By F. A. FULFORD Although the organisers of a great Cardinal Mindszenty protest rally in Luton on Tuesday were exclusively St. Joseph's Catholic Social Committee it became, in fact, all-denominational in character.
Over 1,200 Luton citizens filed into the Baths to hear Mgr. Parker, Bishop of Northampton, publicly denounce the Mindszenty " trial," in the company of an Anglican Vicar, a Free Church spokesman, and two Members of Parliament, Mr. C. Hollis, Conservative, Devizes, and Mr. R. J. Mellish, Labour, Rotherhithe.
They indignantly tore up cyclostyled anti-Mindszenty leaflets which half-a-dozen young Communists distributed at the door.
One of the distributors boasted he would the next day have thousands of his leaflets given out in local factories " by shop-stewards and other friends."
A Communist interrupter was removed by stewards during the course of Mr. Hollis' speech. Bishop Parker, chairman, smiled patiently. and suggested that objections might be made at question-time later on.
Half way through the meeting, when the Communists saw the failure of the first tentative disturbance, they left the hall.
Mr. William Warbey, Labour M.P. for Luton, gave encouragement to the local Communists by his attitude when he refused an invitation to attend the meeting.
While Bishop Parker charitably referred to the member's " inability to attend," 'his letter to the organisers, which I saw, stated that he did not subscribe to the idea that the Cardinal's trial had been a crime against Christianity.
Petitions bearing 7.915 protest signatures of his constituents, cornprising all denominations, were handed over by the Bishop for transmission to Mr. Warbey at the House.
The organisers had in previous weeks set up tables in the streets where signatures were collected, and ministers of religion had also cooperated in their respective churches.
Both M.P.s turned their speeches into thunderous attacks on Communism, Mr. Hollis collecting a tumult of cheers when he sparkled with : " Never have the Communists won an election anywhere in the world without themselves counting the votes."
He added: " We Catholics shall give all the support we can to the persecuted Protestants."
Mr. Mellish warned that politically we in Britain need not be scared by the Communists, " but industrially, yes. They are in the Unions; they must be fought in the Unions."
The Bishop of Northampton said people thought it worth their while to come to the meeting rather than remain at home passing their time at something pleasant, as, for instance. " reading a detective novel.
" But this, too, is a detective story, and you, in this hall, have to detect the clever criminal. You are a jury, a deeply stirred jury."
He stood at a table covered with a black cloth with a silver cross on it. over him hung the picture of Cardinal Mindszenty.