ON BEARING ARMS, AND " LEAD SWINGERS "—ABYSSINIAN ATROCITIES—CLERGY AND THE PARISH CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES
The Catholic Herald has always been glad to offer a large portion of its space to its readers so that all the important questions of the day should be freely discussed among ourselves. In view of the very large number of letters received and in order to maintain the great value of this weekly OPEN FORUM—the only one of its size and type in Catholic journalism—we would once again urge our correspondents to express their views In short, pithy letters of between 50 and 200 words. Letters must bear a name and address (not necessarily for publication) or they will be ignored.—Editor.
REASONS FOR BEARING ARMS SIR,—"Vermiculus" apparently regards physical force as always and intrinsically wrong—a view which no Catholic can hold and which has been repeatedly condemned and refuted by the Catholic authorities.
In this connection it would be more honest to quote the whole, and not merely a part, of our Lord's words at Gethsemane. In the very next sentence he said: "Thinkest thou that I cannot ask my Father, and he will presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled that so it must be done?" (Matt. xxvi., 53-4).
SIR,—Permit a query in a matter ungrateful and ungraceful from a woman— political common-sense?
" Whom the gods wish to destroy they first make"—pacifists? May a peacemaker be patriotic?
Jesuits repudiate inferences, drawn by enemies, from the philosophical statement, "The end justifies the means." Mr. Watkin's inference appears similar, as does Miss Spender's?
THE "LEADSWINGERS" SIR,—I entirely agree with "Leadswinger" that Mr. Watkin's suggestions are excellent, though his title is cumbrous, but why not be sensible? We might call ourselves the Stratmann Society.
This would ensure that our principles were Catholic while not confining ow membership to Catholics. We should be Catholic with a large and a small "c," for there is no end to the work that could be done—preparing literature, distributing the same, displaying posters, supporting peace activities and joining pilgrimages.
I would suggest that each Stratmannite became an active member of soilie nonCatholic peace society in order to spread the Stratmann spirit in his own sphere.
May I conclude by seconding "Leadswinger's" proposal that Mr. Watkin be the first president and asking when and where the first committee meeting is to be held?
39 Links Road, Ashtead, Surrey.
SIR,—In letters to the press lack or space makes it impossible to guard every statement against misconception. I did not
mean to imply that St. Joan's Alliance collaborated with any movement in opposition to Catholic principles and methods. I simply assumed that the reason why Catholic workers for Women Suffrage formed a society of their own instead of joining existing suffrage societies must be that the principles or methods of the latter, or both, were in some respect unacceptable to Catholics. Otherwise what need would there have been for a special Catholic society? Catholics, for example, interested in the preservation of rural England Would not form a special society but would join the national society formed for that purpose.
The very existence of St. Joan's Alliance surely expresses the fact that Catholic advocates of women's rights represent a specifically Catholic attitude on the question shared only in part by non-Catholic feminists. Whether the difference is one of principle, methods, or both, is a question which would carry me too far from the purely illustrative purpose for which I mentioned the alliance.
As regards " Leadswinger's " letter. The name he suggests would no doubt appeal to many ex-servicemen. But it would convey nothing to others. Nor do I think the object of a league against unjust, i.e., unjustifiable war should be complicated by any other platform however excellent in itself. For his most flattering suggestion I thank him, but I fear my capacities and opportunities would extend no further than membership of and collaboration with such a society as we should both like to see established.
E. I. WATKIN. St. Mary's, Sheringham.
rFr. Stratmann is a German Dominican who published some months ago a book on peace and war in which the Catholic teaching on the subject was given in its extreinest anti-war form. Many Catholic theologians would not agree with all of Fr. Strattnann's statements. As regards the "Leadswingers," it is impossible for the Catholic Herald to give further publicity for the establishment of the projected society. If it has the rig/it spirit it will make its own way.—EDIT0R.1 ATROCITIES IN ABYSSINIA SIR,—Your readers are much indebted to you for reporting the Italian Report to Genei,a of February 28 on crimes attributed to the Abyssinian forces. May I point out that other terrible reports were made to the League on January 18 and March 9.
All three reports have been suppressed in our newspapers. Yet they are what a journalist would call splendid "copy." Could hiding the truth farther go?
The Report, C. 123.. M. 62. 1936. VI! (price Is., from Allen and Unwin, Museum Street, E.C.), should be seen by every adult man in our land; it gives the names and addresses of 68 Italians, not soldiers but civilian road-workers (including one young woman, the wife of the road-engineer, who, alas, had prayed to accompany her husband) who were butchered and foully mutilated by Abyssinians on February 13, 1936. The report gives photos of 27 of the cases. Impossible to describe them; they sicken the heart, but they clear the mind.
LEO CHIOZZA MONEY.
ri,ve have seen the photographs mentioned above, and we fully agree with Sir Leo's description. But, alas! they are only one side of a barbarous business. We shrink from the task of comparing one kind of inhumanity with another.—EDITOR.]
MAKE 'EM WORSHIP
SIR,—It would be interesting to have the views of the Catholic representatives on the "Interdenominational Advisory Committee on Army Chaplaincy Services" as to the so-called "compulsory" church parades referred to in your last issue.
With many years of experience as chaplain and, since the war, as acting chaplain, I think that the present system works out very badly as far as Catholics are concerned. The much-hated parade—associated with "spit and polish"—is occasionally cancelled by the O.C. to the relief of all—including the "R.C.s," of whom only a small percentage will proceed to attend Mass on their own account as responsible individuals. The majority echo the prevailing sentiments and, though mostly educated in parochial schools or orphanages, have apparently little sense of obligation, and much human respect.
I think that if soldiers were left free on ordinary Sundays to attend Mass as they go out personally on other occasions —in civilian attire if allowed—they would fuse with the general congregation. As it is they come—when they come—stiff and uncomfortable, prayerbookless and fidgety. Under such circumstances it takes a hero to go to Holy Communion.
THE SLUMP IN RECRUITING SIR,—The confused thinking of "Disabled Pauper" is the natural and inevitable result of the past and present elementary school education, which has been ordained for such as he by those in authority.
If and whenever the people should demand equal opportunity for higher education for all those who could benefit by it, the recipients of that education would be better able to prevent themselves being manoeuvred into such a position as that of "Disabled Pauper."
We should not then have the spectacle of ex-service organisations, whose ostensible reason for existence is that their members are in distress, aiding and encouraging others to put themselves in a similar position at some future date; with clearer thinking they would devote their energies to changing a system that produces "Disabled Paupers" by the hundreds of thousands.
P. DALTON. 24, Elthorne Way, N.W.9.
THE IRISH AND THE IRISH CLERGY
From Professor Howley, D.Litt.
SIR,—The brilliant letter on " Irish and the Irish Clergy " by " Catholicus Natus " in your current issue has left me in a state of nervous prostration.
"You may charge us with murder— or want of sense: We are all of us weak at times; But fundamental lugubriousness Was never among our crimes."
Would C.N. please explain, expound and illustrate the last sentence of his letter? Has he any special theory behind his striking phrase re Irish idiosyncrasy in Divine worship? Or is it merely a " grouse " at personal behaviour of Irish priests? We are all of us weak at times, but do we Irish worship God so differently from the English when we try to worship Him in spirit and in truth? In other words, is there a specific national (not personal) difference between us in liturgical devotion? We are, perhaps, inclined to be " Low Church," and you to be " Ritualists." That is as may be, but is our spirit gloomy and yours joyous?
This true " differentia " between English and Irish spirituality, if we could discover it, would perhaps enable us to understand one another better.
University College, Galway.
THE PEOPLE AND THE LITURGY
SIR,—With the sound of the people's singing at the Mass for peace still ringing in my ears, I venture to put the following question : Is it not a disgrace that the express wishes of the Holy Father with regard to the Faithful taking an active part in the Liturgy are still systematically and well-nigh universally ignored in the London churches?
As some small beginning, why are not the people encouraged to sing at least the Responses and the Credo at every sung Mass? There is not the slightest doubt that the people would respond if they received but the least encouragement. If any doubts existed on this point, they were surely disposed of on Easter Monday at Westminster Cathedral. It is, however, a regrettable fact that no such encouragement is given to the people in the vast majority of London churches. Why?
The Holy Father's voice is, indeed, in this particular respect, "the voice of one crying in the wilderness."
EXTRA-PAROCHIAL ORGANISATIONS SIR,—The general conception of Catholic in England seems to be deplorable and sterile. One hopes that "C.A.'s" fear of the "danger of extra-parochial organisations" is not widespread.
Catholic Action organisations must be extra-parochial in a sense. Experience (on the Continent) has proved that the distinct problems of the workers, of students, of middle-class people are most efficiently solved by a powerful, autonomous, national organisation. If the parish-priest feels the necessity and worth of; such an organisation then, since this organisation specialises in a certain sphere of Catholic Action, its plans and programme are surely the most effective. Consequently the prob lem is not one of "danger" but of disinterested and intelligent collaboration.
This fact inevitably evolves from the definition: "the apostolate of like by like." A study of Catholic Action societies abroad and their approval by the Holy Father will reassure many loyal parishioners.
P. W. SINGLETON.
Coombefield, Malden Road, New Malden, Surrey.
BIRTH CONTROL SIR,—I read with some surprise your comment on the article on birth control in the new British weekly magazine, Cavalcade. Of course, I expected a viewpoint to be given, but what I regretted was the suggestion that Cavalcade took any side.
Cavalcade takes infinite pains to try to present news and facts behind the news, without an atom of comment.
WILLIAM J. BRITTAIN. Managing Director.
CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES SIR,—I have been surprised to notice that the letters you have recently published on the subject of co-operative societies have so far evoked no comments upon one very important aspect of the co-operative movement.
The co-operative societies have recently launched a "Ten-Year Plan" to eliminate the private 'trader. Should they succeed in thus "cornering" the machinery of economic distribution throughout the country (and hitherto they have been amazingly successful in everything they ly4ve undertaken) there seems no reason why they should then "rest on their laurels". In fact, their declared principles and the very practical effect to them which they are now giving suggest that they would proceed to absorb in like manner the machinery of wholesale distribution and production.
And then what would be the situation? We should have a species of economic electoral government existing side by side with the political government of 'the country—an intolerable position, which could only be rectified by some sort of constitutional amalgamation of the two. Then at last we should wake up to find the Collectivist State duly erected in "England's green and pleasant land".
Anyone who supposes that I exaggerate in this forecast of a possible course of events should investigate the recent activities of the co-operative societies and consider how they have in the last twenty years succeeded in rearing a huge economic structure, comprising wholesale distribution and manufacture as well as retail trading: also, that they have already achieved a considerable measure of parliamentary representation.
A study of the co-operative movement In this country throws a significant light upon our modern credit-system, exhibiting it as a kind of universal solvent, capable 01 ultimately rendering "the distribution of private property" indistinguishable from collectivism.
SIR,—Whatever may have been the ideals of the Rochdale Pioneers, the present trend of the movement is so "political" that if the co-ops obtained their present ideals and eliminated the "private trader" (as is the boast of present-day leaders) we should have one large combine, economic and political; put at the head of that combine a communistic executive what would "the capital" of the masses of the people so acquired be worth to them then?
34, St. Johns Street, Bury St. Edmunds.
EATING THE MISSIONARY SIR,—By way of a little light relief in these dark days, may I present to your readers an unusual aspect of the ItalianAbyssinian conflict?
El Kosseir is a little port on the Red Sea where ships load phosphates from lighters. There Padre Eusebio, an Italian Franciscan, does his bit for Apostolatus Mans by going aboard the ships, saying Mass on board in many cases, and giving the sailors comfort by his presence and little gifts of rosaries, medals, books, etc. But the Arabs who ply the small boats which have to be hired for these expeditions are strong sanctionists where Italian ships are concerned and charge double fare. " Cosa Vuole ? "—Padre Eusebio writes us—" they are all either schismatic Copts or Mussulmen, quite ready to eat the missionary at any moment! "—which recalls the case of the depraved Cassowary on the Plains of Timbuktu who would eat the Missionary, coat and hat and hymnbook, too!
But worse follows. Our sea-apostolate chaplain sends notices, in English, French, and Italian, about Mass and Confession facilities aboard all ships which put in at El Kosseir. His visits, since he speaks only Italian, are chiefly to Italian ships. The sailors welcome him with open arms, and when he leaves a bottle of vermouth or other present is often slipped into his sack. But the customs men are also schismatic and, sanctionist, and these gifts are promptly confiscated for payment of duty. " Mio Dio ! When will this insensate struggle, which is begrading and ruining the world, end?" he asks. us.
By way of help and comfort for Pad. Eusebio in his service—done in what time he can spare from his missionary duties ashore—for our sailors and for true Christian peace I would suggest that some of your readers may care to send on their copies of the Catholic Herald when read to him at the Missione Francescana, El Kosseir, Red Sea, Egypt. These gifts will be sent aboard British and American ships