Mr Erik Pearse claims (March 8) that the Justice and Peace Commission sees it as an essential part of its brief to disseminate the Church's social teaching: I would like to know about this teaching they disseminate. because it bears no recognisable connection with the Catholic Social Doctrine that I and many others learnt. I read plenty about their attempted interference with our country's foreign and commonwealth policy but nothing about what they do in the cause of justice for the English.
This is no rhetorical complaint. As I suggested in my previous letter (Fehrume 15)
our national economy is on the threshold of collapse. The continual ascription of wealth to ourselves. as one of the great "have" nations, is shown to apply rather to the Arabs. and we are learning to see ourselves not merely as a very poor nation. hut one in appalling debt, The appearances of wealth may still persist. hut are a sham. The reality of poverty will increasineIs make itself felt during the, year. as prices rocket and big wages buy less and less food. Does the Justice and Peace Commission know that we live on food arid not on trade deficits'? If so, what is it doing about it? Is it presenting to the Catholic adulthood a blueprint for survival and for an alternative society based on survival? (The Distributionists have, and still do.).
Those of us who have lived through two world wars have experienced strict rationing and the rush to subsistence farming — lasting. in each ease, for four years. These war-lime conditions are already in process of returning.
I willingly agree that Mr Pearse's Commission. and the other One, the Laity Commission, talk. form committees and sub-committees, nod wisely al one another, and pass resolutions; hut what do they do? Has any or them dropped his pen to seiee a trowel and learn to use it so as to help the housing shortage? Or to grasp a spade and work a smallholding to increase the nation's food supply?
If they claim, as they may do, that they arc administrators and theorists, what is this Catholic social teaching they are imparting: what guidance to our Catholic manhood to put them in the way of doing these things'? And t,ilso, how to reconstruct society on healthier lines?
They ceaselessly engage our sympathies for black Africans who, after all, if they dislike the white man's industrialism can go hack and subsist on their tribal lands. What of the English ssho have no tribal lands to retreat to? (They were filched away by the succession of Enclosures Acts.) Has this striking insecurity of their own countrymen ever crossed their minds? Have they. in fact. ever got down to a rigorous examination of Catholic economic principles in relation to their own neighbours?
I await Mr Pearse's answer. Harold McCrone Laxton. . Near Corby.