Page 1, 29th December 1944

29th December 1944
Page 1
Page 1, 29th December 1944 — The Pope, understanding the awakening of peoples deceived by false

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Organisations: Christian Democracy


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The Pope, understanding the awakening of peoples deceived by false

leaders, teaches the world the meaning of Christian Democracy and a Christian Peace Order

A SUMMARY OF POPE PIUS Xll's SIXTH WAR CHRISTMAS BROADCAST ALLOCUTION "Thank God, one may believe the time has passed when the call to Moral and Gospel Principles to guide the life of states and peoples was disdainfully cast aside as unreal."

It is in the light of this Papal conviction that His Holiness on the eve of the sixth Christmas of war has given the world the Christian teaching on democracy and the international organisation of world peace.

"The peoples," says Pius XII, "have as it were awoken." And after the way they have been misled into wars, the Pope understands and sympathises with their determination to be provided. with effective guarantees against their leaders.

(A) But DEMOCRACY must have two conditions: (I ) The right quality in its citizens.

(2) The right quality in those who hold public power.

(a) ThE CITIZEN has a right to " express his opinion about the duties and sacrifices imposed upon him," and he has a right " not to be forced to obey without first being heard." The enjoyment of these rights can only bring well-being when the people form a living organic unity, and not a mass. Where they are abused by " the will of the mass," Liberty becomes " a tyrannous presumption to give free play to impulses and appetites "; Equality " a mechanical levelling and a monotonous uniformity." It is left to " the more or less numerous profiteers who, through the power of money or of an organisation, have been able to establish a privileged 'position for themselves in the State."

(b) THE AUTHORITY has a duty to express within the State God's order which gives dignity to a moral community and maintains it as a democracy:, and to be the worthy delegates of the people, needing flor this purpose " a profound sense of the principles underlying any healthy political and social order." They are " representatives of the entire people, and not the spokesmen of the mob." WORLD 19EACE depends upon the recognition that " it is the duty of all, a duty which brooks no delay, no procrastination, hesitation, or subterfuge, to do everything to ban once and for all wars of aggression as a legitimate solution of international disputes and as a means towards realising national aspirations." The Pope " who has long upheld the principle that the idea of war as an apt and just means of solving international conflicts is out of date " welcomes (a) the recognition of that immorality (b) the will to view war as only a sanction "inflicted on the aggressor by the society of nations."

(B) (C)

definite countenance to any injustice, does not imply any BUT SUCCESS DEPENDS ON ONE CONDITION: " That a peace settlement does not give whether victor, vanquished or neutral, and does not impose any perpetual burden which can only be allowed security measures against those held responsible for the war are inevitable, but they must be allowed to rise again if they collaborate in the work of reconstruction. derogation of any right to the detriment of any nation, for a time as reparation for war damage." Rigours of This is commonsense, as well as Christianity.

a passive element in social life, is and must remain its subject, its foundatipn and its end,

Given that democracy, understood in a wide sense, can take various forms and exist in monarchies as well as in republics, two questions demand attention: Firstly, what characteristics must mark the men who live in a democracy under a democratic; regime? Secondly, what characteristics must mark the men who hold public power in a democracy? To express his opinion about the duties and sacrifices imposed upon him, not to be forced to obey .without first being heard: these are two rights of the citizen which find their capessien in democracy, as the name a itself indicates. From the solidity, the harmony and the good results of this contact between the citizens and the Government, we can tell whether a democracy is truly sound and well balanced and what ale its powers of life and development. In so far as the differences and nature of the sacrarce demanded of all citizens are concerned—end the State's activity is wider and more decisive in accordance with the stimuli which we ourselves provide—the democratic form of government seems to many to be a natural principle impused by Nature itself. When however men call for more and better democracy, such a demand caa only mean the placing of the citizen in a progressively better position to hold his own personal opinion and to express and act upon it in a manner compatible with the common good.

This leads to an initial necessary conclusion, with its practical consequence: The State is not an amorphous conglomeration of individuals within certain territorial bounds; it is, And in reality must be, the organic and organising unity of a true people. A people and an amorphous crowd, or mass, are two different things: A people lives and moves by its own life; a

mass is inert in itself and cannot be moved except from outside. A people Jives by the fulness of the lives of the men who are part of it, each of whom in his own place and way is a person conscious of his own responsibilities and convictions. The mass, on the contrary, awaits a stimulus from outside—an easy plaything in the hands of anyone who may exploit its instincts or sensations, ready to follow this flag to-day and another to-morrow. From the exuberance or life in a true people, life spreads abundant and rich into a State and all its organs, infusing it with constantly renewed vigour, with the consciousness of its own responsibilities and the true sense of the common good. The State can also make use of the elementary force of the mass, cleverly handled and managed; in the ambitious hands of an individual OT a group brought together artificially by egotistical aims, the State itself can, with the support of the mass, -degenerate into a mere machine which imposs its anhimary will on the best section of the true people. The common good is thus 'heavily stricken foe a long time, and often the wound cart be healed only with difficulty. This clearly leads in another eonclusion: the mass, in the sense that we have just defined it, is the mortal enemy of true democracy and its ideals of liberty and equality.

The Citizen's Task In a people worthy of the name, the citizen feels within himself the consciousness of his own personality, duties and rights, of his own liberty linked with respect for the liberty and dignity of others. In a people worthy of the name all inequalities due, not to arbitrary will, but to the very nature of things—inequalities of culture, property, social position, which naturally do not prejudice justice and .mutual kindness—are not indeed an obstacle to the existence and dominance of a true spirit of community and brotherhood. On the contrary, far from harming civilian equality in any way, they give it its proper significance—namely that in the eyes of the State each has the right to live honourably his own life in the place and conditions in which the plans and purposes of Providence lave set him.

Compared with this picture of the democratic ideal of liberty and equality among the people governed by hottest and thoughtful men, what do we see in a democratic State left to the will of the mass? Liberty, interpreted as a moral duty of the individual, becomes a tyrannous presumption to give free play to human impulses and appetites to the detriment of others. Equality degenerates into a mechanical levelling and a monotonous uniformity, in which true honour, personal activity and the sense of tradition—in a word, all that gives life its value—gradually submerge and disappear. anlY those survive who, on the one hand, are the deluded victims of the apparent charm of democracy, ingenuously confused with tt e tire h re i:nude spirit of democracy with its liberty and eaualitY: and, on the oh the more or less numerous profiteers who, through the power of money or of an organisation, have been able to establish a privileged position for themselves in the State.

The Conditions of Authority

The Democratic State, whether monarchy or republic, must like any other form of Government, be invested with the power to command with real and evident authority. The Absolute Order of living beings, which marks a man as an autonomous individual, that is, as an object of inviolable. rights and duties, the root and end of social life, also erriheaces the State as a necessary society, clothed with the authority without which it could neither exist nor live. And if men, in the enjoyment of their personal liberties, were to deny obedience to •a superior authority equipped with power to enforce its will, they would, by this very act, undermine the foundation of their own dignity and liberty, by violating, that is, the Absolute Order of things. As they are established on this same foundation, the individual, the State, and the Government, with their respective rights, are so bound together that they stand or fall together. And since that Absolute Order, in the light of the Christian faith, cannot have any origin but in a personal God our Creator, it follows that the dignity of Man is the dignity of God's image ; the dignity of

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