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100 years ago: Coverage of a scandal

30 April 2021

April 29th, 1921.

THE failure of the appeal of the Archdeacon of Stow from the Consistory Court of Lincoln [100 Years Ago, 12 February; Diary, 5 March] is the subject of an article in our leading columns. The comments in the newspapers may serve to reassure those who in the Convocations tell us that the attitude of the Press to religious matters is deplorable. Almost all the articles we have read are written with an understanding of what such an humiliation means to the Church as a whole, but a recognition that, so far from being discredited, the “very fact” (to quote the Daily Express) that “the even hand of justice has been applied to one of its own dignitaries vindicates its honour and probity”. So, too, the Daily News, speaking, as most of the papers do, of the perplexity of the public in this matter, concludes its article by saying “the surprising thing is, not that good men go wrong, but that in this imperfect and difficult world so few good men go wrong.” That observation is preceded by the recognition in the preceding sentence that the office and the man are not by any divine law one and inseparable. In the Daily Mail, there was, in addition to a leading article, an interesting contributed article illustrating how easily the clergy may be the victims of slander, and how little protection they have against the unscrupulous tongue of the gossip. In no paper that we have seen has the fall of a dignitary in the Church been used as a peg upon which to hang an attack upon the Church or even her religion.

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