1`X1 Wednesday Mr.
1`X1 Wednesday Mr.
Europe " movement is to hold a great rally in the Albert Hall, 'Hie details of the speakers, which include Mr. Churchill himself, are given on another page of this issue.
The Catholic will regret that there are no Catholic speakers on an occasion like this when the people of the country are invited to give their support to a cause dearer, perhaps, to us as a body than to any other section of the population.
It should, however, be said in partial excuse for this omission that the organisers did invite the Cardinal to be present and to close the meeting. but that, unfortunately. His Eminence's ad (induct visit to Rome prevented him from accepting this invitation. Even so, one would have thought that the Cardinal's place could have been taken by the Archbishop of Liverpool or another great Pre. late, and that at least one of the main speakers could have been a well-known Catholic layman.
Perhaps representations in this sense came too late, for there can be no doubt that the " United Europe " Movement is interested in obtaining Catholic support and welcomes the Catholic contribution to its outlook and its work. This fact is shown by the Movement's invitation to one of our Bishops and to a number of Catholic laymen to belong to its General Committee.
In a country like this, a Movement of this kind is necessarily up against a number of difficulties, but its aims are so important, and indeed urgent, that it is to be hoped that it will have the courage of its convictions and not allow the difficulties to cause a dissipation of its force and reduce it to virtual impotence. A bolder course may make enemies and lead to failure ; but a timid one will quite inevitably mean that it is useless from the start.
In any movement to gather together the real strength of Europe to-day, we must quite fearlessly and openly take account
of two things. The first is the spiritual heritage of Europe. The second is the open attack on that heritage that is being made in the
name of Marxism. , We say Marxism rather than Communism, because Communism is only the extreme and absolutely logical expression of the great modern heresy which holds that the real welfare of human society on earth is to be found in a materially conceived social order in which God and the supernatural order are absolutely rejected and condemned as a dangerous delusion. This heretical philosophy is held in its entirety (though not all accept or understand its full implications), or in part, by millions who do not call themselves Communists.
By the spiritual heritage of Europe, on the contrary, our Western world is enriched through its fundamental conviction that every human being is an end in itself and may not be used as the mere means of gratifying any appetite or even any man-invented idealism.
Such a conviction of the absolute value of every man could never have been conceived and accepted save through the Christian revelation that every man is the son of God and called to fulfil his supernatural end by the right exercise of his inborn freedom through this earthly life. Nor can it endure for very long once this religious dogma on which it is based comes to be generally disbelieved. The reason is obvious. For, pleasant as the doctrine may seem to us personally and individually, it depends on men as a whole respecting the equal rights of others. And, however much they may claim the privileges of freedom for themselves, they will never grant that freedom to all others if they lose their sense of the supernatural and of the obligations in consciencederived from it. In other words, while they may still claim their own rights, they will lose their moral convictions about the duties which alone guarantee rights all round.
Under the empire of the heretical materialism which has replaced the supernatural philosophy of Christendom our civilise. tion, after a period of trying to turn man himself into a god, is now very rapidly giving way to a wave of neo-barbarism where the only effective sanction is the superior force of the strongest. Call it Fascism, call it Communism, call it even State Socials ism or Technocracy or the Survival of the Richest, the basic philosophy is the same, and the differences are either accidental or mark stages along a determined line of social evolution.
Faced with the danger of being overwhelmed by this neo-barbarism, many men to-day are searching into their hearts and looking for the means of saving civilisation. They see the hearth of our civilisation in Western Europe threatened from without by the full Marxist Communism and from within by the wide acceptance of the belief that society can somehow be saved by the so-called will (i.e., force) of whomsoever can get away with the
claim to speak in the name of ths people.
But they must realise that these threats can never be finally repelled unless the people of Western Europe not only recover their faith in the Divine Revelation which alone makes a truly free society possible, but have the courage to remould the order of society in terms of a freedom springing from the spiritual dignity of man, the son of God.
" United Europe " is, no doubt, a political movement. and not a religious one. It is primarily concerned to bring together the peoples of Europe in defence of their threatened liberties, but if it fails to interpret those liberties in terms of their spiritual origins and foundations, it will rightly be at the mercy of its critics.
For example, great as is our admiration for the courage of Mr. Churchill himself. we cannot forget that he waged a war in defiance of one totalitarianism at the cost of selling what was not his to sell to the very totalitarianism which now threatens us. In so doing he betrayed the spiritual principles of freedom, and one has the right to ask him on what principles he now rests his crusade ? Is he merely fighting for threatened class, or party, or even country, of is he fighting for something which transcends all these and may not be compromised even for them'?
There are many who will say that this is only another way of defending conservatism against social progress, that it is merely hardening the divisions of the world, that it is a calling of Europe to arms against Russia. Some will argue that their form of materialism is better than Mr. Churchill's " reaction " and " capitalism,"
The temptation is to meet such accusations by so emasculating the objects of the movement as to render it ineffective and impotent.
But the real way to meet them is vcry different. A philosophy that is genuinely believed in must be proclaimed. And that philosophy can only be the philosophy which springs from the Christian conception of life, the philosophy taught and practised in Christendom, to which we owe what remains of our liberties,
When men can be convinced again that great leaders have rediscovered the faith of Europe and mean to live by it, then they will listen. Then, too, will it be possible to answer all accusations of reaction and intransigence by proclaiming the unchanging, supernatural basis of political action.
The truth is that we have reached a stage in the crisis of civilisation when nothing less will serve to save it, and by these standards alone can we judge of the worth of any movement which declares that it wills to save it.