WE should like to draw special attention to an article in the present issue written by a Catholic member of the Nazi Party.
This article, as there stated, is by a writer personally known to the Editor of this paper and whose general credentials for forming a judgment are revealed in the course of the article itself.
Whatever may be said about the writer's views — and it is to be expected that we shall disagree with much of what he says—the article does startlingly reveal the real horror of war. Here is a young Catholic with close friends in England and France 3,nd with exceptional cultural contacts with both countries, who sincerely believes in the moral value of the German case as Catholics in Britain believe themselves to be morally justified in going to war over Danzig.
It may be said that he and those who think with him are the unfortunate victims of German propaganda, but are we prepared to say that our judgment of the situation, based as it is upon news and views provided by a natriotic Press (which cheated our countrymen of the truth in the Spanish question), is likely to be so very much more objective?
To understand what is happening around us we have to dig below the surface and see the human tragedy typified by the case of any one of our readers and this young German Catholic, who certainly does not stand alone.
We may have to fight as our correspondent from Germany may have to fight—and on both sides there will be the conviction of fulfilling one's duty in such a participation in a common tragedy—but the lesson surely is that while there is still hope we should, all of us on both sides, bend every effort to see our opponents' point of view and, above all, refrain from any word, action or gesture that can increase the misunderstanding.
We trust that the publication of this and other articles in this international Catholic series will encourage the Catholic community to redouble its efforts for safeguarding the peace with justice for which the Holy Father, who alone stands above national differences, is praying and working,
IMPORTANT conversations are taking place in three capitals of the world. In Moscow the prolonged attempt to come to an understanding with Soviet Russia has been resumed. In Tokyo it is hoped that the serious and increasing differences between the mistress of the Far East and the British Empire can be temporarily resolved by personal negotiations. In Warsaw the ways and means whereby British help may be given to Poland in case of war over Danzig are being explored.
With the best will in the world it is hard for us to be optimistic about the outcome of any of these conversations. The most fervent noncommunist sympathiser with the Soviet has ceased to hope for more than a paper formula which may or may not impress Germany, but which will certainly further alienate Italy, Spain and Japan. There is a desperate note about this piece of diplomacy which is scarcely consistent with traditional British prestige and pride.
Far more serious at the moment is the situation between Britain and Japan, and it is scarcely hoped on either side that the negotiations will succeed. We are suffering here, as we suffered in Spain, from a resolve to be strictly neutral in a legal sense. It is a praiseworthy but intensely difficult and dangerous policy because it sets an abstract and static attitude in the midst of a very rapidly changing situation. Moreover, under cover of official neutrality there always exists the opportunity for unofficial aid to the party with which most sympathy is felt. We shall go from bad to worse in the Far East until we make up our minds either openly to support China or to recognise the changing situation.
Lastly, all the goodwill in Warsaw will scarcely solve the technical difficulty of how to help Poland without ourselves initiating an era of slaughter between the Maginot and Siegfried lines.
Considering these conversations as a whole, we have to note that in all three Britain is intensely handicapped by her desire not to go to extremes. Between the two alternatives of standing firmly with Russia and China as against the totalitarian Powers or of seeking a frank understanding with Germany and Italy, she stands perilously poised, in the hope of hanging on to everything.
As Catholics we may be thankful that she has refused so far to listen to that strong section of public opinion which would make her abjectly sacrifice Europe to a false and foreign internationalism, but we may well wonder what the verdict of history will be when the consequences of refusing to study the real good of Western Europe and the Empire, and their best security, come to light. History will require very strong proof that it was in the cause of justice alone that Britain maintained the immensely perilous policy of trying to have it both ways.
Mrs Tate and Mr Mullins
IF anyone is in doubt about the need for upholding the traditional teaching of Christianity in regard to the family, their attention should be drawn to two statements made publicly this week by people prominent in British public life.
Mrs Tate, Conservative M.P. for Frome, addressed a meeting at which a resolution in favour of " birthcontrol advice being made generally available and all skilled medicallyinduced abortion being made legal " was read.
In the course of her speech Mrs Tate is reported to have made the following statement : "I know something about abortion from my own personal experience. I have never brought a live child into the world, and it would be death for me to have one."
We do not remember ever having come across so amazing a confession from a woman occupying a respon sible and high position in the very heart of traditional English political life. She may have the courage of her convictions, but what can the state of England be when such words can come, without comment, from such a source!
The second example is perhaps even more disturbing.
In a public court a highly-placed British magistrate, Mr Mullins, had the audacity to say '..o the parents of a family of seven that they had " inflicted appalling cruelty " upon their children for having brought them into the world. When the mother stated that God sent these children, the magistrate replied: " Leave the Almighty out of it. He would blush for shame to see all this." And he went on later: "Until society realises the blasphemy of the very widespread attitude to such births, such con ditions cannot be prevented. I have not heard of any attempt by public assistance authorities or others to teach birth control to these people." Not a word did this magistrate have to say about the responsibility of society for the fact that the children (who were well fed) lived " in indescribably filthy and ragged conditions in a verminous house that had been condemned."
If Mr Mullins' blood boiled at what he saw so that he had to adjourn the case, the blood of every Catholic citizen will boil at the thought of a publicly paid magis trate insulting a poor couple for refusing to break the law of God and leaving scot-free a society which tolerates social conditions that make it unbearably hard for the poor to have families of a reasonable size.
The loyalty of decent Christians to our present system, of which the above two cases are becoming typical, is indeed being severely strained.
E feel sure our readers will find plenty to interest them in the report on the CATHOLIC HERALD Marriage Questionnaire published on page 3. The chief complaint of young Catholic women in all walks of life seems to be that, although they would, ca,eteris paribus, like to marry Catholics, the social opportunities for meeting Catholic men are few and far between.
This practically unanimous complaint suggests that the proposal put forward on this page by " The Jotter " for a Catholic social club in London and the big cities should be supported by all who desire to promote Catholic marriages, with the proviso that the club should be open to members of both the sexes.
The problem of getting Catholics to meet together socially, and to enjoy themselves in the process, is one that has exercised the minds of Catholic priests and zealous laymen for some time.
Some of the young men who replied to the Questionnaire even said they would prefer to marry a non-Catholic girl!
Perusal of the many answers, despite the seriousness of the subject-matter, brought many a smile to the editorial lips. One answer to the question " Do you wish to marry? " was an emphatic " No." The reason given was " previous experience."
The Club Idea
IN the article above this column some causes of the " leakage " are analysed and a fundamental remedy or two proposed. In a less fundamental way I should like to propose here the development of the club idea. I believe that in every town there should exist an absolutely non-clerical (save for clergy as guests) club fo Catholics and all interested in Catholic points of view. Let there be a decent comfortable club-house for full members willing to pay a fairly high subscription. But the important point would be the right of all Catholics and others interested to become associate members at a small fee. The latter could use one or two (less comfortable) rooms for meeting friends, having a drink, playing darts, what not, Just like a pub.
A Community Centre
THE club would be the local centre for really creative attempts at activity in harmony with the Catholic outlook, and for this purpose full members and associate members would be on equal terms. Dramatic activities, art exhibitions, debating society, conferences, study-circles, the planning of a local magazine or of articles for the local Press (not necessarily of a defensive, apologetic nature, but expressing the creative forward activities of a genuine community in the locality)—these are just some of the interesting things that could be done. Naturally, organised games, football or cricket or tennis teams, could also form part of the club's activities for those interested. In other words, a constructive community centre for lay and secular activities that express the secular communal spirit and