100 years ago: December 1900
Canadian Churchman reported that it is comforting in these days to find that just as hard things were said of politicians by our grandfathers.
Sidney Smith’s epitaph on Pitt is republished in an abbreviated form to show present Edinburgh how it has forsaken old prejudices and principles; a lesson to us all to be moderate in denouncing others: “To the Right Honourable William Pitt, whose errors in foreign policy and lavish expenditure of our resources at home have laid the foundation of national bankruptcy, this monument was erected by many weak men, who mistook his eloquence for wisdom and his insolence for magnanimity, by many unworthy men whom he had enobled, and by many base men whom he had enriched at the public expense.”
? Steadily the old habits and rules of behaviour and observance are being broken down. It seems any excuse to introduce irreligious habits was eagerly seized at, and the most flimsy excuses invented so as to overturn our old decent living. It is true that as cities grow and customs change, old usages must be modified, but it is quite unnecessary to introduce regimental drill and discipline on the Lord’s Day. Suppose it were proposed to introduce church-going as essential, what an outcry at such tyranny would be raised, and yet where is the difference?
50 years ago: December 1950
Canadian Churchman’s editor wrote: “When I was in parish work I carried a cane. I didn’t need it to help me walk, though I walked the streets of my parish practically every day. It was a sort of pastoral staff. It reminded me that I was the pastor of the flock sheltered in the parish fold. That was not many years ago but times have changed rapidly. Today few parish clergy carry canes: most of them have as their constant companions a zippered arrangement – a kind of briefcase similar to that used by lawyers and business executives. Has he become a business man? An organizing secretary of a complicated parish or is he still the cure – one who has the cure of souls?”
25 years ago: December 1975
Canadian Churchman reported that Canada’s native people want removal of government restrictions on their development and self-determination, George Manuel, president of the National Indian Brotherhood told Niagara Synod. “Whenever development projects are planned for the North, the government suddenly considers settlement of aboriginal rights urgent, not because of its concern about altering the lifestyle of Indian tribes, or because of the threat to the livelihood of these people, but because government realizes that it has no clear right to the lands and resources.”