Page 2, 18th February 1955

18th February 1955
Page 2
Page 2, 18th February 1955 — S.A. Bishops and Apartheid

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People: Whatever
Locations: Cambridge


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S.A. Bishops and Apartheid

Sir,--May 1, as a South African, venture to express the deep distaste which I and many others feel on reading Major Mchan's outburst on apartheid in your issue of February 4th. I do not think there is the slightest question that Major Mchan's opinion and tone represent no more thee a regrettable minority among South African Catholics.

One can sympathise with Major Mehan if he is irritated by accounts which label all South African policy as malicious and bad: one can understand. through not sympathise. with his anxiety to suggest that all the real iniquities and oppressions are mere inventions of " Reds, Pinks and propagandists" (how familiar is the ring of the easy and irresponsible accusation!); hut sir. one cannot let pass his implication that the South African Hierarchy thinks as he does.

To quote from the Statement on Race Relations of the Bishops as issued in June, 1952:

,. As a result of historical circumstances, the Europeans, who constitute about one-fifth of the population. hold most of the land. wealth. and for all practical purposes. the entire political power. The non Europeans (Africans, Asians and Coloured people), have practically no share in the government of the country, and are debarred by law and custom from enjoying equal opportunity with Europeans in the field of gainful employ, and consequently in other spheres of social life.

"This political. economic . and legal 'Colour Bar has its psychological counterpart, Whatever be its origin, it induces many Europeans to look upon non-Europeans as persons of inferior race . . • " Were the attitude of Europeans the sole reason for South Africa's racial problem, it would be simple enough to condemn it as unjust and un-Christian The Bishops then proceeded to a long, temperate and lucid analysis of the complex and various factors which make solution difficult. But the initial condemnation is inescapable, and has been repeated. most forcefully, in other places. Nothing said elsewhere will contradict this; nor can Major Mehan's appeal to considerations other than justice he anything other than misleading and retrogressive.

J. E. Stewart 86, Chesterton Road Cambridge.

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