Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 17.djvu/310

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EVANGELICAL 294 EVANOELIOAL

and the mental suflfering thus brought about would who follow the dictates of their individual con- far exceed any phvsical pain to which the inmates science and oppose the power of the Church of are now subjected. It opens an avenue, too, for Rome. Although, as one of them stated, in all forms of injustice towards the sick under the point of belief it could only be said of them with plea of ridding them of useless pain. Doctors and certainty that they were not Catholics, they held nurees who may become insane or sick owing to that, without their ovhx consent, they could not be their devoted care to humanity, soldiers wounded excluded from the church.

or rendered insane by the terrible sacrifices for In religious practice liberal or conservative minor-

their country, civilians in every walk of life who ities in certain parishes took mattere into their own

have broken their health by their daily routine of hands to secure the occasional services of ministers

duty; all these would be helplessly in the power acceptable to them. The Liberals in certain pre-

of the committee of physicians. No physician or dommantly conservative parishes invited Liberal

social worker has any moral right over life. They clergymen to conduct services in public halls or

are to prolong life, lessen himian sufferinjf and pro- other secular buildings. The conservative minority

mote the general welfare of the community, took similar action in some parishes to which they

Human life is from God and belongs to God. No belonged. The competent ecclesiastical authorities

one may under any conditions directly take the either tolerated the innovation or protested without

life of an innocent person. success. These divisions led some to the conclu-

ii2^X *vnrk**fo9'5°V. HtJSL^r'"^^ ^"^ v^^'^ ft^- «on that the separation of the Church from the

York.^ wS).^"' '^"^' ^""^ '^^^ '" ^""^' ^^"'^ State would be the most practical solution of

Hbnrt S. Spalding. existing difficulties. The great majority of Evan-

EvaageUcal Association. See Albright Brfth- |u'^ union^^*^iau^7^M ' one Pro^V ^ter

    • ^* frankly stated, union with the State was the only

Evangelical Ohnrch (in Prussia; cf. C. E., V- effective means to preserve the Evangelical Church 642d), has in recent years continued to disintegrate from dissolution, internally and has ceased to be a state church. II. Separation. — ^The World War seemed at first

I. Internal Disintegration. — Many scholars, to have solidified Protestant sentiment in Ger- officially members of the Evangelical Church, re- many. As it progressed, however, the bickering of ject almost all dogmatic belief and deny the Divine former days were again heard. With its issue origin of the Bible. They have adopted and teach so disastrous for Germany, separation from the some sort of creedless, Christless Christianity. State was suddenly forced on the Evangelical Owing to the spread of their radical opinions and Church. The revolution which on 9 November, to the success of Socialist propaganda the tendency 1918, forced the abdication of the Kaiser and over- to secession has become very pronounced in the turned the imperial government, also suppressed denomination. Before the separation of Church the official connection of the Evangelical Church and State was effected thousands seceded annually with the Prussian State. Until then that Church and thousands more omitted to follow the same represented the governing class of Prussia and course, merely owing to the petty restrictions and formed a constituent part of the state organiza- formalities with which the State surrounded the tion. It was a denomination composed of govem- proceedings leading to official secession. Within ment officials and out of touch with the masses, the denomination itself such profound antagonism By the revolution the former political protection exists between the liberal and the conservative and financial assistance were withdrawn, the Church element in theological disputes and religious prac- was thrown on its own resources and its members tice that German Protestantism seems to be divided were given complete freedom to secede from it. into contending factions. The conservatives insist According to the constitution of the German Re- on the acceptance by all church members of the public published on 11 August, 1919, "there is no confessions of faith and doctrinal standards hitherto state religion. All inhabitants enjoy complete free- considered as authoritative expressions of orthodox dom of belief and of conscience. The free exercise evangelical doctrine. The rejection of these should, of religion is euaranteed by the constitution and according to them, entail exclusion from the church, placed under the protection of the State" (articles for a church devoid of internal cohesion and held 136, 137).

toj^ether solely by external means obviously con- These clauses have made secession easy where it stitutes a veiy peculiar religious society. Briefly, was formerly difficult; they have removed con- the conservatives look upon creeds and other do&- straint so long in use in favor of the Evangelical trinal standards as binding on all members of the Church; they have placed the latter in legal matters Evangelical Church. on a footing of equality with other denominations.

The Liberals, however, emphatically dissent from The strength of the Church has been immensely this viei^. They hold confessions of faith to be in impaired. While there is small likelihood that no wise obligatory, freely reject articles of belief Evangelicals will in large numbers accept Catholi- and nevertheless refuse to give up their church cism, separation probably means <iisruption of a membership. In their eyes creeds drawn up by formerly centralized body. The World War and fallible men must yield before the private inter- consequent German revolution have eliminated pretation of the Bible and no man who has pos- the Prussian state as the official protector of IH'ot- sessed himself of a more "modern and progressive estsmtism at home a^d its imofficial leader abroad, understanding of the Scriptures can be forced out Since the introduction of separation attempts of the church by an appeal to written denomina- have been made in the German states to reorgamxe tional tests. They pertinently cite the Evangelical the Protestant Church. In Prussia they have not Union as an instance where Calvinists and Luther- led to definitive results at the present writing, ans were brought together in one state church and In Bavaria the Lutheran and Reformed Churches, conclude that Liberals and Conservatives should after a century-old union, have given themselves find it possible to live together in the same or- separate church governments. In Baden also the ganization. The Evangelical church is, in their ecclesiastical reoreanization has been completed opinion, not a society whose members hold identical and the ri^ht attributed to a sufficiently numerous beliefs, but an organization composed of persons minority m a parish to select its own minister