From Our Dublin Correspondent.
The new Dail assembled in an atmosphere of excitement, quite beyond what the outcome justified.
Before the assembly, there was solemn Votive Mass of the Holy Ghost at the ProCathedral. Dirblin, which was attended by the President and his Ministers, the leader of the Opposition, and many deputies of an parties, as well as representatives of the
judiciary, the army and the police. The Archbishop of Dublin presided and greeted the President.
A service was held in the Protestant cathedral of St. Patrick.
In What Shape?
A large throng at Leinster House waited for news of the Government that would be formed. Would Fianna Fail return to office; if so, by a large or narrow majority?
The Speaker was re-elected on the President's motion—Mr. Frank Fahy, who gives assent to Bills in place of a Crown representative as formerly: this function is his in the interregnum pending the coming into force of the new Constitution.
Election of President followed, and Mr. de Valera was elected by 82 votes to 52—the largest majority that he ever held since 1921, although the Dail itself is reduced in numbers.
The vote was made up thus: FOR: Fianna Fail, 67; Labour 13; Independents (Dr. Hannigan and Jim Larkin), 2. Total 82.
AGAINST: Cosgrave Party, 48; Independents, 4. Total 52.
The Speaker, of course, did not vote. One F.F. deputy was absent, through illness. Two Independents abstained. The close alignment with my forecast will be noted.
A strong speech was made by the Labour leader, Mr. Norton. expressing his party's attitude in the conflict with Britain. Mr. Cosgrave spoke vigorously against the Constitution. The most discussed speech. however, came from Mr. J. J. Cole, a Protestam Independent who sits for an Ulster constituency and expressed in his remarkable maiden speech the new attitude towards nationalism which is appearing among his people.
Mr. Cole pleaded for a coalition of the two big parties, and a dropping of the old, destructive feud. A coalition has been advocated by the Irish Times on the ground that a " national Government " would he better, from the point of view of those who hitherto supported Mr. Cosgravc, than a Republican Government depending on Labour. Mr. Cole, on the failure of any support for his proposal. abstained from voting. The Irish nines lamented next day that Mr. Cosgrave " would be witting to act in co-operation with any party — except Mr. de Valera's."
No coalition ia likely. It was " thinkable" when men like Mulcahy and Fitzgerald were the strength of Mr. Cosgrave's party, but is obviously remote when these go out and the Redmond tradition rises in their place. " The people are going back to the principles and policy of forty years ago," said Mrs. Redmond, after her election in Waterford.
The President selected the same Ministers as before the dissolution, and the Dail adjourned until October 6.
Thus the excitement of the election has risen and passed, and we are going on politically virtually as before. The new Constitution will come into force in the new year, when there will be a national vote for the election of the President of Ireland. An Act to provide the machinery of the election will be required, and some other small measures to facilitate the transition.
A Writer's Job
Nothing remains to be said except a personal observation.
Two correspondents have charged me with partizanship in these reports. I am sorry if my sympathies have coloured them unduly, though I think that no correspondent can fail to betray his own feelings in some faint measure. On the point of fact. however, that the vote on the Constitution went on party lines, I am stating the known truth. proved by every ballot box, and proclaimed by Unionist, Fianna Fail, Cosgrave and Labour newspapers. In fact, I heard prominent supporters of Mr. Cosgrave say that they wished the Constitution had been put separately from the General Election, for this very reason. The numbers who voted against the Constitution for other than party reasons, however honest, are proved by the ballot boxes to have been numerically negligible. I am myself among those who, like Professor O'Rahilly, would like some changes of machinery; but I do not propose to wreck the ship in order to change the design of the cabin.
So much for fact. As for opinion, I hold to it that if the Constitution had been freed from treatment as a party issue, and set up by the enthusiastic support of all groups—since all at heart must share the admiration which it has called from Roman. French, Italian, English, American, Australian observers—a great day's work would have been done for Ireland. If it is partizanship to wish that partizanship had not appeared. I am partizan!
The End and Means
Those who will the end must will the means, and those who fear Communism or dictatorship ought to bring all possible power to bear in support of a Fundamental
Law which forbids both effectively. So think I.
Spanish Truth at Last
The truth of one most important aspect of the Spanish war was made known by Irish radio last week. Fr. P. J. Gannon, Si., whose intense interest in the Spanish question is known to the. world, gave a broadcast talk on " The Wealth of the Church of Spain."
last December, a reviewer in an Irish newspaper wrote: " The Church was an enormously wealthy landlord. and as such almost bound to be attacked in any rising of land-hungry peasantry." Fr. Gannon challenged the reviewer to state: (i) Where did the landed estates of the Church lie? (ii) What was their extent? (iii) To what institutions in the Church did they belong? The only reply that he got was a series of Red citations against the Church, none of which answered any of his three questions.
Truth prevails, though slowly. The Red charges have enjoyed a long run in Ireland, but at length the truth is gaining publicity and recognition. Fr. Gannon's broadcast gave a detailed refutation of " the Church was an enormously wealthy landlord "; the full text has been printed in The Standard of July 23. I quote the closing paragraph: "I have made inquiries from at least a dozen Spanish clerics or Irish clerics who have lived in Spain, and all concur with the testimonies cited. They even added much detailed information which made it absolutely clear that beyond the glorious minsters, mostly centuries old, with their priceless heirlooms and shrines rich in dedicated jewels and ornaments— doubly inalienable. by Canon Law and State Law—the Church of Spain possessed little ivealth, and used what it did possess in the best interests of the poor, the ignorant and the suffering."
The Church and Science
The meeting of the British Medical Association in Belfast brought many Catholic men of science to that city. The Bishop of Down and Connor presided at a Solemn High Mass (oram Pontifice, at which these visitors assisted.
A sermon was preached by the Rev. Dr. Arthur Ryan, of St. Malachy's College, who said that the close alliance between the Church and the medical profession—and nowhere was it closer than in Belfast— seemed to him a particularly apt illustration of that interpretation of the supernatural and the natural, which was the essence of the Catholic life.
The doctor's ministrations to life in the natural sphere ran parallel to those of the priest in the supernatural sphere. Theorists had prattled a good deal in recent years on the antagonism or science and religion; but those theories. like so many others, broke down at the first touch with reality, and never looked so drab and fanciful as at a bedside of birth or death.
" Holy Pictures in Baby's Milk"
He was far from suggesting that Christians had not been presumptuous from time to time in hoping for miraculous intervention without taking any natural means to realise their hopes; that some of their lessinstructed faithful seemed to prefer miniature holy pictures in the baby's milk, or similar superstitions, to the recommenda tions of the doctors. But no one could accuse the Church of pandering to that mentality.
"If there are cases of superstition and credulity," said Dr, Ryan, " they cannot be laid at the door of the Church, and, in any case. they are far rarer in the Catholic body than in the alleged circles of enlightenment, where crystal-gazing, astrology, spiritism, or the measurement of the Great Pyramid are supposed to hold the solutions of all the problems of the universe."
The Church prayed earnestly for the success and fruitfulness of the great Medical
Association. Having throughout her history been the greatest of all hospital builders, and having through her children from St. Luke to the days of Pasteur and Mendel, contrilsaited enormously to medical science, she gladly invoked God's blessing on their deliberations, knowing that every step forward by a service which ministered to the welfare of humanity was a gift of true Christian charity to that brotherhood of man of which Jesus Christ Himself was the first born.