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Ambassador In Chains - Preface

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      AMBASSADOR IN CHAINS

              The Life of
       BISHOP PATRICK JAMES BYRNE
             ( 1888 - 1950 )
            Apostolic Delegate to the
             Republic of Korea



               by the

             Most Reverend
            RAYMOND A. LANE
          Superior General of Maryknoll


                                                LONDON: PETER DAVIES

                                                 Fist Published 1956

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         Preface

THE Yalu River divine Korea from Manchuria, cutting part way across the top of the Korean peninsula. Until the Reds dominated this part of the world, the Yalu divided what were two Maryknoll mission territories. To the south, lying in Korea, is the Diocese of Pyong Yang. Bishop Byrne in 1923 became the first Maryknoll superior of this section. To the north, in Manchuria, is the Diocese of Fushun. I was in charge of this region. WE were neighbours, but our acquaintance started years earlier when I was a student at Maryknoll and he was Professor of Apologetics. From 1929 to 1932 we were together on the General Council at Maryknoll as assistants to Father James Anthony Walsh. So, after a precious acquaintanceship of thirty-three years, I am pleased to be writing the life of my friend and companion, Patrick Byrne.
 There is in man an urge to impress, to influence, and even to dominate. It is a dangerous tendency, but also, a useful one. It creates a Nero, but also a St Paul; it makes a Napoleon, but likewise a Xavier; a Lenin, but also a Don Bosco. In one man the aim is subjugation in order to rule, in the other it is zeal to save souls.
 In his life of St Francis Xavier, Father Brodrick says that no man or woman can be the Christian or Catholic that God meant him to be unless the vast shadow of the pagan world is in the back of his consciousness, and the needs of those poor pagans the substance of his prayer.“ 'Thy Kingdom Come' comes easily to the lips, ”he writes, but if there is not also agony in the heart, the terrible sigh of the soul to God, it means nothing. ”
 Men, then, must study how to win their fellow man. Force is dangerous; it injures all it touches. It enslaves but it does not win. Men are restless under force and they throw it off at the very first opportunity. We are not surprised, therefore, when we see régimes that were built on force break up and die. We have seen instances of this in our own generation. We may see further example before this decade has passed. Man feels deeply the right to freedom. Not long ago, a photo appeared in our newspapers showing two youths og East Germany throwing stones at an approaching Russian tank. It may have seemed foolish, but it was significant.
 Fénelon said: “There is no power that can force the inner citadel of the heart.” Nowhere in the Gospel is to be found warrant for doing violence to even one single soul, but we do have Christ's own words: “Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” Recall the words of Gounod: “Man bows before talent; it is at the feet of kindness alone that he freely casts himself down.”
 If kindness dominates a man's character, his influence will be felt in his regard for others. And if he be in command of others, he will best correct their faults by kindness. He who is unduly severe creates ill will. A wise tolerance often will remove the faults of others. A good approver is needed as well as a good corrector.
 Bishop Byrne had many gifts of nature and of grace. With his natural gifts, he could have been a great leader of men in the military, political, scientific, or business world. It is not difficult to picture him leading army or directing a political party with a certain amount of ruthless drive. But God's grace turned his fine natural qualities to the pursuit of souls. How well he followed his destiny, I have tried to show in this volume.
 The bishop's writings reveal many of his character traits far better than I could describe them. I have taken the liberty to draw extensively from his diaries and letters so that my readers may make their own deductions as far as possible.
 I am writing this in Rome before setting out to visit the MeryKnoll missions in East Africa. Various titles have been suggested for the book, “Martyr in the Morning Calm,” “A White Grave in Red Korea,” “Korean Patrick.” I liked particularly “The Man with the Light Word,” since this note of humour and cheerfulness was particularly striking in his life, from begging to end. Most appropriate, however, seems the little taken from St Paul's letter to the Ephesians. He was shortly to suffer a violent death on the road outside Rome. His words are:“Pray for me, too, that I may be given words to speak my mind boldly, in making known the Gospel revelation, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that I may have boldness to speak as I ought.”
 My thanks go to everyone who collaborated in this book: to friends who put Bishop Byrne's letters at my disposal; to members of the Byrne family and the Kavanagh family; to the Maryknoll Sisters at the General Secretariate who laboured so generously in transcribing my dictation; to Sister Mary Alma who did fine work in preparing material; to Father Charles McCarthy,M.M., for his many valuable suggestions; and to Father Edward McGurkin,M.M., and Father John Ryan Heisse whose valuable literary assistance made it possible to get the chapters to the printer on time.

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     Contents

  Preface
1 Auburn and Washington
2 Old St Mary's
3 The Builder
4 Disciple of the Founders
5 Korea
6 Church Bells on the Yalu
7 Pyongyang
8 “The Byrning Log”
9 “Korea Speaking”
10 The Moulder of Men
11 Cherry Blossoms and War Clouds
12 The“Bamboo Wireless”
13 Nations at War
14 Time of Peace
15 The Occupation
16 Return to Korea
17 The Apostolic Delegate
18 Eternal Values
19 “My Excellency, Uncle Pat”
20 Before the Storm        
21 Red Runs the Yalu
22 Ambassador in Chains
23 The Greatest Privilege