The relief of Belgian refugees in the archdiocese of Glasgow during the First World War: ‘A Crusade of Christianity’
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Taylor, K.D. (2018) ‘The relief of belgian refugees in the archdiocese of glasgow during the first world war: “a crusade of Christianity”’, The Innes Review, 69(2), pp. 147–164. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3366/inr.2018.0173.
The relief of Belgian refugees in Britain is an emerging area of study in the history of the First World War. About 250,000 Belgian refugees came to Great Britain, and at least 19,000 refugees came to Scotland, with the majority hosted in Glasgow. While relief efforts in Scotland were co-ordinated and led by the Glasgow Corporation, the Catholic Church also played a significant role in the day-to-day lives of refugees who lived in the city. This article examines the Archdiocese of Glasgow's assistance of Belgian refugees during the war. It considers first the Catholic Church's stance towards the War and the relief of Belgian refugees. The article then outlines the important role the Church played in providing accommodation, education and religious ministry to Belgian refugees in Glasgow. It does this by tracing the work of the clergy and by examining popular opinion in Catholic media. The article establishes that the Church and the Catholic community regarded the relief and reception of Belgian refugees as an act of religious solidarity.