15 MAY 1964, Page 12

CATHOLICS AND SALAZAR SIR,—Individual Catholics in Portugal are, I admit,

among the strongest supporters of Dr. Salazar's un- just and oppressive regime—Cardinal Manuel Cerejeira, Patriarch of Lisbon and a lifelong friend of the Premier's, is perhaps the most notable ex- ample. But to say, as Elizabeth Morris did in her article on May 1, that Salazar 'is revered . . . by Catholics' is to make a blanket indictment and do a grave injustice to a number of courageous people who are at this moment suffering persecution and are even in danger of their lives because of their opposition to his regime.

Surely Miss Morris does not forget that Catholics —Paulo Varela Gomes, a former captain in the Army, and Manuel Serra, a leader of the Catholic Juventude Operaria, a workers' youth movement— are the principal figures in the current trial in Lisbon following the armed revolt against Salazar in Beja two years ago?

Surely she does not forget that the Bishop of Oporto has been forced into exile because of his criticism of the regime? She must, too, have heard of those members of the clergy of the Diocese of Luanda in Angola who were deported for their anti-Salazarist views.

The paths of Catholicism and the Estado Novo diverged a long time ago; this was proved when the Portuguese authorities did their best to suppress the social teachings of John XXIII. One expects the Portuguese Government to try to make people believe it has the backing of the Church. It is sad to see this propaganda disseminated by others. HUGH 0.SHAUGHNESSY 10 Northampton Park, N1