Sin,—Sir John Simon and the Press have between them removed all doubts as to the nature of the "understanding " with the U.S.S.R. towards which the Government is being impelled ; it is to be what Mr J. L. Garvin, with painful heartiness, describes as a " a blunt, downright
alliance " with the Soviet, Thus we Catholics are likely any day now to read in the morning papers that our country has pledged her honour to succour and uphold the Bolshevik Government against the world in the name of peace, justice and democracy. The die will be cast, and we shall not have said a single word. Like the Catholics of Slovakia, we shall see our error too late.
We have shrunk from weakening the façade of apparent national unity; we have been afraid that we might utter the too ingenuous word that would confuse the course of high diplomacy. And our silence has passed for consent. Britain and France will be bound to the Soviet by a military alliance, styled In the current jargon " Collective Security," and, by the same token, we shall stand in the shadow of inevitable War.
This horror can still be averted, but only on condition that we demand powerfully and insistently a Christian foreign policy openly avowed. This is not the time to sacrifice principle for expediency. We must openly accept and act upon the Christian doctrine, whatever the apparent risk, for there Is no other way to the peace which rests upon justice.
Professor H. A. Smith warns us in a magnificent letter to The Times of April 15 that such a public profession of our faith may be as dangerous to-day as it was in the time of Nero. But every other way is not merely dangerous, but necessarily fatal, Alliance with the Bolshevik Government cannot be justified; it cannot lead to peace, for, as Pius XII said on Easter Sunday, " peace, in the true sense, is built upon a single foundation . . . that is to any it is built upon the eternal God, to acknowledge whom, to honour and to worship whom, to obey whose commandments is a duty laid upon every living creature."
How, then, can peace be built upon a league with the Power whose twin creeds are militant atheism and the class war? " To diminish the obedience due to the Divine Creator," says the Pope, " to regulate it out of existence, is thus nothing else than to throw into cenfusion and to break up entirely the tranquillity of the individual citizen's life, of the life of the family, of the separate nations, and, ultimately, of the whole human race."
Our policy, then, must be one of justice tempered with charity, of " friendly alliances in which the eonvenience and profit of each are carefully considered," and under which " the infinite wealth and resources with which God has endowed the whole of the earth shall be distributed in accordance with right reason for the use of all His children." Yet, if we are confronted by faithlessness and brutal violence, admitting no arbitrament but the sword, we shall have three firm defences: firstly, faith in God; secondly, reliance on our own strength in a righteous cause; and thirdly. the community of the Christian peoples of the world — the unity of Christendom, which will startle the nations by the brilliance of its response to a clear, direct call.
It is unnecessary to elaborate the reactions to an Anglo-Soviet alliance : the abhorrence of Catholic peoples. the bewilderment of others, the consolida titan of the Rome-Berlin Axis and its extension to Catholic Spain; the despair ot the msny in Axis countries who have still trusted us, and the impulse given towards Fascism among our own countrymen. But most fatal of all would be the consciousness of wrongdoing. The British people, which is eo often charged with hypocrisy, can never put all its heart and soul into a struggle of whose justice it is not convinced. And so our effort to light In concert with Bolshevism would be diminished, and we should face defeat.
I ask you. Sir, and your readers, before it is too late, to use every scrap of Influence to support the policy that we have followed since Munich, and to urge that we go further and declare that we are determined to defend Christian principles and the Christian way of life, if necessary, In arms. Let Us proclaim our purpose of justice, and so of peace, without any hypocritical pretensions to a monopoly of virtue, without any threat to enforce our secular ideas of politics and trade on others, but with an affirmation of fraternal love for all peoples and for those Governments which strive after charity and justice. Lastly, let us be clear that, if we are silent, we shall not acquit ourselves of responsibility for what is to come.
Russia in Spain
SIR,—t read with pleasure the fine letter of Miss D. Ponsonby Senior, regarding Russia's part in the intended destruction of Spain's moral and physical backbone.
As one who saw action in Franco's, forces Z can substantiate her statement that the Soviet played a leading role in kindling the fires of hate and corruption in the heart of Spain.
Not a. single house occupied by the Red forces was without it supply of filthy propaganda, practically every pamphlet and book I found to be printed in the U.S.S.R. Some of the convents which I entered, on the heels of the marauding forces, showed unmistakable signs of Russia's influence and in one case portions of Russian uniforms. Russian machine-guns and ammunition we discovered in plenty.
A number of prisoners taken at Ciempozuelos (Madrid) had in their possession membership cards of a Soviet revolutionary movement; one of which I still retain.
MATTHEW J. DOOLAN. Co, Cork.
SIR,—We Catholics know well the evil of Communism. We are, however, told of it so often by our writers that there Is a risk we shall fancy it is the only evil.
It is assuredly not the only threat to Christendom, the Church, and ordered liberties. It is, to-day, no longer the chief menace to these priceless possessions. Communism is a foul vapour which, nevertheless, can be breathed awhile until the antidote or fresh air ia available. But Hitlerlsno is a more swift, efficient and lethal thing altogether—just as a bludgeon blow on the back of the head is more fatal and final than a gradual inhaling of bad air, Morals and education can cope with Communism; and have successfully coped with it recently in most lands. But there is " nae cure for stark deld," as the Scotch say—no cure for a CzechoSlovakia, a Memel, or an Albania.
My object here is to put several cautions about the so-called AntiComintern Pact, and my conviction that history will presently show that it is as evil, in another and more effective way, as the Comintern itself; just as the Nazi International is as subtle and poisonous as the Red Internationale, The former works for German hegemony as the latter does for Russian. But the former is "getting away with it " with ruthless Teutonic thoroughness and lightning speed; while the latter shows the traditional Russian inefficiency, visionary inability and flagging effort.
This fact may riot be welcome to anyone with an idele ftse. But it is clear, by a glance at the Powers who have joined the " Anti-Comintern " frame-up, and then at those Christian and Catholic Powers who, though hating Communism an d geographically exposed to it, have not joined it.
What people is more exposed than the Catholic Poles? With the Red evil to their east, you would expect they would have joined any such group—if protection against Bolshevism were the genuine aim of it. But Poland, on the spot, has always known better. She knows that it is a camouflaged War pact—as indeed it is most unhappily proving, by its latest recruits. That is to say, it was rigged by Hitler for his own grandiose ends; it is Na.zismo's pact for the encirclement of others. This is obvious, no analysis. For this paper formula does not provide for any educative or missionary work against Bolshevism or Marxism. It does not stamp out the Red tendencies within the signatories' countries. It does not hold congreeses by way of ideological answer to the Comintern. It is studiously vague, and membership is a peculiar affair of Germany's invitation. All very curious.
But there is worse behind. The Catholic Church, which is the true barrier against the spread of Bolshevism or paganism, is precisely the Institution which gets short shrift in the land of the origin of this fraudulent " pact." Italy only joined it as a formal compliment to the Axis, and no Italian is able without a smile to pump up a description of any of its functions which the Church and the Catholic tradition does not already perform a thousand times better. Hungary was, of course, " pressed " into it. It may mean more to General Franco, until the price for adhesion is asked of him by Herren Goering and Hitler.
Who will deny with a straight face that to-day Anti-Comintern has come to mean anti-Britain, anti-Poland, antiRumania, anti-America, anti-France? By their fruits, you shall know understandings and treaties. Anti-Comintern signifies anti-" democratic." It is the Wilhelmstrasse's alibi treaty and is functioning as such. Imagine Britain applying for adherence!--it would not be welcomed without military promises sotto i)ooe, anti-Jew legislation, and other connivances.
Viewed through religious eyes, the hypocritically-named Anti-Comintern is as non-Christian and heathen, as temporal in aim, and innately Godless, as the thing it is supposed to oppose—and most of its signatories are not straight; though straighter then the author of this " plant."
Excuse plain speech. whose object is to prevent good people taking titles made in Germany at their face value.
W. J. BLYTON.
Russia as an Ally
SIR,—It is not only, I venture to assert, Catholics, who are deeply disturbed by the alliance (if it is such) between our own democratic land and atheist, antidemocratic Russia.
Every serious student of Communism knows that, for many years, Red aggression and intrigue has stirred up the whole world. The sudden emergence of the murderers of Madrid, Barcelona, Mexico, Georgia, Hungary and other places, as innocent lambs defending themselves against the wicked antiReds, is a little too much even for the warmest supporter of Mr Chamberlain.
One still hopes that this alliance cannot be a reality. In the event of war we should very likely find ourselves fighting against General Franco arm-lnarm with the friends of Negrip and Azafia, and, in the end, an allied victory might mean the reinstatement of the whole Red gang in Spain.
It would also mean that the Reds would sweep across Eastern Europe (they are to have the right of way through Rumania) and carry the atheistic dictatorship to triumph in the Balkans and Central Europe.
The alternative would appear to be that we shouid allow the Fascist states a small field for influence and expansion --say about two per cent. of the area we have reserved for our own use. That is of course so awful that it could not even be contemplated.
One wonders, however, if the result of turning the conflict—if one should unhappily arise—into a matter of powerpolitics (and fatally compromising the ideal side of our cause) has been sufficiently weighed in responsible quarters. tTrssoietimes alleged that /tussle has now given up her Red aims. This is not the case. Stalin stated (on March 10 last) that Russia still stood for worldCommunism. Incidentally he poured scorn on the Western democracies.
MEYRICK Boom Hampstead.
The Christian Way
Sna—The following letter was sent to The Times, but not allowed publication: "To the Editor of ' The Times,'
"It is with some surprise that we find that a vital part of Lord Halifax's speech in the House of Lords on April 19, which appears on your parliamentary page, this morning, is not reprinted in
the report of the speech on your leader page.
'It is this : • . . at the foundation of our civilisation are moral values which have been set up through the influence of Christianity and by °bee rvanee, however imperfect, of Christian thought and action which have for centuries been the strongest single element in European life.'
"In our opinion such a recognition leads to two conclusions. In the first place. if this country is to save the peace of the world its policy cannot be governed by an iron self-righteousness. We must publicly acknowledge that neither we nor our allies have always been perfectly just to other nations since the war. We must be prepared to play more than our full part in a new settlement for peace. We must be ready to break with past ties and commitments and to forget recriminations, even just ones.
" This is the Christian way, and only thus can we hope to persuade others to join a new concord of Christendom in which there will be a new balance of Influence and power in accordance with the real interests of the PEOPLE of the nations.
" The second conclusion is that should we have to fight because, in Lord Halifax's words. we can end ' no other way of defending causes and values . . more important than life itself, we could not, as a Christian people, fight side by side with Soviet Russia. To do so would he to pave the way for the destruction of Christian civilisation.
" The. Soviet aim, in the words of the Russian Press, and in particular Of Commissar Mehlin, speaking only a few weeks ago, is towards ' the last decisive battle, to the storming of Capitalism, to the World Commune.' And, need we add—to the world defiance of God. If we think that as a Christian nation we can cast out anti-Christ by Beelzebub, by all means let us seek such an ally.
" H. Eosisr-PsARSON., " U. B. Titisradim."