SIR,—Our Alliance with Russia causes and must cause some embarrassment to the Christian conscience. For years the declared policy of the Bolsheviks was against not_only Christian doctrine and institutional religion but against the very idea of God. Nor can We accept the plea that the private believer was not persecuted. The Faith
is a living and social force—it cannot be reduced to a private taste or idiosyncrasy and the Russian state does not permit, as we think, the rational activities of a living Faith. Moreover, the Russian Revolution has in the past entertained a world-wide programme. It seeks to create among other peoples the same conditions that it approves for itself. It is no good blinking these facts. On the other side, I would advance these pleas:— I. Can any human revolution really extirpate the religious sense from the human, heart? May we not believe, that piety does indeed survive among the Russian peasants?
2. Can we say, " Granted, the Bolshevik ideology is anti-religious, but it is also freedom-loving—and on that latter ground we have with it a strong bond of unity under the present duress?"
3. Can we say that in any case it is no good abandoning Russia to its isolation, but we may well hope that by further contact with us and the United States, its views may broaden and become more tolerant?
4. Or, again, once granted that Russia has entered the lists with us against Hitlerite Germany, what other alternative is conceivable except to make the most of this alliance—pro moo and no more— and give to Russia a rightful part in our hopes and intentions ; and in all those material munitions of war that she needs.
Is the frame of mind bred by such considerations in any way derogatory to Catholics for whom supernatural values must come first? In other words, is there any need for a had conscience in the matter? I seek enlikhtenment and direction — I am not trying to dictate a point of view. Perhaps, Sir. you or your readers can deal further with this question. I think it would be very welcome.
CHARLES G. MORTIMER.
2, White Buildings, Lee-on-Solent.
Wr. Mortimer has overlooked another point worth discussing. No Christian would be likely to object to an alliance with. let us suYi Moslems or Buddhists or native pagans. But the Soviet does not enforce a primitive or false religion: it enforces an ideology deliberately Intended to destroy the Christianity of Christians. It Is not preChristian, it is consciously post-Christian and anti-Christian. When we see notices of Anglo-Soviet Red Cross charities with a Red Cross at one side and a Red Star at the other we are made aware of something quite different from an ordinary international charity. The Star is in active conflict with the Cross. Can anyone think out a theological or moral basis for such co-operation? —EDITOR, C.H.].
Socialism and Bolshevism
SIR,—As at one time I was antagonistic to Fr. Prince whom I suspected of being blind to the evils of Bolshevism, it is now with genuine appreciation that I have read his courageous and outspoken article in your last issue—for nowadays it requires courage to hold independent views. But I must point out that Max Eastman in his Stalin's -Russia shows that every form of Socialism inevitably degenerates into Bolshevism, a truth which has been proclaimed by no less an authority than Pius XI. This should be borne in mind by those who speak of Creative Revolution.
Fr. Prince should not condemn Tsarism wholesale on the strength of Leftist writings. 1 sin alive to all its darker sides—what system is devoid of them'?—yet it was in a process of evolution wherein its abuses were being gradually eliminated ; had not the war and revolution occurred, Russia would have fulfilled the great agrarian and social reforms and presented to the world the picture of a huge State of small farmers, well-to-do and contended, a magnified version of Denmark.
6, Huntingdon Road, Cambridge.