Page 2, 8th September 1944

8th September 1944
Page 2
Page 2, 8th September 1944 — LETTERS

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Locations: Stoke-on-Trent


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SIR,—Justice and truth require some attempt to clear up the Eric Gill controversy, especially because of the tendency shown by soine of the letters to ascribe to Gill a narrow extremist position which in fact he never held. Too little allowance is made in the impatience of controversy for the fact, which could only be overlooked by taking one or other isolated quotation without reference to the rest of his writings or to the man himself, that Eric Gill was throughout a Catholic. Apart from the present exchange of letters I have heard him accused of statements no Catholic could possibly make. Because of the provocative nature of his writing and because it is so easy to get enjoy with an argument and not read it to the end, it was very easy to take half a Gill argument and make an extremist absurdity of it. But Cult did finish his arguments. and the cure for a great deal of wild talk about Gill is to swallow one's exasperation and finish reading him. His polemic against industrialism was based upon the unholiness of work of which the object is only money and the means " the reduction of the working man to a sentient part of the mechinery." He, too, understood that " a very high proportion of the workers have not the least desire for such expressions " (ofhuman dignity and holiness, to use his own word, in the

character w

er of the work itself), but he did at least lament it, for he knew that a man's principal means of praising God is in the work of his hands. He, too, was willing to allow that "the socialisation of work is not inherently perverse," but if that were granted he insisted that the socialisation of pro perty was also called for. Ile. too. was aware of the analogies of history, and particularly of the analogy of slavery and industrialism (see the essay I quoted in my previous letter for the temperance and searchingness of his treatment of this theme). Transforming pagan society " in its inmost SOW:litre *" meant the ultimate suppression of slavery. Eric Gill had little sympathy for those who wanted to have it both ways: who wanted to " Christianise " industrialism without approving any deeper changes than higher wages and holidays with pay: precisely because industrialism embodies the falsehood that work is evil, and only those things are desirable to do which society does not require us to do for our living. Get the holiness of work right and Gill will no longer seem a mere source of outrageous epigrams.


Aquinas Cottage, Hartshill Road, Stoke-on-Trent.

SIR,-113e modern industrial world'is here to stay. The machines of the future will replace manual effort to a greater extent than ever before, and why not ? We need the Cress and the plough, but also more and better machines to do each job in the shortest and most

efficient way, and to r mankind


efficient way, and to r mankind


of backbreaking work. Our Saviour was a carpenter. I ant sure tile was a good carpenter, He would use the most direct methods of getting good results at His work. To-day modern industry has the same aims.

I have been a machine designer for 24 years and, like other Catholic designers, have offered my daily work to the " honour and glory of God." Engineering does not necessarily mean noise, smoke and fatigue. We aim at small component factories. widely distributed, fully electrically powered.

therefore quiet and dead. The efficiency of these factories governs the length of the working day and the salaries, so our aim is maximum efficiency. These producing communities can be colourful, happy places in good surroundings.

The difficulties sve experienced before the war through unemployment and " over-production " originate from understand the the nation's feiture to money and credit system which controls distribution. A return to a more primitive system of industry and agriculture. with the teeming millions of our present population, will npt solve our life. entry difficulties. though it certainly will give us a lower standard of it Whilst there is great spiritual merit to an individual freely choosing the hard way of life, we have no right to force this life on our wives and children.

N. B.

[We regret Mat we H71.131 close this correspondence, which seems to go round and round in a eh-rte.—EDITOR. C.H.) HOMELESS CHILDREN HOMELESS CHILDREN

C.'s experience, described

published in his M. letter blished on August 25,

a o

published in his M. letter blished on August 25,

a o

is not unique. When childless couple asked me. a year or so ago. to help a

them to get Catholic child for adoption, I wrote to one of our " Homes." I was told, in reply, that their children were not for adoption. was and still am perplexed.

The splendid example of several families welcoming evacuee children may induce some Catholics to ponder over the scene in Matthew c. 18, where Jesus calls to His side a little child and says: " He that shall receive one such little child in My name, receiveth Me." There is no question as to the superiority of private home life to institutional upbringing.

And if these institutions were partially emptied, some of the money raised by Lenten Alms, school children's offerings. public-houst boxes, Christmas appeals. street collections and annual church collections might be diverted. both to the building of bungalows for aged folk. and to meeting the staggering debt which confronts us by the passing of the Education Act of 1944.


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