Irish Hierarchy’s Letter to the Church in France
The Irish hierarchy resolved to send a letter of solidarity to the Church in France in 1906 at their October meeting in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. The following is the text of the letter (in translation – email me if you need the French original) sent to Cardinal François-Marie-Benjamin Richard de la Vergne (in photo above), Archbishop of Paris:
October 10th, 1906.
The warm friendship which has always bound the Catholics of Ireland to their brethren in France and the signal favours which we have often received from the great and generous French nation, make it a special duty for us to share in your cares and sorrows, as you shared in ours in the days of our struggles for the faith of Jesus Christ.
We take occasion, therefore, at our annual meeting to express to Your Eminence, to the venerable Episcopate of France, to the clergy and the Catholic people of your country, our deep and most fraternal sympathy in the midst of the bitter trials through which you are passing today.
With the Catholics of the whole world, we rejoice at the firm and dignified attitude you maintain in the presence of the dangers which threaten you. Your spirit of unity and of faith; your admirable fidelity to the most glorious traditions of France; your confidence so entire and so striking in the guidance and advice of the august Pontiff whose duty it is to watch over the supreme interests of the Church, are for us an object of just admiration, and leave us in no doubt as to the issue of a conflict which it was not in your power to avoid.
We Irish Bishops are the sons of a Church which has known suffering. The liberties which we have won are the fruits of centuries of abnegation and sacrifice of the part of our predecessors and of their noble people. We are deeply convinced that the faith of Catholic France will likewise come forth stronger and purer from the trials to which it is now subjected, and that the Church of St. Louis, far from faltering, will acquire new strength to fulfil its glorious and Divine mission.
With sentiments of the most profound veneration, we are Your Eminence’s most faithful and devoted servants in Christ.
Signed on behalf of the archbishops and bishops of Ireland.
+MICHAEL CARDINAL LOGUE,
Archbishop of Armagh,
Primate of All Ireland.
+RICHARD ALPHONSUS SHEEHAN,
Bishop of Waterford and Lismore.
Bishop of Down and Connor.
The following is the text of the reply sent by Cardinal Richard, on behalf of the French bishops, to Cardinal Logue:
Most Eminent and Most Reverend Lord,
The letter which Your Eminence had the great kindness to address to me in the name of all the Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland recalls the warm friendship that has always bound the Catholics of Ireland to their brethren in France. This friendship is once more affirmed by your fraternal participation in our cares and trials.
Amongst all the children of the Church the Irish have given the most striking proofs of inviolable constancy. The Catholics of Ireland have kept the faith of St. Patrick in spite of three centuries of persecution. Neither tribulation nor famine nor the sword was able to separate you from Jesus Christ and his Vicar.
May we, by courage as persevering as yours, be able to win back the liberty which you now enjoy. Your O’Connell, who was its most eloquent defender, wished that his heart should rest in Rome. That is the symbol of your inalterable attachment to the Holy See. We ask God for strength to imitate your admirable fidelity.
I have regarded it as a duty to communicate your beautiful letter to all my colleagues of the French Episcopate.
I beg of Your Eminence to be the interpreter of our deep gratitude to our venerable brothers their Lordships the Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland, and to accept the homage of my profound veneration.
Your Eminence’s most humble and devoted servant,
+FRANÇOIS CARDINAL RICHARD,
Archbishop of Paris.