3 DECEMBER 1937, Page 2

The German Churches : A New Turn More needs to

be known yet of the full implications of the speech delivered by Herr Kerrl, the German Minister for Church Affairs, at Hagen on Tuesday, but on the face of it the Confessional Church has achieved something very like a victory. The Government, said Herr Kerrl, had abandoned the idea of creating a single National Church, or of permeating the doctrine of any Church with National Socialism. Every confession would be free, and stand on an equal footing in the eyes of the State ; State subsidies to the Churches would gradually be withdrawn (this would leave them, appar- ently, in the position of the Free Churches in England and Wales) and there would be no privileged position for the German Faith Movement (which is non-Christian) or the German Christians (the strongly Nazi and Erastian section of the Protestant Churches). The State, declared Herr Kerrl unequivocally, had one object only in view, the estab- lishment of complete religious freedom. He added, it is true, that he saw nothing in the teaching of Christ that was in conflict with Nazi doctrines, and that the State would not tolerate any tendency to create breaches in the national unity in the name of religion. The test of the importance of such a speech is the interpretation given to it in practice. But it appears to promise the Confessional Church considerable relief from its difficulties.