from issue no.03 - 2004


The relics of Saint Timothy at Termoli

Paul and Timothy in the Barberini Latin Code 587, Vatican Apostolic Library

Paul and Timothy in the Barberini Latin Code 587, Vatican Apostolic Library

On 14-15 December 2003 the Italo-Croatian convention organized by the municipal administration was held at Termoli, in Molise, on the occasion of the 8th centenary of the commercial treaty, of friendship and reciprocal citizenship between the republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) and the town of Termoli. The relations had to do with various aspects of the relations between East and West, in particular with regard to the Fourth Crusade and the consequent sack of Constaninople in 1204, during which the relics of Timothy, disciple of Paul, were also stolen, to appear a short time afterwards in Termoli, perhaps arriving there via Ragusa, and still kept in the cathedral of the Adriatic township. Scholarly investigations of the relics and the history of their removal is now being conducted by the CNR (the Science Research Council, Rome).


Islamic fundamentalists children of Western civilization

11 March 2004. The attack on the Madrid railway stations

11 March 2004. The attack on the Madrid railway stations

In La Repubblica of 31 March Pietro Citati suggests an interesting analysis of Islamic terrorism, aimed, he writes, at destroying Western civilization as much as Islam. In a passage of the article mentioned he notes that the terrorists “do not recall in any way the powerful leaders of the great Arab tradition: the Caliphs of Baghdad and of Cordoba, Saladin, the sovereigns of Delhi, the Savafit sovereigns of Persia, the Mogul emperors of India, the Ottoman sultans, with that panoply of generosity and resourceful opulence. And not even of the last mediocre heads of state in the last post-war period, Nasser and Boumedienne. They are children of the West: children of the nihilists and of Hitler, of Lenin and Stalin, and of the ideological rubbish that Europe dumped on the world in the last century. I do not know where they live: whether in Afghanistan or in Pakistan, or in Iraq or in Corso Venezia in Milan or in Place de la Concorde, or in the Hotel Plaza, in Manhattan, in the smartest residences and the most luxurious European hotels where they are at home. But I know what they do. They laugh at us”.


The grandfather killed by the fascists and forgiveness

A republican combatant killed, a symbolic photo of the Spanish civil war

A republican combatant killed, a symbolic photo of the Spanish civil war

“For José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero the path to power can be traced to the last testament of his grandfather, a Spanish army captain executed by General Francisco Franco’s fascist forces nearly seventy years ago during Spain’s civil war. As the captain prepared to face a firing squad, he wrote a letter urging his family not to hate his killers. “He dies innocent and pardons”, the doomed Republican government supporter wrote of himself .“He asks his wife and sons to also pardon”. Zapatero, now 43 , was 11 or 12 when he first saw that letter and it had a profound effect on him…. Zapatero’s watchwords are “listen” and “dialogue”, and they come accompanied by his professed belief in seeking consensus…. He has cast himself as a calm leader, capable of building consensus, touched by humility”. Thus the Los Angeles Times on 17 March last on the new Spanish leader Zapatero.

The pontificate of John Paul II has now lasted longer than that of Leo XIII

On 14 March the pontificate of John Paul II became longer than that of Leo XIII, pope from 1878 to 1903. To go beyond the longest pontificate in history, that of Pius IX, which lasted 31 years and seven months, Pope Wojtyla must reign until 10 June 2010.

Sacred College/1
The eightieth birthdays of Cardinals Tomko and dos Santos. The death of König.

On 11 March Cardinal Jozet Tomko, a Slovak, longtime Prefect of Propaganda Fidei was eighty. On 18 March it was the turn of the Franciscan cardinal Alexandre Jose Maria dos Santos, archbishop emeritus of Maputo in Mozambique.
Then on 13 March, at almost 99 years old, Cardinal Franz König, archbishop of Vienna from 1956 to 1985, protagonist of Vatican Council II, grand elector of Karol Wojtyla at the second conclave of 1978, died. He was the last cardinal of the Sacred College created by John XXIII.
At the end of March therefore the number of cardinals had dropped to 191, of whom 125 are electors. The overwhelming majority is represented by those created by John Paul II (174, of whom 121 are electors); 17 (of whom four electors) remain of those created by Paul VI. It is to be noted that among the electors there is no Slovak anymore. And the Franciscans, even though dropping to five, remains the religious order with the highest number of representatives among the voting cardinals (there are currently three Jesuits).

Sacred College/2
The resignation of Gulbinowicz

On 3 April the resignation of Cardinal Roman Henryk Gulbinowicz as head of the archdiocese of Wroclaw in Poland was accepted. Appointed in his place was 67 year old Marian Golebiewski, bishop of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg since 1996. According to the Annuario pontificio Gulbinowicz was 75 years old on 17 October of last year. Even if in an article published in the Messaggero on 4 April, Vatican expert Orazio Petrosillo wrote that in reality the cardinal was born in 1923 and had therefore already passed the eighty-year mark.

Sacred College/3
The Church. Mystery, sanctity, mission, by Cardinal Saraiva Martins

The Vatican Editions Bookshop has recently published the latest literary endeavor of Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. It is the booklet La chiesa. Mistero, santità, missione (117pp., 9) in which certain articles of the cardinal which appeared in L’Osservatore Romano commenting on the apostolic letter Novo millennio ineunte are collected.

Sacred College/4
Arinze applauds Gregorian chant

On 2 April in the Vatican Press Office the book Spiritus et Sponsa. Atti della giornata commemorativa del XL anniversario della Sacrosanctum Concilium, celebrated in the Vatican on 4 December last, was presented. The Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Francis Arinze, the Secretary, Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, the Maestro of the pontifical music Chapel, Monsignor Giuseppe Liberto and the head of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Sant’Anselmo, Father Juan Javier Flores Arcas, took part in the press conference. There were also two officials of the department present, Father Corrado Maggioni and Monsignor Gerard Nien. In the course of the presentation the doyen of Vatican experts, Arcangelo Paglialunga, after offering testimony to the way in which journalists received the promulgation of the first Council document, engaged in a heartfelt peroration in favor of the use of Gregorian chant in liturgical celebrations. At the end of the passionate speech there was applause in which Cardinal Arinze joined, the only one among the presenters of the book to do so.

Sacred College/5
Husar’s statement on Kasper’s visit to Moscow

In a statement signed on 1 March last “in the name of the Synod of the bishops of the metropolis of Kiev and Halyc” Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, the senior archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church commented on the recent visit to Russia of Cardinal Walter Kasper (cf. 30Days 2/2004, p.17). On the occasion of that visit the heads of the Moscow Patriarchate reiterated their opposition to the recognition of the Ukraine Greek-Catholic Patriarchate by Rome to the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. According to Cardinal Husar, “the fact that the discussion on the internal development of our Church did not take place in Kiev, nor in Leopolis, nor even in Rome, but in Moscow, and, an essential point, without our participation, upset and filled many Greek-Catholics with a certain indignation”. The head of the Ukraine Greek-Catholic Church interpreted the sending of Cardinal Kasper to Moscow as “a gesture of courtesy by the Pope”.
On the question of the granting of the patriarchate to the Ukraine Greek-Catholics, it should be borne in mind that on 23 March Cardinal Ignace Moussa Daoud, Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, in the course of a press conference in the Vatican, said that there are “opportune reasons” at the moment for postponing the creation of the patriarchate in question.

Tardelli becomes bishop of San Miniato, Careggio of Ventimiglia, Ligorio of Matera, Orofino of Tricarico, Tanasini of Chiavari, Mandara auxiliary in Rome

On 6 March 53 year old Fausto Tardelli was nominated bishop of San Miniato in Tuscany. Tardelli, a former student at the Collegio Capranica, and a priest since 1974, has been provicar general of the archdiocese of Lucca since 2001.
On 20 March 67 year old Alberto Maria Careggio, originally from the province of Turin, bishop of Chiavari since 1995, was transferred to the diocese of Ventimiglia-San Remo. On the same date 59 year old Alberto Tanasini, auxiliary in Genova since 1996, was nominated to Chiavari. Also on 20 March 56 year old Salvatore Ligorio, originally from the province of Taranto, bishop of Tricario since 1997, was promoted archbishop of Matera-Irsina. Vincenzo Carmine Orofino, 51 year old former student at the Collegio Capranica, vicar general of the diocese of Tursi-Lagonegro since 1997, was nominated to Tricarico.
On 2 April 52 year old Ernesto Mandara, originally from the province of Salerno, was nominated auxiliary bishop of Rome for the central sector. He was director of the Construction and Worship Office and secretary of Roman Works for the preservation of the faith and the provision of new churches in the Vicariate for the past two years. He will retain this latter office as new archbishop.

Father Ghirlanda rector of the Gregorian

On 1 April the nomination of the new rector of the Gregorian university was announced. He is 62 year old Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, a member of the Society of Jesus since 1966, priest since 1973, and dean of the faculty of Canon Law until now. He takes the place of Father Franco Imoda, rector since 1998.
Father Ghirlanda is consultant to five Congregations:for the Doctrine of the Faith, for the Bishops, for the Evangelization of Peoples, for the Clergy, for the Religious. He is also consultant for the Pontifical Council for the Laity and for that of Legislative Texts. Further he is the referendary prelate of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signet and judge of the court of appeal of the Law Courts of the State of Vatican City. The new rector is a profound scholar of the Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyala, on which he preaches regularly to many young people, students and others, who wish to deepen their own life of faith in the light of Ignatius’ spirituality. He will take up his new post on 1 September next.

Vatican more feminine
Two women in the International Theological Commission. A woman president of the Academy of Social Sciences

On 6 March the names of the new members of the International Theological Commission were announced by the Vatican Press Office (even though they had already appeared in the Pontifical Yearbook for 2004). For the first time since its foundation in 1969, the body which is part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith includes two women: the German theologian Barbara Hallensleben, teacher at the University of Geneva and consultant to the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity; and Sister Sara Butler, an American, teacher in Chicago, famous in the ’seventies as a supporter of women priests; today she is in favor of the traditional Catholic doctrine which reserves the priesthood solely to men.
On 9 March American professor, 66 year old Mary Ann Glendon was nominated president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. It is the first time that a representative of the gentle sex has been put in charge of a Pontifical Academy.

Neo-conservative Americans against English liberals

Polemical shots from Father John Neuhaus, well known among American neo-conservatives and editor of the monthly magazine First Things, at John Wilkins, editor of the liberal English Catholic weekly The Tablet. In the March issue of his magazine, Neuhaus is ironic about the fact that Wilkins was awarded a pontifical honor, underlining how The Tablet in the course of the years “had been indefatigable in its support of contraception, of the ordination of women, of the moral acceptance of homosexuality and other deviations from Catholic teaching”. And his irony was also directed at the two churchmen present at the awarding of the knighthood of the Order of Pope Saint Silvester I: the nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Pablo Puente (“guilty” of having described the Tablet as a “living laboratory of the marvelous reality which is the prophetic mission of the laity in the Church”) and the Cardinal of Westminster Murphy O’Connor (“guilty” of having praised the “critical loyalty” of Wilkins).

Biblical quotations between Bush and Kerry

Cut and thrust between the American President George Bush and his challenger for the White House, Senator John Kerry. At the center of the debate a verse from the epistle of Saint James. Kerry: “The Sacred Scriptures say: ‘Of what use to you, brother, is faith without works?’ I look at America today and I ask myself: where is compassion?” Bush: “It’s sad to see the Bible used for political propaganda”. The duel was reported in the Corriere della Sera of 30 March.

The victory of the Socialists between the USA and Europe.

An interesting analysis of a possible international scenario following the socialist victory in Spain, written by Vittorio Zucconi, appeared in La Repubblica on March 17. We publish a passage from it: “A socialist against the war like Zapatero who would approach Bush (and vice versa) along the tracks of reciprocal compromise would be infinitely more valuable than a conservative willing to help the American cause”. A compromise, the columnist continues, which would prove useful both to Europe and the United States: in fact, if the Spanish shift succeeded in “re-uniting Europe with France and Germany, and if Washinton would abandon its rhetoric as the “ultras of preventive war” and return to the pragmatism of Bush senior, all parties would be able to sing victory. America could say that it had brought all of Europe, not pieces and shreds of “old” and “new”, to its side, perhaps in a solemn summit of reconciliation, and Europe could boast of having obtained, through a serious UN resolution and the blue flag of its troops, the return of the “lone knight” within the legal and civil fold of the West”.

The visit of Caridad Diego to the Vatican

From 25 February to 1 March Caridad Diego, head of the Office for Religious Affairs of the Cuban Communist Party, already in Italy for political engagements, prolonged her stay for a series of talks in the Vatican relating to the lasting crisis in relations between the civil authorities and the Cuban Catholic Church. During the visit to the Vatican, organized at the last moment, Caridad Diego met the new Vatican “foreign minister”, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, and visited the Substitute, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, and Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect of the Congregation for the Bishops. The Cuban woman responsible for relations with the Church also met Cardinals Jean-Louis Tauran, Roger Etchegary and Paul Poupard, as well as some superiors of the religious congregations already present in Cuba, such as the General of the Jesuits Peter Hans Kolvenbach and that of the Dominicans Carlos Alfonso Azpiroz Costa. In the discussions held in the Secretariat of State the need for rules permitting – without favoritism or arbitrary vetos – a regular influx of priests and religious required for the life of the Cuban Church was reiterated.

Karamanlis: “A new beginning”

“For me it is a new beginning”. So Costas Karamanlis, leader of the Nea Democratica, the center right party that won the recent political elections in Greece, said. The words of Karamanlis were reported in La Stampa of 8 March. On the same day the Corriere della Sera published a long interview with the new Greek prime minister, in which he explained that his political model was “Adenauer and the social market economy”.

The GDP, compassion and children’s games

“The GDP (gross domestic product) calculates and contains a great deal, but it does not calculate or contain children’s games, services of assistance to old people, courage, compassion and devotion, the GDP measures everything except what makes life worth of living”. A sentence from Bob Kennedy quoted by Minister of the Economy Giulio Tremonti during a convention held at the Catholic University of Milan.

Morandini nuncio to Syria, Bonazzi to Cuba

On 6 March Archbishop Giovani Battista Morandini was nominated nuncio to Syria. Morandini, 67 year old native of Bresciano, was nuncio to South Korea and Mongolia from 1997. Formerly he had worked in the nunciatures of Bolivia, Kenya, Belgium, Brazil and in the Secretariat of State; then in 1983 he was promoted archbishop and nuncio in Rwanda and in 1990 was nominated nuncio to Guatemala.
On 30 March Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi was nominated nuncio to Cuba. Originally from the province of Bergamo, 56 year old Bonazzi has been archbishop and nuncio in Haiti since 1999. In the diplomatic service since 1980 Bonazzi formerly carried out his mission in the pontifical representations of Cameroon, Trinidad and Tobago, Malta, Mozambique, Spain, the United States, Italy and Canada.

New ambassadors of Nicaragua and Lebanon

On 13 March the new ambassador of Nicaragua to the Holy See presented his letters of credential. He is Armando Luna Silva, a 75 year old career diplomat, former ambassador to Spain (1975-1979), and for the past two years head of Protocol. In the text of his speech to the new ambassador the Pope said, among other things,: “May justice and solidarity, the respect for law and love of the truth be ever present in the life of Nicaraguans”.
On 2 April it was the turn of the new representative of Lebanon: Naji Abi Assi; a 57 year old career diplomat and formerly ambassador to France from 1994 to 1999, when he became the director of Political Affairs at the Foreign Ministry in Beirut. In the text of his speech to the new representative of Lebanon, the Pope said, among other things: “In the face of the unjustifiable and disquieting fresh outbreak of terrorism the UN must reinforce its capacity to act to ensure peace”. And he added: “ … the international community must not abandon its proper responsibilities, with the excuse of other pressing tasks, but it must courageously assume them, inviting all the parties involved, and especially the Israelis and the Palestinians, to renew the dialogue without delay so as to grasp the means of putting an end to the infernal cycle of reciprocal violence. That is the necessary condition for an overall regulation of the conflict in the area which should bring the countries of the region into partnership”.

The President of Costa Rica in audience with the Pope and decorated with the Constantine Order of Saint George

On 5 April the President of Costa Rica, Abel Pacheco de la Espriella, was received in audience by the Pope. Some days before, on the evening of 1 April, the Head of State of the Central American Republic was received in the Palazzo of the Chancellery by Cardinal Mario Francesco Pompedda, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signet and Grand Prior of the Constantine Military Order of Saint George. On the occasion Prince Carlo of Bourbon and of the Two Sicilies, Duke of Calabria, Grand Prefect of the Constantine Order, invested the Costa Rican president as Knight of the Grand Cross with the golden Plaque of the Order.


Kasper and the realism of hope

Cardinal Walter Kasper

Cardinal Walter Kasper

Unity between Catholics and Orthodox: that was the subject of a long interview which Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, granted to Il Tempo on 12 March. To the question about whether he was optimistic or not about the possibility of reconciliation between the two Churches, the German cardinal replied: “I am not optimistic in the superficial sense of the term. I cultivate the realism of hope. The unity of the Church can not be organized around a table, it is the work of the Holy spirit. It is He who acts and who opens new horizons in the future for us. We are not the masters of time and of history. There is Another”.

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