Page 2, 12th September 1941

12th September 1941
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Page 2, 12th September 1941 — France : Christian Viewpoint
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France : Christian Viewpoint

SIR,—The article "Civilization and Barbarism ", irt the issue of August 29, has heart brought to our notice. We are surprised that the author has failed to realise that nothing good and permanent can be built in France, or in any other country having any sense of honour, upon defeat and under the dictation of the hereditary enemy. We do not want to enter to-day into any discussion of the merits or rather the demerita of the men who have usurped power in France, and are known as the Government of Vichy. but we can most emphatically affirm that all our people, whatever their creed or political views may be, will never accept anything born under German influence, and that the more they are crushed into submission the fiercer will be their reaction against their oppressors.

The Catholics in this Association view with very deep concern that some misled Eeelesiesties are giving their whole-hearted support. to a policy which will be utterly destroyed the very first minute that the shackles of our country are broken, bringing religion under ,the same opprobrium as the regime they have so lightly supported.

May we take a very strong objection to the sentence which reads as follows: ', Moreover, there is no reasonable doubt that Main has tried to foster a sound and traditional French patriotism based, not on 'the false values of revenge or economic domination. but on the sound values of love for the land, pride in his country's history and mission, the development of French culture."

French patriotism has never been based on revenge or desire of economic domination. These feelings are utterly foreign to French ideals.

Since 1870, our only national aim was to sec our lost Provinces of Alsace-Lorraine reunited to us, and that was all. We have never contemplated, as a nation, or as individuals, taking any revenge against the Germans, notwithstanding the fact that again and again we have been attacked and insulted by them. But what we wanted was Peace, and the building of the Maginot Line, the unpreparedness of the French

Army to any offensive action, are ample proof that our country was absolutely devoid 'of any aggressive intention. We have never had any idea of economic domination since as everybody knows French trade was mostly for internal markets or export to the French Empire. Our trade with foreign countries was mostly of non-competitive luxury articles, the products of our craftsmen and artists.

P. DE MALGLA1VE, Vice-President.

Les Francais de Grande-Bletagne.

LThe niost serious point put forward in the u0Ove letter (JOY the question of the patriotism of Vichy is obviously one upon which good Frenchmen—and no good Frenchman is willing to become Hitler's tool —are sharply divided. and the fact that Vichy is attacked as violenily by the Germans as by our press alone refutes the charges made here) is the veiled threat that the Church in France will stiffer fctr its support of Main. This is a serious danger to which we have often alluded, but as Catholics we can scarcely he expected to feel sympathetic towards those elements which are only waiting for Rider's defeat to restore the power of anti-clerical masovry. We have tried ever since the Armistice to point out the real advantages to France of a reconciliation between General de Gaulle (who valiantly fig/as France's battle from British and Free French territories) and Marshal Peranz (who endeavours to maintain French independence, unity, culture and tradition on French soil). Our hope is rhat the postwar France will be reconstituted by the fusion of these good elements and the elimination of the evil elements, whether those in Paris or elsewhere who would sell France to Germany for their own advantage or those who are only waiting for victory to reduce 1. rath.,. (loth to rhe disorder of the last few y.-er.. We have no spare here to deal with the further points, or to discuss French foreign policy since 1918. We note, however. that in 1938 French trade with foreign countries was one and a half times the value of French trade with her co/ontes.—Eonoe, C.11.].




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