League of Nations manifesto

by
07 December 2018

December 6th, 1918.

WE ARE requested to call attention to a manifesto signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, his Grace of York, the Scottish Primus, and the representatives of some twelve other communions. It is an appeal to all Christians to unite with them in supporting the ideal of a League of Nations “as an essentially Christian means of attaining international justice and peace”. The signatories are careful to let it be known that they supported with profound conviction the struggle of the Allies against Germany and all that Germany represented, believing that, in the world as we have known it hitherto, it may be an inevitable duty to engage in war for defence or for principle. But, this duty having been performed, and the way, we would hope, made clear for the securing of a lasting peace, it is incumbent on all Christian folk to bring their religious influence to bear on the work of making war impossible in the future. Just as the combined efforts of the Allies have broken the power of the enemy, so there would seem to be ground for believing that a League of Nations, having a permanent existence, would give abiding effect to the desire of the peoples to live in amity, and would have strength to repress any attempt to disturb the world’s peace. “We know it”, the manifesto affirms, “as fundamental and comprehensive Christian truth that love is the only true constructive principle of common human life, and that love acts by subjecting all the forms of selfishness, self-aggrandisement, and sensitive pride in nations as in individuals. Care for the weak and the backward, jealousy for the freedom and growth of all peoples, self-control by the nations at times of exasperation and strain, are in our eyes part of the working of this great and royal law.” It is, as it seems to us, justly claimed that Christians, as such, may and must make their own contribution to the cause, and the time has come when a mere general approval of the scheme of a League of Nations no longer suffices. It must now be given a practical shape.

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