No. 36 NAI DFA Secretary's Files P126

Memorandum from Joseph P. Walshe to Éamon de Valera (Dublin)
'Nationality of the Next Nuncio to Dublin'

Dublin, 21 November 1945

We cannot allow the situation as revealed in Dr. Kiernan's report attached to stand.1 We must take another step and perhaps a more vigorous one. It has always been said that you can get nothing out of the Vatican without constant pressure.

The Consistory is apparently postponed until the Spring, for the ostensible reason that it would be hard for the Cardinals to travel to Rome. As there are only four Cardinals in the world outside Europe (three on the American Continent and one in Syria), this excuse has little validity. The postponement is probably due to continued hesitation about the future constitution of the Sacred College. We can be quite sure that the Italian party within the Vatican is fighting hard against the change which is being called for more openly every day in Europe and America. Nothing else can explain the deplorable fact that the Church's prestige is allowed to suffer from the great depletion in the ranks of the Cardinals, and particularly from the absence of a Cardinal Secretary of State, at such a grave crisis as that in which the Church is now involved. There seems to be a lack of determination at headquarters, an unwillingness to grasp the nettle and put an end to the old order.

Monsignore Montini's2 desire to send an Italian to Dublin because the diplomatic corps is mainly Italian is typical of the attitude of the conservative Vatican mind.

I suggest that we now send to the Holy See, through Dr. Kiernan, an Aide Mémoire setting out definitely our views. I attach a draft.3

The inertia of the Irish Episcopacy in relation to Ireland's position in the Universal Church has already reduced our stock in Rome to vanishing point. We now have a good chance of vigorously asserting the importance of Ireland in the Catholic Church in the world, and we can be fortified by the conviction that there is not a Bishop in Ireland, North America, Australia or Britain who would not endorse every word of our representations.

1 Not printed.

2 Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini (1897-1978), a senior figure in the Vatican's State Department and, as his Private Secretary, one of Pope Pius XII's closest confidantes; later reigned as Pope Paul VI (1963-78).

3 See below No. 37.

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