30 MARCH 1951, Page 2

The Primates on Divorce

In their comments on the Matrimonial Causes Bill now before Parliament as a Private Member's measure the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have done rather more than voice ecclesias- tical opinion alone. The stability of the home, which rests on what the law describes as the union of one man with one woman for life, is an essential and indispensable factor in the stability of the State, and anything which weakens that vital fabric carries with it the seeds of national degeneration. That is not church dogma ; it is hard and incontrovertible fact, and, as Dr. Fisher observes in his diocesan letter, the disastrous effects on children of broken homes and separated parents are all too familiar to every school teacher and every social worker. The greater the facilities for divorce the more lightly marriage will be entered on, as something from which an easy escape is available whenever desired. The recent increase in the number of divorces is highly disturbing, and it is important that the causes of it should be fully investigated. FOr that reason the Government has clearly taken the right course in appointing a Royal Commission to consider-the whole subject. To allow the Matrimonial Causes Bill, which recognises seven years' separation as a ground for divorce and re-marriage---even at the desire of a guilty spouse and against the will of the innocent partner—to pass into law in the meantime would be grossly improper, and it may pretty safely be assumed that Mr. Attlee and Mr. Ede will not favour that course. What is very urgently needed is to cultivate, not the idea of easier divorce, but the ideal of stable and enduring marriage.