Adrian, Bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his dear son in Christ, the illustrious King of England, sends greeting and Apostolic benediction.
Your Highness is filled with a laudable and fruitful desire to extend your glorious name in this world, and to increase your reward of immortal happiness in heaven, whilst, as a good Catholic prince, you set yourself to extend the bounds of the Church, to declare the Christian Faith to ignorant and barbarous peoples, and to extirpate the nurseries of immorality from the estate of the Lord ; and the more effectively to put this design in execution, you have come for advice and assistance to the Holy See. And in this undertaking we are confident that the shrewder the judgment and the greater the discretion with which you proceed, the happier the success you will with God's help have ; because those things always come to a good issue and end which have taken their origin from enthusiasm for the faith and love of religion.
Surely there is no doubt—what your Highness also admits—that Ireland, and all other islands o'er which Christ the sun of righteousness has shined, and which have accepted the lessons of the Christian faith, do of right belong to the Blessed Peter and the Holy Church of Rome. And the more clearly our own examination shows us the need, the more readily do we introduce among them the planting of faith, a seed so pleasing to God.
Since you have advised us, dearest son in Christ, of your intended expedition into Ireland, to subject the island to just laws and to root out thence the hotbeds of vice, and you promise to make from every house a yearly payment to S. Peter of one penny, and to maintain the rights of the Church without the least detriment or diminution, we, therefore, being willing to assist you in this pious and laudable desire with fitting favour, and benignantly consenting to your petition, hold it a pleasing and acceptable thing that you make a descent on that island, to enlarge the bounds of the Church, to check the career of profligacy, to reform morality, and to promote virtue with a view to the increase of the Christian religion ; and that you carry out what shall have regard to the honour of God and the salvation of that land, and that the people of that land receive you honourably and respect you as their sovereign lord—provided always that the rights of the Church are preserved undiminished and entire, and one penny be duly paid out of every house to the Blessed Peter and the Holy Roman Church.
If therefore you put your design in execution, be careful to reform the manners of the people, and so act, both in your own person and in the persons of those whom you employ, having seen them to be worthy in faith and language and life, that the Church of God may be beautified there and the Christian religion may be planted and grow, and that all things tending to the honour of God and the salvation of souls may be ordered in such manner by your efforts as may entitle you to obtain a large eternal reward in heaven and enable you to win a glorious name on earth for all ages.