SIR,-The political correspondence in your columns showing the deep cleavage of opinion among Catholic readers is disquieting. It reminds one of the War Memorials scattered throughout Eutope which bear witness to the thousands of men on both sides in various wars who killed each other to the greater glory of God. Apparently there are Catholic Socialists who quite sincerely believe that the Conservative Party (including numerous Catholics) is the backbone of that materialism which has exploited both backward countries and backward peoples; while Catholic Conservatives appear to believe just as sincerely that the Socialist Party (including many sincere Catholics) is well on the way to Communism. Is it a healthy sign that we are so divided-that a parish congregation should be divided within itself? Yet it is so and there is danger in such a position.
One may say that once the election is over responsibility for what follows is handed over, but one could equally argue that the duty of a Christian citieen most certainly does not end with the casting of his vote. for the Catholic must fight and fight hard against both extremes. If the differences between the two parties are irreconcilable. it is all the more important that Catholics use their influence to strengthen the Christian basis on which both parties claim to rest.
Neither can the clerical mind absolve itself by dismissing the matter as being non-spiritual. Man may not live by bread alone but he certainly cannot live without bread and the judgments affecting material things have their basis in the spiritual aspect. They are inseparable. We may, indeed, be standing idly by while Rome burns.
I am afraid that while we, very rightly, concern ourselves deeply about the spiritual training of our children there may COrne a time when they will throw it overboard and mentally accuse their parents of intellectual dishonesty or laziness. If there is (as I believe there is) an excellent purpose to be served by an Association of Catholic Trade Unionists. then there is an even greater need of an Association of Catholic political students of all ages, P. E. Staobridge.
Grenada, Bathford, Som.
The Bevan Question
Sig. Now that the Geneeal Election is over, may I comment on the Catholic attitude towards one of its major controversies. I refer to the Bevan question.
First, regarding Mr. Bevan's political inclinations. In none of his political contributions, written or spoken, can I find any justification for the "fellow-traveller" charge. least of all in Going Our Way or in One Way Only. Of course, he has visited Yugoslavia. So have Catholic M.Ps. And when the present Tito regime was in its formative days. when its close association with Russia must have been well known to our Coalition Government, it had, apparently. that Government's support. But no one accused Mr. Churchill or Mr. Attlee of being a fellow-traveller. Nor do we condemn the Eire Government because it grants Yugoslavia diplomatic recognition.
am convinced that Bevan is quite right in urging the use of every available brake to the MacArthur element in America-and at homethe element which assumes the inevitability of war. Communism will not he defeated by acting on such an assumption, particularly when it requires a fantastic arms programme and close collaboration with those very elements in Germany in whose defeat in the recent war we welcomed the Russian alliance.
Already, four months after Bevan. our financial and economic experts have begun to question our ability to achieve our re-armament programme, and already we have begun to sound American reaction to a request for a loan. or for gifts of arms, to enable us to fulfil it.
But Mr. Bevan opposed the programme on other grounds which have not. of course, attracted the attention or comment of official experts, and which may, tragically. go by default. The struggle against Communism must he fought. materially, on two fronts a reasonable and possible defence programme in Europe, and a programme of economic aid for the under-developed and poverty-stricken peoples, particularly in the Far and Middle Fast and in Africa. We neglect either front to our peril-but the second front, of economic aid, is the really decisive and positive one.
Now the present arms programme means the curtailment, and indeed, the abandonment, of economic aid. and spells our total defeat in the Far East. and mounting strife and tension in the Middle Fast and elsewhere. Already. in Africa, sterling balances have begun to accumulate (their payments. in kind. are being diverted to re-armaments). inflation is rapidly developing. and thus we prepare the seed-bed for the Communist harvest.
Of course our arms programme is impossible. Of course we shall not achieve it. But because Mr. Bevan was the first to denounce the programme his head must fall. And meanwhile we shall have abandoned the only positive material weapon with which the Communist advance might have been halted. and de
For these reasons I have gladly. and in good conscience, given what assistance I could to help a candidate who agreed with Mr. Bevan.
Pendennis. St. Cyrils Road, Stonehouse, Glos.