Two dear priestly readers sent us reminders of the death of this, one of the last great Romans - the last Secretary of the Holy Office and first Prefect (pro-prefect) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -, including some personal memories:
On the late great Cardinal Ottaviani, I had the privilege of assisting at his private Mass in the chapel of his apartments in the Holy Office twice. Each time, we had breakfast with His Eminence following the Mass. On the second visit, he presented me with his book, which he autographed, "Il Baluardo". He pointed to himself, and said, "Io sono Il Baluardo della Chiesa", ("I am the watchman of the Church"), and has been quoted as saying elsewhere, "I am the watchman of the Church, even though I am blind". The Cardinal suffered from diabetes, and had very limited eyesight. But he was so justly proud of his role as Prefect for the Congregation of the Holy Office, because he knew how critical it was at that point to be vigilant for the Faith.
His Eminence was very devoted to an orphanage he had established for the orphans of Trastevere, his native sector of Rome. It was, I believe, under the Patronage of St. Agnes. Every Sunday, he would be driven out to the orphanage to spend the afternoon with his dear orphans. Here was a most powerful and busy Prince of the Church who had the humility and love to tend to the little ones of Christ.
Another dear Priest sent us this lesson of the Cardinal to all Priests:
What I'd like to mention especially, though, is something Fr. X. told me. He said that before Mass, when the cardinal would pray the Formula Intentionis, he would raise his voice a little at the words, "Et pro felici statu Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae" ["and for the good state of the Holy Roman Church"]. It seems to me that if -every- priest would say the whole Formula Intentionis before every Mass, things would undoubtedly get better. I cannot believe that we would be in the current state or remain in it if all priests would faithfully say this prayer.
Ego volo celebráre Missam, et confícere Corpus et Sánguinem Dómini nostri Iesu Christi, iuxta ritum sanctæ Románæ Ecclésiæ, ad laudem omnipoténtis Dei totiúsque Cúriæ triumphántis, ad utilitátem meam totiúsque Cúriæ militántis, pro ómnibus qui se commendavérunt oratiónibus meis in génere et in spécie, et pro felíci statu sanctæ Románæ Ecclésiæ. Amen.
Gáudium cum pace, emendatiónem vitæ, spátium veræ pæniténtiæ, grátiam et consolatiónem Sancti Spíritus, perseverántiam in bonis opéribus tríbuat nobis omnípotens et miséricors Dóminus. Amen.
May he rest in peace. [Image: Cardinal Ottaviani celebrates Mass on December 10, 1963, in the Church of Santa Maria di Loreto, Rome - source: Biblioteche di Roma - Cinecittà Luce archives. / Recess for several days.]