Monday, December 26, 2022

Evil in the world comes of evil men and evil deeds

From The Spectator, Christmas 1940:
.... No confidence in the rightness of our cause is lacking, nor has doubt emerged about the ultimate issue of the struggle. What penetrates men’s souls today is not concern for their personal fate, or even for their country’s, but a sense, borne in on them with sombre force as this festival comes round, of the tragedy of the conflict in which millions of human beings are still locked on the day when the message of peace and good will to all mankind should be sounding from every pulpit and rung out by the bells of every steeple.

All that is part of the eternal problem of evil, taking immense and terrible shape before our eyes. We can no more profess to plumb the mystery of it than generations of thinkers in the past who have admitted that when all is said there remains a residuum of mystery still. But evil in the world comes of evil men and evil deeds, and we have no choice but to be resisting that evil today. ....

As we keep our war-time Christmas, and survey with sober fortitude the chances that the coming year may bring, we can take stock of our position without misgiving. As the Prime Minister said in the House of Commons last week, ‘some sense of composure and even satisfaction’ is justified, though the dangers that still impend are so obvious and so grave as to dispel all temptation to undue optimism. ....

But we must recognise how critical is the situation still. The promise of help from America is of such cardinal importance that if it comes in time it may properly be looked on as the guarantee of victory. But it is a race with time still. .... (more)
The Spectator, Christmas 1940, reprinted in that magazine, "Christmas after our darkest hour," Dec. 25, 2022.

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