Mrs. Shirley Williams, M.P.. is quoted in your issue of June 29: "Though the voice of the Church is loud, clear and uncompromising in certain fields of morality — sexual morality — this is only a part of morality in the lives of individuals and of society.
"Why has the Church not spoken in such unequivocal terms about racial justice in our society and the responsibility of Europe to the Third World?"
The reason is that in one case the application of moral prin ciples is clear, in the other it is not. To quote Sebastian Bullough, 0.P., who was by no means "reactionary":
" . . . there are other moral problems where there is a collective or national, rather than a personal, moral responsibility, as in the question of capital punishment, which involves the notion of the moral right of the States; or the problem of war, where the State is involved in particular concrete circumstances
In this chapter, on the Church as the custodian of moral law it is sufficient to say that the Church is
bound to speak when moral principles are at stake, and to defend the.ir application when the issue is entirely plain; but that she is equally pledged not positively to uphold or condemn an action or policy, where the moral issue may be so complex that the precise application of the moral principle may not be entirely clear or be still subiect to legitimate debate." (Roman Catholicism, pp. 224/5).
This largely applies to the problems quoted by Mrs. Williams, especially if it is a question not of applying a moral principle to oneself, but when it is a question of what to do when other people or nations arc not prepared to act according to certain principles.
Whatever Mrs. Williams says there simply cannot be one unequivocally correct moral attitude in such cases. (Here there is the proper role for the individual conscience, not, however, whether the Ten Commandments are binding or not.) (Fr.) Louis Kovacs St. Mary's Presbytery, St. Mary's Road, New Mills, Stockport, Cheshire.