their letters to 300 words; otherwise they are liable to be shortened or omitted altogether. Letters must bear a name and address (not necessarily for publication) or they will be ignored.—Editor.
ITALY AND THE WAR MIND
SIR,—The arguments employed by the critics of Miss Barclay Carter's article on the Italo-Abyssinian dispute seem to me for the most part red herrings drawn across the trail. Were the action of Italy condemned only by Great Britain, the Italians would have good cause to refuse to accept the verdict. For whatever the sincerity of the bulk of League supporters in this country it must be admitted that there is an imperialist interest behind our government. It is also most unfortunate that while we are defending the rights of Abyssinia as a free member of the League of Nations we refuse to allow Egypt the right of membership.
But it is simply incredible that all the small states who have joined in the condemnation of Italy have been compelled or cajoled by Great Britain or Russia or both. Their action can have no other motive than the desire to substitute collective security for international anarchy. If we must wait for a perfectly just and infallible system of law before we will accept its authority all law must be scrapped. The law of England, for example, is not always just in its decisions between individuals and classes. But anarchy would be incalculably worse. Even if the verdict of some 50 nations is unjust, which I do not believe, the reign of brute force is far more unjust.
The principles laid down by St. Thomas are so general that it is not difficult to evade their application. But they have been expanded by the work of later theologians. Vittoria lays down that war is unjust if arbitration is possible. Abyssinia offered arbitration through the League—Italy refused to accept it. And on the original issue, the Walwal incident, even her own delegate concurred in a report which exonerated both states from blame. But she went to war all the same.
Again. Vittoria tells us that war is unjust if on reasonable calculation the evils it will involve outweigh the good to be expected from victory. But the evil of substituting international anarchy for the rule of law and collective security far outweighs any possible good to be expected from an Italian victory. Nor must the means of warfare employed be immoral. But the Italians employ the immoral means of bombing a civilian population.
Evidently, therefore, the Italian war is unjust and unjust war is simple murder. And no authority, however lawful, may command murder. Moreover, mass murder is hardly the way to extend culture to barbarous nations, still less, to quote the Archbishop of Milan, " to bear in triumph the cross of Christ
E. I. WATKIN. St. Mary's, Sheringham.
SIR.—I fail to understand the reasoning which inspired Miss Barbara Barclay Carter to write the article " Italy and the War Mind " in a recent issue, for surely she has studied the Italian memorandum which was presented to the League of Nations, but carefully omitted from our national press. This document traces the history of Italian relationships with Ethiopia since the middle of the last century, and tabulates the many violations of the Italo-Ethiopian treaties for which the Ethiopians are responsible.
In view of the continued offence to the immunity of 'Italian diplomatic and consular representatives in Ethiopia, the permanent offence to the life and property of Italian subjects in that country, as well as the attacks upcin Italian territory by slave-raiders, the Italians, by sponsoring Ethiopia's entry into the League and entering into the treaty of friendship of 1928, have displayed amazing toleration.
Italy hoped. as did everyone, that by admitting Ethiopia to the League. her bellicose and barbaric activities would be checked. and that the League would offer protection and restitution to Italy by means of a mandate.
But nothing has been done to ameliorate conditions. The treaty of 1928 and that of Klobukowsky have virtually been ignored, and Italian reliance upon the League has proved useless.
No one can say with truth that the temper and patience of Italy have not been sorely tried. She has been driven to take measures of her own design; and the League designed to keep peace is seeking to terminate a colonial expedition by methods which even our own ministers (to wit Sir Austen Chamberlain and Mr. Baldwin) admit must lead to war.
Italy is doing no more than Japan is doing in China; her action is no graver than that of Bolivia, or Russia, or Lithuania; yet in these cases the League never raised a finger of protest. Any wonder the bitter feeling in Italy which surprises Miss Carter? Anti-fascist, antiCatholic intrigue it may very well prove to be.
The national conscience of England is indeed shocked. but at the perfidious shuffling of the League. Her sense of justice is opposed to the government's war-mongering policy, for Britons do not want to fight and die for a half-dead League that is the stalwart defender of international finance.
solini from the viewpoint of " justice" as conceived under the old nationalistic scheme. But cannot they see that an allround satisfactory settlement is impossible without an all-round abandonment of that for which patriotism has come to stand: political nationalism, and its philosophy.
Your own comment, that the issue is whether or not Mussolini's war is a Christ-like undertaking, is much to the point. Nothing is more certain than that, so great is the complexity of international relationships and so arbitrary the nature of political nationalism, it is practically impossible to reach any impartial conclusion as to the merits or demerits of any particular case on legalistic grounds. Condemnation only leads to charges of hypocrisy, and to bitterness. But there can be no question that, from the Christian point of view, the Italian patriotic cuitus, and its culmination in the present war, is deplorable, although not more so than the patriotisms and policies of other lands.
The English tend to a sentimental, humanitarian, opportunist internationalism, intensely insular in its ideology, and lacking in sound philosophy. Such an internationalism is likely to aggravate the situation both in England and abroad. Is it not possible, however, for Catholics to take the lead in the formation of a Christian internationalism, propagating a superpatriotic mysticism of its own, superseding the nationalistic philosophies which sprang from the Reformation settlements, and pointing the way to the creation of a World State when the world becomes more sane? Failing this, I see no alternative but individual resistance to the unChristian State in time of war.
12, St. John's Park Road, S.E.3. December 7.
SIR.—May not many points in this correspondence be questioned?
"Altera Vox" writes of 50 nations who have chosen to condemn Italy without a hearing. Has she not refused to state her case? It can hardly be said that " she has been given no adequate opportunity."
Count Bennigsen pleads St. Thomas's three conditions for a just war. Are those Conditions being fulfilled? Do not Suarez and Bellarminc add a fourth condition— the right conduct of war? Can the Catholic conscience allow the rightfulness of war until every means to prevent it has failed?
As regards slavery. Grant to the full Abyssinian atrocities. Do even they justify the horrors of war? Surely it was Italy's duty fully to state the facts before the League of Nations—the rightful tribunal —and to insist there that slavery should be abolished, before attempting to justify a war of aggression on those grounds? Moreover. it is stated by Lord Rennell and Lord Strabolgi (see The Times, December 6), that it is Italy and France who deny the right of search, and allow this abominable traffic to go through their territories, thus conniving at it.
Italy may think of the League of Nations as mainly composed of bolsheviks and freemasons, but she has signed its covenant. Has she a right to break it?
But, sir, you have stated the fundamental point at issue in asking Is Italy's war a Christ-like undertaking, or is it not?" Can it be a Christ-like undertaking " to point the Beatitudes with the nose of a torpedo " to quote Mr. Tomlinson's phrase in Mars His Idiot. Can the bombing of women and children and wounded in hospitals be in accordance with the mind of Christ?
22, Queen Alexandra Mansions, Judd Street, W.C.1.
SIR,—So Italy is to be defended on the grounds that she is out to Christianise Abyssinia, and sanctions opposed because they are the work of the Jew-MasonMarxist gang.
An ordinary Christian must certainly doubt the justice of such a war. The Crusades could not free Christ's tomb by blood, neither can Italy preach Christ's word by means of bombers. And many ordinary Catholics are for sanctions not because this Jew or that freemason demands them, but because the teaching of the Church. as they understand it, drives them to the unwonted conclusion that Italy is in the wrong.
Where is the just cause? Italy cannot judge her own cause, because she freely agreed to hand over that right to an international tribunal and promised to abide by that tribunal. Where are the efforts to carry on the war in the manner that Catholic teaching demands that even a just war must be carried on? Two reports are to hand: in one the savage Abyssinians are reported to have left so that noncombatants need not suffer; in the other, the Christian Italians are reported to have bombed a town. injuring non-combatants and damaging a hospital.
I fail to see how Italy can be said to have fulfilled the conditions laid down in Catholic teaching. Is her intention good? (even if this question also condemns much in English history). Did she do all she could to avoid war? Is it defending her frontier to march so far into another land? Does her need for expansion justify her delimiting another nation by force?
The ancwerc tn the and many nther
SIR,—It is well you remind your readers that the fundamental point at issue is :" Is Italy's war a Christ-like undertaking, or is it not? " for so far has modern thought departed from Christ and Christ-like ideals that, were the article and the letters which it has provoked stripped of all extraneous matter, it would be found that in none of them whatsoever is there to be found the slightest hint of the teachings of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ!
" Go ye and teach all nations! " enjoined our Lord.
" Go forth, noble youth, and civilise— with your blood, if need be—the barbarians, and take these rifles, machineguns, tanks, planes, bombs, gas-containers, and flame-throwers with you that you may civilise effectively and completely," commands the modern teacher, Such a civilising process, whether carried out by Italy in Abyssinia, by France and Spain in Morocco, Japan in Manchukuo, or by Great Britain in N.W. India, will be a Christ-like undertaking only to Italians, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Japanese, and Britons respectively. To the others it presents a hideous and horrifying example of Western methods of civilisation.
If we were to ask ourselves conscientiously " Why should the barbarian be civilised?" the answer would be: " That he may be despoiled of his land and his simplicity. That he may be made to forget how to feed and clothe himself. That he may be freed from individual slavery and placed in bondage to a civilisation bloodier and more ruthless than was the most bloodthirsty tyrant in the history of his nation; and that he and his women may be syphilised by the one dread disease that always accompanies the armies of modern civilisation."
By what stretch of imagination then can Italy's war be deemed to be even remotely a Christ-like undertaking?
Is it any wonder that Christ, bowed in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, sweated blood under the weight of the sins of the world?
ALFRED GROSCH. 30, Chestnut Grove,
SIR.—Miss Carter's critics almost entirely missed the point. They tried to show (I) that Italy, being nominally Catholic, could not err; (2) that Italy's actions are justified: (a) by St. Thomas (who, poor fellow, was the last to claim infallibility for every word he wrote, but whom unphilosophical people use to support any pet partiality); .(b) by the Pope (that long-suffering man, damned if he does not speak, abused if he does).
This is the plain question: Are Italy's actions justified by Christ? The plain answer is: No! Here are the plain cold reasons:— (I) Italy's noblest aim, as expressed by a pious protagonist: " to carry the Christian standard to Abyssinia," i.e. to act as missionary of Christ.
(2) Italy's method—force, i.e. bullets, bombs, and fire. In the course of the holy crusade, women and children are " accidentally " killed. Never mind! Hospitals and ambulances " happen to be hit. So sorry—we didn't mean to! But, anyway, all those pressmen, doctors, and ambulance-men are all liars, freemasons, Jews, bolsheviks, etc.
(3) Christ's own method, explicitly stated by himself, followed heroically and successfully by all his true missioners ever since, "Put up thy sword into its place."
To my simple mind, the contrast be tween the divine and human attitudes here clearly indicates the rights and wrongs of missionary work. If I am wrong, so also are those truly brave missionary martyrs who have crusaded, not with bombs, but with the Cross. But I suppose they were deluded sentimentalists.
Only an ass would deny the cruelties of Abyssinian customs; only a futile ass would imagine that sanctionists were saints (yet they do include one country, at least, no less Catholic than Italy); but only a raving mad ass would believe that Italy's acts were good, just, holy, virtuous, Christian.
7, Chelsea Park, Easton, Bristol, 5.
SIR,—I am shocked at the letters quoted in your issue of December 6.
Has not Italy known all along about the now much-ramped slave-trade? Does Mussolini so love freedom that he should worry about slavery?
If this cowardly war is a Christian undertaking, then God save me from such cant. . . .
I am disgusted that the Italian war aims should find such support in an English paper, but hope and presume that the editor is not an Englishman.
F. S. BUNDY.
152, Markham Road, Bournemouth.
fThe editor is an Englishman. But what about it? He didn't write the letters that have upset our correspondent. Would Mr. Bundy _haEveDi rohni
him one side in a controversy? lies, misled by fascist propaganda, have not only lost their sanity but also that natural and elementary faculty which discerns right from wrong.
I am more than ever surprised at the many facts which have escaped Miss Carter's attention. For instance: The League has not named Italy an aggressor, nor has :fie League judged if the war is right or wrong. The sanctions have been imposed for a different reason altogether, a reason hotly contested by Italy.
A few weeks ago at the Austrian Federal Diet the Minister for Foreign Affairs made this declaration: " We do not know if it is a question of aggression or not and therefore we cannot say who is the aggressor to be punished by the League of Nations."
Professor Nippold. an eminent jurist and a member of the International Tribunal of Arbitration at The Hague, in an article written in the Bund of Berne has contested the right of the League to apply sanctions on the basis of its present statute.
But apart from Miss Carter, how many Englishmen know of these facts? or that Mr. Politis called to act as super-arbiter at the Walwal Commission had years before been the adviser of the Negus at Addis Ababa?
It takes two to make a quarrel. Before sitting in judgment on our Italian fellow Catholics charity which " rejoiceth in truth demands that W2 give them a fair hearing.
HENRY BUGEJA, O.P.
St. Sebastian's Priory, Pendleton, Manchester, December 7.
SIR,—Lovers of Italy are grateful to you for your logical exposition of the principles at stake in this unhappy conflict.
British sympathies, because they are temperamentally inimical to Fascism, are as unreasonable in their condemnation of Italy now as they were enthusiastic in their support of her under Garibaldi. We who lived and worked there before the war can testify to the manner in which she was riddled with freemasonry, in the government, communes and colleges, and could quote cases of the miscarriage of justice due to a masonic-packed jury. and to masonic influence in the schools where priests were forbidden to enter.
Mussolini has bruised the head of Italian Masonry, 1 say advisedly bruised, because bruises heal, and you have shown how the masonic triumvirate at Geneva under M. Litvinov are doing their utmost to overthrow Italy and prevent Catholic rule in Africa. Were liberalism, as understood on the Continent, which is allied to masonry, to return to Italy chaos would ensue and the Church be fettered once more. Travellers in Abyssinia, before the war clouded the atmosphere, are loud in their strictures upon the existing state of misrule, savage cruelty and attendant misery.
Italy's imperial ambitions come late in the day. but they are at any rate as legitimate as were ours two centuries ago. She, like us, has the excuse of this state of lawlessness and slavery to add weight to her colonial aspirations. Italy has a right to be considered as a great European power and to extend her colonies, under safeguards, as we have done in the past without European interterence.
SIR,—We British friends of Italy must
thank you for a measure of fair play which we receive in very few of the English dailies. By a headnote, however, you seem to tip the scales by urging us to show that Italy's action is Christ-like.
It can quite easily be proved that the pre-existing Ethiopian 'aggression and the still existing Ethiopian social structure and customs were and are devilish. Such abominations as slavery, torture, unending pillage, mutilation, and above all. moral and physical injury to children. call for forcible suppression, and the Italian army is as much the sword of God as was Israel when by divine command war was launched against Canaan or when Christian knighthood was urged by the Church to recover that same Holy Land. It is vain to quibble at the difference in weapons used. It is the justice and necessity of the war which matter.
No one denies that there is an additional reason for this war than defence and righteous anger: namely, the absolute need which Italy has for expansion, the only alternative of which is sinful birthcontrol. Naturally, those who advocate this alternative here and in other countries deny Italy this right of expansion. It is not a case of Naboth's vineyard. but rather the taking over of a wasted but potentially fruitful country, which we British have done a hundredfold elsewhere. Never was the parable of the mote and the beam so evident as in British preaching against Italian covetousness. Here is Christ's mind in his own words: "Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam of thy own eye ALEX. JOHNSTON.
Leighswood, Headley, Hants.
[Sec Editorial Note on page 10.1 SIR,—Last week your Roman corres FASCISM Watkin and Mr. Dawson have called attention to the philosophical difficulties which exist between Fascism and Christianity: their reasoned arguments contrast strangely with the new and liberal attitude adopted by Mr. Raven Thomson.
I think it most instructive to read in the latest issue of The Blackshirt one letter and one article attacking Anglican bishops for holding views contrary to those of the movement. One cannot help but wonder if, after the advent of a fascist government to power, these bishops would be allowed either to express such views or to escape punishment if they did.. Personally, I doubt it; and I think that the printing of articles in which a bishop is called "egregious,at this stage, is highly significant.
P. D. TURNER.
December 3. BREAD
S112,—II is like the sight of a sail to a shipwrecked sailor, seeing this correspondence burst into your paper.
I had despaired of ever reading sense again in this mad age, but recently the Catholic Herald raised flickering hopes— and now! Al last! ! A paper has called a bluff, and told the truth about a most vital matter.
One of the most ghastly indications of the state into which our people are now sunk is the fact that they have so far lost their judgment of good things as to accept as bread the puny. anxmic, dry, crustless, bleached. chemicalised, underbaked, devitalised stuff offered by the modern baker.
To anyone who has seen English wheat grown, milled (by stones). and baked at home, and has habitually eaten it, the present-day shop loaf is a gross insult to God's bounty . . .
Have we no redress when the miller and the baker add their " improvers," and stint the fuel?
Does the human hand carry such a curse that the machine baker boasts that his loaves are " untouched by hand?
The greatest material need of our people to-day is good food. Can your paper help to teach them how to live once more? . . .
Food. clothing and shelter: these are man's first and essential need. A nation that does not know how to produce them can he fobbed off with any junk, and will eventually perish through lack of the very will to go on living.
In God's name, try to do something about it!
98. London Road, Chelmsford, Essex. December 7.
" HELPERS OF THE NEEDY"
SIR,— . . . There are numerous organised societies for the destitute, but ours is a small committee composed of business girls who give up their Saturday afternoons personally to feed these men and provide them with a little entertainment. Most of the younger men enjoy this, but many of the elderly ones fall asleep; these are the men we concentrate our efforts to assist. Theirs is a hard life, exposure, age. lack of food and clothes. all make it impossible for them to regain employment and they lose faith in themselves.
Last year we were able to give from 200 to 300 men a hot dinner every Saturday from January 5 to April 6.
If you can imagine some of the Saturday afternoons the early part of the year, bitter cold wind and sleet and the queue of shivering humanity waiting to be admitted into the hall. I think you will agree that we should all help these unfortunate souls.
Please help us to assist them by sending what you can afford, however small, to— The Secretary,
" Helpers of the Needy,
32, Lawford Road, N.W.5. Gifts of socks, cocoa, cigarettes, etc., would be most acceptable.
ENRI E 1TE J. MOONI3Y, Hon. Secretary.
[The work of this "Helpers of the Needy" committee eminently deserve' the support of the readers of this paper.—Eollotti THE LATE FR. LESTER
SIR,—It has been decided by authority that a Life of the late Fr. Edmund Lester shall be written.
May I ask those of your readers who may possess letters from Fr. Lester to lend them to me for inclusion in the life? I should also be grateful for any personal reminiscences of him from your readers that are likely to be of general interest.
CLEMENT TIGAR, S.J.
Campion House, Osterley. December 3.
SIR,—In your paper you published a very interesting article by the Rev. Ivor Daniel re the down-and-outs of Hyde Park, etc. . . .
There are hundreds of good fellows far away from home who live in lodgings and can pay for a room but no other comfort
after a hard riait'e