SIR'— Your cot i csoondents on the "colour problem". Alan Lomax and Major Hewett (February 5), unwittingly underline our sad failure as Catholics to translate our beliefs into everyday life, and our willingness to find a theological excuse for our avoidance of the truth.
It is exactly this kind of aui t ud hi e, w ch t ud hi e, w ch
years ago, I gave up trying to defend when my nonCatholic friends asked me why Catholics thought like this. It is also the reason why so many, irresistibly attracted by the truth of our claims, nevertheless remain outside the Church.
The question is not one of
equality. No two people are equal. It is one of discrimination against some in favour of others. There is no''colour iproblem" per se. There arc housing and employment problems, language and cultural differences. These are with goodwill, capable of solution. Colour and race only become a problem when fear and suspicion are not overcome.
Intellectual discussion is quite futile in this context and theological gymnastics do not help. It is the question of common humanity. What has to be said is that racial discrimination is a disease and that nationalism is a disease. The cure lies in the conscious daily practice of charity.
Children are not similarly in
fected like their parents. One of my children saw a picture in a newspaper of the wedding of a negro to a white woman, Her comment delighted me. She said: "I can't think why she married him. She's much taller than he is".
Laurence Hart, Gravesend, Kent.
Sin—Major Hewett's revealing observations on "colour" reminded me of a conversation with the late Bishop Brown of Vauxhall. We met frequently. One evening he asked me what I considered the most serious single social evil, not only of our own time but of history, not only in England but in the world. Before I could answer he added: "It is racial prejudice; because It is mindless. it is utterly evil. It has no basis in reason. And it runs riot everywhere, It is the enemy of everything good and it is especially the enemy of the Church because the Church most unite all souls."
W. J. Igoe, Loughton, Essex.
Sir,-1 was very pleased that you decided to publish a letter by Major Hewitt giving, in part at any rate, the other side to this complicated problem.
It must be clear to any Londoner like myself that thc unfortunate coloured people are almost without exception unhappy and "not at home" in our country. A charming bus-conductor from the Bahamas told me some time ago that he would never have come to England but for the attractive prospects painted by the London Transport recruitment centre in his home town, and that he was anxious to return as soon as possible since he was afraid that his wife and family were going to be attacked by white hooligans.
What then is the answer? The solution advocated by the former Minister of Education in the last government, Sir Edward Boyle, was hardly likely to excite sympathy from any race. His solution: integration. His reason, as he told an audience of English mothers: it has got to come, whether you like it or not. In other words: love one another, this is an order!
Am I to love white hooligans because a politician says I must? Has a negro to love me? Why has integration got to come?
The world did not have to come, God made it. The coloured races of mankind did not have to come. God created them, By virtue of what reason or what law are we now being asked to undo God's work?
T. Tindal-Robertson, London, W.2.
Sir,—May I through the courtesy of your columns inform Major Hewett that I was so inspired by his letter in a recent issue that I have decided to found a movement, which will have as its objective the return home in regulated numbers of a specific class of immigrants whose continned presence in our country has long alarmed me?
I have in mind of course the Anglo-Saxon element in the population which has multiplied so recklessly since we first irresponsibly allowed in Hengist and Horsa, and has mixed so freely with subsequent Nordic arrivals, as now to constitute a uniform and racoless mob, whose members are impossible to distinguish from ordinary decent people.
The very ugly picture conjured up by the thought that my daughter might one day he so misguided as to exchange marital vows before a Catholic priest with one of these aliens prompts me to act quickly. (I should add that there is nothing personal in my attitude which is dictated hy purely patriotic considerations: indeed many of my best friends are Anglo-Saxons.) I hope to enlist the support of all right thinking Gaels in my efforts and would he glad to enrol Major Hewett in the movement unless of course he is of the immigrant class himself in which case I must reluctantly include his name in my list of deportees.
Brkannain Macitlivree, Edinburgh 12, Sir,— Before the last war the ordinary German closed his eyes to the hounding of Jews in Germany. Is the same thing to happen here, with coloured people finishing in gas chambers?
It couldn't happen here? With Catholics screaming "Keep out the coloured faces, they will make us a Oaceless, uniform mob'," one wonders what other ideas will germinate.
The problem or population explosion is happening everywhere, so why use coloured peoples as the scapegoat, any more than Irish and other immigrants?
If the coloured doctors and nurses "went home" the nation would soon fall sick, even more sick than appears to be the state of its mental health if one is to judge from the recent letters to the press from "Christians".
(Mrs.) Sheila Bath Birmingham.
Sir,—With reference to your article on "Problem Children" (February 5), I feel I must comment on the statement that "of the approximately 200 child care officers in this country, the number of Catholics can be counted on one hand".
The fact is that the number of child care officers in this country is approaching 2,000. I do not know how many of these are Catholics, but from my experience as a social worker I would say that the proportion of Cathnlics among social workers generally is approximately the same as the proportion of Catholics among the population at large. If one puts this 10 per cent it follows that there must be about 200 Catholic child care officers in the U.K.
P. J. Hoskins (Probation Officer) Basildon, Essex.
Sir, — Practical difficulties for priests visiting some geriatric hospitals must he very great. The present hospital practice of frequent visiting hours leaves much nursing to be done in a shorter time. There is very little peace or quiet. This must limit the time when priests can visit their sick cases, I wonder if this ministration may he done at some future date by deacons of the Church Geriatric patients have a great need of spiritual help and understanding. A patient "in extremis" may appear to have some degree of consciousness. In some cases this may he like a flash on a screen for him, There could be total inability to pray or turn the will to God.
Periods of confusion may alternate with lucid periods which may Ise used for a very serious examination of conscience.
The sensitivity of some patients is high. Mental suffering can be correspondingly high. But serious impairment of vision and hearing may occur with a high degree of mental alertness and spiritual awareness.
An old person can obtain great benefit from a priest or doctor of his own generation. The greatest benefit is surely obtained when the patient can co-operate with God's grace through priestly administrations.
Retired Physician, Preston.
We regret that in view of the numbers of letters submitted we cannot acknowledge receipt unless readers enclose postage for return of letter, if unpublished, or p.e, acknowledgement of receipt of letter.—afiior, ''C.R...
Sir.—In your report on the meeting of the bishops to discuss the effect on English Catholic life of the liturgicalreforms, you state that Mass facing the people is generally welcomed,' Yet I live in a diocese where the bishop will not allow Mass said this way except for groups of children, even though many laymen and some priests have asked for this permission to be given.
I have seen letters in reply to such requests which omit to answer the question or to say that one day the permission will he given. In this matter some uniformity of practice is very necessary. If Mass facing the people is good enough for one part of England it should be quite acceptable for any other part without any lessening of orthodoxy or obedience.
Sir,-1 ()wards the end of this year the Francis Thompson Society is to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the publication of "The Hound of Heaven" by holding an exhibition in London.
If any of your readers have any information regarding translations, foreign editions. criticisms, commentaries, references in books, or inclusions in anthologies of "The Hound of Heaven" I should be very grateful if they would let me know.
G. Krishuamurtl, MA. Hon Secretary, 151, The High, Streatham, S.'.16.