Page 2, 9th May 1941

9th May 1941
Page 2
Page 2, 9th May 1941 — SIR —Amid, the horrors of this atrocious war, it is remarkable

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Organisations: Revoluttonary Mission
Locations: Chicago


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SIR —Amid, the horrors of this atrocious war, it is remarkable

and comforting to observe how little atrocity-mongering there has been, in comparison with what we saw in 1914-1918. The facts are atrocities .enough. Neutral countries are forced into the furnace. The bombing of cities renders millions homeless and drives innocent children mad. Blockade makes mothers weep to see their families grow up in sickness. When these cruelties cease, we will begin to realise the irreparable loss that all men have suffered in the destruction of churches, libraries, old streets and fair vistas, the accumultned riches of civilisation, the material fabric of the Christendom that is our home. How uncanny it is to find people, whose _fear ones have been blown to bits, and who have fled from burning homes to meagre refuge, make no angry complaint I When we meet refugees we find them brave, sad and unembittered ; it is amazing. In the last war, peopleinvented and others believed ridiculous atrocities like that of the corpse-factory, which has had only one echo in the present war in the ridiculous fable that the Italians are planning to destroy the Vatican with British bombs—an absurd but typical produce of the old atrocity-invention industry. To-day, real atrocity is blasting human bodies and cities, but there is no such wild and futile anger story-telling.

l'he mind of those who have suffered under the aerial havoc seems to be like that of men who have gone through a tornado or a volcanic eruption. They seem to feel that something uncontrollable as: the forces of Nature has broken loose, and that friend and foe are in the same unhappy plight. They do not'see the faces of their enemies, as soldiers do in the field, but only the rushing machines overhead, inhuman as creatures of a nightmare. Those who arc Christian pray to God for the peace that Ile alone can restore; the many who are unbelievers utter a Stoic sigh.

Most of us have pretty clear notions as to who is most to blame; but the whole masses of the opposing nations cannot be brought to one mind about this. Each side depends on its °Ain leaders and Press for information, and sees nothing of what the other side is enduring, only its own wounds. Furthermore, the common man cannot prevail against the few who control great modern States, if he disagrees with what is done—cannot prerail, save after long accumulation of general discontent.

For that reason alone it is vain to suppose that the Hitlerian empire will be overthrown

by interior revolution. The Balkan campaign has reached the end which everyone expected from the moment that this forlorn enterprise began, and its upshot is to give Germany not mere economic allies, but conquered and occupied land that will he remoulded now, as it would not have been but for the Yugo-Slav revolution. In a word, the Continent now has Peen brought into a new Imperium, which seems even stronger, because more complete, than Charlemagne's empire or that of the Caesars. Such is the product of a policy based on ignorance of history and of Europe; and we are told now that interior revolution is to undo it; a vain dream.

Within the Hitlerian empire, unemployment is abolished, every people, city, mine and

I wheatfield is assigned its task; all is ordered I with the precision of perfect Staff work ; and the system is running with a smoothness that, say, strike-rocked America well might envy. It is an order of servitude, of course. But the Roman Empire was also based on servitude, and " the immense majesty of the Roman peace." as Pliny described it, endured for centuries, without interior revolt. Where should revolt begin and gather head? Mogt of all, is it likely to begin in lands where men are sick at heart, defeated, disappointed, and their leaders dead or in exile?

To create a revolution, there, must be some dynamic hope. The ideal of Communism was just such a hope twenty years ago, and many revolutions were prompted by it ; hut Communism proved empty, it is abandoned even in Russia now, and it moves nobody— nor is there any other economic system capable of moving a revolt. No one is going to die to make Europe like Chicago.

Even if Europe were captured by the American ideal, let anyone try to conceive how a revolt anywhere could be armed and directed to the point of its being formidable, before the prodigious power of the new Imperium had turned on it; and he swill realise that a policy bOilt on such a hope is a vain dream.

Force against force failed when Italy weathered. the winter and the Balkan campaign closed the gaps in the iron ring; the last chance of arms, to prevent the erection of the New Order, has failed. Henceforth the war is a duel between a Hitlerian Continental empire, and the Anglo-American Commonwealth, with Britain and parts of the Empire as the burning battle-ground. Now, what I have said about the wonderful patience of the sufferers under aerial bombardment probably applies to those in all lands; we see it in the British and hear of it among others Here we find the substratum of humanity that underlies the two warring groups. The appeal fot an agreement against night-bombing, on which you write with such luminous logic, may not be heard with favour by both the High Commands, hut we all know, and can swear to ft, that the appeal would be answered by the common people in all lands if only the com

mon pebple had the say. It is not by humanity's wish that Saint George's beautiful cathedral (where thc present writer made Isis First Communion, so that he writes here with strong feeling—if the personal parenthesis may be excused) was laid in sacrilegious ashes. It is not by common people's wish that common people are homeless. hungry and dying. You say rightly that the appeal against night-bombing is most valuable, not as being likely to succeed in its immediate aim, but as a beginning of a new attack on Europe's Problem. Let the appeal be swelled, let all neutrals lend their voices to it, and let the logic of this return to a sense of human solidarity be followed where it leads; namely, into a Christian moral uprising against Christendom's misery. What changed the servitude of the ancient world was no Spartacus, but the victory of the Christian faith, working front within.

There is no force within the Hitlerian empire which is universal save the force of the New Order . but the ratith is more than universal within. the Continent, it extends as at least a tradition throughout the territories of the warring Imperium and Commonwealth. Surely there is no statesman, whether democrat or dictator, who could prolong the war, the bloodshed, the havoc, once all who call on Christ's name were of one accord. Communism will not move men now, but Catholicism still can and will. In it alone lies the hope of victory for the values that men want to preserve.

Eire. H teriaN mu&

Bombing Civilians

SIR—Bombing the civilian population, direeta intentione, is murder.

Murder is intrinsically wrong, an offence against God, no matter by whom committed or from what motive, or in what circumstances, or under what' provocation.

We are fighting for the moral law, or we are not.

If we are fighting for it, then we must observe it and endure the consequences; if we are not fighting for it. then we may not lay claim to it in support of our cause, in which event we identify ourselves with our enemy, and the war is pointless.

Passions have been inflamed. Fuel has been added by the sensational Press; even sophistic humanists have pleaded for " expedient reprisals." Reason has been suffocated.

We gave our pledge that we would not bomb civilians directly; we have gone Us war because we kept our word to Poland. Words are either to be kept or not.

It may be left to subtler minds to decide whether it is permissible to select " industrial " targets where it is reasonably certain the civilian population will be the chief sufferers.

It may also 'he left to common-sense to decide whether our war effort is most helped by blows at Germany's vital war nerves or by pandering to the howl of the herd.

Blitzes have two effects, it might be remembered ; some people who have been blitzed adopt the Old Testament attitude of vengeance, the bloodier the better. Others learn compassion and the charity of Christ.

A clear statement by our Church leaders on the whole issue would seem urgently

needed. It is of no point that such a statement might " embarrass " us. Surely our creed is not " We are God's good servants, but the State's first "?


The Pope and Peace

SIR.—May I congratulate you upon your leading article—The Christian Call to Peace? I think it is the first time I have seen the Holy Father's attitude to the war dealt with logically, courageously, and in all its implications. There is much talk of the Pope's Five Points and the New Order, but everybody appears to assume that the Pope is concerned only with a peace following a victory by arms. This does less than justice to the Holy Father's often-expressed desire for an end to this " atrocious war." Was it mot Mr. Chamberlain who said that " war settled nothing "?

You touch the core of the matter when you point out that if the Pope, with his unrivalled knowledge of all the conditions, could see hope for the application of his peace plan it is not for us to question his wisdom. Despite all the efforts to publicise and popularise war, there is a vast body of public opinion which does not despair of a return to sanity.


12, Alexandra 'Villas. Brighton 3.

A Revoluttonary Mission

SIR,—Surcly " General Carpenter " is correct. in stating that the Bishops' Peace Points try to help towards the solution of secondary problems? The one great problem is now as it always has been: man's relation to God. When the Christians are real live Christians, then, and only then, can just peace be reached. As Mr. Cecil Gill mentioned in last week's issue, Christians are preoccupied with a solution of the material problems, and though theoretically we talk about the spirit, it is little beyond talking that we get. Plato, in his " Republic," says that once a man has justice, then all the rest will follow on naturally to its just conclusion, as it were: here we see the same problem of the relationship of man to Good if not to God.

But how is the Redemption of mankind to be brought about? It will not be done within church walls. It is, I think, a fact that the great majority of the converts received into the Church have been church or chapel-goers before, and therefore the Church must go to the people, and not wait for the people to come to her. It surely is possible to reinstate the real function of the Friars, particularly the Franciscans, to go out preaching after the model of Christ! If such a method was used formerly, it can be used again. It would not be difficult for any parish to give one night-and-day's hospitality to an itinerant priest. Then what about the Third Orders and other such institutions—how much use is to be made of them? But you will say: " Did this not lead to heresy when Third Orders were allowed to preach?" Then let us guard against heresy by having the strictest supervision of the Bishops to prevent any such error, and let those, besides priests, who arc allowed to preach. have a thorough course of training such as. I imagine, is given to the Oblates of the Congregation of Mount Olivet. In such a materialist age it is those who live a life of prayer and penance, and at the same time live a normal—or perhaps almost normal—secular life who will have most weight with all those potential Christians in Wales, if not in England. Such an idea may be unusual, to some perhaps revolutionary; yet who thought at first that St. Dominic's revolutionary ideas would have had the success they did?

DR. JOSEPH, T.O.S.D. Swansea.

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