Scottish Legacy of Cardinal Traglia (Part 1) by Canon Jim Foley

Scottish Legacy of Cardinal Traglia (Part 1) by Canon Jim Foley

The Scottish Legacy of Luigi Cardinal Traglia (Part 1)

(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.
Luigi TRAGLIA (1895-1977)
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

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