Page 7, 31st May 1940

31st May 1940
Page 7
Page 7, 31st May 1940 — Dr. Downey Explains Why We Fight

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Organisations: British Parliament
Locations: LIVERPOOL, Canterbury


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Dr. Downey Explains Why We Fight


From Our Own Correspondent


" In this dread conflict our hands are clean and our consciences are dear. We unsheathed the sword to vindicate our plighted word, to oppose the devastating philosophy that might is right, and to banish from civilisation persecution, cruelty and barbarism."

This statement was made by Dr, Downey, Archbishop of Liverpool,

preaching to a crowded congregation in the Pro-Cathedral, Liverpool, on Sunday last.

The day of national prayer for the preservation of Christian civilitation and the securing of a Just, honourable and lasting peace was observed in the Liverpool Archdiocese with solemn High Mass, celebrated in the Pro-Cathedral by James Canon O'Connell, V.F., in the presence of the Archbishop, and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in all churches.

Among those who heard Dr. Downes stirring address were Colonel Sir John J. Shute, D.S.O., M.P., Alderman David G. Logan, M.P., J.P., Alderman Luke Hogan, M.B.E., J.P., Alderman Austin Harford, J.P., City Councillors an .:1 members of other public bodies, magistrates and officials of Catholic societies.

Dr. Downey said that the Holy Father had directed all who looked to Him for light and g-uldance to pray instantly for a speedy and satisfactory solution of the present conflict of arms.

Our gracious monarch, King George VI, by a truly royal gesture, had (yoked the nation to dedicate the day to intercession that God might enlighten our leaders and strengthen our forces, particularly in these critical days, and grant to our righteous cause victory followed by a just and lasting peace.

Our Loyal Service

We Catholics of this cotentry gave our loyal service as a bounder' Chrietian duty, We did this all the more readily when we reflected on thc great Catholic traditions of which we were the heirs, and recalled that this was the motherland of St. Bede, of Alfred the Great, of St. Edward the Confessor, of St. Thomas of Canterbury, of St. John Fisher and St Thomas More, and of countless others of that edoriotes company of saitithi patriote which she had formed.

For over a thousand years the Churcn inspired and blessed this country's most treasured institutions, her universities, her legislature, her Parliament and her letters. We were bound to her by many material, cultural and spiritual ties.

Britain: " So Helpful to the Needy" There was much in Britain to bleee God for. She was so dispassionately tolerant, ISO ready to succour the victims of tyranny, so helpful to the needy.

As Catholics we could not forget that a hundred and fifty years ago the British Parliament voted £300,000 a year for the support of exiled Catholics driven by the fury of revolution to her hospitable shores. She had a care for the poor, the weak, the aged and even for God's brute creation.

Britain had an innate sense of justice. fair dealing, and her word was her bond. She had instinctive reverence for God, for Christ, for Holy Writ and for the Lord's Day.

She valued still the sanctity of the home and the simple things which made life wholesome, and she had throughout all vicissitudes preserved that gaiety of heart which won for her the title of Merrie England.

The Growth of Irreligion

"At the same time," continued the Archbishop, "let us not be blind to her defects. Irreligion and the neglect of

God's public worship have of late grown apace.

"13y many the commandments have been set aside as embodying a code ')f outlived utility, and a so-called new morality has been installed.

"Meantime social injustices remain to be remedied while pleasure and licence have been rampant. These are serious and fundamental defects and it may be that God is allowing us to suffer the anxieties and horrors of war as a purifying and cleansing ordeal.

"This country as a whole must repent of its neglect of God and go down an Its knees. As a people we must return to the Christian ethic which of old guarded the home and the springs of life.

• Britain's High Calling

" May this fair island home of ours resound with prayer and penance. May she come through the test which she is called upon to undergo as pure gold tried by fire. May she prove worthy of the high calling which is hers to-day. For that calling is nothing less than the defence of the Christian standards of truth, justice, honour, mercy, charity, that is to say the love of one's neighbour for Christ's; sake and the love of Christ for His own sake.

Concluding hi.s address Dr. Downey said, "We are engaged in warfare not merely for our own self-preservation, but to save the world from tyranny, to make it a place where the rights of man shall rest On the only sure basis. namely, the recognition of God's dominion over its and His designs in our behalf. We fight to make the world a place where we can be freemen of Christ able to call our souls our awn.

"May Almighty God, in whose hands rests the issue of this dread conflict, strengthen the valiant sons of Britain in their battles, may He sustain them -n their crusade and crown their efforts with victory. May He, too, make the nation brave to endure, and comfort every aching heart till an are brought together in thanksgiving beneath the banner of the Prince of Peace."

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