24 APRIL 1915, Page 13

[To we Enrol Or m "sesevirosn Bra,—In your " leader

" upon this topic in the Spectator of April 17th you express the opinion that the Pope's claim to infallibility has been shaken because there has been no decision en cathedra upon the war. Will you allow use to point out the extraordinary nature of this conclusion P In other words, you maintain that the Pope does not possess a particular power simply because he omits to exercise it upon a particular occasion. On such grounds as these it would be true to say that a man does not possess the power to run because he does not run upon a particular occasion, or that he cannot write his signature because he does not write it upon a certain subscrip- tion-list, or, in fact, that he has no power to do anything he does not actually do when opportunity occurs. The principle is obviously absurd when applied to everyday things, and in point of fact it is equally absurd when applied to Papal infallibility. For if, as your " leader " puts it, infallibility cannot pass this very simple test—i.e., the test of pronouncing es cathedra upon the war—then, if the Pope did speaker cathedra upon the war, he would, according to the terms of the proposal, have passed this very simple teat, and consequently have vindi- cated his claim. I doubt, however, if that is a conclusion you would be prepared to admit. No; to attack infallibility upon the grounds of silence at the present crisis is to mix up doctrine and policy. One may or may not agree with the policy, but to hold it up as a nullification of the doctrine suggests the last straw in an utterly inadequate argument against the supremacy of Peter. One word in regard to the present Papal policy. What good purpose would be served by an ex cathedra decision P The Pope is not at the present day the bead of a united Christendom, and such decision, instead of retarding or ending the war, would probably have the effect of increasing an already existing race hatred. It seems a trifle unfair to endeavour to draw His Holiness into the whirlpool of international politics on the spurious ground of vindicating the doctrine of the Catholic Church.—I am, Sir,