Page 6, 23rd February 1945

23rd February 1945
Page 6
Page 6, 23rd February 1945 — THE STATEMENT BY THE HIERARCHY

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Organisations: United Nations


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FROM PAGE ONE disclose facts relating to the military effort of the nation, nevertheless it a certain that it is against the public interest to make commitments in foreign affairs of which the citizens, who will later be called upon to implement them, are kept in ignorance.

SWINDLE DEMOCRACY When the people lose confidence in the integrity of their rulers domestic and national security are imperilled. There can be no doubt that the general public, even in the democracies, are less and less often consulted in those matters which most vitally affect their own future security. Official pronouncements are no longer generally regarded as. a true representation of national policy. Many of the words most commonly used are merely equivocal terms. His Holiness Pope Pius XII declared in his Christmas message to the world that the word democracy, itself bears entirely different interpretations according to the race or party which employs it. It has now become almost impossible for ordinary men and women to know the true issues in world affairs.

We are persuaded that the citizens of the world yearn for respite from the persistent encroachment of modern propaganda upon their domestic lives. They desire. above all things, to be allowed to live in tranquillity. There is an ever-growing cleavage, not only among the nations but within them, between what luta come to be called the Left and the Right. During the war the liberation of citizens from foreign occupation has often meant subjugation to fresh oppression, either of foreigners or of native ideologists.

With dismal regularity we have seen Christian families raise their heads in hope, only to be crushed again by politicians determined to control their whole life and activities, The Christian virtue of patriotism in many lands has been dethroned in Joyous of political allegiance. Because the common good is so often sacrificed to political advantage men and women no longer listen with confidence to the pronouncements either of .their Governments or of their national press, We consider it our duty, therefore, to give guidance to our Catholic people. They well know that we are inspired by no other motive than to help them to recognise the outh. The-truth is that unless certain principles be acknowledged by all member States of the Unjted Nations, to this war will succeed not peace but an uneasy space of preparation for another yet more terrible war. We do not make the mistake of believing that ideas current among people of English•speaking races arc necessarily more Christian, than those of others.

We do not consider that the democratic forms of government with which we arc familiar must be most suited to

the needs of all other peoples. We recogniae, on the contrary, pat a wide variety irs forms of government is com

patible with social justice. We are convinced, nevertheless, that certain principles must he held in common if any family spirit is to be bred among the nations. Without such a family spirit renewed strife is inevitable. At this moment when men and women the world over have grown weary of slaughter and destruction we think the time most opportune to seek a common un-derstanding among the nations.

JUST PEACE TERMS The Peace Conference should not make.any final or irrevocable decisions until the fever of wars has abated. Armistice terms, of their very nature, are directed to the punishment of aggressors. Peace terms, also of their very nature, must he directed towards their rehabilitation. Economically, no less than morally, a vindictive peace would harm the victor nations. Punishment of war criminals is both desirable and necessary. But question of punishment should be decided long before the Conference sits to discuss the Treaty of Peace.

It is the more necessary to stress this fact because there is a growing confusion discernible in the public mind between war criminals themselves and the nations to which they belong.

No Peace Conference should be held until questions of just retribution have been settled. The success of the Conference will depend upon the spirit which animates the nations taking part. Unless their object be the peace and prosperity of all nations and peoples without exception, the Conference must fail to achieve a lasting peace.

FRONTIERS One of the chief reasons for the failure of the Treaty of Versailles was. in our view, not its harshness towards a vanquished Germany but its lack of sympathy towards small nations within the German orbit. It is clear that partly through mutual mistrust among the Allied leaders and, still more, by reason of the haste with which the solution of age-old problems in Central Europe was attempted, the last Peace Treaty sowed the seed of inevitable conflict. The next Peace Conference must discover, however long the process, what demarcation of frontiers is most likely to meet the wishes of the inhabitants in the respective areas. Dissatisfied citizens not only cause unrest within nation but foment strife between the Powers. While the wishes of the majority in all territorial disputes must be a paramount consideration. the rights of minorities must not in any way be infringed.

This, possibly the most difficult of all the problems which will confront the Conference, must be faced not with the hias of a particular ideology but solely with the intention of bringing content to the dwellers in territories whose sovereignty is in dispute.

It is more than ever necessary that empty slogans shall not again be used to mislead the people. Citizens of the world should not be made the victims of political prejudice. There was never a time in history when so many politicians claimed to speak for the people. We believe that the majority of citizens have grown tired of the unrest fostered by rival political factions. If the Treaty makers are genuinely desirous of creating the conditions for peace. they must bring to the Conference table a determination not to further their own political creed (whether of the Left or of the Right). but to restore a sense of security to the people of all nations.

EIGHT POINTS We do not accept as true the often repeated claim that its regime is the private affair of each nation. It is clear that exaggerated nationalism leads logically to hatred and fear of other nations. We are nevertheless aware that it would be impossible for the Peace Conference to decide on a political, structure for all races.

Because of ideological warfare we do not pretend to believe that peace can be guaranteed by any Conference. We are, however, of the opinion that if certain basic princip'es are allowed to serve as a guide many of the causes of war can be removed. We therefore recommend that at least the following points should he acknowledged by all the Governments of the ,United Nations: 1. The rights of the human person are

derived not from membership of any State or Party °but from membership of the human family. The first right and duty of the individual is to use his mind and will to achieve his destiny

which is eternal life. Any political system which usurps the place of God is fundamentally anti-social. Totalitarianism, by whatever name it may be described, by its very nature is in Conflict with Christian principles.

2. Since all authority comes from God, the brotherhood of man can have no meaning unless it is based upon the Fatherhood of God. In whatever proportion the Rights of God aresdenied, in that same measure the Rights of Man are in jeopardy. 3. Since God's dealings with men re flect not merely His justice but, especially, His love, sound international relations must be informed by charity. Hatred, whether of a race or a class. is an insurmountable obstacle to peaceful relations.

4. Justice and charity demand that the powerful shall not oppres,s, the weak. They likewise demand that men of one tradition shall not attempt to enforce their customs upon members of another race.

5 The well-being and prosperity of

each race or nation must be the concern of all. Mutual confidence can be established and maintained only when the more powerful nations display a

genuine 'desire to help the weak. If territories and nations he regarded only as spheres of influence they become the raw material of future conflicts.

6 The Peace Conference must be a family council. Frontiers, trade agreements and colonisation must be considered with an eye, not to military strategy, but to the well-being of all peoples.

7. Press and raelio throughout the

world should enbine. to foster true internationalism which is founded on love of the brotherhood. To this end less emphasis should .be laid upon national sovereignty and historical grievances. In the interchange of ideas, not only through the press and radio but by means of foreign travel, nationalism and insularity would be progressively discouraged. Nations which refuse to allow their nationals to visit the outside world or to receive ideas from abroad shculd be recognised as the wreckers of harmony in the world family.

8. Full liberty must be granted to all men to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. The sure hope.of universal charity can be discovered in the common desire of men to love God and each other for God's sake. Without God there can be neither security nor peace. " Unless the Lord build the house, in vain they labour who build it."

(The text of this statement will be published by the C.T.S. next week, price ld.)

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