Excerpts of Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh's Memoirs of Audiences with Benedict XV and Pius XI
Pontifical Irish College
Ó Ceallaigh, Seán T.
Hagan, John, 1873-1930
1918-1933 [-1959] Copy typescript excerpts in four parts from Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh's draft accounts [memoirs] of his audiences with Benedict XV and Pius XI; a reception given in Rome on the occasion of Oliver Plunkett's beatification; a meeting with Cardinal Logue. (Holograph covering letter from President Ó Ceallaigh, Dublin, to Monsignor [Herlihy], Rome, of 10 June 1959, explaining the draft character of these accounts; acting on a promise made to Herlihy previously.) 1) [January -12 April 1920] 'First audience with His Holiness Pope Benedict XV April 1920' (12pp). Explaining decision to ask for a papal audience to counteract a British document condemning Irish atrocities, on Hagan's instigation. Describing preliminary briefing by Monsignor Cerretti (his previous meeting with him in 1919); explaining Sinn Fein's attitude to the British military and the necessity to command an undercover partisan army. Account of the drafting by Hagan, Ó Ceallaigh and Curran of the document summarising their position to the Pope. Narrating the discussion with Benedict XV on 12 April; his pivotal statements on Ireland's right to independence and on the need for great caution in choosing the methods for their fight. 2) Account of reception held by Ó Ceallaigh in Rome 27 May 1920 (15pp). Preliminaries: his first meeting with and his regard for Cardinal O'Connell of Boston; relating at length meeting at Irish College including Archbishop Kelly of Sydney and an altercation between the two over Cardinal Gasquet, O'Connell relating the latter's deprecating words about Irish Catholics in England. Ó Ceallaigh's establishment in Rome as envoy; arrival in Rome of Irish prelates and prominent lay people; orgainising reception in the name of the government of the Irish Republic and achieving Cardinal Logue's consent. Preliminaries; guests (invited and not invited); Cardinal Logue's late arrival; patriotic atmosphere; Bishop O'Donnell of Raphoe's special kindness; the presence of Monsignor Salotti (promoter of Oliver Plunkett's cause).3) Previous meeting with Cardinal Logue (1918) and second audience with Benedict XV (6pp) (separate but in continuation of 2)). In further illustration of Ó Ceallaigh's difficult standing with Logue, their meeting before the general election 1918, and Logue's unchanged attitude in 1920. Then relating how a Times article about Ó Ceallaigh's reception in Rome caused the Pope to summon him for an audience [no date], seeking to understand the nature of the reception and the presence of two Vatican officials, Monsignori Salotti and Tizi; finally approving –'you had every right to hold such a Reception'. 4) Accounts of audiences with Pius XI in 1922 and 1933 [no dates] (7 pp). Relating firstly the brief 'thronetto' granted to him in [early summer] 1922; Pius XI disagreeing with Ó Ceallaigh over what he perceived to be a satisfactory settlement with England- 'it is a magnificent settlement and you will find that out later'. Then at length describing circumstances of arriving in Rome as part of a Holy Year-pilgrimage group in 1933, meeting Pius XI privately in his capacity as Minister for Local Government and Health. Relating points of discussion; the Irish churches' magnificent work abroad; the Pope's fear of communism and outrage over the election in Dublin of a communist candidate for the city; the Pope's opinion of Hitler –'a menace to the world'; a full account of Ó Ceallaigh to the Pope of how he and the Irish delegation to the League of Nations prevented the adoption of a report recommending the use of contraceptives- 'he asked me to thank Mr. deValera and the Government...for doing such excellent work...' (Although these items were dictated possibly a considerable time after the events described, and despite the covering letter, they were judged to be best filed with the Hagan papers, where in fact they were found in 2007.)
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Is Part Of
The Papers of John Hagan (1904-1930)
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