Page 6, 24th July 1936

24th July 1936
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Page 6, 24th July 1936 — LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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CATHOLIC ACTION AND INDUSTRIALISM " Intellectual Irresponsibility "

SIR,—Mr. Noel Purgold, in his letter of July 10, states that " modern machinery is exceedingly complicated, and the man in charge of it must have brains and use them," while admitting that " a number of jobs in modern factories are intellectually irresponsible "; thus giving the impression that only a small minority of factory hands "intilleetually irreankible."

I have been at some pains to test this statement by an investigation as to the relative numbers of skilled and unskilled men employed in a typical factory, i.e., a big firm of motor-body makers in Birmingham, and the results are these:— A. Skilled Men.

(i) The Designing Staff. These are at the very top of the tree. They are the men who design the machines, and the product, on paper. In this factory there are about 60 of them.

(ii) The Toolmakers. These are really skilled men. They make the " tools "—in this case the cutting edges of the machines. They correspond to the old craftsmen, for theirs is real creative work. True they are supposed to conform to the blue prints issued to them by the designing staff, but it seems to be a point of honour among toolmakers (and not only in this factory) to ignore the blue prints as much as possible. There are about 150 toolmakers in this factory.

B. Semi-skilled Men.

(i) The Toolsetters. These " set the machines for each job of work, so that the machine-hand has just got to pro ceed with his repetitive work. I am afraid Mr. Purgold ignores the existence of toolsetters. But they make nothing —theirs is not creative work, and they are only regarded as semi-skilled. There are about 250 of them.

(ii) Welders. These are peculiar to this type of work, of course, and their existence rather makes this case untypi cal. Their job is to weld the various parts of the motor-body together. But it is not very skilled — a toolmaker described it to me as " easy as ABC," for all they have to do is to work round the frames or " jigs " supplied them by the toolmakers. There are about 500 of them.

C. Unskilled Men.

(i) "Labourers." Some of these are what we should call proper labourers, i.e., they push the metal sheets about in trolleys etc., though they are being replaced by conveyors in this job. Others are what we should call machineminders; they place the metal sheets under the great presses, pull the lever, wait while the great machine comes thundering down and goes up again, then withdraw the metal sheet with the car window, etc., punched out. It is a purely repetitive job, though a trifle dangerous. Altogether there are some 1,500 of these " labourers " in the factory.

(ii) Progress clerks. These see that the pace is kept up. It is regarded as an unskilled job, and there are only about 50 of them.

So even if we admit the toolsetters and welders to be intellectually responsible, which the latter hardly are, there are only 960 intellectually responsible men to 1,550 intellectually irresponsible men. (If we place the welders in the latter category, we get 460 to 2,050!) Does Mr. Purgold admit that this is the proportion of men capable of responsible work to " people who by nature are incapable of doing highly skilled work "?

W. P. Wircu-rr (Rev.). St. Anne's Presbytery, 96, Bradford Street, Birmingham 12.

SIR,—Ability to quote Papal Encyclicals is not of itself a guarantee of soundness of doctrine in the person quoting. Furthermore, that person represents no one but himself.

It seems necessary to enunciate, these principles in view of the increasingly " Pontifical " tone adopted by Mr. Eric Gill in the communications he makes to your columns from time to time.


SIR,—Mr. Purgold's criticism of Mr. Gill manifests a lack of understanding both of the subject on which he writes, and of Mr. Gill's writings.

Because modern machinery is exceedingly complicated it does not necessarily mean that the operator needs brains. On the contrary, the complexity in most cases, is there in order to eliminate the necessity for brains. In other words, to make them fool-proof; i.e., only a fool is necessary for their operation. Machines of such complexity that railway-engines and motors are toys compared with them, and which in the words of " The Machine Tool Review " " amaze the lay mind need to be tended only by one capable of starting and stopping them. Centre lathes, " simple in structure, complex in function," which require great skill to operate, are confined to the tool room.

He does not distinguish between machine production and machine produce. The railway engine and the motor car are the product of machines assembled by fitters and are not strictly machines. But even these two examples are of no help to him in his criticism, for even they are made, so far as economics based on finance and the solving of engineering problems permit mechanically perfect; that is, foolproof, and the demand which Mr. Purgold speaks of for great intellect and skill does not mainly arise in the operation of these machines, but in the endeavour to avoid the great danger to the public which their use under conditions dictated by finance which brought them into being entails. Despite rigorous precautions this endeavour fails, and must fail, while men are permitted to behave as human beings, even —despite Mr. Purgold—to the extent of forgetting. When man remembers— remembers his dignity and that his labour is the chief means by which he serves God—he will cease to produce by machine labour.

Catholic Action demands we spiritualise our activities, making them human actions with all the dignity of man, body and soul integrated, not merely physical actions flavoured with a pious ejaculation, but that the work itself be Divine service. Social service is secondary and will necessarily follow.

The makers of machinery make no secret of the fact that their aim is to dim into th a human olemont in llbour. The machines which still demand such, merely wait upon financial economics or the solving of some mechanical problem to be replaced, and this replacement proceeds apace. In 1910 the number of unskilled men to skilled men and improvers in a machine shop was about one in thirty or forty. In a modern machine shop the position is about one skilled man to thirty unskilled men, women, boys and girls. The implication of all this is that Catholic Action and machine labour are in conflict, and Mr. Gill is to be commended for his reiteration of this fact.

Mr. Purgold's idea of what is good and necessary for our weaker intellectual brothers is very comforting for the intellectuals and an easy way of avoiding the burden of Christian charity. Let them feed on the disease which afflicts them and give them more of it.

We are in a bad way. God alone can help us. If we refuse to face the issue and compromise with Mammon we must endure the consequences, but don't let us be hypocrites. However, I am in agreement with Mr. Purgold when he says that " irresponsibility is by no means peculiar to machine minders."

M. G.

THE LITURGY AND THE PEOPLE From Dom A. Gregory Murray, Editor of " Music and Liturgy Sue—Your correspondent, " D. G.," is unfortunately right in lamenting that the clergy are not infrequently a hindrance to the liturgical movement, since they sometimes assume too readily that the people do not want the liturgy. As against such an assumption we have the word of Fr. Martindale, S.J., that " wherever he goes he finds the desire for full communal liturgical worship increasing."

On the other hand there are certain phrases in " D. G.'s " letter that call for comment. Does he suggest that there is a necessary antithesis between the liturgy and congregational worship? Again he seems to imply that the liturgical movement concerns merely the Divine Office, whereas its essence is congregational participation in the Mass.

For my part, I believe that the layman's liturgy is the Mass, and that if our parochial congregations were allowed, taught and encouraged to obey the papal legislation by singing the Ordinary of the Mass, they could quite well continue with their " devotional " evening services. Both the liturgy and " devotions " should find a place in normal Catholic worship. To institute a liturgical evening service, while the people are still " merely detached and silent spectators " (the Pope's phrase) at the morning Mass, is surely to put things in the wrong order.

The main obstacle to progress in the matter of congregational participation in the Mass (so admirably urged by Dom Bernard McElligott in his articles in the Catholic Herald) is the traditional policy of our choirs, who persist in singing more or less elaborate settings of the Ordinary (which, being invariable as regards its words, might so easily be left to the people) instead of concentrating on a worthy rendering of (some or all of) the plainsong Proper—still so frequently neglected.

Dom McElligott's contention that the sacred ministers, the choir and the congregation each have a function to perform in the celebration of sung Mass, cannot be gainsaid. Moreover it is the Ordinary of the Mass which belongs to the people and which was stolen from them centuries ago by the professional musicians.

I consider that " D. G." does the Society of St. Gregory scant justice when he writes that its members merely " strive with the musical side " of the liturgy. The first aim of the S.S.G. is " To maintain the dignity of the Sacred Liturgy as the supreme instrument of congregational worship."

It furthers this aim in the only way it can be furthered, viz., by teaching the people how to take part in the liturgy— especially in the Mass. And the proper way for the people to take an active part in the Mass is by singing—in particular, by singing " the proper chant of the Roman Church."

The success of the People's Mass for Peace, sung in Westminster Cathedral on Easter Monday, was sufficient vindication of the policy and efficiency of the S.S.G. On that occasion the whole of the Ordinary was beautifully sung by a congregation of some seven thousand, drawn from all parts of London.

The generous indulgences attached to the activities of the S.S.G. show that it is honoured by the cordial approval of the Holy See. It also enjoys the patronage of the Hierarchy of England and Wales. Is there, in fine, any further need for a " Central Liturgical Guild or Organisation," or is it that the S.S.G. has not been given the publicity it deserves and the support that it needs?

A. GREGORY MURRAY. Downside Abbey, Bath.

SIR,—I would like to ask " D. G." what would be the precise functions of a Central Liturgical Guild. At the moment, it is difficult to see that we are hampered by the lack of such an organisation.

We are hampered rather by indifference and ignorance with regard to existing efforts. One should hesitate to blame the clergy unduly. What is due to the apathetic laity? Awes habent et non audient.


Campion House, Osterley.

SIR,—What " D. G." in his letter on the Liturgy has said is heartily to be endorsed, particularly that part relating to the Magnificat Society whose Solemn Vespers on certain weekday Feasts are patterns of sobriety and dignity.

In order to make the Liturgy really part of one's daily life it becomes increasingly clear that the Divine Office cannot be lightly passed over. The members of the Magnificat Society who daily recite at least one of the Canonical Hours have a constant contact with the Liturgy even when, perhaps, they have not been able to attend the weekday Mass.

Thus they realise the ideal of being in constant contact with the mind of the Church as well as participating in the perennial praise of God.

N. A.

SIR—May one appeal to organists to check the growing tendency to fill in all " silent " periods during sung Mass with aimless ramblings on the organ.

The operatic Masses of a former day represented at least the efforts of musical scholarship—often of genius—to offer a sumptuous but coherent and logical accompaniment to the liturgical text; as such they edified and aided the devotion of many. But the improvisations and " voluntaries " now so often heard have no purpose, except perhaps that which prompts people to " turn on the wireless " as soon as a visitor enters the home, lest, presumably, intelligent conversation or even thought be encouraged.

Where the thing is superlatively done it may be unexceptionable. One thinks of the Abbey Church at Fort Augustus and the Cathedral at Edinburgh, where it definitely adds to the dignity and solemnity of the rite, thanks in each case to the sensitive reticence of a notable organist and of a fine organ. But their example is unfortunately followed in churches where the organ and the organist are equally incapable of reticence, while the badgered worshipper is hard put to observe It.



[We have been inundated with letters on this subject and can do no more than quote extracts from a few typical ones. All we would plead for is that those who take our side should not consider the other to consist of lost pagans, and that the latter should not view the former as repressed

Pharisees. Reference to the controversy will be found in a Leader on page 8.— EDITOR.] SIR,—Women who appear in public in these abominable " shorts," whether for tennis or biking or hiking on the King's highways, are as much undressed as the semi-nude figures disgracing our seaside resorts.

What, in essence, does this nudity business mean? Why should women bemean and degrade themselves by exposing their nakedness as much as they dare under the pretext of " playing tennis in the costume which is best suited to the game," or of suffering from the heat of the game or the weather? Are men who do not do so more handicapped or do they suffer less than these—are they human salamanders? No, but the real reason is sex-appealthat urge, conscious or semi-conscious, to excite lust in the hearts of the other sex. That is the real reason.

Frequently have I been told on the Catholic Evidence Guild platform that Catholics, friends of the non-Catholic complainants, show by their lives that they are worse if anything than their neighbours. Yes, even they are being subverted. Convent girls dance in public in abbreviated skirts, stockingless, and make immodest exhibitions of themselves. Stockingless women are seen at times not only to come to Church but to go to the altar rails for Holy Communion. Recently some women in biking shorts attempted to attend a Catholic wedding but were detected in time and refused admittance to the church, and when offered decent covering actually yefused. An Anglican vicar at a seaside' resort declaimed against women in beach pyjamas venturing to attend church.

But the Holy Father, Pius XI, has repeatedly denounced immodesty in women's dress as leading not only " to moral disgrace " but to " their eternal ruin and that of others as well," and has urged " this pestiferous disease to be entirely extirpated from decent human society." Girls and women who dress indecorously or immodestly are not to be admitted to pious Associations, and if admitted are to be expelled. They are especially to be refused Holy Communion, and not allowed to stand sponsors at Baptism or Confirmation, and if need be not allowed to even enter our churches.

They are forbidden to enter Convents, Colleges, and Schools, and Convents are to be inspected frequently to see that these orders are carried out. " Parents are to withhold their daughters from taking part in public athletic exercises and gymnastic contests," and indecent dress they should never allow them to wear.

P. W. O'GORMAN, M.D. 3, St. John's Road, Harrow-on-the-Hill.

SIR,—Concerning the modesty, or otherwise of the picture of a lady tennis player wearing shorts there may be two, or even more opinions; but with regard to the correspondent who accuses you of a taint of paganism there can be one opinion only, and that is: he, or she, as the case may be, is absolutely correct. The point of view is supported by Lecky, the Rationalist. He


" The ancient Greeks, who combined in themselves at one and the same time a high domestic ideal, and the vice of unnatural love, (lust), owed the second of these to the influence of public games, which, accustoming men to the contemplation of nude figures awoke in them an unnatural passion."

What was true, may I add, of the ancient Greeks is no less true of modern Britons, or of any other civilised people to-day, and it is quite certain that the Catholic ideal of womanhood is in direct conflict with the picture of an amazon who strives before a Wimbledon crowd for the coveted, and fiercely contested tennis crown.


30, Chestnut Grove, Ealing, W.5.

Ste,—Having read carefully the life of St. Thomas More, written by five different men, I am quite convinced that the Saint, if he lived to-day, would stand as firm for Catholic principle as he stood all through his life and at his death.

In order to guard against the danger of unchastity he arranged that his menservants and maidservants should sleep in separate parts of the building and should rarely meet together; only in cases of greatest necessity were the women allowed to enter the part of the house where the men lived.

lie never allowed any one (not even if he were of noble rank) to play cards or dice in his house.

Speaking in the " Dialogue of Comfort," he says, the careless indifference of Catholics brings the anger of God down on the Church, and God uses his open avowed enemies as a scourge against His false friends.

M. t.

SIR,—About this question of St. Thomas More and Miss Helen Jacobs' tennis apparel I can't help feeling that More would have been as dismayed by the way some pietistic minds treat him as he would have been overjoyed by his canonisation.

Apropos of this question, however, I should like to tell two stories about him, though everyone who has studied his life will know them.

Before his daughter Margaret married Will Roper, St. Thomas More insisted that Roper should see his future wife with no clothes on lest she might have some physical blemish that would repulse him after the marriage vows had been taken.

Referring to himself and his two wives, St. Thomas once said: " How happily could we thsee have lived together had fortune and religion permitted it!"

I think in talking about Christian modesty we should remember the remark of one of the Fathers of the Church: Why should I be ashamed to mention what God was not ashamed to create? But perhaps God the Father Himself would not come up to " C.M.G.'s standards?


SIR,—Whatever is wrong with the spiritual condition of adults who take scandal at the photograph of a lady in shorts? It is not a question of being broad-minded (sickening epithet!) but clean-minded. What would Sir Thomas More think of such people? In Utopia he wrote: " To despise the comeliness of beauty— is a point of extreme madness "; and this is not an isolated opinion, but an expression of his whole attitude. He was that rare type—a non-ascetic saint.

All honour to your fine paper in its approximation to St. Thomas' mental outlook.

A. M.

THE J.O.C. IN ENGLAND Father Quinn's Answer Sut,—In answer to the letters which appeared in the issues of July 10 and 17, may I point out :— I. The Pope has described the J.O.C. as " un type acheve de cette Action Catholique," not " the achieved type " as the writer of the articles translated, nor " the ideal form " as Mrs. Wall says. (Perhaps the latter refers to some other document. In that case, I should be genuinely glad to hear of it).

2. It is surely an exaggeration to say that " The J.O.C. already extends miles beyond the confines of Europe." In Europe itself, it is practically limited to France, Belgium and French-Switzerland. In Germany and Catholic Austria (which I know from experience) it does not exist at all; I am not aware (though I am open to correction on this matter) of its existence in Spain or Italy. It is interesting to note that in the same issue of July 10, readers of the Herald were told by an Italian that the form of Catholic Action in his country, " is a model to all other nations." Beyond Europe, it exists, with small numbers and considerable modifications in one or two countries.

3. All this seems to imply that the J.O.C. is a distinctly French movement, and therefore would have to be " imported " into England, if we are to have it here as it actually is—which is what the writer of the articles implied. Writing professedly of the J.O.C. he also called it an organisation.

4. In stating that the French system was organised on a basis of class-difference, I merely repeated the explanation given to me by a French priest whose time was exclusively devoted to the diocesan organisation of Catholic Action.

5: The difficulties about an English J.A.C., J.E.C., etc., are that we already have movements in England, capable of being adapted to the same work. It is certainly true that some of the J.O.C. enthusiasts have overlooked these movements. With their co-operation, those of us who are endeavouring to shape these organisations towards the task of Catholic Action might succeed in establishing in England a form of Catholic Action equally effective as the J.O.C.


St. Anne's Cathedral, Leeds.


Sre,—Your most interesting report concerning recent decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda in regard to the respect which is to be shown to native ceremonies and customs in the far East clearly reveals the mind and attitude of the Holy See in such matters.

Do we, in this England of ours which is as much a missionary country as China or Japan, pay sufficient attention to these same matters? Is the Church in England doing all she can to convert this country by directly appealing to the English, their particular outlook and temperament? Surely not.

I know of definite cases where Englishmen have been repelled by our buildings and our Ecclesiastical decorations to such an extent that they have refused to discuss or consider the Faith any further. They go away with a strong impression that we belong to a foreign religion not all suitable for the English.

Can we blame them altogether? They see pseudo-Florentine churches in English market-towns; they see Romanesque chapels dedicated to obscure saints of exotic names and they see strange marble erections which shout at our climate and entomb our spirits.

After all the eye was created by God to see and receive impressions. Have we not enough wit to appeal to the English through their eyes which are accustomed to a certain landscape and are lit by a strong and definite tradition?

This seems to me to be a matter of the first importance whenever we consider the conversion of England. We must foster the English tradition and meet our countrymen at least half-way in all matters which do not conflict with true religion.


43, Newgate Street, E.C.1.

NEW RUSSIAN CONSTITUTION SIR,—Your Russian correspondent asks me which article of the proposed new Russian constitution promises religious freedom. Allow me to refer him to article 124 which says : — " To ensure to citizens freedom of conscience the church in the U.S.S.R. is separated from the state and the school from the church. Freedom to perform religious rites and freedom of anti-religious propaganda is recognised for all citizens."

Russia is no longer a land of poverty, hunger and discontent — the factors on which Communism thrives. It is a land of plenty—maybe sporadic plenty. No longer bankrupt, it is comparatively prosperous. Commonsense rather than Cornmunism (not to be confused with State Socialism) is likely to flourish on such a soil. Is it a vain hope to expect that when the new Constitution is finally settled and passed in November next that it will represent a volte face on many fundamental questions, such as religion and family morality?


SIR,—Your Russian correspondent who (with the support of some Soviet newspaper excerpts) reproves Father Degen in your last issue, may be interested to learn that his opinions will not be shared by many Christians on the spot, and that in our Catholic community at least the measure of relief has been welcomed with considerable enthusiasm.

Recent concessions to the individual conscience have included, effectively in many parts, the reinstatement of a degree of family life, of parental control and personal liberty, and the restriction of divorce; and it would be fatuous to assert that because the motives behind these concessions are ones of expediency (" to effect greater efficiency and prosperity at home" and to conciliate Christian powers abroad) therefore they cannot be the answer to Christian payer.

Moreover, to my personal knowledge there are influences in the SoViet genuinely out to restore individual liberty and responsibility, channels through which Christian principles must eventually infiltrate (a process which will not be helped by mud slinging).

The Catholic Herald is noted for its fairness in presenting both sides Of a controversy and I hope you will be generous enough to print this mild corrective.

J. F. T. PRINCE (Rev.). St. Scholastica's Abbey, Teignmouth, Devon.

July 19, 1936.

CHALLENGE TO PROFESSOR STOCK LEY SIR,—I am very sorry that J. T. P. should have intervened in the Stockley-Allen correspondence, and raised an irrelevant issue by comparing present conditions those obtaining during the Angl struggle of 1916-1921. We must the ground again.

J. T. P. considers the taking of 1 the LR.A. during the national strugs lawful, for three reasons.

I. " British administration was just." It was unjust in origin, beet was based on a conquest never corn never accepted, but periodically pr against in arms for centuries. It w just in its operation because it give] nalurally—;n ilie 'Interests of the I and not of the native Irish people.

2. " It was not despotic." It WE it was not in any way based on th sent of the governed, and Irish repn tion at Westminster, comprising 80 hers out of 600, was worthless.

3. " The attempt to establish a Re by force of arms was bound to fail far from failing, it has—and herei Professor Stockley's stumbling-blo imagine—brought about a conditi affairs under which every section o thought can find constitutional exist without doing violence to anyone': science through an oath of allegianc foreign power. To-day, England car no direct political influence upor Irish people, and her economic pi can be and is being resisted, as is tr of her cultural influence.

To introduce the years followini will only confuse the issue, which reality a simple one, and one f interest to hundreds of your readers issue is: does Professor Stockley cc that in the Ireland of 1936, for the to take human life is or is not m: That was Mr. Allen's direct questio we are waiting yet for an answer.

VINCENT ROCHE, S. Mary and S. Joseph, Canton Street, Poplar, E.14. July 13, 1936.

A CATHOLIC MUSICIANS' GI SIR,—We should like to try the tality of your paper to announce tl are forming a Catholic Musicians' and should be glad to receive narn addresses of any of your readers w eligible for membership.

A letter has been sent to a mmil musicians known to us explaining t: jects and obligations of the Guild, are very simple and this letter is by several well-known musicians inc Arthur Catterall (leader of the Symphony Orchestra), Gwendolen Livio Mannuci (of the Brosa Quarte Norina Lemins, but there must be other musicians amongst your readet would like to join us.

His Grace the Archbishop of We ster has promised his blessing an proval, and the Right Rev. Mor Smith, 0.B.E., has very kindly con to be our Chaplain. The subscript 2s. 6d. annually and forms of memt and all particularssicambe obtained the Secretary, C.M.G., 56, Redcliffe S.W.10.

KATHLEEN Lbw KATHLEEN COO MIXED MARRIAGES SLR,—I feel impelled; on reading report of Bishop Moriaty's scrap mixed marriages, to ask whether it possible for young Catholic layme women to have more definite teachn advice upon this important subject Lordship states that " any mixed m; for which there is not sufficient ma an evil." He is, of course, only i ing the words of the catechism speak of " grave reasons " and " conditions." We are all aware of th ditions, but what exactly constitt grave or sufficient reason, in the m the Church, which over-rules her dislike of mixed marriages?

The one obvious reason of "nece: marriage between two persons can be disregarded in considering du majority of cases in which dispen: are granted. What then is the criter which the Church judges individual Are all mixed marriages to be 111114 gether in the same category? Is a riage between a Catholic and a is protestant or a " charming pagan garded as equally pernicious as oi tween a Catholic and a sincere " Catholic?"

I agree with the Bishop that " we a to get used to mixed marriages, an sibly the reason is that many of us 1 Vague idea that it is an easy thing a dispensation and that, in this matt, " Bark of the Church is worse tha bite."

Finally, I will risk being called a mentalist by asking, " does mutual enter into it at all?" Provided th Priest is satisfied (after a talk witt parties) that the conditions of the mi will be kept both in the letter and spirit, will not both he and the Bid justified id leaving one of God's g gifts to His own choosing?

THE TEACHING OF BIOLOG SIR,—Fr. Sherlock says: " Boys connect sex in plants and animals human life." Why not? Why shc they understand—through meditating Hail Mary without any strain on the a crowded curriculum — that, lilo Redeemer of their race, they are th: of a mother's womb, and must the give to God's Mother, to their own in and to all women a most reverent n If parents, for the reasons adduced 1 Sherlock, neglect to give such holy ei enment, I fail to see how any Catechi avoid it. And I wish to God that learnt the " facts of life " in such a ma Iecet H [Letters which have had to be hel this week owing to pressure on our include, "The Petition to the King,"" tine—a way out," " Prizes in Belg "Catholic Action and the Press," " Miss Sales Appeal

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