Ste,-Your correspondent, Mr. Gerald Combs, made these three points in his letter published in your last issue :
(a) The majority of educated people who have studied the whole problem have agreed that flogging won't end crimes of violence.
(b) The greatest hope in preventing the breakdown of Christian moral values is through the Young Christian Workers.
(c) The 'Holy Father, by inference, is opposed to corporal punishment.
I do not think Mr. Combs can be allowed to get away with this. There is no evidence whatever available to
support his first contention. indeed the real experts on crime and criminals, i.e., the judges and the police, appear convinced that flogging is the answer to these brutal attacks so often launched by young ruffians today against young girls and very old women. Mi. Combs and his friends may argue that their views are biassed. Biassed in favour of what we should like to know? Does anyone believe that Her Majesty's judges and senior police officers arc a collection of sadists anxious to gratify their peculiarities by ordering prisoners to be flogged'? The answer is that these men really know the criminal and his mentality far better than any kind of social worker interested in "isms" and "complexes."
The only certain way of avoiding a breakdown of Christian moral values is by saying your prayers and believing in and loving Christ. This foundation has got to be laid by parents and parish priests. Some of us think we have got too many unrelated, though no doubt well-intentioned. Catholic lay organisations already, competing for alms and providing duplicated paid executives. Please may we not hide first principles under high faluting propaganda-who taught us our prayers? Let us stop and think.
Finally, I find it somewhat nauseous to suggest that the Pope is opposed to corporal punishment merely by quoting extracts of some speech alleged to have been made a year ago. I wonder what the headmaster of any Catholic school would say to this queer innuendo, let alone Solomon who also pronounced on this subject. Can we not for once think straight about this question? "Render to Cmsar . ." The present law of England is that convicts in prison may be flogged for personal violence to prison officers. Appendix No. 5 of the Report of the Commissioners of Prisons for 1950 (the latest report available) contains details of 13 such convicts who were sentenced either to the cat or the birch. The reasons tabulated in nearly every case for this punishment are that the assault was of a violent and dangerous character and was unprovoked. Notice the current legal situation. Strike an armed prison officer who has assistance readily available and who is normally strong and on his guard and you are flogged. Cosh down a defenceless woman In a lonely spot and kick her face in and you are exempt from any flogging. Why? Because the prison service would shut down tofisorrow if the cat and the birch were withdrawn, and who would blame them. How long then are women to he terrorised and to fear the front door at nights merely to gratify those whose sorrow and sympathy _seem to he reserved for these horrible young criminals rather than for their innocent, defenceless victims? Why not listen, for a change, to those who really know the thug and his ways?
(Brigadier) C. E. R. Ince. Walton-on-Thames.