Page 8, 13th July 1935

13th July 1935
Page 8
Page 8, 13th July 1935 — .LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Report an error

Noticed an error on this page?
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it.



Related articles

Letters To

Page 8 from 11th October 1935

Government Bitterly Opposed By I.r.a.

Page 6 from 11th May 1935


Page 12 from 31st January 1936


Our correspondents are urged to limit their letters to 300 worda; otherwise they arieliable to be shortened or omitted altogether. Letters must bear a name and address (not necessarily for publication),

111e,■ III be ignored.--eteditor.


, Sta. The courteous reply of Mr. Chesterton to my criticism of his broadcast

• address on freedom—an address which I was eat ;done ill interpreting as I did— leases untouched two questions, one of fact and one of theory, which are so imporeat lhat I feel 1 mist ask to be allowed to clear them.

As to the question of fact. 1.ct it be far from meto claim a knowledge of Enghind as idc. as deep as fslr. Chesterton's. Still. th1rry years of life spent in England

Lids, ing England should not count for mohing; besides, sometimes an outsider ..,ee.; things unnoticed by ihose width. And it cannot be a mere accident that. having come to England full of many Marxian ideas on the origins and character of English capitalism not unlike those of Mr. Chesterton, I found myself caaspelied to agree with many English and foreien students of England. socialists and not socialists, that such views were due to a complete misconception of the actual facts. Thee may he some truth in Mr. Chesterton's view, but as a matter of fact I um afraid it is his view of the anal nrocess that seems to me imaginary. Eve!. socialists. for instance G. D. H. t'ole. in his work What Marx meant, are compelled to disto ow it. Indeed. after Dr. Clapham's classic study on "England ;n the Railway Age " one among many zorning to the same result, it is scarcely possible to do otherwise. What Mr. Cole gays concern:, .g the Marxian contention is it fortiori true for the Chesterionian's.

" By whatever injustices and oppressions the rise of Capitalism was accompanied, it did undoubtedly lead not only to a large positive increase in total wealth, but also to e wider diffusion of consuming power. It would be sheer nonsense to contend that the poor became in the mass poorer under Capitalism than they were under the system which it displaced. This was not el en true of the period which was chiefly in Marx's mind as he wrote: for even in the earlier decades of the nineteenth eentury, when the abuses of the industrial Revolution were at this worst, it is scarcely possible to argue that there was more material poverty in England than there had been in the eighteenth century. or, to go back farther, when the medieval economic system was in its most flourishing phase. . . H is practically cero.iii that at any time after the first decades of the Industrial Revolution the average real income of the poorer classes was higher than it had ever been before; and it is utterly beyond question that the further development of Capitalism in the nineteenth century was accompanied in every capitalist country by a real and rapid advance in working class standards. . . Of course it is open to argue that the workers under Capitatism, though they had on the average larger real incomes than the generations before them, suffered spiritual degradation in the loss of craftsmanship and independence. But this view also is suspect; for does it not rest on comparing the spiritual condition of a pris ileged minority of, craftsmen and substantial peasants with that of the worstplaced workmen under the new system? . . The view that Capitalism degraded the general condition of the poor in the advancing industrial countries is based on sentimentalism, and not on objective study of the facts."

That concerns the past. Let us now come to the present. Is it true that, even in present Italy there arc more real vital liberties than in England? I must say I feel astonished—most ordinary Italians will feel astonished—that anyone should put the unrestricted freedom of drinking above that of free discussion and decision in matters of common concern, a freedom once highly praised by Mr. Chesterton himself in his book on Robert Browning. But let us accept Mr. Chesterton's chosen ground. Is it for a single moment admissible that lack of public control in local and national finance in Italy and the increase of the national debt by 53,000 million gold lire in twelve years of Fascist finance, does not affect the vital liberty of eating and drinking of the poor man in Italy far more than any English legal restriction on beer? Is it a fact or a myth that such necessary items as sugar and salt are in Italy almost a luxury owing to their price, more than four times the price in England, owing to taxes and duties of pre-fascist Italy? Is it a fact or myth that no vital liberty can be more pharisaical than that which permits one to pray that God's will be done, but forbids him to try to do it? Is it not a practical subtraction of children from their parents' moral control that is going on in Italy, where boys and girls are compulsorily enlisted and drilled and made to listen to militaristic and nationalistic stuff, to profess that the Duce is always right, etc., etc. . . . for the whole week and given only half an hour weekly of perfunctory religious instruction? Is there any freedom that matters where you cannot even call your own your soul and all must be for the state, and nothing against or apart from or above the state? And now I come to the theoretical question. 1-irst of all I feel sure I have Mr. Ches terton with me when I say that we cannot speak of Catholic tyranny, just as we -cannot speak of Catholic murder, etc., there have only been tyrannies and murders carried out by Catholics under a

, In countries where law-making is carried through free discuasion and criticism of all institutions, law • is merely', the ex: pression—pro tanto—of agreement among the politically-minded -people; that such and such a thing should or should not be done. It is an expresssion of the conimon will restiicting or abolishing purely exclusive liberties in order to create or extend li,bileri.ties equally enjoyable by ill, thus • raising the plane for the exercise of free m

. .

The restrictions of landlorde' rielits to build or let unsafe and unhealthy houses at the same time free prospective tenants from danger and encourage goodbuilders and landlords. Moreover, where there is free discussion no proposal by the minority is rejected without due consideration and the law enibodies even many proposals by the Minority; it is not a simply imposed restriction,' but a higher synthesis, a reduction of the gap between majority and minority. Let Catholics %Convince the majority and law and 'Catholic liberty will coincide.

1 have too great a respect for Mr. Clies terton to think that. were he—remaining what he is—to live in Italy, he would not quickly learn his lesson as to the liberties that matter most, and as to their' greater reality in England than under Mussolini. Just as there arc positive affirmations common to Catholicism and Protestantism rooted in the common Christian heritage, so there are vital liberties, which are not merely Protestant, which on the whole are undeniably more respected in England than where the enforced political creed is that passengers exist for the sake of the ship and its crew only. Let us not run the risk of being more anti-Protestant than Catholic! 1 ANGELO C ESPI. It

SIR,—Mr. Chesterton says he did not expect anybody on the Catholic Herald to call the Catholic Church " a sect." Neither would I. but lots of English Catholics consistently do by baits ing as if it were only a sect. In fact. one can say truthfully that any Catholic who does not see his religion in terms of worldwide expression of the truth—merely sees it in the terms of his personal devotions— is making his religion a sect, where it was intended by our Lord to be the only means of establishing His Kingdom on earth. We have been making a great fuss about St. Thomas More. Can we truthfully call ourselves his fellows in Catholicity? Would he have done absolutely nothing (which is all we have done! to help our fellow Catholics in Germany? I think not. If there is such a thing as charitable contempt among the saints for the living, I fancy we have more than earned our share in this sell-satisfied coutirry.


Haddiscoe Manor, • Nr. Norwich.


SIR,—Thcre is a further consideration

. . which may be urged in favour of the restoration of the Crucifix to its former position in Westminster Cathedral.. The beautiful figure of Our Lady of Sorrows which is painted on the ba'ck is not only hidden at present but can hardly be improvingein such close proximity • to the brick wall.

. • A Resdant.

Si,—Since Mr. Edward. Maunder con fines his argument to aesthetic considerations, perhaps it would be as well to meet him strictly on the grounds, .quite inadequate though they be, that he has-chosen.

To say that "the present atmosphere ot the Cathedral is much improved with the removal of the crucifix"-,and that "the whole effect is now dignifiede-primitive, rather severe and wholly pleasing,' is merely to express one individual's opinion and preference. These may be met with the implied opinion and preference of anothei individual, in the person of J. E. Bentley, the architect of the Cathedral; it being on record that the Crucifix was made to his designs. Mr. Maunder would_ surely igree, therefore, that the right to a casting vote on the purely aesthetic issue is vested in the designei of the building.

The other, and far more important issues have been admirably set out by Fr. Chute. Let the Crucifix be restored to its place. then, for the reasons both aesthetic and liturgical.


THE HANDSHAKE OF FRIENDSHIP SIR,—Many people are disturbed, many are annoyed, and many more are supremely indifferent that a,small number, chosen from a small number, of exServicemen are to visit Germany for the purpose of shaking hands.

I think it doesn't matter whether they shake hands or heads. The result will be the same. Nobody who is anybody will take any notice. Countries will still go to war just as soon as they think that they are strong enough to overcome any opposition that they are likely to encounter. It has always been .so and will remain so for quite a long time to come.

It has been said that the British Legion is not representative of the ex-Servicemen. Quite true, but that doesn't matter, either. It has also been said that •: the flower of

stay-at-homes will envy their fresh audience for " what 1 said to the colonel." They. will give loud British cheers. There will be no other change. Mussolini will continue to send troops to Abyssinia and we shall continue recruiting 10,000 air force men. The Little Entente will look on and France will provide " noises off." Japan Will break the peace ofe-Or a piece off—China, 'and President Roosevelt will get another deal.

All these are trivialities. I am an exServiceman, and I am also a cobbler. What bothers me is the fact that My shop will be pulled down shortly and rity living

will ;Esc gone. Do you think you could persuade a councillor or two, or a British Leg,ion official, to come and shake hands with ME?



July 5.

, [Mr. Keogh's cobbler's 'shop is situated in one of the areas in Leeds scheduled for demolition. He is one of many small tradeSriten for whom no provision is to be made cin the new housing estates.— ED.] •


SIR, May I congratulate "Bcrnardus" on a valuable suggestion for the assistance of large families—namely, that those of us with substantial incomes should live much more simply, and devote the money thus saved to helping large families.

How can this best be done? It might be a good plan to spend the money in founding scholarships at Catholic schools, with the stipulation that only boys and girls from families where there arc already four children shall be eligible. This couldloe done by private individuals. or therelnight he a central fund to which the less wealthy could also subscribe according to their means. May I be forgiven for suggesting yet another organization? The families of professional men would probably benefit most. and it cannot be said that too much is already done for them! The thing of first importance on the side of the giver should be an obvious change to a simpler standard of living not the mere giving from surplus wealth to just one more charity. This would entail a sacrifice comparable with the renouncing of worldly goods by monks and nuns. It might well be harder, since the sacrifice of religious is backed by centuries of public opinion, and " the world " is most terrifying in the part of spectator! If anything on these lines is ever attempted it .is more than likely that " only children" will be foremost in making the sacrifice.

Lastly, may "Bernardus" and others make one tittle concession—let "only children" wax lyrical about large families—they have a true and poignant estimation of the joy of them!


SIR,— I welcome the letter of " Bernardus," and entirely agree with what he says. -But his letter seems to open the way for a continuation of the "Towards a Catholic Society" discussion that has been going on for so long in your pages; whereas, what is wanted first is a "natural society." You can't baptize a man until you've'got a human being to baptize. Anyway, that's not what I was driving at. I suggested that we should look at the facts as they are—what a large fatnity involves for different classes of people here and now. And the sort of people they are—products, to a large extent, of

wildly unnatural environment. And so on and so forth.

J. K. L.

SIR,—With regard to large families, let us, as "J.K.L." suggests, get down to brass tacks. -Here are some other facts for which your correspondent asks:—

I know "a family consisting of father, mother and eight children, the eldest 21, the youngest not 21 months. I have had this family under close personal observation for the past 15 years, and have seen them come through every stage of

poverty and distress. They have frequently been threatened with evietion, they have had the light cut off, furniture seized, and, in fact, they have gone through what is commonly called " the mill."

They have, naturally, had their sorrowful moments. The man is on the dole and has been either on that, outdoor relief, or charity for the past five or six years. They are not common people, both man and woman are above the average in intelligence and education, and come from good stock. The mart has actually a highly skilled trade in his hands for which there is now no demand.

On either side of this family dwell people with one, two, or at the most three children, yet it is from the house tvith the large family that all the shouts of laughter andemerriment come. It is this man and woman who find life worth

living. From their neighbours, all in good work, come the glum looks and moans about cost of living, etc. There is nothing lyrical about all this. It is plain hard fact. In my opinion, the proper interpretation of "J.K.L.'s" Orme, "sheer force of economic pressure," is: sheer downright selfishness! The persons who get married with the idea of limiting their families to one or two children must, I submit, by their selfish ideas come face 'to face at the outset with grinding difficulties and miseries caused solely by an WILLIAM COBI3ETT •

SIR,—Dr. McNamara is not.' I think: well read in the works or Political Régisteis•' of Cobbett; he merely makes a bald statement and gives' no. reason "why one should think that Cobbett was 'a "great man."Seeing that this man spent his life in dealing out vulgar abuse to anyone who did not share his opinions. and could not allow anyone who disagreed with him the credit of honesty of opinion, one feels that he showed himself the reverse to being a "great man". Your correspondent " Senex " writes. "To say he used invective is ignorant' nonsense", yet he goes on to say. "Invective, coarseness if you like, Cobbett used this weapon with great effect". These two statCments contradict one another. Abbot Gasquet made a passing reference to facts in the introduction of the "I listory of the Reformation", but were -these facts Cob. ben's? It is well known that he was no historian. and that this work was "cribbed" from Dr. Lingard's book (and this work had defects and errors), and Cobbett only varied the language, condensed. Some extracts and exaggerated others. The credit for the facts goes to Lingard, arid for its coarseness to Cobbett.

Of his other works, most are now out of print, the only ones obtainable are published on paper, print and binding not of the best. They command little sale. Mr. H. C. Maskery says, " his work was never condemned. If there is so small a sale it is certain that the reading public have formed an opinion sufficient to condemn the works, they have little use for it. ' In fact thirty years ago many of the books could only be obtained off a second-hand stall. They were out of print to the booksellers with the exception of the "Reformation", which owes its success to being "boosted" by the C.T.S., and recommended to converts as a text book.

One heartily agrees with "S. Raymond'', "Let ths truth be told, etc." It is for that one wishes, and hopes. But, Cobbett in his attack on Queen Elizabeth, and his lauding of Queen Mary, hardly helps the cause of truth, many of his statements being warped and distorted to an extent to shake a reader's confidence. In fact historians, including a prominent Catholic writer on historical subjects, now admit that Queen Elizabeth was more sinned against than sinning, and that Cecil and others of her courtiers were the real cul prits. This is diametrically opposed to Cobbett's theory. And, then again, the robbery of monasteries and abbeys was carried out in England in a mild and. almost generous way, if one compares the methods of France at the Revolution, of Italy, Germany, and of Mexico and Spain in our own time. Cobbett could not differ as a gentleman. This was his failure, and in this respect most will agree that he failed to be a great man.



SIR.—Cardinal Gasquet, who edited Cobbett's History of the Reformation, found it necessary to approach the work in a more critical spirit than does Mr. S. Raymond. See the Cardinal's preface.

By all means let us have the truth— but Cobbett sometimes gase more than the truth. P.C.J.

SIR,—Your correspondent E. Boulton is evidently one of those who has neither "learned nor blushed," as the Rev. Sydney Smith, Canon of St. Paul's, said of those who opposed Catholic Emancipation in his time. As to Cobbett's diction—and it is a curious but noticeable fact that they who hate his matter hate his manner as well—it is as well to recall what R.L.S. once said of William liazlitt: "we may all be clever fellows, but we can't write like Hazlitt." And of Cobbett. this inimitable Hazlitt says: "He is one of the best writers in the language. He speaks and thinks in plain, broad, downright English. He might be said to have the clearness of Swift, the naturalness of Defoe. . . ," and so on, and much more from the pen of one of our supreme essayists.

It is not Cobbett's " manner " that is disliked; it is his " matter." Cobbett was without a shadow of doubt a lover of truth, and justice, and equity. He fearlessly followed truth wherever she chose to lead him. She led him to the 16th century, and let him get on with it. He found the spot whence every so-called modern " problem " had its hideous birth -agricultural, social, domestic, sexual, educational, foreign—and we may lay to that!


I, Radnor Park Crescent, Folkestone. July 8.


SIR,—Had I not recognized the distinctive and forceful style of Liturgicus as that of an old friend,. I might have pointed out that appreciation of beauty depends as much on the beholder as on the thing seen. The fact that a man can see a monstrance built up of beer engines and other excellent objects is as valuable to psychologists as it is to artists and art-critics. Such a state of mind is to be envied that cannot fail to show Liturgicus, among other delightful absurdities his worthy bishop crowned with an eggs cosy.

Liturgicus, it seems, can see good reasor for rejecting the church furnishers'

models, but cannot understand how this offending monstrance takes its form. The industrialists of the .1aSte century tried to coPy, in their, own ivay..1' the handwork or the past and itwas almost natural to them to use the: most 'decadent and artificial ,styles. Although,-is we know, these men on the tithole.Were concerned with making .tminey rather than things, many thought they were doing the world a_goocr' turn by imitating. cheap lv then thought to bee the best handwork.' Whatever goodness this work

had was,of •course, lost. • e

• But the showy vulgarity and -ballyhoo" was there all right andthis; it seems. has become the accepted 'standard for church art. The'modern craftsman is expected to copy 'xiiiichiite.`eoiskes of ionic of the Worst' hinebVelik 'ever made or, as Mr.— GeOrge Maxwell has put it, "to live on .the' forced 'vomit of, the last two centuries.' I know that it is generally thought that we can please ourselves, but it is more, true to say that a craftsman who does not, conform to this standard needs either a 'prii7a. income or heroic virtue.

.Now, it is not possible. to copy (even if it were desirable) a good pie-industrial monetrsince, because none exists. The monstrance came into general use about That time when the silversmith's art had become about as decadent and 'overlaid with cheap tricks as it has , ever been. and the form taken by this vessel remains More or less unchanged to this day. This is not true of other liturgical vessels in metal. Chalices, crucifixes and thuribles of the best period remain .,,as a starting-off point and a guide. for the silversmith of to-day. It is good for a man to conform, or think he is conforming, to a tradition, providing it is a good tradition. For pride in art is the beginning of decadence; it was, among other things, the pride that accompanied the humanism of the renaissance that brought. about the decay of the art of the west. If, then, humility is necessary at all times, how specially necessary it is to-day in this matter, when the craftsman has no good tradition to lean upon. He must, when his customers let him, build tip his monstrance from the liturgical requirements of the vessel, his knowledge of silver and his common sense.

1.ct us not forget that it is not so much what a thing looks like that matters but what it is.

Many parishes cannot afford (if they wanted) a well-made ornamental monstrance in a precious metal. Which., then, ismore desirable, a showy gilt brass thing. badly made, or a simple silver vessel, well made? Remember, we are not producing a Rienhart play. we are honouring the Blessed Sacrament.

Dteesi AN PRUDEN Ditehling Common,

Hassocks, Sussex.

July 8.

WANTED—A BENEFACTOR SIR, -aPax Christi. May I trespass ,on your kindness and generosity and request you to forward my address to a kind benefactor who would be willing to re-Mail to me each week the "Catholic Herald". I shall repay your kindness by my prayers. I should be pleased to know the address' of my benefactor, in order to notify when My address is changed.

JOHN B. Bataan., S.J., Sacred Heart College. •

Sherubliganur P.O. (Madura. DT.), , South india.

June 20.

A CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY R. Hoare in your last issue ;s to be congratulated on the 'wide outlook and careful treatment of his article, and you on your enterprise in atiticipating the interest that is being taken in this subject.

We all feel that something must be done _to extricate this country from the pagan morass into which it is sinking and our young people from the secondary schools and universities must feel it acutely, for a great deal is, and ought to -be, expected of them by the Catholic body.

Some few, months ago I moved at the Link Rooms in Manchester that a Christian Democratic Party is of urgent necessity' in England. To my surprise and the dismay of the Rev. Chairman the young peOple passed my resolution by a substantial majority. his to he hoped that it will be made clear at Cambridge that a Catholic party is an impossibility, for all Catholics have a light to their political opinions. Secondly that the formation of .a Christian party need not mean that Catholics should leave their political parties_

JOHN KILROY, Headmaster). St. Francis's Boys' School,

Gorton, Manchester.

July 6.


SIR—Your note, " Unanimity at Geneva," gives a somewhat falSe impression, as although the Convention prohibiting the employment of women on underground work in mines was unanimously adopted by the 1.L.O. Conference, yet owing to the work of a number of women's organisations, including St. Joan's Alliance, it is open to any government to exempt various categories of womeri; such as doctors, nurses and students. from the prohibitions of the Convention

Thus a great deal of unnecessary hard;hip to non-manual workers may be ivoided.


(Hon. See. St. Joan's Social and Political Alliance). uly 8.

blog comments powered by Disqus