Page 6, 18th September 1936

18th September 1936
Page 6
Page 6, 18th September 1936 — POLITICS OR MORALITY?

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Locations: Madrid, Barcelona


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The Real Issue In Spain

Sta.,—I read in last week's issue of the Catholic Herald an article: " Politics first or Morality first?" by Don Luigi Sturzo, which seems to me at least strange! If the author had lived through these terrible weeks in Spain, he would have understood ti-tat though certain grianiarcis may have political objects, the majority of the Spanish Nationalist Volunteers march with the image of the Sacred Heart on their breast, in a holy war in defence of their religious ideals and of their home, and this applies certainly to the 70,000 Navarrese volun The real cause of this civil war is the revolt of decent people against the atrocities of the last six months of a Government of the Popular Front: murders, thefts, arrests, setting fire to churches. Can God give His blessing to such acts? As soon as the war was unchained, the Reds of the Popular front attaclal with a diabolical rchncrocrit everything that was religious. All the churches were set on fire, the RAI killed the priests, monks, nuns (more than 400 in Barcelona alone) after having outraged or odiously mutilated them. The treasures of the cathedrals were stolen and divided between the " comrades." Victims had their eies rut out noses cut7 ears torn off abdomens opened. Has Don Luigi Sturzo seen these spectacks? And this has been a general occurrence in Catalonia, in Madrid, at San Sebastian; and, in short, everywhere where there were the Reds. On the side of the Red Government there has been only hatred, and that is why I do not hesitate to call them a public enemy. and l they w:sli to live only on hatred. Is this not a sin against the Holy Spirit? The Catholic Church cannot be on the side of thoae who publicly proclaim and profess atheism: it is on the side of truth, of charity. The whole article is a curious mixture of verbosity. Catholics are dying from a surfeit of ideas. thoughts. words. What will save Religion, is action; it is necessary to proceed to deeds. It is the Holy Father himself who urges us to Catholic Action. The Basque Catholics to whom reference is made in the article, have betrayed their Church bi triino to win autononli out of alliance with the Popular Front. They had only a political object; and that is why they betrayed their country and their religion. The Bishops of Vittoria and of Pampeluna have severely reprimanded them for that. I do not wish to continue this discussion. It is useless. I will conclule by some advice is' P911 Luigi i NW 9 M lain to to the Nationalist Army to fight for Catholic Spain. If he talks Or writes less, he Will act more. I promise hitri that within three months he will be converted.

ABBE DE Moon, Professor of the Catholic Institute of Paris.

Writtcn from Jpill.

Obedience Goes With Control

SIR,-The dilemma between Politics and Morality which Don Sturzo applies to the present situation in Spain in your issue of September 11, appears to me to obscure the pllint with On pativlie Soamqrai are faced. It may perhaps have some bearing on the position if these Catholics who are supporting the anti-Christian element in Spain in the interests of local separatism or class feeling, but these surely are an infinitesimal minority which in no way represents the opinion of Spanish Callfolles as a whole. The real issue is a very simple one. It may be stated as follows. Arc citizens justified in taking arms against a government which has shown itself unwilling or unable to safeguard their elementary human rights, on the one hand, while on the other it has made itself the tool of the anti CliriAlill fvrvo nig Rrs ;V destroy Spanish Catholicism by violence? Granted these facts I do not believe that any Catholic theologian can deny the right of resistance, and the facts have been abundantly established by neutral witnesses. as, for example, by the Madrid correspondent of The Times in recent despatches. It may rrhaps be argued that the Spanish Government is not directly responsible for the atrocities committed by its supporters, but a government which surrenders control also surrenders the right to obedience. In this connection I would ask Don Sturzo to consider the last words of Caleo Sotelo which I quote from the current number of an English Catholic 1 review.

" Very well, Senor Casares Quirvya acknowledge notification of your threat. And I say to you what S. Dominic of Silos said to a King of Castile: 'Sir, my life you can take from me, but more you cannot do.' It is better to die with glory, thaII to in iialivrrar, Fir my pri 1 ask the rine Minister to consider his great responsibility if not before Clod, as he is an atheist, at least before his own conscience, as he is an honourable man. May he realise that Spain's destiny, is in his hands and I pray that that destiny may not be too tragic. May l+e measure los responsth:1:ty Ls, recaiiina the history of the last 25 years and he will perceive the lurid and bloody glare which surrounds two figures who played a leading part in the tragedy of two great nations, Russia and Hungary. They Were Kerenski and Karolyi. Kerenski represented unconsciousness, you know

Heroes of the Past

SIR, — In his article "Politics Or Morality " Don Luigi Sturzo surely goes too far in his advocacy of non-resistance. Long before the insurgents took up arm 11 MOli mulv it 4111ii what they intended to do for Spain. Were the patriots under moral obligation to remain passive while there was still a chance of retrieving the situation? If so you can no longer look upon Sobieski and Don John of Austria as Christian heroes, and even the fame of St. Michael grows Cline In even the jestest of wars belligerents will always lay themselves on to criticism. And one may well deplore the employment of Moorish regiments. No doubt General Franco would say that a desperate situation demands desperate measures, and that when things so hung tlig Mlatitg ilAMll1t8t agri pense with such serviceable troops. P. M. NORTHCOTE.

Si. Joseph's, Gunnislake, Cornwall.

Fascism and Communism

SIR,—I read Don Sturzo's article " Pan tiles nrsl or Morality rrst 11 w:th some dismay. To take one or two specific points in the article first, is it correct to say that the conditions of scholastic theology for a lawful insurrection have not been fulfilled in Spain? I seem to remember that peace ful methods failed ultimately through the litoilry vf Iti ropuiar non A6 to success being previously guaranteed, surely

that is a condition which can best he

judged by the military authorities, and not by a priest. The comparison of Spain with France is difficult to take seriously. Does Don Sturzo seriously ask us to believe that the Combo ant1-rcli:iou5 lain mil on a par with what has happened in Spain even for the six months prior to the outbreak of hostilities? It' the Catholic taking up arms in Spain on behalf of the insurgent nationalists is thereby to be held morally responsible for any outrages committed by the insurgent arrnicli 1111 not 11y ru that a Clio lie fighting for the so-called government in Spain to-day is equally to be held morally responsible for the profanations of the Most Holy Sacrament, the massacre of bishops and priests, the violation and murder of nuns and all the other count less atrocities that have been committed ilii vf Jiriy rin GracY.

Is it correct to say that the Catholics of

Spain " were asked to liberate themselves from the Fascist movemeni which insti gated assassination by armed violence"? I am under the impression that Fascism in Spain is a very small thing. And as a Catholic priest I regret it. For in many ways thc posit inn in Spain SIT-WO the Revolution seems to have keen much Eke that in Italy after the World War. And what has happened in Spain might have happened there, but for the Fascisti. Now once more Don Sturzo is raising his voice as he did formerly in Italy to damn those who would defend the weak from Com munist tyranny. Let us at least be honest in our judgments. It is lamentable to find Catholics use the label "Fascist " as if it implied the same, or an even more immoral standard than" Communist. Don Sturzo must know that the Holy See has condemned Communism and refuses to treat with the Soviet Republics. Dare he aver that the same attitude is adopted towards Fascism in Italy or semi-Fescism in Austria and Portugal? Why is there this difference in the attitude of the Holy See towards these two political theories? Surely because Communist theory and practice is incompatible with Christianity, tiM9R F5cClki teaching can be and capable of working harmoniously with the Christian Church. cannot believe that those Catholics who raised the banner of the Five Wounds and tried unsuccessfully to restore the Faith in England committed an act displeasing to God. And I cannot but hold that those Catholics who supported the tyrannical acts Of Henry vett were indeed fighters against God. So to-day as far as it is my duty to judge I hold that those Catholics who have joined the insurgents in Spain to overthrow Communism are indeed fighting for the right, while those Catholics who are to be found in the ranks of the Savl44 AI MI RPH11V Pik of fighting against God. Such utterances as Don Sturzo's may be of interest in the schools, but in ordinary everyday life they merely darken counsel for the simple Catholic. G. W. H. WEBB. St. Mary's Presbytery, VorfolL.

The Real Question

Sue-1 have followed your advice and carefully read through Don Luigi Stureo's article twice, every time my disagreement with the writer increasing. Surely St.

whAtliOueles. wettle not support him when he asserts that "Every action is good or evil the Christian can admit no action to be indifferent. . . . " As a matter of fact, besides acts good or bad per se the overwhelming majority of our acts are indifferent: they become good or bad from the end towards which they

(Continued from preceding column.)

figures showing that the government of 1936 possessed only a minority of votes. The second question is answered in your last issue by Father McNabb who shows from Communist sources that the tset1;ev

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