PIUS XII ASKED ABOUT BEVAN . .
By Hugh Delargy, M.P.
THE late Cardinal Griffin told me (and he had no objection to my repeating it) that Pope Pius X11 once asked him whether, in his opinion, Aneurin Bevan was a nearCommunist. The Cardinal replied that Bevan was no sort of Communist, near or far, and added: "He also happens to be a good friend of mine". Nye Bevan had many Catholic friends. Although he had long ago ceased to practice the Baptist religion of his youth, he always remained interested and curious about religion. The chief obstacle to his complete acceptance of Christianity. he often said, was the proposition that God, who is infinitely perfect should permit sufferingand injustice. Many other good men down the ages have had the same difficulty. One conviction, however, he did fully share with us: the importance and the dignity of the human per
conviction was at the root of all his politics and behaviour.
For several years, and until fairly • recently, his private secretary was an Irish Catholic lady. And she said to me, not long before his illness: "I regard Nye as a lay saint".
I knew what she meant. He did indeed possess certain qualities, or one might say he practised certain virtues in a high degree hut only those in close contact with him were aware of it. Only his intimate friends fully appreciated his moral courage, his candour, his kindness and his surprising gentleness.