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.
We loved her by reason of her steadfastness in the faith; we loved her by reason of her courage; we loved her because of her misfortunes. Her glorious and touching history leads one to think that Providence has predestined her to the vocation, noble yet full of suffering, of being to other nations the model of fidelity to God, of courage under trial, of patience and adversity.
It is Ireland’s pastors who have given her the lesson and the example of all Christian and patriotic virtues, and if the Bishops of Ireland enjoy the trust of their flocks, it is because they have deserved it by showing themselves true fathers in their devotedness to the interests of their people.
And, notwithstanding their intense desire for the triumph of their country’s cause, they have ever been anxious as to the justice of the means employed. Hence, they have never ceased to condemn crimes and outrages against the Law of God.
And whilst your Eminence has on the one hand insistently demanded the cession of those rights, the obstinate refusal of which drove men to seize by force what they failed to obtain by peaceful methods, you have, on the other hand, never failed to recommend the avoidance of excesses which conscience can never sanction, even for securing the triumph of the greatest cause.
How much we desire, My Lord Cardinal, that the legitimate aspirations of your people may be satisfied, since, as you stated in your declaration of January 23rd, 1920, ‘This is the only solution of the age-long problem of Ireland and the only means of establishing friendly relations between Ireland and England.’ Even in England eloquent and authoritative speakers, setting above all else the claims of justice, of humanity, and of the true interests of the British Empire, plead your cause.
To God, Who moulds the hearts of men and holds in His hand the threads of human destiny, we suppliantly raise our voice and join with your Eminence and the Bishops of Ireland in beseeching Him to direct the destiny of your noble and afflicted country by inspiring measures which will re-establish harmony and enduring peace between Ireland and England, and assure to your beloved land a future in which concord, freedom and prosperity may reign unhindered.
Accept, my Lord Cardinal, the homage of my profound veneration and of my fraternal devotion in our Lord.
+L.J. CARDINAL LUCON,
Archbishop of Reims.