Cardinal prefers private approach
By a Staff Reporter
As the health of the jailed Price sisters Home Secretary. appealed to Cardinal Heenan to hunger strike.
But a statement from the Catholic Information Office pointed out that the Catholic chaplain to Brixton Prison, Fr Anthony Lawn, SJ, was responsible for the pastoral care of prisoners. According to the statement Archbishop Cowderoy of Southwark, in whose diocese Brixton stands, was satisfied that Fr Lawn was doing everything he could.
As prison chaplains are bound by the Official Secrets Act there is no question of Fr Lawn revealing any advice he has given to the sisters.
Speaking on BBC Radio's Today programme Mr Prior said that Mr Roy Jenkins, the Home Secretary, would not give in to moral blackmail by moving the Price sisters to Ulster in response to the hunger strike. He added: "It is my understanding that suicide is a mortal sin in the Catholic Church.
"The sisters are on hunger strike and may well die. Perhaps Cardinal Heenan could talk them out of it."
Cardinal Heenan, • speaking at the annual meeting of the Catholic Institute for International Relations, on Tuesday said: "You can imagine how many letters I have had in the last few days about the Price sisters, the IRA and the bombings." Where intervention was required he said he preferred to deal with matters in private, which was taken to imply that he had been in contact over the Price sisters with the Government.
Constant public pronouncements by Church leaders weakened their influence, he said.
Bishop Daly of Derry said he had asked the Home Secretary to transfer Dolours and Marion Price to a prison "on this side of the Irish Sea." Replying to Mr Jenkins' state
deteriorated this week, Mr James Prior, Shadow step in and urge the girls to end their 201-day
ment that he could not accede to an immediate transfer in response to intimidation Bishop Daly said: "I hope compassion will be shown in this case before it is too late and two more young lives are wasted.
."The British Government down the centuries has not been without guilt where Ireland is concerned. At times they seem to think that only they are guiltless.
"Certainly terrible things have been done by Irish people, but England must also take a large proportion of the guilt for the present suffering of the English and the Irish. They have also been guilty of terrible deeds. All the guilt is not on the one side."
Catholic theologians generally believe that a wilful huneer-strike to death constitutes suicide, but Fr Pius, OFM, lecturer in moral theology at St John's Seminary, Wonersh, Surrey, said that theologians could not Prejudge individual cases.
The issue last arose, said Fr Pius, in the case of Terence .MacSwiney . former Lord Mayor of Cork, who in 1920 starved himself to death in Brixton Prison. At that time moral theologians on the Continent, who were less emotionally involved in Anglo-Irish affairs, considered that deliberate self-starvation was a form a suicide.
But Fr Pius emphasised that final judgment on individual cases was reserved to God. The Church could not presume the worst in advance.
Lord Longford, speaking in the House of Lords, urged the Home Secretary to send the Price sisters back to Ireland immediately. In the course of a two-day debate on Northern Ireland the Catholic peer, who has visited the sisters, said: "Faced with this difficult decision, the Home Secretary has, up to now, come up with the wrong answer. I implore him to put matters right before it is too late."
Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, who also spoke in the debate, complained about Mr Wilson's reference to "spongers." "It is just not the way to talk about Irish affairs," said the Archbishop.
A joint party policy was needed on Northern Ireland, he said, and there should be an end to talk of withdrawing the Army if the present pause was to be used fruitfully.