From Alfons M. Cardinal Stickler, S.D.B.

September 15, 2010


Alfons M. Cardinal Stickler, S.D.B.

Most illustrious Professor,

I thank you heartily for the kind gift of your work “Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII to the Roman Patriciate and Nobility,” sent to me in its Italian translation.

It made a deep impression on me for several reasons: first of all, for its timeliness, in that it is the reaffirmation of the teachings of the great Pope Pius XII on the subject at a historico-cultural moment when ferocious hostility to the nobility, spread all over the world by the French Revolution, seems everywhere to be diminishing.

Secondly, the work—amid the universal decay of natural and, above all, Christian values—will awaken in many hearts everywhere the desire to see nobiliary elites, who in past centuries played an important and often decisive role in upholding these values through their lives and actions, once again setting for humanity the examples it needs so urgently and supremely.

A third reason derives from your observations—which seem to me extremely relevant—regarding the formation, alongside the nobilities and elites of blood, of nobilities and elites of spirit and mind that, by associating and organizing among the many existing noble souls, are assuming all over the world the roles of exemplars of and guides toward a natural and perennial order of things. This, whether to support the nobilities of blood still existent and now re-emerging, or to replace those no longer capable of efficaciously reacting to the manifest decadence of our days, as has happened in more than one instance.

Using vast and solid documentation, you have done a fine analysis of the very complex sociopolitical reality of our day, and commenting with great logical rigor on the luminous teachings of Pius XII, you have shown how much he and his successors up to John Paul II continue to expect from the existing nobility and future analogous elites for the religious, moral, and cultural uplifting of the world.

I therefore rejoice at this book, illustrious Professor, and wish it a broad circulation, so it may spark, sustain, and build a deep and vast sensitivity to this excellent tool for the re-creation of a sound natural ethics and a revived religious morality that may lead all humanity to that peace, prosperity, and happiness that only authentic and genuine values can realize and guarantee.

To these good wishes I add my fervent prayers to the Lord and to the Mother of the Church, that they may sustain you in the work which is both beneficent and painfully pressing in the times in which we live.

Yours in Christ,

Alfons M. Cardinal Stickler, S.D.B.

(Translation from the Italian original below)

Biographical data of His Eminence Cardinal Stickler

Alfons M. Cardinal Stickler, S.D.B., was born in Neunkirchen. Austria, in 1910. While still young he entered the Salesian Congregation and made his first Studies of philosophy and theology in Austria and Germany, later specializing in Canon Law at the Roman School of San Apollinare and the Pontifical Lateran University.

His particular vocation to the study of juridical sciences led him to teach at the Pontifical Athenaeum Salesianum, first in Turin and later in Rome. Father Stickler became dean of the Canon Law School and then rector of the athenaeum, an office he held from 1958 to 1966.

Placing his superior academic talents at the service of the Holy See, Father Stickler, after having directed the Pontifical Institute of Higher Latin Studies, was named Prefect of the Vatican Library, an institution unequaled in the world on account of its bibliographic treasures.

In 1983 John Paul II elevated him to the episcopal dignity and made him Pro-Librarian. Afterward, upon making him a cardinal, he appointed him Librarian and Archivist of the Holy Roman Church, an office that since its creation in the sixteenth century has been held by great ecclesiastical figures. Cardinal Stickler held this office until 1988. Especially notable among his important responsibilities was his participation in the commission responsible for developing the new Code of Canon Law.

19-III-1993

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