Belgium, 11 January 1915 – Reports that Cardinal Mercier of Malines is being held under house arrest by the German authorities in Belgium has been greeted with outrage in Ireland.
A recent Pastoral letter written by the Cardinal argued that patriotism should be one of the duties of all Christians. It is thought that the German military saw this as something of a call to resistance for Belgians and that this was the reason for the his arrest.
The Pastoral letter which has come to be known as ‘Patriotism and Endurance’ was today read at all masses in the Archdiocese of Armagh and statements of support for Cardinal Mercier have been issued by Catholics across the world.
The London branches of the United Irish League issued a joint statement in which condemnded ‘the indignity offered by the Germany military authorities’ and referred to Cardinal Mercier as a ‘great Belgian patriot and friend of Ireland’.
[Editor’s note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]