AIRPORT CHALLENGE IS ACCEPTED
By Fr. PAUL CRANE, S.J.
IALWAYS like a challenge and A try never to refuse one. Mr. Wreford's, issued last week, is no exception. It will interest him to know. 1 am sure, that, with his letter specifically in mind, I have accepted an invitation to speak at a meeting organized under the auspices of the Catholic Aviation Guild. The date is Wednesday, February 8. I am not yet sure of the time.
I hope you will be there, Mr. Wreford and I hope that, when there, you will ask me all the questions you want to. There is nothing I like better than questions. For further information about time and place, may I ask you to get into touch with Mr. D. Jenkinson, 41 Sunningdale Avenue, Hanworth, Middlesex (Phone: Feltham 6625), I look forward so much to meeting you.
Before getting back to the subject matter of Mr. Wreford's most interesting letter, may I say that, if anyone else has any challenges to offer, I shall be only too delighted if ne or she does so. I will do my best to accept them, but not until February is passed, I am crammed right up until the end of that month.
Back to the point
IWANT now to get back to the point of my original article concerning the unofficial strike at London Airport. In that article I was interested in the fact that selfconfessed Communists were leading it and that a lot of Catholics were following them. Mr, Wreford's letter confirms what I said and I am very grateful to him for doing so.
He then goes on to stigmatize my article as "negative" and blames me for not saying what was wrong: by which he means that I did not outline the causes of the original dispute at the airport. Why should I? My intention was not to do that, but to point out that, whatever the causes, the strike was unofficial, unjust, and under selfconfessed Communist leadership.
I pointed out a definite series of wrongs. They are not made right by the fact that there may have been other wrongs (from the side of management or anywhere else) which I did not mention.
Mr. Gore and Mr. Benson
IAM glad that prayers are going up from some of the employees of London Airport for Mr. Gore and Mr. Benson. I shall certainly add mine to their number. I have prayed often for Communists, but I have never given them or their doctrines the slightest support. Neither shall I ever do so.
One very good reason governing this attitude of mine is to be found in a decree issued by the Holy See on July 1, 1949, and promulgated in this country later on in that same year. It runs as follows: (1) It is unlawful to belong or show favour to the Communist Party; for Communism is materialistic and anti-Christian. Moreover, the Communist leaders, even although sometimes they profess that they do not oppose religion. nevertheless show themselves. both by their teachings and their actions, to be in reality the enemies of God, of ow religion, and of the Church of Christ.
(2) It is unlawful to publish, distribute. or read books, periodicals, newspaper, or leaflet,: which support Communist doctrine or practice, or to write in them. Such actions are forbidden by the common law of the Church (c.f. Canon 1399 C.I.C.)
(3) Catholics who knowingly and willingly perform such actions cannot be admitted to the Sacraments, according to the ordinary principles governing the refusal of the Sacraments to those who have not the proper dispositions.
(4) Catholics who profess the materialistic and anti-Christian doctrine of Conununism, and particularly those who defend or spread such doctrine, must he regarded as Apostates from the Catholic Faith, and, as such, automatically incur excommunication specially reserved to the Holy See.
Lay clown your arms
INR, WREFORD indicates in A his letter that the efforts of Mr. Gore and Mr. Benson are receiving support from Catholics at London Airport. He then asks: " Does Fr. Crane suggest that people abandon their weapons because their ate stamped made in the U.S.S.R.' ? " "I he answer is that I do suggest it with the utmost emphasis. In the light of the above decree, I would not dream of suggesting anything else.
In my opinion, those Catholics who took part in the recent unofficial strike at London Airport were wrong to do so because, in the first place, the strike was unofficial and, on that count, unjust; secondly, it was under self-confessed Communist leadership, In making these remarks, I have in mind, of course, only those Catho hes who, knowing that the strike was unjust, that it was under Communist leadership, and that they should not support such leadership, willingly took part in it.
For the future, let Catholics at London Airport and all men of good will shake off the apathy which turns too many of them into followers and far too few into the leaders we must have on the shopfloor today.
Footnote f Glasgow
BY way of a footnote, let me cite an excerpt from a pastoral letter of the Archbishop of Glasgow for Lent. 1956, In it, His Grace cited the decree I have referred to. Earlier on he wrote: " Every time a parliamentary or municipal election takes place in this district, directions arc issued by the Church authorities that Catholicsare free to vote for any candidate who is not a Communist. This prohibition to vote for Communist candidates applies also in trade union and factory elections or wherever a Communist candidate seeks the votes of the people" (italics mine).
The italicized words seem to me to be worthy of consideration, even by those who are outside His Grace's archdiocese.