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Men of Good Will: Unite!

(Excerpt from "Call to Unity"
A radio address delivered on 02Jan44 , by Fulton J. Sheen}

Men of good will: Unite! The principles which once were taken for granted, because beyond legal controversy or human manipulations, are today challenged. When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he stated it was "self-evident" that man derives his rights and liberties from God, his Creator. When the Catholic Hierarchy paraphrased that statement of Jefferson recently, a back-water press labeled it Fascism. The fact is that what was self-evident to our Founding Fathers, namely, that rights are God-given not State-given, is not regarded as self-evident today.

Men of good will: Unite! The conflict has moved from the domain of the supernatural to the domain of the human; from the higher levels of Christian doctrine to the lower levels of the natural law. The struggle today centers not around belief in the Trinity or Transubstantiation, but around the very minimal moral conditions for preserving even a vestige of civilization. Imagine a Catholic and a Protestant in a forest attempting to settle the problem of Infallibility, not by argument but by muscular Christianity. They are suddenly attacked by a lion. What will they do? They will interrupt their controversy to do battle against their common enemy, of course. In like manner, the forces at work today are animal, demonic, anti-human. The human must assert itself against the anti-human. Never before in the history of Christian civilization has the cause of God and man, of Christianity and democracy, been as nearly identical as they are at this very moment. At least faintly, men of good will have realized that the defeat of God is in every instance the defeat of man!

Men of good will: Unite! The tragedy of our times is that the moral forces are disunited while the anti-moral forces are united...Persecution is not exclusively anti-Semitic; persecution is not exclusively anti-Christian; persecution is anti-human.

Think not that this plea for unity is born of an admission of weakness, or because I fear that the church or religion is in danger. Certainly, the Church is not in danger, for it has the divine assurance that Christ will be with it. In vain will men look for the death of the undying, or the breaking of the Rock against which even the gates of hell shall not prevail. The Church that survived Neros and Julians, Domitians and barbarian invasions, will also live to sing requiems over Hitler and his fellow-dictators.

Nor is this plea for unity due to weakness on the part of religion in general, for man is incurably religious. As a proof of this, in a future broadcast I shall speak of the heroic victory of religion over the forces of atheism in Russia . Lenin tried to kill religion and failed; Hitler tired to poison religion and failed- because religion is born not of capitalism, nor fear, but of the vastness of a universe which teaches man he is not his own creator, and of a haunting remorseful conscience which reminds him he is not his own redeemer but that he must look beyond time and self to a God from whom saving Truth and forgiving Grace flow.

It is not the sanctuary that is in danger; it is civilization. It is not Infallibility that may go down; it is personal rights. It is not the Eucharist that may pass away; it is freedom of conscience. It is not Divine Justice that may evaporate; it is the courts of human justice. It is not that God may be driven from His throne; it is that men lose the meaning of home. It is not that the war may never end; it is that peace may never come. For peace on earth will come only to those who give glory to God!

Men of good will: Unite! It is not he Church that is in danger, it is the world!

Prayer in Time of War
(adapted from Cardinal Newman)

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who in Thy mercy hearest the prayers of sinners, pour forth, we beseech Thee, all grace and blessing upon our country and its citizens. We pray in particular for the President- for our Congress- for all our soldiers- for all who defend us in ships, whether on the seas or in the skies- for all who are suffering the hardships of war. We pray for all who are in peril or in danger. Bring us all after the troubles of this life into the haven of peace, and re-unite us all together forever, O dear Lord, in thy glorious heavenly kingdom. Amen.


  

Excerpt from an Address delivered February 5, 1939 :
The Gospel of Patriotism

The decline of patriotism in America is due to a decline of religion. As men cease to love God, they also cease to love their neighbor. No one proves this better than Mathew, the author of the first Gospel. He was at one time as unpatriotic a citizen as ever lived: his land was over-run by a foreign power, his fellow-citizens lost many of their civil and political rights- and yet he welcomed the foreign power to his bosom for the basest of all motives, financial booty. He became a publican, that is a collector for the Romans, thus not only selling out his country men, but even filching from them to enrich himself as a subject of the invaders. One day, while collecting his taxes and counting his profits, Our Divine Savior passed by. "Come, follow Me," He said to Mathew, and Mathew with no other promise than a peace which shown in the Divine Countenance became an apostle, an evangelist, and a martyr. He became more than that-the greatest patriot in the Gospels. His Gospel might be called the Gospel of Patriotism. Tireless he becomes in unfolding the glories of his people, the traditions of his land, and the prophecies of its spiritual triumphs. Time and time again he goes back to the past, turns over the pages of Isaias, Jeremias, Micheas, David, and the Kings; ninety-nine times to be exact, he quotes from the glorious pages of his people, and crowns it all with the thrilling message: You are a great people! From Israel comes the Savior; from our clouds comes the Messias; from our earth the Redeemer. Hail! Christ is your king.

 

He became a patriot because he found his God. May we all go and do likewise.

 

Excerpt from God and War published in April 19, 1942
Faith in War-Time

No one wants an American victory more than I do; I am just realistic about it, for history attests the truth of David: "Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain." Psalm 127:1).

Victory will come if we arouse ourselves to a sense of duty rooted in God and the moral law. Why is it that the soldiers have a better spirit for war-time than civilians? Because to them duty is primary; to civilians rights are primary.

 

Think of how many lawyers there are in the United States who are more interested in their fee than in the preservation of Justice; think of how many doctors there are who are more concerned about their livelihood than in some one else's life; think of how many teachers there are in the United States who teach because it pays well rather than because it is an opportunity to inculcate God's truth in the hearts of the young; think of how many capitalists there are who concentrate solely on their profits and their priorities rather than on the common good in war time; think of haw many labor leaders and workers there are in the United States who are more interested in a closed shop, shorter hours, or their particular organization, or in higher wages than they are in serving those who earn one twentieth as much by risking their lives for America!

But the soldiers, the sailors, the marines, the air corps- all these young men- most of whom earn but a dollar a day, never use the word " right "; they talk about a " job to do." It is not their salary that comes first; they sweat not for reward but for duty. And duty has a moral basis that makes brave men.

 

Let us of the civilian population imitate the soldiers and talk about duties. Such is the pattern of American life. In brief, if we want a victory over our enemies, let us first get on God's side and then go out and drive the devil out of them that they may be on God's side too!

 

 

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