The Church and War – 1897, Anglican letter

Encyclical Letter, Lambeth Conference, 1897.

There is nothing which more tends to promote general employment and consequently genuine comfort among the people than the maintenance of peace among the nations of mankind. But besides and above all considerations of material comfort stands the value of Peace itself as the great characteristic of the Kingdom of our Lord, the word which heralded His entrance into the world, the title which specially distinguishes Him from all earthly princes. There can be no question that the influence of the Christian Church can do more for this than any other influence that can be named. Without denying that there are just wars and that we cannot prevent their recurrence entirely, yet we are convinced that there are other and better ways of settling the quarrels of nations than by fighting. War is a horrible evil followed usually by consequences worse than itself. Arbitration in place of war saves the honour of the nations concerned and yet determines the questions at issue with completeness. War brutalises even while it gives opportunity for the finest heroism. Arbitration leaves behind it a generous sense of passion restrained and justice sought for. The Church of Christ can never have any doubt for which of the two modes of determining national quarrels it ought to strive.

G. R. Evans and J. Robert Wright, The Anglican Tradition: A Handbook of Sources (London: SPCK, 1991), 362.

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