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from issue no. 04 - 2005

6 August 1979 at Castel Gandolfo

From the diaries of Giulio Andreotti. Chronicle of the meeting with Pope Wojtyla on the first anniversary of the death of Paul VI

At Castel Gandolfo (in the courtyard Monsignor De Bonis and Don Macchi, who introduces me to the nuns who were with Paul VI: the superior for 24 years, first in Milan. There is also the director of the Villa, Doctor Ponti).
We go up in the elevator. Montini’s nephew with his Longinotti wife and their children are there already. Farther on: Monsignor Silvestrini, Monsignor Martínez Somalo, Monsignor Noè and the parish priest of Castel Gandolfo. There’s also a priest, a former collaborator of Macchi, Dr. Buzzonetti, and a young man whom I don’t know. A deacon.Before the mass the Pope reads a brief introduction in remembrance; the epistle is read by Buzzonetti. Singing of the Alleluia and of the Agnus Dei. At the end the Magnificat.After the Gospel Macchi spoke, precisely and with feeling. He recalls that shortly before the Pope died he said it was time that a successor came who, less weighed down, would be able to deal with the problems of the Church in such a grave moment. He wanted to be open towards those who had caused him pain: some received the message, other not.The subject recurred during breakfast. Beforehand, Don Macchi thanks me for the help given in the publication of the will: some parliamentarians have written him (another “launch” in the parishes of Lazio, through Father Cremona). He distributes an undated pamphlet of Paul VI’s thoughts on death. After the prayer of thanksgiving, the Pope says goodbye to the Montini-Longinotti and invites the rest of us to the breakfast. «You aren’t new here». He assigns the places himself.“Parochus super Papam”. The only way to have him super is to put him next to himself.He heard the news of Paul VI’s death in a house in the mountain where he was on holiday. Toward noon on the 7th. The daughter of his host caught the news on the radio. He asks Macchi how the Pope could follow mass from bed.
A page from the diary of Giulio Andreotti of 6 August1979

A page from the diary of Giulio Andreotti of 6 August1979

Macchi: «Keeping both doors open we weren’t aware that those were his last hours, even though the Pope was very ill.»
Del Gallo: Already on Tuesday, going to Pizzardo’s tomb, he was unable to read. Noè bustled about asking for more light, but it wasn’t a question of light.
Magee: He made as if to get out of bed, but I stopped him saying that Communion was about to arrive. He stopped and joined his hands.
Buzzonetti: He was back and forwards. He saw that the Pope was in pain and to check his lungs he had to get on the bed. He realised it was an oedema and had an instant’s hesitation: make him miss Communion or give him an injection immediately? He was the Pope: he let him recceive communion first.
Andreotti: Is it true that if there had been a reanimation room he could have got over the crisis? Barnard wrote so.
Paul VI with his personal secretary  monsignor Pasquale Macchi

Paul VI with his personal secretary monsignor Pasquale Macchi

Buzzonetti: No. And who could think of taking the Pope to hospital? In Mexico he was followed by an ambulance with oxygen... However no treatment would have served. Temperature off the thermometer (Because of that Macchi believed he didn’t have a fever).
Pope: Cardinal Villot told us in a congregation.
Macchi: The Pope didn’t fear death. He’d been very ill when young. Almost never in the seminary and, once ordained, the bishop didn’t know what to do with him. And sent him to Rome.
Andreotti: In Milan they think no work gets done in Rome. But GBM was an example of industry all his life.
Pope: Wyszynski, too, had lung trouble in the seminary and after ordination he had to wait a day to say his first mass.
Macchi: Continues the story. The Pope began a series of Pater, Ave, Salve Regina, Magnificat, Anima Christi. When he grew tired, he stopped on the Pater. He was detached. No word to the Secretary of State. At 21.40 the alarm rang (every day at 6), given him by his mother when he went to Poland. Macchi had set it wrong. And it was the end.
Andreotti: Do you feel the heat much here?
John Paul II with his personal secretary  monsignor Stanislaw Dziwisz

John Paul II with his personal secretary monsignor Stanislaw Dziwisz

Ponti: It’s an ideal place. Urban Barberini had studied all the Hill Towns before building it. There’s no comparison with Rome and never an epidemic.
Parish Priest: Ponti is not infallible.
Andreotti: Last year columns of humidity rose up from the lake (I suggest to Martínez Somalo, who agrees, the utility of having some emergency service).
Pope: One goes by the day, going for a walk morning and evening. There aren’t the rains that enliven the summer in Poland. Andreotti recalls the Villa during the occupation. The Pope wonders whether there were Jews. Here not, but in the Lateran, in the Vatican presbytery, etc., yes. Did the Germans infringe extraterritoriality? Yes, at the Lombard College and at Saint Paul’s the general who didn’t go without...
Pope: Is it true that Pius XII was to be deported?
Silvestrini: Suitcases packed in the Secretariat of State.
Andreotti: He told me: I’m not moving at any price.The Thursday audience given to Pertini. Going out he was sobbing («A president shouldn’t: excuse me»), Del Gallo remembers. The Pope had 38º, but when the door was closed he said to Macchi: I was clever not to get spotted. On Sunday Pertini was worried.
Andreotti: Salesian Education.
Pope: I have the feeling that he seeks religion. Was he ever in a concentration camp?
Andreotti: No. But as a young lawyer he was in prison and then in exile. Bricklayer. He came back and was in Regina Coeli. He escaped and was active in the liberation of Milan. His brother finished in a concentration camp, died in Germany.
Del Gallo: He was a fascist.
Andreotti: I don’t know. I know he wasn’t interested in politics and that he became a communist when he heard the false report that Sandro had been shot.
Pope: Was the president already socialist during the war? (Even if it’s difficult to understand what socialist means in Italy...).
Jewish children in  Auschwitz, Poland

Jewish children in Auschwitz, Poland

Andreotti: Yes. Pertini was socialist from his youth. Up to 1921 two socialisms: the reformist and internationalist sort and the maximalist sort. Then the split came that created communism.

The mention of Germany and concentration camps leads the Pope to observe how many heavy memories of a dictatorial regime that lasted little more than ten years. Other dictatorships have lasted several decades and how and when will they finish? God only knows.
Andreotti: Observes that with every dictatorship one has to see what went before. There are countries where there was democracy and so a return to the past can be imaged: others like Russia cannot return to the past represented by tsarism. For a long time the Russian peasants didn’t realize the regime had changed.
Pope: Perhaps the Russians are upset that I have received the Ukrainian Moss. Why I received him... because Monsignor Del Gallo brought him in. When he wanted to bring the conversation round to the patriarchy and political aspects, I told him: that’s enough for today. He spoke Polish. Born in territory once Polish. Slipyj is asking for a patriarchy that has never existed. It’s true that Kiev is the cradle of Christianity, but after the Tartar invasions it was from Moscow that the push back began, the patriarchy was created there. Kiev didn’t get it.

Today the Uniat diasporas are strong (Andreotti mentions Canada and Brini’s recommendation at the assembly) but the majority would beOrthodox for a patriarchy.
The Ukraine (a sidelined country). It should be called Ruthenia: Russia. Wide-ranging historical references. It has never been a nation. It is a territory (the contradiction with the autonomous affiliation to the UN).

In taking his leave the Pope says: « Silvestrini had told me that a government will be put together by mid August in any case».
Silvestrini: In September they’ll start again from the beginning.
Andreotti: Let’s hope not.

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