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Cardinal Mercier arrested

by
09 January 2015

January 8th, 1915

OF ALL the blunders which the Germans have committed since they declared war, the arrest of the Belgian Primate, Cardinal Mercier, is the most colossal. This gross outrage on a Prince of the Roman Church was alone needed to complete the alienation of all decent folk from the German barbarians. We have yet to learn what the Vatican, what the Austrians, what the Bavarians have to say to this latest piece of barbarism, aggravated as it is by its sheer stupidity, but we can easily imagine how they are regarding it. The Cardinal's pastoral letter, which was the occasion of his arrest, is a masterpiece of dignity and wisdom. He counselled the faithful of his diocese to submit with patience to the temporary mastery of the invaders, while they reserved their inward loyalty to their Sovereign and his Government. To the organized military forces of their nation they must leave the business of fighting against the Germans. What, however, incensed the enemy was his Eminence's fearless exposure of the shameful and cruel outrages that have been inflicted on his suffering people by the German soldiery. This sublime exhibition of courage, so far from exciting the admiration of the enemy, only goaded him into committing a further act of nastiness, which is in remarkable contrast with the charming New Year's greetings that passed between the Pope and the Kaiser, and the solemn blessing which the Archbishop of Cologne conveyed to His Imperial over-lord. But, in, view of the moral effect the Cardinal's arrest is likely to have, the German commanders could not have done a better thing so far as the Allies are concerned, for they have given the world a crowning proof of their sheer, insensate spitefulness, and their entire lack of the finer feelings of gentlemen.

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