A paragraph in the Church Times of October 4, commenting on the centenary of the Society of Jesus, after admitting " the virtues and achievements of the Order of St. Ignatius," continued as follows:
"Unfortunately Jesuits have often used their masterly skill and devotion for what can only be described as mischievous ends, and that remains true in these critical days. In Spain, while the Dominicans were careful not to take sides in the civil war, the Jesuits, whose great possessions in Spain were notorious, were enthusiastic supporters of Franco, and the Order, here and all over the world, was foremost in the crusade against the SpanisA Republic. The Jesuits and Franco are openly with Petain, and probably influenced him. The Jesuit influence in the Vatican is very strong. The Jesuits, indeed. are largely responsible for that pro-Fascist bias in Rome which seems to us both deplorable and ominous."
On October 10, the Bellarmine Society of Hcythrop replied to the Church Times Editor, Who neither acknow !edged the letter, nor printed it in the issue of October 18 or October 25.
" The hopes entertained by many sincere Christians," wrote the Bellarmine Society. " that the present attack on their common ideals would lead to a cessation of uncharitable and profitless mutual criticism seem hardly to have been justified in view of the comments on the Society of Jesus in your issue of October 4.
" Yu ask us to believe that the Society to-day is spending its ' skill and devotion ' in promoting ' that pro-Facist bias in Rome which seems to us both deplorable and ominous.' " These indeed are novel and amazing tidings, and none received them with more surprise than the Jesuits themselves. Never having heard such reports, they are anxious to know whence the Church Tirnes derives its information.
" The Jesuits and Franco,' we are told, ' are openly with Pdtain and probably influenced him.' Surely this is a most amazing piece of news, and the Church Times is to be congratulated on a sensational journalistic scoop. All the English papers tell us something about unoccupied France, though indeed it is little enough that they can tell us in these days, when they must largely -rely on reports in the Basler Nachrichten and other foreign sources. But never have they told us of this Never have they penetrated through the barred doors of censorship, into the very sanctums of Vichy, and there heard dark secrets being muttered in bask corridors to Main and his henchmen.
WHERE ARE THESE RICHES?
" Again, we are told that the Jesuits supported Franco in the civil war, and that they have great possessions in Spain. Where is the evidence for these notorious riches?"
We know that they have been pillaged by successive Spanish governments. We know that Professor Allison Peers and ProfesSor Sarolea have examined the question of clerical wealth in Spain and that their conclusions are entirely opposed to those of the Church Times. Where is the evidence on which the Church Times can sweep this verdict aside? Had it representatives in the lobbies of Burgos and Madrid as well as in
those of Vichy? If so, let it tell us the authority on which these correspondents speak.
If not, however, let it admit that its remarks are mischievous and unfounded, and should not soil the pages of a Christian periodical.
• In its latest issue the Church Times states that some of its recent mail has not reached it. It is possible that this may account for its failure to print the above letters, and, in fairness, we state the fact,