The following article was published by Vatican Insider soon after the Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage to Rome, in November. Its translation was recently sent to us by a reader.______________________
The precursors of the Motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum"
Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos speaks about Cardinal Stickler and Michael Davies, who promoted the revival of the ancient liturgy
The pilgrimage of the Summorum Pontificum people did not end only with a religious moment, the pontifical in the extraordinary ritecelebrated at the chair of St. Peter’s basilica by the Prefect of Divine Worship, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, and greeted by a message from the Pope to the faithful, but was followed by a more "secular" evening event: a conference organized by Centro Culturale Lepanto (CCL) led by Fabio Bernabei at the Centro Russia Ecumenica in Borgo Pio: “They lived in expectation of Summorum Pontificum: Cardinal Alfons Stickler (1910-2007) - Dr. Michael Davies (1936-2004)”.
The aim was to commemorate two late personalities, a cardinal and a simple self-taught layman, who with their work laid the foundations for the subsequent promulgation of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. “The two personalities forming the object for reflection of qualified speakers, with their tireless efforts have certainly represented the authentic precursors of that time of grace that we are living since the enforcement of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of the Holy Father Benedict XVI”, said His Eminence Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who was unable to attend, in the message he wanted to send to the participants.
After a brief introduction by CCL president Bernabei, the floor was taken by the president of the International Una Voce Federation (FIUV), Leo Darroch, a close friend of Michael Davies, who recalled his personal and intellectual qualities, and especially his extensive work as an apologetic writer in defense and promotion of the traditional liturgy, which perhaps made him “the most influential author on the liturgy and traditions of the Church in the last 50 years”.
In particular, Darroch highlighted the deep bonds of esteem and confidence which bound him to the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who at the news of the death of Davies in his message of condolence remembered him as “a man of deep faith … (that) put all his energy into the service of the Faith and left us important publications especially on the Sacred Liturgy… he always truly remained a man of the Church… So we can be very confident that the Lord opened wide for him the gates of heaven”.
The Salesian Cardinal Raffaele Farina came next and recalled the figure of his confrere Cardinal Alfonso Stickler, also a Salesian, as “a faithful servant of the Church and science”. Although he soon asserted himself as a leading expert in canon law, the late Cardinal was always a simple and joyful person.
In essence, he remained always a Salesian, faithful to the Salesian vows and ideals: the Eucharist, Mary Help of Christians, the Pope, and in his case, St. Joseph, his favorite saint. “This friend of ours”, said Benedict XVI in his funeral homily on December 14, 2007, referring to his late colleague, to whom he was bound by a deep respect and friendship.
The other interventions included that of the secretary of the FIUV, Thomas Murphy, who reminded the guests the genesis and development of the organization, while that of Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro Carambula, director of Human Life International Roman, because of his sudden hospitalization, was read out by a confrere, Father Mark Hausmann. The FIUV is now truly active at global level, after his phenomenal growth in particular from the promulgation of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum in July 2007, and today operates in 33 countries on five continents.
Monsignor Barreiro instead returned to recall the figure of Cardinal Stickler and the active role that he played in his time on the preservation of the ancient rite, in the sense of practicing what he was preaching, viz, by not only upholding its full legitimacy as a rite never abrogated, but also celebrating it personally, as when he did on May 12, 1996, with over 4,000 faithful in attendance in the cathedral of New York upon invitation of Cardinal John O'Connor.
Finally, the eldest son of Michael Davies, Adrian, recalled how his father, a convert from the Anglican church, noticed the significant drop in conversions in the decades following the liturgical reform.
This trend was reversed with the return to its tradition favored by the current pontificate. “I'm sure my father would have been delighted to see the partial rehabilitation of the old rite under Pope Benedict, whom he held in great esteem as Cardinal Ratzinger”, he said. “And I am very sad that my father did not live long enough to see his election to the throne of Peter. He'll be certainly doing so now from a more privileged position, and with all his approval”.