20 MAY 1905, Page 1

Germany has been greatly interested in a curious ecclesi- astical

incident. The German Emperor while staying near Metz summoned his Chancellor, Count von Billow; Cardinal Kopp, Prince-Bishop of Breslau ; and Cardinal Fischer, Arch- bishop of Cologne, nominally to receive an Order presented to his Majesty by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, really, it is suspected, to obtain more serious advice. The German news- papers hold that the main topic of discussion was the recon- ciliation of the Papacy with Italy; but, as we have argued elsewhere, that is not a German interest, and it is German interests which the Kaiser akvays seeks. It is more probable, therefore, that William II. is seeking the position which France will lose as a consequence of the separation of Church and State,—viz., the claim to protect all Roman Catholic Christians in the East. His usefulness in that direction was emphasised in the speeches delivered at Metz, both Kaiser and Cardinal congratulating themselves on the influence of Germany with the Sultan. If this project could be carried out, the Emperor would have perpetual right of interference in Jerusalem, in Constantinople, and in Pekin ; and when the Power which interferes is strong, the right of interference is often valuable. It will be remembered that the threat of such a transfer was repeatedly used as an argument against M. Combes's Bill for the abolition of the Concordat.