Page 3, 5th February 1937

5th February 1937
Page 3
Page 3, 5th February 1937 — COMMUNISM IN ITALY

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People: Hitler
Locations: Milan, Bologna, Turin


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Agitators Pretend to be Refugees

From Our Special Correspondent It is fairly certain that when Italy threw open her ports last year to Spanish refugees a number of Marxists propaganda experts succeeded in entering the country.

One of the lesser known results was a collection made for the Reds among the workers at the electric plant at Terni. When reported that they were among the bestpaid in Italy, they replied that they did not complain about that but they wanted to help their workers; they believed, they said, that reports of religious persecution in Spain were untrue, the real issue being between capitalist tyranny and the proletariat.

A similar incident took place, it is said, on the outskirts of Turin; Piedmont is dangerously the hotbeds of France.

A Might-Have-Been If this appeal to spiritual rather than material motives is the Komintern order for Italy, it may be their best line of attack. In the material order, the average Italian is too shrewd tO expect any possible betterment under Communism. Spiritual uneasiness is a more likely breeding ground for the Marxist dialectic. Antonio, for instance (he is a housepainter—like Hitler was), left the countryside (often a dangerous wrench for an Italian), struck an unlucky " clopolavoro " made drab and sometimes sordid by lack of initiative, considered the priest was neglecting him, and on the other hand was caught up in the confused driving-power of Labour: he might easily have gone Communist if an agent had been at hand.

His case, and the one quoted above, are exceptional. But the danger, such as it is, would get bigger rather than less, if material welfare and mere patriotism were

the only remedies. The disease is a religious instinct thwarted, and for that there is only one remedy.

—And Mussolini Knows That

The Times had the wrong number when in a recent article, after admitting the en thusiastic gratitude of the workers of Milan and Bologna towards the Duce, it proceeded on the strength of the word

" apotheosis" to construct a bright treatise on comparative religion—" implicit deification," " genuine manifestations of a cult," etc.

Certainly, Mussolini did have an " apotheosis" in the sense that the Italians, and indeed all the Latin languages, use the word—namely, a terrific personal success. But it is equally certain that he has abandoned, if he ever had, any notion :that patriotism can take the place of religion; and this is something more than a mere change of front.

As all know, it was Mgr. Pizzardo's project to organise special associations for Catholic working men that occasioned the planned outrages of 1931. But when a few months ago the same Mgr. Pizzardo, opening a fresh work of religious assistance for the industrial " Dopolavoro." gave praise to the head of the Government for all he had done for the workers, it signified in some measure a fulfilment of the Pope's augury to the J.O.C. when they visited him just after the reconciliation.

A Fuller Catholic Life For many very creditable reasons, Communism is only a minimal danger to the State. But it is a grave damage to the Church, for it means the straying Q f some, however few. And it is for Herself, and not for the State, that she is concerned to safeguard them. To do the State justice, too, it does not wish that any of its subjects should find it a hard step-mother.

No one doubts Mussolini's personal desire for, and reliance on, a fuller Catholic life in Italy. There have been several significant " changes of the guard " which indicate that

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