The Osservatore Romano officially denies the latest of many statements as to the feelings, sayings, or messages of Benedict XV in regard to the war :— " Several newspapers have published, as coming from an authentic source, certain items of information in respect to the Holy Father's alleged activity in the cause of peace, and to words attributed to His Holiness. The most noteworthy of the latter are as follows.:— ' If the Powers of the Entente were so disposed, the preliminaries of peace could be entered upon tomorrow.' We affirm that this ' information ' has no foundation whatsoever. Neither is there any truth in the statement that His Eminence Cardinal von Hartmann, Archbishop of Cologne, has offered His Holiness the Presidency of any forthcoming Peace Congress. The comments of the Press on these announcements are consequently altogether illusory."
"The Miracle of Ireland" is the title of an article contributed to the War Illustrated by Mr. John Redmond, M.P. "To-day Ireland, with insignificant exceptions, is united as never before in support of the Empire. She feels," says the Irish leader, "she is now a free and honoured portion of that Empire, and she is as determined as the Overseas Dominions to make the greatest sacrifices in her power to safeguard and protect her hardly won rights. How Ireland has translated this unanimity of feeling into action is shown by the recruiting figures. On November 15 last Ireland had with the colours 138,512 men, and many thousands have been recruited since. Of this total, 82,947 are Roman Catholics and 55,565 Protestants ; 28,072 are members of the National Volunteer Force, and 28,327 are members of the Ulster Volunteer Force. Apart from these, up to Lord Derby's recruiting scheme 120,000 men of Irish birth resident in Great Britain had joined the Army since the outbreak of war. But for the transformation of Irish public opinion at home these men would not have come forward in anything like these numbers." In conclusion, Mr. Redmond says :—" War is a terrible ordeal for all of us, but we Irishmen have one consolation, namely, that the blood our country is willingly shedding in this great cause will seal for ever the reconciliation of the two nations."
A return of the persons proceeded against for drunkenness in Manchester during the year 1915 has just been issued by the Chief Constable in the city, and it shows that the decrease during the war has been remarkable. "Last year," says the report, "the number of persons proceeded against was 5,174-3,332 men and 1,842 women. In 1914 (which included seven months of the pre-war period) the number was 8,4846,052 men and 2,432 women ; and in 1913, 9,053-6,499 men and 2,554 women. Comparing 1915 with the two previous years, the decreases are :—Compared with 1914, in gross total, 3,310, in men 2,720, in women 59o; compared with 1913, in gross total 3,879, in men 3,167, in women 712. In rough percentages the decreases work out as follows :—Gross total as compared with 1914, 38 per cent. ; with 1913, 43 per cent.-; men, compared with '914, 45 per cent. ; with 1913, 49 per cent. ; women, compared with 1914, 24 per cent. ; with 1913, 29 per cent." Doubtless' no small part of the diminution may be accounted for by the fact that over roo,000 men have left the city to join the forces, and this fact must also be taken into account in considering the "noticeable difference in the decrease as regards the two sexes, to the disadvantage of the womenA If we consider the returns in connection with the imposition of restrictions on the sale of liquor in the city, they provide at least one comparison which goes to strengthen the case for restriction. On this point the Chief Constable says :—" The present restrictions in Manchester, under which the houses open at halfpast ten in the morning and close at ten at night on weekdays, came into force at the end of last March, eight months after the beginning of the war. As has been stated already, the decrease in the number of persons proceeded against began immediately after the war, and the figures fell rapidly. Under the present restrictions the decrease has been accelerated, and the number of persons proceeded against during the period August-December last (under restrictions) shows a decrease of 28 per cent. even as compared with the corresponding period of 1914, when the war was with us but there were no restrictions."
St. Edmund's College is playing its part in the great European struggle. The current number of The Edmundian contains an imposing roll of honour and list of old students who are engaged on national service. In the first, eighteen are given as killed, one as having gained the D.S.O., two the Military Cross, one the Distinguished Conduct Medal, one the Legion of Honour, and seven mentioned in dispatches. On national service the number of Edmundians is 191. Besides these, twenty-two priests are serving as army chaplains and one as a naval chaplain.
The Rev. Arnold H. Mathew, whose submission to the Holy See has already been announced, writes to us, with regard to his position, as follows :—" Although the Orders of the Dutch schismatical clergy were, down to 1910, undisputed in Rome, I make no claim to be recognized as a bishop, or to exercise episcopal functions, or to use any episcopal insignia. I desire to conform in everything to whatever may be the commands or wishes of the Holy See. Neither do I intend or claim even to exercise priestly functions, unless and until, as I earnestly hope, this privilege may be permitted to me. It is my firm resolve, which nothing will ever alter, to obey the commands of the Holy Father, whose word I am perfectly willing to await, and I shall do nothing whatever, whether publicly or privately, in any ecclesiastical matters without the permission of Superiors.' t Sixty-three members of hospital units have arrived in this country, but Madame Christitch and Miss Annie Christitch, articles by whom our readers have from time to time had the pleasure of reading in our columns, are still in Serbia at Irstenik. They took out a nursing unit to Valicvo in the early summer, and they have now been left behind owing to Madame Christitch being unable to bear the fatigue of the journey. Miss Christitch is working quite alone in a typhus hospital. With them, in active work and well, is Nurse Magussen, who was a nurse at the Italian Hospital, Queen's Square. Of the magnificent work which our British hospital units have, under the most appalling difficulties, done in Serbia it would be impossible to speak too highly. And those who have seen accounts of the journey home of those members who have got away will understand how impossible it was for Madame Christitch to face such a long succession of dangers and privations.
We are glad to learn from the Bombay Examiner of December 18, just to hand, that the difficult question of filling the places of the German Jesuits who have been removed by the Indian Government has been at least so far arranged for that the schools can be carried on. "All round," says the Examiner in an editorial paragraph, "the staffing is scanty compared with the normal. But still we are pulling on everywhere in a way. There need be no anxiety about any of the educational establishments. Their continued existence is assured, and everything will in substance be kept up. The students and pupils returning after the Christmas holidays will find old faces gone and new ones in their place ; but everybody determined to make the best of the situation, everybody doing more work than his normal share, and counteracting the handicap as best they can. There is lying before us a sort of 'new and revised catalogue' of the whole mission, which, until compared with the old one in detail, presents quite a respectable appearance. But we cannot venture to publish it just yet, because some expected substitutes have not yet arrived, and one can hardly anticipate what adjustments may be needed. The recuperative power of the mission after its depletion might seem miraculous, were it not explained by the generous way in which our brother-missioners in India have come to the rescue. The contributions of men from other dioceses have, in fact, nearly equalled the number of men which remained of our own, after the German Fathers were removed."
As to these expected substitutes who had not then arrived, they numbered nine in all : four Jesuits from the 'American Province, two Jesuit neutrals from Holland, and three qualified laymen from England to act as professors in English literature, history, and Latin for the College. The expected arrival of the four Jesuits from America seems to have given rise to a wild rumour, which is absolutely baseless, that the American Jesuits were going to "take over the colleges and schools, if not the whole mission of Bombay." But the fact is that the General of the Society months ago ordered four Americans to be sent to India to help in the Bombay mission, and that, far from " taking over" anything, they will simply be distributed in such places as they are most suitable for. There was a similar rumour that the English Jesuits of Demerara or British Guiana were also about to take over the mission. This is equally without foundation, and would seem to have arisen from an idea of sending six of the Demerara Fathers for emergency purposes in Bombay, and replacing them from America. But this scheme has either hung fire or been suspended, and at present the Fathers in Bombay have no expectations of help from Demerara.
Having failed in his activities for the corrupting of Irish prisoners of war in Germany, Sir Roger Casement, says the Freeman's Journal, is at present "busy at the hopeless task of trying to influence American opinion in favour of his Hunnish paymasters, in the Clan-naGael pro-German Press." Sir Edward Grey is set forth as the weak and vacillating instrument of those who had arranged a war against innocent, unoffending Germany ; the massacres of Armenians by the Turks was justifiable, and for them England is responsible, because the Turks were "deftly provoked by a conspiracy engineered from the British Embassy at Constantinople." On this the Freeman's Journal remarks : "Who would have thought that the butchers of Armenia should find champions amongst Irishmen— even of the Casement brand?"