SIR,-One may hope that the numerous anti-Fascist Catholics will read your issue of 4th instant very carefully, and the cheap B.U.F. booklets, Fascism for the Million and 100 Questions Answered. They will presumably have read Quadragesimo A nno, but it will do them no harm to run through it again.
The various types of Fascism are, of course, human schemes and liable to error. They are neither Divine revelations nor diabolical conspiracies.
The abuses to which Fascism is liable in extreme cases do certainly tend to resemble that harshness which is the normal everyday characteristic of Marxist Communism or, to come nearer home, to the ferocity of an Ulster bigot or a Moslem dervish. The risk of such abuses arising will depend on the degree of danger or despair to which any particular Fascist movement has owed its origin.
Mussolini's task in Italy was just within the powers of a clear-headed, physically strung leader: an opportunist, but with a fixed purpose, and the gift of picking and guiding men. Hitler's problem—thanks to the efficiency of the Allies' blockade and the subsequent tactics of France and its supporters—has proved to be too big for a satisfactory solution : much has been done, but not without tragic errors.
Mosley's economic tenets—when stripped of a few inopportune and unpopular trappings—are the nearest thing to a purely Papal programme of social reform that any of us are likely to meet with: Moreover we, unlike the Mid-European Powers, are in a position to examine, discuss and try-out his plans for loosening the international usurers' stranglehold on society, and righting other wrongs in our plutocratic ss stein. This process cannot be so drastic in its working as the brand-new expedients to which Italy. Germany and Austria had recourse in the beleaguered, terrorstricken atmosphere of Communist intrigue, famine, and financial panic.
The English attitude of "live and let live" in religious matters would have a far better chance of surviving and making good terms with a B.U.F. system than it would under the Russianised fanatics whom our infected press and " left " literature are breeding in such swarms, and whose weight must soon make itself felt in British politics.
Are we not a laughing-stock to the world, offering an asylum to the political and moral refuse of humanity and denying free speech (except at grave personal risk) to an earnest British social reformer?
G. WILLOUGHBYMEADE. Lourdes, 36, Marius Road, S.W.17,
An Anglican Rector's View
Sut,—As an Anglican admirer of your excellent paper, which I began to read to get some true news about Spain, and which I continue to read for the same reason, but also for many fresh attractions, I was pleased to see that not only do you differ from every other newspaper that I read in your unbiased foreign news (Germany perhaps excluded, but—I sympathise with your feelings), but you also have extended your impartiality to recording B.U.F. activities. This is extremely creditable on your part, as the ruthless boycott and deliberate misrepresentation (where boycott is impossible) of the British Union is a proof that the so-called liberal " Freedom of Speech " is a sham. The idiotic vapourings of every subversive crank get full publicity in our secular Press, whereas Sir Oswald Mosley, admittedly an extremely able politician (it was admitted until he challenged our financial system), is deliberately excluded from any publicity whatever.
In an article published by you this week, a contributor speaks of the small support given by the British public to this movement. Would it not be nearer the truth to say that considering the hostility and boycott of the whole of the British Press (with yourselves, so far as I know, the only exception) the growth of the movement is remarkable. It is not antagonism to the British Union, but complete ignorance, that has so far prevented many from joining up. As that ignorance is dispelled so will the movement gain strength, and this despite a most unfair and illiberal "conspiracy of silence."
H. E. B. NYE. (Rev.). Scampton Rectory, Lincoln.
The Sovereign as Dictator
SIR.-1 am glad to see that this CATHOLIC HERALD is taking such a sensible and openminded attitude with regard to Fascism. For some strange reason very few people are able to think straight " on this subject —they either regard Fascism as Antichrist, or else as a panacea for all ills.
There is much in Mosley's programme which is excellent. There is, however, a certain distressing non-Christian tone in several of his writings. For instance, on page 38 of The Greater Britain (which may be called the British Fascist " Bible ") we find these disturbing sentiments expressed by the Fascist leader : " To all moral questions the acid test is ,first social and secondly scientific. If an action does not harm the State, or other citizens of the State, and if it leaves the doer sound in mind and body, it cannot then be morally wrong" (sic!). "This test over-rides all considerations of religion prejudice and inherited doctrines which, at present, obscure" (sic! ) "the mind of man."
The question naturally arises in one's mind: Can one, however much one may believe in the Corporate State, entrust dictatorial power to a man who expresses such pagan sentiments?
There is no doubt the Corporate State is the State of the future, but many people will feel a strong repugnance to placing their destinies entirely in the hands of a " leader " and a party caucus. In my opinion the only proper person to form the apex of the pyramid of the Corporate
State is the Sovereign himself. I cannot imagine the British public entrusting anyone but the Sovereign with dictatorial powers. I would strongly advise those of your readers who are interested in the subject of the Corporate State to read Sir Charles Petrie's able work, " Monarchy," especially the chapter on " Monarchy and the Corporate State."
The Smallness of the Movement SIR,—Congratulations are due to the CATHOLIC HERALD for so courageously presenting to the Catholic public the case for the British Union; it is abundantly true that " we cannot afford to neglect the con tribution of the British Union " in working for an improvement in our social system, and since this contribution is, in the words of the Catholic Gazette, "the most sensible complete programme " in the English language, and " the nearest thing to the teachings of the Popes that the modern world can offer," your own words and Mr. Benvenisti's concluding paragraph are amply justified.
But, Sir, is it correct to argue that " the smallness of the movement " and its " great unlikelihood of ever being realised " are reasons why Catholics should keep free from any connection with it? Surely, all great movements have begun as minorities, with at least doubtful prospects of success; to abstain from support for these reasons, or because of a new movement's unpopularity (in this case largely the result of Communist propaganda) seems to me the coward's part. Such an argument would have applied to Christianity itself.
And I must confess to some surprise when reading your statement that (in referring to religious atmosphere in education) ° Mosley could hardly have chosen a more unsatisfactory word than ` atmosphere '." Unless I am very much mistaken " atmosphere" is precisely the word used on more than one occasion by our own Bishops in stating the Catholic educational requirements.
The absence of any reference to God in Sir Osiwakl's book (" To -Morrow We Live ") is 'regarded as " alarming." Why? Is not our present Order so dixercsd from God as to be alarming? To many, Sr Oswald's programme of social justice will come as something much nearer to God than our present system—evolved and manipulated by a Parliament that opens its deliberations with prayer to God and then extends the hand of friendship to God's avowed enemy, the atheistic Soviet.
No man-made system will ever be perfect. It we Catholics wish to take advantage of the great amount of good in the
British Union programme and at the same time help it towards perfection, what should be our policy? To stand aloof and wag a finger because of its imperfections? Or to give practical effect to the Holy Father's own plea for the co-operation of all men of good will "? I do not think anyone except the Communist has yet questioned the good will of those who have evolved a social programme so close to the social teachings of the Popes.
iNo out claims that the 11.17.F. is either
a religious or spiritual movement. Only with such movements Mien they are right are prudential eonsiderat ions of number of adherents or ,possible success out of place. St. Thomas himself taught that one of the conditions of legitimate revolution was a' reasonable hope of success. The same con
dition applies tp just war. In polities (even when it is held that a certain party or plan is more Christian than another) it is a Christian axiom that the possible practical good or harm likely to result from putting them into practice is a legitimate moral consideration. It would for example be wrong to risk the present liberties of Catholics and good-will towards them for thie sake of a cause (maybe theoretically better in itself) with little hope of immediate Application. These vonsiderationg do not militate against individual Catholics joining the B.U.F.. but they would weigh heavilyagainst any attempt to associate Catholics in general in this countrywith Sir Oswald Mosley's party.—Eerroa.]
Sun—it would have been better if Mr. C. Davey in his letter " Just like Hitler," in the CATHOLIC HERALD (March 4) had quoted the whole sentence from Major Fuller's pamphlet What the British Union
has to offer Britain. May I, to make Major Fuller's main meaning clear, quote the passage in full? " if the Jews place Jewry first, we are against them : but if they place Britain first, they have nothing to fear. We will not tolerate an Empire within our Empire, the Empire of International Finance within the British Empire; that is our challenge, not only to Jews, but to Christians." Here the implication is clear and legitimate.
Can the mediaeval system of Government function nowadays? I do not think it possible unless it is modified to suit modern scientific methods of production, and I venture to say that the British Union fulfils this requirement.
Distributism has not, to my knowledge, yet produced its policy in any complete form, and except to a very few is still unknown : I also gather that it has got to he applied universally; the Pope tells us that we must act quickly if civilisation is to be safe.
R. N. CLARK. The Hermitage, Callow End,
[The above are only a selection of many letters substantially approving our comments about the B.17.F. The other side is not represented because no letter of condemsation has been received.--Emma..]