Japanese Catholics and the War
SrR,—With all due deference to the National Committee of the Catholics of Japan, I think they are letting their Nationalism run away with their Catholicism. The argument implicit in their statement is that because it is officially made by them as Catholics it 'nun be right. Because they approve their Government's action in China it is NOT aggression but a crusade! One wonders what the Chinese native Bishops and priests feel about it! For God's sake let us clear our minds of the outrageous assumption that, because a Catholic body makes a statement that statement is infallible. Too far Right is often Left—in its consequences! Japan is one of the Fascist Powers, and there can be nothing calculated to do the Church greater harm than this constant associating of Catholicism as such with the forces of Fascism. That charge has already been made in Spain; and, whether it is true or not, has done the cause of Catholicism a definite harm in the outside world. Now we have an attempt to rally Catholic sympathies behind the bombings and butcheries of Japan in Shanghai. The Catholics of Japan are perfectly entitled to their personal political prejudices in the present conflict—but they are NOT entitled to jeopardise the good name of the Church by using their Catholicism for political ends— which is what their public statement amounts to.
GERALD WyNNE RUSHTON. Haddiscoe Manor, Nr. Norwich.
Communism Excuses Everything!
Sra,—I was disgusted to learn that Japanese Catholics not only approve of the aggressive and brutal war waged by their non-Christian Government against China, but actually seek to justify it by Catholic moral principles. Sufficient comment is provided in other parts of your paper by news and pictures of the dreadful havoc which this " punitive expedition " is working amongst Chinese Catholic Missions. It appears that (according to Japanese Catholics—and some Catholics of European nations) there is one thing which will always justify war—the fact that your opponents include Communists. It matters not how few real Communists there are amongst the enemy, you are entitled to go out and murder them all. You are lighting Communism—that is the supreme condition to which the killing and maiming of non-Communists, women and children, and the destruction of churches, missions, and hospitals, are all incidental and to be disregarded. if my next-door neighbour is a Communist, I am justified in setting fire to his house; if his wife and children are burned too—well, it is sad, but unavoidable, because I am fighting Communism.
7, Chelsea Park, Bristol 5.