Page 7, 29th May 1953

29th May 1953
Page 7
Page 7, 29th May 1953 — Dr; Gordon Albion
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Dr; Gordon Albion

Continued from page 3

end of an era not only for the nation as a whole but for the Catholic body in particular. They had grown out of all recognition from a steadily dwindling group of despised secondclass citizens into a well-organised minorit y, important numerically through the influx of the Irish, socially and intellectually through the accession of Newman and the converts, and confident under the leadership of men like Wiseman and Manning, who were recognised as national figures, Of Wiseman it was said that he was "the first effectively to remind Englishmen . . . of the historical significance of the Catholic Church"; while Newman's influence has raised the Church "to what would, not so long before, have seemed a strange and incredible rank in the mind of Protestant England."

It was Newman who, in his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, scotched the 300-year-old lie that a loyal Catholic cannot be a loyal Englishman.

Edward VII (1903-10) was temperamentally ready to acknowledge all this. As Prince of Wales, sitting on the Royal Commission on the Housing of the Working Classes, in 1884-85, he had requested that the person next in precedeace to him should bc Cardinal Manning, to whom more than to any other "it was due that English Catholics have at last outgrown the narrow, cramped life of their past of persecution, and stand in all things upon a footing of equality with their fellow countrymen."

King and Pope

KING EDWARD was the first Sovereign' since the Stuarts who was not anti-Catholic. In 1903 he visited the aged Pope Leo XIII in the Vatican. He liked Er. Bernard Vaughan and included Catholics and future converts in his own circle. His niece, Ena of Battenberg, became a Catholic and married King Alfonsp of Spain. There was even the story of the King's own death-bed conversion.

Edward VII was the first Sovereign to resent the wording of the Royal Accession Declaration, so deeply offensive to his Catholic subjects, stigmatizing the Mass as idolatrous. and containing false statements of Catholic doctrine about the "adoration" of Our Lady and a supposed dispensing power which the Catholic Church has never asserted.

Although several attempts to induce Parliament to erase the obnoxious phrases failed. George V (1910-36) pressed for a revision of the Declaration at his accession, and a Bill passed both Houses with large majorities. removing from the English Constitution the last of a long series of anti-Catholic oaths.

The new King was the first since the Reformation to re establish permanent diplomatic contact with the Vatican by the setting up of the English Legation in 1915. This was followed up by the personal visit he and Queen Mary paid to Pope Pius Xi in 1923.

This exchange of courtesies is now a common thing, accepted by all save the Protestant persons groups. The Duke of Windsor, the present Queen (when Princess Elizabeth) and Princess Margaret have all been received by the present Pope. who sent a Papal Delegation to the Coronation of George VI and is sending another now.

Although, on occasions of condolence or of loyal address, the legal niceties of protocol insist that our Bishops be presented shorn of their diocesan titles, their welcome at Buckingham Palace has been none the less cordial for that,

Her Majesty's Catholic subjects yield to none in their affectionate loyalty, and will be the first to respond to her request for prayers at the Evening Mass and Communion to be celebrated all over the realm on the eve of Coronation Day.




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