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Peace through Justice

Peace through Justice

A Pastoral Instruction of the Catholic Bishops of Southern Rhodesia

1961


 

 

 

In fulfilment of our teaching office and in response to many questions for direction, we the Catholic Bishops of Rhodesia, address to all our people the following instruction: 

The Divine Plan

When men neglect God, the Supreme Reality, not only do they thereby lose all sense of ultimate value of things and of their own natural worth as well, but they neglect, as if by necessity, all consideration of the plan which Almighty God has in creating them. Such neglect is widespread in this country at present and is the source of many evils which threaten the peace of its people. Instead of trying to discover the will of God in their regard, many people, choose in their obstinate folly to neglect God, to forget Him, and try to order their lives and their world without reference to His purpose at all. At the most, they grant Him grudging recognition, and falsely interpreting the words of Our Divine Lord: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” they think and act as if the secular affairs of men were not also subject to the eternal and positive laws of God.  

So general has this attitude become, that men accept unhesitatingly and without question, the belief that law and those human actions that are not obviously related to religion, are no concern of God’s nor of His Church, and that they may legitimately divide their affairs into two separate sections, putting religion into one and everything else into another quite distinct from it. 

Nothing could be more erroneous. God is supreme in every aspect of human conduct, and no man should act as if God’s rights could be limited merely to matters of public or private worship. 

God’s plan for the human race must clearly be sought, and when made known, humbly and gratefully accepted, because unless it is followed, order and the peace which flows from it, can never be hoped for. 

Unity of the Human Race

God sees the whole human race as one, - as one great family bound to Him by ties of origin in creation, and by the overwhelming reality of redemption. This fundamental truth men cannot neglect. They must impress it on their minds, study it prayerfully, and beg for the grace to put it into practice in their daily lives. Their prayer should be: “O God from whom all good things have their origin, grant unto us who ask, that under Thy inspiration we may think those things which are right and just, and by Thy governance accomplish them.” (5th Sunday after Easter). 

Writing of this unity of the human race, the late Holy Father Pius XII says: “We see it as one in its common origin from the hand of a Creator: ‘One God and Father of us all, who is above all and reaches through all and dwells in all of us.” [1] We see it as one in its composition, involving the union of a body with an immortal and spiritual soul; as one in the proximate end which is assigned to all of us, and in the common duties we are called upon to perform in this life. We see it as one, sharing a common habitation, this world of ours, whose resources every man has a natural right to enjoy, in so far as they are needed for his preservation and his self development. We see it as one, in the possession of a common supernatural end, God Himself, to which we must direct all our actions, and in the means He has given to all of us in common, enabling to reach that end at last.” 

But this is not all. An even closer bond unites men since the Redemption. “Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called and should be, the sons of God.” [2] Such is the closeness of Christ to redeemed humanity, that He identifies Himself with it. When Paul persecuting the first Christians, was struck from his horse on his way to Damascus, he heard a voice speaking to him and saying: “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” [3] Jesus suffers in us and in our brethren. The unity between Him and us, is as close and as intimate as that. He is served also in us and in our neighbour, in a similar manner: “As long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.” [4] 

There is even more implied in the amazing union of redeemed mankind. As St. Paul points out, all principles of division, all national and cultural particularities, all social, political, and religious differentiations are meant to be subordinated to the overall unity achieved by the over-all unity achieved by the suffering and death of Our Divine Lord. “You are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus … There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” [5] In recognition of this God-given dignity of man, in this divinely planned unity of the human race, we are meant to live while we are on earth. Whosoever, therefore, forgetting his Creator and banning His law from public or social life, refuses to accept this, God’s plan for His human creatures, is guilty of a grave act of dishonour to the Almighty and must be considered to sin grievously. 

Such is the general law. In practice it means that neither family ties nor those of race or nationality may ever take precedence over, or be considered more important than the unity by which men are joined through creation and redemption. 

 

Worldliness and Man's Dignity

Who can deny the bitterness and misunderstanding which characterise and disgrace so much of life in Southern Rhodesia today, spring from a complete failure to recognise the immense dignity shared by every man in virtue of his creation and redemption? Who can deny that the selfish and materialist outlook of many, is due to their slavish conformity with, and acceptance of the standards of  a world which for all practical purposes has banished God from its affairs? Why are so many professed Christians so indifferent to the welfare of their fellowmen, but that their love for comfort, their lust for place and for power, and their forgetfulness of the law of charity, have blinded them to the vision of their Father who is in heaven, and of their brothers with whom they share the dignity of redeemed humanity on earth?  Our profession of Christian brotherhood contrasts most unhappily with reality; conformity to the social pattern is accepted without demur as if it were compulsive; and grave injustices are overlooked as long as they only affect others and not ourselves. Little wonder that Christianity, established in this continent at the cost of so great sacrifice, is now in peril. 

So widespread appears to be the attitude of neglect of justice for others, that the apostle of racial justice in Southern Rhodesia is as lonely and suspect as the missionary who deals with primitive people who are the slaves of ancient tribal taboos. The doctrine of brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God, is thought fit for one section of the community only, but not for all, and the implications of the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ are deemed reasonable enough as long as they do not interfere with the accepted social and economic structure.

Prescinding entirely from the religious evils of such an outlook, what nonsense it makes in a world whose boundaries are rapidly contracting, and in which two out of every three people are non-white! Pushed to its logical extremity it can only mean that for one race there can be little future but to be wanderers on the face of a shrinking earth, for ever seeking segregated solitude and finding none.

A Moral Problem

This vast and complicated problem of social harmony, is not simply one of social adjustment but of social justice. It is essentially a moral problem, a problem of right and wrong. When fundamental human rights are denied to any people, simply because of their race, a grievous wrong is perpetrated, because, as we have indicated, man’s dignity is based on the respect which God has for his being; and his rights, arising solely from his relationship to his Creator, are anterior to and superior to all human legislation.

Though many fail to see it, or refuse through sheer selfishness to acknowledge it, the doctrine of racial superiority as taught and practised by many in this country, differs little in essence from that of the Nazis whom Pope Pius XI sternly rebuked in these words: “As God’s sun shines on all that bear human countenance, so does His law know no privileges or exceptions … Only superficial minds can make the mad attempt of trying to confine within the boundaries of a single people, within the narrow bloodstream of a single race, God the Creator of the world.”[6]

That people of one section of society should be considered unprepared to manage the affairs of a modern state, is no justification for regarding them as fundamentally inferior, and therefore to be deprived for all time, of the opportunity of advancing and learning the art of government by means of the same facilities that are offered to others. Members of all races are equally citizens of the State and must not be deprived of their social, economic and political rights and responsibilities, simply because of their racial origins.

Nor can good intentions and acts of personal kindness and generosity be regarded as any satisfactory substitute for justice and that full participation in society which justice demands. As Pope Pius XII has pointed out: “Charity can indeed remedy to a certain extent many unjust social conditions, but that is not enough, for in the first place, there must be justice which should prevail and be put into practice … What Christian and especially what priest could remain deaf to the heartfelt cries that call for justice and a spirit of  brotherly collaboration in a world made by a just God? Such silence would be culpable and unjustifiable before God.” [7]

Justice and the Natural Law

In regard to social injustices, it should be clearly understood that those laws of man which are in direct contradiction with the natural law, bear an initial defect that no violent means and no outward display of power can remedy. Nor can temporary expediency or apparent permanent utility justify them. There must be no confusion of what is useful with what is right. Man as a person, possesses God-given rights which must be preserved from all attacks aimed at denying, suppressing, or disregarding them. Unless this is recognised and accepted, and unless people of all races are readily regarded as men with equal fundamental rights, it is utterly useless and illusory to expect peace in this or in any other country. “He who would have the star of peace shine out and stand over society, must do all in his power to restore to the human person the dignity which God conferred upon him from the beginning; he must resist the excessive herding together of human beings, as though they were a soulless mass; he must set his face against their disintegration in economic, social, political, intellectual, and moral life; against their excessive reliance upon instinct and emotion, and against their fickleness of mood; he must favour, by all legitimate means and in every sphere of life, social forms which render possible and guarantee full personal responsibility in regard to things both temporal and spiritual …

“He must foster the observance and practical implementing of the following fundamental rights of the person: the right to maintain and develop physical, intellectual, and moral life, and in particular the right to a religious training and education; the right to worship God, both in private and in public, including the right to engage in religious works of charity; the right in principle, to marriage and to the attainment of the purpose of marriage; the right to wedded society and home life; the right to work, as an indispensable means for the maintenance of family life; the right to free choice of a state I life, and therefore of priestly and religious state; the right to a use of material goods, subject to its duties and to its social limitations.”[8]

The Four Integrities

As the Supreme Pontiff has pointed out, me, no matter what their racial origins or social condition or stage of cultural development, have God-given rights to full physical, moral, intellectual and social integrity.

1. Physical integrity

With regard to physical integrity, this means in practice that man must not be unfairly impeded in his legitimate search for food, clothing, shelter, just wages, decent working conditions, medical and hospital care, and adequate recreation. Especially does it that man must not be unfairly impeded from marriage and home life.

How far short of this ideal is the present state of many in this country! Wages are inadequate, housing conditions in many instances are unworthy of human beings, terms of employment are such that husbands are separated for long periods from their wives and families, and in many town locations and compounds, married quarters are so scarce that married workers pose as single men in order to find employment or accommodation. Even domestic servants have in actual practice little opportunity for family life and dare not complain for fear of dismissal. Such a state of affairs cries to heaven for vengeance, and even in the natural order, can only breed crime and chaos.

For far too long has this state of affairs been allowed to exist without protest and as if it were inevitable. Meanwhile, need we wonder if men confuse in their own minds, their wish for political independence, with a wholly admirable desire for economic and social betterment?

Need we wonder, either, if men are incited to subversive activity when there is such an obvious disparity in the quality and quantity of the land occupied by the two major racial groups in this country? The times are full of dangerous discontent, and a thorough land reform is urgently needed if we can ever even begin to hope for permanent peace. As the late Holy Father has said: “Among all the goods which may be the object of private ownership, none conforms more closely to nature than land … the homestead where the family lives and from whose fruits it derives, in whole or in part, its means of sustenance.” There must be made available to the majority at the earliest possible opportunity, much greater facilities for land and home ownership. There can be no stability in society while the few possess much, and the majority have little or nothing. Every effort should be made, while respecting the rights of ownership, to promote an equilibrium, even at the cost of sacrificing particular interests, for the sake of internal peace and healthy economy.

True, indeed, the civil authorities, particularly in recent times, have attempted and already effected many improvements in economic conditions. However, the motivating force for these improvements must be justice and not flabby philanthropy nor a desire to achieve greater productivity in the worker. But until this is understood and accepted by the electorate, not even with the best will in the world, can government bring about the radical changes which are urgently required. The principle which must be kept clearly in mind is this: “An immoral state of affairs exists when nationalism or race or economics or any other similar thing becomes the dominant norm of behaviour and is placed above man, considered as an individual or as a group.”[9]

Hear what the Supreme Pontiff, Pius XII, has to say in this matter: “The dignity of labour demands, not only a just wage, adequate to the needs of the worker and his family, but also the maintenance and development of a social order which will render possible and secure a portion of private property, however modest, for all sections of the community; which will favour a higher education for children of the working classes who are exceptionally intelligent and well disposed; and which will promote and give effect to a practical social spirit in the neighbourhood, in the district and throughout the nation, thus mitigating hostility between various classes and interests, and giving to the workers, instead of a feeling of isolation from their own fellow men, the comforting experience of a truly human solidarity and Christian brotherhood.”[10]

2. Moral integrity

Every man irrespective of his race or social condition has a God-given right to know God and His will. This means that he has a right to religious and moral education, a right to worship God in accordance with his conscience, and a right to share with others the opportunity for advancing in the spiritual life.

There is great danger of these rights being overlooked or denied in a world which neglects God. We must always bear in mind, realising that however difficult it may be to live a full Christian life in the neo-pagan atmosphere which pervades this country, we Catholics have a grave obligation in conscience, to proclaim and protect these rights both for ourselves and for fellow men.

Can we say in truth that the majority of people in Southern Rhodesia enjoy such rights and that they are not constantly precluded by the very conditions of their employment from exercising them? How many employer ever considers them in regard to their servants? And remember, it is noticed and commented on, particularly by the African people who are religious by tradition, and have very clear concepts of the Supreme Being and of their obligation to worship.

Can you blame them for regarding Christianity as a mere external thing, little influencing the lives of men, when they see it, certainly as regards public worship or social justice? Little wonder that so many are tempted in their own hearts, or are urged on by others, to reject Christianity entirely.

3. Intellectual integrity

Every man irrespective of his race or social condition has a right to intellectual training in accordance with his capacity and the opportunities offered, and distributive justice demands that there be equitable division of public grants among the different kinds of schools. To deny educational opportunity to one section of the community, while extending it to another, is irrational and consequently morally reprehensible. Neither is it morally justifiable solely for reasons of racial origins, to segregate one section of the community from another for educational purposes.

In this regard, it should be remembered that children are not normally race conscious, and therefore the divisions and bitterness which appear once they begin to go to school, must largely be ascribed to the indoctrination of parents or others, whose admonitions, if based solely on race or colour, do a grave injustice and preclude any possibility of lasting peace in the years ahead.

We earnestly recommend that as quickly as possible, every prudent care be taken to remove from our schools the stigma of segregation, and that in order that the least possible hardship be spared the children concerned, such integration might at least begin with the higher classes, where pupils have already proved their ability and where the language barrier is less likely to provide difficulty.

In the unembittered spirit of emulation in the schools, the future leaders and the future ordinary citizens of the nation can best recognise and learn to accept the varying talents they have received from God. Without such opportunity, jealousies and discord and unfounded suspicions can only flourish.

However, it should be borne in mind, particularly by those who have recently come to understand the benefits of formal education, that the truly educated man is a humble man; he has learned to know how much there is still to be learnt; he does not despise those who have not had the same opportunity as he; he respects the talents of others, though these may not be of such a high degree as his own; he still regards manual labour as an honourable occupation; and above all, he understands that mere book-learning is valueless without judgement, and is no substitute at all for virtue.

4. Social integrity

Finally, in regard to social integrity, every man irrespective of his racial origins or cultural development, has a God-given right to live in peace as a fully accepted member of society.

He has a right to associate in harmony with his neighbours and make friends where friendship is welcomed. There should be no question of degrees of citizenship; no legislation bolstering up the notion that there can be citizens of the first or second class, some with more civic and political rights, some with less, simply because of colour or race. Until this is fully recognised, enshrined in a juridical constitution and put into daily practice, there cannot possibly be any hope of real and lasting peace in this country.

It will be useful to record the words of Pope XII in regard to the importance of a juridical constitution for achieving and perpetuating social harmony. He says: “The modern idea of justice is often corrupted by a positivist and utilitarian theory and practice, subservient to the interests of particular groups, sections, and movements; the course of legislation and the administration of justice being dictated by their policies. This state of affairs can be remedied only by awakening the human conscience to the need of a juridical constitution based upon God’s sovereign lordship and immune from human caprice; a constitution which will use its coercive authority to protect the inviolable rights of man against the aggression of any human power … This supposes:

  1. a tribunal and a judge taking their direction from law clearly defined;
  2. clear legal principles which cannot be upset by unwarranted appeals to a supposed popular sentiment or by merely utilitarian considerations;
  3. the recognition of the principle that the State also, and the officials and organisations dependent upon the State, are under the obligation of revising and withdrawing such measures as are incompatible with the liberty, the honour, the advancement, or the welfare of individuals”.[11]

 

Benefits of Ownership

In any attempt to plan for social harmony it should be constantly borne in mind, that where men are owners and have something concrete to defend, they are more likely to be imbued with civic sense and corporate responsibility. The law should favour ownership and freedom to live where one wills, and its policy should induce as many as possible to become owners and builders of homes where materially and morally wholesome family life can be lived to the full.

  Importance of the Family

It is through the family and the holy institution of matrimony that human life is normally preserved. Public authority, therefore, must repress everything that may endanger the law of transmission of life through the family. The obligation should be shared by all who have the interests of the community at heart. Professional men in particular, and especially doctors and lawyers have notable responsibilities in this regard, because every attack on the unity, the stability, the fecundity, and the prosperity of the family is an attack on society itself. Unfortunately, such is the mood of contemporary society, that little is done and no voice is raised to defend the institution of the family or the sacredness of marriage. The normal sacrifices and difficulties which parents are faced with in rearing their families, are greatly increased in these days when innocent children are subjected to the corrupting influences of suggestive literature, plays and films. The minds of adolescents and their esteem for personal purity and the high and holy purposes of the married state, are also gravely menaced by immoral propaganda and by the ease with which contraceptives are advertised and obtained. Such manifestations of decadence in this or in any other country, make fatuous all declarations and protestations about the limitless future of greatness which lies before the people. Nations can only perish when they deliberately frustrate the law of nature, God’s law, and when selfishness and licence determine human conduct.

We earnestly exhort parents and those who consider embracing the holy vocation of matrimony, to consider well the responsibilities they assume, and to remember that they best serve God and their country, who jealously defend the integrity of family life.

Human life is the highest earthly wealth, and this above all, public authority has the right and duty to defend. Any sound policy in regard to population, must above all, be a family policy. It is the duty of the State to pursue such a policy, bearing in mind also that there can be little hope of making it successful, while social conditions are such that mothers of families are compelled to seek gainful employment outside the home.

Nationalism

The prevalence of the evils which we have enumerated, is itself enough to create conditions inimical to peace in any country; but here in Southern Rhodesia the position has been much more complicated by the emergence of African nationalism in our midst. Since so many of our African Catholics have asked for direction in this important matter, let the following be noted:

The State, which is made up of a community, a territory, and an authority, is sovereign in the sense that it has full authority to maintain peace within its frontiers. Such authority is indispensable in any society, and since it therefore proceeds from nature, it has its origins in God Himself. He bears authority is appointed by God to serve the people. Public service, therefore, the promotion of the common good, is both the reason for the authority of the civil power and defines its limits. Where authority is legitimately and justly exercised, with equality towards all and favouritism towards none, resistance to it is resistance to the order established by the Almighty God. This, of course, means that there be of necessity two classes, the rulers and the ruled. There is nothing intrinsically wrong in being ruled. True freedom is not license. True freedom is to be ruled – WITH JUSTICE. Justice is the determining factor, and its fruit is peace. Where justice is flabby or faulty, peace can never be hoped for.

Again, legitimacy of power is not bound up by Providence with any one form of government or with any political party. Catholics, like other citizens, have full liberty to prefer one form of government to another, provided these are not contrary to the rule of right reason or to the maxims of Christian teaching. However, although they have liberty of choice in the matter, this does not mean that they have a right to live in indifference. On the contrary, they have a duty of exercising conscientiously the duties assigned to them.

Each one therefore, ought to accept the established government and use only legal means to change its form, should such extreme action be considered necessary. It must never be forgotten that only an insupportable tyranny or flagrant violation of the most obvious essential rights of the citizens, can give, after every other means of redress have failed, the right to revolt against the legitimate authority. On the other hand, it is permissible to bring influence to bear on the government and if needs be, to replace it, by using every means which the constitution or the law allows.

It must not be imagined that the authority of the State is unlimited and independent of all higher law. The State is subject to the same moral law and to the same rule of justice as are individuals. Moreover, the human person has rights antecedent to and above all positive laws, and these rights it is the duty of public authority to promote, - remembering that respect for the rights of individuals and groups, promotes the well-being of all.

Not only must legitimate authority, justly exercised, protect personal liberty, but, - and this must never be forgotten, - it must also guard against the misuse of liberty itself.

For instance, there is flagrant denial of individual liberty when violence or threats are used to compel individuals to join any organisation or any political movement; or within the membership of such movement, to perform actions which are morally wrong. Such acts of intimidation are unfortunately all too common in our midst, and although they have been repudiated by the responsible leaders, they continue to take place, and constitute in this country an unexampled tyranny which gives little confidence for the future. They are wholly and entirely reprehensible and we cannot too strongly condemn them.

As far as such acts of intimidation are concerned, it must not be alleged by way of exculpation, that ultimately they may achieve a good purpose. Evil may never be countenanced that good may come of it, - not even the good, real or illusory, of political independence. In like manner it is true that there is no moral justification  whatsoever, for the actions of those who for reasons of imagined racial superiority, would deny the franchise to those capable of exercising it, in order that authority may remain for all time in the hands of people of one race. Once again, evil may never be permitted that good, real or imagined, may come from it. Pope Pius XII made this eminently clear when he said: “Likewise to be banned is the theory which claims for a particular nation, or race, or class, a juridical instinct against whose law and command there is no appeal”. [12]

Nationalism and Colonialism

We have frequently been asked to speak on the question of nationalism, and we cannot do better than quote the following: “We should not confuse national life in the proper sense, with nationalistic politics. The former, as Pope Pius XII said in his Christmas Message of 1954, is the right and prized possession of a nation, which may and should be promoted; the other, as a germ infinitely harmful, will never be sufficiently repelled. The nationalist state is the seed of rivalries and the fomenter of discord [13]

The reason for this is, of course, that the nationalist state opts out, as it were, of the human family, and concerned exclusively with its own affairs, recks nothing of the welfare of other nations in the common family of man.

As far as African nationalism is concerned, the following holds good: “If nationalism as it manifests itself here among the African people, means the desire of that people to participate fully in the life and development of their country; if it means a will to hold on to the things which they believe to have a traditional and cultural value and which are not contrary to the Moral Law; if it means refusal to be stripped of their ancient character and turned out in mass-production, de-characterised and presented to the world as ersatz Europeans; or if it means a sincere and simple wish to be regarded by all and to be treated by the State as equal citizens and not as second-class citizens, then obviously such aspirations are beyond reproach and the Church must support them.”

“If on the other hand, nationalism, - African or any other, - means simply xenophobia, fear or hatred of anything foreign, or if it means the permanent domination of one race over another at any cost, the Church cannot ever approve it”.[14]

From all this it is perfectly clear that there is a true and a false nationalism, a true and a false patriotism, and we must be careful to distinguish between the one and the other, keeping in mind the reality daily becoming more apparent, of the family of nations, and resolutely rejecting the iniquitous doctrine expressed in the phrase: “My country, right or wrong”.

Colonialism True and False

And as there is true and false nationalism, so too there is true and false colonialism. Do not be among the number of those who refusing to exercise their native intelligence, accept as incontrovertible the popular catch-cries and inflammable words and slogans which appeal to unthinking mobs.

The methodical action of an organised people towards another whose development is evidently insufficient, or similar action upon a vacant territory, - that work which we call ‘colonisation’, is not of its very nature an evil thing, as many are led to suppose. Rather, it is a work of civilisation, because it involves, or at least should involve, the religious, intellectual, moral and vocational training of the local undeveloped people, or the appraisal and harnessing and making available to the rest of the world, the untapped natural resources of an unoccupied territory. There is nothing reprehensible in such action, but rather everything that is praiseworthy, provided that in all circumstances the right of sovereignty of the indigenous rulers and the property rights of their people are respected, and provided also that “there be not any exploitation of the country, of such kind as would destroy or impoverish it or lead to the establishment of exclusive privileges for the colonisers, to the detriment of the indigenous people”.[15]

Temptations to Infidelity

It seems appropriate here, while speaking of these difficult matters, to warn our African people against the specious enticements held out to them in the name of nationalism and urging them for the hope of achieving political independence, to renounce the Christian faith – as if there were a necessary incompatibility between true love of one’s country and Christianity. Here let us say first of all, that we have no greater consolation in our pastoral ministry than the reverence and understanding with which our African people receive the doctrines of the Faith and zealously hand them on to others. Such is our confidence in their fidelity, that we can say, even to those whom misguided zeal of human frailty have led into the tempter’s hands: “How long do you halt between two sides? If the Lord be God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him” [16]

Secondly, the Church does not prefer one country to another, does not love one people more than another, is not concerned with upholding one form of government rather than another. It teaches all men to love their country, and while extolling the virtue of patriotism, tries to show that while each nation must defend its own rights and accept its own obligations, it must have respect for the rights and obligations of other nations in the common family of man. Especially does the Church instruct its missionaries that they concern themselves only with the salvation of souls. The following words of Pope Benedict XV, addressed to missionaries of the universal Church in 1919, are typical of the advice given by the Supreme Pontiffs in every age: “ ‘Forget your people and your father’s house’, remember that you are not to propagate the kingdom of men, but that of Christ; that you are not to enrol citizens into any country of this world, but that of the next. It would be regrettable indeed, were any of the missionaries to be so forgetful of their dignity as to think more of their heavenly country and were too much bent upon extending its earthly glory and power.”

The Holy Father continues and says that if any missionary appears “to further the interests of his own country, people will at once suspect his intentions and may be led to believe that the Christian religion is the exclusive property of some foreign nation; that the adherence to this religion implies submission to a foreign country and the loss of one’s own national dignity.” Instead, the ideal of every missionary should be to bear in mind always “that he is the ambassador not of his own country but of Christ”. [17]

Finally, Catholics in nearly every age have been faced with the same dilemma of choosing between loyalty to the Church and false loyalty to a political creed. In our own days when such pernicious doctrines sought to encourage men to leave the Church and embrace the teachings of National Socialism, the then reigning Pontiff, Pope Pius XI, spoke words which in their measure we may now address to you: “With cloaked and with manifest methods of coercion, by intimidation, by holding out the prospect of economic, professional, civic and other advantages, the loyalty of Catholics and especially of certain classes of Catholic officials, to their faith, is put under a pressure that is as unlawful as it is unworthy of human beings. All Our fatherly sympathy and deepest condolence We offer to those who pay so high a price of their fidelity to Christ and the Church. But here we reach a point of supreme importance, when it is a question of safety or destruction, and where, consequently, for the believer, the way of heroic fortitude is the only way of salvation. When the tempter or oppressor comes to him with the Judas-like suggestion to leave the Church, then, even at the cost of heavy, earthly sacrifices, he can only reply in the words of the Saviour: ‘Go away, Satan, for it is written: The Lord thy God thou shalt adore and Him only shalt thou serve!’ But to the Church he will say: ‘Thou my Mother from the days of my childhood, my comfort in life, my intercessor in death, may my tongue cleave to my palate, if I, yielding to earthly enticements or threats, should turn traitor to the promises of my Baptism.’ But those who think that they can continue outward leaving of the Church with inward loyalty to the Church, let the Saviour’s words be earnest warning: ‘He that shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father Who is in heaven’”. [18]

Conclusion

Some may find in this instruction, as they found even in Our Lord’s teaching, hard sayings, and may be tempted “to walk no more with Him”. For such we pray that Our Divine Lord Himself may enlighten their minds and touch their hearts and fill them with the divine gift of Faith, so that, “doers of the word and not hearers only”, by the example of their sacrifice and obedience, they may bring down upon this country and on all its people the peace that is born of justice.

  • Francis W. Markall S.J., Archbishop of Salisbury
  • Aloysius Haene S.M.B., Bishop of Gwelo
  • Adolf Schmitt C.M.M., Bishop of Bulawayo
  • Donal R. Lamont O. Carm., Bishop of Umtali
  • Dominic Ros S.M.I., Prefect Apostolic of Wankie