Our correspondents are urged hi limit their letters to SOO words; otherwise they are. liable to he shortened or omitted altogether. Letters must bear a name and address (not necessarily for publication) or they will be ignored.—Editor.
AtVERJCAN NOTES SIR,—As ai American staying in England may I comment on Mr. 'Hollis's occasional " American Notes "? Much of what he Writes, especially on the way Mr. Roosevelt's economic policies are working out, shows a good grasp of the country's prohlems, as far as I can judge such matters.' But some of his observations on American life seem to me quite inaccurate and ill-considered.
To begin i with, your correspondent observes that the Rooscveltian " New Deal " was " based almost confessedly on the papal encyclicals " (December 20, 1935). That was the first time I ever saw the assertion in print, although I was in America until last September. What evi dence is there to substantiate it? The president certainly passed by one essential section of the Pope's plan—the unique and fundamental proposal on forming occupational groups of workers and employers.
Again, in your issue of January 10, 1936. he declared: !" . . . perhaps the two most God-forsaken, and filthy things on the whole earth ate the English large town and the American small one." Yes, industrial small towns in America, as elsewhere, are apt to be found quite " ugly," as he says. A good example is South Bend, Indiana, which is the hub, I believe, of your correspondent's excursions in the west. From the window of a railway-coach, Moreover, even tolerably attractive small towns may appear ugly to the passer-by. But in states like Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and especially Wisconsin (to name populous states of which I can speak with accurate knowledge) you will find many delightfully pleasant small towns. ...
Finally, he makes the astonishing statement that " once you sink below the really rich, American private homes are mean little things " (December 13, 1935). From what I have seen, the "typical" middleclass home in America (if you can speak of such) has from five to eight rooms, one Or two porches (perhaps enclosed), some sort of yard, aften with a garage at the rear. Within, it is equipped with central heating, hot water, gas and electric appliances, and many conveniences. If " mean means " mean," and " little " means " little " in his writing, his observation is simply unintelligible to anyone who knows the facts. If he means the homes of the lower classes. he should have said so, and not " once you sink below the really rich." Perhaps middle-class homes in America have misled , him into thinking them the homes of " the really rich."
Hasty generalisation is the pet vice of
Visiting journalists. The " American Notes " could steer clear of such blunders if they were restricted to matters on which information is available on a national scale, or if, vvheri dealing with manners and trivialities (cf., December 13), they abounded in qualifvine phrases. Otherwise the danger is that " the greater the extension, the less the comprehension."
WAR NEWS FROM ADDIS ABABA SIR,—Peace in Europe and British imperial security alike depend upon the renewal of our ancient friendship with Italy. Great Britain cannot maintain three all-powerful navies—in the North Sea, the Far East, and the Mediterranean. Italy is on the life-line of the Empire.
Hatred is being bred in both England and Italy. On Addis Ababa authority, the Italians are accused of burning churches and crops, violating nuns, systematically exterminating populations, deliberately bombing hospitals and the Red Cross, and using poison gas.
The Italians reply that, so far from committing such atrocities, they are establishing ; hospitals, dispensaries, and proper water supplies, isolating lepers, feeding the poor, freeing slaves, setting up schools, and supplying ploughs. They also print anecdotes of the Boer War, Amritsar, the bombardment of Alexandria, etc. So the old friendship dies and dragons' teeth are sown.
Great Britain has just used tanks and aeroplanes against the Mahmonds, and decorated airmen for work on the Indian frontier. Yet Italy is slandered for using the same means in East Africa! And who in his senses can believe that brave airmen, doing most daring work in difficult country, would waste precious petrol and risk their own lives by attacking not soldiers but innocent doctors? Of course, the Dolo affair was an accident, and the Swedish General Virgin (lately " White Governor of Abyssinia) has very fairly said so.
The war correspondents at the front (not those who purvey Addis stories) speak most highly of the Italian troops, and a group representing England, America, Austria, Poland, and France have telegraphed to Mussolini to say so; I have the message before me. On the other hand, many press correspondents have left Addis Ababa in disgust with its boastings and accusations. A group of American pressmen have issued a manifesto giving reasons for their departure.
There is much more to say, but I must have regard for your space. My object is to beg your readers to cherish an old friendship for a people to whom all civilisation is indebted.
LEO CHIOZZA MONEY. Bramley, Surrey. BRITISH IMPERIALISM SIR, One can sympathise with the
attempt of a patriotic Englishman to justify British imperialism in the past. The history of British imperialism certainly needs justification; but its cause loses rather than gains by an advocate who is capable of expressing the following sentiments:
" As an Englishman I rejoice to think that we have done our job before it was discovered that ' superior ' peoples have the right to impose their ' civilisation ' on backward ' ones. If that had been our mentality Ireland would still be under tuition."
One wonders from what source this literate, Catholic, " imperialistic " Englishman obtained his knowledge of the benefits conferred on the " backward" Irish by the " superior civilisation " of England. It would seem that his historic research has not gone very deep, and that his understanding of the Irish genius is to be qualified by • the prefix " mis," which, incidentally, also qualifies the eight hundred years of English rule in Ireland.
Certainly it is not to English tuition that the Irish owe their aptitude for putting first things first, for worshipping God rather than Mammon. Judged by "imperialistic" standards this is doubtless an exceedingly "backward" trait; but, while England in her far-flung empire has been striving to fill her coffers, and keep them filled, it has made of Ireland a land of " saints and scholars," and a stronghold of the Faith.
THE " WATCH TOWER" SIR,—With reference to the " Watch Tower " movement, there is one aspect of it that many of your readers may overlook.
It pretends to teach the imminent second coming of Christ. Actually it denies it. Judge Rutherford plainly states that Christ returned in the year 1874, that he ousted Satan from Heaven in 1914, and entered upon his reign in 1918, and that we are now in the Milleneium!
I have spoken with several of these Pastor-Russellites, and they all deny the possibility of Christ's personal return. . . .
Agents of the " Watch Tower " movement are at this moment carrying out a house-to-house campaign in this country. . . .
153, Tamworth Road, Kingsbury, nr. Birmingham.
" DEFENCE " OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES SIR,—In your Irish letter of December 20 it appears to be implied that a Catholic State which allowed divorce would, thereby, be abandoning the " defence " of Catholic principles. Is this correct? Defence of Catholic principles surely consists not in imposing these principles on others by State law, but in maintaining our own right to live and to act in accordance with them.
Thus, it would be defence of Catholic principles to resist a State law which sought to make divorce, in certain circumstances, compulsory. The State, in such a case, would be the aggressor against the Catholic principle that divorce is sinful; and Catholic resistance to such State action would be truly a defence of Catholic principles.
It is, however, difficult to see how the refusal of a Catholic State to allow divorce can be described as a defence of Catholic principles. Such action by the State would be rather an enforcement of Catholic principles than a defence of them. It may be that a Catholic State is bound to act in this way. The canonists, so far as T know, appear to be of that opinion. But, if this be so, would it not be more honest to say that a Catholic State is bound to enforce, rather than merely to defend. Catholic principles? It is, no doubt, much pleasanter to talk about defence of Catholic principles. But is it really true?
A CHRISTMAS SUGGESTION STR,—Before everyone has quite forgotten the Christmas season, may I make a suggestion in good time for next vs•tr?
I have been wondering if it wou'id be in the least possible. and if others would agree with me that it is likely to be welcome, to arrange a yearly entertainment for children, the chief item being a nativity play.
It seems to me that it would, nowadays, be a greater novelty for the' children than are the pantomimes, and certainly, if really well done and with good scenery (to compete with the pantomimes!), would to some extent neutralise the effect of so much secular "keeping of Christmas," without seeming in any way dull, shabby, or amateurish—as religious entertainments sometimes are.
Probably Westminster Hall or some such place could be hired, and cheap entrance fees offered to parties of six or over, for example, so that the poorer people could take advantage of it—and there must be some company of players, or even older pupils of some school (or the Grail people?), who could afford to take it on without needing to make a great profit. I think it would be well enough patronised , if advertised, to cover ex penses. At any rate, I should be very willing to take a party up from here to see such a show—in spite of the fare.
The Priest's House, Haslemere. CORRESPONDENT WANTED
SIR,-1 wonder whether I should not be able to find an English correspondent among the readers of your weekly newspaper. I am Austrian and have recently become a subscriber to the Catholic Herald. Keenly interested in English literature, modern languages (English, German, French, Spanish), world politics, and, above all, good music, I am a native of Salzburg (Mozart's birthplace).
I should be very happy to be able to exchange my ideas on the above-mentioned subjects with English Catholics. I am 42 and a man of rather conservative views.
If any of your readers want to write to me in German (my mother tongue) I shall agree, but I prefer receiving English letters.
St. Joseph, Epinal, Vosges, France.
THE CHINESE EXHIBITION SIR,-1 would like to point out to your correspondents Erie Gill and M. W. Richey certain facts about the Chinese Art Exhibition, I have not the catalogue by me. but as far as I remember the large majority of the exhibits are the property of the Chinese government and of museums in various parts of the world. Comparatively very few of them belong to individuals.
But in any case, the fact that a man possesses objects of art of sufficient merit to be included in this exhibition is no indication whatever that he is a godless capitalist. Rather the contrary, because subh people are not usually interested in culture at all. Most art collectors (and I know a good many) are good people whose money has been earned perfectly honestly.
The immense popularity of the exhibition is sufficient reply to the ludicrous statement that none but the rich have any taste left. We have had enough of this class-talk, which should be left to communists and similar lunatics. Neither good taste nor bad, neither virtue nor vice in any shape or form is peculiar to any economic or social class.
NOEL PURGOLD. Greystones, Sefton Gate, Liverpool, 17.
LAND SETTLEMENTS SIR,-1 have read with interest the correspondence on the land movements in your issue of January 3.
This is how the matter strikes me. If the administrators of Marydown are so satisfied with the success of their management, why complain of the lack of a support which they do not need; if, moreover, the generous subscribers of the £10,000 which started the undertaking are equally satisfied with the way in which their contributions have been expended, then there is nothing but grounds for congratulations all round as far as Marydown is concerned.
For the rest, the notice in your same issue by the South of England Land Association seems sufficient answer to your correspondents.
EVELYNE ELLIS. Guyshouse, Grayshott, Hindhead.
SYMPHONY ORCHESTRAS SIR,—Your music critic, Mr. Mortimer, remarks that we have now three first-rate symphony orchestras, viz., the B.B.C. Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Does he not consider the Halle Orchestra first-rate? When Schnabel gave his services at the Halle pension fund concert several years ago he stated that in his opinion the Halle Orchestra was second to none in Europe. I have been a regular patron of the Halle concerts for some years, and have listened to orchestras in London and elsewhere, and I consider your critic's omission even to mention the oldest and, the opinion of many, the finest orchestra in the country still another example of the tendency amongst London critics to remain oblivious to the musical life of the north of England.
HERBERT TORKINGTON. 17, Broomfield Crescent, Headingley.
THE NEWSPAPER PRESS SIR,—Congratulations on your editorial published in the issue of January 10. I was pleased to note your remarks on the Catholic press. As you say, "a privately owned paper is private property. The hierarchy is obliged to respect its owner's rights; its policy and theirs can never be identical," etc.
I would like to draw the attention of your readers to the Catholic Worker, whose policy is to propagate the social teaching of the Church. based on the principles laid down in "Rerum Novarum" and "Quadragesimo Anno." The Catholic Worker has the blessing and approval of the Archbishop of Westminster and of the Bishop of Salford, who has appointed a censor for the paper.
It will be seen at once that this is an appropriate form of Catholic Action, the apostolate of the press. It is written by Catholic workers for Catholic workingmen in particular and all Catholics in general. It is published monthly, price one penny.
Nobody gets anything out of it. There is no question of financial reward; its production and distribution is done voluntarily by its helpers in their spare time. More help and more readers are needed, and necessary if we are to exercise any
influence on the great labouring masses of our fellow-countrymen; and in this connection the Catholic Herald, a great paper, can be pushed as well.
The Catholic Worker is not competing against the Catholic press; it is something extra, created by the conditions peculiar to our times. So in making an appeal for support I ask your readers not only to come to our aid but also to that of the weekly Catholic press. . .
If there are any mistakes in the grammar of this letter I ask you to remember that
I am a worker who, perforce, must think more about grub and how to get it than the niceties of language.
The Catholic Worker,
2-4, Garrick Street, London, W.C.2.