Government's Legal Right Questioned
Ecclesiastical Titles Act Repealed Years Ago
THE HOME SECRETARY, SIR JOHN SIMON, HAS REFUSED TO PRESENT TO THEIR MAJESTIES AN ADDRESS ON BEHALF OF THE BISHOPS OF ENGLAND AND WALES.
The Hierarchy, who were desirous that the King and his people should know that Catholics of his realm are truly loyal subjects, approached the Authorities with the object of having a loyal address signed by themselves presented to the King and Queen.
Sir John Simon declared that he was "unable to submit to the King an address in which these Archbishops and Bishops were telerred to as Catholic Archbishops and Bishops and in the signatures to which use is made of territorial designations which cannot be recognised in official communication."
On the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of King George V the Bishops' wish to present a Loyal Address was received in the same way.
This Government action is described in official Catholic circles as " a paper technicality which cannot stifle the real, heartfelt loyalty of several millions of His Majesty's true liegemen."
Act of Intolerance The Catholic Herald denounces the inadmissibility of the word " Catholic " as a piece of bigotry (in effect, though possibly not in intention) that will cause pain to Catholics throughout the Empire at a moment when differences of religion had been forgotten in an act of 'common loyalty to the Sovereign.
'With regc,.(1 to the Home Office's refusal to admit territorial designations in official communications the Catholic Herald asks for the Home Office's legal right to prohibit them.
Ecclesiastical Titles Act
In 1851 the Ecclesiastical Titles Act was passed by Lord John Russell to forbid " the assumption of titles to pretended Sees." It remained on the Books for 20 years, though it was never enforced.
The Catholic Hierarchy could not, and did not, direct themselves by any act or word of that fullness of authority which had been given them by the Vicar of Christ.
In 1871 the Act was, at length, repealed by Gladstone. and the world thought that Finis had been written to a discreditable and ridiculous chapter of English history. Xpparently this is not so; but where, then, lies the legal power of the Home Office to prohibit the use of titles not merely tolerated but actually per. milted through the repeal of the Act that sought to nuike them illegal?
Since the restoration of the Catholic Hierarchy no territorial title held by Anglicans has been reassumed, even though the original See had been Catholic before the Reformation.
In cases where there is a Protestant as well as a.Catholic Bishop of a certain See, e.g., Liverpool, Southwark, Birmingham, etc., the title has been taken by Anglicans since the foundation of the post-Reformation Catholic See.