|Birth: ||Aug. 22, 1926|
|Death: ||Mar. 12, 2008|
A native of Barcelona, Dom Cassià Maria Just i Riba served as Abbot of the Abbey of Montserrat from 1966 till 1989.
Joined the Escolania de Montserrat to study music at the early age of nine, he entered of the Order of Saint Benedict as a novice at Santa Maria de Montserrat on August 6, 1943 and was ordained to the Priesthood on August 27, 1950. His music studies, focused mainly on the organ, continued in Rome and Paris until 1956, during which period he composed several polyphonic pieces.
Master of Novices of Montserrat between 1957 and 1964, in the latter year Dom Cassià was elected Prior of the Abbey. Becoming its Abbot in 1966, replacing Dom Aureli Maria Escarré, who had had to go on exile during Francisco Franco's dictatorship because of some public statements against the Regime, he continued the path his predecessor had begun, which made him receive in the Abbey believers and non-believers and people from all ideologies. Keeping solid ties with Pope Paul VI, his Abbey administration remains notable for having taken place during an era of changes in Spain and in Catholicism, due to the Second Vatican Council, the last years of Franco's dictatorship and the Spanish transition to democracy.
Following the end of his abbatial tenure, he was involved in several humanitarian causes. In 1989, he formed a foundation against unemployment and to help disabled people. In 1994, he created a foundation with his name to help people with risk of being excluded from society to find a job.
Awarded the Cross of St. George award by the Generalitat de Catalunya in 1991, late in December 2007, he suffered a stroke which required him to be admitted to Hospital Sant Joan de Déu de Manresa. On March 9, he suffered another stroke, recovering from which would have been almost impossible. Cassià died on March 12, 2008, in the Monastery Infirmary.
More than 1,500 persons attended his funeral. Among them were the last three presidents of the Generalitat, Jordi Pujol, Pasqual Maragall and José Montilla, Marius Rubiralta, the vice-chancellor of the University of Barcelona, the former Archbishop of Girona, Msgr. Jaume Camprodon and Josep Caminal, the former director of the Gran Teatre del Liceu.
The Abbot was always a defender of human rights and showed support for left-wing politics as well as Catalan nationalism. Being an opponent of the Francoist regime, he became known as the "Abad Rojo" – the Red Abbot.
A strong critic of the official positions of the Church, for him most part of the leaders of the Church were locked in ideas from the past which had to change. He believed the sexual morals of the Roman Catholic Church were outdated, and showed a favorable position towards the use of contraceptives. Cassià Maria also asked the Church to review its positions on homosexuality, euthanasia and abortion.
An example of how religious faith and the values of modern society can live together, in his opinion religious lifestyle shouldn't be hostile to the debates of the present society.
Provincia de Barcelona
Created by: Eman Bonnici
Record added: Jun 24, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27779498