R. BRA1NE, writing (December 2G) in the capacity, one would imagine, of an apologist for the American Government's military policy in Vietnam, neglects to mention that both sides "plan" and "approve" the atrocities inflicted upon the Vietnamese people.
The word atrocity, in his context, is merely academic. War of its very nature is an atrocity.
Doubtless the Vietcong do confer decorations on their heroes. likewise the Aniericans; few calculations are required to balance that equation.
Mr. Brainc would lead his readers to believe that the Vietcong countenance "no criticism of the conduct of the war." Quite' simple. were his readers lacking in perception! Surely he must realise that in the nature of things, any collective decision making process requires rigorous criticism, in order that unanimity be achieved. Are we supposed to accept that the Vietcong operate in a vacuum of mutual consent?
How, then, does Mr. Braine account for the evidence of a fierce power struggle within the highest echelons of the Vietcong since the death of Ho Chi Minh? A measure of this criticism is the constant shift of emphasis on their conduct of the war and the attendant reappraisals of its logistics and strategy.
But all too soon. alas, the partisan politics revealed in Mr. Braine's letter. dissolve disturbingly to the transparent extremism evocative of McCarthyisni and those adherents to the insane dictum that: "Extremism in the cause of Liberty is no vice" with his call for the use of "all means within our power" to defend ourselves against Communism.
With respect, should not the qualification "moral" or "legitimate appear somewhere here. Mr, Braille? Evidently not: for the extremist's canon, by virtue of its intent, never precludes the possible eventuality of a Vietnam nuclear Armageddon.
Yes, Mr. Braine, considered in that light, it is a terribly simple issue. Great issues always arc. when Man's innate sense of rationality is replaced by madness.
Anthony J. Brady London. E.8.
CAN John Braine give the slightest evidence for his amazing assertion (December 26) that "all Vietcong atrocities are planned and deliberate and approved of by the North Vietnam government"?
Apparently we haven't, a clue what our American allies are doing in Vietnam; if we had we should not need to keep referring to the "alleged" atrocity of Pinkville. Yet we know the inner workings of their enemy's mind. Truly an astounding feat of American Intelligence!
Yes, Mr. Brains, great issues are terribly simple. "It is not licit. even for the gravest reasons. to do ill so that good may come."
Humanize Vitae. Nor is it possible, "A bad tree cannot bring forth good fruit."
David Parr Bonnyrigg, Midlothian.
Purposes of marital intercourse
'THE confusion about sexual 1 intercourse persists in the correspondence of December 26, Dr. Darcy rightly states that to frustrate the purpose of an act while seeking its pleasure is wrong; this would be hedonism.
But to use this fo condemn contraceptive intercourse in marriage implies that reproduction is the sole purpose of the act and that those who practice contraception do so for pleasure, neither of which is true. Marital intercourse has other purposes besides reproduction; it expresses, and fosters love and promotes the stability of the family, and people have intercourse for these reasons.
This brings us inexorably back to the original question: when these ends are in conflict what in the nature of man and of marriage gives reproduction the priority?
Mr. Ombres demonstrates the difficulty of sustaining the natural law argument against contraception. Previously (December 5) he stated that the organs of reproduction must reproduce, but now (December 26) he recognises cycles of infertility as part of the built-in pattern.
If this is so. and it is right to make deliberate use of these cycles, then the argument that reproductive organs must reproduce, on which the condemnation of contraception was based. fails to the ground.
It is contradiction of this kind, which abound in the natural law argument, which have led to the conclusion that it cannot be sustained. This is particularly unfortunate at thepresent time when a strong and clear Catholic witness in this important area of human behaviour is needed, Dr. John Marshall London. S.W.20.
HERE have been several cases recently of multiple births resulting from women using fertility drugs. This appears to Inc. as a layman, to be interference with the natural law.
The Church condemns the contraceptive pill and other artificial methods of birth control because they interfere with the natural law. As yet, I have not seen any reference to the Church's attitude on the use of fertility drugs, so I presume that the Church is prepared to condone their use.
If my assumption is correct, I would like to know by what casuistry our theological experts can condemn a drug which limits births while approving of a drug which multiplies them.
J. B. Giiffin Leigh, Lancs.