OCTOBER 5, 1939
SAN FRANCISCO, Wednesday—It was with real sorrow yesterday that I read of the death of Cardinal Mundelein. He was not only a great man in the Church, he was a great man in our country. He used his influence to increase the goodwill and understanding among people of different faiths and races. He had a real concern for those who suffered and a love for young people.
When he came to see the President, if it was possible, I always made it a point to go in and see him, if only for a few minutes, because contact with that kind of personality always gives one a sense of encouragement about human beings. He radiated goodness and you could not despair of humanity in his presence. Many of us who are not of his church will long remember him with gratitude for what he was and for what he did for others.
I think he would have approved a publication which has just come to my attention called "The Voice For Human Rights," published by the Committee of Catholics For Human Rights. A strong stand is taken in this paper for tolerance. Instead of hating our neighbors, it urges us to try to understand them. It raises its voice against anti-Semitism and urges tolerance for different races and creeds. This is the kind of paper which will be of great help in these troublous times to keep us all bent on cooperating and removing injustices wherever we find them and to alleviate suffering as far as we can.
As the war drags on and the debate in Congress opens to decide what our attitude in this country on the Neutrality Bill shall be, I cannot help hoping that we will remember that there is work at home which has a bearing on the ultimate peace of the world.
We have set ourselves a difficult task here. We are trying to find the answers to the economic problems of today. We have the responsibility of proving that a great democratic nation can do this. We must show that we can find a way of expanding industry, of sharing the benefits of invention, of distributing production, so that even the lowliest may have at least the necessities of life in this land which has before solved problems of production, but not of distribution. This does not mean curtailment of private initiative or of ultimate rewards to those of special abilities or those who wish to strive for material returns. It does mean, however that we cannot be successful in offering the world something it may desire unless we can prove that.
None in our midst need be homeless or hungry or lack the necessities for a comfortble and satisfactory existence. It is true that it is said: "For ye have the poor always with you." That should not apply to people who are willing and able to work, but to those who, through illness or misfortune are unable to look after themselves. To think of future peace is our first responsibility in a war-torn world.