Sword of the Spirit

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A movement founded in October 1940, by Cardinal Arthur hinsley, Archbishop of Westminster; its objectives were to uphold the British cause in World War II, to combat the evils of totalitarianism, and to unite all men of good will to secure a Christian peace. Through lectures and discussion groups, it caught the imagination and gained the support of many non-Catholics as well as Catholics. Groups were formed among the Allies and eventually there were French, Belgian, Polish, and Czech sections. Unfortunately, the Catholic body in England was not prepared for the movement, and Cardinal Hinsley, having launched it without prior consultation with other members of the hierarchy, found their support lacking in enthusiasm. The original inspiration came from Christopher Dawson, and the movement rallied the best of the Catholic laity in Britain.

The climax of this effort in Christian cooperation was reached in 1942 in the form of a joint pledge by the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, the Free Churches, and the Sword of the Spirit, to work "through parallel action in the religious field, and joint action in the sphere of social and international ethics." After the war the movement's influence declined (as did cooperation), but it was revived in 1950 when Cardinal Bernard grif fin, Hinsley's successor, gave it a new mandate: to educate Catholics in international affairs. Since then it has concentrated on spreading informationthrough public meetings, publication of literature, and organization of high school groupsconcerning European unity, aid to developing countries, and the United Nations.

[j. e. fitzsimons]