AUGUST 14, 1957
HYDE PARK—The Vatican's answer to an appeal by Roman Catholic laymen of New Orleans against their archbishop's attitude on racial integration was an interesting one. The reply, I am sure, states the position of the Roman Catholic Church on segregation.
The statement said that the church is "concerned with souls, and all souls are equally dear to her" and, in view of this, must be unalterably opposed to all forms of discrimination or segregation, whether it be in New Orleans or in South Africa.
The Vatican spokesman pointed out that the Catholic Church has stood against racial discrimination as far back as Hitler's day when it was practiced against the Jews in Germany.
The church does not accept the argument, either, that segregation does not necessarily mean discrimination. The Vatican apparently takes the position that this matter was settled by the Supreme Court of the United States.
The spokesman for the Vatican also was concerned over a breach of form, calling it an offense against the church. The New Orleans laymen apparently should not have addressed their appeal directly to the Pope but rather to the Sacred Congregation of the Council, which is committed to "the universal discipline of the secular clergy and the Christian people." And the spokesman also was critical of their public appeal against their own ecclesiastical superior.
The backing of the Roman Catholic Church in the fight against segregation is important, for many other churches will gain courage in their opposition by the mere fact that the Roman Catholic Church has spoken out.
The Polish government evidently has decided to curb what it calls "excessive" incomes among its citizens. The government is especially interested, of course, in collecting more income taxes from the non-socialized economy, which means those people in Poland who do not belong to the Communist Party.
Under the new decree, no Pole will be allowed to keep more than what amounts to, at the tourist rate of exchange, $652 a month. All income above this amount will be confiscated, and this applies to a husband and wife as one individual.
Of course, exceptions are made. "Persons paid for their creative work or their scientific, educational, artistic, literary or journalistic activity" will be allowed to bank their income and will be taxed only on what they spend. This is much the same as is done in the Soviet Union, where people in these same categories are allowed to make more than others.
One wonders about the cost of living in Poland, for that would determine the standard of living that this income would allow.
We know so little about the real operation of the economies of countries behind the Iron Curtain that it is hard to tell what a decree such as this really means to the people. It evidently is supposed to affect primarily those who are better off and not do much to the working class. And so it is difficult to tell whether or not the recent disorders in Lodz, Poland, were a reaction to this rule.
(Copyright, 1957, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 14, 1957
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University Old Main Building, Suite 406 1951 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20052
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