.... I like to think that the poor old Church, thus before our common faith died, should, alone of all its derivatives, have achieved that tribute to the Saviour ....
And so the whole Western world once the war was finished plunged into a sort of Albigensism .... What else could it do, the parallel being so very exact? ... For the appalled soldiery saw all the churches of the world plunge into that hellish struggle with the enthusiasm of schoolboys at a rat hunt. Not a pulpit thundered that if you slay your fellow man your forehead will bear the brand of Cain. Great lights of the churches plunged into the whirlpool itself – and not armed only with maces, either .... I saw, in 1917, an Anglican dignitary emerging in Rouen from the street in which was the house presided over by Mlle Suzanne. With a revolver at his belt and the full insignia of an infantry field officer – not of a chaplain! At dawn! I was marching a number of men in a garrison fatigue .... I said to him in mess afterwards that he had been very matútinal .... He said: ‘You mean, ah, matutaïnal .... All Latinderived words with the termination inal are pronounced aïnal,’ in his best Balliol voice. I said: As for instance uraïnal! ... which even deans pronounce otherwise, and he cursed me up and down, using language that would have shocked the regimental sergeant-major ....
I don’t of course blame him .... Why shouldn’t the clergy of a national church be Englishmen too? ... But I had been marching over a hundred men – most of them Nonconformists of his battalion to whom he was well known.
And there is worse than that. I mean the performance of their sacred duties by the clergy on the battlefield .... Before the great attack on Wytschaete in the Salient I was given, along with such Catholics as there were in my battalion, the holy communion by Father Butler, our admirable, cultured and heroic chaplain. It was a touching and primitive ceremony, we kneeling in the straw of a barn whilst the pigs moved among our feet, the shells went overhead and Father Butler preached a sermon on the more abstruse aspects of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. He did that very properly and humanely so that our minds should be taken off our surroundings .... Or there is the story, that in those days the French found touching, of the Jewish Rabbi who was killed in No Man’s Land whilst holding a crucifix before the eyes of dying men – incurring no doubt damnation for himself .... The Christian dead, however, were credited with having died duly fortified by the
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