No. 102 NAI DFA 219/51

Confidential report from William J. B. Macaulay to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(MP42/39) (Confidential)

Holy See, 28 December 1939

With reference to the correspondence concerning the rumour of an approaching Consistory, I have made some enquiries and gather that the position is as follows.

The creation of new Cardinals will be postponed until the Spring because His Holiness intends to appoint Archbishop Spellman1 and most likely the next Archbishop of Chicago, whoever he may be. To have created Mons. Spellman a Cardinal so shortly after his elevation to New York would have seemed very precipitate and cause further adverse comment in regard to him. By this postponement and the creation of one other American Cardinal there will be less grounds for criticism. It is said that Archbishop Curley2 may well be made a Cardinal instead of the Archbishop of Chicago. It is certainly true that the Archbishop of Baltimore got a very good reception at the Vatican when he came here this year after so long an absence. I think his chances of a Red Hat are much greater than those of Archbishop Glennon of St. Louis,3 who is said to be 'too old'. This seems a strange objection when one considers the ages of some of the Cardinals created for the Curia.

There appears to be a probability of either Mons. Robinson4 or Fr. Gemelli5 being made Cardinal. Against the former is the suggestion that being the first Nuncio to Ireland his creation might be regarded as a precedent for his successors and in view of difficulties in the past over the retirement of Nuncios in Spanish speaking countries the Holy See is anxious to avoid such a situation arising again anywhere else. There is no Franciscan Cardinal at present and if Fr. Gemelli should be created, Monsgr. Robinson would have to wait at least, as two Franciscans could scarcely be made Cardinals at the same Consistory. However, there appears to be no one available to take Fr. Gemelli's place a President of the Pontifical Academy. Furthermore although his relations with the late Pope were exceedingly close, it is not known what these are with the present Pontiff.

The British are still working for an English Cardinal in Curia, there being none since the death of Cardinal Gasquet.6 There has been considerable exchange of letters between King George and His Holiness and between Lord Halifax and the Cardinal Secretary. Britain as the leading belligerent of the Allies and in view of the Holy Father's open antipathy to the Nazis must loom large in the eyes of the Vatican in these days. I do not know whether the creation of Monsgr. Robinson would satisfy the British Government, so far it appears to be Mons. Godfrey,7 Apostolic Delegate to England, who is suggested by them. On the other hand Mons. Robinson has many friends in England, important in official and social circles and in the Vatican there is great respect for the English nobility Catholic or not.

I fear I must express my regret that Mr. O'Donovan approached the Father General of the Jesuits in connection with Monsgr. Robinson. Any canvassing on our part would do nothing but harm. The best way in my opinion (and it is not only my opinion) is to impress on the Cardinal Secretary at every opportunity, our admiration of our Nuncio and our appreciation of the great work he has done for the Holy See and the Church in Ireland. This I have not failed to do.

[signed] W. Macaulay

1 Archbishop Francis Joseph Spellman (1889-1967), Archbishop of New York (1939-67), elevated to Cardinal in 1946.

2 Michael Joseph Curley (1879-1947), Archbishop of Baltimore (1921-47).

3 Cardinal John Joseph Glennon (1862-1946), Archbishop of St. Louis (1903-46).

4 Paschal Charles Robinson O.F.M. (1870-1948), Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland (1929-48).

5 Father Agostino Gemelli O.F.M. (1878-1959), founder of the University of the Sacred Heart, Milan, and President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (1936-59).

6 Cardinal Francis Aidan Gasquet O.S.B. (1846-1929).

7 Cardinal William Godfrey (1889-1963), Apostolic Nuncio to Britain (1938-53), Archbishop of Liverpool (1953-6), Archbishop of Westminster (1956-63), elevated to Cardinal in 1958.

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