Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

9 articles on this Page

Family Notices





THE NEW BISHOP OF ST.. DAVID'S. THE Rev. CANON OWEN, Principal of St. David's College, Lampeter, and former Dean of St. Asaph, has been appointed Bishop of St. David's, and since it has become the fashion, in Wales at least, to reward the most aggressive Church defenders with episcopal sees, the appointment is, to say the least of it, intelligible, Preferments in the Church in Wales have never been the reward of ability; GORONWY OWEN was lost to his country, and died the death of an exile; PRYDYDD HIR and GLAN GEIRIONYDD obtained small curcies or jnaignificaut rural livings, while nepo- tism bestowed the honours that should have been theirs upon their inferiors in all respects. Sympathy with Wales and every- thing Welsh was a final disqualiifcation; the splendid genius of a GORONWY was for- ced to languish in a foreign clime, and the true zeal of a GEIRIONYDD to pine away in outlandish corners of the country, while mediocrities enjoyed the high offices of the Church in Wales. That was the old order, and the new has scarcely changed. In these days, men who love Wales and her national aspirations are passed over, and the blatant champions of political platforms are pitch- forked into positions which give them undue importance. It has become the fashion of late, among a certain class of Church de- fenders to admit some of the errors of the past, such aa the treatment meted out to men of geuius: we are often invited to regard them as simply mistakes which can occur no more. But a gen- eration hence, the tale will be exactly the same, there will be another list of neg- lected men, men who did their duty by their nation first and foremost, and who were for that reason passed br and thrust aside. It is also likely that the excuse will be the same. The Church of England in Wales will not recognise its best men. Perhaps that we attach more blame to the Church in this matter than is her due, inasmuch as this does not lie with the Church, but in the leader of the triumphant political party. We do not in any way desire to be un. derstood as depreciating the value of CANON OWEN'S work, or his general qualifications for the office. He is a man of immense energy, and has successfully worked his way, like one or two other Welsh bishops, from the ranks of the schoolmasters. Even as a Church defender he was infinitely above the level of the Bishop of St. Asaph, and when he was Dean of St. Asaph, it used to be a common saying that what the Dean did in the shape of Church Defence the Bishop did his best to undo. Dr. OWEN sel- dom committed the glaring errors of Dr. EDWARDS, and in controversy his utteran- ces, as a rule, were not characterised with the preposterous extravagance of those of his Lordship of St. Asaph. Notwithstand- ing this fact, it is clear that the new Bishop of St. David's has been appointed because he will make a more or less fighting bishop,' or in other words, because he has made himself known on the political plat- form in connection with the question of the Disestablishment of the Church. He had a successful university career, and held several important appointments, it is true, but it cannot be denied that the part he took in the Disetablishment controversy has gone further than anything else in securing him the appointment to the see. Not that he was particularly successful even in those controversies,—success is not so much the question as assertiveness. The man who asserts, though be may not entirely succeed, can be depended upon to have at least some influence with the man in the street, and is therefore better than be who would admit defects, and who would attempt to reform rather than perpetuate abuses. But we are told that the new Bishop is thoroughly Welsh in speech and sympa- thies,' and it may be very true that be is more so than many of his ecclesiastical brethren, but this is not much to say, after all. We are aware that he is able to speak and write better Welsh than the great majority of Welsh clergymen, and he !5 has been professor of Welsh at St. David's College; but even taking that into account we are not aware that he can claim any- thing like the sympathy with Wales which IS characteristic of, say, Archdeacon HOWELL. We are accustomed to hellr about Churchmen who are thorough- ly Welsh in sympathy,' but unless the quality usually signified by that phrase be entirely changed, it is difficult to admit the accuracy of the description. If Dr. OWEN H indeed thoroughly Welsh in sympathies, here is his chance. A bishop of thoroughly Welsh sympathies may indeed do much to remove some of the causes which divide the social life of Wales to-day. It is perhaps too much to expect a bishop of the Church I of England to be in touch with the national aspirations of Wales, but a bishop of Welsh sympathies might teach people to cease to be intolerant towards even Welsh Nationa- lists he might discountenance the tendency in Church of England circles to consider everything Welsh a brand of inferiority; and he might stimulate some of our curates and clergymen, and at least one of our Bishops, to drop their present apologetic tone when speaking of Wales and Welsh- men. As the Church of England in Wales is thoroughly imbued with the idea of the supremacy,OR perhaps it would be more ac- curate to S*Y the superiority of the English race, it would perhaps be difficult for any bishop to do this, but it should j not be impossib'e for a man who < professes to be Welsh in his sympathies and 1 who is lauded as such. We congratulate CANON OWEN upon his appointment, and I sincerely trust that as Bishop of St. David's he will do what has not been done by the i Bishop of Bangor only to a very small ex- tent, and not at all by the Bishop of St. Asaph. Let it not be said of him, as it is said of the Biishop of St. Asapb, that it would have been infinitely better for the Church, and for the credit of Wales as a natioD, had he been left where his utterances could not command the attention generally. bestowed upon the sayings of Bishops.