OF PLACE' loo Bishops
'Argument clear and fair'
Iwell-known journalists of widely differing outlook —Mr. W. L. Andrews, Editor of the "Yorkshire Post," and Cassandra of the "Daily Mirror"—this week support aishop Heenan in the controversy with the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland and over the apology broadcast by
the B. B.C.
Mr. Andrews and Cassandra, both non-Catholics, devoted hundreds of words in their respective columns to pointed criticism of the B.B.C. and Lord Brookeborough and to a complete vindication of the Bishop.
Mr. Andrews wrote on Tuesday: "The Bishop did not accuse the Government of Northern Ireland of religious persecution. He merely expressed his belief that some intolerance existed in both Spain and Northern Ireland.
"He did not say this with provocative emphasis, but used the point to show how much worse, infinitely worse, was the extreme of intolerance reached in Communist controlled countries. . . .
"The Bishop's argument seemed to me clear and fair. It may be said that he should not have introduced the subject in a devotional series, but how can a Christian meditate on the sufferings of St. Paul without thinking of the hardships to which some of the Christians of today arc subject
"My verdict would be that the Bishop said nothing that deserved rebuke. Legally, and 1 think morally, what he said was fair comment."
As regards what the B.B.0 described in its apology as Bishop Hecnan's "last-minute interpolation," Mr. Andrews declared that this was "based on a misapprehension."
As regards the suggestion that the interpolation was made in the studio and in pencil, by stealth, just before the broadcast, Mr. Andrews commented: "What a monstrous fiction!"
Of the Northern Ireland Prime Minister, Mr. Andrews said: "From my contacts with Lord Brookeborough I believe him to be a man of integrity, but the statement in his speech is most unfair to the Bishop, since it suggests that after the script had been approved by the B.B.C. the Bishop made a cunning, uninvited, secret interpolation."
And finally, Mr. Andrews had this to say about the B.B.C.: "It seems to me very odd of the B.B.C. to ask a broadcaster to amend a script, not to bother to see the amendments, and then denounce them as an interpolation."
Heading his article "Lift Up Your Cudgels," Cassandra made this reference to the B.B.C. apology which followed the broadcast and Lord Brookeborough's accusations:
W retched alacrity'
"The B.B.C., with that wretched alacrity to get down on its genteel knees that it so often displays when it is attacked, accused the Bishop of making a last-minute interpolation to his script. This is shown now to be absolutely untrue. The alterations were made on the Friday and not in the studio. First round to the Bishop. . . ."
Referring to Bishop Heenan's mention of intolerance, Cassandra continued: "There was not a word out of place in what Dr. Heenan said— in spite of Brookeborough's squalid accusations. What then else was objected to in the Bishop's forthright sermon? I will tell you.
"The B.B.C. objected to the sentence, 'The Church is enslaved wherever Communism is in control,' on the ground that it was 'against B.B.0 policy to condemn Cornmunism . . . no attack On a party will be allowed unless in a specifically party broadcast'
"Dr. Heenan's retort was that he would not tone down references to religious persecution for fear of wounding Communists in England. Absolutely correct again.
"Dr. Heenan, in all this cudgelling, emerges as fiercely uncompromising —and right. The B.B.C. sags off the scene rigid as a boiled leek. And Viscount Brook eborough remains Viscount Brookeborough. Can I say more—or less?"