I note that the Catholic Truth Society has published a new Catechism which has been approved by the hierarchy of England and Wales. 1 understand that as that society is the official publicist in Britain for the Holy See it can be taken that its publications concerning faith and morals are official in the broadest meaning of the term.
In the new Catechism there is the usual prohibition against membership by Catholics of secret societies which plot against Church or State, or which advocate immoral means to attain their ends. I note that membership of Statesponsored espionage organisations is not included in this ban, and to date I have been unable to ascertain why this is so.
Espionage organisations arc essentially secret societies — se secret, in fact, that very often their own governments don't know what they are doing. They are also engaged in criminal conspiracies against other established governments.
While most aspects of State activity claim to be subject to some kind of law, espionage alone operates independently of all law, human and divine, Espionage agencies have a carte blanche to engage in any activity they deem necessary to further their ends: bribery, blackmail, assassinations, forgeries, are all part of their routine modals operandi, The fact that the KGB is the biggest espionage agency in history cannot alter the fact that its rivals are every bit as devious and treacherous, and that there is no fundamental difference between therm
In the past the Catholic Church prohibited its members from joining the Masonic Order, even though the wildest accusations against the Masons were never proved. However, there is no lack of evidence regarding the amorality of espionage agencies, so that the Church authorities cannot plead ignorance as the reason for their silence.
If the national hierarchies of cartent countries are reluctant to condemn the covert machinations of their governments' intelligence agencies, then the onus must be on the Holy See to issue a general condemnation on the same line as the papal ruling on artificial contraception, irrespective of whatever political reaction may occur.
Failure to CIO so can only raise the suspicion that there is tacit acceptance of the Machiavellian dictum that raison d'erat knows no law and that there are in fact two laws — one for the rulers and another for the ruled.
Ronald Farrelly Dublin.