TRADES UNION CONGRESS GENERAL COUNCIL.
From Dr. H.B. MORGAN.
To SIR WALTER CITRINE.
Department Social Insurance.
Date 9th January, 1937.
CATHOLICS AND LABOUR.
This subject had better be dealt with as a whole. It bristles with difficulties because it involves the relationship between organised religion and a political party.
In the case of Catholicism it is especially difficult, because Catholics frequently hold that their faith is not only a religion but a philosophy, and a philosophy, therefore, which involves their whole attitude to and in life and affects their political convictions. The Church, on the other hand, whilst admitting this view, tends in Great Britain (and it is important to note that it is only, if not chiefly, in Great Britain) to keep the Church strictly within religious limits; and here they have avoided anything in the nature of political action associated with religion. Indeed, they have told me they have set their faces against any sectarianism in industrial organisation or any political action or parties. The conflict in Spain, of course, has now brought this matter more or less to a head, because while the Church itself, as a authoritative religion, has kept itself strictly outside of the struggle, the Catholic Press and many Catholic Societies have undoubtedly gone out of their way to insinuate more or less definitely that the Church, as a whole, is in sympathy with the Franco Rebellion and its objects. Indeed, judging from pronouncements in the Press of this country, many Bishops and Catholic clergy have made similar announcements from their pulpits, using alleged outrages on Catholics or Catholic places of worship by the Government troops or supporters as justifying their attitude.
There is nothing in the Catholic doctrine, so far as I know, which is against Socialism as an economic creed or a political faith. The Archbishop in his letter indicates somewhat vaguely that the Church has been exceptionally generous in its patronage in Great Britain "when some members of the Labour Party seemed to share in the condemnation of 'Socialism' by the Catholic Church", by their view that the Hierarchy would not allow Catholics to be severed from Labour because of a mere name or term such as "Socialism", in the confident feeling that in fact British Socialism would prove to be "Social Reform." In other words the Archbishop still has apparently at the back of his mind the view that Socialism, as an economic creed and a political faith, merits the condemnation of the Catholic authorities and officially of the Catholic Church. The Church has strongly set its face always against materialistic ideology, such as is involved in the materialistic conception of history of the Marxian type, and has disliked intensely the atheism