I was happy to note that Mr. McCrone (February 15) commended Mr. Kirwan's defence of the social teaching of the Church. I would like to reassure him, however, that the Justice and Peace Commission. which is privileged to have Mr. Kirwan as one of its members, sees it as an essential part of its brief to disseminate the Church's social teaching. Its origins. after all, are firmly rooted in Populorum Progessio.
Since Mr. McCrope questions the Commission's worth, I can only reply that, in budgetary terms, it is less than £11,000 a year — hardly the sort or sum to warrant an immediate in-depth impact across the nation, despite the immense amount of dedicated voluntary help which we are most fortunate to obtain. I am grateful to Mr. Wade (March 1) for his appreciative remarks concerning my article of February 15 on the oil crisis. I feel I must, however, reply to his criticism of the Commission's links "with such organisations as Pax Christi or the British Council of Churches."
I fail to see what can be gained by ignoring the frequently invaluable work, enthusiasm and deeply Christian motivation of such organisations, and deliberately going it alone. The organisations and resources supporting our objectives are scarce enough asjt is: God, forbid that we should limit them further.
Surely the principle of closer collaboration wherever possible between Christians and indeed all men of goodwill has been reiterated often enough in the social encyclicals of Popes John and Paul and in the Second Vatican Council?
On a personal note, I was amused by Fr. Paul Crane's. to me. paternalistic and also somewhat esoteric remarks (February 22) about my article. It seems to me that what he calls "that note of masochistic, social Puritanism" was, in fact, no more than an echo of Pope Paul's disturbingly hard-hitting Lenten Message.
Pope Paul does. after all, go out of his way to quote St. Basil, as follows:' "The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.
General Secretary Commission for International Justice and Peace 44 Gray's Inn Road,
London, WC I .