By M. MASSIANI ,PARts
" The working class has been the victim of an unjust economic regime long enough. . . Delivered
from Nazi dictatorship, we should deliver the working class from capitalistic slavery. Such is the will of God and of the Church."
This defence of the rights of the workers was made recently by Mgr. Theas, Bishop of Montaubon. in replying to the official welcome of the Prefect of Tarn-et-Garonne at a ceremony on the steps of the Cathedral when the Prelate returned to his See after being freed from the Compiegne concentration camp by the arrival of Allied forces.
,, In pronouncing certain strong words during the German occupation," Bishop Theas said, " I was merely ful filling a duty of Christian and French fidelity. Holy Scripture condemns those in authority (watchmen) who arc like ' dumb dogs, not able to bark.' I did not want to be a ' dumb dog.' In the face of danger I barked. That was my duty. My silence would have been treason."
Expressing his joy at the liberation of France, the Bishop stated that " a German victory would lead to the extinction of the Christian idea* in Eutope." He asked all those present to pray for all who are still in prisons and concentration camps, and added that he forgave those who had persecuted him and is praying for his enemies and for world peace " with all my heart."
NEED FOR PROFOUND REFORMS The Bishop of Montaubon took occasion to stress the need for profound social reforms that must follow the concluding of a peace; " Under the pressure of incoercible forces, the modern world calls for revolution. This revolution has to happen, but it can succeed only if the Church enters into the mdlee as a bearer of the message of the Gospel.
"As an apostle of Christ I bring you certain orders from Christ which are particularly pertinent to the new
times. The time has come to give first place to social, family and religious
values. The working class has been
the victims of an unjust .economic regime long enough. The working class has right on its side. How well
I understand that to-day! A recent experience has taught me what it means to be hungry, to be badly housed and poorly clothed, and to have one's human dignity offended. I know what it means to be ordered about and
to be without liberty. Delivered from Nazi dictatorship, we should deliver the working class from -capitalistic slavery. Such is the will of God and of the Church."
But in this new order, Bishop Theas added, religious values must be re stored: " The city we want to build must rest on God, else it will crumble. Recognition of the rights of God is essential to the temporal order. Right here to-day it must be said, and I hope that the atheists and agnostics in this audience who know the esteem, respect and affection I have for all of them, I hope they will be able in comprehend this fundamental affirmation of our Christian Creed."
ARREST—THE GREATEST GRACE
Speaking to Ids clergy that evening, Bishop Theas said: " Since my arrest I have not once ceased to live with true happiness in my soul. Next to my baptism and ordination, I consider my arrest as the greatest grace that has come into my life."
He spent the following day visiting all prisoners and detained persons in Montaubon without exception.
(The Bishop of Montaubon's words are the subject of a leading article on page 4.)
On a recent occasion in Rome, a group of Polish officers asked for and obtained perroission to substitute for the regular Pontifical palafrenieri tchaVbeareis), to carry the Pope back to his private apartment on the gestatorial chair following a general audience. Commenting, Osservatore Romano commended the filial love and paternal affection.