Si,-It was too much to expect that Catholics who are more active in negative criticism, would desist from attacking the youngest and most virile Catholic organisation in this country, the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists.
Many Catholic organisations are founded with a nominated personnel but the ACTU members have been trained in democratic procedure. They elect their officers and decide their constitution and aims in popular assembly.
For the past two years meetings have been held in all parts of the country with delegates from the Diocesan Associations giving tip their week-end leisure to create a unified body of Catholic workers. It is impertinent for the critics to attempt to change this democratic procedure by a Press campaign, but their destructive actions may lead our opponents to be confused about our origin and think it is a Clerical and not a Lay Movement.
The cleansing of the Trade Unions from dangerous doctrines must be undertaken inside the official Trade Union Movement, as this is the only body that is linked up with political parties. The freak and breakaway Unions exercise no influence on the political thought of this country. They would only embarrass Catholic workers who are not prepared to open a back door for their political aspirations. There is a surfeit of work for Catholics today who have energy to direct into constructive channels.
BERNARD SULLIVAN, L.C.C.
Sre,-As the vice-chairman of Plymouth No. 1 Group, I have had ample opportunity of observing the relationship between ACTU and politics. and think that the following guiding principles ought to be
adopted. Firstly. although ACTU as a corporate body does not ally itself with any party, politics cannot be excluded from its debates for many of its topics are inseparable from politics (e.g. the wage freeze, the position of the Government employees, the Factory Acts, etc.). Secondly, this being so. each individual member should be left free to criticise any policy, party or government according to his conscience, provided that the criticism is relevant to the matter in hand.
PETER C. AUBURY-SMITH.