Worker we will take up the " facts " as this paper gives them.
(a) All religious bodies are to be separated from the state."
(b) " All education is to be separated from the control of the churches."
The Constitution of the Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic (RSFSR) indeed provides in its article 4 that " The Church is separated from the State, and the schools from the Church."
Does this give any .freedom to the Church?
It is sufficient to peruse the text of the ,`Decree respecting Religious Associations" of April 8, 1929, . to see that such a separation is entirely one-sided, and the Church, as in no other country in the world, subjected to the ceaseless oppressive control of the State. In order to be allowed religious worship in any locality the faithful must form a religious association o' not less than twenty members, who are to register it at the local Soviet (art. 1-9).
Such -religious societies may meet for purposes other than of prayer only if special permission has been obtained from the administration (art. 12). The religious associations are forbidden to assist their needy members, organise meetings, groups, circles or departments for biblical or literary studies . . . or the teaching of religion, etc., even " special prayer or other meetings for children, young people, and women" are prohibited, as well as the keeping on the premises used for worship of any books except those necessary for the cult (art. 17). Books on theology, church history, copies of canon law, and even the Bible, not used as liturgical books may come under this prohibition.
Ministers of religion who, according to art. 69d of the Constitution of the RSFSR, are deprived of all political rights, are restricted in their activity to the area of their parish, or parishes' if they minister as it often happens to several parishes (art. 19 of the same decree). These and other enactments and the administrative practice based on them suffice to declare a believer, priest or layman, a lawbreaker with the inevitable consequence: 'prison or labour-camp.
(c) " Any church may be closed down only after a plebiscite of the inhabitants served by it has shown a two-thirds majority in favour of closing down."
(d) "Where churches are closed down alternative accommodation must be provided within a radius of three miles if '15 per cent. of those who voted in the plebiscite were in favour of their remaining open."
Here again we have a piece of shameless hypocrisy : the question of the closing of a church is decided not by the believers but by outsiders and unbelievers mustered up .in. large numbers, whilst the faithful are intimidated by all possible means to abstain from voting. As to the provision of new churches in the place of those destroyed, the same decree of April 8 contains several paragraphs dealing with the " liquidation of a place of worship " in order to use it for other than religious purposes (e.g., a cinema or club), and with the demolition of church buildings on " account of their age" (articles 36744, 46-53): in . neither of these cases does the law provide that another church be, placed . at the disposal of the faithful though there are sufficient details as to the disposal of religious property, including church. plate and vestments;and the cancellation of contracts for the lease of buildings by the religious associations.
That the closing-down of churches is against the will of the people and without " alternative accommodation " being provided may be judged from the overcrowding of the few remaining • churches in the capitals (in Moscow some35 churches are left out of the former 1,600, in most of the provincial towns scarcely any remain at all). • The description of a Christmas service by Sir Bernard Pares, very favourably disposed towards the Soviets, shows that large numbers of people do not find sufficient " accommodation " for prayer.
(e) "Complete freedom shall be accorded al soviet citizens to follow any form of religious worship 11:cy please, or to follow none if they so desire." only a scientist but also fully trained as a Catholic theologian and philosopher, a canon and a professor in a great Catholic university, and so far as they interpret Darwin and adduce scientific reasons for believing in the theory of evolution they express the views held by the majority of Catholics who have made any considerable study of this vexed question.
Here there is no space, nor is there any real need, to describe some of the chief lines of evidence which support a belief in evolution, but one important fact must be made quite clear. It is that though there is a great deal of controversy between scientists and others on the subject of evolution, most of this concerns not belief or disbelief in the general theory, so generally accepted that many people talk of it as a fact, but in the means or processes by which it may have been brought about.
A great deal of the real trouble is due to the fact that the supporters of any particular theory of evolution usually try to make it account for far more than its originator did, and that in most cases they are inclined to rule out any accessory process.
Natural Selection does not account for anything like the whole story, neither does the Erasmus Darwin-Lamarkian theory of Use and Disuse, while there seems to be no really positive evidence for the Inheritance of Impressed Characters (more usually called Acquired Characteristics) though many of us believe in it.
Very many experiments have been carried out, to yield chiefly negative results, but we have to remember that we have no means of telling whether any particular species is in a "fixed" or a "plastic" condition, and that very few workers have the patience to work along one line for over twenty years before publishing their results and conclusions,
such charges, instead of "presuming." It is, of course, true that some of them have no use at all for a Supreme Being, but it is no less true that many of them are not only theists but Christians whose charity shows up in contrast to the ways of some Catholics—as we know from having the privilege of numbering them among our personal friends.
And more than this—many of them refuse to associate their name with the particular religious views they hold not because they are fearful for their reputation as scientists, but because they are afraid that qualifications in one subject may give undue weight to their opinions on subjects upon which they feel they are not qualified to pass any judgment which may affect others.
Other Catholic Views
This is one outlook. Opposed to it are many great Catholic names, including world-renowned clerical professors in Catholic universities. In one of his books, one of these, after apologising for having, on scientific grounds, to follow Darwin rather than Saint Augustine, shows what the Church's teaching is, so far as it in any way bears on Evolution, and then draws some very striking conclusions. Of these we need state but a few in order to show how different are the views of this eminent divine and scientist from those to which we have referred.
One of these conclusions is as follows:
"The application of principles of Catholic theology and philosophy — principles themselves certain—to the concrete data of the sciences of observation, elevates into an absolute certainty the conviction of the simple naturalist who holds a very radical system of transformism. Such application leads us, moreover, to accept at least as eminently probable, the theory which derives all living beings from one or a few very simple types of organisms, which is Darwin's own view. On the other hand, since there are scientific difficulties against the theory of absolute evolution, Darwin's hypothesis of a special intervention on the part of God at the origin
of life seems legitimate, at least for the time being.
The Catholic theory concerning the natural activity of secondary causes is capable of explaining a natural transformist evolution as Darwin understood
Arguments For This View
Further on in the same book he refers to various lines of reasoning which bind us to accept at least a very wide system of Evolution. We here indicate three of them: (1) From the fundamental principles of scientific induction in association with considerations based upon God's veracity : the geological record supplies so many facts which point to the one single theoretical conclusion—namely, that the fauna and flora of the globe are the result of the successive development of species—that if this conclusion does not correspond with reality then we can draw only one dther—that God has so arranged and willed the succession of organisms in time and space as to lead us to come by legitimate induction to a false conclusion. In other words, God would have formally willed to lead us into error—an idea which is blasphemous.
(2) It is a dogma, i.e., of Faith (Vatican Council) that the object of creation is necessarily the manifestation of the glory of the Creator. If the geological evidence does not mean that species have given rise to each other, then it must mean that God has continually to "repair" his work, for he has to come back to it time and again owing to its con tinually breaking down. This would deprecate not manifest his glory.
(3) It is impossible to admit miracles as a cause of the natural order—they are supernatural. Such interventions as are postulated under the previous argument would be miracles.
The Views of a Theologian
These are strong words, but they have behind them the weight of one who is not
Here, too, the Daily Worker is guilty of a deliberate misleading of its public. The above-mentioned article four of the con