Bishop Adrian, servant of the servants of God, to his most beloved son in Christ the illustrious king of the English [Henry II], greeting and Apostolic benediction.

Laudably and profitably your Magnificence contemplates extending the fame of your glorious name on earth and accumulating for yourself the rewards of eternal happiness in Heaven; in doing so you intend, like a truly Catholic prince, to enlarge the boundaries of the Church, to teach rude and ignorant peoples the truth of the Christian faith and to stamp out the plants of evil from the field of the Lord; and you ask for advice and favour of the Apostolic See in order the better to accomplish that. In this activity, we are sure, the loftier the counsel and the greater the discretion with which you proceed, the happier progress you will make with the help of God; because those things which are commenced in the ardour of faith and in the love of religion are always wont to come to a good end and termination. There is certainly, as your Excellency also acknowledges, no doubt that Ireland and all islands which Christ the Sun of Righteousness has illumined and which have accepted the doctrines of the Christian faith, belong to the jurisdiction of the blessed Peter and of the most holy Roman Church. Consequently, so much the more willingly do we plant in them the seed of right faith agreeable to God, the more we are aware--by examining strictly our conscience--that this is required of us.

You have signified to us, most beloved son in Christ, your desire to enter the island of Ireland in order to subject the people of it to laws and to extirpate the vices which have taken root there; and also your willingness to pay an annual pension to St. Peter of one penny from every house; and your intention to preserve the rights of the churches in that land undiminished and inviolate. We, therefore, meeting with due favour your pious and laudable desire and according a benignant assent to your petition, consider it as accepted and agreed that you should enter that island in order to extend the boundaries of the Church, to restrain the downward course of vice, to correct morals and implant virtues, to advance the Christian religion and to execute there everything which tends to the honour of God and to the salvation of the land, and that the people of that land should receive you with honour and revere you as their lord; provided always that the rights of the churches remain undiminished and inviolate, and reserving for St. Peter and the most holy Roman Church the annual pension of one penny from each house. If, therefore, you effectively carry out what you have conceived in your mind, endeavour to enlighten that people in good morals; and act--both personally and through the medium of those whom you know as fitted for the task by their faith, words and ways of life--in such a manner that the Church there may be adorned, the Christian religion planted and made to grow and that everything which pertains to the honour of God and the salvation of souls may be so ordered that you may deserve a full and lasting reward from God and on earth may merit to obtain a name glorious throughout the ages.


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