A Priest's Protest
Snt.-I ask your permission to use your correspondence columns for an unusual purpose; but
know no other way of effecting it, or anyone else who would permit me the oppoftunity.
As this dreadful war draws near to what will be regarded as victory over our enemies, and their unconditional surrender is once more proclaimed to be the immediate aim. I wish as publicly as possible to proclaim that I cannot acquiesce in its methods of securing surrender. I cannot agree that military victory will carry any moral verdict with it. and I cannot believe that whatever good aims arc sought and whotever noble ideals have been enlisted will th'ereby be secured. And this protest I make. and this dissent I ask to be registered, simply as that of a rational human being, a member of our common humanity, a student of history, a preacher of the. Gospel, and a priest of the Catholic Church. However foolish and usetes,s, however unpatriotic and disloyal. or even lacking in moral sense, such a protest may seem to the majority of my fellow countrymen, perchance to my ecclesiastic superiors, or to many of my Christian brethren, I must somehow relieve my oonscience; I have to face the Judgment Seal of Christ; and T have in mind the questioning and perhaps even the condemnation of posterity that no one should have been found to raise a voice against this process of destruction and slaughter. I desire to condemn no one else, but I must clear my own soul. I hate the spirit in Germany which has been willing to inflict such suffering on millions. but I can see no reparatory value in inflicting the same suffering on them, innocent or guilty. I have been taught to forgive my enemies, to pray for them, and to love them. The methods of this war, the mentality it creates, its plans of peace prohibit, silence or prevent all these.
I know that as a Matter of historical fact it is often the victors who eventually fail and the vanquished who profit, economically or morally; and I love my country too well and' have such hopes for the future of England as not to wish its decline or disaster. Even if we have been raised up by God to be " the instruments of His wrath," the Old Testament sanctions to which this appeals, have been superseded by the New Testament, " Vengeance is mind, I will repay ": while the Old Testament itself records how God dealt with each instruments when they had done their work.
The one thing to secure the peace of Europe is first the whole hearted, sincere, and profound repentance of Germany, but to be followed by that of all the civilised nations which. by their way of life, their values, their policies, have helped to contribute to this, perhaps the greatest disaster or history since the Fall, as It is its latest outcome; while for the peace of the whole world twe need both the turning of the heathen nations to the one light of the world, and the teturn of all Christians to the,, one true fold hut this way of war. and the peace proposals, will help none of these (hinge, but only hinder them. Therefore speak I must, whethez I can find anyone to listen or not.
I ask further leave not to sign my name. I do not with to endanger what influence I may have on other. issues, devotional and social. I do not desire my brethren, or any of my countryrnen to identify me as one whom they might think was casting any reflection on them by this action. I am willing, if the Catholic Hierarchy should demand it, that my name should be revealed to them, and to suffer any penalty they may think this protest demands; reserving however right of appeal to the Pope.
It is just possible that there may be some others, however few, who would like to register a similar protest in this way. I therefore request. Mr. Editor, that you would be willing to receive, and keep in safe custody, until you are asked by competent authority to surrender them, any envelopes addressed to you, and marked on the front as the one I herewith enclosewar protest,,Catholle, religious. priest or layman OP laywoman (as the case may be) and containing inside simply name and address.
CA ItIOLIC PRIEST.
[There are serious reasons why the author of the above letter remains anonymous; and we shall be glad to keep the sugge.sted register of letters guaranteeing the bona tides of any who may wish to associate themselves with his protest,-Entroa, C.H.