Cardinal Paul Augustin Mayer, priest of the Benedictine order, who headed a Vatican department dedicated to the liturgy, and then later, one dedicated to achieving reconciliation with the St. Pius X Society, died Friday morning at the age of 98.
The Holy Father remembered him in a telegram to the abbot primate of the Benedictine Confederation on Friday in which he recognized the "the indelible memory" left by the cardinal "of an industrious life spent with mildness and rectitude in coherent adherence to his vocation as a monk and pastor, full of zeal for the Gospel and always faithful to the Church."
Pope Benedict further recalled Cardinal Mayer's "knowledgeable commitment in the field of the liturgy and in that of universities and seminaries, and especially his much appreciated service to the Holy See" in various roles.
He was ordained as a Benedictine priest in 1935 and later spent years dedicated to study, teaching and administration at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome. During his time as rector of the college from 1949-1966, he founded the Pontifical Liturgical Institute and participated in the Second Vatican Council.
He returned to his native Germany in 1966 when he was named Abbot of Metten but was called back to Rome by Pope Paul VI to serve as Secretary of the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes in 1971.
The same Pope ordained him an archbishop in 1972.
He was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1985 and then named the prefect of the Congregation for Sacraments and Divine Worship, where he served until 1988. He then led the Commission Ecclesia Dei as its president until his retirement in 1991.
Pope Benedict XVI concluded his telegram on Friday by offering "fervent prayers that the Lord may welcome this worthy brother into eternal joy and peace."
The cardinal's funeral will take place St. Peter’s Basilica next Monday morning and is to be presided over by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Dean of the College of Cardinals.