U.S. Catholic Weekly Pleases
From Our Own Correspondent
Distinguishing between the Spanish problem in Spain and the Spanish problem in the United States as concerned with Spaniards acting, and with non-Spaniards observing, respectively, the Commonweal, the Catholic weekly edited by laymen, in a lengthy editorial in its issue of June 24 advises an attitude of " positive impartiality " with regard to the Spanish conflict.
The editors declare themselves unable to discuss the problem in Spain in any detail " because the information available is so generally characterized by propaganda that we do not have any sufficient knowledge of the whole situation."
Of the Loyalist government, the Commonweal says, " Its alliance with Russia implies some, if an unknown, degree of identification with the evils of the Soviet regime." Of the Nationalists, Commonweal remarks: "The second government gives the Church open support, yet, in its conduct of warfare, repeatedly and despite protests from the Holy Father, destroys defenceless civilians, particularly by its air raids upon cities.
" Many of its leaders give utterance to totalitarian views very similar to those which have been condemned by the Church in other countries."
"Positive Impartiality" In concluding, the Commonweal states " It is for these reasons that we believe that the wisest, as also the most charitable and perhaps the most difficult, policy for Americans is to maintain that positive impartiality.' a sanity of judgment toward both sides in Spain, expressing a preference for specific ideas and actions when they are certainly known, but being an uncritical partizan of neither." If Commonweal maintains its attitude of strict neutrality regarding the Spanish conflict, it will be but the second Catholic periodical in America to hold such a position; the other is the Catholic Worker, which has. from the beginning of the Spanish War, attacked both factions in Spain, and maintained what it terms " neutrality."
Apart from these .exceptions, the Catholic press in America is ardently (some say
too ardently) in favour of the Nationalists. Now and then criticism of Nationalist statements or tactics is voiced in one or another Catholic periodical, but the stand of the Commonweal and the Catholic Worker is not imitated.
The ardour of pro-Nationalist sentiment among American Catholics did cool considerably, however, when the Barcelona bombings were first reported in America. Despite employment of the defence that military objectives were singled out for bombing, there was, nevertheless, a wave of revulsion when reports and photos of the bombing reached America.
Who Criticises the Vatican?
The protests by the Vatican inspired many critical editorials in the Catholic press, while the protests themselves were widely and thoroughly publicised in Catholic papers throughout the country.
While other points in the Commonweal editorial will be subject to controversy, Commonweal's appraisal of the American situation in respect of Spain cannot be denied: the conflict of opinion over what has happened, and is happening in Spain, has drawn Catholics by and large into one camp, as opposed to Protestants and Jews, in the other camp. In the latter camp are of course all the Leftists, together with a motley of Liberals, progressives and other " independent " thinkers. It is commonly acknowledged, and regretted, by religious leaders of the Protestant and Jewish sects, as well as by Catholics, that the Spanish conflict has brought on a very tense and delicate situation in this country. As evidence of this, when the new board of editors took charge of Commonweal, many Protestant editors expressed the hope that the new regime would not persist in the " reactionary " attitude on Spain maintained by the old regime. The Protestant journals have not had time to comment on the Commonweal editorial, but it can be safely predicted that the neutrality stand will please more than a few of the separated brethren.
(Too Late for Classification).
GUEST HOUSE. C4OLTUPPOR'S WIFE has ancient. Cotswold Guest-House, old-world village. near Malmesbury. Bracing. 'Buses, Car. 42/-. — Hagen, Sherston, Wiltshire.