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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 21, No. 10. August 6, 1958

What Price Catholicism?

What Price Catholicism?

The Editor:


—Mr. R. Price's somewhat belated effort to refute statements made in an earlier letter of mine, is mainly notable for what it does not say; his lengthy effusion is a masterpiece of evasion, and attempts to conceal a lack of factual argument under a mass, of unconvincing propaganda. Indeed, so engrossed is he in annihilating my claims, that he manages to achieve the exact opposite.

His letter ignores my fundamental contention—that the Church of Rome exists primarily as a political organisation, and is unscrupulous in obtaining its desired ends. In fact, he tacitly (if unwittingly), admits as much by saying: "The Church's purpose is primarily other-worldly ..." What, then, may I ask, are its other purposes, and how can anybody existing for the "salvation of souls" possibly be justified in the vigorous and wholehearted participation in the realm of politics that characterises the Roman Church?

Casuistic bickering over differences between the "form of government" and "its purpose and methods' may sound well on paper, but even Mr. Price cannot honestly believe that these two are anything but inseparable in practice: they stand or fall together, and I must here reiterate my former statement that the Pope at no time objected to Fascism or Nazism unless his own particular interests were being adversely affected; at all other times he co-operated with Hitler and Mussolini enthusiastically and to his fullest extent.

The Pope attacked Mussolini's indoctrination of the children solely because he much preferred that they should have his own particular brand of political totalitarianism and absolutism pumped into them; he viewed bigoted Catholics much more favourably than bigoted Fascists, and the present flourishing condition of the Italian Communist Party does at least indicate that the Pope was fully alive to the possibilities of Italy turning away from Catholicism.

The Papal complaints about Nazism could be construed as an attack on almost anything or everything, but they were nothing more than a reprimand to Hitler for trespassing on the domains of the Church.

I thus render my thanks to Mr. Price for so ably (though, perhaps, unintentionally), supporting my earlier statement that the Pope only objected to Fascism when it inconvenienced the ambitions of his Church, and take this opportunity of reminding him that he has not managed to show any Papal condemnation of the countless acts of Fascist aggression and brutality, which was the basis of the original issue over the Papal encyclicals. Nor has he explained why the Pope hailed Mussolini as "a man sent by Divine Providence", a statement that more than justifies my associating the Pope with Mussolini (as they were in fact associated) over the tragedy in Spain.

R. G. Hall.

[Subject to a reply by Mr. R. Price, this correspondence is now closed.—Ed.]