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The Church and rural life

07 August 2020

August 6th, 1920.

THE Report of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Committee on the Church and Rural Life, which is dealt with in our leading columns, is remarkable for the number of obiter dicta it contains which are unsupported by evidence or argument. For example, the Introduction declares: “By the peasant the Church is regarded as part of the old order that is passing away, with the stability of which he connects the days of his dependence.” We may doubt very much whether any peasant has actually so reflected. The probability is rather that such sentiments are supposed to fit the character of the peasant of to-day. Such generalizations are all too common; indeed, it is the usual thing for correspondents who address us to assure us that they speak for a great company of like-minded persons. . .

The Report naturally deals in strong terms with the financial plight of many of the country clergy. It also expresses the opinion that the parson’s wife “will be as much needed as ever” in the parish. We know full well the value of the lady at the vicarage, as also do we know the desire usually shown by patrons of country livings to secure married clergymen in their parishes. Why, we may well ask, if the parson’s wife renders service so highly appreciated, do her services go unrewarded? . . .


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