Pope Pius XII on the Irish Constitution
Posted by shane
The following was an address given by Pope Pius XII to the Taoiseach, Mr. Éamon de Valera, at Castelgandolfo, 4th October, 1957.
With the special affection Our paternal heart has reserved these many years, as you well know, for your Emerald Isle, We welcome you this morning, Taoiseach, along with the official party, come to bear you such distinguished and gracious company.
Let the warmth and depth of its sincerity afford you, one and all, the best token of Our interest in the festive mission which brings you once more ‘home to Rome’; let it be a pledge renewed of abiding confidence in Our venerable brothers of the Irish Hierarchy, in priests and people, and a further mark of high esteem for your illustrious President, and for the Government, that has now, for the third time, entrusted to your practised and competent hand, the responsible post of Prime Minister.
The eventful years of grace which have passed since an Irish Government came into being have provided a confused and sorely stricken world with the heartening evidence of the capacity of a staunch, militantly Catholic people to govern itself wisely and efficiently, while respecting its fraternal obligations to the other nations of the human family.
Your Constitution (Bunreacht na hÉireann) is intended to be an instrument of ‘prudence, justice and charity’ at the service of a community which has never, through its long Christian history, had any doubt about the eternal, as well as the temporal implications, of that common good, which it professes to seek through the conjoined prayer, toil and oftentimes heroic sacrifice of its children.
Grounded on the bedrock of the natural law, those fundamental human prerogatives which your Constitution undertakes to assure to every citizen of Ireland, within the limits of order and morality, could find no ampler, no safer guarantee against the godless forces of subversion, the spirit of faction and violence, than mutual trust between the authorities of Church and State, independent each in its own sphere, but, as it were, allied for the common welfare in accordance with the principles of Catholic Faith and doctrine.
At the instance of this Apostolic See, faith in the living God — shield, support, and saviour of nations as of men — was brought to Ireland by your incomparable St. Patrick. It has been nourished and fanned to full missionary flame by thousands of saintly compatriots in his wake.
It has been made an organic part of your culture by such prodigious scholars and churchmen, as that glory of the Order of Friars Minor, Luke Wadding, whose centenary celebrations you are bringing to a close these days in the Eternal City.
Happy indeed, even on any reasonable human standard, is the people that has the Lord for its God. During this period of spiritual crisis and revolutionary anguish, through every phase of her gallant struggle for survival, for peace and prosperity, with her honour unimpaired, Ireland has never forgotten that her Redeemer liveth, and in her heart of hearts, Ireland has known that He will not fail her in the hour of trial or of triumph.
It was the soundest of her many refined instincts, guided by divine grace, which prompted her to enact her constitution ‘In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions, both of men and States, must be referred.’
While we rejoice, Taoiseach, in the happy results for family, Faith, and fatherland that have attended, thus far, your people’s loyalty to the Christian spirit, from that same ever-Blessed and Undivided Trinity, Our fondest Apostolic Blessing would invoke upon you all here present, as upon your dear ones at home or beyond the seas, further abundance of light and strength against the inevitable challenge of the years the Triune Lord of Love has still in store for you. God bless Ireland always.