Lion hitherto attempted can prove satisfactory. Until new principles obtain in European dealings with colonial and other races in Africa, we shall do well to have any commitments we may make carefully " vetted " by experienced administrators rather than follow the enthusiastic impulses of the Press and of the less responsible Members of Parliament.
IT is perhaps with some pardonable complacency that we watch the gradual improvement of Anglo-Spanish relations and the growing evidence that Spain does not intend to follow the unfortunate example of Italy. Some months ago, when British commentators were extremely uncertain about Spain's intendons, we asserted that Spain would never take any action that she knew to be contrary to Christian justice. A number of correspondents wrote back mockingly, but it is they who are proved to have been wrong, and not we ourselves. We are well aware that Spain does not view the moral issues in this war in exactly the same way as we do, and events have since rendered any open Spanish commitment to the Axis fortunes much more hazardous than they were, but we are convinced that General Franco, while desirous of safeguarding the interests and reasonable ambitions of his renascent country, has no sort of sympathy with the pagan and immoral ideals of Nazi Germany. Only one consideration would cause him to side with Hitler, and that is the conviction that this was the lesser of two moral evils. The greater, in his view, would be Spain's relapse into the anarchism, Bolshevism, and anticlerical masonry and liberalism from which he delivered her at such sacrifice. If he can be assured—and our present Ambassador in Madrid is likely to he able to do so—that Britain will support the moderate authoritarianism for which his regime stands and which is hest for France and Italy, then we never need have any fear as to the future actions of Spain. Those elements in this country who are doing their best to re-awaken anticlerical hostility in Latin countries are playing Hitler's game.
WHEN we say "anticlerical " we use the term in a wider sense than is commonly given to it in this country. We deplore as much as anyone the efforts too often made in the past by certain ecclesiastical influences on the Continent to play what is tantamount to a political role. A great deal of Continental anticlericalism has been duo to this, as well as to the narrow and reactionary views for which not a few of the higher clergy have stood in Latin countries. Unfortunately the attacks against this abuse of spiritual and moral authority have, under masonic and secularist leadership, extended to the whole idea of religious, spiritual and moral values. It is where " anticlericalism " means such an assault on the whole Christian traditions of a people—and it is phenomenon pretty well unknown as a political factor in this country's history -that we consider it the supreme evil.
It is one of the chief merits of national revivals, such as those of France's Spain, Salazar's Portugal, Pdtain's France, and at first of Mussolini's Italy, that moral authority and discipline are wielded by secular powers that feel themselves to be independent of ecclesiasticism. While the Church maintains her spiritual rights and primacy. religious and moral values work their way through the body politic by means of the right-mindedness of secular authorities and not through the interference of ecclesiastical bodies. This is the proper and the fruitful division of labour, and we cannot but feel that if British commentators studied the phenomenon more closely they would fear much less those reactionary influences which they attribute, rightly or wrongly. to the Church.
MR. KENNEDY'S SPEECH
" WHAT is best for the U.S.A.?" was " the keynote of Mr. Kennedy's recent speech. Mr. Kennedy is of Irish parentage and a Catholic. As such he might well take the view of one or other of the American isolationist groups and argue either that this is just another conflict of imperialisms in neither of which he is personally greatly interested or that it is on the whole better for America to avoid the evils of modern warfare at whatever cost. But he does not take these lines that are at least understandable.
He appears to approach the whole question in the sole light of utility. Though he talks in general terms about the evil of Hitlerism every tone and emphasis of his recent speech indicate that he is only considering where the best material interest of his country lies. He wants to help us win, if he conveniently can, but he is very far from being prepared to die for us or with us. One cannot but be somewhat shocked to find a great Catholic figure setting himself at the head of those elements in America who remove themselves most completely from the moral issues involved in the war, the more so as American public opinion, from long before the war, prided itself on giving the world a moral and idealistic lead in the matter. We must express our regret that a Catholic spokesman should stand out before the world as one who concerns himself least of all with spiritual and moral values. We should in fact have far preferred him to take up a pacifist or isolationist stand on spiritual grounds than be content to give us carefully limited support on purely utilitarian ones.