By Father Humphrey Johnson
A crisis in the Church of England has no longer the importance which such an occurrence
possessed in the nineteenth century. Not only are there no longer personalities such as Pusey, Liddon, Shaftesbury, Stanley or Tait to give it its old figure, but schools and parties to-day have less confidence in themselves.
The agitation which has arisen over the question of Church Union in South India has its roots in the old question whether episcopacy be of divine or human institution. The Church of England has not committed herself unequivocally to either view.
" It is evident," says the preface to the ordination service. " unto all men diligently reading the holy Scripture and ancient authors, that from the Apostles' time there have been these orders of ministers in Christ's church;
bishops, priests and deacons." it is not directly asserted that they are of divine origin, but it is insinuated that a Christian body which lacks this threefold ministry is in a position of grave irregularity.
AT THE OTHER EXTREME
An influential section of the Anglican communion goes further than that and unchurches altogether the bulk of Protestant Christians. At the other extreme are those who decline to sec anything even mildly irregular in a nonepiscopal ministry. Four Anglican dioceses in South India with a church membership of about half a million are, it seems, on the point of officially endorsing this view by accepting a scheme of reunion into which Presbyterians. Congregationalists and Wesleyans will enter. The " Church of South India" resulting from this fusion will occupy a curious position. Those of its members whose antecedents are Anglican will be free as individuals to communi
cate in Anglican churches. But the South Indian Church as a whole will temporarily withdraw from communion with Lambeth.
The temporary character of the breach of communion will be due to the fact that after a transitional period of about thirty years the new church will be fully constituted on an episcopal basis. This sounds perfectly simple even though the notion of a temporary interruption of communion is a strange one to Catholic ears. But its simplicity is only apparent, as the dioceses in question are not the only Anglican ones in India.
What will be the relations of the Church of India. Burma and Ceylon to the Church of South India, and particularly should a minority in the four dioceses refuse their adhesion to the proposed amalgamation 7
Behind this question looms a bigger one. Will the proposed scheme be an incentive to imitators elsewhere ? The documentary film, " The Pope in the Vatican," is now being displayed with much propaganda in Germany and in the occupied countries, states a correspondent. Posters show the Pope and photographs of the cinemas show " nuns flocking to see this film of the greatest unarmed Power in the world."
Over 170,000 Chinese civilian casualties occurred during the recent
battles in Hunan Province. Foreign missions in Changeteh suffered losses in property totalling several million dollars. Among the organisations involved were the Spanish Augustinian Mission.
The tire brigade of Vatican City on January 19 celebrated the name day of their patron saint, St. Anthony; on this occasion Mgr. De Romaeis, the Pope's Vicar for Vatican City, celebrated Mass. At 12.15 Cardinal Cattail inspected the fire station in the Belvedere courtyard.
The Bratislava Catholic Academy of Science and Arts was praised for its religious work in a recent joint pastoral letter of the Slovak bishops. Its first President, Dr. Tiso, has resigned his post owing to his political activities and has been succeeded by Mgr. Skravik, co-adjutal Bishop of Henske Bystrica.
Canon Ludovico Chiesa has been named Superior and seventh successor to St. Joseph Cottolengo, Founder of the House of Divine Providence in Turin.
After flaying beLn closed for several months both to worship and to public, for no discernible reason. the Holy Sepulchre has been re-opened on a restricted basis. The celebration of Mass or any other religious service still is not allowed, nor may the daily Procession to the shrines of the ancient basilica
approach the Tomb of Our Lord.