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of solidarity in mutual help, and in the defence of lawful rights and interests of class and such like.

The assertion and defence of the principles on which the Christian restoration of society depends demands vigilant and constant effort that these principles, as proclaimed by the Gospel and the Catholic Church, be not ousted by the atheism and laicism of public life and by the renascent paganism of private life. It demands the sanctification of the Church's feast days by the observance of religious practices and abstention from work, both as acts of homage to God and as a means of securing needed rest for workmen. The family, both in the indissoluble bond in which it is founded and in the integrity of all its native rights, must be recognized and guarded as the cradle of every private and social virtue, and the vital nucleus of civil society, and the source of social order. Then public morality requires above all things the suitable training of youth, and insistence on having education emancipated from undue State control. It is likewise the purpose of the Union to fight for all social liberties against every form of State or class monopoly, and especially for the liberty of labour, with full equality of rights for all its organizations, in the face of every contrary preference and privilege. It likewise proposes to use all constitutional means to combat every law and institution tending to destroy or clog the operation of Catholic social principles on the life of the country.

On the ground of these general principles, the Union hopes to hold together Catholics working in the most varied fields of social activity, and as practical means of securing the necessary unity and organic strength, it advocates the most filial and intimate co-operation with the Bishops and the parish priests, maintained through the agency of diocesan committees and parochial groups, the enrolment of all Catholics under the banner of the Union, the maintenance of a central secretariate and local executive offices, the continued publication of the two organs of the Union, the monthly Alarm, and the weekly entitled The Social Week; the continuation of the agitation, commenced about ten years ago, for the liberty of the schools, the holding at least annually of local congresses, the celebration of solemn feasts with popular pilgrimages to the great national shrines of religion and art. What we might call the educative activity of the Union is to be carried on as heretofore by the distribution of popular works and pamphlets dealing with apologetic and current questions from a Catholic standpoint; by coming to an understanding with the principal Catholic periodicals with a view to making their educational influence more widely felt; by continuing the reunions of social study known as 'Social Weeks '-these are held periodically for the discussion and study of questions of actual interest. Finally, they advocate lectures on social questions to the people, the foundation of higher courses of religion and apologetics in the universities, periodical, local, and national conferences as means of influencing the people more thoroughly, drawing the bonds of fraternal union more closely, securing unity of action and invigorating the fidelity of the members towards the Church and the Holy See.

On the subject of the 'Popular Union,' the Daily News' Roman correspondent makes the following significant remarks:

The active participation of Italian Catholics in the political life of

the country, and the formation of a new Catholic political party, with an essentially democratic programme, tacitly approved by the Pope, has already led to a most significant result-the weakening of anti-clericalism. New political parties, and old ones with altered programmes, are renouncing their anti-clerical tendencies. Separation between Church and State is no longer urged even by the Socialists, so that it will not be necessary for the new Catholic party to waste time in waging war against the socalled enemies of religion, who, acknowledging their weakness, have laid down their arms beforehand.

Conciliation between the Pope and Italy will be comparatively easy in the near future, as a matter of course, since it will be advocated by the Catholics, now united into a well-organized political party, approved by the Government, which cannot retain power if the Catholics join the opposition.


Turning our attention now to our own country, we may well ask ourselves, have we done anything on these or similar lines? Is there any need in this country for Catholic social action? The letters that have appeared recently in the Freeman's Journal on the subject show that we have reached a turning on the right road. Interest in the matter has been genuinely aroused. Rumour has it that something practical is in contemplation. We sincerely hope so. The Cork employers and workmen have formed an Arbitration Board, with a priest, Father Thomas, O.S.F.C., as its chairman. That is a sign-post on the straight road. The worthy Order to which Father Thomas belongs has done nobly in the uplifting of the masses, especially in Dublin. Yet, there is one feature of social action that calls for immediate attention in Ireland, namely, Catholic Social Propaganda. The nations have spent huge sums in propaganda work. Evidently it pays. We, Irish Catholics, may well learn a lesson from the French Committee of Catholic Propaganda, under the direction of Mgr. Baudrillart, Rector of the Catholic Institute of Paris. No doubt we have excellent publications of the Irish Catholic Truth Society, the Messenger Office, and chiefly of the English Catholic Truth Society on social problems from the Catholic standpoint. But these do not sufficiently penetrate the popular masses. The Catholic Truth box in the church is not enough. Some time ago a priest wrote a letter, published in the Leader, telling how he disposed of such booklets. He selected a book of the Catholic Truth Society, prepared a sermon from it, which he delivered to his congregation the following Sunday, and told them the

book would be sold outside the church doors after Mass. The result was that hundreds of copies of the book were sold. The same occurred every Sunday. This, we believe, took place in the country. We ourselves, some years ago, had a similar success in a city parish. That is one way of bringing home to the people information on Catholic questions, religious and social. We have noticed that several provincial papers publish every week a column or so from Leo XIII's famous Encyclical. That is an example that might well and easily be followed by the Catholic press throughout the country.

But what we rely chiefly on is propaganda by pamphlets. A Catholic Social Union of Ireland, composed of priests and expert laymen, might compile and issue these pamphlets on all problems that obtain in Ireland to-day. We have seen during the recent elections in what a telling manner essential points may be presented by pamphlets and how effectively they may be used for propaganda work. Pamphlets on social questions might be produced cheaply on these lines and sent round to the parishes for distribution at the Church doors. Thus, by pulpit, press, platform, and pamphlet, a great Catholic social propaganda could be carried on. For Ireland, as for the rest of Europe, social issues will soon dominate the situation; and, it must be remembered, that religion is not confined to church. Irish Catholics must necessarily apply Catholic principles to the labour programme. Our apology for these few remarks is the concluding sentence of the recent address of His Holiness to the Italian Popular Union: The heart of the Pope is with those who organize unions and with those who form part of them.'





WHEN the regulations, to which we directed attention in previous issues, have been carefully observed, it will happen very rarely indeed that a Catholic marriage is null and void. Existing impediments are detected in the course of the preliminary inquiry (1019-34), and an appeal is made to the proper authority to have them removed (1040-55): if the reply be favourable the marriage is contracted in the form prescribed, and, humanly speaking, is as safe from attack as the inherited wisdom of centuries can make it. But perfection is reserved for a higher sphere; in ours, defects and mistakes are always possible. The persons directly concerned may have been too much engrossed in the coming event, or perhaps too anxious for it, to advert to obstacles in the way, or to let others know of their existence; outsiders, who could set matters right, may think it unwise to intrude, or may be excused from taking action; the obstacles may be too well hidden to be discovered by anyone not endowed with the combined gifts of an incurable gossip and a canonical expert; the matrimonial consent may have been withheld, or vitiated by error, duress, or by the insertion of an immoral or unfulfilled condition; or, even when none of these hypotheses are verified, the priest may, perhaps without much fault on his part, have failed to comply with the varied and complicated requirements of the Tametsi, Ne Temere, or Code. As a result of one or other of these things, the marriage may prove to be invalid: if so, all concerned, the priest perhaps especially, are confronted with the task of rectifying the mistake of 'validating' the marriage invalidly contracted.

In these circumstances, the natural impulse of Catholic partners would be to secure a dispensation-if the im

pediment had not disappeared already-and, with as little publicity as possible, renew their matrimonial consent in the ordinary manner prescribed by the Church. Feeling that there was something radically wrong, they would refuse to rely on their past efforts, and would proceed with a second ceremony, almost as if the first had never taken place. Nothing less would convince them that they were as really and truly married as more fortunate friends who had never been troubled with impediments. That natural instinct, we believe, lies at the very basis of the Church's policy; it is accountable for practices adopted and enforced long before a scientific analysis of the process was attempted. Adapting herself to that instinct, the Church demanded something more than a mere dispensation. She insisted-and, to some extent, still insists (1133-7)—on a new consent from each of the contracting parties; she recommended, and in certain cases required, the assistance of the parish priest and witnesses1; and, by way of concession to that same instinct, she dispensed with publicity, except when the impediment was public and when (as a consequence) grave scandal would result if she sanctioned the continued married relations of the parties, without giving public notice that the impediment had been removed and the marriage validated 2

So much for the Church's policy. But, apart from Church intervention, and in the very nature of things, how much of all this was really essential? Very little, indeed. Granted a true matrimonial consent, once given and never effectively revoked, the only thing really necessary for a valid marriage was that the impediment should cease-by dispensation or otherwise. For-what kept the expressed matrimonial consent of the two partners from producing its natural effect (1081, § 1) at the beginning? The impediment, and it alone. And, during the period between the first ceremony and the validation, what continued to keep it ineffective? In the natural order of things, the impediment and nothing else. Once it were removed-whether by lapse of time, dispensation, or other cause, as in the case, for instance, of 'age,' 'consanguinity,' and difference of worship,' respectively-the two wills would coalesce. And, once that occurred, the natural

1 Cf. 1135, § 1, 1136, § 3, 1137.
2 Cf. Gasparri, De Matr., n. 1400.
Cf. Lehmkuhl, 1056.

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