Rafael Merry del Val

Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val y Zulueta ( born October 10, 1865 in London, England; † February 26, 1930 at the Vatican ) was Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.


Rafael Merry del Val y Zulueta was born into a Spanish family who has been resident in England until 1878. He spent his school and university years in Slough, Namur, Brussels, Durham and Rome. He earned a licentiate in canon law and a doctorate, both in Catholic theology and in philosophy.

In 1887 he was a member of the Pontifical delegation that was sent on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria to the UK. In 1888, he received in Rome, the sacrament of Holy Orders, and then worked for two years as personal secretary to Archbishop Luigi Galimberti, the Apostolic Nuncio to Germany and Austria - Hungary. After further study he was in 1891 as " Pontifical secret chamberlain de numero participantium " member of the Pontifical Family.

From 1893 he worked in Vienna, from 1896 he was secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the review of the validity of Anglican orders. In the years 1897 and 1898, he provided the task of the apostolic delegate to Canada. 1898 he was appointed by Pope Leo XIII. advisor to the Roman Curia for questions of the Index of Forbidden Books, a year later, he gave him the head of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.

1900 Rafael Merry del Val y Zulueta was raised to the Titular Archbishop of Nicaea. He received his episcopal consecration on 6 May 1900, the then Cardinal Secretary of State, Cardinal Rampolla Mariano del Tindaro.

Merry del Val initiated in the following years, several papal legations. In the conclave after the death of Leo XIII. In 1903, he acted as Konklavesekretär and gained the confidence of the fact elected Pius X, who him - before he accepted him as a cardinal priest with the titular church of Santa Prassede in the College of Cardinals - appointed to his Secretary of State, and he was appointed head of the Prefecture of the Papal Palace transferred.

At the time of Pope St. Pius X was Merry del Val, along with the church historian Umberto Benigni of the outstanding fighter against modernism. 1904 del Val became president of the Pontifical Commission for the coordination of welfare issues of the church. 1911 to 1912 he was Camerlengo of the Holy College of Cardinals, from 1912 he headed the administration of the Fabric of St. Peter's. In 1914, Rafael Merry del Val y Zulueta was appointed secretary of the Holy Office, and also president of the Academy of Catholic religion in Rome. In addition, he served as papal legate several important embassies in Italy and abroad.

At the conclave, from 2 to February 6, 1922, which eventually Pius XI. elected to the papacy, del Val was one of the " pious zealots " ( " Zelanti ").

He died on February 26, 1930 from appendicitis and was buried in St. Peter's Basilica by Cardinal Pacelli. The beatification process for Rafael Merry del Val y Zulueta was opened on 26 February 1953. Celebrity gained his knowledge of foreign languages ​​: He mastered 63 languages ​​(including dialects ), most of them fluently.

Otto Hierl - Deronco portrayed him in the Vatican several times, in life size, on the desk and a bust with the cardinal's hat, which every cardinal was once placed by the Pope in the appointment (1913). The double portrait of Pope Pius X became known for his Secretary of State, because since the mid-16th century, it was no more artists have been allowed to portray the Pope with cardinals together.


  • Giuseppe dalla Torre: The Cardinal of charity. Memorial discourse on the work and virtues of the late Cardinal Raphael Merry del Val; New York 1932
  • Pio Cenci: Il Cardinale Merry del Val Raffaele; Rome 1933
  • Vigilio Dalpiaz: Attraverso una porpora. Il cardinale Merry del Val; Turin 1935
  • Rafael Figueroa Ortega: Una gloria de la iglesia. El Cardenal Rafael Merry del Val; Mexico 1937
  • Girolamo dal Gal: Il cardinale Merry del Val di Stato del Segretario Beato Pio X; Rome 1953
  • Mary Bernetta Quinn: Give me souls. A life of Raphael Cardinal Merry del Val; Westminster 1958
  • Girolamo dal Gal: The spiritual life of Cardinal Merry del Val; New York in 1959
  • Marie Cecilia Buehrle: Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val; London 1957
  • Jean LeBlanc: Dictionnaire biographique of évêques Catholiques du Canada. les canadiens catholiques dioceses of Églises latine et orientales et leurs évêques; repères chronologiques et biographiques, 1658-2002; Ottawa 2002; pp. 242-245


  • Pius X. memories and impressions of his Secretary of State; Basel 19544