—SAYS ARCHBISHOP GODFREY
BY A STAFF REPORTER
"We have heard during these hateful years, many times of the battle of Britain, the battle of France, the battle of the bulge, but we must realise that what is being fought now is the battle of the human person."
This was one of the main points made in a speech by Archbishop Godfrey, Apostolic Delegate to Great Britain at the annual meeting of the Catholic Committee for Relief Abroad, on Saturday last The extent and character of the relief work initiated and carried on by the Pope during and since the war was the other main preoccupation of Archbishop Godfrey in his address.
"We who were associated," said Mgr. Godfrey, " with the Holy Father's efforts during the months which preceded the outbreak of the hideous and destructive war, know full well how he tried in every way open to him to preserve the peace of Christ in the world.
TILL THE LAST MOMENT " He counselled," went on Atchbishop Godfrey. " advised, proposed through his accredited representatives, cherished, even till the last moment the hope that Europe and the world might be spared the devastation, suffering and destruction which he knew without any manner of doubt would come in the wake of war.
" Once the war began,continued Mgr. Godfrey, " it was for the Holy Father to give ear to the cries of his suffering children, so I pass on to the work of the war years, which I have seen from close quarters, at least in the region where I have acted as Delegate of the Holy Father, and have been in various ways associated with his grand work of fatherly Christian charity."
The Pope's charitable work centred mainly round the Vatican Information Office. • If the postbag of tilt different Nuncios and Delegates in the territories of the war regions were as heavy as mine," said Archbishop Godfsey, " then I think I may say that an enormous weight of correspondence was exchanged between prisoners of war, refugees and families.
" All possible was done," continued Mgr. Godfrey, " to help families to reunite; pleadings were made with the competent authorities for the repatriation of the sick and other compassionate cases; contacts were made with prisoners in every land where they were held captive, lists of the dead were verified; thousands of wireless messages were sent out from the Vatican.
" In one year from June to December in 9,800 minutes of broadcasting, 9,950 names were relayed.
THE: HUMAN TOUCH
"One thing deserves special note, nantely, that the Vatican work for the suffering had something quite distinctive about it. It was not merely that a message passed from mother to son, or from wife to husband, hut the greatest care was taken to convey the verbal message through a Nuncio or Delegate. or through a Bishop or parish priest, who would knock at the door of some home in his parish and tell an anxious parent or wife that her son or husband was safe, making known their whereabouts and their state of health.
"In this way the recipient of the Holy Father's bounty felt that here was a fatherly interest which lifted the work above the level of bureau or statistic and made it throb with the vigorous life of divine charity," added Archbishop Godfrey.
Coming to the post-war activities of the Vatican on behalf of the Displaced Persons all over Europe, Mgr. Godfrey made a special plea that all these people should be regarded not in the mass but as individuals.
Ile reminded his hearers that they are out of their proper environment is shown by the descriptive adjective *displaced. It is, however, the second word that is most important.
THEY ARE PAGANS
"They are ' persons' stamped with the image of the living God, brethren of Christ and our brethren. It is to these suffering members of Christ that the Vatican Emigration Office now turns its attention.
In 1946 the Vatican Emigration Office, under the direction of the Secretariat of State, set ascii to the task of dealing with the problem of the displaced person from every aspect, religious, moral, hygienic and economic.
" It co-operates I.R.O. (the International Refugee Organisation) with the authorities in various countries and especially with those immigration offices which the Bishops have set up in various countries, for instance, in the U.S.A., with the Bureau ot Immigration of the National Catholic Welfare Conference in Washington. Displaced persons of every nation and creed are the object of the solicitude of the Vatican Emigration Office."
Archbishop Godfrey then went on to detail some work of the specialised Relief Committees in different countries administered by the Vatican Relief Commission in the Secretariat° of State in Vatican City.
" For instance," said the Apostolic Delegate. " in 1946 and 1947, the Holy Father's charitable gifts reached to South Africa. East Africa, Algeria, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, China, Denmark. England, Egypt, Eritrea, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Greece, India, Indo-China, Iran, leak, Somaliland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tripolitania. Tunisia, Turkey, and Hungary.
" The classes of people helped," said His Grace, " included prisoners of war, displaced persons, refugees, civilian internees, victims of war, emigrants, orphans and abandoned children, workers, needy students, sick and convalescents, convicts and these of every nation."