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“Purchased People”(1 Peter, 2:9)

“Purchased People”(1 Peter, 2:9)
Pastoral Instruction of the Right Rev. Donal Raymond Lamont, O. Carm., Bishop of Umtali, to the Catholics of that Diocese

The unhappy events of the past months and the conflicting opinions which have resulted from them, urge me as your Bishop, to direct to you, the Faithful of the Diocese of Umtali, the following instruction:

Teaching Authority of Bishops

At what was probably the most critical moment of His life, when Our Divine Lord stood in judgement before Pilate, the representative of the greatest civil power on earth, He described His teaching mission in these words: “For this was I born and for this came I into the world, that I should give testimony to the truth” (John. 18:37). That same mission He later confided to His Apostles telling them: “As the Father hath sent me, I also send you” (John 20:21). Finally, his last command to them before His ascension, was that they should go and teach all nations, in the confidence that He would be with them always, guiding, instructing and comforting them, till the world itself should cease to be (Matt.27:19).
The Bishops of the Church united under the leadership of the successor of St. Peter, are themselves corporately the successors of the Apostolic College and inherit its authority. They must teach, govern in the things spiritual, and administer the patrimony of sanctification committed to them by the Author of all sanctity Himself. They must feed their flock with the word of truth, preaching it in season and out of season, reproving, entreating, rebuking, in all patience, and doctrine (2 Tim. 4:2).
In the fulfilment of his teaching office, a Bishop must always bear in mind that the message confided to him is not his to modify or dilute, or least of all, to silence. “That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops. And fear ye not them that kill the body and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt.10:27). No wonder the terrifying words of St Paul re-echo in the heart of every Bishop from the day of his appointment: “For if I preach the Gospel, it is no glory to me, for a necessity lieth upon me: for woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16.) Preach the Bishop must; not permitting himself to be silenced by merely human fears or temporal considerations; not watering down his message for the sake of spurious peace, or loss of friendship with any worldly authority, or possibility of being deliberately misinterpreted by wicked men. “Everyone that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father Who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father Who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32,33).
It would constitute the most dreadful apostasy were a Bishop to fail in the teaching mission entrusted to him, seeking to come to terms with the spirit of worldliness, taking secularism and materialism for granted, and attempting co-existence with a Godless world. Terrible beyond all describing would it be, if so forgetting his apostolic heritage, he were to forget also the supra-national quality of the Church, its divine promise of  indefectibility, its nature as the Mystical Body of Christ, its timelessness, its divinely guaranteed permanence, its dowry of suffering and persecution, and allow it to become the willing servant of any political party or of other temporal power.
No, the Church through her Bishops must speak, no matter what the fears, what the opposition, what the criticism. Unless she does, the notion of Almighty God’s having anything to do in the affairs of nations and of individuals, may be lost, and the ideal of a social order based on the Christian principles of justice and charity, may be abandoned as an unrealistic, impractical, and visionary illusion.
There are some who sturdily resent the miraculous existence of the Church; more who refuse to recognise it; others who would confine all activity to the sacristy, demanding of the Church the subservience of silence in all public affairs. Yet oddly enough, it is precisely such people who most bitterly and vociferously condemn the Church for failing to influence profoundly our modern life.
States may persistently disregard or repudiate the rights of the spiritual power, rejecting its tutelage and claiming in their blindness absolute sovereignty; but whether they like it or not, the Church must insist on her imprescriptable right to intervene in temporal matters, insofar as these affect the spiritual order of salvation, e.g. the denouncing or avoiding of sin, the preservation of the order established by God, or the maintenance of her own liberty.
At this moment in the history of our country, when the future is being moulded for a multiracial community, when the spirit of the nation is yet young, and when the majority of its people are receiving for the first time the basic truths of Christianity and attempting to reconcile them with the secularist belief and behaviour which they see all about them, it is more than even necessary that I, your Bishop, should as far as is in my power, proclaim for you the teaching of the Church in all its extent and profundity, but especially in regard to those matters which immediately affect the relationship of one race of people to another.

The Fundamental Problem

The great problem which here and now confronts the Church in Southern Rhodesia, and indeed in the whole of Central Africa, is not simply that of solving racial difficulties or of reconciling the political aspirations of varied ethnic or national groups. The conflicts which these provide, are but manifestations of a much more deeply rooted and dangerous evil. What is really at the heart of the trouble is that God has been banished politely from public life, His eternal law has been quietly set aside, hesitant lip-service is paid to Him only, and thoughtless men attempt to order society without taking the Maker’s rules into account.
No less evil is the belief, so prevalent in many places, that Our Divine Lord is in some way to be dissociated and distinguished from His Church; that He is, at most, a mere historical figure long separated from the world, that He has no care for men, except insofar as long ago He gave to mankind an admittedly admirable code of behaviour, which however ‘impractical and idealistic’ it may be, nevertheless represents high ethical standards. The living Christ, today present in His Church, fulfilling His promise ever to be with it, speaking through His Vicar on earth, teaching with unerring voice imperishable truths, - all this has been forgotten, or derided, or politely disregarded, and as a consequence, fickle men with no immutable principles to assist them, make expediency their law, and their beliefs become as variable as the wind. Our civilisation, forgetting the religious beliefs on which it is founded, and mesmerised by the brilliance of its scientific and technical achievements, has rejected the moral force which science is unable to supply, and can only end in chaos if it does not return to traditional Christianity.
It is difficult to exaggerate the extent and gravity of the dangers to society once it rejects religion, because man’s religion and that of society itself, represents his basic attitude to life and his notion of what all things are. It is the great dynamic of social life and the source of all true cultural progress. Once religion goes from public life, society loses its vitality and social decay sets in; law itself becomes a lawless thing; legal positivism takes the place of divine ordinance; public men forget that they are responsible to God for their official actions, and confusion becomes inevitable.
It would seem that such a sad condition of affairs threatens to exist here in Southern Rhodesia, and that if it be not seriously and summarily rejected, there can be no hope of real co-operation between the different racial groups in this potentially great land. Men must so learn the truths of Christianity that they shall be doers of the word and not hearers only (Ja. 1:22). The moral idealism of the Christian must be strengthened or revivified. His faith in the practical possibility of Christian living must be restored, because Our Divine Lord’s doctrine of justice and charity can alone provide the basis for mutual understanding and ultimate peace. That doctrine has in other ages proved successful in reconciling the varied social conditions of men, has civilised barbarous races, has made clear how master and servant can live in the peace of one great Christian family. That doctrine has lost nothing of its original power for good, and if put into daily practice, can accomplish as much today as it did in past ages.

The Family of Nations

One of the chief causes of conflict between nations is that once they ceased to be God-conscious, they not only forget their common origin in creation, but they lose also the vision of God’s Fatherhood of men and the notion of the family quality of the nations themselves. That nation should war against nation, race struggle against race, is then accepted as a natural thing, and something to be expected, and not rather as humiliating and unnatural as would be open dissension between members of one family. The idea of family responsibility among the nations has been neglected. That one nation should be bound either in justice or in charity, or by both, to assist its brother nation in need, lifting it up in poverty or degradation, sharing its material or cultural wealth with its poorer or unprivileged family relative, because of the family relationship in God, - all this has long ago been forgotten by the generality of men, and must be taught anew.
Not only this, but in the Christian ethos, man has a further and more individual obligation towards his fellows, because the heart of Our Divine Lord’s teaching is the revelation of the paternity of God of an altogether special kind. It is not only a collective paternity such as was acknowledged by the Chosen Race, but an intimate and personal relationship, in virtue of which each of us may call God ‘Our Father’, and are brothers in Christ, one to another. All this has been accomplished by “the one Mediator of God and men, the Man, Christ Jesus, Who gave himself a redemption for all” (1Tim. 2:5), and thus gathered us up in adopted sonship in such mysterious way that the Apostle Paul could say: “You are now the body of Christ and members of member” (1 Cor. 12:27) and could urge that there be no want of unity between us, but that we should be “mutually careful one for the other” (1 Cor. 12:25).
This personal yet social and community character of redeemed man, our membership one with another in the Mystical Body of Christ, we must ever keep before us if we would order our lives in peace; for Our Divine Lord did not come on earth merely to reveal methods of obtaining a better understanding between man and man, considered separately one from the other, no more than He came merely to enunciate principles of descent behaviour, or to establish His Church as an extrinsic aid or court of appeal in moments of difficulty. No. He came to complete our family relationship with our Heavenly Father in the living family which is the Church.

The Dignity of the Human Person

This belief in our common membership of God’s family of men, involves a daily and vivid realisation of the natural dignity of the human person; because, remember this, the doctrine of the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God, is not simply a silly sentimental idea, but a plain fact based on reason. And this fact alone should be sufficient in itself to increase our regard for one another, even if we had not the more noble and compelling motives of Christianity to encourage us. Just think of it: so earth-bound in vision and materialistic in aim have men become, that they have ceased to marvel at the miracle which man of his very nature is. A renewing and vitalising sense of wonder and regard for the natural dignity of every human person, irrespective of his condition in life, must be thoroughly developed in each of us, if we are to live in a real world and not in a world of fantasy created by created by our own irrational prejudices. Justice demands it. Truth requires it. Peace can come from it.
No wonder men have little regard for one another, when they have lost all sense of their own even natural protection! The more delicate and intricate a piece of machinery, the more we care for it and esteem it. How much more regard should be given to man as man, the maker of such things, whose form and faculty of such excellence that he bridges the gap between the limitless world of spirit and that of sense, and by his Creator’s will, reduces the intelligible chaos of the world to reason and order!
Here in Central Africa, we need, first of all, just this: an appreciation of the natural dignity of man in his quality of rational and free being.
But this is only a beginning. Of immeasurably great importance is it that the light of Faith should fill our eyes, and that we should learn to look on ourselves and on our neighbours every one, as the friends of Our Divine Lord. This above all, gives men their real dignity, because since Calvary and the Resurrection, they know that they are no longer made for this world and no longer fit into it; that they are no more mere creatures, but by Baptism the adopted sons of God, brothers of Christ and heirs of Heaven. Such is our greatness, so boundless the love of our Creator for us, that we are in the words of the Prince of the Apostles “a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people”(1Pet. 2:9).
Should not reason and justice and every noble instinct of civilised man, and particularly of every Christian man, rebel at the thought of despising or branding with a stigma of inferiority, our neighbour with whom we share so much in common? In this regard, we cannot do better than to quote the words of our late Holy Father, Pope Pius XII. Writing on the unity of the human race, he 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’ (Eph. 4:6). 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 us to reach that end at last.
“The Apostle of the Gentiles proves that the unity of the human family from those links which bind us to Him Who is the image of the invisible God, Jesus Christ, in Whom ‘all things were made’ (Col. 1:16). He proves it from the fact of our common Redemption; telling us how Christ through His bitter Passion restored us to God’s friendship, as it had been ours at first, and reconciled God to men: ‘there is only one God, and only one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus’ (1 Tim. 2:5).
“And He, that same negotiator of all our peace and salvation, when He was preparing to make the supreme sacrifice of Himself, uttered in the silence of the Cenacle some words which were designed to draw the bond of friendship closer between God and the human race; words which, echoing down the centuries from those sacred lips of His, spur on our hearts, unloving as they are and soiled with hatreds, to heroic deeds of charity, ‘This is my commandment, that you should love one another as I have loved you’ (John 15:12)”.
Yet in spite of this, in spite of this divine commandment, such is the world’s forgetfulness of God, that men look down on, and treat with contempt, and persecute, and deny ordinary justice to their fellow men, and continue to call themselves Christians. How far have we fallen from the primitive practice of the Church which made the heathens cry out in admiration: “Behold these Christians, how they love one another!”.

Rejection of the Natural Law

It is not surprising that having turned away from God, men should then have rejected His eternal Law and its manifestation in human nature, which we call Natural Law. Until this one universal standard of morality is put back in its place of honour, all human legislation must be rendered nugatory. Bereft of its guidance, both private life and the condition of society itself become chaotic, because all other laws for man’s conduct must first accord with this primal law, and any positive ordinance which offends against it, cannot be regarded as binding in conscience. Wherever the genius of law seeks out its origins, there it will find Natural Law. There can be no justice, no true freedom without it, for freedom consists in being ruled with justice. And since justice is only possible by observing the Natural Law, all so-called laws which reject it as a basis, are bound to fail. As a modern philosopher puts it: “The Natural Law always buries its undertakers”.
Arising from this neglect of Natural Law and the consequent ignorance of the kind of being man is, come equally disastrous errors regarding human rights, and a failure to distinguish between those rights which are fundamental and those which are contingent or secondary. Nothing but confusion prevails in this realm of thought here in Central Africa, with the result that grave injustices are inflicted and prolonged on whole groups of people, family life is disrupted, the liberty of the individual is needlessly constrained, uninstructed masses are confused about what is their duty and what is their due, and legislators themselves, with no very clear idea of the essential nature of man or of his destiny, and with no unalterable principles to guide them, enact measures so ill-considered and immature, that they make a mockery of justice itself.
It will be useful to our purpose to remember that rights are the result of obligation. In the realm of human conduct, this means that since man must live according to the nature which God has given him, he must not be deprived of those facilities which are essential to this end. Such facilities, or rights, as we may call them, a fundamental and primary. As social conditions change, and according to the political milieu in which he lives, other so-called rights may enter in, e.g. in the democratic system, the right to vote. This, however, is not truly a fundamental right at all, but at the most, a secondary or contingent one.
Failure to anchor positive legislation on to Natural Law, to realise the source of natural rights, and to distinguish between their degrees, can do irreparable harm to any society, and can destroy any possibility of peaceful co-existence between people of different cultures or of varying degrees of culture or of different racial origins. And this is so, because morality is a higher norm than the positive law of man, since it consists in preserving the hierarchy of being established by the Creator. It involves as of necessity, the giving of the human person all that belongs to him by right so that he may develop his natural genius; and it also includes the due recognition of the complementary character of Family, State and Church, under the supreme dominion of God Who is the Author of each. From this it follows, that 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.

The Clash of Nationalisms

The problem of the relations between peoples of different civilisations or of unequal degrees of civilisation, is of the gravest moment to the Church, since Christianity is primarily a missionary religion. It is practical problem too, in a more than ordinary sense, here in Southern Rhodesia, where the African people, hitherto used to another form of social organisation and to the simplest material standard of living, lacking science, literature, and the art of mechanical devices, are confronted with a totally new order of things, altogether centuries in advance of anything they ever previously knew.
This meeting of two races so greatly differing in their degrees of development, and in the condition of ruler and ruled, could not but bring in its train, problems of the most profound complexity. The normal difficulties involved in working out a peaceful way of living between them, would provide trouble enough for the most skilled legislators; but these problems whose solution has frequently been, and in recent times, more diligently sought, have been heightened and intensified, not only by disregard of the principles inherent in Natural Law, but also by the sudden appearance of the unbridled nationalism of race, as represented by groups of extremist Africans and no less extremist Europeans.
It must be said that reports of the conflict between the races have been greatly exaggerated both within the country and abroad. In practice, there is, thanks be to God, a very remarkable degree of harmony in the everyday relationships between the African and the European. The recent appeal to extremism and to the true use of force on the part of some Africans, is probably not of local origin, for it is something quite alien to this patient and peace-loving people. Moreover, it is unrepresentative both of the masses themselves and of the more advanced and responsible elements among them. It is an importation, a manifestation of a wider movement which has already appeared in other parts of the continent, and which may conveniently be termed Pan-Africanism. Its basis is the desire of the awakening African people to take over government from the European colonial powers, and to achieve independence everywhere in the continent. Whether this desire is itself a natural growth or whether it has been inspired and sponsored by external agencies, has, as we have suggested, not yet been clearly established. But the fact of the appearance and development of a new national spirit among many of the African people, hitherto apparently indifferent to its appeal, is something which cannot be denied.

Nationalism True and False

In order to obtain some clarity in the matter, it will be useful to keep in mind the real distinction which exists between the State and the Nation. They are not synonymous terms, but are distinguished by the end to which each is adapted. The purpose or end of the State is the establishment and preservation of order, for the benefit of the community; that of the Nation, is the development of a people’s national personality.
Again, 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”.
If nationalism as it manifests itself here among the African people, means the desire of that people to participate fully in the life and in the 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 a 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, hatred of anything foreign, or if it means the permanent domination of one race over another at any cost, the Church cannot ever approve of it. There is much evidence to show that Pan-Africanism is of this kind and that the African National Congress is infected by such errors. Both these movements show little interest in preserving the true and positive values of African culture and society; instead, they encourage race hatred and are segregationist in essence. Such nationalism, or any other which is based simply on race or colour, must be condemned, because it denies the common origin of man, his solidarity in nature and in redemption, and because it denies the fact of the family quality of the nations themselves.
Nevertheless, it must not be forgotten either, that the desire of a national group to be free from subjection to a foreign ruler, is a most legitimate one, provided that it can be achieved without any violation of justice; for justice forbids rebellion against duly constituted authority which has not forfeited its mandate by a grave abuse of its power. Of such laudable wish for freedom, Pope Pius XII said in his memorable encyclical Fidei Donum: “Would that a just and progressive political freedom be not denied to those people who aspire to it, and that no obstacle be set in the way”.

Extreme Means of Redress

In this regard it should be remembered that any organised attempt to overthrow a legally constituted government can only be justified by the presence of the three following conditions:
  1.  If there be on the part of the government, grave and prolonged violation of the rights of the subject.
  2.  If all constitutional methods of obtaining redress have been seriously tired and have failed.
  3. If there be a reasonable prospect of success and of setting up an objectively better government; because unless there be, the common good demands that civil war be averted.

Rights of Indigenous Primitive People

Just as rebellion against dully constituted authority is forbidden unless these conditions are fulfilled, so too it should be borne in mind that it is not only foolish but equally wrong for a colonising Power to neglect the legitimate aspirations of the subject people. No matter what the social condition of those people may have been; irrespective of their ignorance or the sciences and the arts; even though they may have had the lowest standards of private and public morality, these people still have the fundamental character of men, and still possess the rights which come to them from the Natural Law. They have a natural right to life, to freedom of movement, to the development of their faculties, to association with their fellows, and to all those other things which are essential to human living. Moreover, even though as far as growth in civilisation is concerned, they may be regarded as ‘children’, they still have, just as minors can have, ‘dominium’, rights of ownership. From this it follows that any violent seizure of territory which was at the time inhabited and cultivated by a native tribe and subject to the authority of its rulers, constitute unjust aggression. Furthermore, any exploitation of the country, of such a kind as would destroy or impoverish it or lead to the establishment of exclusive privileges for the mew-comer to the detriment of the indigenous people, or which would entail a humiliating or injurious alienation of sovereignty, is equally without moral justification.

Prescriptive Right of Colonial Power

Again, even in the case of unjust conquest by a usurping Power, if the new rulers do in fact fulfil the functions of government and administration; and if through custom and lapse of time and the tacit consent of the governed, their so-called authority remains questioned, the principle of prescription may be applied and although the new rulers have objectively no true claim to the allegiance of the people, rebellion even against that imperfect authority is still unjustifiable, unless the conditions for it, as already described, are simultaneously fulfilled.

Nationality not Paramount

Nevertheless, although the rights inherent in nationality are real, the claims of nationality are not paramount. The different nations are all members of the one human family of God, and while each has the right to freedom and to its individual development, this right must be co-ordinated with and subordinated to the rights of the other nations. The claims of a universal human society must be preferred to those of any one nation, just as the greater good is to be preferred to the particular. In other words, the fact of the family quality of the nations must ever be borne in mind.

Benevolent Colonialism

It should be particularly borne in mind by colonising Powers, because if their primary intention be not to destroy the existing society of the indigenous people, but to prepare them for self-government; and if they aim to bring the benefits of their own civilisation to an unprivileged people in an undeveloped country; and if in the administration of justice they are truly impartial and consistently remember that their power is tutelary, and that they act towards the indigenous people as elder brothers in the human family, they can even perform a great work of charity by so colonising. Nor should it be forgotten, that as from nature, men still have the right of acquisition by the first comer, to territory which either unclaimed and full of potential wealth or sparsely inhabited by nomadic tribes who have no intention of remaining there permanently; and men still have the right, as from nature, to travel and trade and settle, and to have a share in those good things of the earth which are not already the property of others.
Where the occupation of such unclaimed and undeveloped countries is legitimate, as in the manner described, the occupying Power is thereafter justified in introducing laws calculated to raise the standards, social, political, and intellectual, of the native people. But it must ever bear in mind that such reforms must be directed to the good of the governed, and it must try to harmonise their rights with the legitimate needs of the new comers, and never seek to benefit these latter to the detriment of the former. Again, it must not introduce anything which disrupts tribal life, without putting anything better in its place. On the contrary, it must respect the national character, the native language, and every tradition which is not in conflict with the Moral Law. Finally, it must bear in mind that all innovations must be directed to preparing the indigenous people for the responsibilities consequent on their taking full part in the government of the country. Such preparation cannot be accomplished overnight; it may even take some generations, depending in great measure on the natural disposition of the people; but with charity, justice, and Christian education, it can confidently be hoped for.

African Change of Outlook

If we are to achieve permanent conditions of peace in this country, not only must the principles which we have here enunciated, be promptly and universally applied,, but as a necessary concomitant, the attitudes of both European and African must undergo radical change.
The African, for instance, must recognise in realistic humility, that however high his thoughts may aspire to complete independence, he is as yet equipped neither academically nor technically nor economically, to assume complete control of what is rapidly becoming a highly complex and industrialised country. He must face the fact, that his European neighbour would appear to have at least prescriptive rights here, that he intends to remain, and that his presence is, for the moment at any rate, essential to the development of the country’s enormous potential. He must remember too, that in spite of the inequalities which operate against him, he is undoubtedly much better off here than he would be under any other of the colonial systems known in Africa, and that he certainly has infinitely more freedom now than he could ever hope to have under Communism, - the devil he does not know. He must recognise the truly marvellous advances which have been accomplished for his benefit by a succession of well-meaning governments; the very substantial sums spent annually on education, housing, land conservation, health services, communications, and the like. He must not lose confidence, but firmly believe that by the use of constitutional means, and with the assistance of growing numbers of sympathetic and influential Europeans in Rhodesia, he will even more quickly than he imagines, obtain full social, political, and economic opportunity. He must beware of unscrupulous agitators, rejecting their lies and exaggerations, and learn to think for himself, and to think for the future of his children, so that for these at least, he may demand and obtain, not superfluities, but the essential things, especially a thoroughly Christian education, which will fit them for responsibility and thus to enable them to play a full part in the government of their country. He must recognise that though we have the same human nature, we have not all the same natural talents, nor the same background; that even among Europeans there are very different social strata and degrees of intellectual capacity and conditions of wealth. Finally, he must bear in mind that the Church, guardian and defender of the weak and the unprivileged, will always support him in his legitimate grievances, will never attempt to de-nationalise him, but will make him a better African by making him a thorough Christian. If his faith be great enough, he come to recognise God’s plan for him and will see, even in the colonialism which has not been too kind to him, the unsuspecting instrument of Providence, bringing him into the great one family which is the Church, and making possible for him the eternal happiness of Heaven.

European Change of Outlook

An equally comprehensive change of outlook must take place with the European too. Just as in the case of the African, into whom acrimony is instilled by a minority of articulate extremists, so too among the Europeans, the majority of whom are moderate and hopeful of muddling through to racial harmony, a by no means representative but vocal minority is responsible for much of the ill feeling that there is. This minority, basing its cause on the plea that control of the country must always remain in the hands of civilised persons, pervert that excellent sentiment into meaning that one race of people, their own, shall dominate for all time and at any cost. It refuses even to consider the possibility of the African’s being capable of intellectual progress or his being in any way capable of responsibility. In a frenzy of fear, such people speak of the Africans as being sub-human. Blind to historical possibility, they deny that had ever properly settled in Rhodesia before the coming of the white man. Provocative in the extreme, their attitude towards the African is that of the coward and the bully, - the bully with a bad conscience. Nor are they alone. Even more to be pitied are the more educated intransigants, whose defeatist, stockade mentality manifests the despair of an effete generation whose self-interest has blinded to all understanding of justice or tolerance.
Were the Almighty to punish such bigots by changing their racial characteristics, so that in colouring and in feature they should come to resemble the race which they despise and would hold in subjection, they would then quickly agree to forfeit their particularly presumed position of privilege. But the Almighty does not need such exceptional displays of His power. He does not need to change either skin or physiognomy. He knows too well that racial hatred bears within it the very sword that makes a slave of the oppressor, and time is on His side.
The treasured belief that they are a courageous, confident, virile, fair-minded, and adventurous people must surely be dismissed as an illusion, if the Europeans of this country are not prepared or are incapable of moderating their outlook, to meet the challenge of a changing world in which the barriers of space and time have so rapidly been broken down that men of different nations and of different racial origins are brought more quickly and closely together than ever before.

Function of the State

And as with the individual, so too in the trying times it is exceedingly important that the State examine carefully its function, and thence recognise its limitations. It has no real claim to absolute autonomy, nor can it in justice sponsor or serve the interests of one particular race or group of people to the detriment of another. It must sere the common good, by recognising and promoting the hierarchy of being established by the Creator, giving to every human person his natural dignity and his inalienable rights, remembering the unity in nature and in ultimate destiny of the whole human family. Only when this common work of justice is accomplished and when people of all races enjoy the same essential equality of opportunity, can we reasonably hope for lasting harmony in this multiracial community.

Removal of Restrictions

We are still far from such an ideal condition of affairs, though a pleasing change in public opinion is already noticeable and some unnecessary restrictions have been abolished. In regard to these, however, it would appear that a false order of priorities has been chosen and the real grievances overlooked. Relatively few Africans, for example, are really interested in being permitted to buy European drink or to dine in the best hotels; a surprisingly small number have shown any great interest in exercising the franchise; the majority had possibly become inured to our offensive “Europeans Only” signs in public buildings; few, under present conditions, can be absorbed into the Civil Service; and not many will consider themselves to have achieved full equality before the law or to have attained the essential rights of first-class citizens, by being given the privilege of risking their hard-earned wages in the purchase of lottery tickets. Though these are indeed concessions, they are superfluities, not the essential things on which true social stability can be built.

The Real Need

What the African wants, what any rational being would want, is simply sustenance both for body and soul,- in others, land and educational opportunity, - and a general recognition, in fact and not in theory only, that he is as much a citizen of this country as are people of any other race and that his rights are equal to theirs.
He wants land from which to produce the food which will keep him and his family in existence, and he wants, as every normal parent wants, facilities for the education of his children, so that he may do better by them than he was done by himself. He has a right to expect these things, but that which has been given to him has been doled out with seeming reluctance and in insufficient measure. Try as he may to avoid the issue, anyone who really knows the African and who seriously examines the cause of the present discontent, will always return to these essential needs, land and education.

Land and Land-Hunger

In time, someone may possibly produce an authoritative historical study in which the manner in which the most fertile areas and the major portion of the land of Southern Rhodesia came into the possession of the governing minority. Lacking such information, it is not possible to pass judgement on the morality of the achievement. However, although it is frequently stated that the land Apportionment Act was introduced to protect the African and to prevent his being rendered completely landless, there must surely exist in many minds, doubts about the honesty of acquiring so much land so easily from a primitive and unsuspecting people. Apart from this, if the notion of the tutelary rights of a colonial Power enters in, it opens the moral issue even wider still.
It seems to have been clearly established, however, that had the new-comers not thus effectively occupied this country, its productivity would by this time have been seriously imperilled and the indigenous population decimated by famine, because of their lack of skills in husbandry, their neglect of soil preservation, and their inherited nomadic instincts. This fact would indeed give much moral justification to the present unequal distribution of land in this country.
In spite of this, it should ever be borne in mind that no subject people has long remained contented where it suffered from land-hunger. History proves with relentless uniformity that land-hunger has always been the most effective motivating force in nationalist movements for independence, and there is no reason to suspect that its aptitude has changed or has been forgotten today.
Can you in conscience blame the African, if eking out a tenuous existence from poor soil in an overcrowded Reserve, he is swayed by subversive propaganda, when close behind him there lie hundreds of thousands of acres of fertile soil which he may not cultivate nor occupy nor graze, because although it lies unused and unattended, it belongs to some individual or group of individuals who perhaps do not live in the country, but who hold the land in the hope of profit from speculation? It will readily be understood, or course, that in adducing this example, I have no intention of denying the doctrine of private ownership which is paramount in the teaching of the Church. It will be understood too that I do not believe that it is necessary that every African should be a land-owner, and that I have not forgotten the inestimable service done to the country by the majority of European farmers who in great part feed the nation, and whose work is essential if the nation is to survive. Nevertheless, it is absolutely necessary that serious and prompt attention be given by the responsible authorities, to solving the problem of land-hunger among the majority.
Recent legislation which aims at securing for Africans stability of ownership in regard to land, is most welcome, but the provisions of that legislation are totally inadequate and they involve unnecessary economic hardships for great numbers of the people. More generous measures must be contemplated and put into effect. This would entail something in the nature of a social revolution, but it could achieved peacefully; whereas without such action, the alternative could be revolution of another order, disastrous for all. The matter assumes a new urgency when it is remembered that Southern Rhodesia cannot long remain in political isolation unaffected by the influences at work in many other parts of the continent, and that the African people are rapidly increasing in numbers.
With regard to this question of the natural growth of the African population, it will not be amiss to remark here that even the Africans view with disgust and with a good deal of what might be called  ‘political’ suspicion, the iniquitous propaganda which has appeared in various Locations and Reserves, and the various semi-official and specious counsels given them, urging them to restrict their families by unnatural practices, so that they may obtain a more comfortable existence and fit into the areas allocated to them. One cannot but reflect on the truly awful similarity which exists between the present moral condition of our country and that of great nations which have perished in the past from the very same evils which are prevalent here. The lessons of history, it seems, will never be taken to heart. Mighty empires in every stage of history have fallen into decay by just such rejection of the Moral Law as we have in Southern Rhodesia today. Yet here in this young country, otherwise so rich in promises for the centuries to come, men choose hedonism, and foolishly hope for survival while our daily Press reports frightening profusion, a record of unnatural vice, easy divorce, and drunkenness which would put professedly pagan nations to shame.

Segregation and Morality

Closely connected with the difficult problem of land is the question of segregation, and in this regard it is useful to remember that unless the common good require it, and unless this can be proved conclusively, there is absolutely no moral justification whatsoever for laws which segregate one race of people from another. Segregation itself is not immoral, the almost religious expression of the infamous doctrine of race idolatry, brands with a stigma of inferiority the segregated people and is utterly to be condemned; not merely because of this, but primarily because it denies our common origin and our common redemption.
It must not be thought that in condemning thus, racial segregation, the Church thereby favours forced mixing of the races. No one can force you to mix with or demand that you accept into your home on terms of intimate friendship, those whom you do not much care for. Forced friendship is no friendship. Nevertheless the incontrovertible fact remains that here in Southern Rhodesia little or no contact between the two major races is made on anything other than the employer-employee level, and some serious effort at social understanding should be attempted if we are to live in harmony.
Most Europeans in Southern Rhodesia know as much about the African way of life and its traditional social structure, as they know about the Esquimauz. Not ten percent of them can converse with an African in his language. Remember, that mongrel tongue “Kitchen Kaffir” is not the native language of the African. He hears it for the first time when he goes to work in town or on a farm. Even less than five percent of the white population knows anything at all about African customs or about the hundred and one delicate courtesies which dignify so much of the seemingly primitive life of the majority.
Nor are the Europeans alone in their ignorance. Africans are equally ill-informed about how the country is governed. They know little if anything at all about how money is found for public services, many of them imagining that Europeans pay no taxes because they pay no poll-tax. They have no understanding of the great influences at work in international politics. They do not realise that internal peace is essential if a country is to be able to attract the funds necessary for the development of its natural resources and for raising the living standards of its people.

Surely some way can be found to bridge the gap between the two major races so that they may achieve social understanding? So far, very little has been done in that matter, though we still talk of ‘partnership’.

Educational Opportunity

The other fundamental need of the African people is educational opportunity for their children. It is sheer deceit to talk of giving political equality to all races, if they are not given first of all, at least that educational opportunity which will enable them ultimately to qualify for the vote. An effort to bridge the educational gap between the races must be made if there is to be any honesty in the much publicised policy of ‘partnership’ and any real attempt at distributive justice. The only feasible way to bridge that gap is by extending the educational opportunities of the African, not by lowering the standards of the European. At present, let us face the fact, the African is not treated as an equal in this regard at all. There is a general feeling that he is a peculiar kind of being, that he has no rights in the matter, and that it is presumptuous for him to expect the State to extend to his children the opportunities which it accords to others. In practice, there could scarcely be two more violently contrasting systems of educational opportunity than those made available by the State to the European and those which apply to the African child. One has practically everything provided for him freely; the other must struggle and pay for the little that he has at all. A more thoroughly unjust state of affairs it would be difficult to imagine in a country which is committed to a policy of ‘partnership’.
Nor is this all: especially in regard to African education, the field of voluntary activity in which the Church traditionally excelled, has been grievously restricted over the years, and in recent times has been almost entirely closed by the gratuitous interference of the State, which apparently aims at exercising complete control over this, as over every other possible means of social influence. The Native Education Act of 1959 confirming earlier legislation and imposing new penalties, assumes that only the State to teach or to give others permission to teach, and is a notable example of such interference.
The essential evil of the Act consists in this, that once the State assumes a complete monopoly in the matter of education, the rights of the individual, the family, and the Church, are threatened; this all-important work of national development then runs the risk of becoming the instrument of Party Politics, and thereafter, each succeeding Party in power may impose on the youth of the nation its own ideas, while parents and Church are forbidden to interfere. The enormity of the crime thus committed is magnified by the situation as it exists in this country at present, when the moral and intellectual training or the emergent masses is by far the most important work to be done.
In particular, by exercising such radical control over African education, the State grievously obstructs a very important aspect of the missionary activity of the Church, and this is a most serious matter. Even though in special cases the Church is willing to build, equip, and pay the salaries required by the school, there is no guarantee that the State would then permit the school to function, - this, in spite of the fact that our Catholic schools of all kinds have in general the reputation of being both efficient and well disciplined.
Education is not nor never was the exclusive concern of the State. It belongs properly to all three societies, the family, the State, and the Church, because it moulds man as a whole, - man the individual, man the citizen of this world, man the heir of heaven. Yet, according to present legislation, the State presumptuously assumes the right to control everything in defiance of the rights of parents and in flagrant violation of the rights and traditional function of the Church.
It is quite beside the point to argue that the Church is not thereby prevented from preaching its doctrines in its recognised places of worship. It is equally irrelevant to the principle at issue, to say the Church can always be permitted to have ‘Preaching Centres’. The Christian view of education is of something more comprehensive and profound than mere preaching can achieve.
This is made abundantly clear in the memorable Encyclical Divini Illius Magistri  of the late Pope Pius XI, when he says:
“The Church is independent of any sort of earthly power as well in the origin as in the exercise of her mission as educator; not merely in regard to her proper end and object, but also in regard to the means necessary and suitable to attain that end. Hence with regard to every other kind of human learning and instruction (besides faith and morals) which is the common patrimony of individuals and society, the Church has an independent right to make use of it, and above all to decide what may help or harm Christian education. All this must be so, because the Church as a perfect society has an independent right to the means conducive to its end, and because every form of instruction, no less than every human action, has a necessary connection with man’s last end, and therefore cannot be withdrawn from the dictates of the divine law of which the Church is guardian, interpreter, and infallible mistress…
“Therefore with full right the Church promotes letters, science, art, in so far as necessary or helpful to Christian education, in addition to her work for the salvation of souls; founding and maintaining schools and institutions adapted to every branch of learning and degree of culture… Nor does it interfere in the least with the regulations of the State, because the Church in her motherly prudence is not unwilling that her schools and institutions for the education of the laity be in keeping with the legitimate dispositions of civil authority; she is in every way ready to co-operate with this authority and to make provision for a mutual understanding, should difficulties arise”.
It is worthwhile noting that the Supreme Pontiff says that the State may take a legitimate interest in schools and institutions for the education of the laity. He concedes to the civil authority no right whatsoever to interfere in the educational work of seminaries. Furthermore, though the Church is prepared to co-operate with the State in the work of education, she does not abrogate her fundamental independence and her right to open and conduct schools when she thinks it necessary. We have come to a pretty pass indeed, if the handing on of useful knowledge by anyone other than the State, can be punished as a crime!

The Subsidiary Function

The well-known principle of “The Subsidiary Function”, according to which the State should not normally assume functions which some other smaller society can perfectly well undertake and fulfil, seems practically unknown in this country. The validity of the principle stems from the fact that the community is a greater concept than the State, and consequently the fostering of learning and the physical and mental care of the community are best organised by special agencies which encouraged and even if necessary subsidised by the State, are free of State control in their internal management. It is greatly to be regretted that the activity of such agencies (in origin usually the flowering of Christian charity in the Church,) has been jeopardised by the influence even here, of the welfare State. That they should be hampered in this activity or crushed out of existence altogether by unimaginative and secularist legislation, would be a real tragedy for Southern Rhodesia, as it would be for any country, because no matter how innocent and beneficent the Welfare State may appear to be, by exercising through a multiplicity of officials, control over even the most intimate concerns of man’s daily life, it robs him of his human dignity.

Division of Rights

Here, too, in order to clarify the position still more, it will be useful to note that although the State has sovereign rights in its own sphere, the individual and the family are not only anterior to the State, but are in a very real sense far more important than it. The human person comes into the world through the family and has an eternal destiny; the State has not. Again, there need not necessarily be any conflict between Church and State; indeed there should not be, since God is the Author of both. Each has its own sphere of activity and its own proper end, - that of the State being the highest natural good of mankind, and that of the Church, its supernatural and external good. Viewed from this aspect, Church and State are complementary, as are soul and body, and almost in that relationship. This does not involve any derogation in dignity from the State; on the contrary, just as the soul gives worth to the body, so too the Church enlightens its true vitality and consequently enhances its authority.
Regrettably, however, this complementary character of Church and State is being less and less recognised nowadays in this country, and where grudgingly admitted, as in the sphere of African education, is being deprived of all real meaning. Under existing legislation, the Church in its mission as educator, has been reduced to the condition of an emaciate and etiolated prisoner of the State, which decides upon whom and when and where and in what degree it may be permitted to exercise its divine mandate to teach all nations. This constitutes the gravest threat to religion, because the more the State acquires a monopoly in education, the more the Christian quality of our civilisation will diminish and the more secularism will triumph. Once this happens it is only a short step to the position in which the Christian way of life will come to be regarded as an abnormal thing, a deviation from the general standard of social behaviour.

State Absolutism Denied

Until the State realises that it exists for the benefit of the community and to serve it; until it is convinced that the only justification for the curtailment of liberty; only when it recognises that the function of its paid officials is to frame and execute, not to decide, public policy, only then will there be any real order and only then can there be peace. It must never be forgotten that man is not the creature of the State but of God; that the dignity of man is equal in all men, and that governments themselves are limited by divine law which gives to every man inviolable rights, and provides the immutable basis on which all true law is founded. As a specific example of how far we are from having such standards, I note with dismay a report in a Rhodesian newspaper of today in which a Magistrate is quoted as saying that his judgement in a court case was delivered “from a legal point of view and not from a moral standpoint”, - as if law and morality had nothing in common!

Needs in Education

There can be no prospect of real peace or true progress in partnership in this country until the present disparity between the educational opportunity available to the European child and that available to the African child disappears. It is futile to expect mutual understanding when in so important a matter, such a radical distinction is made between the children of both races into whose hands the future of this country is to be committed.
Missionaries have been waiting, quite literally for years, for permission from the State to open the most elementary kind of village schools which the African people require and demand and are willing to erect at their own expense; and the applications, detailed and in writing, are still ungranted. Thousands of African children are every year thus deprived of any formal education whatsoever. Thousands more are forced to discontinue their schooling half-way through the elementary course, because no further classes are available for them. An increasingly great number of highly intelligent African children, - for the same reason, dearth of schools, - are unable to proceed to secondary education, although their parents make incredible sacrifices to provide the school fees, - fees which are proportionately very much higher than those demanded of European children in State schools. But no European child need ever go without a school. Education is compulsory for him and is always provided and at little cost.
The State must see to it, and is in justice bound to see to it, if it has any idea of distributive justice at all, that at least equal consideration be given to the question of opportunity in education for the African majority. To argue that this shall be decided by the contribution which the African makes in taxation, is specious but immoral. People of all races are equally citizens of the State; legislation based on any other assumption is irrational and therefore morally unjustifiable; and the privileges of citizenship are surely not to be determined by the taxable capacity of the citizen. To deny educational opportunity to the African is not only a violation of distributive justice, but it gives substance to the arguments of those who foment disorder and claim that the responsible authorities subscribe to the wholly reprehensible doctrine of “White Domination at all Cost”.
Before leaving this thorny problem of education, it will be useful to bear in mind that although we hear much about the increased sums of money now being allocated by the State to African education, these sums are as nothing compared with what has been contributed to this end by the various missionary bodies themselves. Since schools first began in this country, the State has been dependent on the charity of the missionaries of all denominations who have carried out the burden of African education for years, have erected at no cost to the electorate practically all the school buildings, and in most cases have ‘ploughed back for the further development, any salaries which they may have earned, - all from motives untarnished by selfishness, all for the love and service of God and their neighbour. This is something which apparently is frequently ignored by those who, disturbed in their comfortable way of living by the African’s growing awareness of his dignity as a human person, bitterly blame the Christian missionary for every social and political ill there is. Such people should remember before casting their stones of condemnation, that any lessening of the influence of the missionaries in this country at the moment, places in jeopardy all hope of moderation.

Confidence in the Future

Wonderful things have already been accomplished in this young country and we have a proud record of peace, as proof of the general goodwill which has existed from the beginning between Rhodesians of all races. The future too, is full of promise and can be more glorious still, provided that we are prepared to build it on the immutable law of God and raise it up in justice and charity. Peace is the work of justice. It comes no other way. And basic justice involves equality of opportunity for all citizens, irrespective of race or colour or creed.
Times have changed. The gruff inflexible paternalism which the European has exercised over the African for so long, must be modified and relaxed. It was useful while it lasted, but it has had its day. The African, like an impatient teenager is aching to be off on his own. He must be taken into the confidence of the family. He must not be soured, but kindly and greatly directed, so that his confidence be not lost but his affection retained. For too long has been taken for granted that he was to remain indefinitely a ‘minor’. He was not to be developed too rapidly. His advance was to be controlled, slowly, - maybe too slowly. Perhaps all this did not take sufficiently into account his very considerable natural ability, his astonishing hunger for education, and the cumulative influences of travel, newspapers, radio, at play on him since the end of the war, and giving him for the first time some idea of how he stands in relation to this continent of Africa and to the world at large. Unfortunately, like many teenagers, he requires direction still and will need it for a long time to come. He has a better chance of getting real assistance from those whom he knows and who know him, than he has from others who would woo him with wild promises from afar. As long as the direction given to him in the years ahead, is based on justice and enlightened by charity, the future of Rhodesia will be safe.

The Claims of the Church

The fearful apostasy from God which characterises so much of modern life, and the consequent ignorance of the nature of the Church, must indeed make its claims appear arrogant in the extreme. This is so, because any divine society must necessarily seem arrogant to men who deny the divinity. A Church established by God, cannot but claim to be superior to any mere creation of man’s, and though it be composed of sinners and not of angels, though like the Gospel net it contains good fish and bad fish, yet such is God’s will to be near His people, that He closely identifies Himself with His Church and makes it His mouthpiece.
However embarrassing or intolerant this may appear to a secularist and myopic world in which “Truth forsakes the single state to bear Half-Truths to Toleration”, it is not in our power to change it or to be silent about it. A Bishop must, in virtue of his office, preach the living Christ, teaching, ruling, and sanctifying through His Church; not by a kind of remote power conferred two thousand years ago and strangely surviving still, but personally and at this moment, as He foretold when he promised to be with His Church always, even to the consummation of the world (Matt. 28:20.) No Bishop dare evade this truth, or with specious words or ambivalence shuffle of his glorious privilege of being Christ’s witness. Fear of appearing intolerant must not make him ashamed of the Gospel, (tolerance is for men, intolerance for error,) because God’s judgements await those who change the truth of God into a lie and worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:25).
It is uncomfortable for some to be thus reminded that God has not retired from His world nor left it uncared for; that He has preserved through a multitude of betrayals and persecutions and martyrdoms, the Church which speaks with His authority and which will continue to speak till all earthly utterance is stilled. But we Catholics believe that this is so, that it is the most astonishing and comforting fact that there is, and we cannot be silent about it no matter what befalls. Whenever and wherever the malice or ignorance of men attempts to limit the essential liberty of the Church, the Bishops are in conscience bound strongly to protest and to assert her right to freedom. Other Bishops behind the Iron Curtain are in prison for precisely this. All have the same obligation.


Finally, no matter how reasonable the legislation or how anxious for harmony men may be, no one can hope to build for permanent peace unless he plan according to the Creator’s laws. “Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain who built it” (Ps. 126:1). Just as in the natural order, architects and engineers must observe the natural laws of physics, - laws which man has discovered but not made, which he has formulated but not imposed, - so too in the moral order, God’s laws in the individual, family, State, and Church, cannot be neglected with impunity. When the laws governing society are related to divine law, when they are based on justice and quickened by charity, the nation truly lives, because this is God’s plan for it even in the natural order.
But we whom Our Divine Lord has redeemed and called His friends, we have higher motives still for practising the great virtues of justice and charity. His positive command to us is that we should do unto others as we would that they would do unto us (Luke 6:31) and His ‘New Commandment’, His final request to us on the night before His crucifixion, was that we should love one another, for by this could we claim to be truly His disciples (John 13:34).
The world passes and we with it, for even birth has in itself the germ of death. In a few years we shall all be compounded with the dust and probably forgotten. There will be no privilege then, no distinction of race or of colour, and there will be no segregation. And what will decide our eternity will be simply the charity which we have shown to our fellow man in this present life. Nothing else will count. Our Divine Lord Himself has assured us that this is so, and His words no man can gainsay:
“And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty: And all the nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from the other, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand but the goats on his left. Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in. Naked and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and took thee in? Or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me” (Matt.25:31ss).
Donal Raymond Lamont, O. Carm. Bishop of Umtali