will be interesting to hear the views of other readers regarding the full Church funeral given to a Basque soldier
at Barcelona on October 18. It is, of course, obvious that this recognition of the individual's right to free worship was due to pressure exerted by the Basque Catholics, who, even despite the abuse they have suffered, have long worked towards this end.
But the fact remains that this religious ceremony was sanctioned by Dr. Negrin's Government, and that Republican Ministers and Army officers attended it. The question remains: if Republican Spain, once again, fully accepts the Catholic Church will the Catholic Press continue to take sides, and support Franco, or will it adopt an impartial attitude, the lack of which has disappointed many of us? In any case, will they continue to describe the Basques as " Reds "? This decision will represent a testing point as to whether the attitude of the Catholic Press has been based on purely religious motives.
71, Lathorn Road, East Ham, E.6.
[We fail to see why the Catholic press should he expected to base its views upon purely " religious" motives in the sense obviously intended by the writer. The CATHOLIC HERALD is not an ecclesiastical organ but an independent newspaper run by Catholics. It has as much right to base its views upon secular (not secularist) as well as specifically religious reasons as has any ordinary Catholic citizen. This caution is made without special reference to the question of Barcelona and religious freedom.— EDITOR.]
SIR,—Catholics are wondering about reports of growing religious freedom in Barcelona. But have listeners to Salamanca forgotten that Red deserters and prisoners three months ago reported the Barcelona Government's promise to allow Catholic priests and laity to practise their religion?
Is it not obvious that this is Negrin's counterstroke to Nazi persecution of Catholics—and the masterstroke of Communist propaganda?
Incidentally, can one be both "a responsible, practising Catholic and a public official"? (presumably of the Communist Government).
" Me want two chancee," said Christian John Chinaman to a friend of mine, as he went off to worship an idol.
Alas, a gulf is fixed between us comfortably arguing Catholics at home, " looking this way and that " for compromise, and the martyrs of Spain who, like the advocate of Bilbao, have their eyes gouged out and their tongues cut off, rather than deny Christ.
M. I. E. SANDWITH.
The Thatched Cottage, Hill Green, Clavering, Essex.
MEDIATION IN SPAIN
SIR,—In today's issue of the CATHOLIC HERALD your Spanish Correspondent's report comes as a welcome corrective of Mr. Noel Purgold's gratuitous travesty in the same issue of General Franco's aims.
When I was a boy at Stonyhurst fighting was an offence entailing corporal punishment, Yet when two boys were caught in the act Jesuit wisdom decreed that they fight it out to a finish before paying the penalty of " a dozen of the best " from a leather " toIley." Result: there was never any bad blood left afterwards between combatants.
Mr. Purgold sneers at " so-called " Nationalists. Their battle-cry of " Viva Espana!" (a gross sin in Red Spain) should sufficiently answer that.
He writes: " Yet surely those martyrs died that Spain might ultimately have peace." Very true: the operative word is " ultimately." Is it to be supposed that the heroes of the Alcazar were hoping " for an early peace " or that the martyrs of Nuestra Dame de la Cabeza believed that " the sooner the war ends the better"? Mr. Purgold will be better informed of what is " surely obvious to any decent person," i.e., to any Spaniard who puts first things first—if he will read that moving letter of Dofia Maria Hidalgo Ruiz to Franco published (under caption Heroism) in the CATHOLIC HERALD of July 15, 1938.
Does he regard the war in Spain as a mere party quarrel, a case of " Tweedledum and Tweedledee agreed to have a battle "? We know why the Nationalists rose and what it is they insist on fighting on for. Alone in modern Europe they dare do battle for the soul of a nation. Far more truly than Mr. Lloyd George Franco is risking all to make his country " a land fit for heroes to live in." For his own obvious and wise reasons he wants no armistice now: he would be a coward and a traitor to the dead if he called a halt before the Reds are made impotent to ruin his work.
37, Hollywood Road, S.W.10.