The following letter was written in 1932 by the late Father Coffey of Maynooth College in Ireland. It is addressed to a Canadian priest and is a reply to queries put to Father Coffey by that priest.
March 23, 1932
Dear Father: Thanks for your kind enquiries in yours of the 20th ult. I am not acquainted with The Catholic Mind, but I presume it copied my article from The Clergy Review.
The difficulties raised in your questions can be met only by reform of the financing system of Capitalism along the lines suggested by Major Douglas and the Social Credit School of Credit Reform.
It is the accepted financing system that is at the root of the evils of Capitalism. The analysis carried out by Douglas and his followers in England has been worked out independently by Foster and Catchings in their books "Profits" and "Business Without a Buyer", published by the Pollak Foundation (Houghton Mifflin Co.,'Boston, Mass., U.S.A.).
The accuracy of that analysis has never been refuted; but both the analysis and the reform scheme proposed by Douglas have been persistently boycotted (or misrepresented) by the Capitalist Press all over the world for the last fifteen years. Douglas gave evidence before the banking commission in Canada in 1923; and in spite of the boycott the proposals are becoming known — especially in Australia.
Unfortunately our Catholic Theological Censorship is so afraid of the result of the Social Credit Reform Scheme that its Catholic advocates (myself included) are prevented from publicly espousing it even though the Quadragesimo Anno emphasises the evil of the world-monopoly of financial credit, and by implication invites Catholics to explore and study it. Personally, I am convinced that Capitalist finance must inevitably breed wars, revolutions and artificial starvation of millions in a world of potential plenty. I see no prospect of the adoption of a sane system of financing in any country. And yet such a reform is essential to the reinstatement of a Christian economic system of widely diffused ownership, and is therefore the only alternative to a revolutionary, violent and godless Communism.
If you are sufficiently interested to follow up the line of inquiry suggested by those remarks you will find the enclosed catalogue helpful, though it is a little out of date, and many excellent books on the subject have been published within the past five years. I have studied the whole subject for fifteen years, but I am not yet free to publish the results of my investigations. This fact may lead you to believe that I am not a safe guide in the matter. Well, I can only say that I am honestly convinced that the Douglas Reform proposals do not run counter to Catholic teaching on Private Property, and are not socialistic. I believe that with their famous price-regulating formula they are the only reform that will go to the root of the evil.
I know for certain that the accuracy of the analysis (also contained in the Pollak books) has never been refuted. As to whether the constructive proposals for reform advocated by Douglas are feasible in the concrete — with the mass-psychology of the public and all the propagandist power of the Capitalist Press against them — that is in the laps of the gods! Only — as I see it — the alternative to their adoption is the chaos of Communism.
I enclose also two little pamphlets which I first wrote many years ago. They are rather out of date now. All the intent of the tragic transition from Capitalism to Communism now centres exclusively in finance.
With apologies for this rambling and hasty scrawl, I am, dear Father,