People and Freedom News Sheet. No. 1
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Fiat Justitia ... ! THE PEOPLE and FREEDOM NEWS SHEET ISSUED BY THE PEOPLE AND FREEDOM GROUP, 35, CAMPDEN STREET, LONDON, W. 8. No. 1. EASTER. 1938. Price 1D. THE PEOPLE AND FREEDOM GROUP 1. The aim of the Group is to promote a sound grasp of political and social problems, and to further the application of Christian principles to national and international life. 2. Membership is open to those (Catholics) who agree on the following issues: (i) The primacy of morality in political life and in economic and social relations. (ii) This morality to be that founded on the Christian tradition and on respect for human personality and its rights. (iii) The necessity for civil and political liberty, with a just balance between liberty and authority, as well as between the individual and society, in every type of modern State. (iv) Permanent union and cooperation between States on a basis of morality, with the progressive formation of international law. (v) The conviction that war should no longer be recognised as a legitimate means of settling international disputes and must be replaced by a system of voluntary or compulsory arbitration or by the decisions of an international court of justice, as the case may be. COMMITTEE Chairman: Mrs. V. M. Crawford. Conrad Bonacina. Barbara Barclay Carter, Hon. Sec. and Editor. Anthony Heron, Hon. Press Sec. Anthony Mouravieff. E. Roper Power, Ph.D., Hon. Treas. Dorothy Scott Stokes. The People and Freedom Group was founded in November, 1936, as a group of study and action, and its first Committee was elected on St. George's Day a year ago. SPAIN The first problem to be faced was inevitably that of Spain. Two papers were read by Mr. Anthony Mouravieff on the political antecedents of the insurrection, and, by invitation of Dr. Fairfield, Dr. Borkenau (author of The Spanish Cockpit) gave an objective account of his recent tour of investigation. It was decided that the policy of the Group should be to refuse to be drawn into partisanship of either side, and to concentrate on working for peace and in favour of every effort to mitigate the horrors of the conflict. As the war progressed, it came to be felt that the case of the Basques was a special one, and that this Christian people, fighting for its democratic traditions and its very existence, had done nothing to forfeit the sympathy natural in such a case. In February, 1937, the Group associated itself with the appeal for pacification launched by French (Continued in next column) CATHOLICS AND DEMOCRACY Democracy is passing through a critical period in Europe, and not less in that section of democracy that is based on definitely Christian principles. It is not only that dictators have triumphed in various countries, but that even the democratic countries appear to be suffering from a phase of defeatism causing many to question whether an attitude of extreme caution, not to say of pusillanimity, may not be the most suitable under existing circumstances. It is against this that all true democrats should protest with one voice. In England, since the death of Cardinal Manning, Catholic democrats have had few opportunities of making themselves heard, whether in the social or the economic field, and more and more of recent months Catholic opinion, as expressed in the Press, has been tinged with Fascist sympathies and dazzled by totalitarian achievements. Hence the need was felt by a few Catholic democrats for a new rallying-ground, and this led to the birth last year of our PEOPLE AND FREEDOM group. Briefly, we aim at giving expression, whenever suitable, to our Catholic convictions concerning the rights of human personality, the need for civil and political liberty and the essential evils of modern warfare. Our group, however, would feel somewhat forlorn if it knew it was lifting up a voice in isolation. Our hope and our courage come from the fact that we are in close touch with similar and far larger groups on the Continent. It is true the Catholic democratic groups in Germany, in Austria, in Italy, have been ruthlessly shattered by recent events and all powers of expression denied to them, but, happily, there are still France and Holland and Belgium where Catholics on democratic lines are taking a constructive share in public life. And it is with French democrats especially that we are in constant relations. There is a tendency in England to assume that France is divided between a Conservative Right and a very "red " Left and to ignore entirely that active mass of Catholic working-men represented by the C.F.T.C. with its 500,000 members, the only effective alternative to the powerful C.G.T., as well as the Jocistes, who were able last year to collect some 50,000 ardent young Catholics for a monster three days' demonstration in Paris. Then there is that valiant little daily, the "AUBE," fighting a strenuous battle for ideals with which we are in fullest sympathy, and finally the whole group of intellectuals, led by Maritain who, like ourselves, declines to be identified with Fascist policy even when professing Catholic principles and with whose pronouncements on international questions we have been proud to associate ourselves on recent occasions. We feel, in brief, there is room for a platform for opinions on events of the day which have hitherto largely lacked opportunities of expression, and that Catholic democrats abroad warmly welcome support however small, from co-religionists in England at a time when the English Government is coming to be regarded on the Continent as without sympathy for democratic causes. VIRGINIA M. CRAWFORD. PEOPLE AND FREEDOM! (Continued from previous column) Catholics (headed by MM. Maritain, Gay, Marc Sangnier Madaule, and Madame Malaterre-Sellier, which denounced the atrocities of the war, from whatever quarter they came, protested against the system- (Continued on page 2, column 1) "People and Freedom !" was the slogan with which a week of centuries ago the cities of Italy fought for their independence and that of the Church against the Emperor. It was revived in the days of Savonarola, the first Christian Democrat. It was revived again in the last century by Christian Democracy. The People — not the modern Moloch of the State, which, like an insurance company, has "neither a body to kick nor a soul to damn," but the community of human beings, the common good of whom must be the aim of all government The People is not the mob. The dictators appeal to the passions of the mob, by their parades and sham plebiscites, but government by the People for the People means free and responsible citizens, free because they are responsible, responsible because they are free. In a democracy each individual is free to denounce injustice and uphold right, and it is his duty in conscience so to do. Our age is an age of propaganda, which enslaves. Not only in the dictatorship countries, where the whole system rests on propaganda and suppression of the wholesome breath of truth, but in the democracies, where wealth gains a hearing denied to holy poverty. "The truth shall make you free" holds good not only in religious matters but in all things. Truth is the foundation without which nothing can be built and stand. All society rests on the principle that a man's word must be his bond, on the sanctity of the pledged word—marriage, contracts, the whole temporal and spiritual order. It is the kernel of half the fairy-tales. It is recognised in the pre-Christian adage: Pacts must be kept. Subversives of the Left would deprive society of its supernatural basis. Subversives of the Right would deprive it of its basis in (Continued in next column) They do not know how great a grace is this of liberty. SAVONAROLA. Verily, daughter, I never intended (God being my good lord) to pin my soul at another man's back, not even the best man that I know this day living: for I know not whither he may hap to carry it. There is no man living, of whom while he liveth I may make myself sure. ST. THOMAS MORE. The Church imposes on the faithful, as everyone knows, the dogmatic and moral truths which Our Lord Jesus Christ her Founder entrusted to her. Outside this domain, she leaves her children a wise and just freedom. . . Hence in the Church the diverse schools, multiple institutions, very varied currents of thought and action. Taken together, all these movements proclaim the love of a wise freedom and thus favour true progress. CARDINAL VERDIER. No Catholic can regard with indifference a state of affairs in which work is considered as a commodity and the worker merely as a ''hand," and not, as he primarily is, an immortal soul. He must want those conditions to be changed into something Christian and he must do what he can to bring about the change. He must not apathetically acquiesce in them. The position of Catholics in this country, few in numbers and weak in influence, makes for discouragement and may tend to create this apathy. But we must remember that God often chooses "the weak things of this world to confound the strong"; and in any case there is nothing to prevent us from setting our own house in order. CARDINAL HINSLEY. (Advent Pastoral 1937). (Continued from previous column) natural justice, which, says Dante, God created when He created Adam, and which Christianity came to crown and complete. Such are those who look indulgently on treaty-breaking, on hypocritical conformism enforced by law, on injustice from which they look for "good," on mendacious propaganda if it be emitted by the side they favour. Truth is the basis of justice and the basis of freedom, and conversely, freedom opens the gates to truth and justice. Like all precious things, they are not easily come by. In the freest political system, freedom must be a personal conquest; it cannot coexist with apathy and the blind acceptance of the mass mind, and like all virtues, it can be preserved only by being continually rewon. In this country, where freedom is attainable for those who will (a freedom not unqualified, a threatened freedom even now, to be jealously defended if it is to live), the voice of truth is none the less a still, small voice. We are pledged to seek to hear it and to make it heard. BARBARA BARCLAY CARTER.
|Archive collection||Archives of the Trades Union Congress|
|Archive folder||Spanish Rebellion: Fund 1938|
|Document title||People and freedom news sheet. No. 1|
|Issuing organisation||People and Freedom Group|
|Document date||Easter 1938|
|Copyright status||Current copyright holder unknown.|