Paul Augustine Card. Mayer, RIP

The oldest living Cardinal, His Eminence Paul Augustine Card. Mayer, OSB, has died at nearly 99 years of age.

Card. Mayer had an incredible life of service in the Church.

I can make the claim that we were friends.  His Eminence ordained me a deacon in 1990.

He had been Abbot of Metten, the first President of the Athenaeum Sant’ Anselmo, a peritus at the Council where he helped write the documents on priesthood, Secretary for the Congr. for Religious, first Prefect of the Cong. for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, first President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

He and the present Holy Father, a fellow Bavarian, were dear friends.

And he was the holiest human being I have ever met.

Please say a prayer for the repose of the soul of Paul Augustine Card. Mayer, who has gone to his judgment and, I am confident, swiftly his reward in heaven.

I guess this makes me an "orphan" in ecclesiastical terms! 

The priests/bishops who brought me into the Church or ordained me have passed away: Msgr. Richard Schuler, Card. Mayer, Pope John Paul II. 

Coincidentally, they all died in April (Schuler 20 April, Mayer 30 April, John Paul 2 April.).

Memento mori!

Here is an old photo of the Cardinal with a much younger Undersigned, I think in the summer of ’91 when I visited him for a while at his monastery in Metten, where he will be buried.  This was taken in the famous monastic library, where I spent some time reading through His Eminence’s notes from the Council.

An interesting anecdote to give you a sense of what sort of man Card. Mayer was.

When I was a Metten, I think that trip, I made arrangements with the sacristan for my Masses in the morning. 

When I got to the sacristy, the Cardinal was there.  He had set up the altar and then served Mass as if he were a brother.

Afterward, having helped me divest, he knelt for the blessing.

He would personally wait on his guests in the refectory…. a Cardinal of Holy Catholic Church.

UPDATE:

I had a phone call from the sisters who take care of Card. Mayer’s household.

The Cardinal had been getting weak over the last couple weeks, but even yesterday celebrated Holy Mass.

In the last 24 hours he declined rapidly and died very peacefully in his bed at home with the sisters there.

He is now laid out in his household chapel, decked out in his cardinalatial choir dress, and purple Mass vestments waiting for the Requiem in St. Peter’s Basilica on Monday.  I wish I could be there, but the tickets are horrible and I would have to leave tomorrow.

He will be buried at his abbey at Metten on 12 May.

Now it is off to the chapel for the first Requiem for him.

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35 Responses to Paul Augustine Card. Mayer, RIP

  1. SPWang says:

    RIP Card. Mayer.
    Could we now see the first public TLM from B16??

  2. revs96 says:

    Let us pray not only for his soul, but that God send us more men like him.

  3. haleype says:

    May he and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace, Amen. Cardinal Mayer signed the “celebret” for the TLM issued to the Group where I attend Mass. We now know, of course, that the celebret was not even necessary as Summorum Pontificum says the TLM was never abrogated, but in those days there was much confusion and doubt on this matter. Those were, indeed, turbulent days.

  4. Tim Ferguson says:

    I remember fondly my meeting with Cardinal Mayer which our gracious blog host arranged. Truly a holy man. I will keep him in my prayers, in full hope that his reward will be comensurate with the depth of his faith and closeness to the Lord. Requiescat in pace.

  5. Dan O says:

    Father Z, Please accept my deepest sympathies at the loss of your friend. I will remember him and you in my prayers.

  6. irishgirl says:

    Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord….

    Father Z, please accept my condolences for the loss of His Eminence. ‘Nearly 99 years of age’…wow…what history he had seen in his life! And he ordained you a deacon, too!

  7. Requiescat in pace…rest assured of my prayers.

  8. Andy Milam says:

    I will ask that my pastor celebrate a Requiem for him. I will offer my rosary for the next week for the repose of his soul.

    Now he and Monsignor Schuler can intercede to Our Lady, for the proper implementation of the liturgy.

    STLSTW

  9. loupizzuti says:

    With the Saints, give rest, O Christ, to the souls of Thy servants, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no sighing, but life everlasting.

  10. servusmariaen says:

    I’m deeply saddened by his passing. Many years ago I wrote him and humbly asked his prayers for my vocation. He kindly wrote me a note assuring me of his prayers. I know his prayers will be even stronger now.

    “Herr, gib ihm die ewige Ruhe.” “Und das ewige Licht leuchte ihm” “Herr, lass ihn ruhen in Frieden. Amen!”

  11. robtbrown says:

    I met him on a flight to Rome some years ago. A very, very nice man. When I mentioned that I knew Fr Z, the Cardinal said, “Yes, I refer to him as our John.”

  12. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

  13. asperges says:

    Surely it was Card Mayer who was in charge of Ecclesia Dei Commission in the 80s. Had it not been for him, the impetus would never have started to restore the Mass and rap the knuckles of those Bishops who persisted in refusing permission to their priests’ legitimate requests for the old rite.

    He arranged for many priests to have a Celebret for the old rite over the heads of such Bishops and issued at least one reprimand to one English Bishop in the north of England in those heady days. It was he too who was instrumental in restoring the old rite to Fontgombault (France) and la Chartreuse and reconciling various groups and communities who had until then been “out on a limb.” Requiescat.

  14. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Dear Fr. Z: “Blessed are they who die in the Lord. Yes, says the Spirit, for their good works go with them.”

    My sincere sympathies. For us priests, men like His Eminence are more than mentors. They are true fathers to our priesthood. A great Prince of the Church has run the race. Flights of angels sing him to his rest.

  15. TJerome says:

    Father Z, thanks for sharing your personal recollection of the Cardinal. He sounds like the perfect priest, humble and in service to the Lord and others. Best, Tom

  16. wanda says:

    My sincere sympathy, Fr. Z., on the passing of your friend, Cardinal Mayer. I pray that he has already heard those beautiful words ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant, now enter into the joy of the Masters house.’

  17. UPDATE:

    I had a phone call from the sisters who take care of Card. Mayer’s household.

    The Cardinal had been getting weak over the last couple weeks, but even yesterday celebrated Holy Mass.

    In the last 24 hours he declined rapidly and died very peacefully in his bed at home with the sisters there.

    He is now laid out in his household chapel, decked out in his cardinalatial choir dress, and purple Mass vestments waiting for the Requiem in St. Peter’s Basilica on Monday. I wish I could be there, but the tickets are horrible and I would have to leave tomorrow.

    He will be buried at his abbey at Metten on 12 May.

    Now its off to the chapel for the first Requiem for him.

  18. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Dear Father, My deepest condolences at the loss of your friend and this great man. He was a comfort to many because the work he did.

    I sure would like to hear the details of the Council through his eyes.

    My prayers are with him, and for your comfort.

    That really stinks that you can’t get to his funeral BTW. Don’t the airlines allow for bereavement fares?

    Pax.

  19. I never had the honor of meeting His Eminance but I’ve heard a lot about him. Father: I’m sorry for the
    loss of another of your mentors. Do him proud!

  20. One day I will tell you the anecdote about the Cardinal, me – freshly ordained – and the Vicar of Christ, with half the College of Cardinals watching.

  21. Condolences, Father, on the loss of your great friend. I will offer Holy Mass for him. He was a true “animae ecclesiae”…a soul who loved the Holy Church, a true man of God.

  22. Correction: that should read “anima ecclesiastica”.

  23. AnAmericanMother says:

    I am so sorry. Condolences, Father, how sad to lose such a good friend and mentor, even at the end of a long and holy life. Certainly we will pray for him.

    Pie Jesu

  24. Mike says:

    What an amazing man! Condolences, and prayers.

  25. Rouxfus says:

    Fr., your comment about the Cardinal’s devotion to service reminded me of something I just read earlier today about St. Bonaventure, in Fr. Christopher Renger’s The 33 Doctors of the Church:

    A universal tradition relates a charming circumstance connected with St. Bonaventure’s receiving the red hat. He was in a friary near Florence, busying himself in the kitchen, cleaning the utensils, when the papal legates arrived. He continued with his work, even commanding perhaps that the red galero offered him be hung temporarily on a tree. When he had finished he commented: “We have finished the work of the Friar Minor, and will find this [new work] more burdensome and dangerous.” Then he received the legates graciously and accepted the red hat. We can be sure that even as he accepted this high dignity St. Bonaventure recalled the truth he had pointed out to others on another occasion: “Just as waters crowd into the valleys, so the graces of the Holy Spirit fill the humble.”

    May our Lord receive Card. Mayer into His eternal place of repose and peace.

  26. Roland de Chanson says:

    Tecum ad tempus tui amici obitus doleo. Requiescat in Domini nostri pace. Pro anima eius oraturus sum. Utinam et pro mea oret.

  27. Prof. Basto says:

    Chorus angelorum te suscipiat,
    et cum Lazaro
    quondam paupere
    æternam habeas requiem.

  28. Nora says:

    Father, I honor every prayer request you make, though I don’t always log in to so report. I will pray for his soul, and your consolation, of course. However, the April connection struck me. In my mid fifties, I have begun to see that same sort of typology in my own life and that of others I know, that is familiar turf for bible scholars. Frequent confession is good; never go to bed with a mortal sin on your soul is a given … but Father, if I were you, I would be ‘specially careful in April every year!

  29. TNCath says:

    Prayers for his soul. While I never met him, I knew him to be one of the great men of the Church.

  30. This is a very beautiful and moving example. One that many people forget and do not want to imitate.

    In my experience as an Altar server (M.C.), the thing that has disillusioned me (to some extent) is that many “servers” only want to serve if they have a “special” role. Many of them see being a Torch-bearer as a demotion. They all want to be M.C.s or Thurifers.

    Similar things could be said of Priests who demand to be Celebrants (not Deacons or Subdeacons). If they do not get that, they will not want to take part in the (Solemn) Mass — or they will do so very unwillingly.

    Things would be so much better, easier and more sincere if people followed the example of this great Prince of the Church.

  31. PghCath says:

    My condolences to you, Father. How fortunate you are to have been close to such a wonderful man. He sounds like a true Prince of the Church.

    Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord. ..

  32. Archromanist says:

    Cardinal Mayer’s serving Mass in spite of his exalted ecclesiastical rank sounds rather like a story I once read about Merry del Val, who, upon being discovered in cassock and surplice ready to serve Mass and being queried incredulously about this, replied with something like, “What? Do I not know how to serve Mass?”

  33. MICM says:

    I and another brother met the Cardinal in Rome twice and have fond memories of him. The first time we met he was Prefect of the Congregation for Religious, and the second time he was Prefect of the office for worship. Both times he was very cordial, fatherly, and helpful. He was very astute and knew the case of our founder, Father Leonard Feeney, quite well. During the first visit, he assured us that Rome was indeed accepting new communities, contrary to what our own bishop was telling us way back then. The second visit was prior to Ecclesia Dei and he told us that offering the Traditional Mass in the chapel of a religious community was perfectly allowable. Making an appointment was easy and he was in no rush when talking to us. He was a perfect religious in manner but did not stand on ceremony. His serving your Mass, Father, is a wonderful testimony to his humility and love for the Mass.

  34. PostCatholic says:

    My condolences at the loss of so good a man and friend, and thank you for sharing your remembrances.

  35. robtbrown says:

    I and another brother met the Cardinal in Rome twice and have fond memories of him. The first time we met he was Prefect of the Congregation for Religious, and the second time he was Prefect of the office for worship.
    Comment by MICM

    I think he was Sec at the Congregation of Religious, not the prefect.