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exclaim. Yes; and can the civilised nations of the world put their money into any better enterprise with more certain results of great good ? Scarcely a railway has ever failed ultimately to pay and to create a settled happiness in the place of unsettled miserable conditions. Railway-making is the best form of religion; it makes the desert blossom as the rose; it wars successfully with the Arctic conditions of Russia and of the Yukon ; it brings peace to regions which for two thousand years have been incessantly at war; it creates towns, centres of human habitation and colonisation; it enables mines and artificial manures to be worked to great advantage; it gives access to and control of valuable forests. It is the world's best civiliser, while if war is to be waged it brings such a war to a far more prompt conclusion.
So far from railways affecting the mercantile marine prejudicially, the more that railways are made and worked the more goods there are for ships to carry, the more inducements there are to travel and to spend money; and the permeation of the world by tourists is one of the best solvents of idiotic national hatreds.
As to the effect on Egypt of a direct railway communication with India : such a railway through Persia would certainly require as its complement a railway across Northern Arabia to the Suez Canal. But Egypt would remain more than ever the necessary focus of the British Empire, even though it enjoyed great powers of self-government under its own sovereign. The control of Egypt will remain under all conceivable conditions as necessary to Great Britain after the Indian railway is made as before ; partly because of the Suez Canal and the ever-increasing fleet of ships passing through it-stimulated as they will be by the development of India, Persia, and Mesopotamia-and partly by the existence of the British East, South, and Central African Empires. Of course the Mesopotamia-India railway achievement would be rapidly followed by the linking up of the Burmese and Malay Peninsula lines, and thus considerably shorten the journey to Australia. But the very existence of Australia, of the Dutch East Indies, of the two Americas and the West Indies, of Madagascar, and the valuable Pacific archipelagoes, would always be a sufficient reason for the maintenance and increase of our mercantile marine. What railways will principally do on land will be to bring goods down to the sea coast for sea transport.
H. H. JOHNSTON.
THE 'NE TEMERE' AND THE MARRIAGE
LAW IN CANADA
THE Decree Ne Temere was issued from the Vatican on the 2nd of August 1907, and, after due notice, came into force on Easter Sunday, the 19th of April 1908. With marriages contracted before that date it is not concerned. Neither does it affect marriages contracted between persons who are not, and never have been, Catholics. The validity of purely Protestant marriages is recognised-such unions, whether solemnised in a church or before a' registrar, are fully acknowledged, all things else permitting, as real and true marriages. With the purpose of the papal legislation, at least, no one is likely to quarrel. For the evil which the Pope is combating--the diversity of marriage laws-is one with which statesmen in their province, too, will have to grapple. Only a few months ago The Times observed :
It is not very creditable that we are in these days of enlightenment in a condition of greater confusion in regard to the fundamental social institution than was the world five centuries ago. The endlessly diverse marriage laws of the States of America, the variety to be found on the Continent, and even in the same country, the differences which exist in the United Kingdom and in our Colonies—these divisions are a reproach to our time, whether they indicate ethical anarchy, or perplexity, or indifference in matters than which none are of more consequence,
And the writer went on to support the appeal for a uniform marriage law throughout the Empire. For only in a simple uniform law can a real remedy be found.
Unfortunately, the trend of the time is not towards uniformity but to growing diversity. How remote from the world of practical politics is the dream of a single marriage law for the British Empire is realised when we remember that such legislation appears to be impossible even in the case of the United Kingdom. The marriage law of England differs from that of Ireland, and the Scotch law differs from both, and no statesman or political party thinks of attempting a change.
Until the Ne Temere came in force the uncertainties which were due to the diversities of the civil law were paralleled by those which were due to the diversities of the canon law. There
were countries in which the Council of Trent had been promulgated, and others in which it had not been promulgated; and there were other countries in which it was enforced only as a matter of discipline. So it frequently happened that the validity of a marriage came to depend upon a question as to the domicile of the parties. Nor need it be pointed out how easily questions concerning domicile lend themselves to doubt, and therefore to litigation. The Ne Temere enacted one simple law for all Catholics, and made the validity of the marriage independent of the domicile of the contracting parties. Its effect, speaking broadly, was to simplify, and in some important ways to make less stringent, the legislation of the Council of Trent against clandestine marriages. Henceforth a marriage which is Catholic, or mixed, must be celebrated in the presence of the parish priest, or the Ordinary, of the place where the ceremony is performed, and in the presence of two witnesses. A rule so simple leaves no room for misunderstanding. It has no application to marriages contracted by non-Catholics between themselves, but a Catholic must be married in accordance with the Catholic form here prescribed, whether the other contracting party be a Catholic or not.
The essential difference between the new law and the old, between the legislation of Trent and the Ne Temere, is that, while the former made it necessary that every marriage should be contracted in the presence of the parish priest of one of the parties, the latter requires the presence of the parish priest of the place in which the marriage is solemnised. Obviously, in these days of change and travel, it is a far simpler thing to ascertain who is the parish priest in the charge of a particular district than to determine to what parish this or that individual properly belongs.
It would be pleasant to be able to add that this rule laid down in the Ne Temere is now the universal law throughout the Catholic world.
Unfortunately, circumstances have proved too strong, and already the purpose of the papal legislation has been partly frustrated. The law is not universal ; it started with an exception. In spite of the Ne Temere, mixed marriages may be canonically contracted without the presence of a priest by persons domiciled in Germany. The Bull Provida, which unified the Catholic marriage law for the German Empire, requires for the validity of a marriage contracted between two Catholics that it should be solemnised before the parish priest of one of the parties and in the presence of two witnesses. But this rule is not necessary for the validity of a marriage when only one of the contracting parties is a Catholic. The Provida sapientique was issued only in January 1906, and it was no doubt thought inexpedient when the general legislation for the Church took shape in the Ne Temere to re-open the question in the case of the German Empire. Not the less the whole position is obviously and seriously weakened by this signal exception to the general law. In the case of Hungary also, what may be called a partial exception has been made. At the urgent representations of the Bishops the operation of the Decree Ne Temere has been postponed in that country for a period
of ten years.
It may be objected that however desirable for the removal of uncertainties, and for the simplification of the Catholic marriage form, the Decree has opened a new era of conflict between Church and State in many parts of the world. Differences between the canon law and the civil law there have always been, and probably always will be ; but it would be easy to exaggerate the practical inconveniences which result from them. For instance, no Catholic can admit that a divorced man, whose discarded wife is still living, can contract a marriage that is valid in the sight of God. And this attitude of dissent from the teaching of the civil law is not confined to Catholics. Thousands of Anglicans hold the same views as to the indissolubility of the marriage bond. Again, what is the position of the Established Church in face of the statute which legalises marriage with a deceased wife's sister? The new edition of the Book of Common Prayer--the edition printed for the new reign '-tells us marriage with a deceased wife's sister is unlawful. And yet Parliament some years before made such unions perfectly valid.
Happily, when we talk of conflicts between the law of the Church and that of the State, we do not necessarily mean that there are conditions of war. When a Catholic speaks of the canonical nullity or validity of a marriage, he means its nullity or validity in the judgment of the Catholic Church and in the sight of God. The Church has no power to change the civil law of marriage. Therefore, notwithstanding the recent Decree, if two persons, of any religion whatsoever, against whose marrying there is no legal impediment (that is, no civil impediment according to the law of England), marry one another in England according to the requirements of English law, their marriage is (and such marriages will continue to be), in English law, admittedly valid and binding, whether a priest or other minister of religion be present or not. It has to be recognised that the two systems of law, the canon law and the civil law, exist side by side, and that a marriage may be good in the eyes of one and bad in the eyes of the other, and vice versa. That the consequences of these differences are not unendurable may perhaps be inferred from the fact that, though since the Decree came in force hundreds of Catholic marriages have taken place in every diocese in Great Britain and Ireland, the only instance of hardship of which the public has heard is the McCann case-of which it is enough to say that it certainly owed some of its importance to the magnifying atmosphere of Belfast.
In the famous Hebert case, of which so much has been heard in Canada, the marriage of two Catholics, who had been married in the Province of Quebec by a Protestant clergyman, was declared null and void, first by an ecclesiastical tribunal and then by a civil court. There was nothing surprising in either decision. The marriage was in any case canonically void because the law of the Council of Trent, requiring the presence of the parish priest of one of the parties, prevails in Quebec and had not been complied with. The decision of the civil court merely confirmed what was at that time the almost universal belief that upon the issues raised in the Hebert case the law of the Church and the law of the State were identical-in fact, that the law of the Church was the law of the State throughout the whole of the Province of Quebec. The leading case, Durocher v. Degré, seemed decisive.
In ordinary circumstances, therefore, the decision in the Hebert case would probably have passed quite unnoticed; but it came at a moment when public opinion was deeply stirred, and a controversy, involving all sorts of appeals to racial and religious prejudices, was in full blast. There is always a good deal of that sort of inflammatory material lying loose in Canada which any chance spark may set into a blaze. The Orange lodges in Toronto are in robust health, and the Catholicism of Quebec is intense. The promulgation of the Ne Temere Decree had given offence from the outset, and in the English-speaking provinces, where its object was generally misunderstood, it was soon resented as a new species of papal aggression. Then in the summer of 1910 came the great Catholic demonstration on the occasion of the Eucharistic Congress in Montreal. The vast crowds it drew, its gorgeous ceremonies, the presence of the Prime Minister and other members of the Government in the procession of the Blessed Sacrament through the streets, the public Benediction upon the mountain side above the city, and above all the flamboyant, and sometimes imprudent, speeches for which the Congress was the occasion, all combined at the same time to excite public feeling, and to rivet the attention of Canada upon the position of the Catholic Church in her midst. The Hebert case became a party watch-word. At the instance of one of the parties, who was not represented at the first hearing, the case was retried, and with the result that the decision was reversed. Of this second decision, it is enough to say here that in its turn it is now under review, and that the case is at present pending in the Superior Court in Montreal.
While the Liberal party was still in power, great pressure was brought to bear upon the Government to induce it to bring in legislation imposing a uniform marriage law for the whole VOL. LXXII-NO, 427