ISHOULD like to question some of the points made by Mr. St. John-Stevas in his comments (May 24) on the French crisis. First, what a bizarre company—Communists, Anarchists, Trotskyists, Maoists—and Mr. St. John-Stevas! Happy schadenfreude!
If Mr. St. John-Stevas has been to France in the last few years he will no doubt have noticed quite a few changes have taken place without the use of barricades or rioting.
By "selfishly pursuing the interests of France" President de Gaulle has changed his country from an international political joke to a leading world Power. As Mr. St. JohnStevas and his colleagues have done precisely the opposite to their country, one can understand their chagrin.
Nor should Mr. St. JohnStevas imagine that everyone is as pleased with our political system as he is—Dame Irene Ward and Mr. Wedgwood Benn in particular. And what political leader in this country dare submit himself or his policies to a referendum or even show us Parliament on television.
Of course Gen. de Gaulle refuses to let television get into the hands of his opponents— for this is the only way he can make contact with the people, as the entire French Press is anti-de Gaulle.
Finally, for Mr. St. JohnStevas to suggest that Gen. de Gaulle "staged" the Vietnam peace talks in order to "humiliate the Americans" is one of the most cynical remarks I have ever heard.
B. 0. H. Thomas Billericay, Essex THE attack on General de Gaulle by Norman St. John-Stevas in your issue of May 24 is so prejudiced and uncharitable that I can hardly believe he is writing for a Catholic paper. But perhaps he would rather see a Communist as leader of France than the great Christian gentleman and practising Catholic that is de G aulle!
Who is St. John-Stevas to award "condign punishment"
to anybody? F. Scott (Miss) Hove, Sussex.
NEXT time Mr. Flynn (May 31) chooses to fling mud in the Catholic press, he might at least bother to verify his facts. It was the Fellowship of Reconciliation which was most appropriately responsible for organising the "sign in" at St. Martin in the Fields on the issue of immigration. Christian Action also took part, and so did the Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop Butler. Are they also suspect of jumping on
the popular ( !) socialist bandwaggon?
Isn't it rather people who write letters of a racialist character who help to sap the moral fibre of this country?
Christian Action was specifically founded to fight against racial discrimination, firstly the one against the Germans. It has been driving this bandwaggon since its launching, often to the confusion of whatever Government happens to be in power, as can be witnessed by the stand it has taken over South Africa and Rhodesia.
It has not taken its lead from muddle headed politicians looking for easy votes by exploiting tragic social issues. The extreme Left and Right fish together in troubled waters.
Simon Blake, 0.P. Christian Action. London N.W.5.
1\T OR. M AN ST, JOHN-L SLEVAS' article "Clergy and laity -should help elect Pope" (May 17) states among other items that the general retiring age of clergy should also apply to the Pope . . that 75 is -too old and should be brought into accord with that current in the State.
Would he also apply that age to M.P.s? Or are they a class more necessary for the country to retain their services longer? Surety he is not serdously suggesting that just when years of experience are going to be fruitful they should be plucked off and east on to the heap!
Again, does he really think that an assembly of clergy and laity debating questions would come up with any better answers than those given by the Pope after consultation with the Cardinals? An assembly mark you, with an eligibility rule. required — that one is an Easter communicant, Not mu c h enthusia_stic spirituality for the Church of Christ in that lot, what? Give up Mr. St. John-Stevas. You're trailing your coat: but can't you see you've let your hem rather down.
"Concern" Edinburgh, 15.