Category Archives: Communism
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:
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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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.
Bishop of Waterford and Lismore.
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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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:
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
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.
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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Published in the US by the Catechetical Guild Educational Society in 1947:
From the Irish Press, Tuesday, 20th October, 1936:
Noted Catholic Scholar on “Spain”
REV. DR. RYAN TRACES ORIGINS OF THE STRUGGLE
Basques and Moors
“If the people of Spain hadn’t risen against such atrocities they would not have been the valiant sons of Spain that they are but despicable cowards,” declared Very Rev. Dr. A. H. Ryan, Professor of Scholastic Philosophy, Queen’s University, Belfast, in an address on “Spain” in St. Mary’s Hall, Belfast, last night.
Over 200 people attended, among them the Bishop of Down and Connor, Most Rev. Dr. Mageean. Mr. Raymond Burke presided. Dr. Ryan said that the deplorable events in Spain since the outbreak of the civil war had produced most extraordinary reactions in many places and especially in Ireland.
The fact that the Catholic Church had suffered had produced the usual type of exultation in those bigoted circles that could not see that the Catholic Church was fighting the battle, not alone of Catholicism, but of every religion.