From Count Rosner
SIR,-While it is obvious that candidates of the different parties honestly differ in their opinions, it is certainly their duty to refrain
from any distortion of established facts. Why then does Mr. Bevan, who is a sufficiently good orator-though of the demagogue type-to impress voters by his opinions, make use of ridiculous distortions of recent history, which any intelligent person over fifty remembers only too well.
He accuses the Conservatives of having driven Russian COMmunism into dictatorship by their hostility towards the revolution which freed Russia from the tyranny of the Tzars. Therefore he wants this country to be friendly with Red China. Only a complete idiot can believe such things.
I was an eyewitness of both revolutions, the democratic revolution of March 1917, which ended in the setting up of a provisional coalition government headed by Prince Lvov, and three months later by the socialist Kerensky-and the bolshevik counter-revolution of November 1917, which " liquidated" democracy by ordering troops with machine guns to "close" the constituent assembly elected by the people.
The democratic revolution was not only hailed by the western powers. because they had reasons to fear the conclusion of a separate peace between Germany and Russia; the attitude of the government of Borys Stairmer and his ministers Protopopoff and Goremykin had certainly been alarming. But public opinion among Russian Conservatives quite openlyrightly or wrongly -suspected the British Ambassador Buchanan of more or less " engineering just a little revolution." It is certainly a fact that Russia was immediately flooded with "delegates" of the West. mostly left-wingers, assuring the Russian people of the whole-hearted support of the Western democracies. The ambassadors of the Western Powers all went out of their way in pledging their support to the leaders of democratic Russia. Russian monarchists were outraged at the British Conservatives not even wanting to get the imperial family out of Russia in time.
Once the Bolsheviks seized power. they immediately betrayed the West by making their peace with imperial Germany and immediately started mass murders on a nation-wide scale long before any civil war started and before the halfhearted Western attempts to help Admiral Kolchek, General Denykin and other resistance movements. As we know British recognition also did not prevent the Chinese Communists from starting mass murders and
totalitarian persecution. Cornmunista as true Marxists must be enemies of our Christian and democratic way of life.
14 Old Queen Street. Westminster, London, S.W.1.
The Catholic voter
From Sir Patrick Hannon
SIR, The Catholic community throughout Great Britain and N.
Ireland will be grateful for your thoughtful and carefully balanced leading article in your issue of last week. The interpretation of the duty of the Catholic voter at the forthcoming Election is judiciously summarised in your closing paragraph. The raising of the standard in the spiritual and social structure of the nation must make convincing appeal alike to the conscience and public spirit of a great Christian people. To the Catholics in particular, the sanctity of family life must be a primary consideration, for the Catholic home and the Catholic school combine to lay the foundations of Catholic influence in the maintenance of Christian civilisation.
Your analysis of the exercise of indirect attack upon .religion within a great political Party will, I am confident. awaken in the Catholic mind the submerged danger which may have volcanic effect in the event of power passing into Communistic hands. Your leader has received powerful support from the striking and timely speech made by the Bishop of 1.eeds a few weeks ago, which I venture to suggest as an outstanding example of statesmanlike guidance in the discharge of what is at once a spiritual and social duty.
Carlton Club, S.W.1.
From Algernon Cecil
SIR,-1 am under such obligation to Downside that it is distasteful to take exception to any favourable opinion your contributors may entertain even of any old Downside boy. I am glad you are reminding yont readers that they should listen to Mr. Stokes's broadcast; for any Minister in his position should certainly be heard and his words pondered.
But surely there must be many among your readers who, like myself, feel that you go too far when you go on to describe him as " our leading Catholic politician today." Anyone who is treading in the steps of the Fabians may be a leading politician today, hut cannot possibly be a leading Catholic one. The Webbs are buried in Westminster Abbey; but that does not alter the fact that they laboured in two heavy volumes to persuade English-speaking people that Soviet Russia was" a new civilization."
Mr. Stokes has associated himself with a Party which is dominated by
" Webbery." I knew the Webbs. They were worthy people; and I do not subscribe to H. G. Wells's portraits of them in The New Machiavelli, though he knew them ever so much better than myself. and I see the point of his criticism. But I cannot think that Mr. Stokes, in following their line in politics. is taking the path that a Catholic politician, qua Catholic, would pursue I was the more glad to read your leading article.
9 Sion Hill Place, Bath.
Sie,-Three points for the Westminster candidate.
First, is he prepared to state the real reason for rearmament, i.e., does he realise the importance of seeing that what Marxist Communism is and does in Soviet Russia becomes known to the British pub lic'? When the gates of Dachau and Buchenwald were prised open in Nazi Germany in 1945 a wave of sickening horror and revulsion swept the world at the hideous barbarities that were disclosed. What is not often realised is that these concentration camps had their counterparts in Soviet Russia long before Hitler came to power; that today, holding some ten million souls, they stretch from end to end of the country in an unbroken chain of degradation and misery that mocks the word civilisation; that they are both the inevitable outcome and an essential feature of the political system that has produced them Secondly, does our candidate set in its right context the remark so popular in political circles at this moment, that we could live in peace with Soviet Russia if she would but show a similar desire towards us? This remark raises the problem of whether, if Russia were to offer the hand of friendship, we could grasp it and conveniently forget about the 1,600,000 who could be expected to die in her prison camps that year. Could we do this and retain any national conscience? When Churchill, broadcasting on Battle of Britain Day. said that a nation that lost its conscience had lost all, he was speaking with the voice of all recorded history.
Thirdly, will our candidate never cease to preach that while armed strength is essential, it is not the
final answer? Between 1939 and 1945 we gave a pretty good trial to the idea that force could win the day. The whole world came to the brink of annihilation in an attempt to conquer evil by force of arms. And the same evil, under another label, is as rampant in Europe today as it was before the first soldier died in 1939.
It may indeed be necessary to hit the Communist over the head with a baton or even an atom bomb, to safeguard ourselves and our beliefs. But this will not defeat Communism. Nothing but a change of heart will do that, and this is something that batons or atom bombs will never achieve. The Christian answer and the Christian answer alone can succeed. To talk of the Brotherhood of Man without acknowledging first the Fatherhood of God, is to heat the air With empty words.
If our would-he M.P. has sound ideas on these three points, we can safely disregard the froth of party politics and vote for him whatever label he may he wearing.
F. J. McGowan.
3 Velyn Avenue, Chichester.
Sie.-11 appals me when we get a presumably intelligent man like Mr. Seymour Jones writing to say he would have the Church authorities
" condemn Socialism outright."
Whilst the Bishop of Leeds gave a warning about supporting the Left Wing group of the Socialist Party. he did in fact say " there is no reason whatsoever why a Catholic should not support the official Labour Party." Perhaps Mr. Seymour Jones chose to ignore that part of the Bishop's speech!
Just why Mr. Seymour Jones would have the Church condemn Socialism outright he does not say. One wonders whether it is merely because he dislikes opposition to his extremism. He next goes on in his letter to make a general statement that Socialists " plainly have no regard whatever for moral Law or Principles " a fine accusation to level at the large number of devout Catholics who are Labour M.P.s1 John K. Pestke.
19 Rounchvood Way, Banstead, Su rrey.
SIR,-It is quite impossible to reconcile the two concepts of menthe Christian and the Socialist. It can only be done by what the psychologists call " rationalisation." Having its rdots in atheism, ideological Socialism regards the " essence" of man as being his will-his will to assert himself as representative of the Common Will; therefore under full Socialism he who denies the validity of the Common Will (the " mass vote") and chooses to follow a free lance activity or vocation, or to do the will of Christ, is inessentially a man-in the eyes of the Socialist State, he is unrepresentative of the commonality, and an enemy to be dealt with. Socialism denies the right to own property and therefore denies the institution of the family, with the husband as the owner tin terms of the body) of his wife, and both as joint owners (in terms of the body) of their children. Denying the body, and attaching validity only to the will as representative of the commonality, Socialism therefore denies a very important doctrine of Christianitythe resurrection of the body.
Seeing that the whole tendency of modern politics-especially in Britain-is towards more and more Socialism. in which property is administered in the name of "the people," and in which justice is likewise being administered as " social justice," Catholics could do much worse than vote for a Liberal candidate at the coming Election.
One more Liberal candidate would mean one less Socialist in office. while it might he said that the Conservative Party would deviate little from the policy of the present Government, should they be elected.
But let us have less argument with a view to reconciling the outlook of the Socialist with that of the Christian-as the latter should be.
Timothy J. Herlihy.
41 Queensborough Tee.. W.2.
SIR,-We are all agreed about the importance of the coming electons and we Catholics have been exhorted to vote as our consciences may dictate and thus to perform the duty we owe to our neighbour and to ourselves. But I have not seen any suggestion, that, this being a public duty, we should do in public what we would do privately if the matter were of personal concern only namely invoke the guidance of God the Holy Ghost.
May I suggest, in all humility, that parish priests might well organise a Triduum for the purpose. There is yet time to arrange and publicise it.