Rorate Caeli

Cardinal Stickler and Michael Davies, precursors of Summorum Pontificum

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

Alberto Carosa

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”.


St. Christopher said...

OK, so where are the Traditional Latin Masses? Cardinal Dolan has said that it is all up to each bishop, and most of them are overtly hostile to any such Mass. The Pope seems clear enough that TLMs should be planned for abundantly in each diocese and that priests should be trained to say it properly. Instead, we have bishops that continue to disrespect the Pope and place crazy conditions on the right of any priest to say the TLM. Sorry, this is largely a useless exercise, unless the Pope steps up and demands that the TLM becomes a central part of each diocese (and parish), as well as a focus of Catholic education, including Catechism. /s/St. Christopher.

Jim Albert said...

Perhaps the laypeople need to rise up in each commmunity, form a study group on the TLM, help their priest, and do whatever groundwork is needed. This would, appropriately so, take the pressure off those at the top and simply require a head nod from them.

Jim A.

Gratias said...

We were there! The Russian ecumenical center is a smallish bookstore down the street from the Vatican. Wife and I had arrived a few hours earlier direct from California, took a shower, and arrived just in time for the Summorum Pontificum cum Papa Nostro Pontifical Mass, which was a great success for traditional Catholics. After Mass we walked to the Una Voce meeting and heard the lecture about Michael Davies by Una Voce President, Englishman Leo Darrochs. He had a long eulogy and, unexpectedly the Italian hosts insisted on simultaneous translation. This took a very long time, so we only stayed for his talk as we were exhausted.

Davies must have been a wonderful man. He was a soldier and a convert. He earned his life as a schoolteacher and wrote his books at night. His modest home in London became a nest of Traditionalist conspirators. Una Voce Internationalis has a free Michael Davis Dossier with many of his articles.

It was a true blessing to arrive in time for the pilgrimage mass on November 3d. The Mass was initially scheduled at 10:00 am and our flight was arriving at 1:00 pm. I was in Rome on other business. The Mass was postponed to 3:00 pm and we made it in the nick of time. Una Voce is a great organization. We are not many but the Internet has been a great help to our cause. Of course, the best boost has come from the Holy Father and his legislation that affords us some protection from the bishops.

Gratias said...

Poster St. Christopher is right: "we have bishops that continue to disrespect the Pope". In my Archdiocese of Los Angeles we have had Bp. Gomez for two years and not a single new every-Sunday Latin Mass has been allowed. This after the iron rule of Roger Cardinal Mahony for over 20 years. There were two different petitions for a personal Latin parish, one with over 1200 signatures and another with 600 signatures. Archbishop José Gomez did not even take the time to answer these requests. The Latin Mass is at a very difficult juncture in Los Angeles, despite our 4 million baptized Catholics. Bishops, even Opus Dei ones like Gomez, do not fear disrespecting the Pope and the law of the Church which is clearly laid out in Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae.

wretchedwithhope said...

since wwii - really since liberty-equality-fraternity - Catholicism has suffered another reformation/revolution - who can't see it? over Christmas i went with my 74 year old mother to a Cathedral midnight Mass with men and women swarming around a table (altar?) some in civies some in white robes, with splashes of Latin from the chior and vernacular unique to that parishes prefernces in the liturgy - a sermon from the bishop telling us how 'if ya don't use it ya lose it (this addressing the Holy Father's push for traditionalism (no, the irony didn't bypass me) climaxing in free for all come as you are eucharisitc minster handing out communion left right and centre (literally) - my old school nun educated ma felt like an alien. Catholic parishes are more different one from the other than your average protestant 'denominations'. Michael Davies wrote in Pope Paul's New Mass that the new liturgucal movements of the 20th century in the Church had an aim that reached even beyond protestantism to humanism - but since both seem to end in atheism or agnosticism it's hard to tell the difference.

Patrick Sheridan said...

My mother was born in 1961 and I don't consider her to be particularly ''ancient.''

James Kohn said...

I would agree with Jim Albert, there is a real need for education on the EF for many priests and laymen aliike before we can ever expect SP to be implemented in its fullest. Study groups and presentations with parish support, which is key to even get an audience with a priest is the first step. As Ven Sheen said it will be most likely up to the laity to fix the mess, not to exclude faithful priests of course

poeta said...

Mr. Sheridan -

But her lineage goes back to the foundation of the world.

wretchedwithhope said...

wow, I'm almost as old as your mother and I've felt ancient for years - i was trying to get my mother back to mass - she hasn't been since the fifties, instead all it did was confirm a sense that Catholicism had passed its best by. pray for us - and the Church that's suddenly lost its timelessness.

MartyJude said...

Gratias said...
"... There were two different petitions for a personal Latin parish, one with over 1200 signatures and another with 600 signatures. Archbishop José Gomez did not even take the time to answer these requests..."

Why not 'Tweet' the Holy Father; expose these wicked 'bishops' !

How can they be true Shepherds when they behave in this way?! They are not listening to the spiritual needs of their flocks.

I'm sure the Holy Father knows but without substantial evidence, what can he do?

It wouldn't do any harm to 'Tweet' him, even if it doesn't arrive directly with him, perhaps a 'decent' cardinal might just happen to read it and pass the plea/information on to the Pope...?!!!

Gratias said...

Dear MartyJude, the proper procedure is to send a detailed recourse to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. This is in progress. But having had the opportunity of mentioning this injustice in Rorate Caeli is a good step forward. Many in the Vatican Curia read Rorate and the information will get to the person in authority in Los Angeles, Abp. José Gomez, who is the one with the power of offering or denying compassion in this case.

John said...

Those who earn their living in the delivery of patient care or really any professional field must keep up with new developments. The Motu proprio authorizing the 1960 form of the Roman Rite should have been a signal to priest and bishops to learn to say this Mass. In my diocese through its weekly paper the Bishop authorized an article immediately to say that we do not need it besides the clergy are too busy to learn it.

If any nurse, doctor or lawyer (and these are very busy people) would claim such an excuse