No. 65 NAI DFA Secretaries’ Files S2

William T. Cosgrave to Cardinal Gasparri (Rome)

DUBLIN, 19 April 1923

The Ministers who constitute the Executive Council, the lawfully established Government of the Irish Free State, (Saorstát Éireann,) realising the Holy Father's abiding and most paternal interest in the well-being of our dear country, desire through me as President of the Council, to submit for His Holiness's consideration the position which has arisen with reference to the visit to this country of the Right Rev. Monsignor Luzio.

Your Eminence will be aware that for some months past certain persons in Ireland have sought by force of arms to overthrow the lawful government of this State, elected by the people, and to destroy the Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland which has been solemnly approved and ratified by the elected representatives of the people of both countries, and which guarantees to us the abstention of Great Britain from all interference in the government of our country. The persons so in revolt against the lawful government by the people have attracted in their train all the lawless and criminal elements which exist in varying degree in every community, as well as those who have the most noxious moral, social and political theories to forward by any means whatever wherever opportunity offers. Hence it is that this minority in revolt have to their account a campaign darkened by murder, rapine and arson, and the note struck on the far side of Europe has found an echoing cord (sic) among these unhappy destroyers of social order.

It is gratifying to be able to assure Your Excellency that this young government and its devoted and much-enduring Army have been able to cope with the situation so full of danger that met it at the outset of its career. The forces of disorder have been gradually but surely overcome, and the revolt has now almost burnt itself out, leaving but dying embers soon to be quenched, if not encouraged to flame again by hopes foolishly aroused of achieving some even partial success.

We understand that the Right Reverend Monsignor Luzio was despatched to this country by His Holiness to transact business of an ecclesiastical character. He had no political or diplomatic mission, and therefore was not accredited to this Government which was not officially cognisant of his visit and had no official intercourse with him.

We have learned, however, that the Right Reverend Monsignor, having disposed of his ecclesiastical business, has got into close touch with some of the persons in armed revolt against this Government and indeed against the social and moral order. His Secretary has sought the support of the Press and of public bodies for a call to him to act as intermediary between the Government and the revolters against the authority of the Government. His Lordship has given audience to a number of those in revolt (including persons who have constituted themselves a pretended government).

Though the Right Reverend Monsignor has in fact produced no credentials from His Holiness for intervention in political affairs in this country, and has not presented himself officially to the Government as in any way authorised by the Holy See to intervene, his clerical position, and his previous ecclesiastical mission give to his actions a special character. The consequence is that the embers of revolt are not allowed to die. The unskilled hand of a man who has no real knowledge or understanding of the affairs of this country is fanning into continued life the destructive fires with which he should not meddle.

I can assure Your Excellency that this Government is far from wishing to show the slightest disrespect to any religious dignitary, even though it might complain of scant respect shown by him to its dignity or authority. It is, however, obvious that the circumstances of Monsignor Luzio's extended visit are in the highest degree embarrassing to the Government in its onerous work of restoring peace and order, and that serious mischief may flow from his actions.

I have, therefore, respectfully to ask Your Excellency to arrange that Monsignor Luzio's visit may not be prolonged beyond what is absolutely necessary for the completion of his ecclesiastical business (if not yet complete). In the meantime his intervention in the domain of politics or rebellion cannot be countenanced by my Government.

On my own part I take this occasion of offering my dutiful homage to His Holiness, and my humble respects to Your Excellency.

I am, with respect,
Your Excellency's
Most humble and most obedient servant,
[copy letter unsigned]
President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State

1See No. 62 above.

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