Page 2, 3rd May 1963

3rd May 1963
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Page 2, 3rd May 1963 — THE BOMB AND US
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THE BOMB AND US

Your recent treatment of the nuclear warfare question deserves credit. A very fair exposition of both points of view has been published. Nevertheless, one cannot feel that we are any nearer agreement on the morality of a deterrent nuclear posture. Those against will stay against; there can be none for so hideous a weapon, hut many of us will continue to think that, failing a truly multilateral demarche, retention of our nuclear force is not unethical.

Two aspects of the treatment of the question do. however, call for comment. MT. Stein in his Disputation with Mr. Kay practically confined the moral choice that had to he mode to military men. Surely, if the Church did teach that nuclear war was immoral. all Catholics and not just those in uniform would have to disassociate themselves from State policy.

This would obviously mean that those whose work in any way contributed to the deterrent weapon system (a very wide field indeed) would have to change their jobs. Would it not also mean that Catholics would have to court prosecution by withholding that fraction of their taxes that went to pay for the deterrent (ascertainable from Government annual statements) and could only vote for a party that renounced the nuclear. force?

The second aspect concerns the, sometimes explicit, sometimes implicit, criticism of the Church or the last and present Pope. for failing to give a positive ruling on the moral issue. Is this not tantamount to a criticism of the Holy Ghost, who teaches the Church. as we very well know, all things it is necessary for us to observe in order to win salvation? Would not the issue of the lives of whole nations rank as highly as the issue of monogamy, on which Christ so definitely pronounced?

Grp.-Capt. H. J. Dodson, R.A.F. Bracknell, Berks.

In my discussion with Hugh Kay (April 11), I cited a number of facts and sought to draw out a number of implications; and though I believe that some of thbeesme eaLrethceryucpeial, rhaapnsd groemt arian to ther lost amidst the reiterations of our exchanges: I am sorry we did not reach agreement. But anyone sufficiently interested can easily analyse the discussion for himself, and look out for the points at which a fact aonrdanwhaergreumitenhta

ashnsotbee. Meanwhile Pope iie Pope John XXIII's "Easter present" has, with quiet decision and proportionate peacefulness, massively annihilated the ground on which Mr. Kay had chosen to take his stand.

Remarkably, neither Mr. Kay nor Mr. Norris -taking Mr. Kay's arguments, as he says, to their logical conclusion seems to have noticed this lovingly indiscriminate explosion — or any of its side-effects, Yet with this explicit pontifical denial that in the atomic age war could be used as an instrument of justice", it no longer seems pertinent (if ever it did) to invoke "double effect" in defence of a willingness to press the button: still less. to condone and endorse "the terrible thought that one might have to wipe out Russia"; or to throw doubt on the significance of Pope Pius XII's more hypothetical condemnation of total war. or on the validity of Cardinal Ottaviani's fully explicit anticipation (as it now proves) of Pope John's solemn historic pronouncement.

Mr. Kay, who joined mc in regretting the lack of "something specific" to guide us ("we feel phoney", he said, "in not being able to point to a definite lead") will, I am sure, accept, and welcome this eminently specific lead.

I am a little more doubtful about Mr. Norris, since he regards it as "labouring the obvious" when he contends that "even a total annihilation of physical life" (by whom) "could be iustified if there were a commensurate advantage to be gained" (by whom?) "in the spiritual sphere (i.e. resistance to Communism). Since, at the same time, Mr. Norris believes the axiom that "total war is immoral" to be merely an lpse dish of mine. I can only refer him -well, for instance, to Mgr. L. L. MeReavy's notes -in a recent CTS pamphlet, Nuclear Warfare (defending the deterrent) — on "the totalitarian heresy" and on "the blatant quibble" of appealing to double effect "if the attack takes the form of an indiscriminate obliteration of the whole area": or to William Nagle's Morality and Modern Warfare or to Fr. Jeremiah Newman's Political Morality (ch. 2.): or to Pope Pius Xll's many clear condemnations of total war: or again, most directly, to Pope John XXIII's present encyclical.

I do not know whether any of these will satisfy Mr. Norris' rather exacting criteria of orthodoxy, but I rather hope they may. And I shall gladly supply him with further references if these would help.

Walter Stein University of Leeds.

It is becoming evident that an increasing number of Catholics object to indiscriminate warfare, whether nuclear or otherwise, as immoral and incompatible with the laws of the Church concerning a just war. They may disagree on further issues, such as whether or not governments should be allowed to make and stock nuclear weapons for use in a "limited nuclear war", but they have in common a basic objection to the indiscriminate waging of war. It has been suggested that the arguments about further issues have obscured both to Catholics and to non-Catholics this basic agreement.

In an attempt to remedy this we humbly put forward the following declaration:"We, as Catholics, renounce absolutely as immoral any use of warfare by or on behalf of our country, of nuclear or other weapons which would entail the possibility of death or deadly injury for every person within their range, irrespective of age. sex or status".

This is a declaration against the deliberate prosecution of war against the enemy civilian population even in self-defence; no more and no less. It is an attempt to try to unite Catholics who believe that this is a basic moral principle, and to make their view public. We invite anyone who would like either to sign or to help circulate the declaration, to write to us at the following address.

B. G. M. David, F. A. David, Callow Hill Farm, Monmouth.




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