by John Gavin Nolan
Except that it may have had a remote bearing on his relationship with Father von Galen, there is no reason to suspect that Father Walsh was at all involved in Father dHerbignys brutal treatment of Dom Beauduin. The issue was simple: how best to restore to the Catholic Church the schismatics in Russia and the East. To Father dHerbigny, Jesuit and militant, they must be brought back as individuals, in the classic manner, one by one. Dom Beauduin, to whom years later Pope John XXIII said he owed his ecumenical vocation,24 favored reunion as Church with Church, thus heralding the spirit of Vatican Council II. Despite their zeal and sterling motives, an uncommon fate awaited both Benedictine and Jesuit for, curiously, both Dom Beauduin and Father dHerbigny spent years in penitential exile before going to their graves. Their disagreements in Rome were echoed to some extent in CNEWA, in the unfortunate differences of Fathers von Galen and Walsh.
The name Walsh meant Russia, and Father Walshs interest was more geopolitical than transcendental. He was very busy at Georgetown, invigorating his School of Foreign Service and lecturing and writing on Communism. An organization like CNEWA was of interest to him only to the extent that it could help Russia and fight Communism in the name of the Holy See. In Rome, Pope Pius XI was in the process of creating the Pontifical Commission for Russia, of which Michel dHerbigny — ordained Bishop in March 1926 — would be a member and later its president. The money to finance it (and other things as well) could come from thriving America if Father Walsh would consent to take over CNEWA. The takeover was arranged in Rome and it was blessed by the American bishops, if only reluctantly by some.
On 16 September 1926, following the first meeting of the new CNEWA Board of Directors, Father Walsh cabled Cardinal Gasparri that the hierarchy had endorsed Romes plan for Russia and the Near East and had resolved that the American bishops set up local CNEWA offices in dioceses throughout the country. He recommended that a telegram of thanks be sent to William Cardinal OConnell in Washington for him to present to the American bishops while they were still in session.25 Cardinal Gasparri cabled Cardinal OConnell that same day. His Holiness was pleased to learn of the bishops approval, the cable said, and particularly of their readiness to set up offices in all American dioceses.26