Correspondence between Fr Leonard Sheil SJ and Irish Fr Provincial Laurence J. Kieran SJ on the content of Fr Sheil’s mission sermons. Includes:
– censors’ judgements on the manuscript of a sermon on ‘Sin’ by Fr Sheil (Jun 1936, 2 items); copy of summary of censors’ judgements (n.d., 2pp) and letter from Fr Sheil to the Irish Fr Provincial after receiving the censors’ reviews (24 June 1936, 2pp);
– letter from Fr Sheil in which he explains his delay in sending the Irish Fr Provincial the texts of his sermons, ‘My delay, and indeed serious negligence, has not been due, I think, to wilful disobedience, or to the opinion that they did not need censoring, but to this. I have eight fully written sermons in my drawer at present, but my dissatisfaction with them has caused me to cross out and amend lines and pages, so that none of them are yet in fit condition to send.…also…between missions my head is so tired that I am loathe to work.’ Also refers to the Sodality and the Legion of Mary (see J16/3) (12 Oct. 1936, 2pp);
– copy letter to Fr Sheil from the Irish Fr Provincial calling attention to Fr Sheil’s ‘want of prudence and discretion’ and warning him that if he continues ‘on present lines’ he may be ‘removed from the mission staff and given work in a College. With a view to rendering such a change unnecessary I forbid you in future to speak in the pulpit on questions of sex or, on general, matters relating to the VI commandment, without having first submitted your MS to the Socius for censorship. I wish also that you give up mentioning in public estimates or conjectures regarding the number of Irish emigrants who lose the faith or give up its practice’ (24 Jan. 1938, 2pp);
– note from Fr Sheil to the Irish Fr Provincial in which he lists the topics of his sermons that have been passed by the censor (12 Mar. 1940, 3pp);
– letter from Fr Tom Counihan SJ to ‘Fr. John’ in which he refers to Fr Sheil’s sermons, ‘You should have heard his sermons on sin, temptation, holyhour, family life & Holy Communion to feel utterly ashamed of the twaddle neither here nor there (sic.) No Scripture, no sound reasoning & abundance of crudity & naked realism…It is very unfortunate & I am not at all comfortable when I have to hand over an out-church to his tender mercies!’ (15 May 1940, 2pp) and
– copy letter from the Irish Fr Provincial to Fr Sheil in which he states, ‘I have been regretfully obliged to change you from the mission staff, and it is only fair that you should know the reason of this change. From information I have received from many different quarters it seems clear that you are greatly lacking in prudence in the things you say; and I cannot help thinking that if you were allowed to continue working as a missioner you would land both yourself and the Society into serious trouble…you allow your zeal to get the better of you with the result that you act contrary not only to the advice of your colleagues but also to that of your Superiors. I am afraid also that your knowledge of theology is very much wanting in accuracy…As to your work in Galway in the coming year, I must forbid you to preach anything in the Church without first having shown the MS to Fr Rector…’ (30 Jul. 1940, 2pp).