Page 11, 11th November 1938

11th November 1938
Page 11
Page 11, 11th November 1938 — SWASTIKA OR CROSS?

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Locations: BELFAST


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From a Correspondent


While there might he some point in the Nazi reaction against the abstractions of 1.iberalism, which overlooked if it did not define natural tendencies rising out of race, soil, tradition, and loyalty to one's own people, the Nazi gospel went as far as to erect these things into something to be worshipped, said the Very Rev. Dr. A. H. Ryan, in a lecture, "Swastika versus Cross," in Belfast.

Examined physiologically, the claim to superiority of race on a basis of colour of hair or skin, there were, he said, no essential physiological or psychological differences between the various races of mankind, and the apparent superiority of some over others was largely a question of historical and climatic accident.

Many other bases of classification besides colour might be suggested with equal plausibility. As far as Aryan race was concerned, there was no such thing.

If the cruelties heaped on the Jews, the contemptible vendetta against Dr. Schuschnigg, the attacks on helpless pastors, priests and Bishops. was the product of pure Nordic blood, then blood transfusion would he a blessing.

Italy As to Italian racialism, its real purport was as yet far from clear. There were two currents of thought in Italy on the matter --an extremist one and a more moderate one, which would seem to aim at nothing more than a colour bar to prevent intermarriage between Italians and Abyssinians or Libyans.

The Pope had expressed his anxiety lest a full imitation of Nazi gospel might be extended to Italy, and when some Fascist chiefs and papers told him that racialism was not his business, but a political affair, the Pope made it clear than any policy dealing with human nature in so intimate a way must raise all kinds of ethical and religious problems.

In an address last August, His Holiness outlined the Catholic attitude to exaggerated racialism, insisting that all varieties of the human rare were members of the one great and single family, all of them equally valuable in God's sight.

Organised Offensive With the attempt to make the Evangelical Churches into Nazi Churches—an attempt that failed dismally owing to the strong Evangelical resistance, ably directed by the heroic pastor, Dr. Martin Niemoller (now in a concentration camp), and with the protests of Cardinal Faulhaber against the increasing Racial propaganda—Hitler declared a general offensive against Christianity.

The organisations of Catholic youth were disbanded; every Catholic paper that dared to utter a word of criticism was suppressed. Catholic schools were taken over—all in flagrant violation of Hitler's pledged word in the Concordat.

But gagged, bound and helpless as it was, the Church could still rely on the fidelity of the people.

Dr. Ryan wondered if Hitler ever read the story of the Christian who was asked by a supporter of the Emperor Julian, flushed with the success of the persecution : " Where is your carpenter now?" The Christian answered quietly and effectively: "He is making a coffin."

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