Cardinal Mercier, renowned Belgian prelate, speaking at Dinant, Belgium
Cardinal Mercier (mer'sya’), prince and prelate, fearless soul whom the Germans could not bend, is speaking in the cathedral at martyred Dinant. Throughout the war his voice was raised in protest against the crimes which Germany perpetrated in Belgium. In ringing tones he demanded for Belgium the rights which all civilized nations accord their opponents—and was denied. The one head that would not be humbled, the one tongue that would not be silenced, he was hated by the Huns, revered and almost worshipped by his people. Cardinal Mercier was born November 21, 1851, at Braine l'Allend in the Walloon Brabant. He is a man of imposing presence, over six feet tall, with a scholarly face, white hair and deeply set, seeing eyes, the eyes and head of a thinker. He was in Rome when Louvain was sacked and there received the terrible news, followed a few days later by that of the bombardment of his own beautiful Church of Notre Dame at Mechlin, of which he was archbishop. Returning to Belgium he steadfastly took up the defense of his people. Ceaselessly he proclaimed their rights, continually he protected them to the limits of his power, challenging and protesting the Hun's arbitrary exercise of power. How the Germans hated him ! Yet harm him, even they dared not, who dared every other infamy. On one occasion, prevented by a cordon of soldiers from going by train to Brussels where he wished to celebrate high mass, this heroic old man set out to walk and actually did walk as far as Velvarde, where he caught a tramcar. Cardinal Mercier visited our country in the fall of 1919, and was received with high honors.