Page 4, 12th July 1940

12th July 1940
Page 4
Page 4, 12th July 1940 — A Latin Catholic Bloc

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A Latin Catholic Bloc

NEVER was it more important that Catholics in Great Britain should keep clear minds and Stout hearts in the face of the rapidly changing situation in Europe. 'I They must think as Christians and as patriots, recalling the even graver dilemmas that once faced their ancestors when their country was threatened by nominally Catholic Powers.

It is not impossible, as the wellinformed Diplomatic Correspondent of the Observer suggested last Sunday, that something in the nature of a Latin-Catholic bloc, comprising France, Spain and Italy. may shape itself on the Continent. This bloc would endeavour to act on the Catholic populaticins of Germany and Austria in the hope at least of diminishing the influence of the antiChristian elements in the Reich so that ultimately an anti-Bolshevik Christian-authoritarian bloc may be formed in Western Europe in opposition to the liberal-secularist-protestant-popular-front tendencies of Great Britain, America, Russia, and even Prussia.

At the moment this seems a distant ideal. for its accomplishment undoubtedly involves the weakening of Hitler and Nazism whose military might bestraddles Europe, relegating the natural divisions of Europe, according to conscience, culture and tradition, to the background. But unless we are to acquiesce for all time in the empire of brute force, we must look forward to the evolution of a natural balance of power along the above lines, and we must accept the fact that the defection of France will strengthen this evolution.

We shall not deny that we believe the true prosperity and welfare of our country to be linked with the influences making for this Catholic bloc rather than with America, Russia and Prussia, but we must recognise the fact that this is not the prevalent view here, especially in political and commercial circles.

Where, then, lies our duty'? Let us first note and rejoice in the truth that Prussia is at the moment equally the enemy of our country and of those Christian forces which would shape a happier and truer Europe. As we have always maintained in this paper, the best hope of ultimate victory lies in detaching from Hitler the millions of Germans whose religion and culture make them anti-Prussian and, still more, anti-Russian. For this reason, while British Catholics will always remain in the vanguard of the fight against Nazism, they will beware of confounding Germany with Nazism and of collaborating with Bolshevism for the purposes of defeating Nazism.

Not less important is it to do all that is possible to retain some understanding with France, Spain, and the bulk of the Italian population.

But let us not in this respect confound two totally different things, namely, the pursuing of objects made necessary by the war and the hope of detaching potentially friendly countries from their allegiance (indeed enslavement) to Hitler. Thus, while we should do all that is possible to retain the ultimate goodwill of France, the tragic action against the French fleet was necessary and justified. By breaking contract after contract Hitler has, in effect, released us from our contracts to uphold the positive regulations agreed upon between the Powers when they go to war. We had every reason to doubt Hitler's word when he pledged himself not to use the French fleet, and therefore we had every moral right to take whatever minimum steps were necessary to prevent that fleet from falling into his hands through the agency of a third Power forced to accept terms of capitulation. To have neglected this precaution would not in the long run have won the friendship and respect of France. Italy and Spain. It would simply have been interpreted as a sign of weakness.

But the pursuit of recriminations against our old Ally, and the continued attempt to dub the Main administration as treacherous, Fascist, reactionary, these things are calculated to turn France against us permanently and force us out of the concert of Europe. In the same way if Spain should attack us or make herself into Germany's military instrument our job is to denounce and to resist. But we have no business to insult the Spanish people because they prefer to be ruled according to their traditions instead of according to the ideals of the Popular Front.

Thus it becomes clear that Catholics in Great Britain have a splendid task before them, a task as truly patriotic as it is Christian. That task is to help in the defeat of Nazism. while warning their emu trymen of the tremendous danger of being thrust out of Europe and into the arms of Russia and of the internationals of high Finance and the Popular Front.

We fight to defend our country and to resist all that is antiChristian, evil and tyrannic, wherever it may he. We do not fight to isolate our motherland and attach her to the pagan atmosphere of Russia (and ultimately Prussia) and the anti-Christian internationals.

And here is the danger of the views of that band of intellectual Liberal Catholics in this ' country who confine their attention to propaganda against Germany, Italy and Spain, while neglecting to say anything about Russia or the dangers of a liberal democracy cut off from any true Christian roots.

These people accuse the Catholic press of defeatism and of compromise with Catholic principles; we cannot but suggest in return that they are equally in danger of compromising with Catholic principles and of making themselves as servile to pagan ideas in Britain as the Catholics of Germany, Italy and Spain may be to the pagan ideas in those countries.

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