from issue no.08 - 2004


Enchiridion of Peace with preface by Cardinal Tauran

Jean-Louis Tauran

Jean-Louis Tauran

«If there is a conviction that has never slackened in the mind of the popes it is that peace is always possible. Even more: it is an obligation. Vatican Council II invited those politically responsible “to consider the subject of war with a completely new mentality” (Gaudium et spes 80).
In the face of terrorism, of unresolved conflicts or future ethnic quarrels, the Catholic Church will, as it has in the past as well as in the present, continue make available to all its unceasing commitment to justice, solidarity, brotherhood and peace. These pages are eloquent testimony to the perseverance with which, in the midst of all the contradictions of human history, the Church has never ceased to announce to all the eternal “gospel of peace” (Eph 6,15)!». Those are the concluding words of the preface which Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church, wrote for the first volume of the Enchiridion of Peace. Pius X-John XXIII (Edizioni Dehoniane, 1952pp., € 75), which collects the most important pronouncements of the popes on the subject of peace. Tauran was Vatican “Foreign Minister” from 1991 to 2003.

Audience with the rector of the University of Bologna

On 3 July John Paul II received Professor Pier Ugo Calzolari, the Rector of the University of Bologna, and his wife, in audience. On the occasion the Sigillum Magnum of the Alma Mater Studiorum was conferred on the Pope, as an act of homage in recognition of the twenty fifth anniversary of his pontificate. In his speech of thanks the Pope encouraged commitment “to scientific and cultural activity being motivated always by a sincere passion for man”.

In February 2007 the Fifth General Assembly of CELAM in Rome

The presidency of CELAM, the Latin-American Episcopal Council, announced that John Paul II had granted its request to convoke General Assembly V of the Latin-American episcopate in February 2007 in Rome. In his speech, during the press conference for the presentation of the event, held at the center of the Secretariat General of CELAM in Bogota, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz, Archbishop of Santiago del Cile and president of the organization, set out the socio-cultural context in which the next conference would be framed and announced the theme: “Disciples of Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church, missionaries of hope, for the new evangelization of Latin America and the Caribbean at the beginning of the Third millennium”.

Chile. A priest killed while celebrating mass

«Crime in church, among the distraught faithful, as in a book of Fruttero and Lucentini, A che punto è la notte. An Italian priest, 69 year old father Faustino Gazzieri De Stefani, of the Order of the Servants of Mary, was stabbed to death as he celebrated evening mass in the metropolitan cathedral of Santiago del Cile, the most important church in the capital». Thus La Stampa on 26 July. The perpetrator of the killing was a young man who «advanced along the central nave shouting invocations to Satan, before launching himself at the priest with the knife held high. He shouted: “I’ll kill you”, and hurled himself at the priest, hitting him with the knife and cutting his throat». Father Gazzieri De Stefani, originally from the Venice region, moved to Chile in 1960.

The eighty years of Cardinal Cassidy

On 5 July the Australian cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity was eighty years old. The number of cardinal electors goes down to 124 therefore (out of 190), of whom only two come from Oceania.
On 13 August the Brazilian cardinal Serafim Fernandes de Araújo, Archbishop Emeritus of Belo Horizonte celebrates his eightieth birthday.

López Trujillo, record at the ex Holy Office

On 7 April the Colombian cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, 69 years old in November, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family since 1990, was confirmed in aliud quinquennium as a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Acta Apostolicae Sedis dated 5 May give the news. It is the sixth consecutive mandate in the prestigious job. The Latin American cardinal has in fact been part of the former Holy Office since 1979, when he was archbishop of Medellin.

Sharon and national unity in Israel

«“Will the great coalition come about?” “I think there is a very good chance indeed of forming it. Against national unity there is the right of the right and the left of the left. The Shinui is very much in favor: because it would lead to the union of the three secular parties that work against the impositions of the religious, who have in Israel the weight that the Pope had in Italy … in the Middle Ages”. “The head of the secret services Avi Dichter said that extremists of the right had already decided on a political murder against the withdrawal [from the settlements ed]. Are these threats worrying?” “After the murder of Rabin we take these threats seriously”». Thus Tommy Lapid, Israeli leader of the Shinui (center lay party), in an interview published in Corriere della Sera of 13 July.

Mitzna, the Wall and the withdrawal from Gaza

«“Are you convinced that the Wall, or the barrier, cannot be abandoned by Israel?” “Yes, the project is crucial if we want peace. And it can bring benefits to the Palestinians as well because negotiations can be resumed only when the atmosphere cools down. I am convinced of this. The route is the real problem, not the idea of the barrier in itself. For that reason the decision of the Israeli Supreme Court is much more important to us: it declared that the government cannot proceed unless it respects human rights: the right of Palestinians to a home, to land, to live in their own community. It’s the Supreme Court that’s forcing the government to revise its own plans”. “The Wall, the withdrawal from Gaza. They were ideas generated by the left, they’ve become Sharon’s banner. Do you feel like a loser?”. “A loser? The ideas were unacceptable to the right. Now they have made them their own. I think I’ve won”». Various remarks from an interview granted by Amram Mitzna, former leader of the Israeli Labour Party, to Corriere della Sera on 10 July.

The leadership of the “patriotic” ecclesial bodies confirmed

The seventh national Congress of Catholic representatives was held in Beijing from 7 to 9 July, the periodic meeting of the representatives of the Chinese Catholic Church recognized by the government. Two hundred and sixty two representatives attended the Congress, among them forty bishops. Michael Fu Tieshan, Bishop of Beijing, and Joseph Liu Yuanren, Bishop of Nanking, both ordained without apostolic mandate, were confirmed respectively as head of the Patriotic Association of Chinese Catholics and the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China, the two ecclesial bodies authorized and controlled by the government.
The vice-president of the patriotic Association, Anthony Liu Bainian, confirmed that the Congress had changed the constitution of the two bodies in accordance with the rules on registration of social organizations promulgated by the Council of State in 1998.
The preparatory meetings of the Congress had ruled against the possibility of people over eighty being elected to leadership of the two bodies.

The obituary notice of the “official” bishop of Ningbo in China

L’Osservatore Romano of 4 July printed on its second page the obituary of Michael He Jinmin, Bishop of Ningbo in China, who died on 4 May at 87 years old. Monsignor He Jinmin was ordained “official” bishop (recognized by the government) in 2000 and was legitimated by the Holy See. L’Osservatore Romano described him as a «zealous evangelizer», who «knew how to keep pace with the times, inspiring his pastoral and evangelizing work with the spirit of Vatican Council II».

Zapatero at Santiago de Compostela

The Spanish premier José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero also decided to go to Santiago de Compostela on Sunday 25 July. Since the feast-day of Saint James the apostle fell on a Sunday this year, the Holy Year of Compostela is also being celebrated.

First Opus Dei bishop in Paraguay

On 12 June 59 year old Argentinian Rogerio Ricardo Livieres Plano, of the Opus Dei clergy, was nominated bishop of Ciudad del Este, the third largest diocese in Paraguay in numbers of the faithful. Livieres Plano, ordained priest in 1978, has a degree in jurisprudence, a master’s in administrative law and a doctorate in canon law. He is the first Paraguayan bishop from OBRA, founded by Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer.

Pontifical inspection at Syrian-Catholic patriarchate

On 21 July the Pope nominated Edmond Farhat, the 71 year old Lebanese archbishop, apostolic nuncio to Turkey, as apostolic visitor to the Syrian Catholic patriarchate of Antioch whose headquarters are in Beirut in Lebanon. «There is a difference in points of view between the patriarchate and the Synod», Ephrem Joseph Younan, bishop of the Syrian Catholic diocese of Our lady of Deliverance of Newark of the Syrians (USA), who is also a member of the Synod, declared to the Catholic News Service The patriarch of the Syrian Catholic Church is Ignace Pierre VIII Abdel-Ahad, who in 2001 replaced Ignace Moussa I Daoud, called to Rome to head the Congregation for the Eastern Churches.

Investigation of the Austrian seminary of Sankt Pölten

On 20 July the Pope nominated the Austrian Bishop of Feldkirch, Klaus Küng, apostolic visitor to the diocese of Sankt Pölten in Austria and in particular to the episcopal seminary of the same diocese. The measure was taken, as Vatican Radio reported, after the Austrian Church was «shaken by the sexually based scandal which struck the seminary in the past weeks», a scandal which saw «the rector and vice-rector of the Institute who have resigned, and some seminarians, involved». «In some of the seminary’s computers», the Vatican transmitter stated, «pedophile pornographic material was found, the reason why the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Austrian town yesterday, (19 July, ed) announced the indictment of a seminarian». Sixty eight year old Kurt Krenn has been Bishop of Sankt Pölten since 1991, and was formerly auxiliary to the then cardinal in Vienna, Hans Hermann Groër. Klaus Küng, 64 year old member of the Opus Dei clergy, has been bishop of Feldkirch since 1989.

Ciullo d’Alcamo e il diritto canonico matrimoniale

The Editrice Vaticana bookshop recently published a curious book written by the well-known Sicilian Sacra Rota lawyer Sebastiano Villeggiante (108 pp., € 20) entitled Ciullo d’Alcamo e il diritto canonico matrimoniale [Ciullo d’Alcamo and Canon Law on marriage]. The preface of the unusual little book was written by Monsignor Giuseppe Sciacca – he too a Sicilian – prelate auditor of the Roman Rota since 1999. And in it the ecclesiastic explains how «Villeggiante, faced with the usual and reductive reading which sees in the Contrasto the representation, perhaps even theatrical, of the dialogue between the idle and braggart jester and a winsome peasant girl who, at first stubborn and bantering, ends by yielding, overwhelmed by the tenacity of the siege and by the force of her instinct (Sapegno, Sansone), […] does not hesitate – and we believe iure meritoque – to read in the dialogue the formation and manifestation of that consent “qui solus facit nuptias”». After praising «the acumen and the originality of this most novel interpretation of the antique Contrasto», Monsignor Sciacca concludes his preface as follows: «Therefore we recommend the reading of this essay to literary people to inform them of marital canon law […]; but we also recommend it to canonists, judges and lawyers, so that they too may become a little literary, beginning with a most desirable mastery of the language, secure and convincing, and so that they may become ever more capable of catching – as literary people have the knack – the infinite subtleties of reality and, especially, of the human mind, whereby to bring them back within the necessary canons of legality, without trivializing or abusing them».


Adam Mickiewicz and the Warsaw uprising

Adam Mickiewicz

Adam Mickiewicz

On the first of August 1944 Warsaw rose up against the Nazis and was destroyed. An article in la Repubblica of 14 July recalled the tragic event through, among other things, the testimony of Alina Karpowicz who recounted: «“When one thinks about it, it was futile: a disaster for us, for Warsaw, for the citizens. And a gift to Stalin. But it was, I swear, the most beautiful thing in my life. It was all stupendously romantic, tragic and senseless.” 250,000 dead in two months. A massacre». The article concluded with the testimony of Jacek Kopcinski, who said:«Today Polish romanticism is spoken of as a synonym for nationalism and anti-semitism. It was the opposite: the messianism of our poet Mickiewicz had Jewish roots. Marek Edelmann, the last leader of the revolt of the ghetto, followed Mickiewiciz himself, in the idea of death heroically sought and not merely undergone. The idea that Poland should sacrifice itself for Europe arose in Jewish circles». La Repubblica also printed the sermon which Pope Wojtyla gave in Victory Square in Warsaw, on 2 June 1979, during his first journey to Poland, in which he affirmed that in Warsaw «beneath the ruins there was Christ the Savior».


The ninetieth birthday of Cardinal Tonini

Ersilio Tonini

Ersilio Tonini

On 20 July Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, Archbishop of Ravenna-Cervia from 1975 to 1990, known for his television “apostolate”, was ninety years old.
The ecclesiastic celebrated his birthday by participating in the RAI Uno morning broadcast, in which he said: «Today I am born again, I celebrate my birth. But to tell the truth, every morning I am always born again. And the wish that I make for myself is to hold on to this serenity until the end, because I’m happy to be in the world… I’ve had the good luck because my mother taught me to wake up full of astonishment. I’m very happy to be in the world, it’s a great miracle. I wish that the people I meet had the same joy I do. Always given however that since childhood we’ve had the eyes of our father and mother looking at us benignly. The legacy our parents leave us is just that look at ourselves». The wish the cardinal made to himself was to be able to keep “this serenity” to the end. «Then I would like to wish to everyone, especially children, that they may have a serene path through life as happened to me». From ANSA of 20 July.

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