22 APRIL 1905, Page 1

The French Chamber having accepted the general principle of separation

between Church and State, is now discussing the clauses of the Bill, of which the most important is the second, in which it is declared that "the Republic neither recognises, pays salaries to, nor subsidises any form of worship." This was passed on Saturday last during a very full Session by a vote of 336 to 236,—an unexpectedly large majority. We have discussed the effect of the vote elsewhere, but may mention that the net important division will be one upon the property right in ecclesiastical buildings. Those will probably be vested as regards parochial structures in the communes, the State taking over only the Cathedrals. The final struggle will be over the restrictive clauses which limit the freedom of the pulpit, and which may be challenged by the Radicals in the name of the general principles of liberty. The Bill disestablishes the two Protestant Churches as well as the Roman Catholic, and Lord Llandaff in the Times of Monday maintains that its effect will be very severe. The six hundred thousand Protestants in France are widely scattered, and many of their communities are, he says, too poor to maintain a minister. There is no doubt that the Bill will produce much misery, and probably impair the means of religions instruction; but we do not know that the case of the Protestants is peculiarly hard. The community is quite rich enough, and united enough, to keep up a sustentation fond, and Protestants do not require so many priests in proportion to population as Roman Catholics do.