give the opportunity of a short but full exposition of important points of Catholic doctrine and history. It is hoped that the reader who follows them weekly will, in the course of a period, obtain a wider and fuller understanding of Catholic teaching.
II SHORTS UNDER this section are listed quick answers to topical queries and difficulties submitted by readers. The CATHOLIC HERALD cannot guarantee to find space for all queries.
III JOHN BROWN'S SCRUPLES OWING to the development of this feature, the analysis of readers' answers to John Brawn's Scruples will be considerably shortened. The book prize for the best answer is still awarded weekly.
IV PRIVATE HELP Pr HE CATHOLIC HERALD under takes to answer privately such difficulties as may be put forward by readers where it considers that private help may be of genuine assistance. It should be understood that such private help is the exception, and the paper prefers to answer publicly so that other readers may be interested and be helped. Full names and addresses are never printed, and pseudonyms may be used.
Gunpowder Plot Question: is It true that the Gunpowder Plot was faked by the Government in order to ruin the Catholic cause in England?
Answer: This Intricate question has never been satisfactorily answered, nor is it likely ever to be solved.
There are many cogent reasons for rejecting the traditional story of a Catholic plot. Any attempt to blow up Parliament demanded large supplies of powder, great engineering skill, and very considerable preparations for establishing a new regime if the plot were s toeless ul.
it is difficult to see how the con
spirators could have acquired the enormous quantities of powder which they are said to have obtained.
There is also evidence to prove that Catesby and others of the conspirators were in touch with the Government, and it is clear that the Government knew of the plot before Monteagle sent his famous letter.
Above all, it may reasonably be argued that the plot came at a very convenient time for the Government, which benefited considerably from it. Even if the plot had succeeded It is hard to see how the Catholics could have brought off a coup irgtat.
For these and other reasons, Fr. Gerard and other Catholic historians have sought to overthrow the story of the plot. The weakness of their case lies in the fact that they can supply no consistent explanation of the circumstances to take the place of the old story. Undoubtedly there was some plot, in which certain Catholics were involved.
S. R. Gardiner, while admitting that Fr. Gerard had given him some hard nuts to crack, firmly defended the traditional story, and though one may not accept all his findings, it is impossible in these days to disprove his case. (Confer, Gerard: What was Gunpowder plot? Gardiner: What Gunpowder plot was.)
question: Has the State the power to impose capital punishment?
Answer: The State as such is a natural society and a perfect society. It has the duty of protecting its subjects and consequently the authority to take the necessary steps to ensure that adequate protection is given. Each member of the State has a natural right to his life, property and pied name, and the State has a duty to safeguard these rights which are part of the natural law. The natural law ultimately comes from God and also the authority to impose the natural law.
If reasonable members of the State conclude that capital punishment is a fit sanction for certain crimes, then that punishment is just even though certain members may doubt its utility. To kill a man is not an intrinsically evil act, if it were so, one would have to admit that every time a soldier died in battle one of the enemy was committing a breach of the divine or natural law.
In scripture, Gen. IX, 6, there is the following citation. " Whoever shall shed a man's blood, his blood shall be shed, for man was made to the image of God." There are other references to the death penalty in scripture. Ex. XXI and Rom. XIII, 4, " Do good and you will receive praise from him; for he is the Minister of God to you in good. But if you do evil fear: for it is not without reason that he carries the sword." 5
Commentators agree that St. Paul was attesting to the fact that the secular prince has the power of imposing the death penalty. It is very significant that capital punishment has never been condemned by any Pope or Council of the Church.
Where Is report on atrocities in Red Spain available? Where can informittion on atrocities, especially on women and nuns, in the war be found? (J. W. B., Antwerp).
The first: Messrs. Eyre and Spottiswoode, 6, Great New Street, E.C. The second: Write to Spanish Press Services, Ltd., 99, Regent Street, W.1, who will give advice and probably send literature,
Is it right for Catholic churches or homes to fly the Papal flag, since our allegiance to the Pope is spiritual and not temporal? (D. B., Coventry),
The flag is presumably that of the Vatican City, the present form of the Papal States, and therefore a temporal flag. It would, therefore, seem to be technically wrong to fly this flag. At the same time it is universally recognised that flying this flag is a mark of spiritual allegiance to the Papacy, and the objection to doing so merely academic. Some expert in heraldry may like to send in his views. He may be able to tell us what flag a Catholic church should fly.
I have heard people speak of Gothic vestments. What exactly are they? (M. C., Dublin).
The name is not an accurate one. It is used to denote the fuller pointed chasuble and the long narrow stole of pre-Renaissance days which are tending to come back into use especially among the older religious orders. There is nothing especially " gothic " about them, except a possible resemblance to gothic architecture.
30 Shillings Borrowed
Should I pay hack 39s. for an item that has not appeared on my hotel bill, even though this may mean getting someone into trouble for making a mistake? (J. J. G., Liverpool).
We think so. Anyone can make a mistake, and if a person's job depends upon never doing so, he is unlikely to keep it long anyway, and probably doesn't want to. On the other hand, the errors may be mounting up, and the hotel manager has a right to know of such inefficiency.