'FIRST DEFENCE' IN ATOMIC AGE
if HE prayer Jesus, convert England, Jesus, have mercy on this country is a humble and simple prayer ", said Bishop Murphy of Shrewsbury, addressing the annual meeting of the Guild of Our Lady of Ransom in London on Tuesday.
"Even in an atomic age, it can easily be the highest strategy, and the first line of defence. At least we do pray to God that there will be something left to defend."
The bishop was referring to what he called "a strange phenomenon": in the struggle for Europe over the last few
years it had not been "the rationalists and the materialists who have assumed the leadership, but the Christian parties". "And when a country has been occupied, yet remains defiant and Unconverted, it is always the Catholic Church which has been the stumbling-block."
Bishop Murphy dealt at large with the problems the atomic age had brought. "We [as Catholics] arc worried over the survival of civilisation, and the atomic bomb," he said. "But our worries go a little deeper than that.
"We are worried about the type of civilisation which is going to survive. If we knew for certain what type was going to survive, then we would know whether we want that atomic bomb or not."
But sanity, as the Bishop reminded his hearers, was to be found in the Church's attitude in face of danger, "To the extreme pacifist," he said, "who cries out that the only solution is complete unilateral disarmament, the Church reminds us that there is such a thing as original sin: that neither we, nor the Russians, are immaculately conceived; that a nation has a right to legitimate defence.
"To disarm and to become martyrs for the cause may be heroic sanctity, but it is not a precept. And, worse still. to disarm and to promise that we won't be martyred because of the high ideal we have of our fellow man is both bad history and bad theology."
The annual report of the Guild, read at the meeting, showed gratifying results: high membership figures are being maintained; pilgrimages in London and in the provinces keep up their popularity; last year the total amount sent by the Guild to the bishops for distribution to needy parishes was 10,390-10 dioceses having thus benefited as well as eight travelling missions. Receipts in 1958 amounted to £19,500.