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Throwback Thursday: Declaration of War passes Congress 75 years ago

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1207161601At 1:10 p.m. on December 8, 1941, congress passed a bill declaring war on the Empire of Japan, the after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the declaration at 4:10 p.m. and the United States entered World War II. In the week following The Catholic Telegraph had this in their December 12, 1941 edition:

By Monsignor Matthew Smith

The shocking attack last Sunday by the Japanese on American Pacific islands and ships has landed the United States right into the midst of the World War. The conflict, so far as we are concerned, is clearly one of self-defense. It is the duty in conscience of every Catholic to stand with the flag in a just war. The fact that congress voted for war with only one exception shows how America feels about this war.

The Japanese have the argument in their favor that they have been dreadfully overcrowded in their islands and have been among the “have-nots” so far as many necessary materials are concerned. But against them stands a ghastly lack of regard for the rights of others as shown, first by their seizure of Manchukuo, then the attack on China with more murderous results to the Chinese than all Europe felt in the first World War, and finally their determination to take over other lands. Pretending to believe their emperor divine, they hold that the entire world should be ruled by him. Their pagan morality was never shown off better in their pretense to be seeking peace while their forces were on the way to our Pacific islands for the purpose of attack.

From Archbishop John T McNicholas:

Reverend dear Father:

Our country is now at war.

A priest as the spiritual leader and father of his people, should do everything possible to strengthen the spiritual defense of his parishioners. This can be done by prayer and penance.

As often as the conditions of your parish permit, gather your people about you on weekdays when you can say either the Votive Mass assigned for the time of war or the Votive Mass to obtain peace.

Urge your people to receive Holy Communion daily, weekly, or as frequently as they can during the whole period of the war.

Permission is hereby granted for a Holy Hour of Adoration as often as you can bring your people together in good numbers, according to the circumstances of your parish.

After every Low Mass say the following prayer for our country in the time of war:

O God whose might outweighs all forces of arms and whose protection strengthens unto victory the defense of those who trust in Thee, stretch forth Thy hand in mercy to Thy servants, give us Thy strong help to repel the assaults of our enemies and we shall ever thank Thee and praise Thy Holy Name.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

We urge self-imposed penances during the whole time of the war that God may extend His hand of mercy to us.

Faithfull yours in Chirst,

+John T. McNicholas


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