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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 236 pages of information about Catholic Problems in Western Canada.

PART III

SOCIAL PROBLEMS

“The political and economic struggles of society are in the last analysis religious struggles; their sole solution, the teaching of Jesus Christ.”—­(John Stuart Mill.)

CHAPTER XII.

BEYOND BERLIN[1]

After-War Problems from a Catholic View-Point—­Reconstruction, the Duty of the Hour.

The heavy clouds of war and the bloody mist of battles are lifting; once more the sun of peace bursts forth triumphant over a sad and weary world.  The storm has wasted its fury.  The landscape is washed clear and bright, the atmosphere is glowing and transparent; destruction and ruins everywhere stand out in sharp and ghastly relief.  On the distant horizon, beyond the Rhine, the dark clouds drag their tattered shreds; the angry lightning still flashes and thunder yet rumbles yonder—­on German and Russian soil.

The war is over.  The muddy trench, the deadly shrapnel, the perfidious gas, the roaring cannon, the forced marches on the slimy roads of Flanders, the heroic dashes and agonizing retreats of struggling armies, the lurking submarines, the treacherous, owlish zeppelins, the long-protracted vigil on the deep—­all these grim realities of four, long, endless years have melted away in the blaze of a glorious victory.  Now the German Armada rides at anchor, prisoner, in British waters, the armies of the Allies bivouac on the banks of the Rhine, and our Canadian boys, flushed with victory, come marching home.

The day of the German surrender, Clemenceau, Premier of France, made this significant statement:  “Great have been the problems of the war, but greater will be the problems of peace.”  Nations, indeed, now face one of the most momentous periods of history.  The world has struck its tents and is once more on the march.  Never, we believe, have such tremendous responsibilities weighed upon a passing generation.  The future will be greatly imperilled if at this critical juncture great questions are fought out between ignorant desire for change and ignorant opposition to change.  The handwriting is on the wall, and our economic and social life, foreign to Christian morality, has been found wanting.  Will a new and better social order rise from the ashes of this world-conflagration?  There is the searching problem which presses itself upon the mind of every thinking man.  “On every side,” writes Father Plater, S.J., “there is talk of reconstruction, economic, political, social, educational.  Government departments are hard at work gathering information, elaborating schemes.  Numerous organized bodies, such as the Labor party, are putting forward their programmes.  Conferences and lectures on reconstruction are multiplied and literature on the subject pours from the press.”

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