Our correspondents are urged to limit their letters to 300 words; otherwise they are liable to be shortened or omitted altogether. Letters must bear a name and address (not necessarily for publication) or they will be ignored.—Editor.
AN IRISHMAN'S REPLY
SIR,—Ltke "Maire Ni Boidicher" I had hoped that some abler pen than mine would have dealt with the digressions on Irish character and religion by "Englishman," "Welshman" and "Scotsman," in which case I should have felt quite happy in being excluded from print. I don't see how "Maire Ni Boidicher's" letter is so very much more "satisfactory," unless it be just to herself. I have lived long enough amongst Englishmen and Welshmen and Scotchmen to value their characteristics for what they are. Such titles. as "lethargic" and "virulent" I would refrain from applying to them, as I would also refrain from asserting myself as their "superior."
The only point I wished to emphasise was that there seemed much the same tendency with the English Catholic as with his non-Catholic fellow-countrymen to hold up the worst, or perhaps the most violent elements of the Irish as samples of the whole, which I consider most prejudiced and unfair. I try to look upon the good in all nationalities rather than on ire bad, and as for claiming superiority for any particular race, I feel that as we all live in glass houses we should refrain from throwing stones.
T. HOBAN. 8, Pike Road,
HERALD'S FEES FOR ENGLAND.
Sta,—The mention on page 12 of your current issue of heraldry as one of the peculiar sources of revenue for the Irish Free State is rather unfortunate.
The office of Ulster King-at-Arms in Dublin Castle presided ovei by Major Sir Nevile Rodwell Wilkinson, C.V.O., F.S.A., etc., ad lib., is the property of the English imperial government into whose pocket flow the fees paid by snobbish Americans seeking pedigrees and coats of arms.
English governments have always derived profit from the traffic in "arms" in Ireland. General Macready tells in volume 2 of his memoirs how the English sold to their dupes the arms used in 1922 to blow up half the city of Dublin and impose on the Irish people the so-called "Irish Free State" with an "economy of English lives".
D. P. MACGIOLLAPHADRRAIG. 115, Bothar Uibh Rathach Baile Atha Cliath.
CULTURE AND RELIGION
SIR,—It seems a pity to quarrel as to who is cultured (English or Irish Catholics), but why write as if culture were not a necessary outcome of religion? Your correspondent raises a point dormant too long : Is not Catholicism retarded badly by "stupid" Catholics? Is not the intellect (God's highest gift to man) something it is sinful not to cultivate? Among the lesser marks of the true Church one would ‘surely expect to find good manners, intelligence, culture and all the graces of life. . . .
SIR,—Lack of sympathy for some particular party or person in no wise precludes a fair treatment of them, but your special correspondent's description of the Albert Hall meeting is grossly misleading. That the communists who mustered up an antifascist demonstration had nothing of the spirit of "football crowds . . . come for a bit of fun" has been conclusively proved by the Home Secretary's vindication of the action of the police, and the statement of Captain A. Hope, M.P., who described the attitude of the Thurloe Square crowd as "by no means friendly." There was no need of this counter-demonstration, without which the meeting would have proceeded quite peacefully. Still stranger is it to read of a clergyman on the side of the godless (for the demonstration was got up by a party which represents the komintern in this country) inveighing against fascism! Admitting that the staging of the meeting was somewhat theatrical, we live in a country which loves "pageants" of every kind, and the solemn entry of the colours was certainly impressive.
In his injustice to Mosley your correspondent not only dubs him an "ageing actor" (incidentally, he must be of the same age as "young" Mr. Eden), but has gratified him with a non-existent "bald patch." All such smaller and larger inaccuracies aim at creating an unfavourable impression against a movement which, whether we agree with it or not, is in its substance patriotic and anti-communist. As another eye-witness (my point of vantage was behind the platform), I may assert that the interrupters ejected near me were disposed of in a nimble and quiet way, without any violence, sometimes even by trim Blackshirt girls. It was only when the reds resisted and fought that force was applied. I saw a man hitting out and kicking right and left before he was overpowered and carried out. In the press accounts of the meeting no mention was made up of casualties inflicted upon communists by Blackshirts in the hall, but at the meeting itself it was announced that several fascists were injured, one of them gravely, by a vicious kick in the abdomen. Did your correspondent hear this announcement, and does he think it right that hooligans brought to the meeting for the express purpose of wrecking it should be allowed a free hand?
SIR,—I have read with great disgust a biassed and inaccurate account of the fascist meeting at the Albert Hall which you published in your issue of March 27.
As a Catholic, I am surprised at the prejudice displayed by your correspondent. While the Catholic press is never tired of denouncing communism and soviet propaganda, it saw fit on this occasion to liken a mob of unruly and demoralised "toughs" herded together for the sole purpose of suppressing free speech and a statement of a new and virile policy to a football crowd. So much for British football.
As a supporter of fascism, I am surprised to see Sir Oswald Mosley accused of "mudslinging," since he indicted the government and ministers by the argument ad hominem a practice by no means unpopular with the Catholic press. The parade of banners and fascists did not fail to impress the huge audience, and was certainly a more dignified proceeding than many processions organised in the name of Catholicism.
F. E. GETHEN.
1F, Morpeth Terrace, S.W.1.
REFUSE TO BEAR ARMS?
SIR,—I also should like to express my hearty appreciation of and entire agreement with " Keladon's " letter, and also that of E. I. Watkin.
But how are we to get governments to know that " their Catholic subjects would be conscientious objectors on the grounds of these Catholic principles," and how are we going to give.a " massive example of Catholic opposition to nationalist warmadness " ?
What seems to me to be needed is a nation—or rather world-wide demonstration of our principles (not merely feelings) in this matter.
The attitude of Quakers in this matter is taken for granted—that of Catholics ought at least to be known. How often it is not—even by Catholics themselves!
Such a demonstration would have two further effects—it would strengthen the Catholic social conscience on the subject of peace and war ana it would help to allay one of the root causes of the present armament race, i.e., the uncertainty of the different countries as to each other's attitude.
I not only join with Leo Collier in asking " cannot something be done? " but I state emphatically that something must be done, somehow or other, and that it is up to us to do it!
Munnikhof, Links Road, Ashtead.
SIR,—In order that the very interesting correspondence on war to which you have given such generous space may bear some practical fruit, may I make the suggestion that the letters of Mr. E. I. Watkin and Mr. Hugo Yardley be submitted to the authorities responsible for the curriculum in our Catholic schools with the request that the views contained therein be taught —or reasons given to the Catholic public why they should not be?
In the meantime, I think British Catholics may reasonably support the government in their .present policy of strengthening our defences so long as the government seems to be honestly striving for peace, and countries like Germany and Russia who openly deride Christian principles remain heavily armed. But is the government more concerned for peace or imperialistic strategy? Their deep concern at Italy's aggression and comparative unconcern at Japan's raise doubts.
Anyway, the elevation of patriotism into something of more sanctity than the theological and cardinal virtues (instead of regarding it in its true light as a very high natural virtue common throughout history to pagans and Christians), which seems to be the aim of certain Catholics in times of national stress, needs careful watching.
LEO COLLIER. 20, Robinson Road, Gloucester.
SIR,—The essential difference between the attitude of England and of France ,towards Germany at the present time springs surely from the totally different construction which the people (not merely the leaders) of those two countries put upon her actions. Each interprets Germany's action in the light of their preconceived ideas about her intentions.
Nothing will convince France that Germany's intentions are not aimed at a war of recovery. However distasteful an assumption this may be, it cannot be dismissed. History is full of precedents for it. Mein Kampf is full of it and of the annihilation of France as an integral part of Hitler's policy. To suggest that France is less able than England to judge of this because she is under the guns is surely to eliminate the best and obvious evidence of any threatened breach of the peace.
The English people, on the other hand, appear to French eyes to evince an incurable optimism, which is ascribed to sentimentality. The argument often used, that we will not contemplate the possibility of a war with Germany because " I am not prepared to fight again," is surely a bad one; to the Latin mind, it is that very unpreparedness of the Englishman, and the bitter unwillingness of the Frenchman, that constitutes their great weakness against the warlike spirit which is undoubtedly being fostered with some success in Germany. It is that weakness which makes France protest so bitterly against our optimism.
There are many unseen factors favouring Germany at the present time. It is all to the interest of our financiers and industrialists that Germany should re-enter European trade. The attitude of France towards Italy's misbehaviour appears to English eyes as betrayal of the League. To more practical and more cynical French eyes, England's concern for Abyssinia appears either sentimental or interested. America, whose intervention was probably necessary for Germany's downfall in 1918, is out of the picture. Hitler's claim for sovereignty over all Germany is bound to meet with a more sympathetic reception in England than in France, but there seems little appreciation in England of the extent to which further claims, with at least as much justice, are likely to follow if unilateral treaty breaking is to be accepted as a statement of them.
The question at issue in our columns has been why "I am not prepared to fight again." So far none of our correspondents has attempted to disprove the moral objections to modern warfare set out by Mr. E. I. Watkin in our issue of March 21—and they must be the first consideration for individual Christians.—
IL DUCE CRITICISED
SIR,—In your issue of March 6 your Italian • correspondent makes certain
criticisms of Mussolini. I, too, have Italian correspondents, and they differ in opinion entirely from yours; they are persons of great qualifications who have no interest in deceiving me.
As to Mussolini's popularity, my information is that he was never so popular as now, and with good reason.
As to sacrifice, there have been singularly small losses of men in the six months' campaign, the " Abyssinians" having put up a very poor show, probably through lack of a real Negus of the old type. The chief battle has been with the terrain.
As for " capital," your Italian correspondent must be very badly informed if he does not know that all Italy has been developed for the past ten years without a pennyworth of foreign capital, with results signalised in the utter defeat of sanctions. Italy has therefore no need to follow the ridiculous advice conveyed in the words : " The only solution would appear to lie in the abandonment of these riches to foreign capital with the stipulation that Italian labour should be employed."
As to disease, the Italian army in Abyssinia has a lower sickness rate than at home in Italy!
As to the allegation that the Duce has " very badly and inadequately prepared his attack against Ethiopia," the truth is that no other large scale colonial enterprise has ever been so successful in less than six months; compare the Boer War or Morocco. The foreign military mission now at the front differs from your correspondent. Major Fiske, of the U.S.A. Army, said on February 11: "that he was amazed at results achieved in the brief span of four months by the Eritrean army, adding that this Italian venture would go down in history as the greatest colonial war ever undertaken to this day. With troops so full of enthusiasm and an organisation such as that prepared by the Fascist government. he felt that a victorious conclusion of this campaign could not be far away, while the work being done in aid of the populations in the occupied regions was actually carrying civilisation into the country."
. Major Fiske's utterance has been proved true by the four crushing defeats of the Abyssinians after February 11.
LEO CHIOZZA MONEY. Bromley, Surrey.
[We have given facts and views, believing them to be true and impartial. The above letter shows the strength of the opposition.—Erwr0s.1
SIR,—Can no Catholic protest be made against the inhuman bombing of a defenceless people by these torturing gases? Surely we condone this iniquity
by our apathy. In themselves these horrors cry to Heaven for vengeance, but that Italy, a Catholic country, should be guilty of causing such unspeakable misery in the name of civilisation and that so little protest should come from the Catholic body seems incomprehensible and makes one sick with shame.
We may have kept silence so far because we can guess at the difficulties confronting our rulers, but can we keep silence longer? Or is it that we are too apathetic? And yet we are told that public opinion counts. Our silence gives consent, but we are blinded if we cannot see how it will recoil upon ourselves. Can nothing be done to make the Catholic voice heard?
22, Queen Alexandra Mansions, Judd Street, W.C.1.
[The above matter is referred to on page 1.1
MURDER MOST FOUL
SIR.—The lady who writes from Baile Atha Cliath (it probably sounds more romantic draped in Celtic twilight; in bald English it's "dear, dirty Dublin") objects to the Englishman who, speaking of the Irish, said, "their Catholicism seems to contribute very little." She calls this "blatant contempt of court." What does she call murder—Admiral Somerville's murder— "political liquidation"? "A rose by any other name," etc. I fancy the same applies to murder. By any other name it is just as foul. There have been a good many of these murders in Ireland in the last 50 years; and, while England may be held indirectly, in certain instances even directly, responsible for some of them up to the time of the founding of the Irish Free State—since then they are a purely Irish affair as regards guilt. .. .
Last year Irishmen distinguished themselves with the murder of young Mr. More O'Ferrall. . . .
I am not saying that all the Irish are murderers, callous blackguards, perjurers and moral cowards—but all the Irish will remain tarred with the responsibility of these crimes as long as horrors like Admiral Somerville's murder happen—and until they, by the determined action of all parties, have stamped out the last traces among them of the attitude of mind which finds vent in such atrocities.
GERALD WYNNE RUSHTON.
Haddiscoe Manor, Near Norwich.
BACK TO THE TOWN
SIR,—Mr. Arthur Rowton has once again said what badly needs saying. The hierarchy's recent decision concerning the Catholic land movement has left some of us bewildered. Surely one of the hopes, humanly speaking, for the conversion of England seems to have been removed.
T.O.S.D. "MICHAEL" AND ST. THOMAS.
SIR,—At the risk of being blamed for picking a quarrel where none exists, and purely from a desire to argue and from no intention of proving your excellent and most interesting "Michael" wrong, I would like to reply, in all humility and submission, to a semi-statement (whether of his own or not I know not—God knoweth) in your issue of March 13.
Here he is quoting one who claims to show our Lord himself-gave evidence that he came into the world not, as St. Thomas is said to hold, purely because of the Fall, but "that I should give testimony to the truth " (John xviii, 37.)
Well, why should anyone give testimony to the truth if the truth had not been denied or contradicted? God is truth and the Devil is a liar and the Father of Lies, and St. Thomas was the Angelic Doctor, and (though this sounds painfully like a homily from St. Augustine) these three persons all manifest the fact of Christ's coming solely to redeem man precisely by giving "testimony to the truth."
Forgive me for stirring up the muddy waters of the past, but it is a happy occupation.
" MICHAEL II."
SIR,—The appeal which you so kindly inserted on behalf of the Catholic relief committee for Russia has met with a
generous response. Receipts for their contributions have been sent to all contributors who gave their names and addresses. My committee wish to thank all anonymous donors, including " A
Sympathiser," " H.T.," " " Wavertree," " Cup of Cold Water," " H.E.J.D.," " Disabled Soldier," " M.W.," " M.N.W.," " A Typist," " A Child of Mary," and " Oblate 0.S.B."
V. CONNELLY, Hon. Treasurer, Catholic Relief Committee for Russia.
BOGUS " CONVERTS"
SIR,—There seems to be an epidemic of bogus convert clergymen. It is difficult to say how many there are, because they change their names with startling frequency.
I can only say what I have said many times before, that if a man is a genuine convert clergyman, and in genuine need of Lssistance, he will be helped by the Converts' Aid Society.
F. W. CHAMBERS,
Secretary, Converts' Aid Society. 20, JHolmes Road, Twickenham. RETREATS FOR BOYS
SIR,—May I ask the hospitality of your paper to put before your readers a work which we have undertaken with a view to meeting the needs of our Catholic youth at the present time.
The Dominican fathers are organising a series of retreats throughout the year for boys between the ages of 10 and 14. Particulars may be obtained from the Catholic Junior Retreatants, 36, Great Smith Street, Westminster, S.W.1.
In April we are holding two recollection days—one on Low Sunday, April 19, at the Convent of Mercy, 57, Cambridge Park, Wanstead, and the other on the following Sunday, April 26, at the Cenacle Convent, West Heath Road, Hampstead.
If any of your readers have boys between the ages mentioned, we shall be very glad to welcome them to our recollection day. All expenses will be defrayed by the Dominican fathers, the retreatants being asked only to pay their own fares.
FERDINAND VALENTINE, O.P. Woodchester, Stroud.