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All Along the Watchtower

Bodleian

‘War is at the same time a reminder of sin, for without the sin of individuals and of nations enmities and consequent hostilities would not exist’, so wrote the Archbishop of Westminster just over a hundred years ago. Yet, like his counterpart of Canterbury, and bishops everywhere, Archbishop Bourne was happy to act as a recruiting sergeant for the ‘Just War’; his opposite numbers in Germany and Austria-Hungary did likewise, as did the Orthodox Church in Russia; God, it seemed, was on everyone’s side; all thought their cause ‘just’. Hensley Henson, then Dean of Durham, and soon be a controversial choice for the See of Hereford, went around his diocese sharing platform with recruiting sergeants in village halls. He noted in his diary:

It is perhaps unusual for a clergyman thus directly to associate himself with these warlike preparations, but surely it is not really unfitting … If enlistment is the duty of…

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