We print a selection from the last letters which have dropped in to The Daily Chronicle concerning the revelations set forth in the Fortnightly article :
One correspondent writes : May I trespass on your impartiality to express my opinion that Mr. Galton has been hoaxed into advertising the " affaire O'Halloran," about which we have all known for years. The more publicity Mr. O'Halloran gets, the better be will like it. I am reminded of two somewhat similar cases formerly prominent before the public—those of Father O'Keefe, of Callan, and Dr. McGlynn, of New York. Father O'Keefe fought his own bishops and Cardinal Cullen, of Dublin, for years, and finally submitted. Dr. McGlynn fought Archbishop Corrigan, of New York, refused at first to appeal to Rome, but finally doing so, won his cause and was replaced in the archdiocese of New York.
During the years of these men's revolt they obtained large sums of money from a certain class of ultra-Protestants, of whom Dean Swift wrote when he asked why they were always so anxious to take up the weeds the Pope threw over his garden wall ! Well, Sir, I have yet to learn that either Father O'Keefe or the Rev. Dr. McGlynn ever returned one single penny of the money given them by their quondam Protestant supporters.
A clerical correspondent explains : It appears that Mr. O'Halloran has sent you the "Coltationes" of the diocese of Nottingham for reoo as a proof of the way in which priests ate calumniated who show " independence." Now the " Collationes" are cases in moral theology such as may be found in any treatise on the subject, and the persons mentioned in them are purely fictitious characters, as, of course, Mr. O'Halloran knows perfectly well.
I suppose that the object of this correspondence was to ascertain what truth there was in the assertion that a " revolt " of over 150 secular priests in England alone was imminent. It has now lasted over a fortnight, and not a shred of proof has been adduced. One "revolter," and one only, has came to light. And he is a revolter of ancient date, and so thoroughly discredited that the most reckless of rebels would hesitate to follow his lead.
I imagine that most of your readers are too shrewd to accept the cases of moral theology proposed to the Nottingham clergy as certain evidence of this wondrous "revolt," even though it be supplemented by tales of "the dreadful things" said by priests about thePope when he gives them the trouble of buying new offices, owing to his irritating propensity for glorifying "the monks." No doubt by this time they have placed this " revolt " in the same category with the famous "Mrs. Harris."
A WORD OF WARNING.
The following letter appears over the signature of "Ohm Miles" : Assuming that the threatened revolt of some of the Rcman secular priests in England is more than a story for the "silly season," may I, though a staunch Anglican, humbly beg them to pause before taking any steps which they might regret to their dying day ?
It must be remembered that the English Church in no way recognises the prelates or clergy whom the Bishop of Rome sends to this country, and to use the words of the late Archbishop of Canterbury, only looks upon them as an "Italian mission" in England.
We certainly recognise their orders as valid, but at the same time regard the mission schismatical, and though this may appear to be a hard word, yet it is only what we should use of a body of Anglican clergy were they to be sent by an Archbishop of Canteibury to " convert" to Anglicanism the members of the existing Catholic Church in Italy. This, however, I think we may safely say—and thank God for it —is quite beyond the bounds of possibility. In the event of the "revolting priest" obtaining the assistance of a duly consecrated Bishop, I do not seehow he could be recognised by the English Church, which, while admitting the validity of the consecration, could not but regard him as schismatic unless in commumon with the See of Canterbury. It would, therefore, appear that these poor seculars would fall between two stools—they could certainly be excommunicated by the Bishop of Rome, and would, as certainly, not be recognised by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
• The history of the Reformation makes us little inclined to doubt that these secular priests have grave cause for dissatisfaction, and many of us will tender them our sincere sympathy. There appear, however, to be but two alternatives—either that they should stay where they are and try and reform matters from the inside, or place themselves in communion with the old historical Catholic Church in this country, commonly known as the Church of England.
Another correspondent, " G. S. R.," points out : Mr. Galion appears to find a " discrepancy " between "the statements of the Vatican and Archbishop's House, and the correspondence with them of Mr. O'Halloran." May I point out what I had thought sufficiently obvious— namely, that no such discrepancy exists I Mgr. Johnson was asked about a movement involving 15o priests, none of whom were named, and naturally expressed incredulity—now amply justified. But as soon as their name was shown to be O'Halloran, the position was changed ; and I do not find any statement that Mgr. Johnson was not at least as well acquainted as the rest of us with the Ealing scandal—of which indeed Mr. O'Halloran has taken good care that no one should be ignorant. There is no discrepancy, although Mr. Galton, who must by this time have regretted that he allowed himself to be made a cat's-paw, is doing his best to make it appear there is.
FACTS AND QUESTIONS.
The following statement of facts and series of questions is sent by " Capellanus " :
The murder is out, and the bubble has burst. All this hubbub turns out to be nothing more than the vapouring of a dispossessed priest, who has been pestering the public for years with letters so extravagant and outrageous that sensible people have ceased to pay any attention to them. He signs himself " Canonical Rector of Ealing." Now, Ealing never was a rectory. It was only a mission chapel, with a curate in charge. And so far from Mr. O'Halloran having been appointed rector, before being allowed to go to Ealing he had to sign a formal document pledging himself to leave Ealing whenever called upon to do so, which proves that he was fully aware of the temporary nature of his employment. Again, he says he was never suspended ; but this is nonsense. One of the most painful duties I have ever had to perform was to read from the pulpit the formal sentence of suspension pronounced upon Mr. C'Halloran by his diocesan. Where are you to find a Roman bishop, to say nothing of three, the canonical number, who would be willing to consecrate as bishop a suspended priest without the necessary bulls from Rome, and in defiance of all ecclesiastical law, knowing full well that such an act would entail excommunication and the loss of all their dignities and emoluments ? Where are you to find a single secular priest who is not already unfrocked willing to place himself in a like position ? Supposing a secular priest were to be turned out of his cure, how is he going to live ? Are the Catholic laity likely to support him ? Certainly not. They have no sympathy with insubordinate clerics. Where will this subsidiary bishop get money or cures to support him ? The secular clergy know very well on which side their bread is buttered, and are not such lunatics as to be willing to find themselves stranded between the devil and the deep sea to please Mr. O'Halloran, whatever sympathy some few may feel for him. The three tailors of Tooley-street are an old story. NB.—'2Anglicanus" does not seem to know that the only offence against the law is to celebrate a marriage without the presence of the public registrar. It is no offence against the law to celebrate marriage without the license of the Catholic diocesan.