No. 306 NAI DFA Secretary's Files S28A

Letter from Thomas J. Coyne (for Charles Bewley) to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Rome, 25 November 1929

On my return from dinner at the Collegio San Clemente in honour of their feast day (at which I sat beside Cardinal Frühwirth)1 I received a message from Cardinal Gasparri to go to see him at the Vatican. On my going over, he received me at once with the words: 'Eh bien, Excellence, on vous envoie un Nonce'. I expressed my pleasure at the news, and he went on to say that it would be Mgr. Paschal Robinson, and asked me at once to apply to my Government for the agrément. I said that I would wire and write immediately, and hereby formally request that it be sent at the earliest possible moment. He then added that publication should take place after the receipt of the agrément. The whole matter has been kept very secret here, and I do not believe that it has been communicated to anyone outside the Secretary of State's office. It would therefore be advisable not to permit any but the most general references in the Press, and above all not to refer to the particular person appointed. The Cardinal then said: 'Mgr. Robinson is a very holy man, and will not interfere in any way in politics'. I said that we anticipated that the diplomatic representative of the Holy See would not take any part in the politics of the country, where he was accredited.

The Cardinal then said: 'Have you not something to ask about the other matter?' I said I did not think there was anything else. He said: 'Yes, there is another matter'. I asked him then whether he could tell me anything about the Cardinals, and he said that the Archbishop of Armagh was to be created Cardinal.

I am personally of the opinion that the appointment of Mgr. Robinson is a very good one. He has the reputation, as Cardinal Gasparri stated, of being very saintly in his personal character and unlikely to be moved by any other considerations than spiritual ones. That his intellect and character are highly thought of in Rome is shown by the fact that he is Consultore to the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Church, to the Sacred Congregation of Religious, to the Sacred Congregation de Propaganda Fide, and to the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities.

His recent report on the Maltese question should prove to all classes of opinion in Ireland that he is not likely to be over-subject to English influence. None of the names of Italians mentioned at different times in connection with the post appear to command the same respect, and I think the general opinion here will be that the appointment is the best which could have been made.


His full title, etc. taken from the 'Annuario Pontificio' is as follows:

' Monsig.ROBINSON PASQUALE, dei Frati Minori; Arciv. tit. di Tiana, n. in Dublino 26 Apr.1870 el.24 Magg.1927 (domiciliato in Roma, Colleggio di S. Isidore, Via degli Artisti'.)

As regards the bestowal of the red hat on Dr. McRory, while I must regret that it has not come to Dublin, I am convinced that the matter was all along a foregone conclusion, and that the authorities here had definitely decided that Dr. Byrne is, for reasons of health, and possibly other considerations, not a suitable person to be raised to the position of Cardinal. Moreover, the presence of a Cardinal in Dublin, who had resolutely opposed the coming and resented the presence of the Nuncio, would make the position of the latter difficult and lessen his chances of exercising his influence effectively in the various matters where it might with advantage be exercised.

[signed] Charles Bewley
pp. T.J.C.

1 Andrew Franz Frühwirth (1845-1933), created Cardinal Priest (1915), Chancellor of Holy Roman Church (1927).

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