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The Editors, while not holding themselves precluded from suggesting criticisms, have regarded their proper task as that of editing, and accordingly they have not interfered with the responsibility of each writer for his treatment of his own subject.
W. C. E. N.
A GREAT many proposals have been made in recent years for the reform of the Church, both in and out of Parliament. In looking over these proposals one finds most of them vitiated by the fact that they are not based upon a careful study of the historical causes of the present state of things.
Constructive power must be based upon historic knowledge, and reform of an ancient body like the Church will end in disaster if the past is ignored and only present circumstances are considered. Evolution does not proceed by cataclysms and recreations, but by gradual and almost imperceptible growth, the new ever growing out of the old, not being grafted upon it.
We may therefore welcome the Royal Commission recently appointed, because its members are men who may be supposed to have the historical knowledge requisite for a calm review of
historical causes, from which we may hope for such proposals as may tend to a settlement which may lead to peace, whilst maintaining the historic continuity so precious to the Catholic Church.
In view therefore of the possible results of inquiries made by such a Commission, and in the desire of helping our earnest and intelligent laity to understand the conditions with which the Commission has to deal, the following historical study of the relationship of the Church to the Civil Power is offered with the conviction that facts which are always important have some special interest and significance at the present time.
W. H. A.