Father Woodlock Lectures in Rome
" To-day the majority of the English people is plunged in an incredible indifference to the most elementary truths of the Faith; for the first time in the history of England a population has grown in which the inajority either has not or has never had a religious Faith."
These were the striking words of Fr. Woodlock, lecturing in the Great Hall of the Gregorian University, Rome, last week, in the presence of Cardinal Canali, and a numerous gathering of some of the most important ecclesiastical figures of Rome. The " religious crisis " in England, the lecturer began, was a matter of general discussion.
The established Church only counts 2,500,000 active members out of a popu lation of forty millions. Only 74 per cent. of London's inhabitants participate in any religious function.
A further sign of the " crisis " was the growth in the last twenty years of a rationalistic and modernistic Christianity, that had rapidly spread among the Anglican and Nonconformist clergy.
Towards the True Church
Fr. Woodlock's account, however, was not wholly pessimistic. As against the above statistics there was the growing sense abroad of a need of God and a search for the true Faith that would lead to Him. More and more was this search ending in the Catholic Church, for the other Churches had lost their authority. Of the 322 Anglican clergymen con verted to Catholicism in the last 25 years, 227 belonged to the High Church and only 12 to the Nonconformist Churches.
After explaining the hope that exists in certain parts of the Anglican Church for " reunion "-1,000 clergymen had publicly accepted all the dogmatic definitions of Trent and prayed for " reunion " through the " Church Unity Octave."
Father Woodlock noted that much of the anti-Catholic prejudice had ceased, more and more people expressing their feelings by the remarks: " I have no religion, but if I had one, it would be Catholicism."