Volume 7 1941~1945

Doc No.

No. 598  NAI DFA Secretary's Files Memoranda to Taoiseach 1945

Summary by Joseph P. Walshe of a memorandum by Thomas J. Kiernan
regarding a conversation with the Substitute Secretary of State concerning
the appointment of the next Papal Nuncio to Ireland

DUBLIN, undated, but June 1945

Monsignore Montini said that the first appointment to Ireland was something in the nature of a new departure.1 It created a new channel of communication between the Bishops and the Holy See. It was partly a diplomatic, partly an ecclesiastical post. The work had been excellently done by Archbishop Robinson. At the time, there was a special reason for appointing an Irishman. But now the Church was in difficulties almost everywhere; to raise any national issue only added to these real difficulties. You could not have a Spanish Nuncio for Spain, a French Nuncio for France, etc., and it had to be remembered that the Vatican diplomatic staff was mainly Italian. Monsignore Montini said he was not in favour of continuing that state of affairs, but the change could not come quickly. The Irish had done well. Robinson, McCarthy, Ryan were Irish, and new Irishmen were wanted and would be welcomed. The Italianisation of the Vatican was due to historical reasons (which he explained at length). The next appointment to Dublin would be a matter for the Pope Himself, and, when he (Monsignore Montini) had thought about the choice, an Aide mémoire would be given to the Holy Father.

Dr. Kiernan said that there were men of Irish nationality with Roman experience, but the Substitute immediately said that whoever was appointed would be a friend of Ireland. It was useful for them to know the Irish point of view, but, at the moment, he could say nothing more.

1 Archbishop Paschal Robinson (1870-1948) was appointed Papal Nuncio to Ireland in 1929. See DIFP III, Nos 306, 308 and 310-1.