Peace : Families : Property: Professional Groups: Justice
Archbishop Of Westminster's Vigorous Speech
The Albert Hall was the scene on Tuesday night of the most important mass demonstration by Catholics which has taken place for many years. 'The Archbishop of Westminster presided at the meeting, which was organised under the auspices of the Westminster Catholic Federation, and in a speech every word of which was charged with grave portent he uttered judgments which gave to the vast audience direction in some of the social and moral questions affecting us to-day. The authoritative strength of the Archbishop's words made clear once and for all the teaching of the Catholic Church on these questions which perplex the contemporary world.
The other speakers who contributed to the discussion were Dr. W. I. O'Donovan, 0.B.E., M.D., and Mrs. Laughton Mathews, M.B.E., who spoke on " The Moral Evils of the Day," and the Bishop of Nottingham, on " The Social Evils of the Day."
" EACH SINGLE SOUL WORTH MORE THAN THE WHOLE WORLD"
DR. O'DONOVAN began by saying that the problems to which it was his duty to address himself were those arising from a declension in his profession from its ancient standards.
"To-day in this post-war world," he asked. "do you seek health, comfort, inspiration and encouragement from your doctors or do you ask in despair, frustration and death?
"Birth-control is one fruit of the tree of knowledge asked by my profession. Town-life to-day is a nervous strain, and if all relations between the sexes for decades of years is dominated by a fear of pregnancy certain ill-effects follow.
Inerease of Nervous Maladies "Nervous maladies must and do multiply, the patients live in misery and bring wretchedness on all around them; no method of contraception is certain, and so the obsessional fear of children drives women into the hands of abortionists, and all too often death is then their portion, or, failing that, dangerous illness and prolonged invalidity. . . ."
" If birth-control fail and abortion fail, why not still be efficient and kill the unwanted child? We are not quite so brave yet, but the Daily Telegraph has recently recorded an organised movement initiated by a doctor to shield mothers who kill their children from trial. However gentle be the 'motive, it cannot but develop into U mother's 'right to kill' Lord Moynihan
" Before you think this is improbable, remember that only last week all the press told us as an item of news that a Noble Lord (a surgeon) proposed to bring into the Upper Chamber in the near future a bill to legalise the voluntary killing of the suffering sick.
"If God is left out we mortals become as gods and have in our hands unchecked the dread powers of life and death.
"I would ask you, men, women, learned clerks and lawyers, architects, artisans, salesmen and scientists, to have pity on my profession and to protect us from bondage to a ministry of death. There is one philosophy underlying all this movement—despair. In vain do we live, we can offer nothing to our children, curse God to die, both ourselves and those who might succeed us. . . ."
Love and Marriage
Speaking on the subject of birth-prevention from the married woman's point of view, MRS. LAUGHTON MATHEWS. president of St. Joan's Social and Political Alliance, said that the basis of married life was love, and love was many-sided-spiritual, mental and physical
" The outward expression of marital love is children," she went on. "Some of us exaggerate the difficulties of bringing tip a family. We want to do so much for our children and sometimes we deny them one of the greatest blessings in life. the companionship of brothers and sisters near their own age. There is no better training-ground for character than a good Catholic home where money is a bit scarce and self-denial is a necessity.
"The question must be considered as a whole, and the moral and social issues which are at stake. To attempt to cure our torrible social conditions by preventing children is obviously begintan.; at the wrong end.
The State and the Family The threatened break-up of family life was characterised as the outstanding social evil of the day by the 13Istioe or NOTTINGHAM.
The State. he said. "existed not for its own advantage, but for the protection of the rights of citizens and for the promotion of the common well-being. It property," he declared, " is a natural right and is essential for the duties of family life. It is the duty of employers to pay fair wages, wages that will enable families to live in at least frugal comfort." The " back to the land " movement deserved encouragement, especially the endeavour to settle families on the land with their own small-holdings.
The Archbishop's Address The ARCHBISHOP OF WESTMINSTER began by saying that it was over two years since the archbishop of the diocese had had the opportunity, through the energy of the Westminster Federation, of meeting his children and of discussing with them the great social problems which occupy so much of their lives. On that occasion —May 4, 1933—the Catholic attitude towards the doctrines of materialism, the right ordering of family life, and the rights and duties of the worker were the subjects expounded. During the interval the social question had not lessened in importance.
Mankind, and every individual man, regarded as God made him and as God intends him to be and to become, claims and commands my devotion and my most strenuous zeal. For God's valuation of each single soul declares that it outweighs in worth the whole world.
The Christians' Starting-point
"This then, and not the humanitarian view, furnishes the Christian startingpoint of endeavour for social reform. It follows that we ought to seek what God wills, we ought to seek justice and social well-being. We ought to desire and to labour that happiness may prevail among men; here and now, as well as hereafter. His will should be done on earth as in Heaven . . . .
"As an immediate consequence, it follows that, as far as his fellow-men are concerned, every man has a right in justice to a full human life. Because of his Godgiven nature, man has God-given rights as well as duties. These spring from his very constitution, or, as we say, are dictates of the natural law: his reason, even unaided by Revelation, tells hint of his claims on himself and on his fellow-men.
"He claims to start with the right to preserve and defend the integrity and inviolability of his own person, and of the family relation into whieh by God's ordinance, he enters for the perpetuation of the race. He cannot lawfully consent to the mutilation of his faculties ind members either by private individuals or by public functionaries; he cannot consent to the invasion of the sanctity of his family by devices and practices which, aiming at the roots of life, mean death to the very race of man.
Right to it Full Life " I say that man, in normal circumstances, has a right to a full human life. He has a right to a home and to a developing family life . . . a home with a sense of security and stability, not a precarious possession from which he may be ousted at short notice and unexpectedly. Far better then that his home should belong to him than that it should be an uninteresting and perhaps ill-cared-for tenancy, for whieb he pays rent.
"iVhat a blessing to the nation, what a gain to health of body and soul, if we could procure proper homes for all our people, and, by p--.(--Pfrce, houses owned by their in-dwellers; if, further, we -mid guarantee a spirit of self-reliance and of due independence by giving each man a small property which he could cult/sate around his home. A dream, you will say. but a dream with nuich sense and reality in it, a dream which it would be worth while to make come true. the legal right to use his employees as mere commodities. If there be men or companies of men who seek to make as much money as they can out of other men—to swell dividends at the expense of the toilers—then suc:i men and such companies are unjust in their aims and actions.
A Proper Wage
" The wage system itself is not unjust, but, when it exists, the wage should be a proper wage. An a fair and just wage should be sufficient to enable the working man, the employee, to live his full humane life, sufficient to enable him and his family to live in frugal comfort and decency.
"It may be said that as industry is nmv organised, this is not always possible. Then industry should be reorganised. Some kind of partnership between worker and his employer would seem to be culled for, a system which would be co-operative throughout, giving the employed a stake hi the business."
"In the light of the truths I have thus briefly sketched," the Archbishop continued, " we cannot do anything but condemn employers and businesses that in their working deliberatcly ignore morality and sc. aside the notions of justice and of liberty and of humaneness. " I am not my brother's keeper. It is no affair of mine how goods are produced, or how commodities reach the market.' Such words are unworthy of humanity, and yet they are common enough, so thoroughly has the desire for gain escaped the control of conscience. I don't ask whence my goods come.' And so one purchases cheap blood-stained timber from Russia. Or, It is no affair of mine to whom my goods are sold.' So you may, with a safe conscience, send your munitions to either or both sides of warring nations, regardless of justice or humanity.
The Root of All Evil "This seems to me a murderous way of making money. Truly covetousness is the root of all " Think, too, of the rampant injustice involved in `cornering' commodities in order to force prices up—grasping at gain from the needs of the poor. Or in creating artificial scarcity by the destruction of goods, of food-stuffs, grain and coffee and the rest, to keep up the market value. • ..
" There is superabundance of the means of livelihood, but industry is so maladministered that the surplus has to be destroyed while multitudes are starving for the very goods destroyed. We must revise our theor'es of production and distribution, and pay more attention to the laws of God than to those of wealth, as taught by the one-time `dismal science:' " Destruction of the means of life surely indicates that there is something abnormal, something radically wrong in the man-dictated course of events leading up to such an outrage.
"On the principles we have considered, I sas again, that the exploitation of class by class is sinful. Deeper is the blackness of the guilt when the exploited class swells to the size of a nation or a race—a weaker nation or a backward race. No people, white or of any other colour, has the prerogative to subdue or dominate or to coerce and espiaL, eves in the name of civilisation, any other set of men, whether on the plea of territorial expansion or of the need of raw materials for national industries and markets. Other means of adjustment must be found which do not involve injustice,
Widespread Murder " Class hatred among fellow-citizens is sinful enough. But international animo.. . their fellow-men, children of the same Father.
"Those parties or individuals who by their gospel of hate are thus, engineer a crash of human well-being, cannot be otherwise described than as murderers on a general scale, for all men who inflame passions are murderers. Hare and contempt are weapons of death.
"Yet war as a means of vindicating justice and as a last resource may be
righteous. What about clam. warfare? The same rule applies. Unjust aggression may always be resisted and should, even in the interests of the aggressor who unless checked and punished would go on from bad to worse.
"So with industrial strife. If lockouts can be just under certain circumstances, so can strikes. If the employers can combine, the workmen may also do so in their own defence.
"But the whole conception of necessarily rival interests is wrong. What we want is co-operation throughout. If the labourer cannot live without the employer, the employer as such would surely cease to exist without the labourer. We repeat. Employers should recognise the workers' right to a fair wage, enough for the support of a normal human family, to be arranged for, as is often done, by a pool for family endowment ' or some sort of social insurance. . . .
Wisdom from the Pa§t " Neither lock-outs nor strikes should be possible in a normal state of society, organised on Christian principles of justice and charity, wherein wealth should not be so concentrated in the hands of a few as to bring the dependent multitude into a condition bordering on slavery, wherein violence and indiscipline would be replaced by trustful following of rightful leaders, wherein all should be duly subject to constitutional authority.
" We have learnt wisdom from our past experience, and I do not think that class war amongst us is now so widespread and bitter as to lead again to such a desperate device as a general strike. It is a device which is wholly against charity, as my illustrious predecessor, Cardinal Bourne, pointed out in 1926: it is unlawful because it holds up a whole nation for the interests of a section or class.
"Therefore it is the duty of every government, however constituted, to enforce authority in such an event in order to avert disaster to the entire community; just as it is the duty of every government to intervene to prevent the possible occasion of such a strike—the exploitation of the helpless by the heartless. . . .
" We trust that more and more encouragement will be given to joint industrial councils, which are the expression of a fundamental moral principle, and one step towards that professional organisation of industry advocated by Pius XI in Quads-ages/nu) Anno.
Professional Groups " He urges that each profession shall be encouraged to organise itself, including all engaged therein, and shall further be encouraged to manage its own affairs, while the State, relieved of an infinity of occupations and duties which do not properly belong to it and which it cannot carry out efficiently, shall be content to 'direct, watch, restrain as circumstances suggest and necessity demands.'
" On these lines we may hope for industrial peace. But it must be founded on something higher and more durable than self-interest or expediency: and there are few traces of the return of its. true Christian basis.
" And what of international peace? Can war be abandoned as a means of settling disputes among nations? Can it ever be just?
"If only a genuine collective peace system were worked by sincere men of goodwill, it should be possible to banish war and make even a just war exceptional if not impossible.
" But we must clearly recognise that the exploitation of a weaker people by a strong or imperialistic power is altogether Agreement has endorsed the same principle. We have, therefore, in thia principle a collective acknowledgment that all the nations form one human family under God and that the stronger brethren are bound as by a sacred trust to protect and aid the weaker.
Peace Is Positive
"Peace is something positive: it is not the mere absence of war: it is the natural family life between nations. We should, therefore, promote peace, not only by direct action to make war impossible hut by fostering those relations which more and more ensure peace as a necessary condition of living."
After pointing out that man, fallen but redeemed, could not rise above sin and disorder unless he realised all human dependence on God, Mgr. Hinsley went on : " We must one and all be convinced of our duty to work for social justice. No member of society can dispense himself from doing what he can to remedy social injustice, to prevent social sin.
" The catechism tells us of the heinousness of sharing in another's and if we live and thrive in a social order which is rife with injustice, and care Nile about its wrongful trend and its wrongful deeds, wt may not escape sinning by co-operation or by grave omission.
"But do not let us imagine that parliaments and protocols can save the world.
" Men of character, of good character, they only can bring relief and save the world. But not even a good character can be formed and be stable or persevering without the aid of divine grace. We want the ' Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ.' Ills peace, which is the stability of order—the fixity of the soul in the love of God and of our neighbour--must begin within: The Kingdom of God is within you.' But the peace of Christ means the cross—the death of selfishness —and self-sacrificing service especially of the needy and the poor and the oppressed."
Finally, his Grace earnestly recommended frequent attendance at Mass, over and above Sundays and holy-days, according to the scheme of the " Family Mass Crusade," and urged his hearers to join such organisations as have social work in its various aspects for their programme —social study, the chief concern of the Catholic Social Guild, social charity such as occupies the great Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
The Layman's Responsibility
Among the speakers who followed, Mr. RICIIARD O'SULLIVAN, K.C., proposed a vote of thanks to the speakers, and contrasted the speeches that were made that evening and the speeches that used to be made in the Albert Hall in the clays gone by when Catholics met there. Then they were accustomed to recite a sort of litany of achievements. But on the present occasion they had been talking about the moral and social failures of the day.
Mr. O'Sullivan asked to what extent perchance had this decline been due to the default of the Catholic laymen, whether they had done everything that it was their responsibility to do in order to retain England in the tradition of her great cathedrals, universities and law.
The Family Mass Crusade Members of families forming this crusade, to which the Archbishop of Westminster refers above, receive a certificate of enrolment and sign the following promise: Desiring to consecrate our5etres to Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament and to invoke a special blessing upon our home, we promise that our family will be represented at Holy Mass every week on at least one day which is not a day of obligation.
There are no other formalities, badges, subscriptions, meetings, etc. Certificates of enrolment may be obtained by application to, The Family Mass Crusade, Convent of the Sacred Hearts, 34, West Hill, Highgate, London, N.6.