ONLY a " great act of inter national charity " prompted by Christian, not political 'or economic motives, can achieve the salvation of Asia from Communist conquest and can ensure the survival of Australia as a Christian country.
This is the tenor of the annual statement issued by the Australian Hierarchy on this year's Social Justice Sunday. Without such a step " which challenges the imagination, the moral worth and the essential Christianity of Western statesmen." the Bishops warn, the simple physical survival of Australia is most uncertain even in the lifetime of the present generation.
The Bishops endorse many features of Asia's resurgence as deserving the support of Christian peoples. But describing Ooinmunism's conquest of Asia as "the greatest military conquest in history," they gravely warn that this conquest under the Communist master plan includes and will be completed by the conquest of Australia.
The Bishops' statement, entitled The Future of Australia, has this to say on these aspects of the problem:
"The growing ambition of the Asian peoples for independence and national self-expression must command the sympathy of all Christian people.
"Equally juat and deserving of support is the determination of Asia's national movements to put an end to the exploitation of the peasantry and to ensure that the land belongs to the people."
The Bishops list the features of the Asian situation "which carry within themselves the seeds of war and destruction."
The first is the tremendous pressure of Asia's millions upon Asia's undeveloped resources. This results in poverty on an immense scale. The second is that too many of the leaders of Asia's new nations have imbibed the very doctrines of expansionist nationalism against which they themselves have rebelled. The Third—and greatest immediate danger to Australia—arises from the swift southward march of Communism to the very northern borders of that country.
The Bishops' statement then turns be the question of how these scourges of poverty, starvation and disease can be eliminated and they welcome the fact that the Western world has begun to realise its responsibilities in that respect.
"What is needed to enable Asia to maintain its millions," the Bishops write, is the development of its own great untapped resources," and they go on to call for an " immense transformation," which would include great irrigation schemes, development of transport, and a supply of industrial plant and technicians.
"The pre-requisite is the inflow of capital on a very great scale—a scale which has been set down by experts at hundreds of millions of pounds...We wish therefore to stress the need for a great act of international charity which challenges the imagination, the moral worth and the essential Christianity of Western statesmen and of the Western peoples to whom they are responsible."
The Bishops warn, however, that such a programme in order to be really effective must be Prompted by moral reasons and must be continued even after the elimination of the Communist danger.
"The salvation of Asia—and the consequent preservation of this country—will be achieved only if the Western world continues to realise its duty in Christian charity to the poor and oppressed people of that great continent; only if it acts in the knowledge that this is a moral issue."