The Scottish Legacy of Luigi Cardinal Traglia

Canon James Foley, St Augustine’s Coatbridge

On St. Andrew’s Day of the 1975 Holy Year a group of Scots priests concelebrated Mass in the Chapel of the Scots College in Rome.   The principal celebrant was Luigi Cardinal Traglia, Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals, who had ordained all of them over a period of almost thirty years when he was Vicegerent of the Diocese of Rome between 1937 and 1965.   Forty-six Scotsmen received their ordination to the priesthood at the hands of Luigi Traglia and many of them were present on that memorable occasion in 1975 to celebrate the Holy Year together in their Alma Mater and, at the sign of peace, to shake the hand of the bishop who ordained them.Since we gathered on that carefree St Andrew’s Day in 1975 thirty of our number have died and, at time of writing (May 2011), sixteen of us remain in the land of the living. With this simple homage to a generation of Scozzesi comes an invitation, in the spirit of the Letter to the Hebrews, to think well of this diminishing cloud of witnesses.   We share the priesthood of Christ in a special way by reason of our Holy Orders.For years there hung unremarked on the wall of the Common Room of the Scots college in the Via delle Quattro Fontane a faded Papal Blessing, bestowed on the College by Pius XI.  The following is a free translation of the Holy Father’s blessing:

‘To those whom Rome once kept at a safe distance by building a wall, we now extend a welcome and a paternal embrace’.

Our names follow with a few biographical details and obituaries where these exist.   To learn more simply click on the name of your choice.  If the details seem scant they will surely evoke something of the potential of a relatively small number of priests to influence the lives of many thousands of people.   The forty-six priests listed served in more than 150 parishes and chaplaincies  throughout Scotland.   No two of us were alike in personality nor were our parishes.   Nonetheless, it is a reasonable assumption that we preached the Gospel and administered the sacraments of the Church in essentially the same manner wherever we were.   The special unity which bound us by reason of our education and priestly ordination at the hands of one Roman bishop was shared with those later entrusted to our pastoral care.  This sacramental dialogue between priest and people has surely enriched us all.Perhaps the best place to begin our story is with the prelate who ordained us, Luigi Traglia.   This is not so easily done.   For most of us our encounter with him was limited to the duration of our ordination Mass.  In mitigation, however, it could be argued that those who were ordained by him in those pre-Vatican II days felt that, by the time they reached the end of the ceremony, they had more than a passing acquaintance with the ordaining prelate. On a good Ember Day or Easter Vigil, the Mass of Ordination would include first clerical tonsure, four minor orders, sub diaconate, diaconate and priesthood and could last up to five hours.  In passing it should be noted that Traglia’s command of the Ceremoniale Episcoporum was such that it allowed him to proceed as if he were himself the author of the texts he recited with such fluency.   On occasion he would issue reprimands to intrusive photographers in such a manner as to give the impression that he was quoting the rubrics:   ‘Retro photographi!’ (Photographers get lost!)Apart from these liturgical encounters, there were other occasions when we became better aware of the personality and stile of the man.   He was the Cardinal Protector of the Scots College in keeping with the Roman practice, and in this capacity he was the principal guest at the celebration of our patronal feast each November.   On these occasions, and on many others, he radiated a real sense of pride in his role and in his association with the College and its distinguished history.   This sense of pride was evidenced in a special way on the occasion of the Mass which he concelebrated with his Scots ordinands on St Andrew’s Day 1975.   His homily on that occasion rose to the occasion and revealed a prelate with a big heart and an instinctive awareness of the bond of unity in the priesthood of Christ and the uniqueness and dignity of each priest it had been his privilege to ordain.   His opening words set the tone:   ‘La Chiesa Romana ha sempre voluta bene agli Scozzesi…’  (The Church of Rome has always had a soft spot for the Scots…’.

Luigi Traglia had spent his entire ministry in Rome and had been entrusted with some of the most important offices in the Roman Curia.   The following is an edited version of the landmarks in his career.


1895 3 April: Born at Albano Laziale, Rome, Italy.
Education: Pontifical Lateran Athenaeum, Rome;
Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.
1917 10 August: Ordained Priest at Rome,
by Cardinal Basilio Pompilj, Vicar of Rome.
1917-1919: Pursued further Studies.
1919-1936 Faculty member of the Pontifical Urbanian Athenaeum De Propaganda Fide.
1927-1930: Member of the Congregations for Seminaries and Universities and for the Propagation of the Faith.
1932: 22 February: nominated Domestic Prelate by His Holiness Pope Pius XI
1936: Appointed Auditor of the Sacred Roman Rota.
1936: 21 December: Elected titular archbishop of Cesarea in Palestina.
1937: 6 January: Episcopal ordination in the Lateran Basilica, Rome, by Cardinal Francesco Marchetti Selvaggiani, assisted by Angelo Calabretta, and by Domenico Spolverini.
1936 – 1960 Vicegerent of the Diocese of Rome
1959: President of the Commission for the First Roman Synod,
1960: 28 March Created cardinal priest.
1962-1965: Attended the Second Vatican Council.
1963: Participated in the conclave of 1963 which elected Pope Paul VI.
1969: 28 April: Chancellorship of Rome
1972: March 15: Cardinal bishop of Albano
1972: March 24: Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals and bishop of Ostia and Albano
1975: April 3: turned 80 years of age
1977: November 22: Died in Rome and was later buried in the basilica of S.Lorenzo in Damaso in August 1982.



His Episcopal lineage can be traced back to Scipione Rebiba in the sixteenth century:

Ordained Bishop
Scipione Rebiba 14.05.1541
Giulio Antonio Santorio 12.03.1566
Girolomo Bernerio 07.09.1586
Galeazzo Sanvitale 04.04.1604
Ludovico Ludivisi 02.05.1621
Luigi Caetani 12.06.1622
Uldorico Carpegna 07.10.1630
Paluzzo Altieri 02.05.1666
Vincenzo Maria Orsini (Benedict XIII) 23.07.1724
Prospero Lambertini I(Benedict XIV) 27.07.1724
Carlo Rezzonico (Clement XIII) 09.03.1743
Marcantonio Colonna 25.04.1762
Giacinto Sigismondo Gerdil 02.02.1777
Giulio Maria della Somaglia 21.12.1788
Carlo Oldescalchi 25.05.1823
Carlo Giuseppe Mezenod 14.10.1832
Giuseppe Ippolito Guilbert 11.03.1842
Francesco Maria Richard 11.02.1872
Pietro Gasparri 16.03.1898
Francesco Marchetti Selvaggiani 14.04.1918
Luigi Traglia 06.02.1937


Below is a list of all the priests ordained by Luigi Cardinal Traglia, for further information just click on of the names below.

Name Born Diocese Ordained Died Aged
James K.Birnie 1913 St Andrew’s & Edinburgh 18.12.37 06.11.77 64
Charles Collins 1912 Aberdeen 18.12.37 31.03.86 74
William Duddy 1913 Glasgow/Motherwell 18.12.37 08.10.86 73
David McRoberts 1912 Glasgow/Motherwell 18.12.37 25.11.78 66
Robert J. Connolly 1913 Glasgow 18.12.37
Matthew Kinsella 1913 Glasgow/Paisley 16.04.38 16.07.09 96
James McCallum 1914 St Andrew’s & Edinburgh 16.04.38 14.04.77 62
Francis Duffy 1914 Galloway 17.12.38 25.11.00 86
Michael Walsh 1913 Glasgow 17.12.38 02.05.85 71
Hugh A. Deery 1914 Glasgow 15.06.39 23.05.89 75
Francis Jaconelli 1915 Glasgow 23.12.39 28.11.03 88
William Morgan 1913 Glasgow 16.07.39 30.04.96 82
James Quin 1923 Motherwell 05.04.47 10.01.04 70
William D. Hamilton 1907 St Andrew’s & Edinburgh 27.03.48 31.07.74 67
Hugh G. McEwan 1925 Glasgow 18.12.48 23.09.89 64
Thomas J. Winning 1925 Motherwell 18.12.48 17.06.01 76
Roderick McDonald 1925 Argyll & the Isles 17.12.49 04.12.04 80
Charles McFadden 1926 Glasgow 08.04.50
Nicholas Torsney 1926 St Andrew’s & Edinburgh 08.04.50 16.04.57 30
John  Kane 1921 Galloway 15.07.51 21.12.89 69
Stanislaus Smith 1914 St Andrew’s & Edinburgh 06.07.52 26.05.81 67
William Boyle 1919 Motherwell 06.07.52 23.08.53 34
John Symon 1930 Aberdeen 04.04.53 11.04.08 78
Felix Beattie 1920 Glasgow 04.04.53 31.01.03 83
Charles Renfrew 1929 Glasgow 04.04.53 27.02.92 62
John F. Breslin 1929 Motherwell 04.04.53
Norman Baird 1925 Glasgow 05.07.53 19.04.65 39
Jock Dalrymple 1928 St Andrew’s & Edinburgh 11.07.54 04.09.85 58
Daniel McEwan 1930 Glasgow 09.04.55 16.09.89 58
James Foley 1931 Motherwell 09.04.55
John Priestley 1931 Motherwell 09.04.55
Henry Docherty 1930 Motherwell 10.07.56
Patrick Gahagan 1931 Glasgow 22.12.56 12.05.93 62
Samuel McGinness 1932 Glasgow/Galloway 22.12.56 09.02.09 77
William Loftus 1905 St Andrew’s & Edinburgh 22.03.58 23.11.81 76
Mario Conti 1934 Aberdeen 26.10.58
John Ramsey 1926 St Andrew’s & Edinburgh 14.03.59 22.10.97 70
William Anderson 1931 St Andrew’s & Edinburgh 12.03.60
Walter Scott 1930 Motherwell 12.03.60
William Harkins 1933 Paisley 03.07.60
John McIntyre 1937 Motherwell 23.12.61
John H. Fitzsimmons 1939 Paisley 09.03.63 17.05.08 69
Patrick G. Fitzpatrick 1940 Glasgow 14.04.64
William Slavin 1940 Glasgow 14.03.64
Joseph Fitzpatrick 1940 Motherwell 14.03.64
Michael O’Neill 1941 Motherwell 03.03.65

Prayers recited each day on the occasion of visits to the Blessed Sacrament

after lunch and supper in the Scots College Rome.

All of the priests ordained in Rome by Luigi Cardinal Traglia also led their lives under the benign surveillance of the Rector of the College, William R. Clapperton (1886-1969).  He led the students in the following prayers, without fail, each day for forty years.   Those of us who still survive are happy to commend him to the same patrons of Scotland to whom he commended his students so faithfully every day: May he rest in peace. Amen

Prayer after Lunch.

(Saint Andrew)

Cum pervenisset Beatus Andreas

ad locum ubi crux parata erat

exclamavit et dixit:

O bona crux diu desiderata

et jam concupiscenti animo praeparata

securus et gaudens venio ad te,

ita et tu exultans suscipias me

discipulum ejus qui pependit in te.

V. Annuntiaverunt opera Dei.

R. Et facta ejus intellexerunt.


Majestatem tuam, Domine,

suppliciter exoramus:

ut sicut Ecclesiae tuae

Beatus Andreas Apostolus

exstitit praedicator et rector;

ita apud te sit pro nobis

perpetuus intercessor.

Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

When Blessed Andrew had reached

the place where the cross awaited him

he raised his voice in prayer:

O goodly cross, so long my heart’s desire,

my soul now yearns for you,

secure in hope and filled with joy I come to  you

knowing you will gladly receive me

as one who claims to be a disciple of him who

once hung upon you.

V. They proclaimed the powerful works of the Lord

R. And understood his mighty deeds


Let us pray:

To you O Lord

we offer this humble prayer:

that the Blessed Apostle Andrew,

who proved a worthy preacher

and leader of your Church,

may also prove our constant advocate

in your presence.

Through Christ Our Lord. Amen

Prayer after Supper

(St Margaret of Scotland)

Manum suam aperuit inopi,

et palmas suas extendit ad pauperem,

et panem otiosa non comedit.

V. Diffusa est gratia in labiis tuis.

R.Propterea benedixit te Deus in aeternum.



Deus, qui beatam Margaritam Reginam

eximia in  paupers caritate mirabilem efficisti:

da; ut ejus intercessione et exempla,

tua in codibus nostris caritas jugiter augeatur.

Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

She open her hands to the needy

and reached out to the poor

No idle bread passed her lips.

V. Her speech was ever gracious

R. Hence God has blessed her forever


Let us pray:

O God who graced Blessed Margaret

with boundless charity for the poor,

grant that through her intercession and good example

your love will ever grow in our hearts.

Through Christ Our Lord.  Amen.

Given his influence on the students at the Scots College during forty years as Rector, an appreciation of Mgr. Clapperton can be visited by clicking on the following this link: