to our notice that many of the Aldermaston marchers are very young. that only a small proportion of them are Christians (why ?); that they often lack a sufficiently well thought out apologia for their protest; that Communists try their best to exploit the occasion for propaganda.
His account ef the song of -The Man Who Waters the Workers' Beer" (composed of strychnine. methylated spirits and paraffin, as well as a bit of water) was, however. all the more appreciated since the song seemed to have made such an undilute.dly serious impression on him. His explanation of motives is another matter. Having confessed his own damped spirits on the second day. his explanation of the marchers' carrying on is in terms of a simple demonstration of their staying powers. "They were determined, they told me' (how many of them, by the way, did he ask?) to show they could last out. This was why they marched." It sounds as though this was the only or at least the main reason why they marched; though only a little earlier we are told "Everyone felt he was sharing a special vision", that they were united in a "rosy glow". Having a glowing sense of purpose and merely having the purpose of showing one can hold out are hardly the same thing, or even compatible with each other, but each can easily be made to look just a little jejune; and help to prepare the ground for the confident conclusion: "Few join the March to express anger or disgust against the inherent evils of the bomb."
Perhaps the most dangerous feature of all in the report k the implication (never fully spelled out) that only those with religious convictions have properly any business to feel strongly about a moral issue.
As the moral case against nuclear weapons has been gaining in respectability among Catholic theologians, it has become customary, in a rrnmber of places, to abstain from opposing nuclear disarmament with reasons, and instead to emphasise "prayer" for peace as against public witness and political action. Nothing could be more deplorable. "Walking, walking. walking" is the only means thousands of ordinary people (and especially the young) have to express their conscientious objection to genocide.
whilst itself avoiding this kind of flat oppostion between prayer and action. does nothing to clarify
their relation in concrete terms and makes it still harder to understand what the CATHOLIC HERALD
now stands for in these matters.
Of course the abolition of nuclear weapons will not, by itself, guarantee peace or 'security. Of course many urgent problems will remain and some will only begin once we have decided to renounce nuclear weapons. But do you, Sir, accept or reject the submission that this is where we must begin? Or do you at least agree with Cecily Hastings' recent claim that no Catholic can conecientiously assent to the use of nuclear weapons upon cities?
Until you have clarified your paper's views and given us the reasons for these views on these questions. your readers are unable either to assess the meaning of your statements at various times, or to engage in rational discourse upon them.
Walter Stein Univereay of Leeds. Terence McQueen's final paragraph, "Only a small percentage support the (Aldermaston) March because they are Chrsitians ..." is a condemnation, not of the March, hut of Christians. While many thousands of Christians, Catholic and Protestant alike. could not join the March hut supported it with their prayers. and are active in work for peace, the fact remains that the majority are quite content to let the piling up and testing of nuclear weapons go on unchecked and thus bear their share in the terrifying guilt of those responsible for this crime against humanity and against God.
G. Paget King
SIL-In the correspondence in your paper on the question of the morality of nuclear warfare, too little attention has been paid to the question of the morality of the nuclear deterrent. The sort of enemy Russia is has a lot to do with question. Note in the following the three factors which decide the immorality of the deterrent: (a) the occasions for the moral use of the Bomb would, if they can arise at all, be few; (b) Russia is unscrupulous. and (c) it would, therefore, instil no fear in that quarter, if the nuclear threat meant "We shall reply to aggression by using the Bomb whenever it can be used morally." The threat means nothing at all unless it means 'We shall reply by letting hell loose, on combatant and noncombatant alike.'
Of course, such a threat is
immoral. Yet, if the Pope delivers an outspoken denunciation of all dependence upon the Bomb as a deterrent there will be levelled against him the cruel charge of betraying the whole free world into the hands of Communism. However. it would be the Church's greatest failure if she were not to deliver this condemnation.
Yet. doubts will still arise, notably, perhaps, in the mind of your correspondent who asks whether the Church has indeed spoken to the effect that 1Iiroshima and Nagasaki were to be condemned. Your correspondent has in mind that a means of warfare can be
permissible if what it seeks to remove is more evil that itself: the principle which he overlooks is
that only combatants may be the object of direct attack.
But, who are combatants? Being, as we all are, responsible in a minor way for the evil which is in the world does not make a person a "combatant" in war, nor is a person a combatant who, say, takes a hand in the manufacture of the fighting man's uniform, for this ministry to the soldier is directed to him rather as a human being than as a combatant. We all share the milli of Adam's sin, but we do not. in the same way, all share the guilt of our leaders sins, and only God has the prerogative of visiting the children with the sins of the father. Only a minority. therefore, of any nation is cornbatant in war.
Where an issue does not involve the Law of God, the Church. before speaking. can rightly he influenced by the question of how much will its solemn invitation go unheeded. Where it is the Law of God which is at stake the Church must speak, and. if it so happens, be rejected of men. As soon as the Holy Spirit prompts. Rome will majestically bring to an end the Nuclear Dilemma.
Damian Goldie Buckfastleigh. Devon.
few weeks ago you pub lished a letter from my sister, Ceeily Hastings, in which she pointed out that the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster in a sermon preached on Easter Sunday, 1958, said: "Nobody can subscribe to the thesis that it would ever be morally lawful to use indiscriminate nuclear weapons on centres of population which are predominately civilian," In the Times of Saturday, April 21, commenting upon Good Friday's testing of the Skybolt missile, it was stated: "Both Skybolt and Polaris would be used against cities rather than missile sites because of their relative inaccuracy."
Will someone please say whether it is possible to interpret the Times's statement (which one must assume to be authoritative) in any way other than that the intended use of Skybolt and Polaris missiles is immoral?
If this interpretation is correct, can a Cathplic support a government committed to these weapons without being in danger of grievous sin? J. F. W. Hastings
Flackwell Heath, Bucks.
-Miss Hastings (April 19)
insists that the Hierarchy have voiced certain views on the Bomb'. The Church never pronounces on anything without making its meaning clear beyond possibility of misinterpretation. The Pope has not pronounced ex cathedra on the Bomb and only he can bind de fide, but the views of the Hierarchy of course merit the most serious consideration. Where can get a copy of this statement of theirs on matters nuclear? I seem to have missed a.
(Miss) E. D. Turbin New Malden, Surrey.