Your editorial comment (January 4) on the latest attempt to force Katanga into union with the Congolese Republic makes sad reading in a Catholic newspaper. One would have thought that a journal which in the past has defended the right of small nations to self-government might have shown more sympathy for the struggle of the Lunde, people of Katanga to maintain their independcnce.
Neither the objectives nor the methods of the United Nations forces in Katanga appear, on the available evidence, to be morally justifiable. while the right of Belgium to confer authority over Katanga on the Congolese government in I eonoIdville is questionable. to say the least.
The forcible establishment of the I eopoldville government's authority in Katanga by United Nations troops bears more than a superficial resemblance to the Russian action in Hungary in 1956. when the "legal" Communist government was imposed by force on the Hungarian people. It is regrettable that the CATHOLIC HERALD should defend it.
G. L. Lucas.
Your leading article entitled "The Katanga Affair" astounds me. Some simple-minded persons like myself. with nothing to gain or lose financially. have been prouo to see our country make a stand against injustice. You write: "it is. perhaps, naive to expect a member nation to act against its short term political interests or the financial interests of a few men in high places". If this were so, it seems to me that it would be even more naive to give unqualified support to those who at present act in the name of United Nations in the Congo.
You write of "the concentrated campaign of venomous misrepresentation". but I would say that these words might be used to describe your article. The work of the Church in this country has been greatly hampered by the reputation for irresponsible criticism of everything British which a vociferous minority of Catholics has earned for us all. It is a fulltime work. now, to repair the damage caused by this false image and it is a pity that the leading article of a Catholic newspaper can do nothing to help.
Joan M. While (Miss). Chislehurst, Kent.
I was interested in Michael Grattan's letter (December 28) drawing attention to the need for a Catholic Centre. As a professional social worker for the last 30 years I have been appalled at the overlapping and surely consequent waste of both time and money among the Catholic Voluntary Societies.
It would seem that the inauguration of a Catholic Centre in London is long overdue. As has been pointed out before, secular societies find it very difficult to get ie touch with the appropriate society for some of their Catholic clients. Presumably there could be branches of the various societies in the larger centres in the Provinces.
Although I have no actual experience of the American Catholic Welfare Societies, I understand they are very efficient and have a headquarters with branches its the various States. I have thought that consideration of a project such as this is long overdue in our country; is it too much to hope that the Hierarchy might appoint a working party to go into the whole question of the fragmentation of Catholic charity? It is a most pressing need-partly economic and partly social.
Mary M. Miller.
It was with great interest that I read your correspondent's query as to what has happened to the money collected towards founding a Catholic Centre as a memorial to the late Cardinal Hinsley.
The Cardinal was a good friend and patron of Our Lady's Missionary League a branch of the A.P.F. We had hoped to find permanent headquarters, of which we are still in need, in such a building, It certainly would be ideal to have a Centre. where the offices of our societies would be under one roof and to which various amenities could be added,
May we hear more of this project which seems to have gone uodergrou nd.
M. Frances de Mars, 0.L.M.L. Streatham, London.