WHY WAS HE NOT SILENCED LIKE FR. GABANA ?
Lively Opposition by Franco Sympathisers
From a Staff Reporter.
Though the authorities were fully aware of the meeting, Senor Enrico Moreno, Reader in Spanish at Oxford and attached to the Spanish Embassy, was not prevented from speaking on Spain this week at a public meeting in Wimbledon.
It has been suggested that the reason why no action was taken against him as it was in the recent case of Fr. Gabana, was his holding of an official position as lecturer in Oxford University.
It might equally well have been argued that Fr. Gabana was a Catholic priest and, as such. privileged to preach in virtue of his office.
His treatment of his subject matter, religion in Spain, definitely favoured the thesis of the Valencia Government which maintains that its opponents are waging a Fascist war, and in no sense one to uphold the civilization and true religion of Spain. In maintaining that religion in Spain was dead, Senor Moreno was, in the circumstances, " advocating the cause of one of the parties in the Spanish struggle "—to use the words of the Home Secretary confirming the ban on Fr. Gabana.
Francoites Among Audience
if any further evidence were needed of the meaning of Senor Moreno's speech it was afforded by the strongly hostile attitude of a group of Franco supporters who waged a miniature civil war on the speaker.
The case of Senor Moreno, it appears, is not unique. We understand that a Spaniard was a speaker at a public meeting last week at the Queen's Hall.
Sefior Moreno had a gruelling time of it. His every statement was challenged, A group of young Francoites, recently returned from Bilbao, were determined to test the speaker's knowledge and his tem per to the end. From the very outset interest centred routed the young and fiery Nationalists who gave vent to their opinions in vigorous terms.
Personal questions as well as official ones were showered upon him. "Are you
a Spaniard?" one of the first. " Yes," came the answer, "I am."
Debate ensued from the back of the hall, which must have been nearly audible to the speaker, as to the reasons why the Home Office ban against Spanish speakers for either side had not applied to Senor Molt° as it had applied to Fr. Gabana.
One suggestion put forward was that Senor Moreno covers himself because he claims not to stand for any Government above another but to stand for legitimacy of elected government. (He maintains that the Red government was legitimately elected).
But the whole discourse discovered too definite a Red government bias to be long overlooked.
Religion Dead ?
In short Senor Moreno's theory is that the Spanish religious problem—which he maintains is quite erroneously confused with the economic problem of the war, has arisen because there is no modern intellectual aristocracy among the clergy. Why, he asked, has Spain produced no Fr. D'Arcy, no Chesterton?
Senor Moreno maintained that interest in religion was dead. That because men did not follow Mass in a Missal, but left " books in church to women," that they were automatic about their devotions.
The Spanish Clergy
From a moral point of view, Sefior Moreno argued that Spanish clergy were equal to any of another country, but that they lacked culture or interest in anything but historic problems of the past. Even the regular clergy, whose means made study more possible, and who travelled abroad for their education, were still out of sympathy with modern problems.
The solution of the spiritual problem, Senor Moreno suggested, must come along the lines Laid down by Jacques Maritain, The Archbishops of Westminster and Birmingham addressed the annual meeting of the Converts' Aid Society on Wednesday.—Later editions, page 15.