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Mercier renews his protest

by
06 January 2017

January 5th, 1917.

CARDINAL Mercier is always impressive, but never more so than in his recent correspondence with the egregious von Bissing. When his Eminence protested some time ago against the brutal deportation of Belgians, the Governor-General replied that the employment of out-of-works is of great benefit to them, and that “the present regrettable circumstances are the result, fundamentally, of England’s policy of isolation, just as the seizure by us of raw material was only, after all, a forced consequence of the same policy.” The Cardinal, in his reply to this hypocritical letter, describes the cruel circumstances in which the deportations have been carried out, able-bodied men, whether unemployed or not, having been removed. On this point von Bissing had previously observed that men belonging to the liberal professions had not been interfered with. The Cardinal, however, rejoins that it would be “iniquitous to make the whole weight of the deportations fall upon the working-classes. The middle-classes must have their part in the sacrifice, however cruel it may be, and just because it is cruel, that the occupying Power imposes on the nation.” He goes on to say that many members of his. clergy have asked to be allowed to take their place in the van of the persecuted. “I register their offer and submit it to you with pride.” His Eminence finely concludes thus: “I would wish to believe that the authorities of the Empire have not said their last word. They will think of our undeserved sorrows, of the reprobation of the civilized world, of the judgment of history, and of the chastisement of God.”

 

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