Page 6, 23rd November 1945

23rd November 1945
Page 6
Page 6, 23rd November 1945 — U.S. BISHOPS' STATEMENT
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U.S. BISHOPS' STATEMENT

Continued from page one think in terms of our historic culture. We see God-given, inviolable human rights in every person, and we know democracy as the fret collaboration under law of citizens in a free country. There is a clash of ideologies. The frank recognition of these differences is preliminary to any sincere effort in realistic world 0-operation for peace. The basis of this co-operation must be mutual adherence to justice. would be unjust for us to be an accomplice in , violating the rights of nations, groups and individua/s anywhere in the world.

ELAN FOR PEACE

A first step towards effective negotia tion for peace is to have a plan. A tion for peace is to have a plan. A

good plan states. principles in terms of all the specific questions at issue. Instead, so far we have compromised and sought to make piece-meal settlements. Instead of honest, promising discussion even on diverging plans, we are witnessing a return of the tragedy of power polities and the danger of balance of power arrangements which. with the substitution of mere expediency for justice, have begotten war after war. We must indeed aim at collaborating with all of our Allies in the making of a good peace. There are, however, concessions which we dare not make because they are immoral and destructive of genuine peace.

Our peace programme envisions a

world organisation of nations. The Charter which emerged from the San Francisco Conference, while , undoubtedly an improvement on the Dumbarton 'Oaks proposals. does rot provide for a sound, institutional organisation of the international society. The Security Council provisions make it no more than a virtual alliance of the Great Powers for the maintenance of peace. These nations are given a status above the law. Nevertheless, our country acted wisely in deciding to participate in this world organisation. It is better than world chaos. From the provision in the Charter foi calling a Constituent Assembly in the future, there comes the hope that in time the defects may be eliminated and we may have a sound institutional organisation of the international community which will develop, not through mere voluntary concessions of the nations, but from the recognition of the rights and duties of international society.

While pea ii in the making, there

are urgent issues which we can no longer evade. At Yalta we gave a pledge to the polish people and assumed responsibility before the world that they would be unhampered in setting up their own independent democratic Government. Are we working to the fulfillment of that pledge in the full measure of our responsibility and our power ? What apology can be offered for the failure of the protagonists of democracy to protest the absorption by force and artifice of the Baltic countries into the Union of Soviet Republics ? We are shocked by the news which is leaking our from Slovakia, Crotia, Slovenia and other south-eastern European countries. Religious persecution which is both brutal and cunning rages in many lands. No reason of policy justifies our silence. What is happening behind the blackout of eastern and south-eastern Europe is a stark contradiction to the high ideals which inspired our fighting to save the world from totalitarian a,ggres No one can fail to see the importance of a reconstructed revitalised Europe, which -is the cradle of Western culture. We deplore the tragic indifference to the plight of the Italian people who threw off the chains of a Fascist regime, who fought side by side with us in ardent loyalty. For over two long years of agony the friends of democracy in that country have had to and by in impotence while we have toyed with the vital problems of relief and rehabilitation and deferred the fulfillment of our own solemn promises.

THE VANQUISHED Our own national interest, as well as the cause of world peace, and the fate of Christian culture are at stake in. Italy. To-day it is an outpost of Western civilisation. We are fully confident that the Italian people, if we save them from despair by our helpful interest, will stand fast against the deceitful appeal of alien and subversive ideologies and shape their future in the spirit of their own noble Christian tradition. We canreit be unconcerned about the future of Germany, Austria and Hun gary. Whatever period of probation must be imposed on the vanquished, nations, we must help them to take their rightful place in the family of nations. To treat them in a spirit of vengeance is neither right nor politic. Justice demands the punishment of the guilty and reasonable reparations for damage done. But we cannot forget, or allow Our repnesenestives to forget, that our traditional system of punitive justice is anchored to the concept justice is anchored to the concept individual responsibility. The inhumanities which now mark the mass transference of populations, the systematised use of slave labour, a.nsi the cruel treatment of prisoners of war should have no place in our civilisation. Acute suffering is the daily lot of whole populations in many war-torn lands. Every report indicates that unless heroic measures are taken at once, millions will die from starvation and exposure during the coming winter. The feeding and clothing and sheltering of these suffering people is not a work which can be left to some future convenient date. Our country, because of our greater resources, must do the major pert of this work of relief. In it we have the right and duty to insist on the leadership which corresponds to our sacrifices and contributions.

It is imperative that Congress make adequate appropriations for this work from the public treasury.

GRAVE RESPONSIBILITY It is equally imperative that private relief agencies be given a full opportunity to carry on their beneficent work among all suffering peoples. And relief must envision something larger than meiely feeding the starving and sheltering the 'homeless. Help must be given to peoples whose economies are ruined. They have the right to assistance in getting back to normal economic life. Neither the prosperity of the greater nations nor their might will prevent war unless oonditione are removed in which poor, helpless peoples are denied the opportunity of a decent living standard. The world is one only in so far as men live together as brothers under God. Ours is a grave responsibility. The heart and hand of America are called upon in a way that is unique, not only in the history of our country but even in the annals of mankind. We know that democracy is as capable of solving the admittedly difficult problems of peace as it has shown itself in war. We must be true to ourselves. We must hold fast to our own free institutions. We must resolutely oppose the few amongst us who are trying to sabotage We may well pity those who in their half-veiled sympathy for totalitarianism are playing 'with the thought that perhaps in this great emergency its day is at hand. On beaded knees let us ask God in His Blessed Providence to help us to be the vigorous champion of democratic freedom and the generous friend of the needy and oppressed throughout the world,




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