From a Special Correspondent
The Catholic Priests' Association has claimed that some evil mastermind has been at work" to put booklets into the hands of young Catholics "to rob them of their priceless Catholic faith or corrupt the integrity of their moral lives."
The association, which claims to have 1,973 members in Britain and Ireland, alleged that the Nihil Obstat 'and Imprimatur of the archdiocese of Westminster were forged for the book "Choices in Sex," and that the book does not have the guarantee of the Catholic Church that it is free from error.
The C.P.A. has attacked the contents of "Choices in Sex" on several occasions recently.
It claims that the book sanet ions sexual intercourse between engaged couples. artificial contraception, abortion and masturbation.
The association has now published copies of a letter signed by Mgr. John M. T. Barton, censor of the Westminster archdiocese, claiming that the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur of the archdiocese were forged.
Mgr. Barton said he had written to Cardinal Heenan about the affair, which he called "quite extraordinary." He said
he had not given a Obstat to the book, and thought the matter should be thoroughly investigated.
The letter circulated by the C.P.A. said: "The business about the Nilt11 Obstat for "Choices in Sex" has always puz zled me, because I can be absolutely certain that I did not read the book until some time last month, whereas the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur were dated August, 24, 1972."
Mgr. Barton then said that he recently received a book from the priest who wrote it and who said he was sending the copy in gratitude for Mgr. Barton's approval of it. Mgr. Barton said he found on the reverse of the title page his name and that of Auxiliary Bishop Victor Guazzelli of Westminster, written in by a hand that he knew well, In their statement, the C.P.A. said: "There is then, someone in a key position in the offices or connected with the offices of Cardinal Heenan's curia who docs not hesitate to usurp the office of the censor deputatus and of the bishop. "It is the key that unlocks the whole problem of longstanding — namely how so many dis graceful books and booklets, destructive ot taith and morals or both, got into circulation and supposedly containing nothing contrary to Catholic faith or morals."
Fr. John W. Flanagan, secretary of the C.P.A., said that he had another letter from Mgr. Barton in which he said he knew who did the forgeries.