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Weak papal leadership

14 November 2014

November 13th, 1914.

IT IS said that the Pope has addressed letters to the Archbishops and Bishops whose dioceses are in belligerent countries, exhorting them to instruct the clergy and the people to be charitable to the wounded and the prisoners, without distinction of race or belief. His Holiness has also written to the Archbishop of Rheims, Cardinal Lucon, to express his great sorrow at the injury done to the Cathedral Church and at the material loss inflicted on the people of the diocese. Certainly, this is all very right and proper, but it strikes us as an exceedingly weak effort on the part of the Supreme Pontiff, who claims the spiritual headship of all Christendom. It is not possible that both sides in this war can be right. . . It seems to us that one who claims to be Christ's Vice-gerent on earth and the sole and final arbiter of faith and morals might fairly be expected to say decisively what course the faithful ought to pursue - whether that of German Kultur which has displaced the historic Christ, repudiates sacred pledges, and spreads ruin all along its path, or that of the Allies who are fighting to avenge ruined homes and churches, and outrages on men and women and children, and to resist an organized tyranny. The Pope does well to weep with Cardinal Lucon over the tragedy of Rheims. He would do better still if he denounced ex cathedrathose who are responsible for it. The Italian Government may be justified in preserving its neutrality, but is the Italian Church so justified?

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