PACEM IN TERRIS
There is another ambiguity in the English translation of Pacent in Terris besides those Fr. Kenny mentioned (June 14). "All men are equal, therefore all societies are equal". If the word 'societies' is read as 'communities', the use of therefore is justified. However, it is usual to think Of societies in terms of communal action rather than communal existence, in which ease a politician's remark that therefore Communism is the equal of Capitalism would be justified. I am no Latin scholar and would welcome an authoritative reappraisal of the original at this point. May I ask also for views on a topic which has troubled me for some time? My mother's maxim "the Church being right, will have the right answer — somewhere" has never failed me, but, as Cardinal Newman put it, in debate one should allow an opponent all his objections and defeat him with the weapons of his own choice. In the light of this, is it justifiable to use concepts for demonstrating the existence of God which have been shown to be unsound, where the audience in hand does not accept or understand the objections?
D. I. Taylor
should have thought that for anyone who read my letter its entire purport was to answer the question Mr. Bush says I didn't answer, i.e. the necessity of professionals.
One quotation will suffice: "Amateur Campaigns rarely equal the lowest of these figures (obtained by professionals) and are more subject to total failure." Dom Benet Innes Downside Abbey.
I. am a Catholic of two years' standing — a convert with a very strong belief in our faith. But I am amazed and disgusted at the attitude and behaviour of so many of these so-called "Good Catholics", people who give their time to various associations and committees of the parish. Our parish is fairly large — the rural deanery. My husband and I have willirigly agreed to help with a youth club and various other activities but we find there is always the same old crowd arranging and organizing — more often or not at cross purposes. We have all the usual organisations such as the C.W.L. K.S.C., Legion of Mary, etc. We also have a group which runs a bingo club. There is a large hall and kitchen and several other rooms — all in rather a shabby condition. Instead of all (as 1 once suggested to an acquaintance) pulling together and pooling their resources to make the hall etc a place for the people to frequent and enjoy, they argue and fight over who's to have a room at what time, and I have even known door locks to be changed to ensure one group or another could not enter.
Youth club officers won't decorate a shabby room because they are convinced that one of the other groups will ruin it. The facilities for the young ones are practically nil — there is no money forthcoming except from the children themselves.
Is this Catholicism? Where is the "love thy neighbour"? It is sickening to hear the bickering
and back-biting that goes on. My husband has taken a class for instruction for several years. He has suggested several times different methods of keeping a record of the children's progress — very simple and easy methods. It has also been suggested that all the teachers should get together and decide on a basic way of instructing the children. This cannot be agreed on. I know he is only 22 years old — but is that any reaeon for the older clique, as it were. to completely ignore his suggestions.
Please don't think we are trying to make a career out of the church -as so many people seem to be doing We have children and it is the young set which concerns us. Don't the people realise that the youth of the church are the church of tomorrow? Is this the way to keep pleasure-seeking teenagers in a Catholic atmosphere? No wonder they go to other youth clubs, many of them run by Anglican churches. No wonder they eventually fall away from the church. 1 know this is far from true of many parishes. but it shouldn't be so in any parish at all. Who's to blame? Who knows? Maybe it's us, the parishioners, or maybe the parish priest for not taking enough interest. But whoever it is, it seems a shame that young children and people should be deprived because of the pettiness and awkwardness of a few adults.
(Mrs.) J. Stephens London, N.
THE BOMB AND US
It is a pity if Mr. Scholcs (June 14) finds only confusion in the nuclear warfare debate. May I suggest that "the Bomb" itself can be a kind of red herring, partly responsible for this confusion?
The fundamental question concerns the Fifth Commandment. When is it a mortal sin to kill a man and when is it not? And ("format co-operation") when is it sinful to give one's consent, support and approval to killing, and when is it not? The methods of killing used or proposed (nuclear bomb, old-fashioned bomb, fire and sword) will not affect these moral questions intrinsically: and so it tends to darken counsel if we insist on discussing the matter in terms of the method used. We should think rather of the thing done.
The thing done at Dresden and Hamburg, no less than at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was the direct and indiscriminate killing of very large numbers of innocent people; and the intention of doing this again on a larger scale (however reluctantly, and in whatever extremity) is certainly very widespread today.
I suggest that this intention, wherever it exists, amounts to formal co-operation in the mortal sin of murder; and that it matters very little what weopons we have in mind. This principle, however unpalatable to some, is securely rooted in Catholic moral theology.
Can either the widespread pre
valence of this intention or its sinful character be seriously called in question? If not, Mr. Scholes has at least the beginnings of certainty.
Christopher Derrick Surrey.
This correspondence is now ended —Editor.
The League of Friends of Shenley Hospital is endeavouring to assist patients in many ways which are not catered for by the National Health Service, Nearly twelve months ago, the League opened a shop in the hospital grounds in response to many requests from patients, and in addition to selling goods generally needed, we are being continually asked to supply further good second-hand clothes.
It would be much appreciated if any of your readers could let us have any second-hand clothes in good condition. The hospital has a laundry and dry-cleaning plant so that all clothing which is sold is cleaned and pressed.
If you are able to help us in this way, parcels may be sent to The League of Friends Shop, Shenley Hospital, Nr. St. Albans, I-Terts., or alternatively arrangements for collection in the North London area can be made by communicating with me.
(Mrs) Mary Dark Secretary/Treasurer
Being a Work addreffed to the Catholick People of Britain on the neceflity of excluding them from all Higher Learning in their Religion.
Acknowledgements are made to one R. A. Knox, fometime Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford.
Of late it muft be conceded that confiderable progrefs has been made in the difcemination of Inftruction to the C.atholicks of Britain in advancing to them a Full, Advanced and even Intellectual Knowledge of the Faith. It is feared that thefe tendencies may continue and lead to a weakening of Morals and Dogma, the prefervation of which would then be in Grave Danger.
It will not have efcaped the notice of confcientious Obfervers that more progrefs may be made in this direction with fome fpeed, efpecially at the Univerfities. We muft not hefitate to agree that what in thefe matters may be faid of the Older Provincial Univerfities can alfo be laid of the Younger, namely that molt are equipped with Chaplaincies or the True Faith, much to their difcredit.
The dangers of this fituation are that the Youth of the Country may fuffer from a flood of Inftructed Thought, and be expofed to the Evils of Profelytifation and other Improper Experiences Beset on all fides with fuch Immoderate Fcenes, it is to he applauded that none of our Univerfities are as yet handicapped with Catholick Faculties of Theology and the like, which if prefent, would prefent all manner of Inftruction and become Dens of Debate, wherein Knowledge would increafe to the impoverifhment of all.
Although the fituation is not yet at a final point of diffolution. there are rumours of further attacks againft our firm oppofition to Informed Thought. It has been whifpered by Artifans and the like, that Chaplaincies be fet up in the Agnoftic and Atheiftic Eftablithment of Trinity College, Dublin. Others lefs Reflective, have noifed it abroad that works of Apologeticks fhould be iffued that pay a lefs than clofe attention to Thomas Aquinas, fince whom little if any thing of value has been written in Philofophy or Theology.
Thefe Pernicious Tendencies muft be curtailed. In order that the Ftatus Quo be retained we fhould withhold all our monies and efforts, efpecially in regard to Chaplaincies, and ought to ensure that fhould new books he iffued in which the name Aquinas occurs lefs than 2,000 times, or if lectures on Catholick Philolophy and Theology be given at the Univerfities, then the language ufed ought to be Latin.
If this is not done, then inevitably the ideas long held by the Catholicks of thefe Iflands, to include Peafants and efpecially the Bourgeoifie, will be liable to extinction, the holders of them to be defcribed as Obfcurantift and devoid of Reafon.
B. B. MeClorry Warsash.
Mr. 1. J. Coghlan's rejection (June 7) of the truth of evolution calls for a reply at greater length than your correspondence column affords, but a few remarks may help to give a truer perspective to the problem.
In the first place, he does not specify whether he is referring to general or human evolution. If the former, then surely he must be the only graduate biologist in the country who rejects the scientific evidence, which is so overwhelming as to be conclusive to all openminded scholars.
If, on the other hand, he accepts this but denies the possibility of man having evolved from lower forms of life, he would seem to be restricting God's creative ability to a method which he finds understandable and palatable—in much the same way that many postCopernican Christian scientists clung to the Ptolemaic theory of the universe in the mistaken fear that they would be denying the Bible, and thus their faith. if they stopped believing that the earth was the centre of the universe.
Mr. Coghlan's appeal to the Bible is ultimately based on the assumption that Genesis is a factual and scientific account of creation. This error of Fundamentalism has been refuted by Catholic Scripture scholars for years and by Pius XII in his encyclical Humani .generis. Indeed, the error is implicit in Mr. Coghlan's own argument. for if it is literally true that God took one of Adam's ribs to make Eve, then according to the Mendelian laws of heredity (and presumably Mr. Coghlan, as a Catholic, will not throw these out of court) half the human race would be one rib short.
Surely our approach to the evidence for the evolution of humanity should be to examine, speculate on and pray about it for enlightenment, not to sweep it under a pseudo-religious carpet. God is glorified in all His creation: should not we help the world to appreciate this glory by advancing all knowledge humbly and in a spirit of faith—or in omnia glorificetur Dens!
Despite Mr. Coghlan's protestations to the contrary. the weight of scientific evidence in our present state of knowledge is generally held to confirm human evolution rather than the contrary. Could Mr. Coghlan name one reputable scientific author, of any or no religion, who would dpgmatically deny this?
If, ultimately. the Church should alter her interpretation of the Bible to encompass firmer human knowledge about the genesis of man (and she has made similar alterations, especially in the last century) the implications are so profound as to demand a revolutionary reorientation, but far more important an enriching of faith. Do we have the right to ignore the facts that science has discovered about God's universe because we fear that our faith or that of our children may be unequal to the burden of things as yet dimly perceived and even more dimly understood?
Frank C. Parkinson
The comments of your correspondent J. J. Coghlan (June 7), about my attempt to reconcile evolution with Genesis are, to me, rather surprising, and I would like to make the following points : (I) 1 think that his comments about the origins of Eve's body are irrelevant to the question being discussed; i.e., how to make the information we give children about
history and science correspond we give them about with what Faith.
That That we must accept the origin of Eve's body as being directly from that of Adam's is based on the decree of the Biblical Commission of 1909. We Catholics are bound to accept what the Commission says as a matter of discipline, but we must remember that their decrees are based on information to hand at the time they are made and are not infallible; therefore they could be revised as new information becomes available. It is because of this that I feel it is unwise to use this particular point as an argument against the evolution of man's (male and female) body.
(2) Mr. Coghlan states that children will encounter no difficulties from evolution unless it is presented as true. I would say that they will encounter equal or even more difficulty if we present it as untrue. We must remember that the evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of evolution and that the amount of evidence is increasing. The truth is that the Church has left the matter of evolution an open question (Hurriani Genesis) and this is what we should teach our children.
(3) Most biologists are quite clear as to what they mean by evolution and seem to be agreed on it. What is open to debate is the mechanism by which it occurred. Mr. Coghlan has failed to distinguish between evolution and its mechanism, and, since he is a biologist, this surprises me considerably. I did not, in my letter, say anything at all about its mechanism, i.e., how evolution occurred. His statement that recent discoveries refute the idea of evolution is simply not true, however I cannot support this without going into technical detail, which would be out of place in y y V. 3, L. Fontana
Evolutionists posit that the body of Adam was produced by natural generation by a pair of non-human anthropoids. PrcscindMg for the present from the scientific impossibility of any pair of mammals giving birth to offspring of a different species from their own, this would mean that the body of Adam began as a living animal specifically and morphologically Homo Sapiens but devoid of a soul. God then created and infused a human soul and this animal became Adam, the first man.
This hypothesis makes the problem of Eve completely insoluble. Even if she were the daughter of the same pair of anthropoids who were the parents of Adam polygenism automatically follows. The human race would be equally derived from Adam and from Eve whose only bodily connection with each other would be the aforesaid pair of anthropoids.
L. P. B. Stiven is correct in suggesting that a reconciliation of Evolution and Genesis is to attempt the impossible.
J. J. Coghlan