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No time for a truce

19 December 2014

December 18th, 1914.

THE Pope, it appears, has appealed to the belligerent Powers, exhorting them to suspend hostilities during the Christmas week. One of the Powers, which is thought to be Russia, has rejected the appeal, but the ground of refusal is not stated. If Russia is the State that stands out, one of her reasons may conceivably be the fact that she does not keep Christmas till we are observing Epiphany. She has never adopted the reformed Kalendar, and is, consequently, twelve days behind the rest of the Christian world with the dates of her great Church festivals. There may, however, be other reasons, and one of these possibly is the dislike of any interference on the part of a spiritual ruler whom the Russian Church does not recognize as the Supreme Pontiff. It may also be that Russia is of opinion that the neutrality of the Holy See is tantamount to its repudiation of spiritual and moral responsibility, and that this particular act of intervention is of comparatively little value. Moreover, it may be felt that, if a Truce of God were agreed to, there is no certainty that the conditions would be honourably observed by a nation that contemptuously and immorally tears up a treaty as a mere scrap of paper. Shocking as it is that there should be war at the season of "Peace on earth", the time for suspending hostilities has not yet arrived: it will come only when the beaten enemy sues for mercy.

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