OUR LORD AND SELF-DEFENCE ON MATTERS CONCERNING THE PARISH—THE LITURGY AND THE IRISH CLERGY--THE UTILITY OF SCHOOLS BROADCASTS
The Catholic Herald has always been glad to offer a large portion of its space to its readers so that all the important questions of the day should be freely discussed among ourselves. In view of the very large number of letters received and in order to maintain the great value of this weekly OPEN FORUM—the only one of its size and type in Catholic journalism—we would once again urge our correspondents to express their views In short, pithy letters of between 50 and 200 words. Letters must bear a name and address (not necessarily for publication) or they will be Ignored.—Editor.
REASONS FOR BEARING ARMS
SIR,-1n answer to "Catechist," the question of my honesty in quoting does not arise, because I did not quote. But I see his point, and answer that the sentence, "All that take the sword shall perish with the sword," is a pronouncement on the nature of physical force directed against
others. The sentences which follow in the Gospel do not qualify that sentence.
The work which Christ was doing in the Passion was accomplished by pure love, no physical force was directed against even the most unjust and cruel enemies. But the work of Christ is our work; we have no other work. Now are we going to be such fools as to imagine that we know a better way than his?—the "just war" and what not?
SIR,—Can anyone quote verbatim from what part of the Bible the Church finds herself justified in teaching there are "reasons for bearing arms"?
F. C. BOND.
157, Maybank Road, E.18.
(tt is not required front the Church with het Divine Commission, to refer to chapter and verse in Holy Writ for every point in her teaching. The Church, indeed, came before the Bible. However, there are many sayings of our Lord which indicate the lawfulness of preparedness against aggression and of physical self-defence. He spoke, for example, of the strong man armed who keeps his court: and before his Passion he stated that his Father could bring legions of angels to defend him, implying that he would for special reasons voluntarily renounce such legitimate self. defence.—EDnroal
WAR AND PEACE
SIR,-1 have been much interested in the letters of your correspondents regarding the action individuals might take by refus ing to fight to prevent war. Undoubtedly, if enough men refused to fight in any war, war would become impossible : this is the main plank in many political platforms. But as soon as the word "war" is qualified, this policy is useless; the Germans still think they began a "defensive" war in 1914, and Italian papers are full of instances of the gifts of their priests and bishops to assist the prosecution of their "necessary" war in Abyssinia. The tribal
protective instinct of "patriotism" is still so strong in mankind that practically all parties and churches in a country are swept along by it in case of war.
A more promising line of attack on this growing danger to civilisation would seem to be by the dissemination of knowledge among the people. All recent wars have been prepared and made possible by a long and careful propaganda, consisting of the spreading of false or distorted information among the people. If there existed a supernational news agency trusted by and accessible to the people of all nations, to which they could turn for the unvarnished truth, some at least of them would be able to keep their heads, and the preparation of a country for war by its rulers would become much more difficult.
(Points raised in this matter are referred to in passing in our Notes and Comments on page 6.—Eorr0a.1
MASSES FOR PEACE
SIR,—The recent peace Mass at Westminster Cathedral gives rise to the hope that our hierarchy may order peace Masses to be celebrated in all the cathedrals of the country and in as many other churches as possible.
Perhaps they would even grant an Indulgence to persons who approach the Sacraments at such Masses or in connection with the intention of peace.
G. WILLOUGHBY MEADE. 36, Marius Road, S.W.17.
ATROCITIES IN ABYSSINIA
SIR,—May I suggest to Sir Leo Chiozza Money that if the Italians to whom he refers had not been invading Abyssinia, the alleged atrocities committed on them could not have happened?
I would also like to suggest to him that the highest principles of Christianity are not really served when a nation which is supposed to be a Christian nation subjects even a savage nation to the barbarous horrors of poison gas.
C. CLAXTON TURNER.
BM /ENK8 London, W.C.1. Late D.C.L.I.