13 NOVEMBER 1909, Page 2

The religions question in France is discussed in an interest-

ing message from the Paris correspondent of the Times in Tuesday's paper. He thinks the question will not dominate the General Election next year, but it is none the less important as being, from the Clerical point of view at least, a matter of conscience, and it is attracting more notice at present than any other matter in French politics. The French Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops recently proscribed certain histories which are in use in the neutral schools (koles laiques). The reason for the proscription is, of course, that the French prelates hold that the histories are not " neutral,"—that they are prejudicial to the teachings of the Church. The Government, on the other hand, maintains that the question is not one of conscience at all, and that neutrality is never violated in the koles laiques or State-provided schools. If there is any justice in the complaints of the Church, we hope that the Government will attend to them, for even if it were true that religion is no affair of the State, it would equally be true that it is no affair of the State to preach against religion. But a history that would satisfy all tests of neutrality is an impossibility, and we fear, on the whole, that the action of the Church is only one more step in an Ultramontane policy.