Irish Hierarchy’s Statement on the Dangers to Faith and Morals Faced by Irish Emigrants in Britain
Posted by shane
The following statement was issued in 1941 by the Irish Hierarchy at their October meeting in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth:
More than two years have elapsed since the war, still raging so fiercely, began. From the outset it was evident that agencies of destruction, more fearful than anything hitherto known to history, would be loosed upon the world, and would be used with utter ruthlessness and a complete disregard for moral right. The worst anticipations of disaster are being exceeded by the event.
Appalling as are the material losses caused by the war, the spiritual evils resulting from it are of even greater consequence. War usually brings with it a decay of morals, and the present one is no exception to the rule. The Church, too, has been attacked in many places, and has suffered terribly. Our Holy Father Pope Pius XII, speaking on this matter has said: ‘We tremble to think of what the true story of human suffering will disclose. What we know these days is enough to crush the heart. These days are rivalling some of the blackest days in the history of mankind, and the Pope knows it.’
Ireland, although its position, comparatively speaking, is a privileged one, has not come off unscathed. The scars which disfigure Dublin and Belfast bear testimony of this. But, perhaps, the war’s most disastrous effect for us is the great increase in unemployment, with all its attendant evils, spiritual and temporal, including, especially, the exodus from our shores to Great Britain of such large numbers of our adult population. Evidently to find a remedy for unemployment is one of our most urgent problems; and in this connection the Hierarchy desire to place on record their appreciation of bodies such as the Catholic Social Service Conference, which are devoting much time and energy to its solution. This problem, indeed, has a deep interest for every citizen, and especially, indeed, for every Catholic citizen. All should co-operate whole-heartedly with those who are specially engaged in its solution; all should realise that they have in greater or less degree a personal responsibility in the matter.
Furthermore, the clergy should warn those who seek employment in Great Britain of the danger to faith and morals which they will encounter — dangers, alas, to which not a few have already succumbed and should impress upon them the desirability of insisting before they emigrate that adequate provision is made for the exercise of their religion.
Our Holy Father Pope Pius XII, by voice and pen and, by the prayers which he has besought from his faithful children, has laboured strenuously and indefatigably ever since the war began to bring it to a speedy and a just conclusion, and to mitigate the evils which it is causing. Now, once again, he has asked bishops throughout the world to organise prayers for the Church and for peace during October; and in response to his appeal special devotions are being held throughout Ireland. The Hierarchy exhort their flocks to be faithful to these devotions, and, in addition, ask them to observe the last Sunday of October, the Feast of Christ the King, as a day of very special atonement, intercession and thanksgiving. Whilst leaving it to individual pastors and rectors of churches to fix the detailed forms which this atonement, intercession and thanksgiving are to take, they strongly recommend that all who can do so should receive Holy Communion on that day for the objects proposed to us by His Holiness. We also recommend that each priest, secular and regular, in Ireland offer during the month of October one Mass for the Pope’s intentions and the protection of Ireland.
Great disasters have already befallen the world, but even greater ones may still be in store for it. Materially we can do little to avert them or to mitigate their consequence. We can, however, do a great deal by our prayers and penitential works to placate the anger of God, Who for its sins still permits the world to be scourged by war. In these sad days for mankind, in these days of trial and danger for our own dear land, our trust should be, first and before all, in God, Who is infinite in power and mercy. Let us approach Him with great humility, but also with great faith and confidence, and let us ask Him to accept the sufferings which men have already endured as an atonement for their sins, and to hasten the day when a truly just and Christian peace will bring lasting tranquility to the Church and to the world. Let us approach Him through His Blessed Mother, Mary, especially during this month, dedicated to her rosary, remembering, as St. Bernard expresses it in his beautiful prayer, the Memorare, that never was it known that anyone who went to Mary for protection and implored her help was left forsaken by her.
Given at Maynooth on October 14th, 1941.
Signed on behalf of the archbishops and bishops of Ireland.
+JOSEPH CARDINAL MACRORY,
Archbishop of Armagh.
Bishop of Waterford and Lismore.
Posted on May 11, 2011, in Archbishop John Charles McQuaid, Bishops' Pastorals, Cardinal Joseph MacRory, Catholic Social Teaching, Devotions (miscellaneous), Emigration, International Ethics, Irish History, Persecution, Pius XII, Repentance, WW2. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.