Atiberon Waugh has his pet explanation for the juvenile crime wave—i.e. that the society we live in is not materialistic enough. But I think he arrives at his theory in a fallacious manner. There are no doubt many devout Catholics in prison, but I doubt very much if they were particularly devout before they went into prison. There is always an inner moral failure before it is expressed exteriorly; and inner moral failure comes generally from neglecting religion (prayer and the sacraments). Spiritual writers assure its that Almighty God wen't allow us to yield to temptation to serious sin if we arc doing our best.
Commr. Bray (retired Chief of the cia) wrote that in his experieuce most people are decent and law-abiding, but that there is a small percentage of the population who seem to have inherited all the evil traits of their forebears, and that it is in this latter class that criminals are mostly found. Louis de Woolff in a recent article drew a similar conclusion from our Lord's parable of the ninety-nine just men and the one sinner whom He came to SAW.
1 would, therefore, agree with Mr. Waugh had he said that out of the many Catholics leading an ordinary sort of religious life, there are always likely to be a few who will qualify for prison.
C. J. Rothon,
Superficial injuries in the form of cuts and bruises are shrugged off by the boxer as by the rugby player as being incidental to the process of scoring points. More serious injuries are also incidental because they arc certainly not intended and the rules and regulations are all framed to prevent them.
The critics have a case only if the much publicised brain injuries really occur with anything like the frequency that has been claimed. The British Boxing Board claim that they do not. Other people, of course, insist that they do, but these people have so completely lost their sense of proportion over the rare fatalities in the ring that it is reasonable to assume that they have done the same thing over the question of brain injuries.
The last time figures were given in Parliament for deaths in sport related to the years 1955-58. In that period 14 deaths occurred at cricket (13 due to head injuries), 13 in soccer. 9 in rugby and one in boxing. In the past eighteen years five deaths have occurred in prolesaional boxing in Britain. Most, if not all, of these were caused by the head striking the floor of the ring, not directly from punches. Five in eighteen years. and yet some people talk as though boxing were almost as dangerous as mountaineering or motor racing!
Those who attack boxing may know a great deal about theology and perhaps about medicine too; the sad thing is they know so little about boxing.
P. J. Dingle, King's Lents, Norfolk.
ART AND THE CHURCH
Whilst agreeing with the first half of your correspondent's letter (April 11), I cannot support the remaining statements in his letter.
Building of any kind is materialistic by its very essence and with Church Building in particular certain stringent liturgical requirements must be satisfied practically and sympathetically if the architect is to achieve a worthy result. The work of the artist is secondary to this primary form. Is your correspondent really advocating a return to sentimental artistic imagery in church interiors such as occurs disastrously in the new Coventry Cathedral and so detrimentally to its basic function?
There is a cuzrent enthusiastic interest in church design, albeit confined to a limited number of architects, or the course I attended last week at York on this very subject would not have provided such stimulating exchanges.
The reason for the low standard of most of our recent church building can probably be traced to a source with much wider implications—the lack of communication between Catholic clergy and informed lay opinion. It would surely not be too difficult to arrange short diocesan seminars for those concerned with or interested in this and similar problems.
D. J. Montague, A.R.I.B.A. Derby.
Mr. Davis has drawn our attention to the real responsibility we have in making our new churches worthy of their great purpose.
The Catholic community in this country as a whole govern the approach to our Church building. and it is we who so often put Martha before Mary. It is we
make the priorities, demanding superb heating systems. spacious and comfortable benches, roomy car parks and so forth. We put these material considerations before those creative works of love arid skill which should be the symbols of our dedication of these buildings to God. It is the materialism with whleh we are all infected that ties the hands of the clergy and dictates to our architect S. Prudence requires that the material building should be adequate and of good standard. Charity demands that those things which adorn and dedicate our churches should be worthy offerings to God, and should he considered from the begiuseing equally, as part of the whole. Michael Clark, F.R.B.S. Churt, Surrey.
In one Catholic paper this weekend I read a well-reasoned plea for the removal of all cash concern from the pulpit and placing it in the more competent care of the laity where it more fittingly belongs. Pope Pius XII clearly delineated the appropriate spheres of priests and people whilst at the same time emphasising their common pursuit as members of the Mystical Body of Christ.
It was somewhat disturbing, therefore. to find in an article in the CATHOLIC HERALD a thinly-veiled imputation that the laity are neglecting things of the spirit and that " . it is for the lower things that the clamour seems to be loudest". More amazing, however, was the list of lower things: "participation in the liturgy. study groups. the spreading of knowledge of the Church. fund-raising activities and so on." The fundraising activities and so on we expect, but surely Fr. Ripley knows that it is because the parish priest insists on keeping this low thing to himself that the layman is clamouring — though not half-loudly enough as witnesses the spread of Cathos etc. As for the other things, they are precisely the things the Holy See has been begging us to pursue for so many years in C.S.G., S.O.S.. S.V.P. and the like.
One of your correspondents suggested a merger of some of these societies—and Fr. Ripley's eulogy of the Legion of Mary gives grounds for merging several of them—but I think your Hull correspondent has omitted the most important merger of all viz. that between clergy and people. It is a sine qua non. M. P. O'Brien. Leeds, 11.
Mr. Hugh Kay has done right in urging upon co-operators their duty to take an interest in the Management Committee election of the London Co-operative Society to be held on April 29.
Unfortunately, the very ease with which people can join the society —without tests, references or commitments—lays it wide open to take-over bids by outside interests who could easily enslave, pervert or destroy it. Unscrupulous organisations or individuals could so easily instruct their members or friends to join the society specifically to support certain candidates for office; these outsiders could collect their membership documents, record their votes immediately afterwards and then go their ways without another thought for the body they had just joined.
Of course, if all genuine cooperators did their duty at an election, such tactics would easily be defeated.
But I seriously suggest that cooperators tighten up their membership rules and do not automatically extend all their privileges — especially the vote — to newlyregistered members. There should he a twelve-month probationary period during which the new member would he entitled to all the economic benefits of the society including the dividend. But during this time he or she would receive literature explaining the aims, work, spirit and philosophy of the co-operative movement. At the end of this period the member would be invited to sign a form assenting to the basic tenets of co-operation in return for the right to vote and to influence policy.
Such a simple test would 11 suggest ensure a more responsilsle attitude on the part of those entitled to the vote. There is plenty Of precedent for such an arrangement in other equally democratic bodies.
J. A. Delepine, London, N.I9.
May I suggest that your review of the latest Papal Encyclical is a most cogent argument for a vernacular liturgy. What hope have we poor laity in understanding Latin when the foremost Catholic newspaper m istranslates the Pope's words. "Terris" is ablative plural. which for the uninitiated means that what the CATHOLIC] HERALD calls "Peace on Forth" should have a much subtler meaning " Peace among the lands".
Michael Tomkins, London, W.10.
Mr. To:alas may consider his translation better: ours was that given in the official English-language version published by the Vatican Polyglot Press—Editor.
THE BOMB AND US
Thank you very sincerely for devoting eo much space to the moral problems arising from the nuclear deterrent, and for your appeal for a clear-cut statement from the Vatican Council, which I strongly support. One would feel happier about the position taken up by Hugh Kay if the country opposing us were a democracy, where people had an opportunity to change their government if they did not agree with its policies. The fact that this is rot so, lessens the guilt of the Russian people, at least, all of those who do not belong to. or willingly support the Communist Party.
It has been said in the past, often hy Catholics, that Russia is like a vast concentration camp. People are discouraged from asking questions and given false or no information on important matters. It is probable that many of the people who fall into the combatant class are more ignorant and more misled about the true nature of their work than (licit equivalents in the West. and those who are aware of it do not have our scope for action. This does not make them any the less combatants, but it does make them more 'innocent than their Western counterparts.
The situation, then, has parallels with a concentration camp which makes weapons of war, as Same German camps were reputed to have done in the last war. The parallels of the wife and family and the limited company given by Mr. Kay are inaceurate, since both involve voluntary association and choice.
A second weakness in Mr. Kay's position is his assumption that the enemy is incapable of getting all his missiles off the ground at once, and that he has no invulnerable missiles. He also assumes. wrongly I believe, that Russia has thousands of missiles. At present, the United States is superior in missile strength, and Mr. McNamara in his annual report to the U.S. Armed Services Committee on January 30, gave a figure of over 340 operational missiles and 650 bombers or roughly 1.000 operational bombers and missiles. This total included 144 invulnerable Polaris missiles.
It is hardly conceivable that if Russia were going to attack she would warn us. or that she would send her missiles off in hatches, which would be the equivalent of a warning. It is more likely that her. 2-300? missiles and x-number of bombers will all take off at once and our first warning will be a cloud of blips on the early warning radar. In response to this the United States' 1,000 bombers and missiles will immediately take off to hit what? One can imagine a few terrible .moments of peace when the entire destructive force of two continents is in the air and then the world dies.
What would Mr. Kay's position be if Russia were completely denuded of land-based missiles and bombers, and all her missiles were roving about on or under the sea as 144 American missiles are today? What if Russia then threatened to destroy the West unless we gave in? 11 we reach the situation of the 'big bomb' it will not he 'encased in the enemy nation' but roving about in space on a random course, or on, or under the sea. completely invulnerable and still able to destroy
us after we have destroyed its masters. What would Mr. Kay do in such a situation'?
The double effect principle, in common with all the Catholic principles for a just war, is a limiting principle. and the logical trend of the deterrent is against limitation and towards what may be termed invulnerable maximisation, that is, towards an invulnerable means of delivery and maximum power of destruction.
Frank Dineen, Brentwood, Essex.
Mr. Pring (April 19) distinguishes between "a double effect that is accidental to the intended result" and "one that is essentially involved in it". But "essentially involved" is a term that might he applied to the death of the innocents• when caused by a conventional bornb. Yet their death, in such a case, is in fact accepted as "accidental" by the moralists. So where are you? The only difference between the two cases is numerical. not qualitative.
This is why I have such difficulty with Pope Pius XII's ambiguous statement when he talks about "the anihilation, pure and simple. of all human life within the affected area". This can he said as truly of the effects of a conventional, as of a nuclear, bomb.
There may be, at the back of Mr. Pring's mind, an idea similar to that which yielded the ancient principle of English common law, namely that "a man must be taken to intend the natural consequences of his action." This is a purely pragmatic approach which courts of law adopt as the only external test of a man's state of mind. But God alone knows his real intentions.
Thus. if a burglar is interrupted by the householder, and hits him, he will be hanged if the householder dies as a result, even though in fact the burglar may have had no intention of causing death. But God will make the dietinction, even if the court does not.
Surely, in the nuclear bomb issue, the paramount questions are those of intention and of proportion between the harm done and the good achieved. The latter is the toughest test to my mind, and it is in this context alone that numerical considerations are pertinent.
Hugh Kay London, S.W.1,
i strongly disagree with A. Palmer (April 11) who considers that the academic standard of our Catholic Grammar Schools suffers because of the effort made by our teachers to impart such qualities as justice and a sense of good breeding. Surely she realises that academic work and character training are inseparable.
I suggest the reason that so
many non-Catholics are awaiting places in our convents is that because of the unflinching devotion of our religious, parents realise that it is only in the convents their children gain the hest passible training — both spiritually and temporally. Nowhere else tire both aspects of a child's upbringing concentrated upon, both attaining en equally high standard in the majority of cases.
Jane A. Hebshy Sedgley Park Training College, Prestwick, Manchester.