Page 6, 19th February 1937

19th February 1937
Page 6
Page 6, 19th February 1937 — THE DEBATE ON SPAIN M.P.'s Challenge

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Locations: Malaga, Birmingham, Goma


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Sot,—ea) May I congratulate you on your fairness in allowing both sides to air their opinions in your pages'? That the truth will not suffer from open discussion is a lesson that should be learnt by certain other newspapers.

(b) May I refer to a letter in your current issue which speaks of the parishpriest of the church of the Holy Family. Birmingham, as " a party of the name of Drinkwater, who lives at 763, Coventry Road, Birmingham "? Comment on a letter of this kind is perhaps superfluous. There is, however, this to be said : that it is no answer to Fr. Drinkwater's at least coherent point of view, to trot out an anecdote or two, a few more atrocity stories, and some personal impressions of the anti-clerical horrors brought about by the insurrection.

There are many problems that have yet to he solved in the Spanish question; aria perhaps not least of them is the query that has been put to me: "Of what sort was the Catholicism of Spain. what level th instruction. what strength the spiritua. organisation that. despite huge numbers o. churches and priests, could be so easib converted by a handful of Red emissarie into the jury of anti-Christ'?" That is, o course, if it is the Bolsheviks you are afte blaming for the mess!


A Tribute SIR,—The tone of the letter from th. M.P. concerning Fr. F. H. Drinkwater published in your recent issue, has cause( much pain to those who know the Re. Father. Surely actions speak louder that words. Such is the character of the mat who, to my personal knowledge, has at tended the sick at all hours, clothed tilt poor of his parish, and has taken children of poor parents to the country after schoci hours, paying all expenses out of his own pocket. He abounds in charity and mercy and would rather suffer violence than use it. Of such a man the worthy M.P. would

have us beware. Would to God there were more men like him, then I think the "Reds" would be unknown.


Birmingham 9.

[There was never any question about the personal zeal of the priest challenged. We ourselves have read his writings for many years, writing notable, indeed almost unique, for their courage, their independence and their burning desire to see Christianity play its full and proper part in the social reform called for by the Popes. Further we regret the phrase quoted in the first of the above two letters, the responsibility for which, however, is not ours, but that of the.

The'rliallenge itself yin litilindied aims) we certainly believe thait au opportunity to visit Spain at the challenger's expense was worth taking and that its acceptance would have helped us all in our attempt to reach the truth. That the challenged should decline on account of his work as P.P. is, however, perfectly understandable and does not in itself weaken his position. At the same time we do not suppose that he will mind hardhitti ug.--liniroa. ]

Elucidations SIR,—May I count on your hospitality to state my utter disapproval of Fr. F. H. Drinkwater's answer to Mr. Alfred Denville, M.P., as published in your last issue? Father Drinkwatcr wonders whether Mr. Denville ever troubled to read his letter to the Catholic Herald (January 29). We can only assure him that some of us actually read that letter and did it with great astonishment.

The following questions might help to elucidate the points raised:

(a) Why should it be regrettable to take sides in a war between right and wrong?

(b) Doesn't Christianity and mere Humanity teach us to help our neighbour in need?

(c) Are Spain, her Church, and century-old tradition not worth fighting for?

(d) Must a war be necessarily religious in its origin that it may be lawful?

(e) How can the Red outrages perpetrated in Spain be exaggerated when mere human decency forbids their publication?

(f) What suggests that Catholics in Spain are making war against any section of the Spanish population, and not rather that they are striving to save it from utter destruction?

(g) Why mentioning regional differences which at this stage are playing such a small part, contrary to the opposite opinion of those who in their condition of foreigners and non-Catholics, as Allison Peers, are not in a position to understand Catholic Spain?

(h) How can social justice be established unless the sword stems Communism and saves the ground on which to establish it?

(i) What value can the letter of the socalled Spanish Catholics have as compared to the official pronouncements of the leaders of the Spanish Hierarchy?

(j) As things were in July, 1936, could Fr. Drinkwater suggest any other means by which the total Spanish annihilation could have been averted, than the organised military revolt?

(k) How can it be maintained that the only "decent thing" for Catholic outsiders to do is " to hope and pray " when the scum of Europe is pouring to swell the Red ranks pledged to destroy the Church and efface the very name of God from the earth. and supported by agencies which are also poisoning most of our daily Press. our B.B.C., etc. Isn't there really any other decent thing for Catholics to do than beatifically " to hope and pray," leaving the field to their enemies? Strange sort of Christianity!

(FR.) M. A. NOVAE, C.M.F.

Overstran, Church Hill, Loughtott, Essex.

And Puzzles

suggest that the truth regarding some of the following allegations would be welcomed by many of us. I venture to add that this suggestion does not necessarily imply the least sympathy with the policy nor condonation of the methods of the Valencia Government, both of which, on the contrary, are abhorrent to the writer.

1. It is alleged by Senor Aguirre that a number of priests have been executed solely on account of their " separatist " opinions by Nationalist forces.

Is this true? If so, I cannot but think that the late Cardinal Bourne would have seen fit to have used very much stronger terms had there been a massacre of the Irish priesthood by Black and Tans, than does Cardinal Goma in circumstances not altogether dissimilar.

2. It is alleged that a distinguished British scientist was rescued from a Nationalist firing squad at Malaga by the opportune arrival of a naval unit. His crime is said to be limited to " political accord " with the Valencia Government.

Is this true? Or how much of it?

The executionof foreign nationals for political opinions introduces a novel principle of law.

3. Senor Juan March is widely credited as being one of the principal inspirers of the revolt.

How much of this is true? And what evidence is there for the allegations against his personal character?

Lord Howard of Penrith has described him as a " millionaire smuggler king." He has not yet faced the wholesale charges of political and financial corruption which were levelled against him a year or so ago.

4. What has happened to Sefior Gil Robles? Until quite recent times the Catholic Press presented him as a para gon of nearly all the virtues. If his pedestal has collapsed, let us hear about it.

5. It is alleged that General Queipo de Llano accused the " B.B.C. announcers of being bribed to give false information" on the subject of the civil war. Is this allegation against the General's sanity accurate?

Would that our Press devoted more space to refuting, or at any rate investigating, allegations of which the above are some samples.


[Sr. Gil Robles recently wrote :

From the first instant of the present military revolt, it is' true to say that the Accien Popular has united itself iu its entirety with the Revolutkm, has given thousands up= thousands of soldiers to the army, and is ready to support the Nationalist cause with all its moral strength, with all its financial resources and with the life of every one of its members. The Aceion Popular is with the Nationalists in the fullness of its character as a Catholic party.---EDIT013.)

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