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Hi body lies in the lovely octagonal old church of San Carlos in Milan

Blessed Ildefonso Cardinal Schuster, O.S.B.
By Father Mark
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Our Contemporary

The Benedictine calendar of the saints, like that of the Universal Church, grows as the Church makes her pilgrim way through history. In recent years a number of holy Benedictines have been glorified by the Church and Christ has been glorified through them.

I have the impression that as we all advance in age the saints are coming closer and closer to our own lifetimes. This is certainly the case of the Blessed Ildefonso Cardinal Schuster, the Benedictine monk and archbishop of Milan whom we remember today. He died on August 30th, 1954.

If you were to look at photos of Cardinal Schuster -- and there are many of them -- you would see the serene face of a gentle ascetic. In his eyes there is something that suggests that he saw the invisible; his gaze is that of a man whose life was profoundly interior.

Essentially Adorers

Ildefonso Schuster, the son of a Roman tailor, the Abbot of Saint Paul-Outside-the-Walls, and the Cardinal-Archbishop of Milan, was at the same time a scholar learned in the Church’s liturgy, in history, in art, in catechesis, spirituality, and archeology; he was a shepherd of souls, a diplomat, and a peace-maker. Beneath the scarlet robes of a Prince of the Church, he remained a monk, a child of Saint Benedict. Thus was he able to say:
Before all other things, and even above all things, O Venerable Brothers, we are essentially adorers. “This is how one should regard us, as ministers of Christ” (1 Cor 4:1). After that we must also be ministers of the people, the salt of the earth, and fishers of men, etc. but first, it is absolutely necessary that we be true servants of God: Ministers of Christ . . . appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God (Heb 5:1).

The Devil Is Afraid of Holiness

As Cardinal-Archbishop, Blessed Schuster never failed to direct the energies of his priests toward the One Thing Necessary. A few days before his death he withdrew to the seminary he had built and there he delivered a final message to his seminarians, warning them of the futility of an apostolate without personal holiness:
I have no memento to give you apart from an invitation to holiness. It would seem that people are no longer convinced by our preaching; but faced with holiness, they still believe, they still fall to their knees and pray. People seem to live ignorant of supernatural realities, indifferent to the problems of salvation. But when an authentic saint, living or dead passes by, all run to be there. . Do not forget that the devil is not afraid of our [parish] sports fields and of our movie halls: he is afraid, on the other hand, of our holiness.

At the Altar

When Blessed Schuster celebrated Holy Mass, his entire being was absorbed in the Divine Mysteries. There are many eyewitness accounts of the impact of his priestly devotion on the faithful. Benedictine to the core, Blessed Schuster was a humble master of the prayer of the Church, manifesting through his body, and extending into all of daily life the spirit drawn from the celebration of the sacred liturgy. Cardinal Giacomo Biffi says: “The simple folk ran to contemplate this slight and frail man who, in his liturgical vestments, became a giant.” Seeing him at the altar people recognized a man in communication with the invisible power of God.

There is no doubt that, if Cardinal Schuster were alive today, he would greatly rejoice in the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. One of Cardinal Schuster’s great works is his three volume Liber Sacramentorum, Historical and Liturgical Notes on the Roman Missal. He loved the Church of Rome, loved the Church of Milan, and loved their ancient liturgies because in them he recognized the heartbeat of the Bride of Christ and the true sound of her voice.

Cardinal Schuster sent a letter to Pope Pius in 1949 about the Father Feeney case, that he should protect that dogma. Pius  then mentioned it in Humani Generis (1950)
In Humani Generis (1950)  Pope Pius stated that some have reduced the obligation of entering the church for salvation to a meaningless formula.  It happened because instead of teaching the dogma Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus (Outside the Church, No Salvation) as it was stated in the Dogma , the if, and and but crowd reduced it to nothing. Blessed Schuster must be shaking his head at what has become of that teaching 61 years later. :( :( :( :( :(