"SON OF CHURCH"
OBJECTOR TO WAR
APPLICATION FOR RELEASE
"I am a loyal son of the Roman Catholic Church and I know that my position is neither illogical nor heretical," said John Thomas Magurk, a former employee ol the Wellington City Council, when he appeared before the No. 1 Militaiy Defaulters Revision Authority, Mr. A. H. Johnstone, K.C., this morning. There were a number of people in New Zealand, including misinformed Roman Catholics, who believed that a man could not be a conscientious objector and a sincere Christian too said Magurk. Since the age of 16 he had believed that there was an incompatibility between war and the Christian conscience. "Whether a Catholic takes part in war or not is a matter for his own conscience and he is not bound by the opinions of individual theologians," he said. "Nevertheless it seems to me that the statements of Catholic pacifists overseas, and those priests who supported their attitude, have a truer ring than those put forward by others holding a different view. , , „ "During three and a half years behind barbed wire my convictions have been strengthened. I believe it to be a denial of the Christian religion that at the bidding of secular governments that have no fixed standards of morality we should take part in Avar and hate and slay one another." Denounced by Popes He believed that his views were, to a considerable extent, upheld by the pronouncements of modern Popes, said Magurk. There was no doubt as to where the Popes had stood. Several had denounced war as unjustifiable and indefensible. In reply to a question by Mr. Johnstone, Magurk said that it was not for the Pope to order their daily lives. The teaching of the Church was obligatory and they followed it but the application of that teaching was a matter for the individual conscience.
The present Pope had given Roman Catholics a clear lead but that lead had not been followed. A great many Roman Catholics in New Zealand had gone to the war. If any had gone to the war believing they were doing wrong, they had sinned, but if they believed they were doing right they had not sinned. It took motive to make sin. If he had taken part in the war he would not have been afraid for his body but for his soul. In 1941, said Magurk, he had been ordered to report to the military authorities in con ration with alternative service. He had been told that he would be given a position on the staff at Army Headquarters. When he said that as a conscientious objector he could not accept he had been told that it was an ideal and cushy job. The officer interviewing him seemed to think that he did not like the job arid even mentioned morning and afternoon tea. Later in the same day he was taken to camp.
To Mr. Greenberg, Crown representative, Magurk said he believed he was a patriotic citizen. He would rather see the country in the hands of a foreign invader than the cities smashed and the souls of the people corrupted with hate. Anything that might have happened had the country not fought would have been better than that. Decision was reserved.
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"SON OF CHURCH", Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 169, 19 July 1945
"SON OF CHURCH" Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 169, 19 July 1945
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