Requiem Mass For Cardinal Cullen. Rome 7th December 1878

According to the Irish Times Weekend Review (September 2011) : ” Cardinal Paul Cullen was the towering figure of modern Irish Catholicism and arguably the most important figure in modern Irish history between the death of Daniel O’Connell and the rise of Charles Stewart Parnell. “ Rev. H. O’Bryen, D.D. is well settled into Roman life, having stopped being a parish priest in Lancashire five years earlier at the age of thirty eight, and moved to Rome. It’s another three years before he becomes a papal chaplain.


Sant’Agata dei Goti, Rome.
Requiem Mass In The Irish College, Rome, For The Repose Of The Soul Of The Late Cardinal Cullen.

On Thursday, Nov. 28, all the English and Irish residents in Rome met in the church of St. Agatha, the church of the Irish College, to assist at the Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of the lamented Paul Cullen, Archbishop of Dublin and Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church. The interior of the ancient Church of St. Agatha was beautifully decorated with black and gold hangings and a magnificent catafalque was erected in the centre of the nave, on the summit of which rested on a cushion the Cardinalitial hat. At either side of the catafalque were arranged seats for those invited to the ceremony, the choir being occupied by the students. Over the outer gates of the Church was affixed the following inscription in large letters :—

Paulo Cullen

Sanctae Ecclesiae Romanae

Presbytero Cardinali tit. S. Petri in Janiculo

Archiepiscopo Dublinensi

Hibernia Primati

Apostolicae Sedis libertatis Adsertori

Ecclesiae Catholicae Magistro Custodi et Vindici

Piis operibus instituendis et amplificandis

Cura, consilio, strenue dum vixit intento

Religionis cultu pietatis amore posteris memorando

Litteris scientiis domi forisque clarissimo

Collegium Hibernorum

Suo olim moderatori solertissimo

Justa funebria.

The Mass was pontificated in presence of the Right Rev. Monsignor Kirby, Domestic Chaplain to His Holiness and Rector of the College, by the Right Rev. Dr. O’Mahony, Bishop of Armidale, the assistant priest being the Very Rev. John Egan, Vice-Rector of the College. The Rev. Thomas Bourke was Deacon and the Rev. E. Mackey, Sub-Deacon, and the Masters of Ceremonies were the Rev. Michael O’Donnell and the Rev. W. Burke. The Mass was by Cacciolini, an ancient and celebrated Roman Master, and was well rendered by the choir of the College, assisted by gentlemen from the Vatican and Lateran choirs. The conductor was Signor Don Fausti, Musical Director to the Irish College. I may add that the church was warmed by a new apparatus recently erected by Monsignor Kirby.

Among those present and occupying seats around the catafalque were the Bishop of Beverley, the Bishop of Liverpool, the Bishop of Rochester, U.S., the Bishop of Portland, U.S., the Archbishop of Seleucia, the Hon. and Right Rev. Edmund Stonor, Domestic Prelate to his Holiness ; Mgr. Angelo Jacobini, Assessor of the Holy Office ; Mgr. Rinaldini, Canon of St. John Lateran ; Mgr. William H. Manning, Mgr. Paolo Fortini, the Very Rev. Dr. Bernard Smith, O.S.B., Professor at the Propaganda; Very Rev. Dr. O’Callaghan, Rector of the English College ; Very Rev. Dr. J. Campbell, Rector of the Scots’ College ; Very Rev. Dr. Hostlot, Rector of the American College, and the Vice-Rector, Rev. — Wall ; Very Rev. Joseph Mulloolly, Prior of St. Clement’s ; Very Rev. Father Kehoe, Prior of Sta. Maria in Posterula ; Rev. Dr. English, College of Noble Ecclesiastics ; Very Rev. Father Dunne, Guardian of S. Isidore’s ; Very Rev. Stanislas White, Secretary to the Abbot of the Cistercian Order in Rome ; Very Rev. Father Douglas and Father H. Morgan, of the Redemptorists; Very Rev. Dr. Quin ; Mgr. Mogliazzi, Chaplain to his Holiness ; Rev. H. O’Bryen, D.D. ; Rev. Father Doyle, Carmelite ; Rev. P. Cuddihy, Milford, Mass., U.S. ; Rev. J. Higgins, Rev. W. F. Higgins, Rev. J. Keane; Messrs. Grace and Maxwell, of the Christian Brothers, &c., &c. The members of the various ecclesiastical colleges in Rome were present, including those of the English, Scots, American, Propaganda, Apollinare, Capronica, and the Dominican, Franciscan, and Augustinian Colleges, the Avvocato Carlo Sagnori, and Professor Borghi, Musical Director at the Propaganda College.

Seats were reserved in the Coretto, for his Eminence Cardinal di Pietro, Dean of the Sacred College ; his Eminence Cardinal Simeoni, Prefect of the Propaganda ; and his Eminence Cardinal de Falloux du Coudray, Titular of St. Agatha’s.

Among those in the body of the church were Miss Sherlock, the Baron Hoffmann, Mrs. Vansittart, the Donna Maria di Braganza ; the Marquis De Stacpoole and his sister ; Mrs. Steele (daughter of Lady Louisa Trench) ; Rev. Thomas Hamilton, R.N., Dr. De la Roche, Count Raymond, Cavaliere Franchi, the Misses Steele, Mrs. W. Maziere Brady, Miss Coles, Commendatore Winchester, Private Chamberlain di Spada e Cappa to Leo XIII. ; Mr. John Grainger, Honorary Chamberlain to Leo XIII. ; Mr. and Mrs. Millen, Mr. Haas, Mr. and Mrs. F. Montague Handley, Miss Gorman, Miss Johns, Miss Whalley, Mr. J. Higgins, Mr. Connelian (Boston Pilot). Mr. Blake (late Chairman of the Fishery Commissioners), Mr. John Hogan (son of the celebrated sculptor), Miss Whelan, Cavaliere Silenzi, &c., &c.

The sermon was preached, after the conclusion of the Mass, by Monsignor Anivitti, Private Chamberlain partecipante to Leo XIII. Monsignor Anivitti is one of the most noted pulpit orators in Rome, and his oration on O’Connell, delivered in the Irish College on the occasion of the O’Connell Centenary, was published both in Italian and English.

Monsignor Anivitti began his discourse with the words : In copulatione sanctorum Patriarchatum admitteris, and these words, which were addressed to the youthful son of the aged Tobias, formed not only the commencement but also served as the key note of the preacher’s eulogy upon Cardinal Cullen, whose supreme merit consisted in being worthy to be reckoned among the Patriarchs of Christianity, that is to say among the men whose services to their holy cause were greatest. Individualising his merit, Paul Cullen was compared to Malachy, the friend of S. Bernard, and to St. Patrick, the first apostle of Ireland, who, in his visions, might have saluted his successor, under whose rule, after the lapse of centuries of misfortune, the ancient faith of Ireland again resumed its brilliant lustre and shone forth in triumph.

The orator then laid down the principle that Christian nations possess an immortal life. He quoted Wisdom (Chapter I.) where it is written that God made the nations of the earth for health, and argued that so long as nations adhere to the true God and to His true Church they carry in their bosoms the principle of their lasting continuance and also of their recovery from their afflictions and evils. This truth was illustrated by the case of Ireland which, after three centuries of persecution and combat with heresy, one might have expected to see crushed for ever. Instead of this, behold two great men are given to her, and that in the same century which for other nations was so unfortunate, and these two are O’Connell the Emancipator, and Paul Cullen, who was, as it were, her Patriarch. Their missions certainly were different. The mission of the one was politico-religious : that of the other was religious and anti-political, for it was carried on in spite of the false politics which opposed its progress. If O’Connell could avail himself of religion to serve his politics, Cullen could not avail himself of politics to serve his proper mission, for he was obliged always to stand on his guard, even when collecting and developing the fruits of the victories of O’Connell, lest he should seem, as is the accusation to-day brought against us, to wish to pursue political, under the pre-text of religious ends. But the particulars of Cullen’s life demonstrate the wisdom and the uncommon virtue with which he addressed himself to his great task which was Catholic and National, and tended to the edification of the Universal Church.’

A rapid sketch was then given of Paul Cullen’s personal history, his birth in Kildare county, his education in Dublin to the age of 16 years, his residence at the Propaganda in Rome, his studies under Perrone, his admission to the priesthood, an d his celebrated public deputation, which to this day is remembered with admiration by Leo XIII., who was himself present at it, being at the time a member of the Roman prelature, of which be was even then a brilliant ornament. Cullen’s career as Vice-Rector and Rector of the Irish College, and as Rector of the Propaganda College, were noticed. He was the honoured and trusted agent of the Irish Bishops, and in this capacity’ acquired an intimate knowledge of all Irish affairs, as well as the confidence and esteem of the Irish Episcopate. While he was Rector in the Propaganda College he displayed consummate prudence in saving the property of the College from spoliation and the students from dispersion by boldly appealing to the United States Minister for protection from the Republicans who then, namely, in 1849, were masters of Rome. In 1850 Cullen was made Archbishop of Armagh, in 1852 Arch-bishop of Dublin, and in 1866 Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church.

Humility and mildness accompanied Cullen in his elevation to his high office, and in his episcopal career he gained to him-self the love of the people of Ireland and the cordial affection of the Irish Bishops. He studied the welfare of the clergy. He reformed some small ritual abuses. He sustained the rights of the Catholics of Ireland to Catholic education, and founded, by means of general collections, the Catholic University, in order to keep Catholic youths from frequenting the famous ” Queen’s Colleges,” where the secular instruction was separated from religious, and rendered in effect “godless.” He appealed to the English Government in behalf of liberty for Catholic teaching. He found time amidst his labours to promote piety and learning, and built no less than 36 churches. Proofs of his zeal remain in the numerous institutions he established, such as Holy Cross College, Clonliffe ; St. Brigid’s Orphanage, St. Vincent de Paul’s Male and Female Orphanages and Convent Refuge, the Deaf and Dumb Institution at Cabra ; the Reading-rooms for the Blind in Marlbro’-street ; the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Eccles-street; St. Joseph’s Night Refuge, &c., &c. He invited to his diocese the Redemptorists, the Passionists, and the Marists. Thus he displayed the true spirit of the Gospel in endeavouring to secure the spiritual and temporal welfare of his flock by institutions calculated to relieve physical distress and poverty, and to mitigate the evils inevitable to society.

The central motive of all Cardinal Cullen’s apostolic work was in heaven, in the Divine Heart of Jesus, through devotion to which he became the good priest and the good Bishop. He had the happiness to consecrate his entire diocese to the Sacred Heart, as was done also throughout Christendom by other Bishops in 1875. Contemplation and prayer were the means whereby Cullen derived the inspiration from the Sacred Heart and filled his mind with divine consolation and aid. But on earth was his second source of inspiration, and this was in Rome, Christian and Papal. He was emphatically the champion of the Pope and of the Holy See. Witness his Pastorals, which were read throughout the Catholic world, and which breathed the spirit of union with Rome. And how closely he caught the spirit of the Roman Church is proved also by some twenty authentic epistles which he received from the Holy See on various occasions in recognition and confirmation of his holy work. He was distinguished more particularly for his courageous vindication of the temporalities and civil rights of the Holy See. He denounced the sacrilegious spoliation of the Pope and the Roman Church, asserted the claims of the Supreme Pontiff to complete liberty and independence, and endeavoured to repair the losses occasioned by the usurpation of the States of the Church by the Peter’s Pence apostolate. Three persons in all the Catholic world were foremost in this apostolate, and these three were Margotti in Italy, Dupanloup in France, and Cullen in Ireland.

But Cardinal Cullen, who rejoiced in efforts to assist the Holy See in its perils, who was so humble in his loving devotion to the Supreme Head of the Church, was denied the pleasure of beholding even the dawn of happier days or the restoration of independence to the Papacy. H e died without seeing the realisa-tion of his hopes. But he died like a model Bishop and like a Patriarch of the ancient type. He died like a St. John Chrysostom or a St. Martin of Tours, with his eyes fixed on heaven. In harness to the last, working up to the final moment, he calmly, like an ancient saint, expired as it were upon the cross, signing himself with the crucifix and blessing his spiritual children as the Patriarchs blessed their families, on whom the hopes of humanity depended. His funeral pomp was rather a triumph than a ceremony of the dead. One hundred thousand persons of all classes in society moved in orderly procession, which comprised 28 Irish Bishops and Boo priests from various dioceses, the whole cortége appearing more like a scene from the eternal Jerusalem than a mortuary solemnity. It was only grief for his loss that reminded the spectators that they were assisting at a function which was not one of festivity.

Here, in this College, and in this assemblage, his venerated remains are not present, but if they were, exclaimed the orator, turning himself towards the catafalque, who among us would not be glad to kiss his hands, to touch his feet, his lips, or his mantle, in token of love or admiration? And yet he is present with us—spirit to spirit ! He is present in prayer and in affection, present in the esteem entertained for his work, present in his example and in the fruits of his labour, and in his imperishable memory. May God grant that on a future day we may rejoin him in the assembly of the Patriarchs, and that we may be found worthy to share in his celestial reward, as on earth we have been privileged to have had him as our companion and as our guide in apostolic virtues.

Upon the conclusion of this discourse, which occupied over an hour in delivery, his Eminence Cardinal Simeoni, who sat during the sermon on a seat in front of the altar, proceeded to give the solemn absolutions. The voice of his Eminence betrayed the deep emotion which he felt in performing this last function for a brother Cardinal, with whom he had been so long and so affectionately associated.

(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)       Rome, November 30, 1878.

The above text was found on p.17, 7th December 1878 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .


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