Page 2, 5th April 1940

5th April 1940
Page 2
Page 2, 5th April 1940 — CATHOLIC SOCIAL ACTION Related to Politics

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Organisations: Christian Social Movement
Locations: Liverpool


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SIR,—In the welcome linking up of the correspondence on the Conversion of England with the need for Social Reform, I cannot help but foresee a danger that this dire need may simply be regarded as furnishing the Church with an excellent Apologia. As one of your correspondents has suggested, we °can exploit the need for Social Reform to further the conversion of the masses.

In the letter which you so kindly published on March 15 I mentioned the possibility of organising the latent Christianity in this country into an effective political force around a programme of reform on Christian lines. Clearly, in making this suggestion I was not thinking about the conversion of our Country to the Catholic Faith. I was concerned with a question of Social Reform and Politics, whilst well aware that any true reform must have a Christian basis.

Your correspondent, Mr J. E. White, says that " the conversion of England is bound up with the reform of the present social order. The two questions are inseparable ! He maintains that to endeavour to solve our social problems without converting England is certain to make confusion worse confounded." He describes such efforts as " the essence of Socialism." I agree that the conversion of England will be furthered by any attempt to find a practical solution to our social problems provided the means taken to do so are Christian. In Inspiration. But I would raise the question: must Social Reform only proceed along with the progress made in converting ?

Captain Curd, in his letter on a Christian Social Programme, admirably drew attention to the urgency of the need for Social Reform. He quoted the Spanish Civil War and its warning. In

my subsequent letter, I tried to suggest a practical procedure for us to adopt: the formation of a political party on a broad Christian basis, free of all ecclesiastical ties. "It is a job for laymen," I went on, "and laymen acting, not as Catholics, but as Christians." Those who would wait until England is converted before trying to bring about a " Christian Social Order " may witness many and profound social disturbances which will hardly hasten that conversion.

There is as yet a widespread latent Christianity in this England of ours. She has preserved many fine traditions (fast disappearing) which owe their origin to the days when Englanel was still "Mary's Dowry." Cannot this latent Christianity be of service in an energetic effort to direct a movement for Social Reform along Christian lines ?

Must we wait until the subversive forces of Socialism have done still greater injury to our best traditions before " all men of good will stand united ? " It is absurd to try to salve our consciences with promises that the time is not yet ripe, and that we will do something when Catholic Action has prepared the ground for Christian political action. The social unrest will be impatient of such delay. It will be too late. Perhaps we might argue that a time will come when we can more likely erect a Social Order on a Christian beets than at present. In view of the urgency of the problem, which Quadragesinto Anno stressed, I submit that we should start now with the means at our disposal to reform the social system so as to achieve an order at least more Christian than the present one, if not ideal.

In conclusion, I would like to add a quotation which expresses in a terse fashion why I believe political action is necessary. It is from Don Sturzo's "Politics and Morality." After putting the question: "Why does it seem as if the efforts of Social Catholics up till now have been feeble, often barren ?" Don Stine.° points out the great progress that the Christian Social Movement has actually achieved, and expresses the wish that someone should write the story to give the Christian Social organisers of to-day a knowledge of their noble ancestry. He then adds: " The practical mistake that made so many labours and sacrifices of no avail was the prolonged effort to keep social action, in the strict sense of the words, distinct from political action." It is against that " prolonged effort " that I believe the time has come to strike a blow.


4, The Spur, Warwick Avenue, Liverpool, 23.

" Money the Root of all Evil"

SIR,—I have read Captain Curd's reply with great interest, though he does not actually quite cover the point that I raised. Nevertheless, I wish his enterprise all the success that it undoubtedly deserves.

May I, however, take up your space in reference to one small matter. Captain Curd attributes to me the opinion " that money is the root of all evil." This may mean a lot of things, but if it means that the weaknesses of the present order can be cured by monetary reform I would like to say that I do not hold that view. I have for years been pointing out that however necessary and desirable may be the reform of money and credit, the weaknesses of the present order reside essentially in its physical structure, .1. L. BENYEINISTI.

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