ARCHBISHOP IRELAND has publicly announced that he is going to “make a public reply to the attacks made upon him.” By “the attacks made upon” him, he means what has been said upon his and the pope’s meddling with the affairs of the United States, and their manipulating the President, and making a Punch-and-Judy show of Congress. He says that when he does come out, “The publication of his letter will be timely.”
Yet, with this preliminary announcement of what he is going to do, he takes occasion to explain at considerable length why he did what he has already done, and to tell a good deal of what he expects to do. And in this there are some points worth considering.
He says that when the pope wanted to use his “good offices for the preservation of peace, it became necessary that some one in Washington should be in a position to send him hourly bulletins, if necessary, of the attitude of the Admistration [sic.].”
Of course for anybody to do that, he would have to be in the very inner circles of the councils of the Administration. He says that the papal delegate “Martinelli was first selected for this place,” but that “he decline to act, upon the ground that he could not possibly have any standing at the White House, being merely an ecclesiastical representative of the Vatican.” And lo! when one who was “merely an ecclesiastical representative of the Vatican,” could not act, because he was that, then one who was an ecclesiastical representative of the Vatican was chosen to act because he was that—and more.
Martinelli could not act because, being “merely an ecclesiastical representative of the Vatican,” he could not possibly have any standing at the White House. Then the thing is shifted and an ecclesiastical representative of the Vatican is chosen who can have such standing at the White House, as to be able to send hourly bulletins of the Administration. In other words, in order to get in his work, the pope must have an agent, a representative, in the inner circle of the Administration; Martinelli did not have the qualifications; and Archbishop Ireland did have the qualifications; therefore Archbishop Ireland was chosen.
But what were these qualifications that adapted Archbishop Ireland for a position that the apostolic delegate could not fill. The archbishop tells us. And here they are: “It was then determined that the close and cordial friendship which existed between Archbishop Ireland and President McKinley and his whole cabinet, joined to the fact that he is an eminent American citizen, made him a fit instrument through which negotiations could be conducted.”
Now ecclesiastically President McKinley is a Methodist. How is it that there exists such a “close and cordial friendship” between a Roman Catholic ecclesiastic and him, as to gain for that ecclesiastic a position and knowledge that would enable him to send “hourly bulletins of the attitude of the Administration”? How is this, when  it is perfectly certain that there is not a Methodist bishop in all the United States between whom and President McKinley there is such a “close and cordial friendship” as to gain for said Methodist bishop a position or knowledge that would enable him to send “hourly bulletins,” or perhaps any bulletins at all, of the attitude of the Administration? How is it that ecclesiastically or otherwise there is a more “close and cordial friendship” between a Methodist and a Roman Catholic archbishop, than there is between that same Methodist and any Methodist bishop.
Of course everybody knows that this “close and cordial friendship” of the archbishop’s, is altogether political and solely because of political advantage. Everybody knows that it is the archbishop’s political power which was exerted at the St. Louis Convention and through the campaign of 1896, that makes “the close and cordial friendship” between him and “President McKinley and his whole cabinet” and which made him “a fit instrument through which negotiations could be conducted” that could not be conducted at all by Martinelli. Martinelli is an Italian and has no standing in American politics yet. All of which demonstrates that the greatest Roman Catholic official in the United States out of politics, has not the power and therefore is not so dangerous to the United States, as was, and is, a subordinate Roman Catholic official who is in politics. And this is equally true of every other ecclesiastical connection in the United States. No ecclesiastic or religionist of any kind can do the mischief out of politics that any one can do in politics. Therefore the eternal principle is, and this papal trick lately played is a forcible illustration of it, that ecclesiastics and religionists of every sort should forever keep out of politics.
And when it had been “determined that the close and cordial friendship which existed,” etc., “made him a fit instrument,” etc., the result was that “In view of this he received a formal letter from Cardinal Rampolla, papal secretary of state, authorizing him to represent the pope. This was presented to Judge Day, and semi-official relations began.”
It is then a fact that the Secretary of State of the United States has formally received “a formal letter” from the “papal secretary of state,” appointing a representative of the pope “through which negotiations could be conducted” with the Government of the United States in an affair with another nation. Accordingly the archbishop’s statement proceeds: “Since that time Archbishop Ireland has been in communication with Europe. Through him the official texts of the concessions which Spain was willing to make for the sake of peace, have been laid before this Government, and before the European ambassadors. The composite news of the situation has been cabled to him, and by him disseminated.”
The pope and his representative to the United States Government did not succeed in securing a peace to perpetuate the papal power and revenue in Spanish enslaved Cuba. But they did succeed in getting what the papacy for years has been working for—the formal receiving of a representative of the pope to this Government, upon a formal letter from the papal secretary of state; and thus established the precedent of formal official relations between the papacy and this Government.
This much has been gained already. And must more is planned; of which we shall have occasion to speak. Just now, however, the report says that when the archbishop shall have made “public his reply to the attacks upon him,” in which he “will go into details,” “he will proceed to Rome.”
Of course he must hurry off now to Rome and the pope to report in full the progress made, and laugh together with him while they map out their program for further official recognition when the time comes to settle the terms of peace between Spain and the United States.
We hope he will go into details and give the whole story exactly as it is. And then we wish he would go to Rome at once, and, for the good of the United State, stay there forever. And then let all other ecclesiastics and religionists in the United States keep out of politics here forever.