28 NOVEMBER 1931, Page 14

[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—It is high time

that our clerics finished with the loose thinking revealed in this article. It gives the impression of hypocrisy. One cannot help but feel that they speak with two voices, and perhaps it is significant that this article is a joint contribution. Let us be honest and face the issue. The way of war and the way of Christ are irreconcilably opposed. There may be times when we are held by the loyalties of home and State, and we may have to hold our own ideals at arm's length that we may discharge the duties we have taken upon ourselves. But it is foolish to try and explain that a man by so doing preserves his soul even if he loses his body. Your contributors ignore altogether the brutalizing effect of war upon a man's spiritual life. It is not the destroying of the body that makes war so ugly and hellish, but the spirit of black evil in which it is engaged. The two padres talk as though going to war was simply offering your body to be killed. If that were the case the same result would be accomplished by an absolute pacifist position. It is the deliberate trapping of other lives, the lies, the crucifixion of all the fine feelings, the slavish repetition that " War is war," and the consequent justification of every caddish trick, that makes war such an utterly abominable thing. It is impossible to justify real war on any high Christian grounds, and the sooner we realize that the better. " To kill a man is not to kill his soul " say your contributors. No—but it may be to kill your own soul. The man who goes to war imperils his soul whatever the motive may be that takes him there. He goes down into hell. He may come back not unscathed but a better and purer man. Every man must judge for himself as to where his duty lies. If he is not prepared to discharge duty then he must imme- diately remove himself from those social relationships that create the duty. However it is, let us be under no illusion as to the unchristian nature of war.—I am, Sir, &e., [War, with hard fighting, brings out the extremes in nations and men. It is responsible for the evil extremes mentioned by our correspondent, but we must not forget that it brings out extreme examples of virtues of courage, devotion, loyalty and self-sacrifice.—En. Spectator.]