Paul Augustin Card. Mayer, OSB – 100 years – R.I.P.

Paul Augustin Card. Mayer, OSBPaul Augustin Card. Mayer, OSB, would have been 100 years old today.  He died on 30 April 2010.

Card. Mayer was a great friend and a mentor for me for many years and it was an honor to know him.  He was the holiest man I ever met.

He was a monk his whole life.  When I worked for him in the offices of the Pont. Comm. “Ecclesia Dei” his demeanor and way of collaborating with us was so humble that had we asked him to empty a wastebasket, he would have done it without thinking. He ordained me to the diaconate in the Basilica of San Nicola in Carcere in 1990 (Feast of the Sacred Heart).  In the sight of John Paul II he knelt and asked for my blessing after my ordination and, during a visit to his monastery at Metten, he served my Masses and then waited on tables for guests in the refectory.

He had been Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for Vatican II and a peritus at the Council and was a writer of Optatam totius.  He became Abbot of Metten, and was eventually the first rector of the Pontifical Roman Athenaeum of Sant’Anselmo in Rome.  He was Secretary for the Cong. for Religious in the darkest days of mass exodus from religious life, though he helped to set up some fine orders along the lines of those we see growing today.  He was the first Prefect of the combined Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and made Cardinal Deacon in 1985 with the title of Sant’Anselmo on the Aventine.  Later he was made Cardinal Priest pro hac vice.  He was the first President of the P.C. “Ecclesia Dei“, which is where I met him.  At the time of his death he was the oldest living Cardinal.

Monk for 79 years, and priest for 74, of the Order of Saint Benedict.  Cardinal of Holy Roman Church.
Saintly fellow.

Today at Mass I added prayers for him from the Orationes diversae pro defunctis.  The Postcommunion of the prayers Pro episcopo cardinali defuncto, vel presbytero cardinali, qui episopali dignitate auctus fuerit.

Prosit, quaesumus, Domine,
animae famuli tui Pauli Augustini Presbyteri Cardinalis,
misericordiae tuae implorata clementia:
ut eius, in quo speravit et credidit,
aeternum capiat, te miserante, consortium

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  1. Tim Ferguson says:

    One of my fondest memories is of lunch with you and His Eminence, who showed particular kindness to me at a very difficult point in my life. I remember him frequently in prayer, and shall not forget to do so today.

  2. Fr. Basil says:

    Memory eternal!

  3. GregH says:

    I wonder how close he and Cardinal Ratzinger were?

  4. They were very close.

  5. PostCatholic says:

    That is a lovely tribute to someone who was clearly a good man.

    I had a fortunate relationship like that with an OFM in Ireland. Years later at his funeral, I learned that he had declined to become the founding bishop of a missionary territory that he served in Brazil and became instead its vicar general; declined to become Provincial Minister and instead became Provincial Prior, and so on in a pattern of believing in the value of his service instead of his ego. I think (he’d dislike this quotation) he understood innately Nietzche’s statement that “when you look into the abyss, the abyss looks also into you,” and he’d done a fair amount of looking into himself. I think humility of that sort is born long habit of profound honesty in all one’s dealings. Another way to say that is “deep integrity.” There’s something inherently very manly about humility from that self-knowledge, don’t you agree?

    I may no longer be a christian, but I strive to be like him in so many other ways. I hope your mentor left a similar impression on your life; it seems he did.

  6. In an era when some parish priests can’t even be bothered with checking to see if the church doors are locked every evening, His Eminence strikes me as a model of humility that is very rare in this world. I will pray for the repose of his soul in my evening Rosary.

  7. off2 says:

    “He was the holiest man I ever met.” That is a truly impressive tribute. May His Eminence’s memory be eternal!

  8. EWTN Rocks says:

    off2 –

    “He was the holiest man I ever met. That is a truly impressive tribute. May His Eminence’s memory be eternal!”

    Yes, he will be missed!

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