churchmen.


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