RN The Editor
The Communists in France WE have often referred to the inconsistency of British politicians and writers, not least those of the Labour Party, who fully reeognise the essential mischief-making of the British Communists and yet appear to see no sign of danger when large and powerful Communist parties share the power elsewhere. In France and Italy we are watching once again the attempt to build Governments of which the Communists are to !ono a very important ingredient, and we seem to take it for granted that if only some formula of agreement can he hammered out, all will be well. It is of the first importance to realise front the start that all will not be well. The Communists have never even attempted to disguise either their aims or their tactics. Their aim is the destruction of a free parliamentary system which is to be replaced by the dictatorship of the Communist Party leaders who sit, not in Paris or Rome, but in Moscow. Their tactics simply amount to the employment of every opportune means of deceiving the masses into giving their support for this design. In most cases an essential device is to lull any suspicions about the ultimate future through the assumption a the role of good constitutionalists bent on the redressing of social wrongs and on the raising of the status of the wage-earners. Despite the evidence of the ultimate object and despite the existence of clear precedents, this tactic never fails to come off, not only in the country in question but with public opinion abroad.
Yet when we consider, for example, M. Bidault's progress in the formation of his Ministry and in planning the work of the Assembly, there is really only one relevant issue. It is: will what he is doing in the long run weaken the Communists or will it in the long run strengthen them? This sounds like a sensational and one-sided way of looking at things, but in reality it is a perfectly simple and inevitable deduction from the very nature and purpose of Communism. We should all jump to this same conclusion were it a case of a Fascist party with which he. WAS dealing, but we quite illogic. ally refuse to see it in the case of Communism. And let us note that even if it be held that Communism is a far better ideology than Fascism, this view should not weaken our conclusion. The point is not whether Communism be a good or a bad idea, but whether Communism be of its very nature inconsistent with the free parliamentary system within which it is invited to co-operate on equal terms. Reluctant as we may he to reach the conclusion, there can really be no doubt that the legal existence of a party whose avowed aim is the destruction of the parliamentary system, is inconsistent with parliamentary democracy.
The Test of Force I N many circles in France the danger is well understood, and it is this danger which throws a shadow over the whole future of the country. These people understand that the strength of the Communists, not only in the Assembly but through the trade union organisation (and in fairness one must mention the record of Resistance of which M. Bidault is so conscious) is a first-class menace which is unlikely to be defeated through the process of parliamentary elections and evolution. Hence the fear that sooner or later ii will come to a test of force with all the sufferings and disasters that arc likely to attend such a denouement. Though no one could possibly want this, more particularly in the tired condition of France, it is in the logic of the situation, and oddly enough the real cause goes right back to the days when General de Gaulle (the hope of the anti-Communists) decided to make ,common cause with Communism in the Resistance.
Ott a much wider scale the same mistake (whether inevitable or not at the time) was made by civilisation itself, and to it we owe the insoluble difficulties which confront the world on every side. The essence of the matter is perfectly simple—as simple as the truth that you cannot play a game with a person who refuses to abide by the rules. But what the outcome will prove to be, whether in individual countries or on the world's stage, God alone can tell!
Church and State in Germany
ripHE treatment of the Church in
'F HE by the Allied Military Authorities must give rise to concern. The recent difficulties over the demand to the Bishops to hold back a Pastoral Letter, have now been followed by military complaints in the British Zone of the Church's lack of response to a demand for a "de-nazification" of the Church. According to a Times correspondent in Herford, the Military Government has insisted on the Church authorities nominating panels to be approved by the Military Government which would examine the political records of priests and recommend the Bishops to take action in the case of those who were " nazified." Not surprisingly the Bishops have failed to respond.
One cannot continent with any certainty on the basis of a brief report of this kind, but it seems obvious that the Church would hardly be willing to he a party to vague political investigations of this nature. The Bishops for spiritual reasons would always be ready enough to take disciplinary action against priests who abused their spiritual authority and status, nor would they complain if the civil Government exerted their just temporal
powers as against the clergy. But nothing but misunderstandings would seem to result from the Church's participation in a mixed investigation of the kind where there is no clear law to apply. Nor can one he reassured by the further information, contained in the above report, that a priest was recently sentenced to three months' imprisonment for denouncing the British requisitioning of a school. It is admitted that the Church was the toughest opponent of Nazism; it will emerge the toughest opponent of any continuation of tyranny and injustice under whatever name it may bear.
Three Times " Yes" NEXT Sunday's referendum is the latest trick in Poland. Rather than face even Warsaw-conducted elections, the regime has chosen three neatly thought-out questions to put to the electorate. One is approval of the agrarian reform, a matter that must almost inevitably elicit a majority of " yes " answers. A second is approval of the new western frontiers, once again a point on which the average patriotic voter will answer " yes." The third concerns the constitutioual issue of a single legislative chamber or two, a problem which will hardly cause great excitement one way or the other to the tired and distressed Polish voter. And on the basis of " three times yes ' " the regime will pretend that it has received a vote of confidence, that it can defer still further elections, and that M. Mikolajczyk's party is sabotaging the
country. M. Mikolajczyk has been jockeyed into choosing the lesser evil by challenging the regime on the third of the above questions.
And this is the sort of despicable political game which the British Government has to be content with, now that it has sacrificed Poland's true leaders and fighters. Happily there arc signs that even the British Government is becoming worried. Its spokesman recently acknowledged in Parliament that there were two Polish governments!
National Baby Week THE National Baby Welfare Council a has organised a National Baby Week which begins next Monday. This is an occasion when Catholics can participate fully and wholeheartedly in a nationally organised social work, the more so in that the Council pursues its aim of making the country conscious of its responsibilities towards the youngest generation on the basis of principles and teachings that are in line with those of the Church. Consequently the Cardinal has drawn special attention to this Baby Week whose subject for prayer, study and publicity is raising the standard and prestige of parenthood.
The Council stresses the evidence of the hospitals to prove that the material conditions of the bringing up of small children is still unsatisfactory and the evidence of the Courts to prove that their moral upbringing is even more so. It is in this latter question that Catholics can do much to pull their weight. For example, scarcely a month passes in this office 'without our receiving some new book on guidance and advice to parents on the bringing-up of children. Much of the contents of these books is excellent so far as they incorporate the findings of the practical psychology of child life, but very rarely is there any adequate treatment of religion and the relation between religion and conduct. And nearly all of them treat the vital matter of sex education on a wholly naturalistic basis. Experience, us well as religion, teach that the failure to relate behaviour to a spiritual ordcr, clear and simple enough to be grasped by the child mind, and made real and attractive by being seen as founded in the Person of Christ, must result in vagueness and muddle, as well as the hick of a sense of en spiration and duty needed for the overcoming of temptation. We shall be doing a national service in so far as we insist on this truth.
The Liege Celebrations OUR readers, we feel mac. will follow with great interest the account given un another page of this issue of the magnificent ceremonies and pageants with which the 700th anniversary of the institution of the Feast of Corpus Christi was celebrated in Liege. Of particular interest was the participation of the Catholic workers and the evening Mass during which Holy Communion was given to 10,000 people. One wonders whether Catholicism in our own country does not miss a great deal by the rarity of opportunities of holding great publie demonstrations of the Faith, thought out and organised in terms of the special needs and interests of the day. And this is a matter for which opportunity could surely be made!
all the nationalisation proposals, the plan to nationalise the electricity industry seems to have most to recommend it. Electricity is destined to be the chief power of the future with coal becoming subsidiary to it, both in its general use and in its generating of electricity, and at the same time the diversity of its possible uses suggest very strongly the need for a central control and responsibility to be financed on the longest
term possible, A very immediate urgency is the distribution of electric light and power in rural districts where it can bring untold benefits both for comfort and efficiency. Yet this distribution could hardly be made to pay except in a very long run when communities will have grown in large measure thanks to the new facilities.
But since there is little party advantage in this particular item of stationalisation, as compared with the mines or the academic instance of the Bank of England, much more questionable cases are being given priority over it.
The Petrol Ration F" people in the country are in a mood to refuse willing efforts to make the best of necessary austerities (though some of the Conservative papers are doing their utmost, by foul as well LLS fair means, to persuade their readers that there is no necessity). At the same time there is every justification for public grievance when the Government refuses to disclose the full reason for persistent restrictions. The low rationing of petrol is a case in point, No Government spukesman, so far as we know, has made a substantial case for the maintenance of this starvation ration. If there is a case, let it be made; if not, let more petrol be distributed tin improve the summer holidays and lift a little the cloud of gloom.