Page 2, 26th December 1958

26th December 1958
Page 2
Page 2, 26th December 1958 — The Christian and Modern War

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Organisations: Downes Squadron
Locations: Leeds, London


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The Christian and Modern War

QIR. Fr. Holloway's second letter contains a welcome modification of his previous comments on "total war". He now says that children and the aged are to be "'evacuated' to the rural, still 'civilian' hinterland". We may wonder just how quickly, and just how many people, are to be moved to how many villages.

We also cannot help wondering what the moral significance of this astonishing operation would he. and how it could benefit the "evacuated." in a war that "might well be an ultimate war that could precipitate the end of the world" (Fr. Holloway's own words my italics).

Fr. Holloway makes the pointit has often been made beforethat it is hard to define a "civilian" in modern circumstances. So it mav be, in border-line cases. But he also says that "in .the last war this country mobilised 60 per cent, of output and services for the war effort, i.e. to wage war."

Clearly, if he is right, then 40 per cent of producers were. on his own definition, civilians. This hardly seems a negligible proportion of the working population, and to it must be added the millions of children, full-time mothers, and the old and sick people who form such a large percentage of the population as a whole.

But the most disturbing element In Fr. Holloway's letters is his apparent unawareness of the extraordinary eccentricity of his position relative to traditional Catholic teaching and the teaching of recent Popes.

Unfortunately. however, any proclamation that "until the c iiuicli solemnly calls us to abandon self-defence . . . we ought not to trouble the minds of our youngsters and put them in bad faith' is likely to be gratefully echoed by many Catholics. " Humankind cannot bear very much reality"-and is always in search of tranquillizers.

My last letter was mostly devoted to three direct questions: t 11 whether. until the Church has thus spoken. conscientious questioning may really he suspended; 12) whether Fr. Holloway's Old Testament precedents can possibly be relevant to the situation confronting us; and (3) whether Fr. Holloway accepts Or rejects Pope Pius Xll's categorical statement of September 30. 1954. am obliged to repeat these questions (however sketchily) since Fr. Holloway's reply to my letter completely evades them.

Walter Stein


SIR. The total war theory advanced by Fr. E. Holloway does not find support from Catholic bishops. in 1944 and 1945 the Allies carried out the systematic bombing of German cities. The principle of attempting to pin-point legitimate objectives was abandoned in favour of "area" or "obliteration" bombing. This consisted in deliberately wiping out the whole or part of a city. regardless of the destruction of innocent life on the grounds that the area contained legitimate military objectives and that this method of striking at them was the most effective. The killing was no longer the accidental consequence of the action; it was part of the plan of campaign. Protests against this violation of the moral law were made at the time, not only by the Catholic Hierarchy of Germany. but by the Catholic Hierarchy of France, the Cardinal Primate of Belgium. and the Catholic Hierarchy of Australia, as well as a number of individual Catholic Bishops. Also in very clear terms by the CateioLic


.1. J. O'Connor

37 Northiam.

Woodside Park, London. N.12.

SIR'-The apologists for the use of the H-Bomb in the recent correspondence seem to overlook the fact that the Russian people are the most enslaved of all the peoples under Communist domination. To cure the disease must we kill the patient ?

M. Downes

Squadron Leader Isetd.)

101 Felpham Way, Bognor Regis.

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