TH E Australian Archbishops and Bishops I have issued a joint pastoral letter, warning that the nation's industrial life is threatened by a renewal of Communist control.
They are referring to the disbanding of the industrial groups which, established by the Labour Party itself in the 1940s. drove the Communists out of one industrial and political stronghold after another at a time when the Communists had come near to getting the entire Labour and trade union movements in its grip.
Within the past year these groups, owing much of their initiative and energy to Catholic workers, have fallen foul of Dr. Evatt, leader of the Labour Party, and the Labour Party has been split into two.
In a reply to the Hierarchy on Sunday, Dr. Evatt spoke of the " open treachery " of a "faction " of those who have broken away from the Labour Party.
PERIL FROM WITHIN AND WITHOUT
ii HE Communist threat In the Christian world is not T
something that has suddenly arisen in our generation," the Australian Archbishops and Bishops say in their pastoral letter.
" Its fundamental errors were exposed by the great Popes who ruled the Church during the last 100 years.
"The Bishops of the Catholic Church, in union with the Sovereign Pontiffs. have been foremost in the world-wide struggle against atheistic Communism. " In one generation this aggressive and ruthless movement has contrived to hold about a dozen nations in bitter bondage. Untold sufferings have afflicted millions of helpless people, and since the Catholic Church has always been the chief opponent of this sinister system. the persecutor's hand has struck most heavily at the Bishops of Christ's flock.
" The clergy and the faithful, often deprived of the guidance of their appointed leaders. have suffered brutal enslavement, torture and death.
" The invaders' thrust is now extending over South Eastern Asia, and we in Australia have become acutely conscious of the sufferings inflicted on our northern neighbours.
" It would be sheer folly to blind ourselves to the possibility that a similar fate could soon overwhelm our own country.
" Mindful of our responsibilities as spiritual guides. the Catholic Bishops of Australia. assembled at our annual meeting, gave earnest consideration to this grave danger.
" We feel bound to repeat the serious warning we have frequently given that there can he no compromise with the Communist system. The Church is unswervingly opposed to Communism because of its atheism. materialism and denial of basic human rights.
" Communism is intrinsically wrong.' said the late Pope Pius XI. 'and no one who would save Christian civilisation can give it assistance in any undertaking whatever.
" 'Those who permit themselves to be deceived into lending theii aid towards the triumph of Communism in their own country will he the first to fall victims of their
" It is a well-known fact that during the last ten years Catholics in Australia have endeavoured to form a strong public opinion against Communist activities in our community. This was a noble undertaking patriotically directed to safeguard our fatherland, the rights and liberties of our fellowcitizens and the free exercise oi re t ner
leaders of this campaign were familiar with the extent of Communist suppressions of those rights and privileges in other countries. They foresaw, as the history of subsequent years proved, that the Communist plan to capture trade unions and other public bodies in Australia was part of a clearly designed scheme to seize complete political control of the country.
" Ated ralian public opinion
generally failed to realise that in the year 1943 et cry major trade union. with one exception. was in the hands of the Communists.
" Al that period the biennial congress of the Australian Council of Trade Unions was dominated by a Communist majority. Their control of the trade union movement enabled the Communists to exercise a stranglehold over the economic life of the nation, as the series of great strikes which plagued Australia from 1945 to 1949 conclusively proved.
" In spite of general apathy, many citizens. of different religious faiths courageously dedicated themselves to the organised task of helping trade unionists to elect officials who were opposed to Communism. " It is a remarkable and inspiring fact that these realistic citizens were able to achieve a spectacular measure nf success.
" There was, however, little public appreciation of the valuable work being done by these patriotic men and women, although governments. commerce, industry and the Australian people generally reaped the benefits of the peace and security which ensued.
" We recognise that this courageous campaign saved Our civil and religious freedoms at a period when they were in grave peril and we Lake this opportunity or paying a warm public tribute of gratitttde to all who have engaged in the struggle.
" This great work of fighting and stemming Communist aggression wherever it shows itself has our full support and approval. " It is therefore most deplorable that the only effective way yet found of defeating Communism in industrial life has been destroyed for the moment by political intrigue.as vital to the Communist w cause that the militant opposition which stood between it and the control of the trade unions should be destroyed. " Their own words are abundantly clear. ' It is a question for us of setting out consciously to foster a left wing in the Labour Party to encourage all the incipient revolts expressing themselves in the Labour Party.'
" Again: ' Our comrades in the trade unions should assist the reformist trade union leaders who are not connected directly with the industrial groups.'
is very regrettable that highly placed public men, including some C-athohcs, seem to have closed their eyes to the great issues involved in the present upheaval. They do not appear to realise that they are forwarding the interests of Communism.
" There !teems to he every likelihood that the present political upheaval has presented the Communists with an unexpected vantage ground in their fight. We fear that the hard-earned fruits of victory in industry will he speedily lost by a renewal of Communist control over our industrial life.
" Many people are deepiy confused by the recent happenings in our midst. They justly fear that the cause of C.ommunism has been advanced considerably during the last few months, '' Internally and exiernally the position has worsened. Very many people are asking us to give them some direction in the present confused situation. "The Church is not concerned with party politics as such. It has no desire to establish a Catholic domination in public life, nor has it been attempting to do this. It seeks only to preserve freedom to serve the common good and to unite with our fellow-citizens in achieving these aims.
" Let us emphasise that Catholics have always been free and remain free to exercise their franchise according to their conscientious judgments on policies, parties and candidates. They are. of course, not free to profess. defend or spread the materialistic and anti Christian doctrine of the Communists.
e At the moment there is one outstanding issue for the nation and the Church, Ii is the immediate Communist threat to the security of the people and to the freedom of religion in Australia.
,, This peril has a twofold aspect -disruption from within and aggression from without. e We deplore the fact that some public men have failed to realise the magnitude of this issue. they seem to concentrate on issues of lesser moment or to act from considerations of personal ambition or advantage. e It is only the Communist cause that will ultimately benefit from this failure to face up to the basic national issue, " We are alarmed at the attitude of those who, without finding an adequate substitute. have seen fit to disband a well-proven means of fighting effectively the Communist threat to the Ration. '' If they fail to provide such a substitute they will have failed in their duty to Australia.
Peril to Asia
" Mere generalised declarations of hostility to Communism are completely futile in these times. The anxious attention of patriotic and thoughtful Australians is directed in these days towards the nations to the north of Australia. We know that there are forces in that vast area which are working for good and others even more actively working for evil, We have the deepest sympathy and admiration for the national aspirations of these countries. We share in the well-founded fears of many of our northern neighbours that their newly won freedom will be sacrificed on the altar of atheistic Communism. " For this reason. Australia's foreign policies must be judged in the light of their bearing on Communist strategy at home and abroad.
" The overall Communist objective is the gravest peril now threatening the freedom of Asia and the freedom of Australia. Therefore we call on all Catholics and appeal to all our fellowcitieent of the Commonwealth to face the great threat of out times with courage. coolness of judgment and self-sacrifice.
Greatest good "We strongly urge them to oppose vigorously any revival of Communist influence and power in our political, industrial and cultural life.
" It is the duty of every Catholic to work for the good of his own country. " Its greatest good c,an be obtained by the application of Christian principles to private and public life..
" We must he God-fearing and God-loving. faithful to our religious practices.
" The present emergency calls for continued prayer and penance." Two more converts are among the Catholic candidates standing in the General Election.
Mr. David Price (Corr.), standing for the new Hampshire constituency of Eastleigh. was received into the Church while studying at Yale University. Aged 31. he was president of the Cambridge Union, and is now personal assistant to the chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries. He is unmarried.
Mr. Otto L. Shaw (Lab.), candidate For Maidstone. Kent, became a Catholic in 1947. He is chairman of the Maidstone Labour Parts and fought the same constituency in the 1945 General Election.
Mr. Shaw is married and has two sons and a daughter.
Other Catholic candidates in addition to those already mentioned in Ties CATHOLIC HERALD are:
Mr. J. D. Mann (Lab.), who is standing at Totnes. Devon. He lives at Newton Abbot and is a member of St. Joseph's parish there. He is a Knight of St. Columba, married, with two children, Mr. Charles Curran (Con.). a London iournalist, is standing for Uxbridge. Middlesex.
Mr. W. T. Donovan (Con.), is standing for Holborn and St. Pancras.
Councillor Simon Mahon (Lab.), is standing for Bootle. He is the son of Alderman Simon Mahon.