Tuesday, January 26, 2010

People of the Year - #1

From Inside the Vatican

Each year for the past 10 years, Inside the Vatican has chosen 10 "People of the Year" -- men and women of courage, vision, learning and faith.

I find myself unable to write currently, and so in my desire to bring Freedom Through Truth, will be bringing to you things that I have seen and admire for their veracity.

Here is the first member of that illustrious group.

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos

Former Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, he is the former President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

The life of Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos took a dramatic turn with the release of the motu proprioSummorum Pontificum,” the papal document which “rehabilitated” the pre-Vatican II liturgy, on July 7, 2007.

Since then, for two and a half years, the Church has been entering into a new phase in which the pre-conciliar tradition is once again appreciated and integrated into Catholic life. And no one has done more to implement this integration than Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos.

Our choice of him as the first of our “People of the Year” is in part a choice of all those in the Church who have labored over the decades to preserve the treasures of the Catholic tradition, especially her liturgy, in a time of much confusion and forgetfulness of ancient things.

Beginning in July 2007, even the Ecclesia Dei Commission had to reposition itself, from the role of a defender of the old rite from oblivion to that of an agent for its spreading and promotion, as noted by Msgr. Fernando Areas Rifan, the first traditional bishop consecrated by Rome since Vatican II.

As the head of Ecclesia Dei, Cardinal Castrillon Hoy­os was called to play a pivotal role in the strategy of Benedict XVI to restore the sacred in the Church.

But what he did to accomplish the will of the Holy Father, in full loyalty and obedience, went well beyond his mandate, since he did not limit himself to preaching, but actually practiced what he preached. And what better way to preach than by example?

It started well before the release of Summorum Pontificum, on May 24, 2003, when for the first time in decades a senior prelate of the Curia still fully in office, like Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, celebrated a pontifical Mass in the old Latin rite in one of the major four basilicas in Rome, St. Mary Major.

“I had not celebrated anymore according to the missal of 1962, after the post-conciliar liturgical reform,” Castrillon Hoyos was quoted as saying in an interview in the Osservatore Romano on March 27, 2008. “Today in resuming sometimes the extraordinary rite, I myself have rediscovered the richness of the old liturgy that the Pope wants to keep alive, preserving that age-old form of Roman tradition.”

An old Italian proverb says that “appetite grows by eating”: since the pontifical in St. Mary Major, and especially after the motu proprio, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has celebrated the old rite on an increasing number of occasions: in Rome, outside of Rome and even in other countries, and it would not be possible to keep record of all of them in our limited space.

But most of all, his tireless zeal has by no means dwindled after he had to retire on July 8, 2009 following his 80th birthday (he was born on July 4, 1929) -- on the very day when Benedict XVI attached the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with the motu proprio “Ecclesiae Unitatem.”

“I was prefect of the Ecclesia Dei, my concern is for the Church, and I’ll do all I can for her full unity, my interest will be devoted to her sanctification as well as the wonderful wealth of her traditional rites,” he was quoted as saying in an interview by Süddeutsche Zeitung on September 25, 2009.

But more than that, Castrillon Hoyos is also living up to his words “traditional rites” in the plural: for example, he administered the Sacrament of Confirmation according to the old rite on December 12, 2009, to a number of youth in the personal parish of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini.

On Immaculate Conception day, December 8, 2009, he led a traditionalist public procession of almost a thousand people in the very heart of Rome promoted by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest from the Church of Gesù e Maria al Corso, where they are headquartered, to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva.

Interestingly, in the morning of the same day, a pontifical in the extraordinary or Gregorian rite was being celebrated by Cardinal Franc Rodé, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, in the church of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini.

It would really seem that in the footsteps of Castrillon Hoyos, an increasing number of cardinals are starting to celebrate the old rite, as was also the case with Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, who celebrated a traditional pontifical in Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini on All Saints Day November 1, 2009, after having previously done so in the stately basilica of St John Lateran.

In a press conference on the sidelines of the pontifical he celebrated on June 14, 2008, in the cathedral of Westminster in London, the first time after some three decades, with more than 1,500 people in attendance, Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos revealed that the Pope’s intention was for the extraordinary rite to be made available at every parish.

Should this ever materialize, Castrillon Hoyos should be also credited for it.

And last but not least, should talks with the Lefebvre-founded Society of St. Pius X be successful, ample merit must also be attributed to his contribution in terms of charity, patience and diplomatic skills that enabled him to begin the talks in 2000 after they were discontinued in 1988. —Alberto Carosa

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