Page 2, 1st November 1946

1st November 1946
Page 2
Page 2, 1st November 1946 — DR. VON SCHUSCHNIGG

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Locations: Lancaster, Brussels, Paris


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Sir,—I should like to express my appreciation to THE CATHOLIC HERALD for making the text of Dr. von Schuschnigg's lecture on " The Destiny of Europe " available to readers in this country. The Press generally has practically ignored the former Chancellor's recent tour in Belgium and France, so it was all the more gratifying to find one journal for whom Dr. Schuschnigg's opinions are not vieux feu.

Owing to this tact of information in the Press, the circumstance of the tour are unlikely to be widely known in this country. These may be of some Interest to your readers, and are. briefly. as follows:

On October 3, Dr. Schuschnigg gave the perfectly innocuous and unpruvocative lecture, the text of which you quoted in last week's Cerilottc HERALD. at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, under the auspices of the Grande s Conprences Cutholiques of Belgium. The lecture was marked by several violent interruptions by Socialists and Communists in the audience, and Dr. Schuschnieg was unable to proceed until the agitators had been ejected by the police.

On Thursday. October 10, Dr. Schuschnigg was to have repeated his lecture at Mons, but in spite of special precautions against heckling, a large number of Left.Wing demonstrators, who seemed to have been then mighty organised, broke through a strong police cordon. and entered the hale where their interruptions were so violent and abusive that the lecture had to be abandoned.

That same night, Dr. Schuschnigg had to travel to Paris to deliver a lec ture at the Marigny Theatre. On arrival, he was interviewed by a representative of France-Solr, who elicited some remarkable facts. Appealing for a fair hearing, the former Chancellor said, " I do not wish to provoke anyone. It is absolutely necessary for me to earn a living. I have lost everything—all my property—even my clothes." Indicating the grey overcoat he had on, " Even this was given to me by an American Christian Relief Society . . . but what can I do? . . . How do you think I can live otherwise? . I cannot return to Innsbruck and resume my profession at the Bar."

These admissions, which cannot have been easy for him to make, combined with the knowledge that one of the Occupying Powers had refused to allow him to return home to Austria, will be profoundly shocking to all those who remember Dr. Schuschnigg's record of bitter opposition to the perseetttors of h's Church and the invaders of hit country. Most especially they should be shocking to his fellow Catholics for whom the ideals for which he sacrificed his freedom are a reality. Is It too much to hope that some English Catholic organisation, following the example of the Grandes Conferences Cathollques. will extend some practical support, by making it possible for the English public to hear this Catholic statesman's solution to the problems confronting Europe to-day?

M. Meteursit. 58, Sherwood Way, West Wic,khant, Kent.

GERMAN CATHOLICS Sui,—Your editorial note on my letter. asking " how far the Christian voice in our free democracy was heard during the days of saturation bombing " and both Dr. Barnes' and Miss Sessely's doubts as to the " high political civilisation of the English" furnish me with the point which I wanted to make: whereas there are in this country many Christians who arc not ashamed to see the beam in their own country's eyes (whether such protests are effective or not), German Christians have not yet arrived at an even faintly similar search of conscience with regard to their own politics, nor at a realisation of their responsibility for the rise of German nationalism.

Dr. Barnes and Mr. Karl Reimannlike so many other well-meaning Christians who prefer peace to the cross— are victims of the dangerous illusion which, before and during the war, hoped that the Germans would themselves throw off their tyrant's yoke and now places all confidence in German democrats and Christians without cornprehending their solidarity with the Germany of the past SO years, with militarism and with what may be termed "defence of neo-German interests in the world." If, according to Dr. Barnes, it is patriotic and not unChristian to defend these principles; if the mother of a squinting child is to believe that her child has the most beautiful eyes in the world, I would say that such valuation is more sentimental than according to the facts.

Of the old Centre Party, which Dr. Barnes defends, it has been said that it could bc compared with a liddlobeing held by the left and played upon by the right.

There have been very few Catholics in Germany—after the great Bishop von Ketteler and Windhorst—to oppose " right is might " and the pagan policy resulting from it, because apart from the anti-Christian character of Nazism, its nationalist aims were well in line— with the way two generations had been brought up in Germany and which was —it should be unnecessary to say it again—a complete turning away from all Christian and universal German traditions.

The deportations of workers from all over Europe, the shooting of allied prisoners-of-war, the whole-scale extermination of millions of Jews, aggressive war—none of these evils were as outspokenly criticised and condemned in war-time pastoral letters as it is now done with regard to the suffering of the German population in the East. I do not for a moment want to belittle these sufferings and the injustices by which they are caused, but what about the sufferings of other peoples? What about the rights of others?

By a " realistic interpretation of _the ten commandments in the political field," I mean primarily the awareness of and the respect for the rights of other nations. Only a very small minority in Germany is competent to re-educate their countrymen in that respect—the Social Democrats as little as the Christian parties. That is why the inspiration must come from outside Germany, The Christians will undoubtedly be the only reliable and convinced supporters of the Western heritage once their political and nationalist attitude has undergone a thorough change of heart. But that condition has not been fulfilled yet.

If we had to deal with clear-cut divisions of the good (the German Catholics) and the bad (the Nazis) Dr. Barnes would be right in his view of the German problem. But it is the inter-mixture of the good and bad ; the German Christians applauding political paganism in the past ; the German idealists in the service of brute force, which constitutes the problem.


7, Lancaster Grove, N.W.3.

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