Category Archives: Bishops’ Pastorals

Patrician Year (1961): Archbishop McQuaid on the Conclusion of the Dublin Congress



The following letter from the Most Rev. John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, was read out in all the churches of the Archdiocese of Dublin on Sunday, July 9th, 1961:

Very Reverend and Dear Father,

I wish to thank you for your share in the success of the Dublin Congress of the Patrician Year. I am grateful for the spiritual preparation that you organised in your parish.

It is a duty, but very much more a privilege, to thank the Faithful for their most generous co-operation. The very great numbers of those who went to Confession and received Holy Communion are an immediate proof of the Faith with which our appeal was answered. The marked place in the Congress taken by young persons, boys and girls, is to me perhaps the most consoling feature of all the week, for where the youth are interested, the future is secure.
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Patrician Year (1961): Cardinal D’Alton’s Pastoral Letter


Cardinal D’Alton enters Croke Park on the final day of the Dublin Congress, 25th June, 1961

The following letter from Cardinal John D’Alton, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, was read out in all the churches of the Archdiocese of Armagh on Sunday, 12th March, 1961:

In a few days time Ireland will begin the solemn commemoration of the fifteenth centenary of the death of St. Patrick. Here in St. Patrick’s own city of Armagh the Irish people, represented by dignitaries from the four provinces of the land, will give thanks to God for the Saint who came to us over fifteen hundred years ago and brought us the gift ‘more precious than gold,’ of the Catholic faith. On that day too, Ireland will be joined by Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops from all over the world who are coming to share our joy and to unite with the Irish people in giving thanks to God for all that He has done for Ireland through Saint Patrick and for the Church through Ireland.

Above all, the occasion will be crowned with the presence of the special Legate, His Eminence Cardinal McIntyre, whom our beloved Holy Father is graciously sending to us to preside, in his name, over the solemn ceremonies. The successor of Pope Celestine who, over fifteen hundred years ago, sent his missionary to pagan Ireland, to-day sends his own Legatus a latere to an Ireland which has remained faithful through the centuries to the words of her great Apostle: ut Christiani ita et Romani sitis.
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Day of National Thanksgiving: Cardinal MacRory’s Statement


The following statement was issued by Cardinal Joseph MacRory, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, on 7th June, 1945:

Some days ago it was suggested to me by some of our Bishops that I should appoint a Day of National Thanksgiving to Almighty God for having saved our dear country from the horrors of war. Before doing so I thought it advisable that the members of the Standing Committee of the Bishops should be consulted, and it is only to-day that I have received the last of their replies.

All are strongly in favour of the suggestion, and I now appoint the 29th of June — the great Feast of SS. Peter and Paul — as the Day of National Thanksgiving.

Fortunately the Irish Government has just declared the 29th of June a Bank Holiday, and this will leave the great bulk of the people free to join in the religious celebration. The details of the devotions for the occasion will be arranged by the Bishops at their general meeting in Maynooth about the middle of the month and announced in due course.

Irish Hierarchy’s Statement on the Turmoil in Argentina



The following statement was issued in 1955 by the Irish hierarchy at their June meeting in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth:

The Catholic Hierarchy of Ireland, assembled at Maynooth on the occasion of their general meeting, express their deep sympathy with the great Catholic nation of Argentina in the grievous trials which it has endured during the last year.

Recalling the many links that bind our countries we ask our people to offer fervent prayers that God may restore peace, liberty of conscience and the tranquility of order to the Argentine Republic.

Given at Maynooth on 21st June, 1955.

Signed on behalf of the archbishops and bishops of Ireland.

Chairman

+JOHN D’ALTON,
Archbishop of Armagh,
Primate of All Ireland.

Secretaries

+WILLIAM MacNEELY,
Bishop of Raphoe.

+JAMES FERGUS,
Bishop of Achonry.

Letter of Cardinal Louis-Joseph Luçon, Archbishop of Reims, to Cardinal Logue (November, 1921)


My Lord Cardinal,

Had I listened only to the promptings of my heart I should long since have responded to the cry of anguish and alarm sent forth by you a year ago on behalf of your country; I should have given expression to my fraternal sympathy and ardent good wishes to your Eminence and to your venerable brethren the Bishops of Ireland.

France, Catholic France, true to her natural instinct of generosity towards suffering, has always loved Ireland. Yes, we love the Irish race, so great amid trial, so obedient to the voice of its spiritual guides, and in spite of its long-drawn-out martyrdom so firm in its trust in Divine justice.
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Archbishop Dominique Castellan’s Letter to Cardinal Logue


Monsignor Dominique Castellan, Archbishop of Chambéry, sent the following letter in January, 1921, to Michael Cardinal Logue, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland:

At a moment of sorrow for the Church of France you have been good enough to incline yourself towards the poor diocese of Digne, and to come to the help of its priests and its Bishop. Ireland suffers today cruelly. The fires and the murders ring sorrowfully in your soul of a pastor and a father, but France has always loved Ireland. It would be shameful if in the present trial of Ireland the heart of France though itself fettered by a political alliance, and if the voice of her commiseration, cautiously suppressed, were not lifted in favour of your bruised nation.

I remember O’Connell and Lacordaire. I remember your heart so tender for all those who suffered and, even if I were to find myself alone I am anxious to raise my voice to address to you, pastor and father of Ireland, the testimony of my sympathy for you and for your people.

Spanish Civil War: Letter of the Cardinal Primate of Spain to Cardinal MacRory



The following letter was sent in December, 1937, by Isidro Cardinal Gomá y Tomás, Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of Spain, to Joseph Cardinal MacRory, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland:

Your Eminence,

It was with deep emotion and gratitude that I received the message which, on behalf of the Bishops of Ireland, Your Eminence was good enough to address to the Prelates of Spain in response to our collective letter.

The Spanish Episcopacy has the honour to acknowledge in this connection the gratitude inspired by the continuous proof of fraternal affection and solidarity with which we have been favoured by our brothers in Ireland in these days of our terrible trial. *
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Statement of the Standing Committee of the Irish Hierarchy on the Vernacular (1964)


The Standing Committee of the Irish Hierarchy at its meeting at Maynooth today had under consideration the implementation in Ireland of the Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council, in accordance with the result of the Motu Proprio of His Holiness Pope Paul VI, of January 25, 1964.

A report from the Liturgical Commission appointed by the Irish Hierarchy last December and reports from different dioceses were before the meeting. Several degrees and methods of utilising the vernacular Irish and English, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass were formulated, and these will be submitted for decision to the plenary meeting of the Irish Hierarchy in June. The final approval of these decisions rests with the Holy See.

The Standing Committee also considered the application of the new liturgical laws of the Divine Office and the Ritual for the Administration of the Sacraments and the funeral service. It will be recalled that the Ritual which was introduced in Ireland by the Hierarchy in 1958 with the approval of the Holy See, already anticipated many of the recommendations of the Second Vatican Council with regard to the use of the vernacular.

Given at Maynooth on 7th April, 1964.

Signed on behalf of the archbishops and bishops of Ireland.

Chairman 

+WILLIAM CARDINAL CONWAY,
Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.

Secretary 

+JAMES FERGUS,
Bishop of Achonry.

Centenary of the Church in New Zealand: Irish Hierarchy’s Letter of Felicitations


The Irish bishops resolved to send two letters to counterparts abroad during their October meeting in 1937 at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. One was a Reply to the Spanish bishops concerning their Letter on the Civil War in Spain (incidentally today is the 75th anniversary of that War’s outbreak), and another letter, appended below, to the bishops of the Church of New Zealand —  one of the farthest-flung outposts of the massive ecclesiastical empire that was then Irish Catholicism.

At that time Catholicism was a very important factor in how the Irish seen themselves. Just as in the other traditionally White Anglo-Saxon Protestant countries (USA, Australia, Canada, Great Britain) Irish Catholic immigrants and their descendants in New Zealand faced considerable ethnic and religious discrimination.  This, along with the Church’s extensive educational and social infrastructure, helped keep intact a cohesive Irish Catholic community, often maintaining a very distinct communal identity and cherishing its ties to the motherland. This is reflected in the mother-daughter style language of the letter and the response. (The recipient of the letter, Most Rev. James Liston, Bishop of Auckland, was himself a son of Irish Catholic immigrants and had given a controversial speech in 1922 on the Irish political situation, which caused uproar among New Zealand’s ferociously imperialist British Protestant population and provoked William Massey’s government to prosecute him for ‘seditious utterances’.)

Your Excellency,

We, the Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All-Ireland, and the other Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland assembled at our annual October meeting in Maynooth College, offer to your Excellency and to the Archbishop and other Bishops of New Zealand our felicitations and affectionate greetings on the occasion of the commemoration of the Centenary of the Church in New Zealand, and we thank you for your kind invitation to us to participate in the celebrations with which you intend to commemorate the first Centenary of the Church in your country.

This, indeed, is for you an occasion for much thankfulness, great joy and legitimate pride. One hundred years ago the faithful numbered but a very few scattered throughout your land; New Zealand was without her priesthood. To-day New Zealand has her Hierarchy, her very efficient and zealous clergy, her many flourishing Religious Communities of men and women, her well-equipped Catholic colleges and schools, her numerous well-instructed and faithful laity.

Greatly may you rejoice in the extraordinary changes brought about in this comparatively short period. Justly may you feel proud of the many labours and triumphs of that time, and especially those wrought by pioneers of Catholicity in your land.

As a mother participating in the triumphs of her children, we unite with you wholeheartedly in your rejoicings; for truly can it be said that the Church in New Zealand was begotten and nurtured by Irish faith and Irish missionary zeal. Our ancestors carried the faith first given them by St. Patrick to many parts of Europe, to England, Scotland, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

There are many epic tales of their self-sacrifice, their labours, their sufferings and their achievements in the cause of Christ; but we do not know any story that is more appealing or which better illustrates the marvelous fidelity and virtue of the Irish Catholic laity than that of Thomas Poynton and his heroic wife.

As your Excellency is aware, we in Ireland, quite recently celebrated a Centenary — the fifteenth Centenary — of the Catholic Church in Ireland. The success of our celebrations, in point of external manifestation, is a matter of world-wide knowledge. Less widely known, though more important, are the wonderful changes which these celebrations have wrought in the lives of many individuals and the lasting increase in knowledge and love of the Sacrament and Sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist which they have effected amongst our people. That your celebrations may be similarly successful is our ardent wish and prayer.

His Grace of Tuam, Most Rev. Dr. Gilmartin, has consented to act as our representative and to take part with you personally in the celebration. Those of us who cannot be present in person will be with you in spirit during those great days, and we will invite our people to join with yours in imploring God to grant still more abundant graces to the Church in New Zealand.

With respectful good wishes to your Excellency and to the Archbishop and other Bishops, we remain, on behalf of the Irish Bishops,

Yours very sincerely in Christ,

+JOSEPH CARDINAL MACRORY,

+JEREMIAH KINANE

The following reply on behalf of the Bishops of New Zealand was sent to Cardinal Joseph MacRory, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland:

Your Eminence,

The gracious letter that you have sent to the Archbishops and Bishops of New Zealand for our Centenary in the name of the Hierarchy of Ireland touches us deeply, and when it is made known to our people we are sure it will go straight to their hearts. We unite in offering this expression of our gratitude ex imo corde to Your Eminence and to the Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland for your letter, your sharing in our joy, and the gift of your prayers.

In a very special way do we thank you all for the signal honour you are showing in asking His Grace the Archbishop of Tuam to be personal representative of our Mother Church. That favour and his presence will crown our joy.

With profound respect to Your Eminence, and cordial greetings to the Archbishops and Bishops, I am,

Yours sincerely in Christ,

+JAMES M. LISTON,
Bishop of Auckland.

1965: Archbishop McQuaid’s Regulations on the Use of English and Irish in the Liturgy


The following regulations, of an initial character, concerning the use of the vernacular in the Sacred Liturgy, shall come into effect throughout the Archdiocese of Dublin, on Sunday, March 7.
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Bishop Daniel Cohalan on the Persecution of the Church in Eastern Europe


The following pastoral letter was issued by the Most Rev. Daniel Cohalan, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, on 1st April, 1954:

Passion Sunday, 4th April, has been set apart by the Church as a day of special prayer for the clergy, religious and many millions of our fellow-Catholics in Eastern Europe and in other countries under Communist control who are enduring persecution for the Faith and reduced to silence.

A bond of union exists between all the members of the Church under Christ as their Head. We should try to make next Sunday, therefore, a worthy manifestation of that spiritual solidarity between all members of the Mystical Body of Our Redeemer.

Think of Catholic Poland, so often compared to Ireland: of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, the other Balkan states; the Baltic states, China, etc. now under the domination of atheistic Communism, with their Bishops often arrested and perhaps taken away to an undisclosed prison; their children taught that there is no God and discouraged from going to Mass or the Sacraments.

Let us pray God, therefore, through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, to give these Catholics (estimated at a hundred million souls) who groan beneath the iron heel of Communist tyranny, strength to bear witness to Christ and His Church as well as consolation in their trial.

Our fathers in the faith here in Ireland were arrested, imprisoned and often condemned to death, so we can understand and sympathise with our fellow-Catholics who are suffering persecution in our own time. The customary trumped-up charges of high treason, espionage, illegal currency dealings, etc., are merely the common formula of indictment against anybody who is obnoxious to a Communist Government.

I ask the clergy and faithful people of the Diocese to pour out their souls in fervent prayer on Passion Sunday on behalf of our suffering fellow-Catholics.

Let each of us try to be as ardent in the cause of Christ as Communists are in attacking God and religion. And in general, let us all try to appreciate the dangers which threaten our Christian civilization and the urgent need of assistance from God if the catastrophe is to be averted.

I authorize the priests to offer up prayers, hold Holy Hours, special devotions, etc., for the intentions of the Catholics who are suffering for the Faith.

+DANIEL COHALAN,
Bishop of Waterford and Lismore.

Letter of the Archbishop of Cashel to King Philip II of Spain, 26th July, 1570


Encouraged by the confidence I have in your Catholic Majesty, I have dared to speak more freely than perhaps I should have done, but I trust your Majesty will excuse me, as the business is of such importance.

I understand that the English, after having done us all the harm they could, wish to make peace with your Majesty, which is with no other intention than that they may be able, after the peace is concluded with your Majesty, to treat us more freely by doing all the mischief they wish against us. These injuries, which will be felt by all in general, will be more terrible for myself, because our chieftains have had great confidence in your Majesty, and I have written many times encouraging them to resist the English, assuring them that your Majesty would not fail to send assistance, as I was told by the Cardinal and other men of high position in the name of your Majesty. We have refused on this account, many times, the pardon the English have offered us for the past, telling us to enjoy our goods and lands as before, on condition we would be of their opinion, and recognise Her Majesty as Sovereign and Queen.

Neither can your Majesty conscientiously refuse to send us some assistance in virtue of the promises made through me by your Majesty, and that without delay, as we have already been kept in suspense for one year and three months; for, you must hold in mind that your Majesty is the Catholic King, having received that name from your ancestors for the increase of Catholic faith, by favouring the cause of Catholics. In, the same way as the Queen of England has favoured and favours the rebel heretics in France, your Majesty can, in an underhand manner, send some assistance to our chieftains, in arms and men, under pretence of their going to Holland, who, contrary to your will, or for some other cause, should go to Ireland.

Your Majesty has now a good opportunity for so doing, by taking advantage of the arrival of that Englishman, Thomas Stukely, who has received such insults from his own countrymen that he will not fail to do them all the harm he can. He is a very daring man, clever in war matters, in which he has been engaged most of his life. He is well acquainted with our own country, its forts, its harbours. I have been informed that he has brought with him experienced mariners from all parts of Ireland. This is the most favourable season in the year, because now our land abounds with good corn and meat, much more than at other seasons of the year; besides if your Majesty does not send some succour within three months, the English will take such hold of our forts and harbours, that even if your Majesty were to make use of all your power, you would not overcome them. I mention this, because I have been informed that the English are making great preparations, and are endeavouring to take possession of the whole country, and to keep it in such subjection that the natives shall no longer be able to make any resistance as they have hitherto done in some places. If the English succeed in their plans (which God forbid), your Majesty will have the worst enemies whom you have ever known. All this your Majesty can prevent now, with the assistance of a few men, by being the first to take possession of the ports and fortresses. The whole success depends on celerity, for your Majesty will be able to do with 10,000 men, and a little expense, what you will not afterwards be able to accomplish with 100,000 men and all available power. If perchance your Majesty is not satisfied with my embassy, or doubts lest perhaps those who sent me should not keep their word, let your Majesty send some one with me to my country, and I shall make those chieftains place their fortunes and estates under your Majesty’s jurisdiction by oath, or give any security required by your Majesty until they fulfil what they have promised. If it does not please your Majesty to send prompt assistance, as I was promised by the Cardinal and other noblemen in your Majesty’s name, I request your Majesty to grant me the favour of allowing me to return to my native land, that thus I may discharge my conscience of the great weight I have from the Church, and apologise to my brethren for my delay, by testifying my willingness to die for the Catholic faith, and for the liberty of my country, as much as each of them does. My remaining here would only serve to increase the expenses of your Majesty, without any benefit to myself or my country.

The humble servant and chaplain of your Majesty,

MAURITIUS CASSELLENSIS,
Archiepiscopus.

Bishop Denis Moynihan on Rural Dramatics


Click here to view Catholic photos from Kerry (1953-1966)

Click here to view photos from cultural and social events in Kerry (same period)

Cultural, social and sporting activities in 1950s Ireland were usually hosted, patronized or organized by local parishes. (Even today most GAA clubs define their catchment areas in accordance with local parish boundaries.) Accordingly, the Kerry Drama Festivals were traditionally opened by the local bishop. At the annual festival in Killarney, 13th April, 1959, Bishop Denis Moynihan (after whom the cup awarded to Kerry GAA Senior Football Championship victors is named) noted in the course of his opening speech:

There is no dearth of dramatic talent in our rural communities, and I am so glad to see so many of our talented young priests in the parishes in which they work taking such an active interest in rural dramatic societies by encouraging and preparing the members to take parts on the stage.

In the old days, people provided their own entertainment, and in every townland and village the majority of the people could sing and dance and recite and an astonishing number of them were musicians.

In more recent years the people looked for their entertainment to the radio, the cinema and the gramophone.

The formation of dramatic societies in rural areas is a step in the right direction. These societies help to brighten the lives of the people and those who take part in the plays are considerably benefited.

After the players appear a number of times on the stage they lose that shyness which is a characteristic of so many of our boys and girls. They are helped to speak properly, emphasising the proper words and suiting their actions to their speech. If the Kerry Drama Festivals did nothing only help the formation of rural drama societies they would do very good work and this good work they have done.

Archbishop Thomas Morris’ Pastoral Letter on Dancing



The Most Rev. Thomas Morris, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, issued the following pastoral letter on dancing on the 2nd September, 1960, and requested the organisers and promoters of dances in his archdiocese to observe the stated principles:

As my office imposes on me a special solicitude for the moral welfare of my flock, I consider that action is necessary with a view to introducing the following principles for the regulation of public dancing in the Archdiocese:

(a) that all dances should end not later than 1 a.m. Summer Time, while Summer Time is in force, and not later than 12 midnight during the remainder of the year;

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Statement of the Hierarchy of England and Wales on ‘Humanae Vitae’


The Bishops Conference of England and Wales released the following statement on the 17th September, 1968, after a seven-hour emergency session held to discuss the fallout from the release of Humanae Vitae:

1. When Pope Paul issued the Encyclical “Humanae Vitae” he asked the bishops to see that his teaching was presented in its true light “that is, to show its positive and beneficent aspect.”

The Encyclical, nevertheless, concerning as it does the source of human life, was bound to arouse strong feelings. Whatever decision the Holy Father made was bound to be a test of faith. Some Catholics were convinced that a change in the moral teaching and practice of the Church was inevitable. Others were just as strongly convinced that any change would be a betrayal of the faith.

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Patrician Year (1961): Irish Hierarchy Announce Celebrations



The Irish hierarchy issued the following statement in 1960 at their October meeting in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth:

The Hierarchy propose to celebrate in 1961 the fifteenth centenary of the death of Saint Patrick, the most commonly accepted date for the death of the Saint being 461 A.D. The opening ceremony is planned for St. Patrick’s Day in the Primatial City of Armagh, so closely associated in Irish tradition with the life and work of our National Apostle. The ceremony will be followed, it is hoped, by other celebrations arranged by direction of the local Ordinaries, in places particularly associated with St. Patrick, such as the holy mount of Croagh Patrick, or noted as centres of especial devotion to the Saint, such as St. Patrick’s Purgatory, Lough Derg.

Eminent dignitaries from abroad, especially from dioceses or institutions under the patronage of St. Patrick, will be invited to participate in the national celebrations. Invitations will be extended also to representatives of continental centres of Patrician devotion, and to representatives of countries evangelised by Irish missionaries.
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Irish Hierarchy’s Statement on the Spanish Civil War


The Irish hierarchy issued the following statement in 1936 at their October meeting in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth:

We, the Bishops of Ireland, avail ourselves of the opportunity of expressing our profound distress at the sufferings inflicted on the Catholics of unhappy Spain.

We know how shocked and horrified our people have been by the brutal outrages on religion and humanity perpetrated by the Communistic faction there and how deeply they sympathise with that great nation in the tragedy of ruin and shame it has been made to endure at the hands of an infamous minority under foreign direction.

Spain at this moment is fighting the battle of Christendom against the subversive powers of Communism. In that fateful struggle it has, we believe, the prayers and good wishes of the great body of Christians throughout the world, and nowhere more than in Ireland, which is not unmindful of Spain’s kindness to our ancestors.
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Irish Hierarchy’s Reply to the Joint Letter of the Spanish Bishops


Cardinal Joseph MacRory: “There is no room any longer for any doubts as to the issue at stake in the Spanish conflict . . . It is a question of whether Spain will remain as she has been so long, a Christian and Catholic land, or a Bolshevist and anti-God one.

The Irish hierarchy issued the following reply to the Joint Letter of the Spanish Bishops at their October meeting in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, 1937:

Venerable Brethren,

It is not without profound emotion that one can read the noble and touching Letter addressed by your Excellencies to the Catholic Episcopate throughout the world.

There, in a document of rare dignity and calm sobriety of expression, instilled throughout with the true spirit of Christian charity, may be found an exhaustive vindication of the Venerable Church of Spain against the odious calumnies heaped upon her by the enemies of the Christian faith, and an overwhelming answer to the reckless misrepresentations with which so large a section of the Press seeks to cloud the issues at stake in the lamentable conflict now raging in your sorely distracted country.

In a simple exposition of the facts and a calm and authoritative analysis of the situation, devoid of vehemence and rhetorical device, you have given the world your solemn witness to the truth, in language at once restrained and convincing, making cogent appeal to the conscience of mankind and to the ultimate verdict of history.
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Joint Letter of the Spanish Bishops to the Bishops of the Whole World Concerning the War in Spain, July 1st, 1937


Venerable Brethren,

The Catholic peoples are wont to help one another mutually in days of affliction, thus practising the law of charity and brotherhood which joins in one mystical body all of us who hold communion in the thought and love of Jesus Christ. The natural organ of this spiritual interchange is formed by the Bishops, who were put by the Holy Ghost to rule over the Church of God. Spain, which is now suffering one of the greatest tribulations of her history, has received many proofs of affection and condolence from the Catholic Episcopate abroad, either in collective messages or singly from many Bishops. And the Spanish Episcopate, which has been so terribly tried in its members, in its clergy, and in its churches, wishes to give response to-day in this joint document to the great charity which has been shown us from all parts of the world.

Our country is undergoing a profound upheaval; it is not only one of the bloodiest of civil wars which fills us with tribulation, it is a tremendous commotion which is shaking the very foundations of social life, and has put in danger our very existence as a nation. You have understood it, Venerable Brethren, and ‘Your words and your heart have opened unto us,’ we will say with the Apostle, letting us see the depth of your charity towards our beloved mother country. May God reward you for it.

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Archbishop John Charles McQuaid: “No change will worry the tranquility of your Christian lives”


The following sermon (posted below) was given by the Most Rev. John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, at thanksgiving devotions in the Dublin Pro-Cathedral on the 9th December, 1965. Following the devotions — which had been organized in response to the specific requests of Pope Paul VI — the Archbishop imparted Benediction, at which the Te Deum was sung.

The sentence quoted in the title is often represented by Establishment commenters (whether media, academic, or ecclesiastical) as epitomical of Archbishop McQuaid’s reactionary attitude towards change in the Church.

During the first session of the Second Vatican Council, Archbishop McQuaid distinguished himself as the only member of the Irish hierarchy to make a contribution — and did so from a predictably conservative standpoint. As a lover of Latin language and culture, he viewed proposals for an all-vernacular liturgy as tantamount to vandalism. He also expressed his opposition towards suggestions that competence over the local liturgy be transferred from individual bishops to national episcopal conferences.  Xavier Rynne (the chronicler of the Council) records that “Archbishop McQuaid of Dublin came out once more against any thought of change”. Sensing the progressive trajectory of the Council (as well as the lack of receptivity towards his conservative positions) he remained aloof from the next three sessions.

Archbishop McQuaid took a low view of ‘aggiornamento’ and found it very hard to adapt to the rapidly changing Church of the 1960s. Indeed, he has been demonized ever since as an obscurantist authoritarian. His implementation of the liturgical reforms was very conservative, and frustrated more radical, younger clergy (some of whom would later defend his legacy against lazy liberal caricatures).

For five long years the bishops of the world have been sustained by your constant prayers. In the very laborious session of the Council we have felt the power of your prayers, and if the Council was concluded in a spirit of peace and unanimity we owe that grace to God the Holy Ghost and to the intercessions of Our Blessed Lady.

On Wednesday, 2,300 fathers parted. It was a sad moment, for we shall never again see one another in this life. Drawn from every corner of the world, the Bishops had prayed and worked together for a long time.

Now is our work completed: in union with the Pope, our decrees were drafted, voted on and preached. One could not but feel that God the Holy Ghost had guided our deliberations and gently brought them to a firm conclusion. You may, in the last four years, have been disturbed by reports about the Council. May I, who have assisted at every meeting of the Council, assure you that the Council was a wondrous example of dignity, seriousness and courtesy.

You may have been worried by talk of changes to come. Allow me to reassure you. No change will worry the tranquility of your Christian lives. For, time after time, Pope John XXIII and our present Holy Father have insisted — but the point has been sadly missed — that our deliberations in the Council had only one purpose: to search the deposit of the Faith, to look more deeply into the teaching of the Church.

The Council has one meaning only for us — in all its constitutions and decrees: how can each one of us in his personal and family and social life be faithful to the teaching of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, as the Church makes known that teaching in the Vatican Council.

As the months will pass, the Holy Father will instruct us gradually how to put into effect the enactments of the Council. With complete loyalty, as children of the one, true Church, we fully accept each and every decree of the Vatican Council.

Statement of the Hierarchy of England and Wales on Contraception, May 7th, 1964


Debates at the Vatican Council are no longer secret, but discussions in the Conciliar Commissions remain confidential. It is not yet possible, therefore, to disclose full details of the agenda for the session due to commence in September. But speeches of the Pope and some of the cardinals in Rome make it fairly clear that certain subjects are bound to be debated. It seems likely, for example, that the Council will issue a statement on religious liberty and on the Jews. Decrees on Christian unity will be promulgated. These are eagerly awaited in this country, since they will enable the Hierarchy to draw up rules for the guidance of clergy and laity in ecumenical work.
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The Revolution Triumphant: Cardinal William Conway says Vatican II Invalidates Old Paternalism


The following speech was given by Cardinal William Conway, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland, at the annual prize-giving in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth on the 19th June, 1966:

Today and for a long to come much of the life of the Church will be dominated by the teaching and decisions of the great Vatican Council which has just been concluded.

It is often said that the Council was the Church adapting herself to the conditions of a changing world.

I believe that the changes which have taken place in the world in recent years, dramatic though they be, are but a foretaste of a profound transformation of human society and human thought which has only just begun and which may take anything up to a hundred years to work itself out.
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The Revolution Triumphant: Irish Hierarchy’s June Meeting, 1966


The following press release was issued by the Irish hierarchy following their meeting at St. Patrick’s Maynooth on the 21st-22nd June, 1966:

THE DEVELOPMENT OF MAYNOOTH

The Second Vatican Council has called for the development of Catholic University facilities, especially in the sphere of philosophy and theology, in order to show the harmony of Christian teaching with true human culture and scientific development, and to provide all priests, religious and laity with the fullest opportunity of Christian formation.

The Irish bishops at their June meeting have had under consideration how this development could be secured in this country, and propose to develop Maynooth as an open centre of higher studies, and to extend its facilities and courses so as to meet the requirements, not merely of priests, diocesan and regular, but also of brothers, nuns and laity.
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The Revolution Triumphant: Irish Hierarchy’s June Meeting, 1965


The following press release was issued by the Irish hierarchy following their meeting at St. Patrick’s Maynooth on the 22nd-23rd June, 1965:

Among the matters discussed were:

SACRED LITURGY

In addition to proposals for more extensive use of the vernacular, draft texts of the “Prayer of the Faithful” and of the funeral service also were considered, and were referred to the Episcopal Liturgical Commission for revision.

A number of decisions also were taken to ensure the proper formation of the students of Maynooth in the doctrine and principles of the Constitution on the Liturgy. A Professor of Sacred Liturgy has been appointed and will pursue special studies at a liturgical institute before taking up his duties.

Liturgical actions in the college are to be carried out in conformity with the new liturgical norms. One of the oratories in the college is to be remodelled with an altar facing the congregation in order to familiarise the students with the new structure of the ceremonies.
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Letter of Cardinal Cullen to the Catholic Clergy, Secular and Regular, of the Diocese of Dublin


6th November, 1873

Very Rev. and Dear Sir,

Within the present week an important circular regarding the Catholic University will be addressed to you by the Rector, the Very Rev. Monsignor Woodlock.

I beg of you to read that document for your faithful flocks, and at the same time to impress upon them the necessity of upholding the cause of religious education, and providing the youth of the country with the means of acquiring not only all useful scientific knowledge, but also solid instruction in the practices and doctrines of the one, holy, Catholic Church, out of which there is no salvation. If this be not done, and if children be not brought up in the fear and love of God, and inspired with a spirit of respect and obedience for the laws of God and the Church, they will forget the interests of their immortal souls, and their eternal salvation will be exposed to the greatest danger. For, according to the Scripture, if a young man gets into a wrong path, even when he grows old, he will not retire from it.
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Irish Hierarchy’s Statement on Proselytism in Ireland


The following statement was issued in 1925 by the Irish hierarchy at their June meeting in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth:

We are of the opinion that the Catholic public generally are not aware of the extent to which proselytism is carried on in this country, especially in large centres such as Dublin. It is no exaggeration to say that within recent years thousands of children, born of Catholic parents, have been robbed of their inheritance, the faith, owing to the nefarious activities of the proselytisers, who, well equipped with funds, seek their victims among the poor and the fallen.

In combatting this appalling evil the ‘Catholic Protection and Rescue Society’ (30 South Anne Street, Dublin) has been doing excellent work. It has saved hundreds of children and others from the clutches of the proselytiser. But it is sadly handicapped for want of funds.
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The Transitional Ordo Missae (1965)


click above to read in full (pdf)

The texts above were first introduced to Irish parishes on the 7th March, 1965. The Ordinary of the Mass remains essentially the same as the 1962 Missal but with the (partial) introduction of the vernacular and the omission of the Last Gospel and Psalm 42 in the prayers at the foot of the altar.

The 1965 Lenten pastoral letters of Irish bishops were almost wholly dedicated to explaining the reforms, most were very eager to remind the faithful that alterations to the liturgy involved no change of doctrine on the Mass as Sacrifice.

The following is the 1965 Lenten pastoral letter of the Most Rev. John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland (slightly abbreviated):

The Vatican Council has spent several years in preparing the Constitution that regulates the manner of offering the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Fathers have had only one purpose in view: worthily to re-enact the sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the Cross.

In that unique sacrifice Jesus Christ as Man acknowledged the absolute dominion of God over all creation. He made full reparation for the insult of the sins of men against the Infinite God. He gave adequate thanks to God for all His benefits to mankind. In the certainty of being heard, He entreated and obtained from God every grace that human-kind can need.

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Irish Hierarchy’s Statement on the Introduction of the Vernacular in the Liturgy


The following press release concerning the implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium was issued by the Irish hierarchy from the Irish College in Rome on the 8th November, 1964.

The Irish hierarchy is happy to announce that the Holy See has approved, by a decree of 4th November, 1964, the decisions made by the bishops regarding the introduction of the vernacular, Irish and English, into certain parts of the Mass.

In accordance with the wishes of the Holy See the changes will be introduced in several stages in order to achieve as smooth a transition as possible in the ceremonies of this central act of Catholic worship.

The bishops are taking immediate steps to have printed texts of the approved translations available for priests and people, so as to permit the introduction of the first stage, where feasible, on the first Sunday of Lent 1965, when the important changes in the ceremonies of the Mass recently announced by the Holy See will come into effect.
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American Hierarchy’s Statement on Liturgical Reform


The following statement was issued by the Bishops of the United States in December, 1963, in response to the promulgation of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy promulgated on 4 December is the first achievement of Vatican Council II. It will affect the spiritual life of prayer and worship of all Catholics. It will make the Church more comprehensible to all men.

This is the first great step in the Church’s inner renewal begun by Pope John XXIII and now being carried out by all the bishops in union with the chief bishop, Pope Paul VI.

The bishops of the United States, having taken part fully in the discussion, amendment and acceptance of this document, welcome it wholeheartedly and dedicate themselves to fulfil its purposes.
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Irish Hierarchy’s Statement on the Persecution of the Church in Poland


The archbishops and bishops of Ireland at their October meeting in Maynooth in 1953, under the presidency of the Cardinal Primate of All-Ireland, John D’Alton, issued the following statement concerning the persecution of the Catholic Church in Poland.

Ever since the end of the war a bitter persecution of the Catholic Church has been carried on in Communist-dominated countries.

Whilst it has brought grievous suffering on the laity, it has been directed primarily against bishops and priests. The enemies of God and His Church, now as in the past, recognise that its rulers and pastors are the great bulwark of Christianity and confidently expect that if they are destroyed, Christianity itself will soon perish.
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Vexilla Regis: Maynooth Laymen’s Annual; 1951


Click above to read in full (pdf) – begins at page 33
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