Letter from Hagan to Archbishop O'Donnell
Pontifical Irish College
Hagan, John, 1873-1930
Typescript copy letter (with some blanks for faulty copying), from (Hagan), Rome, to (Archbishop O'Donnell, Dundalk), in gratitude for his letter. Rating the archbishop's opinion very highly. While ready to follow his advice, he wishes to illustrate with the following that to avoid discussion of politics in itself is not enough; that his position is exposed no matter how much he withdraws. Using the visit of the British monarch as example, his abstention would always be interpreted as negative, and the bishops' opinions cannot be known in time. He has stayed aloof for the last 15 months excepting one peace-making effort. Irish visitors come to the College as always but are asked to avoid controversial subjects. Then dealing at length with the Curia: here 'patriotism' in Irish matters is always synonymous with imperialism, while 'politics' is anything that is adverse; O'Donnell's speech in Dundalk will be viewed as the latter. Hagan's views are never solicited by the Secretary of State or by others; with congregations the topic is simply not discussed. Commenting on various members of the Curia such as Luzio, Bisleti, Cardinal Van Rossum, and Cardinal Sbarretti. In two instances Hagan was groundlessly blamed, one concerning an anonymous letter in 1920 to Cardinal Merry del Val, the other a perceived slight to Cardinal Gasquet. While there are cordial relations with the Irish religious houses, the Christian Brothers are the exception, for the last ten years they 'have been among the most active of pro-British propagandists...' receiving support in return. Then singling out the Dominican Nolan as a 'good friend of the Empire' and unscrupulous- though disliked by his fellows he gained ground again (since the establishment of the Free State). The Redemptorists, excepting Fr. Murray, are 'among the most rabid of English politicians...' Then commenting at length about Dr. O'Gorman – while there is 'no nicer man in Rome' he would do anything for promotion or acknowledgement from betters: criticising especially his satellites, Fr. Walsh of John's Lane, and Fr. Edmund Power S.J. Then singling out the Congregation of the Consistory - due to Merry del Val's influence on DeLai, there is a tangible anti-Irish flavour to be perceived, particularly in the activities of staff like Cruise, and Cicognani. Finally admitting that if he could not avoid 'vivacity of language' it is because of a perceived similarity of views, and offering that 'I am ashamed of my country, I regret the bitterness, I deplore the absence of a truly national as distinct from a party spirit...' It will be best to stay aloof except when hoping 'to smooth asperities and remove angles'. Antagonising serves nothing, especially seeing how quickly alignments change in Irish politics. '...who knows but that in a year or two the Church's best friends in Ireland may not be the present Republicans?... Stranger things have happened.' Bitter reflection that Ireland is indeed a tribal entity but that against his hopes education and increased knowledge have not helped this. 'I am surprised at myself for not seeing that a land where the two Hughs tried and failed was not likely to afford a fertile field in which lesser man ... in baser ages could be expected to produce a better crop'. Curran leaves for Dublin; asking to talk to him particularly about the meanings of '"We" and "He" and "I"'.
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Is Part Of
The Papers of John Hagan (1904-1930)
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Letter from Archbishop T.P. Gilmartin to Hagan Gilmartin, T.P.; Hagan, John, 1873-1930; DigitalGeorgetown; Pontifical Irish College (1919-12-31)