Page 11, 18th October 1935

18th October 1935
Page 11
Page 11, 18th October 1935 — Is ITALY SOLID FOR THE WAR?

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Organisations: Church against Italy
Locations: London, Rome, New York, Paris


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Rumr,-)urs of Gr

eat Disaffection


A correspondent in Rome has written to us that the city continues to display the greatest and unalloyed enthusiasm for the war in Abyssinia; that from no Italian does one hear the slightest question of its justness; and that the clergy uphold it as much as anybody else, both in public and private.

Other reports, however, stale that this war-hysteria is largely a middle-class phenomenon. In the south it is said that hundreds of peasants have been arrested for anti-war sedition, and that in the industrial north a great deal of quiet and indirect anti-war agitation is going on_ At Parma, Spezia and elsewhere, it is reported, women have thrown themselves in front of trains in order to prevent the departure of troops. In several instances, it is alleged, their protest was so vigorous effective that troop trains were actually unable lo leave.

Orders have been given, it is further alleged, in the smaller towns along the railways that troops are not to be entrained from the local station, but are to be taken by lorry to the nearest city where sufficient forces arc available to prevent effective demonstrations or interruptions of entrainment

Comment from New York

Meanwhile, the attitude of Italian Catholics, clergy and laity, h causing widespread comment.

The editor of the Catholic World, published by the Paulist Fathers in New York, writes in the October issue:— " How shall we reconcile the acceptance by Catholics of the militarism of Mussolini with the doctrine of St. Augustine . or St. Thomas concerning a justifiable war, not to say with the teaching of the Dominican Father Stratmann, who has applied St. Augustine and St. Thomas to modern conditions? ..

Silent Theologians

" I wasn't scandalized or even surprised in 1914 when the university professors in Germany upheld, the Kaiser, but I don't understand why the theologians in Italy do not condemn the threatened war with Ethiopia, say rather the threatened butchery of Ethiopia. as not in accordance with the Gospel or the Fathers. If our Catholic ethics is coloured by nationalism, can it still be Catholic?

What Are We To Think, " Catholic papers in England have spoken very forcefully.... In my recent visit to Italy 1 saw no Italian papers that spoke like the London Tablet or the London Catholic. Ilerald. Nor did I hear any conversations to that effect, even behind closed doors.

" What then are we to think? Is Catholicity to be coloured by nationalism? I read in one of the New York papers a dispatch from the United Press at Rome: Catholic peace agencies abroad are besieging the Pope to throw the force of the Church against Italy's use of military force. Italian Catholics and the Italian clergy are practically unanimous in support of Benito Mussolini's programme of colonial expansion.'

"Does Catholic doctrine vary with nationality?

The Pope Has Spoken " The Noe indeed has spoken courageously. In one public speech he said that a war of conquest is unjustifiable even for a nation which feels the need of expansion, and that border disputes should be decided by arbitration and not by war.

" In another public speech to some 20,000 veterans of the world war he repeatedly emphasised the need for peace. As he spoke. the atmosphere all about him was filled with clamour for war, but he fairly harped on peace.

"It. takes courage to cry Peace! Peace! when all one's nation is howling for war."

The Voice of the Holy . See

M. Paul Chanson has gathered together in a booklet called L'Eglise et la question internationale (Blond et Gay. Paris) pronouncements of the Holy See in the past seventy-five years against the errors of nationalist, racialist and " occiden talist " theories. La Vie Cutholique extracts the following at random:—

For no consideration soever can the Church give up the commission which God has entrusted to her; a charge which makes it her bounden duty to intervene, not indeed in the technical sphere (wherein she has neither competence nor the appropriate means), but in everything that touches the moral Pius Xi (Encyclical, Quadragrsimo wino).

C'hristian love looks on all men as truly brothers, without distinction of nation or colour.

Pius XI (Encyclical of June 7, 1932).

It is hatred which intrudes itself, driving everything on towards calamity, into the place of the great law of love and human brotherhood that includes all races and peop!es and unites them into a single family under one heavenly Fattier. Pitts XI (Encyclical of May 8, 1932)., Woe to the eivilisaiion of the nations if, at certain critical junctures, the papal authority had not hastened to curb the inhuman instincts of ambition and conquest, and to vindicate in law and in .fact the naturai dominion or reason

over force.

Leo XIII (August 11, 1899).

Spurred on by their lust to increase their country's wealth indefinitely, nations no longer look beyond the opportunity offered by LirC1.1111SialICCS, to the results or success, to what may be gained from accomplished facts.

Leo X111 (Encyclical of Mardi 19, 1902).

If the need for expansion is a fact that must he taken into consideration the right of defence has its limits and restraints which must be observed if the defence is not itself to become blamewonhy. Pius X1 (Allocution of August 27, 1935).

That is as much as to say that the need for expansion cannot, in itself, justify the striving and effort to obtain what is held to he a necessity should they infringe the probable rights of others.

Osservniore Rtmuutu, August 30, 1935.

It is difficult, not to say impossible, for peace to endure between peoples and states if the place. of true and uncorrupt patriotism is usurped by a selfish and brutal nationalism, that is, by an ambition for domination and control that does not respect and protect the rights of others, however weak and insignifietint those others may be.

Pius XI (Allocution of Christmas, 1930).

I the Church condemns the teaching act:tinting to whichl the skit:Ilion of a solemn promise, however sacred . . . is completely lawful, and even most praisessorthy, when such violation is prompted hy love of one's country.

Pius 1X (The '' Syllabus" of December 8, 1864).

All treaties entered into between States are bilateral and bind both parties;. and it is a rule of such contracts that they may irt nowise be annulled by the act of one alone of the contracting parties. . . . Nothing is more important for nations than an inviolable fidelity in observance of treaties.

Pius X (February 11, 1900.

Then, in tlie. place of armed forces, the establishment of arbitration . . . . in accordan.:e v.ith roles to he drawn up in agreement and svilli agi il stilletiOLIS to be used against the State which refuses either to submit disputes II) arbitration or to accept the decision of the

arbitrator Benedict XV (August 1, 1917).

To prevent infringement a world-tside boycott could he established as a sanction Tagainst an aggressor" Dais for the maintaining of joint agreements there would be had what is so very desirable—the guarantee of the peo7.ies: Benedict XV (Letter of October 1, 1917).

The finest and most glorious victory that the nations could gain would be to entrust the settlement of their differentes, not to the sword, but to the decisions of equity and jus

tice Benedict XV (Message of July 28, 1915).

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