Paschal Robinson

Paschal Robinson, O.F.M., (born David Robinson; 26 April 1870 – 27 August 1948) was an Irish ecclesiastical diplomat. A journalist and renowned medievalist before he entered diplomatic service, he was the titular archbishop of Tyana and the first apostolic nuncio to Ireland since the 17th-century Archbishop Rinuccini. Influential in his position, he served as nuncio from January 1930 until his death in 1948.

Paschal Robinson
Paschal Robinson (1870–1948).png
David Robinson

(1870-04-26)26 April 1870
Dublin, Ireland
Died27 August 1948(1948-08-27) (aged 78)
Dublin, Ireland
Burial placeGlasnevin Cemetery
OccupationDiplomat, journalist


"Hitler Didn't Like This Photo" The Milwaukee Journal proclaimed on 15 March 1935. (The photograph was manipulated for clarity by the paper at the time of publication.) The photograph was the source of international discussion as the cause of von Dehn's dismissal from diplomatic service to Nazi Germany.

Born David Robinson in Ireland on 26 April 1870 and raised in the United States,[1][2] Robinson was the son of a journalist and began his career as a teenager in that same field. Although he briefly considered a career in law, he had served as both London correspondent for The New York Sun and as associate editor of the North American Review before he decided to pursue the Catholic priesthood as a Franciscan.[3][4]

Robinson studied at the Jesuit College of the Holy Cross (1895) and the Franciscan St. Bonaventure University (1896), becoming a Franciscan in August 1896, and being sent by the Franciscans to study in Rome under his new name, Paschal.[1][3] He became a priest at St. Anthony's International College in Rome on 21 December 1901.[4] In 1902, he received the Degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology and began to teach. He worked in and studied at various universities around the world and undertook a research project in Jerusalem. He also published; his first book was The Real St. Francis, released in 1903. There followed in the next seven years: Some Pages of Franciscan History (1905), The Writings of St. Francis (1906) and The Life of St. Clare (1910).[1] He was associate editor of the Archivum Franciscanum Historicum and contributed to the Catholic Encyclopedia. By 1914, the year he was inducted into the Royal Historical Society, he was known as "one of the foremost living historians of the Middle Ages", a specialty he cultivated while at Oxford University.[4]

In 1913, he was appointed Professor of Medieval History at The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.,[5] a position he held from 1913 to 1919, when the Holy See took him into a diplomatic service in Rome.[3] He served as apostolic visitor for the Holy See several times, first in 1920 to the Custodian of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, and again in 1925 to the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem and the Eastern Catholic Churches in Palestine, Transjordan, and Cyprus.[1] He served as the titular archbishop of Tyana from May 1927 before, in December 1929, the pope appointed him the first apostolic nuncio to Ireland since the 17th-century Archbishop Giovanni Battista Rinuccini.[2][6]

In 1930, he began his service as nuncio, arriving in January to a three-day celebration.[7] In 1934, a photographer captured the German Envoy to Ireland, Georg von Dehn, kissing Robinson's episcopal ring.[8] Von Dehn was immediately recalled and removed from diplomatic service by Adolf Hitler for unbecoming conduct, and the photograph – and word of its repercussions – spread internationally.[9][10][11][12]

Robinson exerted tremendous influence in Ireland during his term and is credited in The Irish Times as having helped secure good relations between Ireland the Holy See.[2][13] He remained in office until his death on 27 August 1948, at the Apostolic Nunciature in Dublin.[14] In keeping with his wishes, he was buried in the section reserved for the Friars Minor in Glasnevin Cemetery.[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Mcelrath, D. (1 January 2003). "Robinson, Paschal". New Catholic Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Cooney, John (23 July 2011). "Papal Nuncio's days of power and glory are at an end". Retrieved 24 April 2012.,
  3. ^ a b c "The Most Rev. Paschal Robinson, O. F. M". The Americas. Academy of American Franciscan History. 5 (2): 217–220. October 1948. JSTOR 977807.
  4. ^ a b c "Signal Honor Tendered the Rev. Paschal Robinson". Sunday Chronicle. 5 April 1914. Retrieved 24 April 2012.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ "Personal". The Hudson Independent. 20 June 1913. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  6. ^ radio to the Christian Science Monitor (3 December 1929). "Pope Appoints Envoy to Irish Free State". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  7. ^ "January 16th, 1930". The Irish Times. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  8. ^ Duggan, John P. (1985). Neutral Ireland and the Third Reich. Gill and Macmillan. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-389-20598-2. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  9. ^ "Hitler Didn't Like This Photo". Milwaukee Herald. 15 March 1935. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  10. ^ "Caused Diplomat's Dismissal". Telegraph-Herald and Times Journal. 17 March 1935. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  11. ^ "DEATH OF FORMER GERMAN I.F. MINISTER Recalls an Injustice". Catholic Herald. 30 July 1937. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  12. ^ Kennedy, Michael; Joseph Morrison Skelly (2000). Irish Foreign Policy, 1919–66: from Independence to Internationalism. Four Courts Press. p. 87. ISBN 978-1-85182-404-5. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  13. ^ Keogh, Dermot (22 July 2011). "Kenny's speech historic and unprecedented in publicly calling Holy See to book". Irish Times. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  14. ^ "Eire Papal Nuncio". The Glasgow Herald. 28 August 1948. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  15. ^ "A Dream to Follow" (PDF). Medical Missionaries of Mary. Retrieved 1 September 2012.

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