SIR,-It is disturbing to find one of Sir Henry Slcsser's eminence descending to the rather mean trick of putting words into his opponent's mouth in order to make his own case sound more plausible. Yet this is precisely what Sit Henry does when he infers from Fr. Crane's opposition to the Welfare State that Fr. Crane must he a thorough-going secular liberal tainted with " a kind of philosophic and economic anarchism" whom it is also fair to saddle with moral responsibility for the crimes of 19th Century capitalism. This is surely retrospective legislation with a vengeance!
That contemporary Britain is "an economically polarised plutocratic society " is certainly true in respect of the distribution of share capital. If this is what Sir Henry has in mind (though he does not make this clear by any means). no doubt Fr. Crane would agree with him. But he would also point out that the Welfare State has done nothing to reduce this polarisation. Instead it has introduced a new polarisation within the context of the old; so that, now, on the one hand there is the omnicompetent. impersonal State (which is also one of the most important of our " great Trusts"), and on the other an amorphous mass, a vast proletariat which though fairly well paid is not even credited with enough common sense to be able to provide for its most elementary needs.
There has indeed been a redistribution of income during the last decade. This happened primarily because of the increased bargaining power of the unions under condition of full employment. Unfortunately, instead of union bargaining strength having been concentrated in order to underpin the worker's claim for a family living wage much of it was frittered away politically and as a consequence the Welfare State was accorded the right to decide for the worker how to dispose of a considerable portion of Labour's increased share in the national income, with the result that the post-war increase in material well being has tended to reduce rather than increase family responsibility at the very moment when so Many
other forces are conspiring to undermine it.
Does Sir Henry seriously ask us to believe that the Angelic Doctor. St. Antoninus of Florence, and Cardinal Manning would have approved this totalitarian packetpicking? By courageously exposing this fraud during the last decade, Fr. Crane has performed an outstanding service not only to the Church but also to the working-class, and it is significant that he has won for himself an exceedingly warm place in the hearts of many
Catholic industrial wo ricer s throughout the country. But he has also made considerable impact
on other Catholic thinkers, such as Professor Fogarty, who a few tears ago was an enthusiastic supporter of the Welfare State but now agrees with Fr. Crane that the worker should buy what he needs with his wage packet instead of being a pensioner of the State.
Unfortunately, there are some whom even Fr. Crane has been unable to disinfect ideologically. hut anyone who is familiar with the kind of reception Fr. Crane gets when " on mission" throughout the country knows that his critics count for nothing among the Catholic body as a whole.
Mr. P. Conroy's " overwhelming majority of Guild members" at variance with Fr. Crane is a masterpiece of wishful thinking. The proof of this is the 12.000 plus circulation of the "Christian Democrat." Homish Fraser.
6 Robertson Crescent,