Religion: The Value of Prayer

Does prayer bring tangible results? Last week the British Court of Appeals doubted it. A priory of Carmelite nuns had claimed they were entitled to accept a $20,000 trust fund left to them as a "charitable institution." Their prayers benefited mankind, the nuns argued. Therefore, they were dispensing charity.

The court thought not. Said Lord Greene, denying the appeal: "This conception appears . . . unlike anything that has been considered in the past to be a good charity, and it cannot, in my opinion, be justified by any known principles."

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