Category Archives: Cardinal John D’Alton
Cardinal D’Alton enters Croke Park on the final day of the Dublin Congress, 25th June, 1961
The following letter from Cardinal John D’Alton, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, was read out in all the churches of the Archdiocese of Armagh on Sunday, 12th March, 1961:
In a few days time Ireland will begin the solemn commemoration of the fifteenth centenary of the death of St. Patrick. Here in St. Patrick’s own city of Armagh the Irish people, represented by dignitaries from the four provinces of the land, will give thanks to God for the Saint who came to us over fifteen hundred years ago and brought us the gift ‘more precious than gold,’ of the Catholic faith. On that day too, Ireland will be joined by Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops from all over the world who are coming to share our joy and to unite with the Irish people in giving thanks to God for all that He has done for Ireland through Saint Patrick and for the Church through Ireland.
Above all, the occasion will be crowned with the presence of the special Legate, His Eminence Cardinal McIntyre, whom our beloved Holy Father is graciously sending to us to preside, in his name, over the solemn ceremonies. The successor of Pope Celestine who, over fifteen hundred years ago, sent his missionary to pagan Ireland, to-day sends his own Legatus a latere to an Ireland which has remained faithful through the centuries to the words of her great Apostle: ut Christiani ita et Romani sitis.
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Dignitaries of Church and State were abundantly present at Gormanston Castle, 18th November, 1956, to mark the blessing and dedication of the new Franciscan school, commemorating the tercentenary celebration of the death of Luke Wadding. The President of Ireland, Seán T. O’Kelly, was accompanied by his aide-de-camp, Col. O’Sullivan, and inspected a Guard of Honour from Gormanston Military Camp. Both the President and the Irish premier, John A. Costello, were greeted by the Rector of the College, Very Rev. Felix Butler, O.F.M., and the Provincial, Very Rev. Hubert Quinn, O.F.M.
Pontifical High Mass was celebrated by the Bishop of Meath, who also blessed the foundation stone. Other prelates in attendance included the Apostolic Nunio, the Primate of All Ireland, the Bishop of Raphoe, and the Bishop of Kokstad.
Those present at the ceremonies included General Richard Mulcahy, Minister for Education, General Seán MacEoin, Minister for Defence and Éamon de Valera. State officials attending included Maj. General P. A. Mulcahy, Chief of Staff, and Daniel Costigan, Commissioner of the Irish police. Members of Waterford Corporation, along with members and officials of many other public bodies, were also present.
Cardinal John D’Alton, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, opened the ceremonies with the reading of a letter from Pope Pius XII to those present, which is appended below. He then gave a glowing eulogy of Fr Wadding, paying strong tribute to his religious devotion and patriotic ideals. The Cardinal spoke admiringly of his having realised the desperate needs of the Irish Church at a time of extreme persecution and establishing the Irish Franciscans at St. Isidore’s College, “which holds cherished memories for so many Irishmen from its foundation down to our own day”. The Cardinal noted that three years after the foundation of St. Isidore’s, through the good offices of his friend Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi, “he succeeded in establishing a college for the training of students for the secular priesthood and during its infancy watched over its destinies with paternal solicitude”. The Ludovisi College would develop into the Irish College. Cardinal D’Alton, through his own experience, could confirm that Irish College seminarians were always conscious of the deep gratitude and affection they owed to Fr Wadding, “one of the most illustrious of our exiles, who loved Ireland sincerely and served it unselfishly”.
Strong admiration was expressed by the Cardinal for Fr Wadding’s intellectual achievements. Having left Waterford as a boy, Fr Wadding was soon to win high distinctions in the universities of Portugal and Spain. He began his studies in philosophy and theology in Portugal before being invited to join the Spanish province. He became a lecturer in theology at the world-renowned University of Salamanca, which brought him into contact with some of the greatest theologians of his day, including Suarez. He quickly established himself as a leading intellectual and at age 30 was chosen by King Philip III as a theologian to the Commission sent to Rome to promote the doctrine of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception.
The Cardinal noted that “his literary achievements were acclaimed in every Catholic country in Europe. Two of his works, his monumental history of his Order and his masterly edition of Duns Scotus, would have sufficed to keep most scholars busy for a lifetime, but they were only a small part of the writings that came from his versatile and indefatigable pen.” (Indeed, Fr Wadding is still regarded as the father of the Franciscan Order’s history, and in 2007 the archive of the General Order in Rome was named after him.)
Cardinal D’Alton also noted his work on behalf of Irish interests, appealing to Catholic states in Europe for assistance, and also his diplomatic activities in Rome (see here: IV: ‘Work for Ireland’).
But ultimately, the Cardinal said, “his dreams for an Ireland liberated and resurgent were shattered all too soon. The failure of the Confederation, the departure of the Nuncio, a sad and disillusioned man, the death of Owen Roe [O’Neill], and the landing of Cromwell on our shores must have stricken that ardent patriot with sorrow and dismay.”
The following is the text of the letter from Pope Pius XII read out by Cardinal D’Alton to those present:
It is to the undying glory of the Irish people that, even in times of storm and distress, not only did they retain pure and inviolate the Catholic Faith which in times past they received from St. Patrick, but also that they produced sons without number, who, renowned for their reputation of learning and holiness, shed lustre upon religion and upon their motherland. Justly and rightfully in the number of these is counted Luke Wadding, the glory and pride of the Franciscan Order, whose memory it is your wish to honour with due meed of praise on the tercentenary of his death.
We know the many services which he performed for the benefit of the Church, nor are We ignorant of the great force of his example as a further incentive to virtue, either among the members of his own Order or among your fellow citizens. There, at this auspicious and fitting time of rejoicing, We desire with a father’s heart, to be present with you by this letter, which, by God’s favour, may enhance the joy of the tercentenary celebration and increase its fruits. When We recall his life and his achievements there seems to live again before our eyes that wonderful zeal for the Catholic faith which was handed down by your ancestors, and with which the greatness and the weal of the Irish people seemed always to be linked. Fully instructed, as he was, and strengthened in the Faith though only a boy, he did not hesitate to face the hardships of exile, since in his own country, at that time, religion had been brought to a hazardous pass.
Later, after his reception into the Franciscan Order, one can scarcely credit the number and the magnitude of the works at which he laboured and which he successfully concluded, on behalf of the Church, his Order and his country. Although Portugal and Spain, where he was eminent for his learning and sanctity, first nurtured and confirmed his resolution, it was Rome which, without doubt, gave fuller scope and vigour to his apostolic ardour and zeal. Witness to this are the many momentous tasks to which he was assigned by Our predecessors, the rare prudence he so admirably displayed in filling different offices, and, likewise, the high renown which his learning won for him, both through his researches into the history of his Order and the importance of the works which he published.
In a special way, however, love of country shone in him. In Ireland at that period, the enemies of the Catholic name were striving not only to dispossess the people of their civil liberties, but also to root the ancient Faith out of their minds: so, to the very end of his life, the man of God generously came to the aid of his oppressed fellow-countrymen by every means in his power. Thus he showed the effectiveness of love for one’s own country when it is joined with truly great love of God. Therefore, it is fitting to call to mind the twin colleges, of which Luke Wadding was the founder, erected in this gracious city, the one for students of the Franciscan Order, the other for secular priests as they are styled, destined all of them for Ireland. In this way, there was given to young men chosen from among your people the opportunity to drink deeply of the Faith of Rome and daily to foster and cherish more their loving respect and dutifulness towards the Roman Pontiff.
The results justified the expectations. Learned in the Catholic Faith, well grounded in doctrine and sound morals, many from that day to this, have left a life of ease for the heat and the dust and won golden opinions from the Church and their country by their outstanding intellectual gifts and their unrivalled example. Therefore, for many reasons, beloved Son, the Franciscan family, as well as the whole Irish race, will celebrate the tercentenary of the day on which death came serenely to that admirable disciple of the Patriarch of Assisi, that most devoted defender in your land of the Catholic religion, the untiring helper of the Roman Pontiffs, the exacting worker in the history of the Franciscans.
You have in him a noble pattern of the religious life. You have in him an admirable example of virtue combined with patriotism. Gaze and meditate on his example, and courageously imitate him. In answer to your humble prayers, may God, by his heavenly aid, grant that you may follow his example more and more closely in the daily duties of your state in life. Meanwhile as an augury of heavenly graces and as proof of Our paternal benevolence, We liberally impart the Apostolic Benediction to the dear people of Ireland, and expressly to you, beloved Son, and to the entire Franciscan family.
PIUS PP. XII
Below is the introductory foreword in the inaugural issue of The Furrow from 1950. The author is the editor and founder of The Furrow, Canon J.G. McGarry, then Professor of Sacred Eloquence and Pastoral Theology at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Accompanying this foreword was an article warmly commending the editor’s programme by the Most Rev. John D’Alton, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland, along with a message of fraternal support from The Catholic Standard.
The Furrow is something new. It is new in the ground it opens. Many branches of pastoral work to which our times have given a special importance demand a fuller treatment — preaching, pastoral organisations, the liturgy, the Church, its art and architecture. And it is in such matters especially that theory needs to be confirmed and corrected by practice. The pooling of experiences in varying conditions of work and the exchange of views on new pastoral methods are means hitherto little used, yet they can give valuable help to all who are charged by God to keep His field.
A new opportunity is offered in The Furrow for the sharing of such experience. Moreover, recent years have given evidence of an increasing interest in writing on the part of our younger priests. Life in the priesthood and Christian culture offer to such young writers rich and fertile themes, opening to them a new way of serving the Church, its faith and civilisation. The Furrow will consider it a point of duty to support and encourage such writers.
In pursuing these aims The Furrow will be guided by the mind and spirit of the Church. Obedience to the Vicar of Christ and to His bishops, whom the Holy Ghost has appointed to govern His flock, will be the corner-stone of its policy. But besides this higher allegiance there is place, too, for a special, domestic loyalty. Reverence for the traditions of the Irish Church and pride in its distinctive way of life must be an influence upon the policy of any Irish Catholic review. For us this reverence is more than an influence. Our past is our special glory: Kells and Cashel, Cong and Glendalough are a rich inheritance, challenging their heirs to high endeavour, to call forth new treasures from old.
How frequently Christ speaks of His Kingdom as the field — the field that is sown with good seed and bad, field of the hidden treasure, the field challenging the ploughman’s courage and persistence! Only the tiller of His field does not work alone; the sower needs the weeder’s help, the ploughman is nothing without the reaper. To all who work in that field the call is to come and share with their fellow-workers the labours of the harvest, to be men of His meitheal.
Yet co-operation alone is not enough. “We are God’s workmen; you are His field,” St. Paul writes to his Corinthians. But the workman counted for nothing, neither Paul who sowed, nor Apollo who watered. The harvest was the gift of God alone.
May He who gives the harvest prosper this sowing.
The Irish hierarchy issued the following statement in 1960 at their October meeting in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth:
The Hierarchy propose to celebrate in 1961 the fifteenth centenary of the death of Saint Patrick, the most commonly accepted date for the death of the Saint being 461 A.D. The opening ceremony is planned for St. Patrick’s Day in the Primatial City of Armagh, so closely associated in Irish tradition with the life and work of our National Apostle. The ceremony will be followed, it is hoped, by other celebrations arranged by direction of the local Ordinaries, in places particularly associated with St. Patrick, such as the holy mount of Croagh Patrick, or noted as centres of especial devotion to the Saint, such as St. Patrick’s Purgatory, Lough Derg.
Eminent dignitaries from abroad, especially from dioceses or institutions under the patronage of St. Patrick, will be invited to participate in the national celebrations. Invitations will be extended also to representatives of continental centres of Patrician devotion, and to representatives of countries evangelised by Irish missionaries.
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The following is an editorial from Church and State magazine (the organ of the old Campaign to Seperate Church and State), January, 2010:
“The Age Of My Craven Deference Is Finally Over.” That was the headline on Professor Ronan Fanning’s article on the Murphy Report (Sun. Independent, 6 Dec.). Well, it was almost the headline. Fanning used the collective “our” rather than the personal “my”. But in the case of the Professor of Modern History at the chief College of the National University the personal and the collective merge. The Professor (singular) determines in great part what characterised the plurality of those who went through the educational system to its highest level.
It became well known to us long ago that the paid intelligentsia of the state were craven in their attitude towards the Church. They were sceptics in private but were cynically respectful in public, because they were craven.
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To Our Beloved Son
John Cardinal D’Alton
Archbishop of Armagh
And to Our Venerable Brothers
The Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland
Beloved Son and Venerable Brothers, Health and Apostolic Benediction.
Holy Church, founded by Christ Jesus to free mankind from death, shines throughout the world by her sanctity, is nourished by grace, lives by truth and, in the words of Saint Irenaeus, “as the sun, God’s creature, is one and the same in the whole world, so the light, which the preaching of truth is, shines forth in every place and enlightens all men” (Adv. Haer. 1, 10, 2; MG f. 552). This preaching of truth, Beloved Son and Venerable Brothers, is a special glory of your country — for through the centuries its distinguishing mark has always been: “peregrinari pro Christo”. Irish priests and religious, as is well known, from the coming of the Gospel message to their land, spurred on by the splendid example of Saint Patrick, your illustrious Father and Apostle, went forth and made their way through many European lands to bring them the flame of faith and an unconquerable zeal in winning souls for Christ.
The genius of your nation has won for the Church in Ireland imperishable renown and admiration among the many peoples who owe their Christian origin and development to the burning love of Irish Apostles and to their active priestly ministry. These Catholic people in themselves are a manifest and an eloquent testimony to Catholic Ireland’s missionary character; they show it forth to the whole world and add splendour to its titles to glory.
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The following letter was addressed to Cardinal John D’Alton, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland, on the occassion of the opening of the Patrician Year celebrations, 17th March, 1961.
The fifteenth centenary of the death of Saint Patrick, the Apostle of the Irish, is about to be celebrated with fitting solemnity throughout Ireland, particularly in his own episcopal city.
As soon as We learned of this forthcoming celebration, We desired to extend Our warm congratulations to you, Beloved Son, and to your zealous colleagues in the hierarchy, on your intelligent foresight and on your zeal for religion. Because one result of this commemoration will be — as We confidently hope and believe — that greater attention will be focused on recording events of the saint’s life and the sterling Irish people will be moved, as they see more clearly the incomparable benefits which Saint Patrick brought them, to imitate his example and to follow his footsteps in leading their Christian lives.
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The above video features clips of the opening of the Patrician Year celebrations, 17th March, 1961, marked by Pontifical High Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh. The celebrant was the papal legate, Cardinal James Francis McIntyre, Archbishop of Los Angelus.
Irish state dignitaries were very prominent in attendance, not least President Éamonn de Valera and the Taoiseach [Prime Minister] Séan Lemass. Church prelates and state leaders, escorted by prominent local clergy, walked in solemn procession towards the Cathedral, walking past vast, cheering crowds. President De Valera was seated in a special blue and gold draped prie-dieu, affixed with the national emblem of a golden harp, while Mr. Lemass was also accorded a special prie-dieu. As Cardinal McIntyre entered through the massive oak doors, the cathedral organ thundered out the papal hymn Tu es Petrus, and His Eminence proceeded through the highly colourful and lavishly decorated cathedral to the marble-canopied throne on the Gospel side of the high altar, where he occupied a seat upholstered by white silk, affixed with the papal coat of arms on the reverse. Prelates attending included multitudes of abbots and bishops from all over the world, 50 archbishops and 4 Cardinals: Cardinal McIntyre, Cardinal John D’Alton, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland, Cardinal William Godfrey, Archbishop of Westminster, and Cardinal Richard Cushing, Archbishop of Boston.
Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston, gave the following sermon:
“Their sound has gone forth unto all the earth: and their words unto the ends of the world.” (Psalm 18, Verse 5)
The theme of Ireland’s holy and historic celebration this year has been taken from the text by which the liturgy proclaims the glory and the triumph of all the Apostles. No more appropriate text could have been chosen to commemorate the incomparable Apostle to Ireland and to pay tribute to the apostolic spirit that St. Patrick inspired in the Irish people.
The text proper to the Apostles is deservedly applied to him, for St. Patrick takes his place beside the greatest and most glorious of the Apostles.
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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