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Hmmmm. Perhaps a sign for a future saint? Maybe there was something in his time as Bishop he did that pleased the Lord greatly …. I do believe to hang around for that long a period of time this is symbolic of something, considering the appearance of a dove in various parts of the Bible especially Jesus’ baptism.
“He was the last living person to have been raised to the Cardinalate before the entry into force of the modern form of the Mass promulgated by Pope Paul VI with the Constitution Missale Romanum.”
Indeed. The white dove was released by a Red Cross volunteer as the casket arrived at the Cathedral. The dove “decided” to stay on top of the coffin even as it was carried in procession by the Guard of Honor. Then the coffin was laid at the foot of the Altar, and still the dove remained above the casket. It flew during certain moments, always inside the Cathedral, and then always returned to the coffin or to its side, and this indeed lasted for an hour.
Cardinal Sales was not only Archbishop Emeritus of Rio de Janeiro, but he was also the Cardinal Protopriest of Holy Roman Church, , since 2009 when the previous Protoprete died.
Since then he had also become the longest serving living Cardinal in the Catholic Church. At the time of his death, he was the last Cardinal to have been created in the consistory of April 28, 1968. With his death, there are no remaining Cardinals that were raised to the Sacred College before the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae: he was the last surviving Cardinal to have been created before the introduction of the Novus Ordo.
He entered the minor seminary in 1936 and the major seminary in 1937. Ordained a priest in 1943, he undertook pastoral work in the Archdiocese of Natal, where he was incardinated, from 1943 until his elevation to the Episcopacy. Venerable Pope Pius XII raised him to the Episcopate, by appointing him auxiliary Bishop of Natal. He was consacrated a Bishop on August 15, 1954.
John XXIII gave him the first leadership of a See, when he was made Apostolic Administrator of Natal in 1962. He attended the Second Vatican Council, and in 1964 Pope Paul VI transferred him to the Primatial See of São Salvador da Bahia, also as Apostolic Administrator sede plena.
On October 29, 1968 he was promoted to Metropolitan Archbishop of São Salvador da Bahia, and thereby became ex officio the Primate of Brazil. Archbishop Sales was created a Cardinal on April 28, 1969, and given the title of cardinal-priest of the Roman parish of St. Gregory VII.
After the death of Cardinal Jaime de Barros Camara, Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Pope Paul VI decided to transfer Cardinal Sales to the culturally more significant See of Rio de Janeiro (this meant that Sales lost the position of Primate, but was now responsible for a larger Archdiocese, much like what happened recently to Cardinal Scola when he was transferred from the Patriarchate of Venice to the Archdiocese of Milan). Cardinal Sales was appointed Archbishop of Rio on March 13, 1971, and he took possession of his new See on March 27, 1971.
He took part in the August and October 1978 Conclaves, acted as Papal Legate during a National Eucharistic Congress in 1970; took part in several assemblies of the Synod of Bishops and plenary meetings of the College of Cardinals, as well as in the recent Days of Reflection and Prayer summoned by Benedict XVI on the eve of Cardinal-creating consistories. After his retirement, twice he served as Special Papal Envoy of Pope John Paul II, once in Brazil itself and once in Portugal. Chosen by bl. John Paul II, he was President-delegate of the Special Assembly for the Americas of the Synod of Bishops. He was also Ordinary in Brazil for the faithful of Oriental Rite without their own Ordinary, from 1972 until 2001.
His resignation as Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro was only accepted after he had already achieved the age of 80 years, although the letter of resignation, first presented according to canon law when the Cardinal turned 75, was reiterated a few times in the following years. He completed the age of 80 years on November 8, 2000, and his resignation was finally accepted on July 25, 2001, when he had already lost the right to vote in a Papal Conclave and his membership in the dicasteries of the Roman Curia by reason of age. He remained Apostolic Administrator of Rio de Janeiro until the installation of his successor on September 22, 2001, and remained Ordinary of the Faithful of Oriental Rite without their own Ordinary until October 3, 2001.
A Cardinal for 43 years, a Bishop for 57 years, a priest for 68 years. According to my parish priest, he always knelt in prayer before going to a meeting with the Supreme Pontiff. No wonder he was considered “the Holy See’s man” in Brazil.
This is lovely. What a purely wonderful sign of something special. Certainly, this Cardinal can be called a faithful son of the church. His history is amazing, thank you Prof. Basto.
I believe with all my heart that God speaks to us in such signs at times. Does anyone remember the moment when John Paul II’s casket was in front of St. Peter’s, and the wind blew the Bible open? That seemed like one of those moments, as I recall.
Such hopeful little encouragements are like little love letters from a personable God. They give us hope and pleasure for even a moment, and He knows that. How simply lovely to see a dove linger near the body of His faithful servant for such a long time. What a statement that seems to make! Atheists can only see a bird hanging around in a church, but with eyes of faith we can see so much more.
Thank you, Father Z., for posting this.
“Does anyone remember the moment when John Paul II’s casket was in front of St. Peter’s, and the wind blew the Bible open?”
Yes! That, combined with the shouts of “santo subito”, gave me chills. Deus magnus est!
Isn’t the dove seen on the papal arms of the most recent Popes taking “Pius”…
[In heraldry, a dove, especially with the olive branch, symbolizes peace, in Latin pax, Italian pace. Pius XII’s family name was “Pacelli”.]
He was the last living person to have been raised to the Cardinalate before the entry into force of the modern form of the Mass promulgated by Pope Paul VI with the Constitution Missale Romanum.
Maybe we should be seeking his intercession that the smoke of the devil shall be banished from the Church?
Not an accident, and I above most am not superstitious.
Wow, it is like “the Spirit of God descending like a dove”.
The term odour of sanctity comes to mind?
“There are no accidents.”
An wind-riffled Gospel, a Benedictine lark (at young Fr. Ratzinger’s ordination) and a Salesian dove.
Of course, scholars usually say that these kinds of things in medieval chronicles and hagiography are totally made up, or adapted from traditional motifs, or simply are artistic, symbolic statements about virtues.
Whereas it’s a bit harder to say it’s all a story trope when you’ve got video on YouTube. :)
This also brings to mind the released doves of peace which want to fly back inside the Papal window….
Suburbanbanshee: “This also brings to mind the released doves of peace which want to fly back inside the Papal window….”
Suburban, that is very amusing… brings to mind (in a spiritual sense) the lyrics to “Baby, its cold outside”
This dove’s extraordinary behavior means something, but I don’t know what. Thank you for posting this Father Z.
Thank you very very much Prof. Basto for the biography. Such sadness to hear that this is our last pre-Novus Ordo Cardinal, a reason to weep for some reason for me. I guess this death marks the end of a beloved era, of which we have such a tenuous grasp.
Requiescat in Pace faithful servant.
I also remember that moment when the doves kept trying to get back inside the Vatican apartment of John Paul II, and he kept trying earnestly to brush them out again! You could see he really found it humorous that this was happening. I remember his charming smile as he endeavored to keep the dove out. Just one of the many sweet recollections about John Paul II. He left so many amazing images.
How beautiful. I shall have to read more about the late Cardinal Sales. RIP
I received from a seminarian friend the following text of the Cardinal’s “spiritual testament”:
I turn firstly to God, to whom I deliver myself fully and absolutely. I consecrated myself to the Church and I renew that full donation. I never repented having done it. Everything I wrote, said and taught is hereby submitted to the Ecclesiastical Magisterium. It shall be corrected, in case of discrepancy on my part. I reaffirm my Catholic Faith. I believe in everything that the Church teaches, as She teaches it. I proclaim the full acceptance of the Mystery of the Trinity, of that of the Incarnation, of that of the Redemption, and others, that are part of the contents of our Doctrine. I want to die always faithful to the Pope, successor of Peter. I leave without resentment. I ask the forgiveness of those that I offended. I will seek to redress the suffering with my prayers. I accept fully the will of God. I express my profound gratitude to my family, and to the Archdioceses of Natal, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro. (And) to the benefactors who helped me to seek to always be a good Priest and Bishop. In heaven, where I hope to be received by my Father, the Lord Jesus and Mary, I will seek to give back everything that I have received. This is my testament, faithful expression of my last will.
The above translation was quickly prepared by me.
I’m absolutely fascinated by the text of the will. Old School. In an absolutely positive way.
Wow-this is amazing! Reminds me of the doves that ‘hung around’ the statue of Our Lady at Fatima on various occasions.
Regarding the Gospel book at Blessed John Paul II’s funeral-the book was placed open on the coffin at the start of the funeral. The pages were ruffled by the strong wind, and the book eventually closed with a snap! So it wasn’t the opening of the book that seemed to be miraculous; it was the closing!