1 January 1917

How little the expression ‘we were shelled for two hours’ conveys to you. People read in their papers some mornings: ‘The enemy fiercely attacked our trenches but were driven back again’ and never give a thought to the brave fellows who lie in heaps mangled and bleeding, nor to the moans of pain, nor the broken hearts in many a home. Not many at home care much, I fear, otherwise we should hear less of these brave speeches about ‘no peace at any price’ from men who will never have to fight. If only the world, Allied and German, could see and hear what we see and hear daily there would soon be a shout for ‘peace at any price’.

COMMENT: Fr Doyle wrote these words on 1 January 1917. They are a fitting reflection for the January 1 which is designated World Day of Peace. Fr Doyle was tough and brave. But he also hated war, and longed for peace. He did so not out of fear or love of comfort, but because he saw the horror and pain that war meant for so many. Perhaps there are some who, motivated by their hatred of war and bloodshed, have little interest in the life and example of a heroic chaplain like Fr Doyle. These words may perhaps give cause for a second glance at Fr Doyle and his spirit, which so longed for peace.

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