HC Deb 16 March 1882 vol 267 cc1005-6

asked the Secretary of State for India, Whether his atten- tion has been called to the great difference in the treatment of Protestant and Catholic Military chaplains in India; whether it is the case that, while a Protestant chaplain is paid at the rate of £300 and £500 a year, and is assured of a comfortable pension on retirement, a Catholic chaplain is not only remunerated at a far lower rate, but is totally destitute of any provision for his old age, no matter how long his service with the troops may have been; whether many thousands of Irish Catholic soldiers receive the services of such chaplains in India; whether, in particular, his attention has been called to the case of the Reverend Father Augustine, late chaplain at Dagshai, who retired last month after thirty-three years' service, during which he was never allowed a day's leave or furlough to recruit his health, and who is now, in old age and broken health, an absolute pauper, solely dependent upon a small dole from the poor Bishop of his diocese, and upon the occasional charity of native Christians; and, whether he proposes to remedy this state of affairs?


This subject was fully explained in Papers presented to Parliament (Re-turn No. 243 of 1876), and I can scarcely give a full explanation in a reply to a Question. There are no military chaplains in India, Protestant or Catholic. There is an establishment of chaplains of the Church of England; because the great majority of civil and military servants of the Crown in India belong to that communion. But wherever there are a sufficient number of Roman Catholic soldiers to justify expenditure for provision of the ministrations of religion Roman Catholic priests are employed for this purpose; and the principles upon which their remuneration is based will be found to be explained in the Papers referred to. My attention has not been called to the case of the Rev. Father Augustine, and the India Office have no information on the subject.