Page 2, 25th February 1944

25th February 1944
Page 2
Page 2, 25th February 1944 — RUSSIA AND THE "CH."

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Locations: Moscow, London


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Sir,-Catholic newspapers can't have everything their way. You claim-and exercise without restraint -the right to attack the U.S.S.R. Why, then, can't lzvestia exercise the same right to say what it thinks about the Vatican'? If its attack is harmful to the relations of the Soviet Union with its Allies, aren't yours equally harmful 7 IR it conducive to good reCations to describe as a " constitutional trick " the developments in the federal system of the Soviet Union unnouneed by Foreign C,ornmissar Molotov. as you do ? Is it consistent with the " spiritual and moral values " about which you write so often for Catholic& to falsify every act and word of that Government in order to sustain the official Catholic thesis that the Soviet regime is Godless, lawless, oppressive, the instrument of dark Satanic forces warring against Christendom and bent on the destruction of the Church ?

You have to falsify the record to feed the enmity between the Soviet Union and the Catholic Church. You falsify it when you deny or minimise the significance of the Soviet act of policy which led last September to the re-establishment of the full, hierarchical organisation of the Russian Orthodox Church (which had been in abeyance since 1926, but with Archbishop Sergey Starogiodsky as administrator of the Patriarchal See), and the reconstitution of the Holy Synod, followed by the election of the Metropolitan Sergius as Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. The Western Church could not perhaps be expected to welcome that development, because of its embittered age-long feud with the Eastern Orthodox Chinch: .1s8.11 why mat he honest enough, intelledually and politically. to recognise that the Soviet Union. having overcome the emergency of the transition years. is following its own evolutionary course within the framewol k of its own traditions under the impulse of historical forces ?

You falsify the record. too, in treating the recently announced changes in the federal structure of the Soviet Union es a " constitutional trick." As a matter of history, the principle of federal union and national autonomy which the Government of Marshal Stalin is developing now is embedded in the original Declaration of the Rights of the Peoples of Russia. To carry out the principle the Lenin Government created a special State agency and placed M. Stalin at the head of it. In the early years of the Soviet Union the Union-Republics, Ukrainia. White Russia and the rest, exei-esed autonomy. having their own Defence cornMissariat and their Commissariat of Foreign Affairs: and as a fact a former Foreign Commissar of Soviet White Russia is living in London at .his moment. in their true interpre"stion, the decisions announced by M. Molotov mark no abrupt departure in Soviet policy, but rather a resumption of the evolutionary course of the Soviet eystem.


[If our correspondent read our columns more attentively he would have noted that we consider the present Soviet outlook to be the logical expression of secularism and materialism applied to she State. It is a Stare built on the capitalist factory model. It is with this econontic and political, totalitarianism that we quarrel, whether in Germany or Russia or even as manifested in aspects of modern democracy. It is because of the same totalitarianism that we have our doubts about the State-permitted revival of the Orthodox Church-certainly not because we are affected by a lone outdated jealousy between East and West. Our correspondent. we note. is silent about Russia's policy towards Poland and the Baltic States. (7 policy only possible if no regard is Paid to anything but the needs of one State at the expense of its neighbours. We were once told that it was to prevent aggression that we were fighting. -EDITOR. C.1-11

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