“THE Pope in Error” is a heading which appears in a leading Protestant journal in this city, as if a papal error were a thing rare enough to call for comment. The pope is charged with being in error regarding the calendar:—
“Certain forthgivings from the Vatican seem to imply that the pope thinks the next century begins with 1900 instead of 191. The Times, commenting upon this, says: ‘It is a fact beyond intelligent doubt or argument that the next century begins Jan. 1, 1901. Of course this is a point which involves neither doctrine nor dogma, and therefore the venerable head of the Catholic Church might be mistaken about it without throwing any light on his claim to infallibility. But still in so simple a matter no mistake should be made by anybody, and least of all by a man with a mind as keen and quick as that of Leo XIII.’”
If the pope is in error over the calendar, it need not be thought a strange thing, for it would not be the first error that the papal church has made in her reckoning of time. There are a number of these that stand charged against her, and have stood so for centuries.
The pope reckons the beginning of the day at midnight. In truth it begins at the setting of the sun.
He reckons the year as beginning January 1, in  midwinter. In truth it begins with the awakening of Spring.
He believes that Jesus Christ was born as the babe of Bethlehem on December 25. In truth no person knows the day of Christ’s birth, but all evidence is against December 25 as the date.
He reckons the day of Christ’s resurrection as falling always on the first day of the week; which is as obviously false as to suppose that the day of Christ’s birth would always remain the same day of the week.
Calendar error, indeed, is a “strong point” in the papal church. These errors have a purpose to serve; and it may be there is a purpose to be served in making 1900 the first year of the new century.