Page 8, 25th July 1941

25th July 1941
Page 8
Page 8, 25th July 1941 — Mgr. Smith Describes Past Relations Between Christians As A Scandal
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Mgr. Smith Describes Past Relations Between Christians As A Scandal

The chief speakers at a Christian Cooperation meeting at Cleveleys, near Blackpool, on July 13, were Mgr. R. L. Smith, Vice-Rector of the English College, and the Rev. N. Castles, minister of Cleveleys Congregational Church, Mgr. Smith described the relations between different bathes of Christians before the war as a " scandal." Whatever they might do. they certainly did not hove one another. They might—and did—refer to their separated brethren: but the emphasis was on separation and the brotherliness of the kind demonstrated by two small boys who both want to play with the same thing at the same time.

" For long enough we have been warned that unless Christians close their ranks, Christianity itself will go down before the assaults of infidelity. Yet little or nothing was done until infidelity materialised and personified into a form that dominated the dullest imagination a sensible, tangible, audible, visible incarnation of evil, a mad, materialist visionary, a man with immense power and no scruples, who has plunged the world into a sea of suffering,

" I AM NOT DECEIVED" " Adolf Hitler may be anti-Christ—but I beg leave to doubt it, Anti-Christ, if you remember, was to deceive if possible even the elect and, though I lay claim to no special election. I cannot of myself as being deceived by such a man. Far from deceiving the Christians of this country, he has made them realise that the existence of Christianity is at stake, and in that realisation—at long last—to stand shoulder to shoulder in defence of what they hold most dear. The man who stands behind me in the breech is my brother, whatever his Christian label: when we draw our swords in the same cause, there is no longer any separation between us.

" But a word of warning at the very beginning. I have a rooted. abiding distrust of fine phrases divorced from reality ; enthusiasm is good but, if it will not face facts, neither will it last. This meeting has been called to end separation among Christians: it has not been called to end their differences. We differ profoundly and sincerely among ourselves on many points, on many important points. No service will be done to Christianity by ignoring those differences or their importance. It is also true that unity is essential to any effective action, and there cannot be unity unless it be based upon a common ground of agreement." ' CONVERSION OF PUBLIC OPINION

After'llescribing the spirituel nature of the war, Mgr. Smith turned to the future, " Is it not obvious that our victory will fail to settle anything if the world does not return to God? What we need above all things is the conversion of public opinion to the axioms of Christianity. It is not enough to prize the right things: we can safeguard them only if we prize them for the right reasons. We must not be afraid of the Cry of 'the Churches in politics.' What the world is suffering from to-day is ' the State in Spirituals '—the worship of government and

the adoration of governors. Man owes complete subservience only to one being— God: never to his fellow-man.

" Christianity is life and life is action, Hitler would not be the menace he is today if he had been content to talk only in a Munich beer-garden. He talked to convert men's minds, he organised his converts, and then he acted, he used them, ' The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.' We shall not despise learning from our enemy.

" What is our practical programme, then? Bring back God into the councils of the nation and Britain will live, Relegate Him to the pulpit and to the sacristy and Britain will die."

" WE TOO HAVE A BOOK" The Rev. N. Castles stated that the movement was not to make converts for the Catholics, nor did the Protestants cherish some vague hope of a future reunion. In the past the Churches had made feeble efforts but the forces of evil had been too strong. " I can conceive of no better way to fight for Christianity than by Catholics and Protestants co-operating in this movement.

" Too many like to be in the army of Christ when on church parade but not when it means going into training. The only conception of Christianity that some have is going to church. We live in a fool's paradise. Did Communists and Nazis become complacent in that way? There was given to them a book Mein Kampf. They steeped themselves in it.arid put it into practice. We too have a book. We are the real revolutionaries, but our revolution and conquest are to be by the sword of the spirit which wills evil to none."




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