Our correspondents are urged to limit their letters to 400 words; otherwise they sire liable to be shortened or omitted altogether. Letters must bear a name and address (not necessarily for publication) or they will be ignored.—EdItor.
FROM MR. BELLOC
SIR,—As my name has been mentioned in your .columns in connection with the so-called "Latin" character of the Catholic Church, I hope you will allow me to make my position clear. I have for many years past emphasised in books and articles the twin truths that religion is al the root of culture, and that the religion which created our European culture was the Catholic Church; not an indefinable nothingness called "Christianity," but a definite institution with a known name and position in time and place. I have never emphasised or suggested that the Church was specifically "Latin." The word "Latinso used is a silly term, used in modern journalism as a sort of euphemism for Catholic. To quote their own "Nordic" sort of English, "I have no use for it."
The point of my argument has been and will remain that our culture being the product of Catholicism must decline as Catholicism weakens or re-arise as Catholicism grows stronger. I have never said that the Church was necessarily European. The Church will last for ever and, on this earth, until the end of the world; and our remote descendants may find its chief membership to have passed to Africans or Asiatics in some civilisation yet unborn. What I have said is that the European thing is essentially a Catholic thing, and that European values would disappear with the disappearance of Catholicism.
School, university and press, continue to propagate an official and radically false history in this fundamental matter. The result is increasing error, especially among educated men, upon the nature of Europe, and a corresponding decline in our international position. A typical example of this sort of academic ignorance, or worse. is the use of the word "Northern" as though it were identical with anti-Catholic and "Southern" as though it were identical with Catholic. The forces hostile to Catholicism have not race or climate for their principal factor. The Masonic organisation is one principal enemy, crude "rationalism" (as it is called) is another; and both of these are more active in the nations that were saved at the Reformation than in those which gave way to the storm.
I admit it is not a matter of very high importance in this country to discuss the theological point, because the weight of Catholic numbers, apart from the Irish connection, is slight, and would seem unlikely to increase. As a matter of political education and of strengthening the international position of the country by a right comprehension of European values, it is all important.
H. BELLOC. Reform Club,
Pall Mall, S.W.I.
1Though the "Nordics" and "Latins" correspondence was closed last week, we Taint Mr. Belloc's letter since. as he points out, he was directly referred to in it,—Ermoa.1 ARMS OR ALMS?
Sia,—If the Catholic Herald wants to put the case for a rearming policy before its readers surely it can do better than X.Y.Z.'s " wishy-washy and confused sixth-form essay on the sensible fellow's attitude in your current issue.
His analogy between armaments and
su.gical instruments is fallacious. No man can say, "1 will not be diseased, therefore 1 have no need of surgical instruments.But a nation can say, " We will not fight. therefore we have no need of weapons (I do not claim necessarily that it is wise or right to say that). It may be retorted that a man can refuse to undergo an operation. True. But . that only extends the analogy; war as a surgical operation: and an examination of the respective circumstances of a surgical operation and of an outbreak of war shows at once that the analogy is worthless.
If most of the armaments made are never used in warfare, why make 'em? Put the unemployed to make what is usable (food, if you like), and don't come over with this sob-stuff on behalf of Weapons of war.
Is it better to live on arms than on
alms ? And do "strength, tolerance, serenity and peace of mind [spiritual qualities] " lie in material security and therefore in physical strength? Christian history as well as Christian theory denies it. " When I am weak, then am I powerful "—that was good enough for Si. Paul.
It's a horrid shock to meet such deceptive clap-trap as " X.Y.Z.'s in the Catholic Herald.
SIR.—Your correspondent " X.Y.Z." paints out in your issue of March 13 how thankftil we should be that the manufacture of armaments will put a stop to the thumb-twiddling of nearly two million unemployed people. This is an important point. There are. however. two very vital aspects of the matter that he has omitted.
Firstly, that increased armament manufacture will mean a rise in the price of armament shares, ahd this, however mercenary it may sound, is of cosmic importance if we are to safeguard the art and culture of our island. For how can we have concerts and exhibitions (the very core of culture) without people in a position to provide them? The very suggestion is plainly ludicrous. These and like institutions are the rock on which our civilisation is founded, and goodness knows they have been threatened enough of late by Communism and other equally maniacal professions. Let us protect them in this hour of crisis.
Secondly, that being carried on in the depressed areas, the work is really one of Christian charity and should prove once more to the lower classes that they should not rebel against a system that is fundamentally Christian. As someone so prudently remarked the other day, " any movement that has for its object the suppression of Bolshevism is worthy of our encouragement."
Besides, we should render unto Cmsar the things that are Czesar's, and that surely includes the working classes.
M. W. R.
SIR,-11 the Catholic Herald must print rearmament propaganda tit seems unnecessary when every other paper in the country is crammed with it) surely it can find something better than the article " Arms or Alms." The frivolity of the first sentence—" just what is the matter with armaments that so many people should get all hot and bothered at the very mention of them? "—leaves one gasping. It's impossible to answer a question so like something out of a column by Beachcomber.
The whole article is in the same tenor. It compares armaments to surgical instruments: but arms are made to destroy, surgical instruments to save. It says that most of the arms made are never used
in war—then what are they for? And when have armaments been " like police
rnen or garden fences " ? In 1914 ? . It points out that rearmament causes
re-employment; who denies it ? Is it possible that anyone is blind to the dreadful irony of that fact? And " the opposite to peace is not war, but worry "—what does that neat phrase mean? Is there no worry in war? And it's a commonplace that the " next war " of which we talk so lightly is going to be incomparably
worse than any before. It will be so horrible that winning it won't matter a twopenny damn; the only thing will he for individuals to save themselves.
Why do so many Christians, presumably sincere and intelligent, adopt this complacent attitude to one of mankind's greatest sins ? Why this passion for pointing out the possibility of a just war? Justifiable homicide is possible, but nobody is complacent about it or suggests that the laws against murder should be relaxed.
If Europe goes up in the flames of a capitalist war or a bolshevik revolution, Christians will not be able to say anything but mea culpa. Some of us had hoped that the Catholic Herald would give a definite lead in these matters; but apparently it is vain to put one's trust even in this newspaper.
SIR,—" X.Y.Z." scores a debating point but nothing more in comparing arms with surgical instruments and suggesting that production does not imply use in the one case more than in the other. The difference is that most of us fear disease and all of us hate it to the extent of desiring its elimination, if humanly possible; whereas quite a number of people (Catholics included) preach the " inevitability " of war; vested interests exploit the sentiment; arms for " defence " are equally arms for attack; colossal expenditure requires justification ; hence war propaganda and glorification, and the conclusion that arms are, at the least, a contributing cause of war.
" Armaments keep bad folks from the things that aren't their business." How? And in what proportion as between the
nations and on what basis? Collective security? In that case, we can all but agree.
" We have two million people twiddling their thumbs " and X.Y.Z." purrs at the thought of those thumbs " twiddling the nuts and bolts on armaments." Cannot he think of any more useful form of " twiddling"? Is he not twaddling over the whole business?
Is not the underlying philosophy one of belief in the inevitability of war—in other words, the doctrine of the fall emphasised at the expense of our free will? And is not this paralysis of the will the major tragedy of this age?
LEO. V. BURNS,
6, .Leyburn Road, New Moston. Manchester.
REFUSE TO BEAR ARMS
SIR.-1 should like to express my hearty appreciation of and entire agreement with " Keladon'sletter. For although war is not of itself necessarily sinful—a fact of which we are reminded ad nauseam— moral theologians (Vittoria, in particular) have laid down as a condition of just warfare the requirement of which " Keladon " reminds us—that on rational calculation the good to be expected even from an otherwise just war will outweigh the certain evil of waging it.
Evidently this cannot be the case in a war between great modern powers. Such a war must produce a catastrophe so terrible that no national claim, however just in itself, could weigh in the balance. Moreover, the conduct of modern warfare by its air attacks on the civilian population violates another condition of just war.
that it shall be justly waged. Unlike questions of international policy these points can be understood by the private citizen who cannot therefore evade responsibility for participating in war by an appeal to the judgment of that obviously biased judge, his government. That is to say, if the reasonable principles for determining the justice or injustice of war which canonists and moral theologians have laid down are not to remain a dead letter to the scandal of Christianity. the individual Catholic faced with a war of the contemporary type should refuse in
conscience to participate in it. If governments knew that their Catholic subjects
would he conscientious objectors on the
plain ground of these Catholic principles— not the Quaker excess that all use of force is wrong as such--not only would they he
less disposed to make use of war as an instrument of policy, but the massive example of Catholic opposition to nationalist war madness would do more to spread the Catholic religion than any amount of propaganda.
What I have said does not, however. apply to the concerted action of an international police force against a law breaker, since the good to be expected from such action would outweigh any evils it might produce. One nation, or even a small group of nations, could not defy the world.
E. I. WATK1N.
St. Mary's, Sheringliam.
Sta,—Your correspondents under the headings " Refuse to Bear Arms and " Defence—Against Whom? " raise some interesting points, but are not very helpful practically. How can isolated individuals with any chance of success refuse to bear arms, or how can one country neglect its defences without courting trouble?
Yet there is no doubt that if things are left to drift millions of good people will sooner or later be forced to wage a war which will not, by any stretch of imagination, comply with the conditions requisite to make it lawful according to the teaching of the Church. I know it is stated that the onus of deciding this rests on the government and not the individual; but why must those who object to war be forced to acquiesce, as apparently they are. in their government's preparations until war comes and opposition is virtually useless? ir the government plans policies in the sphere of education, say, or marriage legislation, which are inimical to Christian principles, Catholic citizens are quickly told it is their duty to resist these by all means in their power, but in the matter of war we gel very little practical leadership.
One can realise the difficulty experienced by those who would be the natural leaders in applying moral tests in such matters, but cannot something be done to make the 300.000,000 Catholics in the world at least pause to consider before they are forced to slaughter each other—for what purpose ?
LEO COLLIER. 20, Robinson Road,
SECURITY: FOR WHAT?
S/R,—Since 1 wrote to you propounding a question about national defence 1 have found an answer, not to that question, but to another. According to the Evening News Sir Francis Joseph, president of the Federation of British Industries, has declared that:
" A campaign of publicity is needed to put the army on the map to get it into the mind of the average man and to show what is wanted. There must be security, if business is to be carried on successfully."
From 1914-18 recruiting propaganda and the proceedings of military tribunals
had got the impression that soldiers were required in order to ensure the security of the Albert Hall from gun fire, our wives, daughters and sisters from ravishment, our grandparents from murder, our infant children from mutilation, and our nice little freehold estates ("homes") in Hoxton and Handsworth from heaven knows what. all at the hands of (to-day) heaven knows whom. It seems I was wrong.
This security and defence business becomes more and more confusing.
" Ex-Soldier be justified in his contention that the whole defence business is " a top-dogs' ramp," surely the millions who constitute the generality of the citizens of the various nations are to blame if they permit these top-dogs to act in a way that is entirely contrary to,the opinions of the majority?
C. CLAXION TURNER.
AN UNFORTUNATE CONFUSION
SIR,—Remarks recently passed by Mr. Justice Langton in the Divorce court concerning a so-called National Vigilance Society have been given wide publicity in the press.
We ask your assistance, sir, to explain that the "Society" has nothing to do with this National Vigilance ASSOCIATION, which has for 50 years worked for the protection of women and children. Our office-bearers, as you will see from enclosed publication, would in no circumstances lend their names to a "doubtful" organisation.
For years past the "Society" has been a source of embarrassment to us. The recent publicity given to it has brought forth proof positive that many people still confuse the two organisations because of the similarity in title.
Since it is most difficult to catch up with a lie or misapprehension, we beg your help. Justifiable publicity given to remarks of one of his Majesty's judges ought not to be permitted to harm a charity of long standing and unimpeachable integrity.
F. Staapiciras, Secretary, National Vigilance Association.
12, Old Pye Street, Westminster, S.W.1.
[fix office-bearers referred to above are as welt known for their integrity as k the National Vigilance Association itself, which has been working for die protection of the public..
especially wInien and children, for over fifty vLat s.—Eorrutt.f WANTED: IRISH MARTYRS
SIR,—We admit regretfully the generally low standard of distinctively Catholic culture in Ireland. A parallel can be drawn between English Catholicism and Irish nationalism. Roth are on the defensive; both make occasional offensive sallies; both have the romantic aura which hangs around the weaker but finer combatant. In England a government willingly allows Roger Casement to be converted to Catholicism, provided it can eventually hang him like a dog and consign him to a criminal's grave. In Ireland a Catholic government denies the ministrations of a priest to Erskine Childers—although it gives him a soldier's death.
Englishmen may perhaps envy the poetry of Irish nationalism. We envy Catholic England her fine minds, the writers of courageous books and papers. In Ireland the tony Catholics, in spite of ecclesiastical prohibition, send their progeny to Trinity College, stronghold of opposition to their Faith. This is to show their separation from the common Catholic herd, for this college fattens for export to a predominantly British and pagan world. Our National University, lacking the clash of mind, is as yet only a self-satisfied high school. We have to trail our Catholic coats in an English Donnybrook in order to pick up opponents and find appreciative audiences. We merely bore our fellow Catholics, and are told to go home and say our prayers. Couldn't English Catholics start an Inquisition and make a few Irish martyrs? That's the traditional way of gingering up Irishmen.
AN ANSWER TO ENGLISHMAN
SIR,—The "Englishman" goes very deep in his generalisations of Irish character and of Irish Catholicism, which does not, he regrets, come up to the high standard of culture &c. which his does. I have not seen where St. Peter or the other apostles were gentlemen of high culture. The best he can say of the Catholicism of the Irish is that it is "violent." "Violent" he finds the most fitting word for it. In this tendency he is like most of his non-Catholic fellowcountrymen, who can only picture an lrishrnan with a battered hat and a bludgeon under his arm, ready to smash heads on any pretext. The rascals and rowdies of their own nationality are. not held up as samples of the whole. His article would infer that it is only in public houses where the cry of "down with the Pope" arouses the faith of Irish Catholics.
Evidently in his readings (from which he says he talks) he has not sought for much knowledge of what the Irish have done for the Faith in theis own land, and in his as well, or of how they have kept it in spite of "violent" persecution at the hands of his countrymen. His representation of Irish Catholicism is indicative of one who has "merely ' squinted across the Irish Channel" and quite as vague as the question as to which way the alligator or the crocodile use their jaws.
T. HOBAN. 8, Pike Road,
THE UKRAINE AND GERMANY
Silt,—We have read with interest the important article published in your issue of March 13 entitled : "Realism Without War," in which you refer to the reported ambitions of Germany for a colony in Ukraine.
Your readers will probably remember the time when General Skoropadsky was set up as hetman under the protection of the invading German armies in 1918, and to the reports that they may have received that similar plans are still in contemplation.
We should like to point out that such proposals have only insignificant support amongst the Ukrainian people; Ukraine is sometimes spoken of as if it could be transferred as a vassal state from one overlordship to another. Ukrainians who have suffered oppression for so long have no desire to remain either under the U.S.S.R. or under new masters; they desire real independence and not merely a change of tutelage. Surely the 43,000,000 Ukrainians are entitled to some voice in the future destiny of their own affairs.
Miss LOUISE GIBSON. Ukrainian Bureau,
27, Grosvenor Place, S.W.I.
AS OTHERS SEE US
SIR,—Since I am a member of the Anglican communion it might seem impertinent of me to venture into your columns with my opinions on the Catholic approach to politics. But I feel justified as a regular reader of your paper to comment upon an attitude implicit in so many letters from your readers.
Too often it would seem that the condemnation by papal encyclical of Socialism and Communism is made the basis of the rejection of every detail of "left" programmes and the acceptance of every allegation against "left" parties with scant examination. To neglect altogether the findings of "left" research, or the aims of "left" programmes is as obscurantist and unwise as to ignore the discoveries of physicists or the aims of technical scientists. True, the "left" is biassed (who is not?), but since it is possible to estimate the extent and nature of their bias, this fact cannot be made the excuse for a prejudicial attitude.
If Catholics are to "muck in", as you suggested recently, they will need to do more than quote the encyclical "Quadragesimo Anno" and oppose bad legislation. Effective political action. if it is to be constructive, needs the clear statement of principles, the careful analysis of situations. a definite programme of action, tied Oetaiied .plans for immediately desired 1Continued from previous column o ends. I do not expect all this in the form of ex cathedra pronouncements by the Pope, but in the form of initiative of the laity. Unless son-le such methods are followed. it is inevitable that non-Catholics will misunderstand your brethren, who, superficially judged, support a fascist regime in Italy, oppose a similar regime in Germany, after a period of attempted compromise, condemn capitalism and oppose the extant alternatives and offer formulae as substitutes.
Further, it would seem essential that the whole field of sociology be examined in the light of the Catholic outlook, in order that the application of Catholic social principles may not break down in attempting to ride roughshod over the phenomena of present-day life; and that evidence from this source be used to substantiate contentions which may owe their inception and their value to quite other sources, I have no wish that your brethren should exclude or publish for home consumption only the moral arguments, and still less that any distortion or omission of facts should occur.
"Ti, quoque." is too easy, and beside the point. This letter will not have been in vain if it has helped me to understand the faults of my own communion.
ROONEY N. P. LITDDINGTON, Hertford College,
St,—Rather do co-operative societies make it more difficult for "the humbler classes to become owners" in a real sense. A 1/5,000th share in a co-operative society is almost the opposite to a family business. It seems to be a link between industrial capitalism and communism. The alternative to all three is The Restoration of Property that Mr. Belloc writes of in a small book about to be published.
EA number of letters are held over this week owing to pressure on our space.—Edator.]