"That the Seanad desires to place on record its strong condemnation of the atrocities being committed by the Mexican Government on Catholic priests and people for attempting to worship their God according to the doctrine of their Church; and to take such steps as it may consider best to put a stop to the wholesale slaughter of Christian people."
As to the first part of the resolution, I do not think there is any member of this Assembly who would not condemn the Mexican Government for the atrocities that have been committed by them, and are still being committed. If there is any doubt in the mind of anyone that such atrocities have taken place, I think the statement of our Holy Father the Pope should remove that doubt. I will read a statement of His Holiness.
"Nothing like this persecution has ever been known in history, not even in the first centuries of the Church. For then, even under Nero, Caligula, and Domitian, there was no general persecution of private religion in homes, catacombs, or cemeteries.
"But now in Mexico nothing that is Catholic is tolerated, not even the private celebration of the Mass and the administration of the Sacraments, punishment for which has in many cases been the death penalty, and always fines, imprisonment, and murderous outrages."
I think that statement should remove all doubts, but if there should be any prejudiced minds they have only to refer to the investigation that has been made quite recently by the London "Daily Express." The results of that investigation have been published, and interviews have been published in the "Irish Independent" with Mexican Bishops and others. It is quite clear that the persecutions in Mexico are so bad that one could hardly mention them, as they are enough to make one's flesh creep. When these atrocities are going on it is only right that we, a small Catholic nation, should take notice and, at least, extend our sympathy. I think if any people have a right to speak in this matter it is the people of Ireland. We know what the persecution of our forefathers has been and all they suffered, and now we can state very confidently that at present in no country is there more freedom than there is in Ireland. There is toleration for all classes of people, and we are free to worship God in the way we desire. This is not a question of politics, but a question of conscience and humanity. I do not wish to delay the Seanad by reading the accounts of the persecutions that are taking place in Mexico. Priests, because they have celebrated Mass or administered sacraments to the dying, have been persecuted in a way as has never before been heard of. They have been kept over a slow fire with bayonets through their breasts. Young women have suffered in defence of their religion. This persecution has been inflicted by a man who has said time after time that he is the enemy of Christ. I am sure the facts in connection with the Mexican persecutions are known to every member of the Seanad. I am told we can do very little, but I think at least we can extend our sympathy. We know what sympathy and public opinion mean. The voice of public opinion has been very powerful in the past, and I think that public opinion is beginning to have an effect even in Mexico. We know that public opinion has brought about the talk of peace, and that talk is inspired by industrial pressure. Anything we can do to relieve the sufferings of the people in Mexico we should do for the sake of humanity, and I think we can do a good deal. The latter part of the resolution I leave in the hands of the House to take such steps as may be considered best to stop the wholesale slaughter of a Christian people. It is very hard to say what steps can be taken. I do not suggest that we should use force, but, as I have said, public opinion is very powerful, and there are other things we might do. We might get our Minister in the United States to use his influence with the American Government to bring some pressure to bear to stop these terrible atrocities.