" To-day, while we are still finding and burying the bodies of the men who fell in the War, the whole of 'Europe is arming. Could there be a more inconceivable folly for those of us who have the responsibility of governing the great countries in Europe? What good can come of it?
" There is no one in Europe lo-day, and I don't care who he is, who does not know what war in the long run means. It means all over Europe the degradation of the life of the people. It means misery compared with which the misery of the last War was happiness. And it means in the end anarchy and a world revolution, and we all know it. And, knowing it, what can our duty be but to come together and save Europe?"
Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, heard the Prime Minister speak the above Words at the Guildhall banquet on Monday night.
It was evident to listeners that Mr. Baldwin was not only deeply moved as lie spoke, but that he was doing all a mere man can do to make himself heard throughout the length and breadth of the civilised globe.
A man who speaks like that and feels like, thati,eannot be accused of being a war-monger. And yet he who openly talked of the "inconceivable folly " of re-arming had to defend the need for re-armament.
Letters received at the Catholic Herald office show that, even among Catholics, there are many who will look to one side only of the question. They see the folly of war and of re-armament, they hold that both are morally unjust, and they state that they will have nothing to do with either.
We ask again: Is that fair? Is it wise? Is it even Christian? Do these people suppose that they feel more deeply than Mr. Baldwin, or—if we may say so—ourselves on this question?
Some will strengthen their position by asserting that there is nothing left in our civilisation worth defending.
This, truly, is an even more remarkable attitude to adopt and one which only a person with a most extraordinarily exalted view of his own mind and of his power to judge by supernatural standards could possibly take up.
As a Catholic paper, the Catholic Herald may perhaps claim to be aware of the many evils of our civilisation, but, alas, its sense of the sin that pervades the world is not so spiritually strong as to make it blind to the good things that remain to us: to the society of human beings who form our countrymen, to the natural and the man-made beauties of our country, to the qualities of our race, to the " liberty of the spirit " of which Mr. Baldwin spoke—a true virtue so long as it does not prevent us from appreciating other spiritual qualities in other countries—above all to the moral and religious systems which help our countrymen, at the worst, to believe still in God and the primary of the moral life, at the best, in the revealed dogma of Christianity. Are none of these things worth defending? Alas! as Mr. Baldwin has said, war means anarchy and world revolution. We do not want war, we do not consider that these riches should be defended by modern war, but when it comes to the choice of submitting to the spoliation and devastation of all we rightly hold dear for the sake of anarchy and world revolution or of fighting for them to the last, even if it means in the end anarchy and world revolution, what can a man, what can a Christian do?
That is the question—and that is the question the pacifist will not face. We ask him to do so, and meanwhile to co-operate with us in making every effort in our power to work for that national and international order and harmony which will make war unlikely, above all to work for that general disarmament for which Mr. Baldwin appealed.