THE Pastoral Letter of the Dutch Bishops implacably opposing the deportation of workers to the Reich, together with similar protests from the Dutch Reformed Church, has tempted Reichskommissar Seyss Inquart to make a reply that is perhaps even more significant than the original protest. 'What the present state of Seyss Inquart's personal faith may at present be we do not know; but this Austrian comes from a Catholic milieu and was educated by the Jesuits. Reading his speech, one realises the degree in which the embracing, of utterly false political philosophies, together with devotion to an un-Christian political cause, can do to a serious man.
The remains of Seyss Inquart's Catholicity (he should, for example, be distinguished from a man like Hitler, who was never a Catholic, we imagine, except in a purely nominal sense) are apparent in what he says. He recognises, for example, the importance of the Bishops' complaint about the spiritual care about deportees as well as the urgency of the moral danger. He underlines the modus vivendi at present existing between German clergy and the Reich, 'and he seeks to defend the imprisonment of priests for what he describes as outrageous political conduct. His flash of anger is reserved for a Father Muckermann, who has laboured so long in demonstrating the root anti-Christianity of the Nazi idea. And there have been signs that Seyss Inquart in his present job did hope to establish conditions which would allow Holland to preserve a certain pride and dignity under Nazi occupation. In other words, Seyss Inquart's conscience is still troubling him.
Despite this, he makes the open choice of absolute service to his new master, National Socialism, and is therefore forced to defend in its name measures to which he may still personally have a considerable re pugnance. In particular, he seeks (and here he has his imitators in a lesser degree elsewhere) to show that neither the spiritual force of Christianity nor any Christian alliance of Church with State is in a position to stem the tide of political evil which for him, of course. is incarnated in Bolshevism. Hence his self-justification for allegiance to Hitler's temporal power. Unfortunately for him -or, maybe, fortunately, if through God's grace he recovers his reason—he has met in Dutch resistance, under the leadership of courageous bishops, more than his match. His words constitute no sort of answer, for Holland in resisting the political oppressor is also resisting an evil thing. Seyss Inquart's hope that he could afford to allow the Dutch dignity in captivity has been frustrated by the Dutch realising that there could be no dignity in captivity by that kind of gaoler.
The Ways of God
DEPORTATION of foreign workers into the Reich is a measure which even the Nazis would have hesitated openly to adopt, had there been any alternative. But the shortage of vital man-power in a war which has lasted far longer than they calculated, together with the growing menace of the weight of the fully armed and equipped United Nations, has left them no alternative. Their extreme need indicates their extreme wakeless. What the Dutch Bishops openly say is what the vast majority of the peoples under German occupation privately feel. And the halting, involved defence of Seyss lnquart indicates the bad conscience of even highly-placed Germans who have not absolutely sold their souls to the devil and political necessity. It needs little imagination to understand the Moral and physical vulnerability of a country which is becoming more and more dependent on the work of its enemies driven by the machine-gun to work for it in conditions of slavery and whose own people ' are becoming daily more worried about their whole moral position, forcing themselves to what they know in their hearts is evil as the only apparent alternative to national and personal ruin. We may well thank God that the course of the war has spared us the temptation to have recourse to such horrors. Even as things are, we cannot feel too happy about the consequences of our own totalitarian mobilisation, though it is evident that its incidental evils bear little comparison with what Germany has done to men and women over whom she possesses but the limited authority accorded to de facto occupiers. Still one is reminded of our own risks when one reads of the American Catholic opposition to the AustinWadsworth 'Bill for the registration of men and women with the ultimate intention of compulsorily directing them into the war industries. The proposal is described by the Administrative Board of the National Catholic Welfare Conference as " totalitarianism at its worst."
BRIDGEHEAD TO A SANER WORLD THE United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration has set itself a task the post-war urgency of which needs no stressing. In order to carry out its task of enabling effective help in all economic and material concerns to the liberated countries it will need vast powers and' the willing cooperation, to the point often of considerable self-sacrifice of the export-' ins nations of the world. If such help is truly available and if its .powers are wisely administered U.N.R.R.A. might well develop into a permanent international administration that could do more for the economic re-ordering of the world than was possible to the League of Nations itself. No rarely ad hoc . bodies in tackling specific problems which happen to have very wide repercussions turn out to be far more valuable than general bodies set up for unprecise, idealistic ends. It will, for example, be hard to discriminate between the needs of certain specific people and needs, not less urgent, of others, say. in India and China. Belligerent countries as well may be faced by urgent humanitarian and relief problems. Lastly, the line between accidentally caused distress and depressed standards of living through the cycle of slumps and booms or national poverty cannot always be clearly drawn. Moreover, the re sources available for relief will have to be measured in accordance aith all needs, whatever their causes; and if they are insufficientit will become imperative to take such international economic measures as may increase them even at the expense of vested interests.
Thus it will be seen that all kinds of possibilities lie ahead, and on the wisdom and courage of this first international plan for concrete cooperation between the victors in so noble a cause may depend the fate of many millions and, perhaps, in no small measure the future economic health of the world itself. May it at any rate prove to be a sound and strong bridgehead into that happier and saner world, the hope of which alone makes sense of these dark years.
LABOUR'S CHOICE mR. Morrison's Labour pro gramme, as expounded at the Labour Party Conference, was suminarised by one commentator as " peace during the war and a terrific war during the peace," peace and war referring, of course, to Labour's relations with other political parties. The comment usefully underlines another aspect of the fallacy from which we are all suffering in one way or another. The illusion is that you can suddenly hold up the sequence of cause and effect in order to deal with one necessity and then come hack later to where you started from and make up for lost time. We referred to this fallacy last week in connection with the present religious revival. Socialism, which is dedicated to the cause of the working-classes throughout 'the world, in a manner that has certain analogies with the internationalism of the Church concerned with the souls of all men. has twice chosen when it came to the test to side with war and to devote its resources to the nationalist rather than the internationalist cause. The history of Labour in Great Britain between the wars was decisively influenced by its decision during the last war. Throughout this war Labour has been co-operating in political acts calculated to make this country into a nationalistic bureaucratic machine. resembling the Continental totalitarian model far more closely than the original international Socialist conception kept alive to-day by the handful of the I.L.P. As Mr. Attlee hinted at the Conference, one kind of Socialism has already come into being, but he did not add that it has little to do with the Socialist ideal of Keir Hardie. British Labour has made its choice twice, and by that choice its future will be determined It is as certain as anything can be that Morrison and Attlee and Bevin will not he the leaders of " a terrific war during the neace." They will have 'to compromise with the State they have helped to make or go into the wilderness. They may have been right in their choice, but neither they. nor Christians, nor anyone else can have it both ways. The future is being moulded now. and only accidental and slow changes will be possible after. short of revolutions in which the Present leaders will certainly have no hand.
BOMBING ROME MANY of our readers appear to have ' been shocked by our apparent callousness in regard to the possible bombing of Rome. They are mistaken in supposing that we are callous about a matter which would have shocked every decent person before the war began. We happen to have been shocked much earlier. That is all. We were shocked by all bombing of general targets, even though in a totalitarian war there is little you can hit and not have some sort of effect on the war effort, We were shocked by the loss of life, injury and suffering to the " innocent," even though that theological term has ceased to have any very precise. significance except in the case of young children and the aged. It is only in relation to these horrors that the bombing of Rome ceases to stand out so conspicuously in a class of its own. None the less we have to recognise that as a war pursues its course it becomes practically impossible to stand back and make practical moral judgments about the legitimacy of conduct about which all the relevant facts cannot be known. Nor is it possible to get that degree of agreement between belligerents that would make any major change practicable. Our hope has to be rather that the war will in this respect at least teach mankind the lesson that it pays no one to drift from one degree of violence to yet another made possible by the abuse of the inventive power which God gave to man for the uses of peace.