No. 58 NAI DFA Secretary's Files P104A

Letter from Joseph P. Walshe to Thomas J. Kiernan (Holy See)
(Personal and Confidential)

Dublin, 18 December 1945

I have your letter of the 8th received this morning.1

I mentioned the Cardinal affairs to the T. He has not given the matter sufficient consideration to be able to give you a line now. But, in the unlikely event of the H.F. mentioning the matter to you, perhaps it would be better to say that you have not yet ascertained the attitude of your Minister.

The truth is - it is very difficult to believe that they could be thinking of giving us two hats. If they are, we should take them with alacrity. Armagh (Archdiocese and Province) comes well into this area, and no one would dream of saying that the Armagh Cardinal was intended exclusively for the Six Counties. The Partition point is a bad one. But, if Enrici2 does the damage and damns John3 so that he won't be thought of in connection with a hat, we may not get a Cardinal at all for the present. That would be too bad. Any want of respect for the Nuncio, which is, apparently, Enrici's grievance, would put an end to any hope of making John a Cardinal, no matter what we might say.

Incidentally, the person and nationality of the next Nuncio is almost more important than the candidate for the hat. I wonder how Montini would react if you said that the appointment of an Italian Nuncio would cause great disappointment, not only here but also in Britain and America, because it would be taken as a sure sign that there was no intention of changing the old Italian control. Indeed, the Protestants in English-speaking countries would adduce it as a further proof that the C. Church was a mere missio Italica and would remain such. Our own Catholic People would feel bewildered at the change. They have been using the Irish-American nationality of the Nuncio to show to their Protestant friends that the Church is not an Italian affair. Moreover, there is a very widespread feeling in Ireland that the Italian cleric does not try to understand our special way of life. In Australia and America, the presence of an Italian Apostolic Delegate has been a sore point and much too severe a test for the loyalty of the local clergy to the Holy See. The Italian is quite definitely convinced that only Italy and Rome count in the Church, and, when you tell him that the percentage of 'pratiquants' is enormously higher in Ireland, England and America, etc., than in Italy he just replies that we haven't the same intellectual temptations! There must be holy and learned Irish or American prelates, or priests who could be elevated, with long Roman experience. It is the universal belief here that an Italian will be a cause of much trouble.

I hope you will get a favourable opportunity of putting it pretty frankly to Montini. The Consistory is long in coming but I suppose it can't be postponed much longer without causing serious dissatisfaction.

How is your food situation in the Legation? Is it true that some Irish religious in Rome are starving? Deputy Dwyer (Sunbeam), Cork, writes us to that effect giving a quotation from a letter received from Dr. Kearney (Lt. RAMC) written from Rome. Could you report on the condition of the Irish Houses so that we may be able to answer these exaggerations.

With all good wishes to you and Delia - many thanks for your letters.

1 Not printed.

2 Monsignor Domenico Enrici (1909-97), Secretary at the Papal Nunciature, Dublin (1938-45).

3 Rev. Dr. John Charles McQuaid (1895-1973), Archbishop of Dublin (1940-72).

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