Page 8, 6th July 1935

6th July 1935
Page 8
Page 8, 6th July 1935 — LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Report an error

Noticed an error on this page?
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it.



Related articles

Letters To

Page 8 from 11th October 1935

Government Bitterly Opposed By I.r.a.

Page 6 from 11th May 1935


Our tiorrespontlents are urged to limit heir tellers to mai worcis; ot.terwlse ihey Bre liable to be shortened or omitted altogether. Letters must bear a name a d eaddress (i)oi necessarily for publication) or they win be igasared.—oraucar„ "STERILIZATION—A CONSS'IENCE C LAU SE."

SIR.—One regrets the sopport given in your leader. under the above heading, to the letter appearing in T1

z' Times, signed by representative leaders of non-Catholic religious opinion.

The letter in question professes to be concerned with elle " moral and religious issues" arising from the legalization of

voluntary • sterilizeion. Here, the saignatories misrepresent the Catholic position—an important point. which is atrangely overlooked by the writer of Nour article. In the eyes of the (*lurch. aterilieation. where the sterilizing effect is the primary object of the operation, is immoral, even when " undertaken for the benefit of an individual's own health.'Moreoser, the Papal Encyclical of 1930

does not represent any tightening up of the Catholic doctrine, which remained precisely what it was before. This condemnation of sterilization. " based on the eternal moral law." is in no way peculiar to Catholic doctrine, but is deducible from the elementary principles of natural religion and morality.

I The suggestion made in the letter for a "conscience clause " to be included " in any bill that may bc presented to parlia

ment,merely confuses the issue. it is an ingenious attempt to " buy off • opposition from those who still adhere to the traditional and Christian conception ol human life. A ' conscience choke " not merely an • imperfection,but ina•olves a betrayal of the whole conception

of objective morality. From this point of view, it is surprising and deplorable to find it supported in a Catholic newspaper The root fallacy underlying the sugges;lion is the idea (widely prevalent to-day) that morality is merely a private affair. that it need not enter into social legislation. This individualistis conception o. riandity throws light on what otherwise would be inexplicable--that representalive Christian leaders see no conflict with the moral law in the proposed legislation.

Huacat Haat V.

,Catholic Workers College.

Oxford. 'June 25.

[Our correspondent has missed the

point of the article. We were not endossing the version of Catholic doctrine on sterilization given in the letter to The 1Tiones (which was certainly misleading) sior commending conscience clauses. We i &were congratulating the signatories to the letter on the fact that their plea for a 'iceitiscience clause was made when not they nor their co-religionists hut Catholics 'Auld be the principal beneficiaries Of it. Our correspondent's reading of their liltarior motives goes beyond the evidence. But we welcome his insistence that morality should enter into social legisla

tion, for it supports what has been said week after week in our columns and was implied in the article he criticizes.— Etn iotel • ss lAilasaE FAMILIES SIR,-1 welcome J.K.Las proposal that we should agke up the lyrical and minatory tones in discussing this matter of large families, and get down to brass

! tacks.Foery good Christian tradition suggests that we should apply ordinary intelligence to the practical issues at stake, and I go so far as to kelieve that the success or failure of the Church in this countrs depends on whether we can sum' mon enough intelligence and honesty to ' face up to the realities of the problem. I On my part I eon t‘ce only two soh'. tions—one which is merely theoretical, and another which is practical and entirely in hannons a ill Christian tradition. The former assumes that young people are able to maria and spend nearly all their active lies together as brother and sister; ' an assumption which may be true in isolated eases, but we all know that it is an impossible and in any case a highly undesirable way of life for the. average married couple—and Christianity is meant for ordinary people.

The other solution is that married Catholics should behave as good Christians )with the rarest of exceptions) have always behaved. and prepare for a family which will probably be numerous. This ; entirely practical for ordinary people, blr only if a considerable body of Caolics are willing to give up the non-Christian manner of thought end habits of life we now copy. and replace them by a really Christian outlook • nd really Christian customs of charity and simplicity.

If those of us who have substantial incomes were to begin to live very simply, we should be much the better for„,it ourtelVeS, half or three-quarters of our incomes could go to help the large families of the poorer ranks and the latter:themselves would find it easier to sacrifice comforts and luxuries on account of the new ideal of simplicity put before them by the example of those richer ones who were sailuntarily accenting the imniiollierw.

WILLIAM COBBETT Sta.--There is in this week's !issue of your paper a letter that will shock all wh) know anything about that g. eat, brilliant and most honest Englishman. William e'obbett.

There is scarcely a sentence in that letter that has any relationship to what Carlyle would call the veracities.

It is true that the saddest proof of our own littleness is disbelief in our great men.

1. Nh'iNANIARA, 3, Holland Read. Kensinuton, W.

June 30.

SIR—Although the act of writing is physically painful to me just now. I feel constrained to reply to the attack upon William Cobbett.

I think that attack is unjust and somewhat charged with that spleen and venom your correspondent ascribes to Cobbett.

Strange to say, my reading of Cobbett's works originated in advice given to me by the late Dr. Wace, afterwards Dean of Canterbury, when he was principal of King's College, London. He instanced Cobbett (and John Bright) as masters of pure English, and advised careful perusal of Cobbetta. "Grammar " and John Bright's speeches.

I not only secured a copy of the "Grammar " but the " Reformation," Legacy to Parsons," " Rural Rides " and " Advice to Young Men."

Cobbett was well hated in his time. and no wonder. He attacked too many vested interests" in his time. laid bare too many abuses to be popular with " the powers that be."

In his " legacy to Parsons." in phaiiP and vieorous English he shosed his fellow-countrymen how there came to be an Established Church. He attacked the rampant Simony in the Church of England—the purchase and sale of Church livings, the traffic in the cure Of souls. He stood up for the rights of the common people against powerful interests in Church and State.

To say he used "invective ' is ignorant nonsense. Invective. coarseness if you like, was a weapon employed by every politician of that day against his oppo nents. Cobbett used this weapon with greater effectthat is all.

The late Cardinal Gasquet, in a preface to the " Reformation,' published by Burns Oates, testifies to Cobbett's accuracy in his statement of facts.

Evidently your correspondent does not like Cobbett for some undiscoverable or undisclosed psychological reason—an unconseious political revulsion perhaps?

Anyhow, Dean Wace was an admirer of Martin Luther, but that did not prevent him from doing justice to a mari who wrote the history of the Reformation in England.


SIR,—The honesty of writers like Cob!sett does not appeal to some people. But Cobbett called a spade a spade. And in his splendid and reliable skiistory of the socalled Reformation, which Cobbett calls a " Devastation," he simply tells the truth in his own rugged way which does not appeal to some Englishmen. He called Queen Elizabeth " Bloody Queen Bess," and Mary Good Queen Mary,which all students of history now agree is their right title. The robbers of the monastic properties and the abbeys, the confiscators of Catholic property, etc. all were exposed by the great and fealless writer. Cobbett told the truth about the Reformation and for that reason the compromisers, the nrotestant people, and writers o' so-called history have no room for honest Englishmen like William Cobbett, M.P. I wish to thank Mr. J. Desmord Cileeson for his splendid tribute to Cot belt. I have put his article in Cobbett's History of the Reforgiation for future reference. 1 ray, let the truth be told, though the Heavens should fall.


Kirkdale, 4 Liverpool, 4.

SIR,—I should like to ask a little of your space in order to reply tea Mr.

ten's ridiculous statements on Cobbett.

It is quite untrue to say of Cobbett that " his coarseness and vulgar abuse were sufficient to condemn hie works." His works never were condemned, except by those to whose interest it was that they should be suppressed. If Mr. Boulten replies with that much overworked quotation from Heine, I can only say that that rather exotic little foreigner understood Cobbett as little, and appreciated him about as much, as Mr. Boulten appears to do. Cobbett was a great. even a heroic figure, and it is a pity that the littleness of many modern mind's cannot appreciate wherein that greatness lay.

TRio say of a man whose centenary has received as much recognition in the press as has Cobbett's that " but for the C.T.S. his name would long have been forgotten.' is manifestly absurd. Equally absurd is Mr. Boulten's statement that only one of Cobbeit's books has survived. I do not pretend to be particularly well informed. but I had read with very great enjoyment the " Rural Rides.long before I ever heard of the C.T.S., and that excellent soctety would, 1 imagine, 116. very reluctant to claim for itself the distinction which your correspondent so glibly offers It.


SIR--AS a working man I am tempted to bask in Mr: Purgold's "very great admiration" and am confident that under his charge I should see my "condition improved". Your correspondent says " machinery

was introduced to make things more quickly and in larger quantities and asks what is wrong with that. The answer is that merely to make things more quickly and in larger quantities is not in itself a good enough motive, nor is it in fact the motive which inspired the 19th century. Machinery makes things more quickly and in larger quantities, but not in order that people may have things aLieduced prices but simply in order that manufacturers may sell things at a greater profit. And what Mr. Pureold calls a "vastly improved standard of living" amounts to no more than the possession by everyone of a large number of inferior articles and an increased appetite for conveniences. The soul is the form of the body "—that which determines it in its species—and the soul of industrialism is not service but acquisitiveness. Why has oil fuelling been introduced on steamships? Out of kindness to stokers? No, because it pays. Why has hand stoking not been abolished on locomotives? Because railway directors are inhumane? No, aecause ;t does not pay.

To be able to go from London to Man chester in four hours :s very convenient for men of business, but of no real advantage to anyone else. London street drainage is a marvellous piece of engineering but it would have been quite unnecessary if Londog had not grown to its present preposterous size. We can 11 admire these clever contrivances and admit that under our present circumstances they are necet sary, but we need not be deceived by all this nonsense about an " improved standard of living." if Mr. Purgold could bring himself to consider quality and not only quantity, perhaps he would see what 1 mean.

Eate*GILL Pigotts, High Wycombe.

June 29.

P.5.—May enderse evsry word of Father Chute's and "Anti-Humbug's" letters about the Westminster Cathedral crucifix—as for Mr. E. Boulton's letter about Cobbett—well. God bk.: my soul!, that was a nasty piece of or:. E. G.

SIR.—Mr. Carter brings a certain amount of what appears to be historical facts to combat Mr. .Eric CidIrs a priori argument that building conditions must have been different in the middle ages from what they are now. because so great a difference is manifest in the buildings themselves, and different crops can't be grown from the same. seed.

But what was this "school education" with which the medieval architect supplemented his training? To one whose only information as to what the medieval architect studied inashis school is the information which Mr. Carter gives. the "digest of Vitruviusseems very little to set against the prolonged and detailed studies of modern architects.

As for parchment and paper—what is the skin of the largest animal available, to set against the tons and tons of paper which they boast are manufactured for the plans of Liverpool Cathedral?

MAGDALEN KING London, June 30.


SIR,—While I am in entire sympathy with Fr. W. Pa Witcutt, there appears to be one important stumbling-block in the way of setting-up or maintaining Catholic society on the land. After some years of monetary sacrifice from sympathisers living within the framework of the industrialist capitalist system, the new community is expected to become selfsupporting and self-contained, but we are reminded by the Pope that this self-same capitalist syttem has invaded and pervaded the social circumstances even of those who live outside its ambit.

Should the Catholic colony for any reason be forced to trade with, render taxation or pay interest to, the outside capitalist system, it becomes at once a cog in The modern economic regime. We know that people are being forced off the land —not because they are degenerate—but because they have to meet fixed charges of rent, interest, etc., by selling their produce in the open market for what it will fetch, Ad we have no guarantee that our colonies will not be similarly imposed on.

It seems to me our first duty is to protect those already on the land by insisting that the state shall iseassume its sovereignty over money and provide the population with sufficient purchasing power to buy all the fresh food they so badly need. This done, Catholic land colonies will spring up like mushrooms.

PASCO I.ANUMAID, 119, Heathwood Road, Cardiff.


SIR,—May I protest against the tone in which you reported the "Exhibition Day" at Ampleforth College. I suppose it was a coincidence that practicaily all the names you mentioned were titled; but this coincidence gives the impression that Catholic public schools strain among themselves after the title of the "Catholic Eton." believe that et ggestion is only half true— Vie bulk of the boys are the children of warm bourgeois parents; but the topdressine of "catholic. arictrir,rarw" chr."1,1

CONGRATULATIONS am a new reader of the Catholic Herald, and 1 hope you will allow me to congratulate you on the improvement in the appearapce of the paper. My profession is that or typographer, and it was most agreeable to see such a great change for the better in the typography and makeup of your vigorous journal.

On many, perhaps on most, things I do not share your views. But nobody can dispute. I think, that your new style puts you streets ahead of any weekly paper in your field—and, indeed, in many other fields.

The elegance and strength of the Times Roman type, which I am happy to see you have adopted for your text, makes reading the Catholic Herald a renewed pleasure.

I shall look forward to continued improvements in a journal which surely has a prosperous future before it.



S1-1t was a surprise to find Catholic Herald arriving in a new shape, size, and style of letter. I hope you will not think me ungrateful for the efforts that you must have made to bring about the change so efficiently, if I suggest that a great opportunity has been lost to give the Catholic public a weekly that not only is superior, but looks superior. Apart front the change in the body letter and the size, the general impression is still that of a poor imitation of the popular dailies. I behese that clothes should fit occasions and figures; and it is unfortunate that Catholic Herald should still appear to cut so vulgar a figure.


A WORD OF THANKS SIR,—Thank you for the Catholic Herald and for hours of mental and moral stimulation.

The time when Newman cut the ropes that held him to muchloved things, and the Church in England gained a great mind, was one of spectacular growth for Catholicism in England. Since then much less has appeared to make a stir and les'

apparent advance has been made. Ye; a "second spring-a time of stronger growth. is with us now.

We have felt the strength of belief ii Christ and it has brought us to know that we can go as he went into all things protected. There is no longer need for isolation. Our faith is more of us and our purposes are wider in scope.

Prayer may get us ready for battle, but battle must lead us to prayer. We English Catholics grow less concerned with the injustices we have suffered and more concerned to be happy in faith and good work for others. How much an adsance!

Your paper leads us along this road, and helps us in our daily rife better to pray and to work.

We are anxious to help yo' and wish that vou would open a discussion as to how each reader can do his pirt to help in the task you have set for yourselves.

July 1. F.X.S.


SIR,—Some of your correspondents accuse me of saying that the sign of our redemption " distracts attention."

The sign of our redemption is the Sign of the Cross that we trace upon ourselves.

I was not referring to that, so wh'? do they use the expression with reference to the crucifix?

A crucifix is an attempt at realism, the material work of an artist, and therefore always open to sane criticism.

My contention is merely that the present atmosphere of the Cathedral is much improved with the removal of the crucifix, and the sanctuary thrown into greater prominence. This does not sound like " an imperfect grasp of relative values."

Byzantine may be the wrong word; but the whole effect is now dignified, primitive, rather severe, and wholly pleasing.

If there were chancel gates and a screen, the position would be entirely different.

With the present design I really cannot see the need of a gigantic hanging rood.

If I am wrong, then I am " sinning " in very good company, namely, that of the Cathedral authorities.


153, Tamworth Road, Kingsbury, Nr. Birmingham. July 1.

blog comments powered by Disqus