Edited Under Fr. Leonard Feeney M.I.C.M. - Saint Benedict Centre
An Open Letter to President Eisenhower
Saint Benedict Center
23 Arrow Street
Dear President Eisenhower:
I am writing this letter in the week of your inauguration to the great dignity which our people have bestowed on you. By the time you are permitted to read this letter, the ceremonies of inauguration will be completed and you will be President Eisenhower, indeed.
I am writing to you as a Roman Catholic priest, living in the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
I am the Superior of a little American Catholic Religious Order, recently founded, and called The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I promise to Your Excellency, as President of our great nation, my respect, my allegiance, and my loyalty - in all the things which God has permitted to put under your charge, which are many indeed, and are endowed with God's own authority to the extent to which He permits you to share it.
As President of our great nation, you are somehow a function; but you are also irrevocably a person, responsible to God and to your nation for what you do. It is with regard to your personal responsibility to God that I wish to appeal, as one of Jesus Christ's Catholic priests, priviledged to be able to speak to you freely,in a free country, at this great time in your installation. And here is what I have to tell you, Dwight Eisenhower, Mr. President, head of our great nation:
Unless you become a Catholic, a Roman Catholic, before you die and unless you give your spiritual allegiance to Christ's Vicar upon earth; unless you become an adopted son of God the Father, by the incorporate requirement of Baptism, and a child of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, by your incorporate fulfilments of the Blessed Eucharist, you will never save your soul.
You cannot plead ignorance of this great challenge where twenty- six million of your subjects are Roman Catholics, where nearly fifty thousand of your subjects are Catholic priests, where one hundred and fifty thousand of your subjects are Catholic nuns - in a nation dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is in every town, abundantly and super-abundantly in every great nation, in the Catholic churches you have so frequently passed.
This Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, living and breathing in all His adorability in the Catholic churches of your nation, can use the humblest instrument through which to speak to you. I am a beleaguered Catholic priest, whom some are denying the privilege of speaking freely to the President of this nation, in a land that boasts that it favors the practice of freedom of religion.
I do believe that, as a Catholic priest in a free America, dedicated to the Mother of God, I am free to say to you what I now say: Unless your "Our Fathers" are appeals for the Blessed Eucharist, unless you learn the beautiful "Hail Mary," and call Christ's Mother the Mother of God, you will never save your soul.
The end of some of our past Presidents has been sad, indeed. President Harding's, for instance, and President Wilson's, and very much, indeed, President Roosevelt's. I do not want your end to be such a one, and I do not want to have to stand before the Judgement Seat of God, as a Roman Catholic priest in a free nation, who has been afraid to tell our President what are his obligations to God and to God's only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord, the Word Who became flesh and dwelt amongst
Respectfully yours in the Immaculate Heart of Mary,