Dr. Coulton has written from the University of Toronto offering to accept in Wells' place the challenge issued by Fr. Heenan in connection with Crux Ansula, a challenge which H. G. Wells refused. He suggests, however, a debate by letters to be ultimately published in book form.
Dr. Heenan, as a busy parish priest, is unable to spare the time required for this prolonged type of controversy, which, of course, differs substantially from the single public debate which he offered H. G. Wells. The Editor of THF. CATHOLIC HERALD then approached Arnold Lunn and asked him whether he was prepared to take on Dr. Coulton.
Arnold Lunn, who was Assistant Professor of Apologetics for timer years in Notre Dame University, is thoroughly well equipped to defend the Catholic cause and an opponent worthy of Dr. Coidton's best attention. His book, Now I See, was recognised as one of the best statements of die reasonableness of the Catholic Faith, and its orthodoxy was sealed by a Roman imprimatur to the Italian translation. Furthermore, Arnold Lunn has controvertell In a series of published letters with Dr. load, Professor J. B. S. Haldane and Mgr. R. Knox. (Mr. Luftn, of courser was nor a Catholic when he argued against the Catholic Faith with Mgr. Knox.) We publish below Dr. Coulton's letter in which he issues his challenge, and Arnold Lunn's letter in which he accepts. Arnold Lunn's answer makes it impossible for Dr. Coulson to say that a " natural showdown " has been refused by our side.
G. G. COULTON• To the Editor of THE CATHOLIC HERALD SIR ,—Since my name has been btought into this discussion in your columns, I must ask leave for correction and defence. I am not. nor ever was, a Roman Catholic. Again, in an attdck upon Crux Amato which the Tribune allowed her by way of fair play for your Church (October 15), Barbara Ward rebukes Mr. Wells for concluding with " five chapters and about fifteen pages of libellous abuse for which Joseph McCabe and Dr. Coulton provide most of the material." The fact is, as you can verify in a few minutes, that Mr. Wells quotes me only once, and then only for a two-line summary of his own in which 1 defy anyone to scent out anything like "libellous abuse."
What made this lady invent this false accusation against me, while the plain facts Were under her nose? Is it not because your most prominent journalist is able to boast that the whole of your religious press has been taught to Out me out of court as " the notorious Dr. Coulton "? That kind of thing comes home to roost.
A friend now sends me a half page from your issue of November 19, with its exaggeration of theatrical headlines: " Wells . . . refuses a public debate." I take it that you lay all this importance on the matter not as a personal blow against Mr. Wells but as a presumptive victory for Catholic Truth. I ask, then, to be allowed to step into Mr.„ Wells's place and receive Fr. Heenan's buffets.
Fr. Heenan suggests for terms of de bate " Is the Catholic Church antisocial?" I am willing to accept ebb ZS it stands, in order to give no excuse for backing out; but under protest tbst wherever the word Catholic is used in our debate it is to be understood in the sense of Roman Catholic.
By letter, the debate could be carried on almost as easily across the Atlantic its in London, and perhaps with greater deliberation and accuracy. A " cherman " could soon be named who would command the respect of all Pardee and a publisher could pretty certaittb' be found so long as the book ran to not less than 50,000 words', which indeed is also the minimum for so serious a subject. Your own headlines testify to the importance of the question, and you will doubtless lend your powerful aid to bring this agreement off. The present state of things does little more than arouse the cry of " A plague on both your Houses!" For we have mere nuisance-bombing: hitand-run raids which bring a maximum of irritation and a minimum of solid results.
You have not only Fr, Heenan, but, in default of him, hundreds of men trained to apologetics as their special life work. You have, for instance, that Bellarrnine Society which exists for this avowed purpose. It need not prejndtee your own reply to Mr. Went; then is room for both; for your ex parte criticism of Mr. Wells, and for a business-like showdown between two studentswho have specialised in this field. By such an arrangement the Carried over to page five