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Merry del Val
Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val

ARMS: Argent on a bend Gules three lozenges conjoined in bend Or

SOURCE/NOTES & CREDITS: Blazon text and background illustration: page 257 “Heraldica Collegii Cardinalium, 1800-2000”, M.F. McCarthy, page 257. Blazon reworked by J.H. Gaylor and text adapted by D.Q. Wedvick from the Wikipedia internet article.

Rafael Maria Jose Pedro Francisco Borja Domingo Gerardo de la Santisma Trinidad Merry del Val y Zulueta was born on 10 Oct 1865 at the Spanish Embassy in London, England as the second son of a Spanish diplomat. His mother, Sofia Josefa de Zulueta, elder daughter of Pedro Jose de Zulueta, Count of Torre Diaz of the London Bank, Zulueta & Co. and his wife Sofia Ann Wilcox who was of Scottish and Dutch ancestry. His father also a Rafael Merry del Val was Marquis of Merry del Val descended from a twelth century line of Irish merchants from the city of Waterford. His elder brother, Alfonso became the Spanish Ambassador to Great Britain from 1913 t0 1931.

Rafael lived in Great Britain until 1878 and was Ordained in 1888 with a doctorate of philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University. Later he gained a doctorate in theology & philosophy and then a licentiate in canon law. In 1891 he was made a privy chamberlain and continued his service in the diplomatic corps of the Holy See and the Roman Curia. He was appointed a domestic prelate in 1897 and titular Archbishop of Nicaea on 19 April 1900 and Consecrated a bishop by Cardinal Marino Rampolla then Secretary of State to Pope Leo XIII.

In 1902 Apb. Merry del Val was the Papal Representative to the Coronation of Edward VII with Eugenio Pacelli ( see his file as Pope Pius XII ) in his party.

In 1903 when Pope Leo XIII died, he was the Secretary of the Conclave which elected the new Pope, St. Pius X ( see his file ). He was approached by a Cardinal to announce Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria’s veto against Cardinal Rampolla the leading papal contender of the moment. He refused and so the Cardinal ( Jan Puzyna de Kusielsko of Krakow ) did some announcing of his own, outraging the College of Cardinals. In any event St. Pius was elected and the new Pope quickly announced that it would be automatic excommunication in the future for anyone trying to influence a Conclave with a threat or veto. Pope Pius X immediately named Merry del Val pro-Secretary of State. And in November 1903 named Merry del Val as his first cardinal and full Secretary of State. He worked hand in glove with the saintly Pope to combat modernism amongst the clergy and especially university professors.

After St. Pius X died in August 1914, Merry del Val was replaced as Secretary of State by Pope Benedict XV with Domenico Cardinal Ferrata. Cardinal Merry del Val was appointed as Secretary of the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office. He died in office on 26 February 1930 and was considered a very saintly priest. The cause for his beautification was opened and is in progress. dqw 20100416

The artwork is a rendering by John Hamilton Gaylor.

Wedvick Armorial, 138b, Merry del Val,

2010 0327

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