Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Paulist Press in 1945

via Gashwin Gomes, a reaction to the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki:
Here we come upon the essential evil. The American people have for some years been indoctrinated with the heresy that there is no such thing as a universal everlasting law. Professors of ethics say there is no Absolute, that is to say, no God and that if there were, we have no means of knowing His mind or even if He is a person and has a mind. That there is no such thing as natural law; that laws are temporary and arbitrary, made up, so to speak, as we go along; that the law that served our ancestors may be obsolete in our days. If that kind of ethics prevails, our Christian civilization will dissolve in gas like the bodies of the 100,000 to 300,000 victims of the first atomic bombing. No discussion of this question can neglect the argument that the atomic bombs were used to bring about a quicker surrender of Japan and thereby in the end, to save lives. The end does not justify the means. It is not permissible to do evil that good may come. If obliteration bombing is evil -- and this is the question -- it cannot be made good by the supposition or even the certainty that it will in the long run be more merciful that a surely legitimate way to make war.
-Rev. James Martin Gillis, CSP, Editor, The Catholic World, September 1945

The standard apologists for atomic bombing often dismiss those who judge "with the clarity of hindsight," implying that the strikes enjoyed unanimous approval back in the good old days. Let them read Rev. Gillis.

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