Page 2, 16th March 1945

16th March 1945
Page 2
Page 2, 16th March 1945 — LETTERS ON THE WAR CONTROVERSt

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Locations: Berlin, London, Dresden


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Hideous Massacres • Sm.-1 am appalled by the hideous massacres of Berlin, Dresden and elsewhere-a slaughter ol innoccnt children far worse than any committed by ' Heiocl. Yet no voice has been raised in the name of Christian charity, of the Lover of children, to denounce this unspeakable atrocity. The war must be won at all costs, even of some of the worst crimes which have stained the face of human history. When I see the acquiescence of Cathietics and Christians generally in this slaughter of Christ's innocent members, I think with a shudder of the clergy and laity of God's first Church when they cried of the Head : " His blood be on us and our children!" Not a word to proclaim that Christ has no need of such weapons to defeat Nazi evil.


Pinecroft, Barton Road, Torquay.

SIR,--1 write as one of the many Catholics who have bombed, if not Berlin and its three million evacuees. then other targets. I feel very much for " Catholic Schoolmaster " and heve hesitated lest this letter appear insensitive to his sufferings. 1 also regret what must be a 'practical certainty: that, pa., acciderts, I myself must have killed enemy women and children of no war potential whatever. But I feel supported by the logic of a plentiful Catholic literature on Atte subject. Otherwise. I would despair of war and salvation being mutually codapatiblc.

One other thing I regret: Whereas I see the value of good logic, and some forms of bad logic, in promoting the humanities of war, I reret that the latter variety should identify itself as Catholic thought; for the reason that Catholic influence will be the loser. If any German city was ever a justifiable war target, it is reasonable to suppose it is no less so now, notwithstanding the evacuees, If Whitehall is not now being bombed (accurately)-or gassed, it is because, under God's Will and our own exertions, we have been able to prevent the Germans doing it. One would not claim a moral verdict therefrom. But this at least, within the League's conventions, must be conceded to war: that it is consistent with its object. which is to win. Beaux gesres, that come home as new names in the Roll of Honour, are more than " keeping faith with the enemy."

Q. Queer,.

Priest's Protest SIR.-With pleasure I join wholeheartedly in 'the protest against the inhuman methods of waging this war. It would have seemed Incredible in 1939 that we should resort to a kind of warfare we stigmatised then, and rightly so, as barbaric and immoral. One can recall the universal cry when the Germans indiscriminately bombed our cities; we called them barbarians, murderers. and Cardinal Hinslcy added " Massacrers of the innocents. . Why then have we sunk to the level of the evildoers? In my opinion it has been due to the propaganda of lies and hatred so often condemned by Christ. Men in high places forgot their responsibility to Christ, and only remembered their friendship with Caesar and Main

man. Some were paid to incite the people to hatred ; others courted the Government hoping for some crumbs from the table of the mighty; others, hnding it easier to swim with the tide, sought to be popular, unaware of the Pope's words that " Popularity is not an essential note of the Church." Those leaders, civil and religious, are to be blamed for the moral deterioration of our lofty ideals of right against might, of justice and charity against brutal force. Lest I sound as heating the air here are some proofs: So-called moral-theologians raked their brains to juetify what centuries of Christian teaching had condemned. This, they said, is a total war, and consequently everyone is in it . . . there are no in

nocents according to them. " In modern conditions the theologians cannot ten who they are, and the attacking airman does not know where they are." One might forgive the airman because at a great height he cannot see them . . . but to say that the theologians cannot tell who they are is an utter disgrace. Again, refugees from Franco and Central Europe worked and prayed for this general massacre. (It was Dr. Benes who declared in 1938 that the only hope for his country was an European war.) I heard Mi. I. Masaryk on the wireless (Brains Trust) say that he feels a wonderful thrill from this war. According to the Daily Telegraph Masaryk went a step further when he declared at a public meeting: " To-day I am all for the bombing of Open towns, evert for killing women and children, to make this war shorter." Mr. Churchill and Mr. Eden repeatedly declared that they Will us te all possible means (black or white, according to Mr. Eden) to win this war. No one after that could perpetuate the calumny that the Jesuits teach that the end justifies the means. Again, we all remember Cardinal Hinsley's clarion call that the war is a Christian Crusade to defend the Christian way taa life against the ungodly. I wish the Cardinal was alive to-day to witness the abject betrayal of Christian countries, like Poland and the Baltic States, to an anti-God Government.

Posterity, no doubt, will unflinchingly pillory the eaten ways qf this war. This, however. does not absolve us from following the voice of our conscience in protesting now in the name of decency and Christianity against the evil methods of this war wherever they may he found. " When thou goes to war against thy enemy thou shah t keep thyself from every evil thing." Dd. xxiii.

A. AXEL (Rev.). East Cowes.

Ste.-It was courageous of your paper to print the " Priest's Protest " in your issue of February 23. and I am in entire sympathy, and always glad to come across a professing Christian-who does not interpret Christ's injunction to love our enemies in terms of dropping bombs on him, his women, his children, his homes. But I am bewildered by your corresportdent's protest that " no orb should have beet' found to raise a voice against this process of slaughter and destruction." A number of people in this country have raised a voice against the slaughter and destruction, and have done so consiatently throughout the war

-on public platforms, in-print, and in

both Houses of Parliament. There have also been Church of England clergy who have protested as courageously as your correspondent.


Oak Cottage. thirghley Road, London, S.W.19.

Ste.--What do your correspondents, whose letters fill a column of THE CATHOLIC HERALD On a " Priest's Protest," want?

.Are we to sit down quietly and be bombed out of existence; leaving those of our children who survive to he trained as Nazis?

In a struggle with a wild beast there are only two alternatives, kill or be killed. Who can blame us if we prefer the former?


49, Queens Road, Whitstable, Kent.

Father Heenan

It,has been suggested to me that if the author of the above has a sensitive nature he will have been hurt by my recent letter. I must confess that since he had no identity he was to me quite impersonal. I did not therefore regard him as having feelings. I sincerely regret if I have seemed unkind.

2. When Lent is over you will invite me to lunch. Over the meal I shall be able to explain so much better than in writing all that I feel about your paper. I have some very ambitious ideas for THE CATHOLIC HERALD. It would be absurd if we wereto start writing articles against each other. Surely my own personal support is clear from the comparative frequency of my contributions. I wrote, I said, " as a strong defender of your news

paper." That I remain. .


The Presbytery, Little Ilford Lane, E.I2.

SIR.-Fr. Heenan, a hard-hitter, discounts his own blows as " mild abuse "

and only " artif-serious "! Does he think that " foolishness " is a monopoly of youth or old age? Has he any right to surmise that his anonymous opposite is " a member of a Religions Order'"?

When he accuses you. Sir, of making mistakes he might remember E. J. Phelps' dictum: " The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything."


IA number of letters commenting on Dr. Heenan's letter last.week have been forwarded to hin;.—EDITOR C.He Atlantic Charter

Ste,-In view of the fact that, in the Declaration of the Crimea Conference, Great Britain, the United States and Russia reaffirmed their faith " in the principles of the Atlantic Charter," it seems desirable to put on record the precise terms of that document. It runs as follows: (1) Britain and U.S.A. seek no aggrandisements, territorial or otherwise.

(2) They desire to see no territorial changes except in accord with the wishes of the peoples concerned, (3) They respect the right of all peoples to „choose the form of the government under which they willlive; they wish to see sovereign rights and self-government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them. (4) They will endeavour, with due respect to existing obligations, to further the enjoyment by all States of access, on equal terms, to the trade and raw materials of the world.

(5) They desire to see the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field, with the object of securing for all improved labour standards, economic advancement and social security. (6) After the final destruction of Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established peace for all.

(7) Such a peace should enable all men to traverse the seas without hindrance.

(8) They believe thet all natiems must come to the abandonment of the use of force. They believe that aggressor nations must be disarmed, and they will encourage all practical measures to lighten for peace-loving peoples the burden of armaments.

This is not a perfect document-it is man-made. Readers will notice thatperhaps advisedly-it contains no reference to religion. Also, in an age in which men can subscribe to the Nicene Creed and yet not believe that Christ is God, we must not be surprised that different Governments will interpret the Atlantic Charter often in opposite senses.

We Catholic are entitled to insist that interpretation of the Charter be based. on the principles of natural justice and commcm sense to which all men can assent.


Loreto, 132, Abbots Road, Abbots Langley, Watford.


SIR,-The Archbishop, in his speech to the Anglo-Polish Society. appears to imply that the Russians made no concessions at Yalta.. If they did make such concessions, the Archbishop would hardly have said that " there would appear to be no word in Russian for compromise."

Mr. Arnold Lunn, on the other hand, has written to you that " substantial concessions were obtained from the Russians "_ at Yalta.

Is there any way of settling this very important question of fact?


Disarmament SIR.—Is Mr. Lunn altogether correct in the assumption he makes in his letter On Foreign Policy that we underwent unilateral disarmament after the last war?

The following facts would seem to lead to an entirely different conclusion: Pope Pius XI in his Encyclical Letter Nova Impendet (October 2, 1931) states: " The acute crisis which we lament is at one and the same time the effect of the rivalry among nations, and the cause of the enormous squandering of public moneys, and these two evils are to no small extent due to the excessive and ever-increasing competition in the output of military stores and implements of war. Hence we cannot refrain from renewing on this occasion the timely warning given in our allocution of December 24e 1930, and in our autograph letter of April 7. 1922, Con vivo piacere, as well as that of our predecessor in hie exhortation of August I. 1917, DPs le debut, a warning which we regret has not so far been successfully put into practice."

Vatican Radio (August 19, 1942), recalling the above condemnation of the Powers' failure to disarm, added

(Continued as jnot 01, next column).

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