Page 4, 16th March 1945

16th March 1945
Page 4
Page 4, 16th March 1945 — What Shall We Do Now?

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What Shall We Do Now?

AFORTNIGHT ago this column was devoted to the evidence Yettich seemed to show how deeply the Christian conscience was being disturbed during these list stages of the war.

Methods of waging war, cynicism in foreign policy, failure to give help to allies, totalitarian trends in dr,mest:c affairs and, rick least perhans the increasing lack of concern about elementary principles of morality among people generally, whether in the Forces or in the civilian population, all these seem to ineicate an unprecedented indifference among civilised people to everything for which the word Christianity stands And it is made all thT more repulsive in that it is the ouicome of years of

struggling • for decent things against evil things

But the insistent question is. what is to be done about it?

In our view. there is something rather unsatisfactory or at least something very incomplete in mere protests Naturally we hold that there should be open dissociation from behaviour that is definitely Ind formally immoral—from the betrayal of small nations to appease Big Powers, from methods of waging 'war which eliminate all distinction between military objectives and the " innocent," from the cynical disregard of morals in pursuit of discipline, health; recreation.

For such dissociation we have the authority of the Holy Father himself who has solemnly protested on many occasions during the war about each of these great evils.

Yet it is not really difficult for the good Christian to challenge the logic of his more ardent brother's gestures. Foreigpolicy to-day, he can argue, has become a choice between evils, and who is to say which of them all is the greatest evil? War has become total and the old ethical distinctions have little relevance. Besides is not the enemy's refusal to yield when all hope Is lost at least as guilty as our refusal to give him a chance of coming back at us by modera associated with persownaarl are but a phase and one which in greater or lesser degree has always I marked such periods of social instability,

The Causes

Such objections are not purely casuistical, and it is at least certain that when affairs reach a stage like the present one there is bound to be something unreal in attempts at partial detachment from a state of guilt which is common and which is the inevitable legacy of years of un-Christian public and private life.

It is to the causes that we should go. If the Christian to-day finds himself associated with behaviour whose immorality repels him and forces him to protest, is it not because he has too easily tolerated in the past the general acceptance of values which were no less radically un-Christian, even though they may then have retained a veneer of politeness and decency?

And if this is the case shall we not be better occupied to-day in studying the gradual drift from God and Christianity whose logical consequences are now about us? And, above all, ought we not to be preparing ourselves as Catholics to play an effective part in shaping the world that is to follow these tragedies of war?

. Among the questions we have to ask ourselves are, we suggest. the following:

How far may Christians participate in a political and economic order which has wholly ceased to view Christian moral principles as rdi %ant when these interfere with profit, self-assertion, power and pleasure? If it is true that Christ ians, whether individually or as organised bodies, cannot just be part of an anti-Christian world. what form should their dissociation take, and how far can it reach? What is likely to be the most effective mode of public testifying to the Faith that is in us and the best way of influenciog our neighbours? How arc AT to regard modern warfare which is now the consequence and symbol lot a wholesale turning away iron) the things of the spirit, and how best can we work to prevent another?

Such may seem far-reaching. indeed rek/olutionary, questions but we cannot see any way of avoiding the dilemmas of conscience which are now heaping upon us except by facing them at clue and taking action in the light of the honest Christian answer This time, surely, we have been amply warned—and if we are looking for material which we can study, there are the words of Our Lord, so often read at this season of the liturgical year, and there are the words of .the Popes who from Pius IX to Pius ,Xl1 have insisted on the relevance of every detail of Christian doctrine to every aspect of human life, private and public.

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