from issue no.04 - 2004

30Days in brief

The paternal and maternal hand of the Lord
We report a phrase of John Paul II pronounced during the audience of Wednesday 28 April, commenting on Psalm 26, Prayer of the persecuted innocent: “To all sick people, forgotten by everybody, to whom nobody will ever give a caress, we recall these words of the Psalmist and prophet, so that they may feel the paternal and maternal hand of the Lord silently and with love touch their suffering countenances”.

Savio, a life of gratuitousness and wonder
“I am happy with God beyond measure. A continuous surprise so much so as to be able to say to myself, with conviction, that at every moment His measure was full and pressing. I could have said goodbye to earthly life at any time feeling myself full of gratuitousness and wonder”. Few words, said in a whisper. It is the spiritual testament of Vincenzo Savio, bishop of Belluno-Feltre, who died on 31 March, after a long illness. At the moment of leaving his earthly life the prelate summoned all the priests of the diocese, and asked forgiveness of them, one by one. They then prayed together, and he died during the singing of the Magnificat.

Augustine, the reason for his topicality

The daily Sole 24 Ore of 1 May devoted considerable space to articles about the spiritual and moral identity of the European Union on the day of its enlargement eastwards. Among the various articles on Augustine (one, by Giovanni Reale, under the title The pivotal points of our culture in Augustine), that by Roberta De Monticelli, appeared as follows in the contents “ ‘Only that which delights the mind, nourishes it’:in that saying lies the key to his topicality”.

Sacred College
Connell’s resignation

On 26 April the resignation of Cardinal Desmond Connell, 78 years old on 24 March, from the archbishopric of Dublin was accepted. His place will be taken by 59 year old Diarmuid Martin, coadjutor of the Irish archdiocese since 2003.

Military ideology

In La Stampa of 1 May, an internal editorial by Angela Benessia, bearing the title Who are the just, analyzes the tensions that are spreading throughout the world, concluding that: “human rights are trampled on in a spiral of unending violence. The military ideology of the “neocons” feeds the demonic vision of the West and weakens the Islamic reformers”.

Libertarian democratic fundamentalism

We print an excerpt from a long article by former Italian president Francesco Cossiga on the Iraqi crisis, published in La Stampa on May 1: “We don’t believe in ‘American global imperialism’: the only square meters of European territory occupied by the Americans after the Second World War, as opposed to the Soviet Union, were those of the graves of young Americans who fell for our freedom. But I believe, rather I fear, their almost evangelical “libertarian democratic fundamentalism”, and their dangerous utopia - that indeed of every nation and state born out of a popular revolution - capable of being exported everywhere, even imposing itself by arms, in the name of “Truth”, and their (even if also ours!) democracy and freedom”.

Redaelli and Stucchi auxiliaries in Milan. Abbot D’Onorio a bishop. Stagni to Faenza

On 8 April two auxiliary bishops were nominated to the archdiocese of Milan. They are Roberto Maria Redaelli and Luigi Stucchi. Redaelli, a 48 year old from Milan and a priest since 1980, graduated in Canon Law from the Gregorian University in 1988 and has been vicar general since 2004. He is the author of various articles and has also written a text, Religious Organizations, published by Sole 24 Ore.
Stucchi, a 64 year old from Sulbiate in Brianza, has been a priest since 1966 and episcopal vicar of Varese since 2003.
On 13 April, 64 year old Dom Fabio Bernardo D’Onorio, abbot of Montecassino since 1983, was elevated to the dignity of the episcopacy. D’Onorio originally from Veroli (FR), entered the celebrated Benedictine Abbey at 13 years old, took his religious vows in 1962 and was ordained priest in 1966.
On 26 April, 65 year old Claudio Stagni, originally from the diocese of Bologna, was nominated bishop of Faenza-Modigliana. A priest since 1963, he was auxiliary in Bologna since 1990.

New Undersecretary for Culture and the first woman Undersecretary in a Congregation

On 14 April, the Spaniard Melchor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda was nominated Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture. He was formerly head of office in the same department.
On 24 April the Salesian Sister Enrica Rosanna of the Daughters of Mary the Helper, was nominated Undersecretary of the Congregation for Religious. It is the first time that a woman has risen to be head of a Vatican department with jurisdictional powers. Sister Rosanna, born in Busto Arsizio, in the province of Varese, sixty years ago, and for years head of Auxilium, is a sociologist of religion and a scholar of pedagogical sciences. Appreciated for her competence, she was among the experts at many Synods and was on the Commission set up by the then minister of Public Education Luigi Berlinguer. The Vatican is thus tinged increasingly with pink. On 6 March last, two women theologians became part of the International Theological Comission, headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and on 9 March the Pope nominated the US professor Mary Ann Glendon as President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

New nuncios in the Ukraine, Madagascar, Algeria, Haiti and Indonesia

On 22 April, 52 year old Slovenian Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, was nominated new nuncio in the Ukraine. A priest since 1977, in the Vatican diplomatic service since 1984, he has worked in the nunciatures of Korea, Colombia, Russia, and in the Secretariat of State. He was nuncio in Belarus since 2001.
Also on 22 April, the 58 year old Ugandan Archbishop Augustine Kasujja was nominated apostolic nuncio to Madagascar and the Seychelles and apostolic delegate to the Camoros and La Reunion. A priest since 1973, in the diplomatic service since 1979, he served in the pontifical representations of Argentina, Haiti, Bangladesh, Portugal, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago. From 1998 he was apostolic nuncio to Algeria and Tunisia.
On 22 April also, the 63 year old Taiwanese Archbishop Thomas Yeh Sheng-nan was nominated nuncio to Algeria and Tunis. A priest since 1971, in the diplomatic service since 1976, he has worked in the nunciatures of Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Algeria, Iraq, Australia, Senegal, Great Britain. He was nuncio to Sri Lanka from 1998.
On 27 April, 62 year old Mario Giordano, originally from the province of Cuneo, was promoted archbishop and apostolic nuncio to Haiti. A priest since 1967, a graduate in canon law, he entered the diplomatic service in 1979 and worked in Indonesia, the Secretariat of State, Switzerland, France, Austria and – finally – in the nunciature in Italy.
On 29 April, 57 year old archbishop Patabendige Don Albert Malcolm Ranjith, originally from Sri Lanka, was nominated nuncio to Indonesia and East Timor. Ranjith, a priest since 1975, became auxiliary in Colombo in 1991 and bishop of Ratnapura in 1995. In October 2001 he was called to the Roman Curia as assistant secretary of Propaganda Fide and president of the Pontifical Missionary Works.

New Philippine ambassadress

On 19 April, the new Philippine ambassadress to the Holy See presented her letters of credential. She is 69 year old Mrs Leonida L. Vera, a graduate in economic science and very involved in the charitable and social field (she is still a member of the governing college of Caritas in Manila). In his speech of welcome the Pope recalled, among other things, that poverty and terrorism continue to cause much suffering to Philippinos and that only dialogue can create a society that ensures peace and harmony. The speech of the ambassadress concluded with a singular – for the diplomatic world – note of a personal character: «I wish to state clearly and without reserve that before being a representative of the Republic of the Philippines, I am above all a daughter of the Church. When the end of my mandate as ambassadress arrives, I wish to be remembered only as a daughter of the church, a servant of the Lord, and nothing more».

Blasphemous thriller best seller in the USA

Dan Brown, IThe Da Vinci Code/I in the Italian version, published by Mondadori, Milan 2003, 523 pp.

Dan Brown, IThe Da Vinci Code/I in the Italian version, published by Mondadori, Milan 2003, 523 pp.

The Churches against The da Vinci code, an alliance of Catholics and Evangelicals: “First the book, now the film. A falsehood which distorts Christianity”. This was the heading of an article which appeared in Corriere della Sera on 28 April, which reported the indignant reaction of US Christians to the blasphemous religious thriller written by Dan Brown, which has already sold 7.5 million copies in the US, becoming the publishing phenomenon of the year. The article contains a stunning suggestion: “According to leaks it is the only novel that President George Bush has read in the last year”.

Sodano in Venice: «Let us build bridges towards Islam»

Cardinals Angelo Scola, Angelo Sodano and Marco Cé in front of the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice

Cardinals Angelo Scola, Angelo Sodano and Marco Cé in front of the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice

On 24 April the Studium Marcianum was inaugurated in Venice, a cultural institute founded by the Patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Angelo Scola. The event was anticipated by Corriere della Sera on the previous day, with an article entitled Sodano: let us build bridges towards Islam and defend ourselves against those who abuse its name. We print an excerpt: «“Today – says the chief collaborator of John Paul II – one strongly feels the need of new and sturdier bridges with Islamic culture and society. First of all in our own house, where the Muslims are ever more numerous”. The cardinal considers the Studium Marcianum as “a bridge between the cultures” and asks it to look towards the East and Islam. Sodano recalls that there are already many institutes – especially in the ambience of the Holy See – which are involved in the “relations between Christianity and Islam”, but he affirms that the patriarchate of Venice must also do its part, because “it must be the whole Church that seizes the opportunity of this encounter”. The Vatican Secretary of State specifies that dialogue does not mean yielding: “If there are people and organizations that abuse the name of Islam and promote acts of war or terrorism, it is the duty of the authorities to take the measures necessary to prevent such harm. Christian doctrine in fact provides for the right/duty of persons and peoples to legitimate self-defense”. The general Studium Marcianum will be – says the patriarchate of Venice – a unique institute in Italy. It is a conception of Cardinal Scola, who before becoming Patriarch of Venice was Rector of the Lateran University. Among the reasons for the appointment of Scola to Venice, it is said, was also the Pope’s intention to make the Venice patriarchate a bridge once again towards the East, understood both as the Orthodox world and the world of Islam’.

De Gasperi and the children’s Pope

The cover of the book by Margherita Marchione, IPius XII, The children’s Pope/I, published by Shalom

The cover of the book by Margherita Marchione, IPius XII, The children’s Pope/I, published by Shalom

“Alcide De Gasperi: memory and idealism”: this was the subject of the conference held, from 4-6 May, in the Basilica of San Lorenzo fuori le Mura, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the death of the Christian Democrat statesman. At the conference, organized by the Capuchins of the Basilica, were Father Piersandro Vanzan, of Civiltà Cattolica, Senator Mauro Cutrufo, film director Liliana Cavani (who is making a movie about De Gasperi), the daughter of the statesman, Maria Romana De Gasperi, and former President Giulio Andreotti. A gift of a book entitled Pius XII, the children’s Pope, edited by Margherita Marchione, was made to the numerous participants. It is a small coloring book, destined for children, which retraces the stages of Pope Pacelli’s life and describes his fondness for children.

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