§ CAPTAIN DONELAN (Cork, E.)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware that, while there are 15 Catholic chaplains in the Army, there is not one regular Catholic chaplain in the Royal Navy, and that, notwithstanding the proportion of Catholics in the Royal Navy is 18 per cent., Catholic service is never celebrated on board Her Majesty's ships at sea; and whether the Admiralty will consider the advisability of appointing a Catholic chaplain to each fleet, and thus placing Catholic sailors and Catholic soldiers upon an equal footing in this regard?
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
(who replied) said: Chaplains at fixed salaries are appointed at the principal naval centres at Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Malta, to officiate for the Roman Catholic seamen and Marines; and capitation allowance is given to the local clergy at the less frequented ports for the same service. Facilities are given to men of the various denominations when in harbour to attend their respective Churches on shore. The difficulty of providing accommodation in Her Majesty's ships must always present 1211 a serious obstacle to carrying clergy of the I different denominations on board continuously. The percentage of Roman Catholics is rather over 8 per cent, instead of 18 as stated.
§ CAPTAIN DONELAN
Is it a fact that the Catholic chaplains at the stations referred to merely hold the position of acting chaplains? Am I to understand from the reply of the hon. Gentleman that, in the event of sickness and death, Catholic sailors on board ships at sea are debarred from receiving the rites of their religion?
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
The three chaplains named are, I understand, in permanent employment at fixed salaries in the same way as Presbyterian chaplains. As to the second part of the question, I should like to have notice.