Mgr. Griffin's .Challenge "Never again mustwar heroes be reduced to beggary," said the Archbishop of Westminsterin his sermon in Westminster Cathedral during the solemn Votive Mass of Thanksgiving last Sunday.
Mgr. Griffin himself served as a ranker in the Royal Naval Air Service during the last war, and that experience has always made him a champion of the rights of ex-Service men. He did not fail to seize the opportunity of a broadcast sermon on that great occasion to plead the cause, adding: "Let everyone who is listening to me make a solemn promise that in his own sphere he will see that justice is done to those who have struggled throughout these long years of war."
The Archbishop said:
A great burden has been lifted from the peoples of Europe. We rejoice at the glad news Of the liberation ot the Continent. And today we recall.— with just pride and gratitude we recall—the fact that Cleat Britain has endured unbeaten and undaunted, from the first moment of the conflict until its victorious end. Because we are proud and grateful we have lifted up our voices in the Angelic Chorus—" Glory to God M the highest and on earth peace to men of goodwill.'
During the years of latter struggle, 'especially in the days of moital danger to our country, the nation pleaded her cause with Almighty God.
We have felt the power of God's intervention.
WHAT Wg HAVE BEEN 1 , SPARED We recall the saving, uf cur armies at Dankirk, with just reason hniversally acclaimed " the miracle of Dunkirk."
The decisive victory of our r:rmen dur
Iing the Battle of Britain which frus. [rated the plans of the enemies of our • country. For OS in London our most . vivid recollection is our picservation from the full onslaught of aerial bombardment.
We do not minimise the destruction and devastation that has been wrought on our homes and families. We know full well what total warfare means. We have all been in its grip. But have we not beer spared worse horrors 7 Occupation, and the inhuman brutalities which other nations have suffered. it is only recently that with graphic details our attention has been forced upon the ghastly truth of the Nazi concentration camps.
We do not claim to be a nation of
saints. But with all our faults and especially our selfishness we can stand up boldly to-day to declare in the face of the whole world that we took up arms to preserve the elementary decencies and rights of the ordinary men, women and children of Europe.
Oltr fight has been against totalitarianism, an ugly word for an ugly thing, which means that the State lays claim to the bodies and souls of its citizens. They become mere State slaves. They are denied liberty of thought, word and action. They are told what to think, what to say. and what to dn. if they refuse to submit they are locked in concentration camps and put to slave
labour. When they become broken and useless they ate brutally murdered. The totalitarian State usurps the prero gatives of God Himself. But God is not mocked. All who attempt to dethrone Him, in God's good time receive just retribution for their crimes. Against such things, brethren, we have been fighting. We have won. To God be the credit and the praise.
.We are proud ai this moment to acknowledge the superb fxample Lf our King and Queen. They have shared anxiety, sorrow and bereavement with their "subjects.
Our country has been blessed in its leadership. In the darkest days of the conflict the Prime Minister roused the spirit of the people to a high pitch of endurance and determination. He and his Colleagues have worked without sparing themselves to case wherever possible our wartime burden and to direct the war to a victorious conclusion.
So we rhank God for the victory of our arms, those of our Commonwealth and our gallant Allies. We thank Him for the heroism of our men in the Navy. Army and Air Force and Civil Defence Services. We thank Him for Ike constancy and courage of our men in the Merchant Navy. New do we forget the selflessness and eerseverance of the men and women in factory, workshop and in the home. In the midst of owrejoicings (air hearts go out in sympathy to those who have been bereaved during the war. Their lot is hard but glorious. We think of those who •have so gallantly sacrificed their lives in the struggle. With gratitude we recalt those noble men and women who have returned from the Services wounded, maimed or broken in health. We shall remember them all in our prayers to-day. We pledge ourselves to a man to be true to their sacrifices,and never to forsake the principles for which they have fought and suffered.
A BETTER DEAL FOR HEROES
• During the last war we heard too much of the " New Britain " which was to he built to make a home worthy of heroes. This time no attempt has been made to delude the Service men. They know that for years life, throughout Europe, and not feast in our own country, will be hard. They are not
afraid of hardship. The only thing they fear :s ingratitude. If we are able to-day to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in this cathedral, it is because in their millions the young men al this country risked their lives to preserve liberty, In the Far East they are still doing so. We are their trustees, Without them there would be no England. It is a sacred dirty of all who have power of government to work to provide ju_stice for aII who in the next months and years will he returning to civilian life.
Never again mast war heroes be reduced to beggary.
We claim as a nation that we refuse to compromise with evil. We have fought for freedom, not only for ourselves but for all the citizens Of the world. We resolve never again to pursue a policy of appeasement. We are bent ott securing justice. But justice, like charity, should start at home. Let e'veryone who is likening to me make a solemn promise that in his own sphere he will see that justice is done to those who have struggled throughout these long years of war:
The " cease fire " has t,ounded in Europe, but we need perhaps more than ever to preserve the comradeship and charity forged in the days of crisia. God was with us then. tat us he instant in prayer so that He will remain with us still, that in His name and by His grace we may establish the kingdom of His justice in England, in Europe and in distant lands.