the Church in the past no candid student of history can deny. Her ecclesiastics often protected them against the cruelty of their Spanish conquerors, and helped, as time went on, to bring the two races together. She also supplied the somewhat primitive natives with a theory, however imperfect, of life, acted as mother and guide to them in all human relationships, and gave her children some sort of intellectual system. The trouble is that this ancient Church can never be brought to see that in Mexico, as elsewhere, her day is past and over, though we can hardly blame her priests and bishops if they refuse to accept the view of the progressives that she is an incubus which must now make room for some better, less anomalous, and more up-to-date system.

President Calles sees this very clearly, and he is no believer in compromise. Feeling that the ecclesiastical yoke has become too heavy to be borne any longer, he has raised the cry of 'Le cléricalisme, voilà l'ennemi,' and has launched a crusade against priestcraft such as the New World had never witnessed before. He points out that the laws are not directed solely against Catholics, but are of general application; he regrets that Protestants, who do not make trouble like the Papists, should have to suffer with the rest. He sees what he calls 'a calamity of priests' afflicting his native land; and these priests he describes as an essentially foreign body— alien in authority, system, and personnel. By their exactions they have absorbed the economic strength of the country and laid the populace in the dust, keeping them so poverty-stricken, superstitious, and ignorant that at least eightyfive per cent of them are illiterate. 'It is criminal,' said the Minister of Education, 'to permit the children's minds to be formed by the clergy.'

This may well be true of Mexico, as it probably is of some other countries, but, while fully admitting the demoralizing influence which unquestioning trust in authority has upon pupils and teachers alike, one would like to know what sort of education the young people will receive in Calles's new Communist schools.

The 'sacerdotal caste' is also blamed, along with the Petroleros, for the alienization of the land from the peons and for fleecing them in various ways. The Oriental pietist can never tolerate the spectacle of Churches and priests preaching poverty while piling up gold and riches of every description for themselves, and the Mexican progressives object to the Religios holding, as is said, nearly half the wealth of the country, after acquiring it by somewhat dubious means. The Government therefore proposes, for the good of the country and the souls of the religious, to relieve the latter of the temptations which invariably beset those who possess vast wealth. The hierarchy and priesthood are further charged with fomenting sedition, stirring up the people against the Government, by which much bloodshed has been caused, and endeavoring to make Mexico subservient to papal ambitions. There seems no reason to question the President's observation that his country has suffered much from 'the intolerable activities of the reactionary clergy, who, following their traditional practice, are endeavoring to injure the State.' There was a great outcry, for example, when the papal delegate to Mexico was expelled from Mexican territory last March; but, as we know that the phrase 'Apostolic Delegate' is often found in practice to be Vatican for 'mischief-maker,' the Government may have had its reasons. The delegate in question is accused of making several untrue statements in his declaration

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before the immigration authorities at Nuevo Laredo; according to the official report he described himself as a 'teacher,' a 'tourist' not traveling on business, he admitted afterward that he was making investigations for the Pope, and 'a Protestant'! He also said that he, an Italian by birth, and bishop of a Spanish-speaking diocese, knew no language but English. The Mexican Consul-General in the United States, who has a photostatic copy of the declaration, vouches for the truth of the above charges.

The Times correspondent in Mexico, who disapproves of the attack on the Church and deprecates the severity of the new laws, tells us very plainly that the clerics are greatly to blame. The priesthood, he says, has too often been merely self-seeking. 'It has amassed large treasure at the expense of the poorer classes, and has not done half it might have done for the education and moral enlightenment of its followers. As an example, Church marriage has almost always been an expensive transaction; priests have demanded excessive fees, and have expected offerings to be made to the local Virgin. The peon has no idea of civil marriage; such a thing as a registry does not enter his philosophy; so he takes to himself a wife and begets children without the sanction of either Church or State.'

I have elsewhere shown at length on various occasions that in all Roman Catholic countries the Church is morally a total failure, and that the ethical condition of Catholic communities as shown by official facts and figures as well as the testimony of impartial observers is very much lower than it is in non-Catholic ones. If any additional proof is needed, Mexico is now supplying us with it: the peon's only standard of morality is the one he has learned from his Church, and that, as we know,

is a poor one. Lord Hugh Cecil, who tells us that many people regard him as 'three-quarters Papist,' spoke some very plain words on this subject a few years ago. The Vatican, he said, 'is of little use in matters of simple right and wrong.' For these reasons, I cannot but think that the gloomy forebodings of moral chaos in Mexico as a consequence of the anticlerical legislation have been rather overdone.


Dean Inge, who is also on the side of the Church in her battle with Mexican infidelity, admits that she probably did little to win the respect or affection of the people. "The immorality of priests,' he says, 'over nearly the whole of Spanish America is notorious'; and let me here say that it is greatly resented in Mexico, where 'disgraceful stories' of clerical misconduct abound. other day a very large demonstration of men and women workers paraded the streets of Mexico City bearing a banner protesting against it. In one state, Tabasco, the powers that be have passed an ordinance commanding the priests to marry or to resign their benefices; and batches of priests who refused to comply with the law have fled to the city of Mexico or left the country. During the Dark and Middle Ages people had a no less lively appreciation of the inconveniences which attend the celibacy of the clergy, and various attempts, not unlike those made in Mexico, were made to guard feminine frailty against clerical incontinence. For example, in parts of Switzerland and Spain the authorities, anticipating the wise men of Tabasco, compelled the priest, 'on taking up his charge, to select a concubine as a necessary protection to the females under his care.'

On August 1 the laws and decrees, new and old, were put in force and the struggle began in earnest. As the clerics would not obey the law, twenty

thousand churches were closed in different parts of the country, and the more ardent Roman Catholics were reduced to a state of desperation, though, as the days went on, a growing lack of interest on the part of laymen was observed. During the suspension of services the Government used this favorable opportunity to 'disinfect thoroughly all churches,' and special brigades were appointed to fumigate them. The Episcopate did not resist these probably needful measures of hygiene, but asserted that the submission of the Church to the State was contrary to the laws of the civilized world. A run upon banks and an economic boycott organized by Papists did much injury to trade, and caused stocks and railway traffics to decline seriously. There were scenes of disorder in many parts, attacks were made on men in authority, and here and there the soldiers had to fire on the mobs. The local hierarchy, taking its orders from the Vatican, egged on its supporters to the fray; and earlier, in May, a wealthy Catholic lady, arrested for buying a revolver wherewith to kill the President, confessed her guilt and said she did it in order to save the Catholic Church.' The police, who had been commended by the Times correspondent for their 'great forbearance,' had in August to arrest certain persons guilty of riot and outrage; and an unfortunate woman, 'believed to have been a Protestant,' was beheaded by an excited crowd in Irapuato!

Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum. The history of Mexico is a melancholy record of all-round depravity, for which 'religion' is not solely to blame, but the Church's responsibility in the matter is a heavy one. It is greatly to be feared that this deplorable squabble may retard the social and economic recuperation of Mexico for some time

to come.

So the fight went on. The Vatican took out of its mediæval armory the rusty weapon of the interdict, whereby the faithful are deprived of the rites and consolations of religion; but nobody seemed one penny the worse, and public opinion still remains divided as to which faction has the most right on its side. Unfortunately for the Church, when preferring her charges of persecution against her opponents, she does not come into court with clean hands. Her record on this head is an exceedingly bad one, and she has not yet abandoned her old evil ways. The Tablet tells us that it has lately been snowed under with letters from correspondents pointing out that Rome has no right to complain of persecution so long as she harries Protestants as she is now doing in Spain. A letter from the Rev. T. J. Pulvertaft in the Times of July 31 gives certain details of the highly discreditable intolerance which ecclesiastics, backed by the Dictatorship, are now displaying throughout the Peninsula. Nor is confirmatory evidence lacking; other people testify to the way in which non-Catholics are bullied, insulted, occasionally fined or imprisoned, mobbed and stoned, for doing what the law apparently allows them to do. Roman Catholics retort that the Mexican and Spanish cases are not on all fours, and that anyhow two blacks do not make a white. 'Spain,' says the Tablet, 'thinks she knows her business best.' Quite so; but perhaps Mexico thinks she is also the best judge of her affairs. Not a few people feared that the clash in Mexico between the secular and spiritual powers would result in a fresh revolution, but the feeble resistance put up by the Church against the new laws, and her lack of inspiring leadership, would seem to show that the President has gauged her real strength in the country more accurately than was at

first supposed. Protests, emanating from Rome, against the violation of 'religious liberty' do not greatly impress people.

What the upshot of it all will be no man can foretell. It seems not improbable that the deciding factor in the dispute will eventually be the United States, where President Coolidge is confronted with a very difficult problem. He will strive might and main to avoid intervention, but 'shaking the forefinger at Mexico' has proved a failure, and some sterner policy is now demanded. The whole weight of the Roman Church in North America, which English people are apt to underestimate, will, of course, be thrown into the scale in favor of the Papacy; and her enormous wealth, her splendid organization and unrivaled capacity for 'wangling,' give her an influence in the political world out of all proportion to the numbers and intrinsic worth of her adherents. She intimidates the press and largely controls the printing presses; it is very difficult to get an anticlerical book or pamphlet published or sold in America. Politicians dread her compact and easily directed vote, and an Irish-American priest recently boasted that 'the public man who antagonizes the Catholic Church in these days is a political suicide.' There are also secular agencies, business interests almost as powerful as the Church, which are working hard to bring about war with Mexico. A strong Bolshevist flavor pervades the new coal, oil, and land laws, which, besides being ruinous to foreign capital invested in the country, are said to violate existing treaties with the

United States. If President Calles is not careful he will end by putting his gigantic neighbor to the north in a very nasty temper. Mammon may join hands with dogmatic religion, piety may unite with oil, and a combination may be formed in favor of strong measures which Mr. Coolidge and his Protestant backers will find themselves unable to withstand.

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To sum up very briefly, Bolshevism is a world nuisance; and the same, with certain reservations, may be said of the largely 'Spaniardized' theocracy which for many years has dominated the Vatican. Bolshevism reeks of blood; so does the Papacy: an aroma of the shambles hangs about either institution. Both claim and whenever they have the power-exercise the right of slaying or maltreating those who disagree with their opinions. The one is old and polished, but effete; the other very young and uncomfortably raw; each delights in setting all the neighbors by the ears. Dogma, no less than atheistic Communism, is a principle of disruption, a perennial fount of discord. 'Lovers of peace,' as Dr. Inge justly observes, 'have little to hope for from institutional religion.' In this death struggle between the forces of anarchy and reaction, two would-be autocrats representing two opposing and perhaps equally pernicious ideals, the English-speaking nations will endeavor to remain neutral. Unprejudiced onlookers feel little sympathy with either side; and the verdict of most sensible people upon the whole case will be, if I am not greatly mistaken, 'A plague on both your houses!'



ONCE more Lord Beaverbrook provides our theme. He has been addressing the Head Teachers' Association, and his remarks raise some pertinent questions about modern tendencies of the press. The position of the press in this country has reached a critical stage. It used to be the best press in the world. Probably it still is; but a very momentous thing is happening to it. With a few notable exceptions, the big national newspapers, and indeed more and more of the provincial journals, are falling into the hands of two or three men. Individuality is going; a sense of responsibility to the public is going; and in their place is being exalted an almost religious reverence for the advertiser and the shareholder. Lord Northcliffe, who set the ball of modern journalism and the newspaper combine rolling, was a genius, but his followers are only imitators. More over, he was first and foremost a practical journalist, the most gifted this country has ever seen. Are the men in whose hands the destinies of the press now rest journalists, or anything like them? Lord Beaverbrook must be given credit for showing a consuming interest in the game of journalism, — though he does it in much the same way as Mr. Selfridge might show an interest in selling ironmongery, but of the others what can we say? They buy and sell their newspapers as though they were so many pounds of cheese. Of interest in the newspapers as news1 From the Saturday Review (London BaldwinConservative weekly), November 6

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papers, as honest organs of opinion, of a sense of responsibility to the public whom they serve, they show no sign. A newspaper represents to them no more than potential dividends: they are interested in money, not in news.

This is reflected in their newspapers, which seem to avoid all suggestion of a defined policy; and it is reflected in the attitude of the public, which has begun to distrust the press, and certainly to ignore its advice. With the decline in its integrity there has gone a decline in its influence, for all its million sales. Nothing has shown this more clearly than last week's municipal elections. The Daily Mail set itself out to stir the electorate to vote against Labor, with the flattering result to Lord Rothermere that Labor swept the country. Nobody now cares a toss what the cheap press has to say about any of the things that matter. By filling their sheets with advertisements and divorce news and stunt' writers, by concentrating, in fact, on sensation instead of on sense, the press lords have sacrificed their influence. Their papers are read, but they are not respected. The gathering of the press into two or three hands is a process that is bound to develop, until there may be virtually only one big newspaper proprietor in control of them all. The point to remark is that, with this concentration of power, the power itself has gone. The big newspapers are coming to be held in contempt by everincreasing numbers of the public.

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Lord Beaverbrook's remarks to the

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