Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Spiritual Life of Cardinal Merry del Val

In the early part of the 21st century, because of the incessant and often strident media attention to the doings and mis-doings of many highly placed Churchmen, it is good to reflect upon how much good can be accomplished for the greater glory of God and the advancement of religion by even one man of deep holiness who has been placed in a position of great authority and responsibility in the Church.

Such a man was Raphael Cardinal Merry del Val. He was born into an aristocratic family of Irish, English, and Spanish parentage in the city of London. His parents were the Marquis Raphael Merry del Val and the Countess Josephine de Zuletta. Among the family of his forebears was a martyr of the Church, St. Domenguito del Val, a child of barely seven who was crucified to a wall in the Cathedral of Saragossa in 1250 by enemies of Christianity.

He is of course best known as the architect and executor of St. Pius X’s war against Modernism, in which great service to God he acquired numerous enemies in his lifetime, and for which we can be sure that he gained many friends in Heaven. But his life was not one of merely temporal greatness. He was a profoundly humble and virtuous man as well.

Saint Pius X had right by his side, as Secretary of State, a man who was eminently worth of his holy pontificate, as this biography of Cardinal Merry del Val by Reverend Jerome DalGal easily proves.

In 1931, a year after the death of this illustrious Cardinal, the famous French scholar René Bazin made the following observation: "Judgment was passed in many different ways on Cardinal Merry del Val while he was living. This was due largely to the part he played in the political and religious affairs of his time. But now that he is dead people are getting to know him better, for with death has come the unveiling of the well-guarded secret of his extraordinary spiritual life".

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