Catholic America.—According to the "Catholic Directory," the Catholic population of continental United States was 20,078,202 in 1929 and 20,609,302 in 1935. This represents an increase of 531,100 in six years. or an average of 88,500 annually. At this rate it will take a long time indeed before we shall be able to speak of a Catholic America.—America (B.C.), December 26.
Anti-God Societies.—The Anti-God societies in Russia are planning, after the world convention [in February, 1937] and with the approach of Easter in March, to fill 2,000 radio hours with antireligious addresses. The speeches will be made in nineteen languages and will utilize sixty-two stations.—The Leader.
Episcopal Lukewarmness.—Bishop Maxon of Tennessee bemoans the falling off in the religious fervor of Episcopalians. He says : "A recent survey disclosed that only one third of the denomination's 1,500,000 registered communicants in this country are active in religious duties. Of the remainder, half participate only occasionally in the church's functions, while half are communicants in name only." There is no way to find out how many of our millions of Baptists are devoted to their churches and are giving themselves to Christian service, but we doubt exceedingly if we surpass the Episcopal survey,—that is, one third active, one third occasionally active, and one third quiescent.Watchman-Examiner (Bapist), December 31.
Galilee Characteristics.—The Sea of Galilee has strange characteristics. Though it lies 626 feet below sea level, the water is sweet. It is fed by the red and turbid Jordan, yet is clear as crystal. Into its waters go the products of many warm springs around it, yet the water of Galilee is always cool. Religious Digest, January, 1937.
Modern Martyrs.—In many parts of the world it is as dangerous to live and worship as a Christian as it was in the days of the catacombs. It is estimated there were 129,000 martyrs among the ancients and 187,000 in modern times. During the 129 years of early persecutions, about 1,000 members of the church died at the hands of those who feared Christianity. Today Russia alone probably has had as many martyrs as the entire Roman Empire from Nero to Constantine. Adding to this the martyrs among the Assyrians. Armenians, Greeks, Chinese, Mexicans, and Spanish, it seems a fair assumption that the number who gave their lives for Christianity from the time of the World War to the present far exceeds the number in the age of persecution.—The Living Church.
Compulsory Religion.—After being prohibited for more than half a century, the teaching of religion is now obligatory in the primary grades of the schools in the province of Buenos Aires. the largest and most important province of Argentina. This instruction is of the Roman Catholic Church, and is for a period of one hour weekly, the course to be under the Department of Education and approved by the ecclesiastical authorities.—New Outlook.
Jewish Increases.—During the past century the Jewish population of the world has increased 400 per cent, according to Dr. Edwin Rawicz. One hundred years ago the Jews numbered a little more than 4,000,000 ; today they number 16,291,000.—Jewish Missionary Intelligence.
Effective Preaching.—We must throw all our strength of judgment, memory, imagination, and eloquence into the delivery of the gospel ; and not give to the preaching of the cross our random thoughts while wayside topics engross our deeper meditations. Depend upon it, if we brought the intellect of a Locke or a Newton and the eloquence of a Cicero to bear upon the simple doctrine of "believe and live," we should find no surplus strength. —Spurgeon.
Doctrinal Revival.—And why not a revival? Does not all progress come through what is called revivals? Do we not have revivals in the realm of trade, of art, of literature? Do not businessmen pray for a business revival? Why not a revival in religion? But have not some of us been praying for and expecting this for six years? And does not indifference, like a stone wall, seem to block the way of the church? Yes, but there is much evidence that a reaction is setting in. Groups of young people on every hand are anxious to devote time and thought to understanding the foundations of the Christian faith and to come to grips with the Christian philosophy of life. The largest municipal auditoriums have been filled to overflowing in our larger cities during the recent Preaching Mission. May not the answer and prelude to the next revival he just this revival of vital doctrinal preaching which is nom beginning?—L. R. Phipps, in Christian Advocate (M.E.). December 31.
Women Unveiled.—The shah has given his strong support to the unveiling of women in Iran.
The queen and court appear in public unveiled ; all the more educated women have followed their example. Cinemas, shops, and public places are barred to veiled women. Government employees are required to support the ruler in his efforts of emancipation, and may lose their jobs if their wives fail to discard the badge of servitude.—The Presbyterian, December 31.
Naval Race. Determined that there shall be no more question as to who rules the waves, Britannia now has ninety-nine ships under construction or planned. The United States comes second with eighty-three. Then, in order, come Italy with sixty-six ; France, forty-three ; Germany, thirty-nine, and Japan, thirty-eight. Since "Jane's Fighting Ships" is recognized by all the world's navies as the standard reference work on the size of fleets, these figures can be taken as accurate.—Christian Century (Mod.), January 6.
Peace Uncertainty.—The year ends with all the churches more distressed than ever over the threat of war; more vocal than ever in their demands for peace ; more uncertain than ever as to how to bring peace to pass.—Christian Century (Mod.), December 30.
Protestantism Groping.—The completion of the Preaching Mission in America leaves Protestantism restless with a new realization of its own weaknesses, groping with something approaching emotional desperation after some larger, more commanding, unifying loyalty, but with neither plan nor leadership in sight for its achievement.—Christian Century (Mod.), December 30.
Drink Increase.—The figures on the release of hard liquor for sale during the fiscal year 1936, given out by the Internal Revenue Bureau December 5, are both figuratively and quite literally staggering. They reach a sum total of 110,186,311 gallons. which makes almost a gallon apiece for the whole 130 millions of us in the United States. This figure is an increase of 35.5 percent over the liquor consumed in 1935.—H. B. Luccock, in Zion's Herald (M.E.), December 16.
Christian Education.—Christian education is not necessarily religious education. The heathen are religious. They may be cultured. and still heathen. Christian education means the preparation of the life for Christ, the introduction to Christ, and the building up in Christ—Moody Monthly, January, 1937.
Mohammedan Negroes.—Mohammedans are sending missionaries among the Negroes of America. There are 75 converts in Chicago. 400 in Pittsburgh, a full mosque in Dayton, and odd numbers in other cities. Is the Christian church failing to reach the 7.000.000 unchurched Negroes1—Negro Journal of Religion.
Military Chaplaincy.—After several years of study, extensive discussion, and a candid appraisal of arguments pro and con, the Federal Council has recorded its judgment that the status of the [United States] Army and Navy chaplains should be changed in such a way as to "make clear that they are a part of the regular ministry of the churches rather than of the armed services of the nation."—Federal Council of Churehes Bulletin, January, 1937.
Humanistic Gospel.—As in the National Preaching Mission which Doctor Jones is conducting throughout the United States. sponsored by the Federal Council of Churches and including outstanding Modernists and a few conservatives as speakers, his book ["Victorious Living"] lays chief stress on the things that men and women of good intent can and should do to bring about a changed world, rather than giving Christ the preeminence, working in and through His Bible-believing followers alone. And His death on Calvary is not interpreted as a substitution for ours, but as His expression of universal sympathy : and therefore each Christian must bear a like cross of atonement for others. To this we strongly dissent.—Boolr Review by H.E.S., in Moody Monthly, January, 1937.
Romanizing Ethiopia.—The Vatican has appointed an Ethiopian bishop and is training Ethiopian priests in the Ethiopian college in the Vatican City. The spiritual quality of the religion that Italy proposes to give to Ethiopia comes out in an incident of the recent war. The city of Faenza presented the Italian expeditionary force with an image of the Madonna which was kept in the Naples cathedral for the encouragement of embarking troops. Processions of clergy and thousands of women and children with lighted candles accompanied it to the ships. Men knelt in the streets as it passed. "There were shouts and cheers when the Crown Prince and Princess drove up to the quay and went on board to pray for the lives of those on board before the Madonna was on the sea. The decks of the ship, crowded with troops, resounded to the cry, 'Madonna, help us,' as the big ocean liner slowly moved away."—Sunday School Times (Fund.), Oct. 25, 1936.
Vatican Policy.—Vatican policy in Europe can best be described as the winning over or conversion of all states which lie in the path from Rome to Moscow, with the ultimate object of gaining ascendency over the vast population of the Soviet Republics. As long as the Russian Church was in power, and state-supported, there was little or no chance of union with Rome. But with the chaos of the Bolshevist revolution and the subsequent destruction of the power of the church, all things were made possible. The Soviets have so far shown no sign, however, of relaxing in their antireligious attitude; there can also be no relaxation in the papal opposition to the Soviet creed! How is this policy of forming a solid bloc of states sympathetic to the Vatican and hostile to the Soviets to be carried out?—ignaz O'Brien, in the Christian Century (Mod.), Oct. 21, 1936.
Peace Menace.—On November 15 the commonwealth government of the Philippines will celebrate its first birthday. During its single year of life this government has launched a program of universal compulsory military training which will, if the experience of Western nations means anything, prove fatal to democracy and a grave menace to the peace of the Pacific.—Harold E. Fey, in the Christian Century (Mod.), Nov. 4.