Page 8, 20th December 1935

20th December 1935
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Page 8, 20th December 1935 — LETTERS T THE EDITOR
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LETTERS T THE EDITOR

Our e.orrespondents are urged to limit their letters to 300 words; otherwise they are liable to be shortened or omitted alto gether. , Letters must bear a name and address (not necessarily for publication) or they will be Ignored.—Editor.

ITALY AND THE WAR MIND

SIR,—YOU drily remind your residers that the fundamental point at issue in the controversy on Miss Barclay Carter's article is: Is Italy's war a Christ-like undertaking, or is it not? Count Bennigscn found difficulty in applying St. Thomas's three conditions for the just war. While (1) lawful authority for the declaration of the present war is not lacking it is notorious that formal declaration, which is one of the conditions of a just war given by St. Isidore of Seville and incorporated in the Decretals of Gratian, was not made, (2) a just cause, and (3) a rightful intention, are phrases which mean as much in morals as they have meant little in the conduct of human affairs.

Reliance upon the consciences of princes and their responsibility to God alone has afforded small security to mankind, and the neo-scholastics supported St. Thomas's moralism by the consideration of the common good. Vittoria said "princes are judges in their own cases, inasmuch as they have no superior," and again, "if war is made with advantage to one province or one republic but with loss to the world or to Christendom I think that that war would be unjust."

All the parties to the present dispute have accepted the authority of a common superior, and that superior which St. Thomas did not envisage but which is a cardinal point in the later Catholic tradition of international morals, is alone cornpetent to judge of the justice of a cause and the rightfulness of intentions. The League does not claim to he infallible, any more than the conscience of the prince was claimed to be infallible: its claim is that its decision, like that of a jury, must be obeyed. It has given judgment, and Italy has flouted that judgment, That is the first concern of the moralist.

Theologians have spun many theories which degrade the plain teaching of our Lord into the sophistical justification of human passions, but the worst misreading of the Sermon on the Mount cannot make out that the undertaking of the Italian government is Christ-like.

In this crisis the Holy See has chosen to stress principles and not to embark on what Mr. Wall calls "a policy of Hildebrandine interference in concrete cases." It is of the first importance that the respect of Catholics for that decision should not allow them to consider the war with the moral paralysis of pseudo-impartiality. The Catholic Herald has made its reputation by its suppert of justice and principle in social and international questions; but if 1 had ever hoped that it represented, rather than led, the opinion of the Catholic laity in this country I was disillusioned by the ineptitude of the great mass of letters written to attack Miss Barclay Carter's admirable article.

They illustrate depressingly the justification for your paper; which is the need for having principles clearly stated and their application courageously indicated. I cannot hope that the former function will prevent irrelevant nonsense being written about Jews. freemasons and bolsheviks, Abyssinian propaganda and Italian culture. the Negus's slaves, and waitresses in London: they are too stupid to be dangerous. But I still hope that the latter may modify the cynicism and detachment of the Editor of Colosseum, and persuade him that analysis, of which he is a master, is only the first duty of Christians. and must be the basis for unresting endeavour to prevent the disaster against which the Pope has warned us.

MARTIN WRIGHT. Hertford College,

Oxford.

December 11.

SIR,—Most of your correspondents on the Abyssinian dispute seem to labour under a misapprehension as to the legal status of the League of Nations and the character of its decisions. The League is spoken of as a " Super-State" of which the state-members are the citizens, and its verdicts as judgments passed by an ordinary court of justice. In this light, Italy's legal position appears untenable: The fact that previous " crimes " have gone unpunished never provides legal grounds for a new alleged " crime " to be left unpunished too.

But the League is not and never was meant to be a " Super-State," and its decisions never had, sic et simpliciter, the

force and dignity of law. The British government itself, on many official occasions, has made these points extremely clear.

The League is a society of equals bound together by a freely-agreed covenant. In its working, the time-honoured and self-evident principle of equity that inadimplenti non es t adimplendum holds good. Now, Abyssinia has failed to fulfil the conditions under which she was admitted to the League; thus, it may be claimed that she has forfeited any right to an equal standing at Geneva with other state members. Abyssinia has also failed to comply with the terms of her 1128 agreement with Italy, and generally to behave to Italy as a law-abiding neighbour; she has thus forfeited any legal or moral claim to a friendly treatment by Italy. Finally, quite justified in refusing to comply with his request.

Whatever the final issue of the present crisis, therefore, it will never be the test of a law that is not a law, nor of a. 'covenanted rule which has never been operative. But it may be a serious object!lesson in the real problems which stand in the way of international order.

CAMILLO PELLIZZI. 40, Rivermead Court,

Burlingham, S.W.6.

December 14.

SIR,—Many of your correspondents in last week's issue have clearly taken the view which is manifest to any rightthinking person, that Italy's action in Abyssinia is not a Christ-like undertaking or one that a nation governed bp true Christian principles would have undertaken. But what nation is so governed?

There is very little criticism of the " League as a tribunal that can be respected.

It is in this country a commonplace that equity completes and transcends the law, and all know two chief maxims of equity: (a) Those that desire equity must do equity; (b) those who come into equity must do so with clean hands.

Now it is of the nature of the tribunal of the League of Nations that the nations are both judges and plaintiffs; they have dual functions. The two chief judges and plaintiffs against Italy the defendant are England and France.

Has France done equity? Since the inception of the League of Nations she has resolutely tried to uphold every injustice in the " peace treaties." And what has England done? She has not clean hands: for she has never had the moral courage to insist on the " peace treaties " being revised, and has stuck to all she could get under them.

The judgment of the League of Nations may be within the law, but as a tribunal it has failed in equity. 1 for one would not uphold sanctions to enforce the judgment of a tainted tribunal until it has been completely purged and reconstituted.

AMICUS CURIAE.

SIR,—May I suggest to Fr. Edward Quinn that one has to be quite certain of Italy's guilt before one can punish her in such a way as to lead to the terrible coneenuenee of indirectly supporting Grand Orient Freemasonry and Bolshevism? Now, tar from being certainly guilty, Italy has, I contend, a solidly probable case for her action. Let me state a few of the principles that are in her favour and leave the decision to moral theologians.

I. A higher civilisation has the right to impose itself on one of a lower order. Everyone praises Marshal Lyautey for his work in Morocco. Italy wishes to do the same in Abyssinia, and more.

2. Italy entered the League in the hope that it would be a supernational tribunal like the papacy or the Hague court. it has proved, on the contrary, to be a mob of politicians at the mercy of the worst influences in Europe.

3. Italy supported Abyssinia's entry into the League with a view to helping her to do her duty in civilising her empire. This Abyssinia has failed to do.

4. Italy is not out to seize Abyssinia proper but the territories conquered by that state in the last 50 years; territories which she has failed to govern.

5. Italy is not undertaking the civilisation of these territories entirely on her own initiative for, as Mr. Benne, Sir Edward Grigg and Professor Keith Felling have pointed out in The Times, the allies entered into an engagement that Abyssinia should be Italy's " sphere of influence."

6. Italy through her lack of raw material is in danger of being strangled by international finance. Her invasion of the Abyssinian empire is an attempt to break that stranglehold, thus solving among other things her unemployment problem.

Owing to our softness in regard to physical pain we hear a lot of the horror of War, forgetting the equal horrors of unemployment caused by the present peace. Let me conclude, therefore, with the following true story I heard the other day. A father, mother and daughter sit down to their evening meal. The father stretches out his hand for his portion. "No, you don't," says his wife, " our daughter must come first for she is the breadwinner in this house." The father was in the prime of life and out of work through no fault of his own. If this father has been in the trenches he must have found them far happier than such a life at home.

(The Rev.) GERALD P. FLANAGAN. St, Mary's Convent, Lowestoft. December 15.

S1R,—Your paper is an oasis in a desert

of printed puerility. Fr. Quinn's article and your own editorial comment last week on the Abyssinian question strengthened the impression of balance and impartiality. More's the pity that a few of your correspondents should so miss your spirit and be stung to exaggeration by the bees in their several bonnets. We were glad to see you yourself, in a footnote to one letter, applying a well-deserved " cooler." One can sympathise with the notion of airing every view, but some views merely spoil the air.

No doubt there are many things in which Italy deserves at least sympathy. She has been greatly tried by international dilatoriness. But we are mainly

Italian war just, Rnd (much less easily) vice-versa. Italy Was not gone so far as to be utterly synony .-ious with Fascism. Anyway, granting the •2;ood that it has done in Italy, is there not mluch in Fascism that an intelligent Catholic is forced to dislike? Was " Non abbiamo bisogno " a " temperamental " documei it? Are Mr. Dawson's criticisms the fruit of " blind prejudice "? If fascists are sensitive to that sort of dislike, let thern ctaauksethe uPnorpeor..

's

es.

advice and remove itsi tunately, not they bud their superficial foreign sympathisers are thus sensitive. On the other hand, 'peed the violent pro-Italians suppose that Tie rest of the world has never heard of Freemasonry or Communism, but has a bea1-1 tiful faith in the high-mindedness of Gen Na? The past mistakes and present flagrant imperfections of the League and the absence from it of three world powers are regrettable enough, but they cannot alter the fact that it remains the only sign of any will towards international cc;)-operation for peace, which (given the true Olotives) is the Catholic ideal. Again, to say that the presean sanctions are unjust is not the same thing as to say that the war is just How do people miss these distinctions?

Here is an example of anothef which you mentioned yourself. The last Words 1 heard before crossing the Italian frontier five months ago were " non ml piece l'Inghilterra "; but the Italian can say such things to you without self-consciousness because he clearly refers to your government, and is not so foolish or ungallant as to confuse it with you.

Finally, if we must argue about the war, this sketchy bandying about (by both sides) of St. Thomae's general principles is beginning to bore. As Air. Watkin wisely hinted, they were not laid down to be slept on for eternity. Have the later scholastics commented on them in vain? Did nobody read Fr. Davis's recent elucidations in the Catholic Times? Truth may ultimately be one, hut the way to it in a dispute like this is not that of reckless e:Snplification. Age seems to have dimmed or ceStom staled the infinite sobriety of Sir Roger de Coverley's favourite verdict: " There is much to be said on both sides."

Pao-NOBODY.

SIR,—With the exception of Mr. Yardley none of Miss Carter's supporters attempted to consider the decisions of the sanctionist

states from a Christian viewpoint. Are they acting in a Christ-like " way, or merely pursuing selfish aims? Admitted that one of Italy's motives is "aggrandisement," and she chose a brutal way to satisfy it, the question still remains whether the League as a whole, or any of the nations constituting it, has ever attempted to satisfy Italy's just claim to expansion? St. Thomas, " the poor fellow," teaches that it is lawful for a starving man to take food from him who has a surplus: the same principle should be applied to nations. We witness " have-not " nations suffocating within their overpopulated countries, whilst the " haves " are unable to colonise the vast territories they have acquired in their time. The present onesided League, formed merely for the purpose of fixing for ever an unjust order of things, never even tried to establish a sound international order by the redistribution of lands according to the real needs of nations, and has thus driven some nations to act arbitrarily.

Moreover, the states grouped within the League accepted article 23 of the Covenant demanding a just rule of citizens by their governments, but refused to apply it in practice; thus this haphazard assembly of representatives of governments (not of nations) shields every injustice, oppression, and misrule perpetrated by tyrants over the masses. The attitude of this " worldconscience " towards the Soviet dictatorship, or Mexico, or in the present ease, Abyssinia, is a glaring proof that the whole League has to be reformed so as to be based upon Christian principles. It would have then the authority to examine the claims of nations and satisfy them by lawful and peaceful means, and also demand that each nation be governed on principles of justice and charity by rulers representing the will of its people.

G. BENNIGSEN. 33, Courthope Road,

London, N.W.3.

December 15.

"REFUNDING OPERATIONS" SIR, — In thinking Cot the recent 1300,000.000 loans had nothing to do with armaments, your Notes and Comments writer is perhaps too optimistic.

The shrewd and well-informed financial writer of the Daily Herald (Mr. Francis Williams) suggests that by thus reducing the present amount of Treasury bills the government may be clearing the way to finance its armament-programme by future issues of Treasury bills—that is, by shortterm borrowing from the banks.

This week in Parliament the Chancellor of the Exchequer declined to say that armaments would not be paid for by loans.

F. H. DRINKWATER.

Birmingham.

December 14.

BROADCASTING PRIME

SIR,—Catholic "listeners" may remember that several years ago the B.B.C. asked Cardinal Bourne whether he wished Mass

felt broadcast Mass would be "irr added that Catholics had no due percentage of morning services and would have a still smaller one, if, e.g., empire broadcasts from St. Paul's became normal. A practical difficulty would remain—high Mass would be too long for the allotted time; low Mass was most of it inaudible.

I understand that the reply was that Mass should still be broadcast "only exceptionally." It was, however, suggested that, purely as an experiment, Prime should be broadcast in English, a sermon being substituted for the psalms, presumably because the Sunday psalms, invariably repeated, would become tedious.

This is to take place next Sunday. True, the only morning "service" to which we are accustomed is Mass. Still, the prayers of Prime are extremely beautiful in themselves; I am told that with the development of the liturgical movement it is being increasingly used as "morning prayers" by the laity, and, of course, priests and religious use it daily. It is, in effect, the Church's "official" morning prayer, and the C.T.S. some time ago found it worth while publishing Prime in English with comments. Finally, another sermon provides one more chance of stating Catholic doctrine before a vast public.

I have no responsibility in this matter, but was asked to transmit the facts, and perhaps your readers will voice public Catholic opinion as to whether the experiment is at least a relative success.

C. C. MARTINDALE, Si.

114, Mount Street, W.I. December 15.

THE CHINESE EXHIBITION

SIR,—Whatever may be said about the beauty and historic interest of the things at the Chinese exhibition, and however much art critics and the general public may. in a manner of speaking, rave about them, there is room, plenty of room for at least one jarring nesie.

What is thc difference between this kind of exhibition and the Free Libraries, " Open Spaces," Children's Playgrounds, Tate Galleries, etc., which our tenllionaires provide to balance, as it were„ their depredations?

.First of all, not to mince matters, tieee dispossess the peasantry, and, in effect, rob the poor by keeping their wages down to the lowest possible level, and then, having made enormous fortunes, they seek to put the matter right, assuage their consciences, and what not, by giving us these Free Libraries, Italian, Dutch, French and now Chinese Exhibitions. And look at the way the dealers are all scrambling round like vultures in the hope of coming in on the boom! And what politics are we to suspect in the background? Is it Chinese silver, or what?

And then, forgetting all these considerations, there remains the fact that these glass cases contain things that are holy and that we are asked to treat the gods as curiosities. (It is rather like trying to " hear Mass " on the wireless or by gramophone records.) Better stay at home and play with the children.

England, Europe, the whole world, is sacrificed to money-making and turned into a Cannes for their tinned meats and a dump for their scrap-iron. Why should we walk into Burlington House and say: Thank you very much for letting us see these beautiful, beautiful things. " Too sweet ": "Too, too exquisite "; and "Isn't it wonderful what art interest the people take in art?" The only appropriate reply is unprintable except in dots.

ERIC GILL.

" WORLDLINESS"

SIR,—Your account of Fr. Gilby's lecture and his letter of explanation raise matters of great importance to all of us: matters which touch our daily lives so closely that they merit further discussion in your pages. It is not only, as he says, that the enhancement of the supernatural is in fact failing to lead to an enhancement of the natural life; most of us are not even aware that it ought to do so. Nearly everyone takes it for granted that a man or woman is a " good Catholic " if he or she frequents Mass or the sacraments, and contributes to Catholic collections. Now, in a country which has never been Protestant, Catholicism means Christianity entire: that is, the Christian virtues and the whole Christian outlook on life, as well as those things associated with churches. But in England (both to us and to others) Catholicism has almost come to mean those things alone in which we differ from Protestant Christianity—which in practice means things directly and conspicuously religious.

If the vigorous man concludes in consequence that Catholicism for the layman means only devout practices and collecting money, he will expend his main vitality in dissociation from his religion and in the manner of the contemporary world. Religion is in one water-tight compartment, and the bulk of his active life is in another.

Fr. Gilby rightly insists on the implications of the Incarnation. We lack interest in the implications of our principles—all those practical consequences which should flow from them into the active part of our ordinary daily lives. Our propaganda is a comparative failure and we are regarded as a sect because we restrict our Christianity: we have unconsciously set artificial limits to it. and we fail to accord it

INCOMPETENT LAND MOVEMENTS

SIR,—In your issue of December 13 you give " the determination of the civil service that no financial aid shall be given to enterprises that do not accept its control or dictation " as one of the things accounting for the distressed condition in which the Catholic land movement finds itself."

No government department has any moral or legal right to disburse public money without some reasonable assurance that it will be properly used and not wasted. The principles of land settlement as laid down by the Land Settlement Association (a semi-official, subsidised, undertaking) are the result of long and wide experience. Catholic enterprises would have fared far better had they taken some heed of them. The official attitude to all land settlement efforts, including Catholic, is definitely sympathetic and helpful. Mr. Fe N. Blundell. a distinguished agriculturalist and a Catholic, has taken a leading part in the establishment of the Land Settlement Assocation.

The true cause of the failure of the Catholic enterprises is incompetence, financial and agricultural. Until that fact is honestly faced, there will he no progress.

Aernue. HALL,

Overmoigne, Dorset. December 14.

SIR,—in your issue of December 13 you attribute the distress of the Catholic land movements, among other causes, to the apathy of the Catholic public—would it not be more true to put it down to inefficiency in business and inexperience in land matters? .. •

Would it not bc possible for the promoters of a Catholic land movement to study the methods of the Quakers, who for years past have put into practice principles advocated by Leo XIII and Pius XI and have been notoriously successful in agricultural and other settlements for the benefit of the workers?

L. W. L. M. MASON, The Towers, Beeding, Steyning.

December 16.

THE WESTMINSTER MOSAICS

SIR,—The recent protest against the mosaics in Westminster Cathedral seems to nee a typical example of the modern. attitude that any amount of obstruction is justifiable hut that to encourage any form of contemporary art is extremely dangerous. The iisfluential people who signed the memorandum could combine to condemn, but I very much doubt if they could combine to commend any single important modern work of art. The obvious result is the prevention of any normal develop-. ment. We cannot expect to produce great art if we are not prepared to support it until it is great. The Westminster mosaic school was an encouraging and rare example of the faithful patronage of which our artists are starved. I think it would eventually have succeeded in the terrific job of creating for the first time a tradition of

glass mosaics in England. I also think that the plea that the cathedral is a national possession is fallacious. It is not an archeological monument to be preserved intact for the student of the late nineteenth century. It is a church built by the Catholic people of this country for their own use, that is, for corporate worship. Those who do not join in that worship cannot undere stand the full meaning or life of a church. Their opinion on its decoration is not therefore important.

NICOLETrE GRAY.

London.

" THE BLACKSHIRT" AND ITALY.

SIR,—Mr. P. D. Turner, a former-mem. her of our organisation, writes in your issue of yesterday calling attention tor the rebuke administered in The Blackshirt to an Anglican bishop, and expressing apprehension that we should " attack Anglican bishops for holding views contrary to those of the Movement."

Mr. Turner has evidently not read the article in question very carefully. We have never attacked, and shall never attack, priests or ministers as such; but we are entitled, as patriots who strive for peace, to take exception in the highest degree to speeches of public men who advocate a policy of war against a friendly nation. Those who would plunge Europe into a fresh blood-bath are not entitled to any immunity from exposure by us merely by reason of their cloth.

Since our rebuke of the Bishop of Durham was published there has appeared an even more abominable piece of war-propaganda, this time from the Archbishop of York, who stated on December 6: " It may be necessary to have another great and horrible war to establish the efficacy of the League of Nations, This generation or the next would probably have to be sacrificed because just as it took the last war to create the League, so it might require another conflict to consolidate the League's position."

We have given publicity to this statement in an attempt to bring home to the British people the danger in which they stand from League of Nations fanatics and insensate warmongers. Horrible at all times, such statements are doubly disgraceful when made by the leaders of re ligion, and must be as shocking to dime . . . . . . .




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