|Birth: ||Aug. 22, 1926|
|Death: ||Mar. 12, 2008|
Dom Cassià Maria Just i Riba was the Catalan Abbot of the Monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat from 1966 till 1989.
He was born on August 22, 1926, in Barcelona and at the young age of nine, joined the Escolania de Montserrat to study Music. He became a Member of the Order of Saint Benedict as a Novice of Santa Maria de Montserrat on August 6, 1943 and was ordained to the Priesthood on August 27, 1950. His Music Studies, focused on the Organ, continued in Rome and Paris until 1956, which allowed him to compose several polyphonic pieces. From 1957 till 1964 he was the Master of Novices of Montserrat.
In 1964, Dom Cassià was elected Prior of Montserrat Abbey. He became its Abbot in 1966, to replace 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. Just gave Montserrat his open-minded and peaceful style, which made him take in believers and non-believers and people from all ideologies in the Abbey. During this time, Cassià kept solid ties with Pope Paul VI. His management of the Abbey is notable because it took place during an era of changes in Spain and in Catholicism, it was a few years after the Second Vatican Council and the last years of Franco's Dictatorship and the Spanish transition to Democracy.
After ending his tenure as Abbot, 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.
In 1991, he was given the Cross of St. George award by the Generalitat de Catalunya.
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 Infirmary of the Monastery.
More than 1,500 persons attended Cassià's Funeral. Amongst 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. He opposed the Francoist regime. This made him be known as the "Abad Rojo" – the Red Abbot.
He was 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 favourable position towards the use of contraceptives. Cassià Maria also asked the Church to review its positions on homosexuality, euthanasia and abortion.
Cassià was an example of how Religious Faith and the values of modern society can live together. In his opinion the religious lifestyle shouldn't be hostile to the debates of the present society. He didn't think there is an apparent moral dualism in laic societies as the Catholic Church defends and, instead, defended pluralism and dialogue.
Created by: Eman Bonnici
Record added: Jun 24, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27779498