Page 3, 15th May 1936

15th May 1936
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Page 3, 15th May 1936 — LEYTE

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SIR,—Read in 'conjunction with some of the letters printed in this week's issue of the Catholic Herald, the editorial Notes and Comments have given many Catholics pause.

Therein we are told that "it is a safe guess that what we call the civilised world will come in time to condone the Duce's action and probably .praise it," that " we shall probably find that the Italian . . . will meet the native half-way and live with him in concrete, spiritual, and material amity under the authoritarian rule of Rome," and that "at the back of the minds of those who really believe that the Italian war has been a good thing is undoubtedly the feeling that Italy's war has been a check to the march of Moscow."

It may be that in years to come the Italian invasion of Abyssinia may be condoned and even praised by the "civilised" world, but, if so, it will be the civilisation of MOSCQW or of present-day Germany which has triumphed. Whatever deeds are done in those countries are done in open denial of Christianity, not in the name of God.

In Italy church-bells rang the departure of thousands of well-equipped troops for the massacre of a primitive people. Whatever a nation's need of expansion, whatever the rights and wrongs of frontier incidents in Abyssinia, nothing can justify the means used to the end. Of all the stains on the history of Italy, and they are many, this is surely the foulest.

The memory of a primitive people is not so short as to cause it to live in "spiritual amity" with invaders who used poison-gas and other devices of modern civilisation which savage tribes would think unworthy of a man. How, without shame, can missionaries preach Christ to Africa when the 'Italian troops sailed with episcopal benedictions? , On the day of victory the great bell of St. Peter's was silent. Those who have most loved Italy may see in that conquest her greatek defeat. as a power for good. Yet the ni....ory of a saint endures when

conquests are forgotten, and Italy has been a land of saints. In Florence, at the angle of the steep and dusty road which ascends to San Miniato, is a bas-relief of San Giovanni Gualberti, the merciful knight who, finding his brother's murderer at his mercy, forgave him when he fell at his feet, with arms spread cross-wise.

Now, when materially Italy has triumphed, may the divine compassion raise up a saint in whose orisons be all her sins remembered, for only the love of man in the love of God can bring "spiritual amity" between such foes.

V. F.

From Sir Leo Chiozza Money

SIR,—Mr. Claxton Turner should read up "gas." Germany, France and Britain, but not Italy, used poison-gas in the Great War, Germany beginning. The talented head of our own British Chemical Warfare Department wrote an expert article in the "Encyclopedia Britannica" on "Chemical Warfare" from which I take this:

"Mustard-gas, which may persist for long periods in the soil and cannot be used on ground which it is intended to attack or occupy."

What General Brewer Hartly, M.C., thus said disposes of the untruth that Italy's rapid advance was due to gassing the enemy out of their positions. If the Italians had gassed, e.g., Gondar, they would have marched into their own gas!

Aloisi, at Geneva, made reservation as to reprisals for the inhuman Abyssinian atrocities, a very different matter. Britain has gas departments and schools now. What for? Why do we spend money on gas, if not for use, or on bombers, if not to bomb? If no gas reprisal is contemplated, as in 1916-1918, why a gas school at Porton?

The Aeroplane (April 8) spoke of the "hypocrisy, cant and humbug" of the political use of gas, and asked whether, when the R.A.F. deliberately bombed the water supplies of villages on the Indian frontier, they did not do a thing more harmful than to apply gas? Mr. Turner should think it over. Was the R.A.F. "criminal" in India; if not, why not?

Russia is the latest pet of the League— Russia, so recently attacked over the British engineers! Russia has a vast organisation, the Aviokhim, which trains soldiers in the use of poison-gas and other forms of chemical warfare. Russia, it was hoped, would join in a League war on Italy!


[Reference is made to the two above letters in our Notes and Comments on p. 6.--Enrr0si


SIR,—In to-day's Times (May 6) it is reported that the Forestry Commission in its struggle against rabbits "had tried gas as a method of destruction, but had abandoned it on the ground of humanity and resorted to wire-netting at a very. considerable expense."

That is to say, the taxpayers' money is being rightly spent to avoid inflicting the torture of poison-gas on animals. But at the same time the government are experimenting with poison-gas with a view to employing it as a means of reprisal in the

event of war. That is to say, the taxpayers' money is being spent in preparing to inflict under certain circumstances the torture of poison-gas on innocent human beings. Comment is superfluous.


St. Mary's, Sheringham.


SIR,—"Vermiculus" says, "the work of Christ is our work," whereas any instructed Christian knows that this is not true in all respects, because the pnrpose for which Christ came on earth was considerably different from that for which we are here. Christ lived all his life in poverty, but that does not mean that wealth is necessarily un-Christian, and the same applies to physical force. Our Lord constantly came into contact with soldiers, yet never once did he denounce their profession. • The Pharisees he denounced in the strongest terms —why not the soldiers, if their profession was contrary to his teaching?

In reply to your correspondent's final question, I ask another—has he ever heard of Joan of Arc, and does he consider himself a better Christian than she?


SIR,—Though it requires but little knowledge to appreciate the competence of your articles, I am surprised that no one has pointed out the irresolution of your "Notes and Comments" of May I.

The question, "Can a sincere Christian supporf his state when that state resorts readily to war?" remains unanswered, nor is its moral dilemma exposed.

A war nowadays embraces the whole of the population of the combatant states and, flourishing only when the whole of each side believes that every individual enemy is evil and malevolent, brings about an atmosphere of corporate hate in which Christians can live only if they are in a state of perpetual invincible ignorance.

The Christian position seems more to work for a Christian spirit than for Chris tian institutions as such. As the 'war atmosphere is primarily unChristian then

it must be avoided at every cost. The complete conscription of public opinion which a modern war must have for its success is the logical conclusion of the omnipotent state. Can the Church live here? Let her break the totalitarian state by refusing her co-operation.

If the state may not prescribe unChristion means for family limitation but must' abide by natural means, why may the state insist upon the use of unChristian methods for the settlement of international disputes?



rThe question at issue is surely whether these means are immoral in themselves. For example. the use of terrorising weapons for the purpose of deliberately causing avoidable suffering, the deliberate killing or wounding of noncombatants and, in fact, the resort to arms itself for aggressive purposes and before every other means for settling a conflict have been exhausted, have been condemned as immoral. In reference to the first part of the letter, does it follow that because one fights for one's country one must hate one's enemies? Did Joan of Arc hate her enemies? Nor does there seem to be any reason why a Christitu must be a victim of the "atmosphere of cot. porate hate," even supposing it exists.— Lonott.1


SIR,—It was a great pleasure to read "Vox Populi's" letter in your cOlumns.

I can name two reasons why no encouragement is given to do what the Holy Father so urgently entreats and implores us to do, and what he has made the law of the Church.

The first is a very, very well known one. It was recently held up to me from a responsible and authoritative quarter. Yes, there was, in the parish under discussion, a galaxy of talent available for instruction. There were undoubtedly many willing pupils in the congregation. But the great majority were totally indifferent and quite satisfied with things as they were now. So, why disturb the good people?

The other reason, from another equally esponsible and authoritative quarter, caused me more .surprise.

This whole matter of liturgical revival and reform was one neither of doctrine nor of discipline, but merely one of taste. Evidently the Pope was a lover of plainchant. Well, my informant was not, and was therefore quite content to leave things as they were.

1 do not greatly like "Vox Populi's" suggestion to make a beginning with the singing of the Credo. Only by singing the whole of the Common will the people learn what they do not now realise, viz., that Mass is a corporate Sacrifice. The plain-chant Masses are so easy to learn and so pleasing to sing that the congregations may well be asked to fulfil their liturgical functions entirely. Otherwise the danger is that we may never get any further than the Credo, as is the case in several London churches. Indeed, it may well be asked if not a disproportionate value is given to the Symbolum. It is sung, fortunately, with great fervour, but all that enthusiasm seems spent when the priest sings "Oremus" and begins the vital prayers of the Offering. The people have no notion of sharing that Offering and of joining in these prayers. If they did, they would surely adopt the liturgical attitude for prayers—they would kneel. Instead, they apparently translate the priests "Oremus" as "Pray, be seated." There is shown no appreciation of the fact that the Offertory and the Priest's Communion are two of the three vital parts of the Mass, not for the priest only, ID, Park Road, Let us go on, by all means, singing the Credo. But the Supreme Act of Catholic Faith is not the recitation of the Credo— it is the Most Holy Sacrifice on the Altar itself.


SIR,—If you will again allow me space in your columns, I would like to express whole-hearted agreement with "A Lay Rebel," and would also add that it is particularly disconcerting to the lay mind to note that the indifference to the Pope's wishes in matters liturgical is even more marked in some of the religious orders than amongst the secular clergy. In addition to operatic performances at high Mass I have heard in a church served by regular clergy violins played during the Forty Hours Exposition!



SIR,—How difficult life is!.

Parents are blamed (and justly) if, on account of shyness or some equally mysterious reason, they do not explain to their adolescent children one of the most important departments of human life and activity.

Now, according to Father Martindale, " it is said that this mutual shyness is disappearing, perhaps too rapidly".

Why "too"?

Can't ' we parents ever do anything right?

And why do "parents constantly turn this matter over to the priest"? Is it possible that, for practical purposes, the attitude of Catholics to sexual relations is as unnatural, artificial, and arbitrary as that of most "Anglo-Saxons" for the past 200 years or so?—not excepting, particularly not excepting, those people who pride themselves on being "enlightened and progressive" in this matter.



SIR,—Reviewing.Miss Cicely Hamilton's book, the Rev. Arthur O'Connor tells us we have a film before our eyes if we fail to see anything but indications of richness of culture and life in the present riot of blackguardism and murder that is going on in Ireland. Our Bishops, say that Irishmen can be Communists, and as for being individuals and desiring a minimum of law, we share that peculiarity with children and gangsters.

A king, once gave an order to a tailor, who told him he could make a suit of clothes that would be inviiible to all those who were unfit for the positions they held. The king thought to make it easier for himself to choose his servants, and when the clothes came home they were' greeted by the raptures of the courtiers, most eloquent in their praises of the make and cut. His Majesty paid for them, mutely and put them on with a heavy heart, scarcely daring to admit even to himself that they were imperceptible to any of his senses. He was getting ready, to take the air in them, when the court fool came on the scene and begged his royal master, with tears in his eyes, not to disgrace them by going naked before the public. The fool was the only man in the nation who admitted he was unfit for his job.

We love our country as it is, without being able to claim the monopoly of any special virtues or sneering at the "fleshpots of England or America". Fleshpots may not be quite so inspiring as whisky bottles, but they are more conducive to peace upon earth.

M. O'BRIEN. Highbury, N.5.


SIR,—Dire poverty breeds war. Forced, through unemployment, to exist in an attic on 7d. a day .for food, here is to-clay's dietary:—

Wholemeal bread .. 1 fd.

Margarine .. Id.

Sardines .. 214.

Dates .. .. 2d.

Obliged to drink water only. More nourishing suggestions appreciated. Aged 64. No fireplace or cooking facilities.


30, Union Street, Maidstone.


SIR,—Under the title "Maternal Mortality" in this week's issue, your contributor has made a grossly ignorant state

ment. He says " what was called maternal morbidity,' i.e., the morbid fear of the dangers of maternity."

It is nothing of the kind. Surely he knows the word morbidity is derived from a Latin word meaning disease. Maternal morbidity is some diseased condition following child-birth, and nothing else. Maternal mortality means death following the morbidity. As a medical man I am not surprised at the most ridiculous statements being made by lay writers when they enter the field of science. I protest against lay newspapers discussing serious medical problems—they might well leave this to the purely medical press and so save their reputation.

The so-called fear of the dangers of maternity have been brought about largely by sensational headlines and articles on the subject of maternal mortality. It is pure scare-mongering, and it is being used for political ends. It figured largely in electioneering addresses.

Lay press articles are often written in sensational language and it is the opinion of my profession that all this is the cause of frightening the prospective mother. NOw, sir, you must admit this is anything but helpful to the men who are spending their time and their money in the endeavour to solve this mystery, if it is a mystery. The lay press cannot do this, but it might help by refraining from unkind criticism of the work that is being done not only in this country, but in every country in the world, for puerperal mortality is not confined to England, but is everywhere.

ROBT. A. WELSH, M.B. Felton, Northumberland.

[Dr. Welsh's strictures are applicable rather to debaters in the House of Commons. If he will look up "Hansard" he will see that the phrase "tnaternal morbidity" was used in the debate in the sense of morbid fear of maternal mortality.—Epti0R.1


SIR,—In your issue of last week you gave a description of the pilgrimage that was made recently to Beauvale Priory in honour of Blessed Robert Lawrence and BI. John Houghton and which was followed by the blessing of a chapel at Eastwood in honour of the former.

I was approached afterwards by various pilgrims with the request to instal in the Martyrs' Chapel a box for petitions. Might I, through the medium of your paper, inform these pilgrims and other lovers of our English martyrs that the box has now been installed and that Mass will be said at that altar whenever possible on every Tuesday (the day of the week on which the martyrs died) for the intentions of the petitioners.

I wish to stress the point that I am in no way asking for subscriptions but simply to further the cause of these Beati and to bring God's blessing on this land and in particular this little parish of Eastwood, which though embracing an area of about thirty square miles, numbers less than 200 Catholics.

F. H. DRURY, P.P. Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Eastwood, Notts.

Points From Lateri'

CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES I still hold the opinion, and have yet to see it denied, that in co-operative societies there is a more equitable distribution of wealth. Production and distribution is for the benefit of the consumer, with a true regard for the rights of the worker, and not as in combines, groups, etc., for a few shareholders who sacrifice all other intere •ts for prorit;.

They have been forced in self-defence to take part in political representation, by combines and big business, who are strongly represented in government (700 directorships are held by members of the House of Commons).

c R. NOBLE. Southville, Bristol.

NEW COMMONWEAL{ SOCIETY The suggestion of "MileiConversus" is admirable, viz., that Catho.ics throughout Europe should refuse to take part in any war, except in the case of invasion. Would it not be well for all who object to nationalistic wars to join the New Commonwealth Society (mentioned by Dr. Halliday Sutherland in his letter on "Anthropophobia"), address: Thorney House, Smith Square, Westminster, S.W.1? This society seems to offer a practical, ready-made means of pressing those ideas which many of your correspondents express, although, of course, it has not the active sanction of ecclesiastical authority.


20, Robinson Road, Gloucester.

In reference to the above letter we have received a communication from "The New Commonwealth" outlining its pro gramme from which we extract what follows:— The New Commonwealth programme is simple and practical. It seeks to strengthen the League and to make the collective system a reality by (k) the creation of a permanent Tribunal for the equitable settlement of all international disputes which do not come within the purview of the Permanent Court of International Justice; (b) the establishment of an International Police Force under the control of the League, not as so many people imagine to engage in punitive action, but to act as an overwhelmingly powerful policing instrument for the maintenance of international law and order.

We suggest that it is by these means— which are in effect the international affairs of those principles which have played so great a part in the evolution of every civilised community—that the major problem which confronts our generation will eventually be solved. We therefore have no hesitation in appealing to all men and women of goodwill to lend their support to this new movement, and with this object in view to communicate at once with the general secretary, The New Commonwealth, Thorney House, Smith Square, Westminster, S.W.1.

SUPPLY WANTED A Spanish priest is most anxious to spend his summer vacation in England if he can get in touch with any English priest who can pay him a stipend and allow him a church where he can say Mass daily.

• Communicate with John Taylor, Birch House, Railway Street, Kirbymoorside, Yorks.

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