Page:Above the battle.djvu/52

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Above the Battle

orders—that war exalts the virtue of sacrifice. And it is true that war has the privilege of bringing out the genius of the race in the most commonplace of hearts. It purges away, in its bath of blood, all dross and impurity; it tempers the metal of the soul; of a niggardly peasant, of a timorous citizen it can make a hero of Valmy. But is there no better employment for the devotion of one people than the devastation of another? Can we not sacrifice ourselves without sacrificing our neighbours also? I know well, poor souls, that many of you are more willing to offer your blood than to spill that of others. … But what a fundamental weakness! Confess, then, that you who are undismayed by bullets and shrapnel yet tremble before the dictates of racial frenzy—that Moloch that stands higher than the Church of Christ—the jealous pride of race. You Christians of to-day would not have refused to sacrifice to the gods of Imperial Rome; you are not capable of such courage! Your Pope Pius X died of grief to see the outbreak of this war—so it is said. And not without reason. The Jupiter of the Vatican who hurled thunderbolts upon those inoffensive priests who believed in the noble chimera of modernism—what did he do against those princes