It was noticeable that in your heavily-loaded list (January 27) of Left-wing literature on disarmament you omitted the CTS pamphlets on the subject. These demonstrate the Church does not condemn all nuclear warfare outright.
The pamphlets are "The Abolition of Nuclear Weapons" by P. E. Hodgson and "Nuclear Warfare" by Mgr McRccvy and P. E. Hodgson.
Though there was no mention of the more political than moral call of the bishops for unilateral disarmament, Pius XII said: "The community of nations must reckon with unprincipled criminals who, in order to realise their ambitious plans, were not afraid to unleash total war.
"That was the reason why all countries, if they wished to preserve their very existence ... had no alternative but to prepare for the day when they must defend themselves."
Nuclear retaliation was justified provided it had precise, narrow limits whose effects were limited to the "strict requirements of defence," said Pius.
Pius XII and successive Popes have said that there should only be simultaneous disarmament, not unilateral, and that there should be simultaneous disarmament if there were effective, genuine and workable safeguards. In the absence of such they give warning of thc grave danger of a sham simultaneous disarmament.
Russia is hell-bent on outright nuclear superiority, and so real hope of such agreement is surely Utopian. Since Russia is already in flagrant violation of its 1972 Strategic Arms Limitation agreement with the United States — and it was only United States reconnaissance which exposed these secret violations — the Church's insistence on only a genuine disarmament has great point.
As the Soviet Union resembles an ever more fearsome military machine and NATO forces grow weaker and weaker, it is clear the pastoral should have stressed legitimate defence against aggression.
M. Breheny Newcastle upon Tyne.
I listened with mounting horror to the bishops' pastoral letter read at Mass last Sunday. Suddenly, I was back at my convent school in 1938 speaking against the motion
"Peace at any price is better than
world war". The opposition motion won.
My generation knows the horrors of war. I nursed the shattered bodies of my countrymen, of Allies and of the captured enemy when serving with Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service, and can never forget those men who suffered and died so selfishly and bravely.
Total disarmament, never! How can we live in cloud-cuckooland and even dream that the Cornmunist countries will also lay down their arms?
It is argued that they too arm only to defend themselves, but until we
have concrete proof of this and see the withdrawal of their strategically placed armed shipping we must continue to spend our money on defence.
Who is not a pacifist? I wish with all my heart that my children and grandchildren will never know the carnage I did. Those men I nursed did not want to die in their teens and twenties, but they knew that peace could not be bought "at any price".
Leigh-on-Sea Essex Congratulations on your excellent Special Peace Report of January 27. It is high time that Catholics emerged from their Fifth Commandment fog, and began to see the real implications of Christian belief in love and peace.
If Christians fail to say "No" to the neutron bomb, with all its unholy family of destroyers, and are lukewarm in saying "Yes" to disarmament, to international courts of arbitration and to plans for justice and peace on all levels, then they are simply betraying the Gospel they profess.
As a distinguished Anglican reminds us: "Unless the Church repents and returns to faith in its own the Gospel, the whole ecclesiastical structure of a formal Christianity will crumble and fall in a generation".
Much more than this will crumble too: the time is later than we think.
(Dr) Margaret Matson Boars Hill, Oxford.
Since Vatican II, in order to encourage the laity to take a more active part in the Mass, members of the congregation have been chosen to read the lessons and occasionally the Bidding Prayers.
May I suggest that when selecting readers, two main -considerations should be made: First, an ability to read well. Too often the performance is rushed through at the gallop or mumbled inaudibly. It is essential that the congregation is able to hear what is said.
Secondly, the congregation consists of men, women and children. How often do we hear women readers? Many older children with a little help and encouragement are delighted to be asked, and it is a joy to hear their clear young voices.
Younger children can help in other
ways such as bringing up the offertory or handing out Mass leaflets or hymn books — thereby helping to make them feel involved.
The lapse rate among teenagers is terrifying. Many say they don't come to Mass any more because it is "boring" or "only for old people".
It is up to us all to act positively to do all we can to involve them and make them realise that it is their Mass every bit as much as ours. Reading the lessons is just one small way we can make a start.
(Mrs) Elizabeth Ward Dartmouth,