THE DUKE of Norfolk has spoken out in support of the British government's tough stand on the hunger strikes at the Maze prison near Belfast.
The Duke, the leading Catholic peer in England, made a secret visit to the prison last week. The news only leaked out 24 hours later.
He said the Government could not give "special privileges" to the hunger strikers and added: "I found it a very high class prison and the conditions were very reasonable."
The visit was apparently on the invitation of Lord Elton, junior minister in charge of education in Northern Ireland.
A detailed examination of the acute moral problems raised by the hunger strikes has appeared in the latest issue of New Blackfriars*, published last Saturday.
In it Fr Herbert McCabe OP cricises the superficiality and subjectivity of many of the moral judgments,passed on the strikes by "clerical super-patriots". "For the most part these comments have shown a triumph of' classsolidarity and national feeling over the free play of reason that must be most gratifying to any mantist," he says.
He stresses that the question of whether or not a hunger strike constituted suicide is not the only moral issue involved. Others include the morality of intransigence. He also argues that any moral judgment made about the strikes is inadequate unless it includes a full assessment of the political situation in Northern Ireland.
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