from issue no.09 - 2004

Saint Anna of Stazzema and satanic Nazism

An image of the Nazi execution at Sant’Anna di Stazzema

An image of the Nazi execution at Sant’Anna di Stazzema

«We were in the hands of satanic criminals. Thank you for having sought justice without revenge». That was the summary, in Corriere della Sera on 13 August, of the moving speech by the German Minister of the Interior Otto Schilly, during a ceremony in memory of the massacre of Saint Anna of Stazzema where, on 12 August 1944, the SS slaughtered 560 civilians.


The rosary: a child’s tender babbling as remedy for great evils

Paul VI

Paul VI

In June 2004 the Paul VI Institute produced the Notizario n. 47, in which there were some hitherto unpublished youthful notes by Giovanni Battista Montini (relating to the years 1928, 1934, 1939 in which the future Pope noted his affection for the prayer of the Holy Rosary. We print one of the notes: «One can frame the historical context in which the Virgin taught Saint Dominic to recite the rosary: a strange remedy for great evils. It would seem that the remedy was meant to be political, warlike (as unfortunately it was in the hand of Simon de Montfort [Count Simon de Montfort, 1150-1218; was particularly ferocious with the Albigensian heretics, ed] and who disgracefully felt himself exalted by the recitation of the rosary) – instead the remedy is the tenderest babbling of a child in the name of its mother. The most simple, the most tender, the most childlike piety: this is the remedy for great social travails. People who pray, good people, people who pray with loving piety, people healed. Reasoning is overcome by the instinct of faith working with the heart. – (Study the contrast between evil and its remedy: see how it works socially and psychologically). The two prayers: liturgical and popular; they do not exclude but complete each other».

Pectoral cross as gift to Lutheran bishop

«The Pope, and this touched me deeply, not only gave me the gift of his words, but he also gave me a real gift: a pectoral cross, made for the 25th anniversary of his pontificate, which I will take back to Berlin. I believe that this is also a visible sign, implicitly recognized, of the profound meaning of the episcopal ministry in the heart of the Evangelical Church: that is how I understood the gesture». The words of gratitude are those expressed on 25 August to Vatican Radio by Doctor Wolfgang Huber, Bishop President of the Council of the Evangelical Church of Germany, received in audience by John Paul II the previous day.

11 September: the Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria dies in an airplane accident

The Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria in Egypt and of all of Africa, Petros VII, died in an air crash on 11 September while the prelate, on a visit to Greece, was going by helicopter from Athens to Mount Athos. Along with the prelate, the five members of the crew and eleven people who were accompanying the patriarch, including his brother and three bishops of the patriarchate, lost their lives. Petros Papapetrou was born in Cyprus in 1949; ordained priest in 1978, he was designated bishop of Babylonia in 1983 and, after performing the role of metropolitan in different African sees, he was elected Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria in Egypt in 1997. According to leaks published in two popular Russian newspapers, and taken up by the Italian dailies, the helicopter used by the Patriarch was supposed to have flown the Russian president Vladimir Putin during a visit to Greece planned two days before the tragic accident and cancelled following the massacre in Beslan.

The Sankt Pölten seminary closed

«A sad day for the diocese of Sankt Pölten and for the Church throughout Austria». Thus on 12 August the apostolic visitor Klaus Küng, bishop of Feldkirch, communicated the decision to close «with immediate effect» the seminary of the diocese of Sankt Pölten, directed by Kurt Krenn, at the center of a sex scandal. Vatican Radio announced the news on 13 August. The emissary of the Pope, nominated on 20 July last, confirmed that «a completely new start is necessary» for the seminary.

The death of Cardinal González Martín.The eightieth birthday of Fernandes de Araújo

On 25 August the 86 year old Spanish Cardinal Marcelo González Martín, Archbishop of Toledo from 1971 to 1995, created a cardinal by Paul VI in 1973, died. Meanwhile on 13 August the Brazilian Cardinal Serafim Fernandes de Araújo, Archbishop of Belo Horizonte from 1986 to 2003, created cardinal by John Paul II in 1998, was eighty years old.
At the end of August, therefore, the Sacred College was composed of 189 cardinals, of whom 123 would be electors in an eventual conclave. Those created by Paul VI are 15, of whom 4 are electors. The number of “voting” Brazilian cardinals goes down to 5, less than half of the United States (11) and less than the Germans and the Spanish (6 each).

Bishop Piacenza President of the Commission for Sacred Archaeology

On 28 August Bishop Mauro Piacenza, a sixty year old Genoan, President of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church since October 2003, was also nominated President of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology. He takes the place of Cardinal Francesco Marchisano, 75 years old last 25 June, who retains the duties of archpriest of the Vatican, vicar of the Pope for Vatican City, President of the Fabric of Saint Peter’s and of the Permanent Commission for the Protection of the historical and artistic monuments of the Holy See.

Atzei Archbishop of Sassari

On 14 September Paolo Mario Virgilio Atzei, a 62 year old Conventual Franciscan, was promoted Archbishop of Sassari. Born in Mantua, a priest since 1966, Atzei was bishop of Tempio-Ampurias from 1993. The prelate is very well known in traditionalist circles for having always refused to apply in his own diocese the indulgence for the celebration of the mass known as the mass of Saint Pius V.

Beslan and the «new Nazis»

Following the massacre of Beslan, the online news report of L’Espresso, edited by Sandro Magister, dwelt on the coverage given to the event by Catholic dailies. «L’Osservatore Romano, the daily of the Holy See directed by Mario Agnes, limited itself in its edition of 5 September to highlighting the photo of a small bloodied hand clasping a crucifix, with the title Crucified innocence and beside it the only official Vatican pronouncement on the event up to that date: a routine telegram from Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, which “transmits the sorrow and the prayers of the Holy Father” to the “Russian people”, through the apostolic nuncio in Moscow, Antonio Mennini. On the second page, where a report of the events was printed, the title read: Children the majority of the more than three hundred dead in the attack. And the report began: “The attack by the Russian special forces which yesterday marked the tragic epilogue of the kidnapping of more than a thousand people, the majority children, in a school in Beslan, in north Ossetia, by a terrorist squad, provoked more than three hundred deaths”. The previous day, the orientation of the Vatican newspaper was similar, with the responsibility for the “bloody epilogue” laid in the first place on the authors of the “attack”: or the Russian special forces and their commanders, up even to Vladimir Putin. This L’Osservatore Romano. But Avvenire – the daily, directed by Dino Boffo, belonging to the Italian Episcopal Conference presided over by the Pope’s vicar, Cardinal Camillo Ruini – went even further. Two leading articles out of four and the two dominant headlines of the edition of Sunday 5 September, in the first three pages, concentrated alarm on Putin as if he were danger number one. In the same article, the L’Espresso reporter notes with relief the “manifesto” of condemnation of terrorism signed by dozens of Muslim representatives in Italy, among them the Imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of Colle val d’Elsa, in the province of Siena, Feras Jabareen, who defined the terrorists as «new Nazis».

Terrorism is a mystical Nazism

«This bloodthirsty religious fanaticism resembles a type of mystical Nazism». Thus the Rumanian Jewish writer Norman Manea, in the course of an interview given to Il Messaggero on 8 September.

Terrorism is now necessary for the global empire

«Altruism is not in the nature of Americans. We are interested only in ourselves, in our prosperity and the form whereby we have chosen to obtain it is the global empire. Once we said we were combating communism, even in countries that had never heard it mentioned. Now we speak of the fight against terrorism and if it did not exist we would invent it, in order to engage in what we call war, but is not». This a consideration of Gore Vidal, quoted by Enzo Biagi in an article on the first page of the Corriere della Sera of Sunday 12 September.

Is it a war of aggression against the whole West?

«Except for a few praiseworthy and authoritative exceptions, such as those of Cardinal Ratzinger, of Patriarch Scola, of monsignor Caffarra, who justly insist certainly not on the war, but on the call to halt the crisis of Europe, a large part of the clergy remains silent or march for peace, as if it were not their business to defend European Christian civilization. But no, it is the business of the whole West, because the war is against the whole West. And it is an aggressive war, not one in reaction. Why don’t people have the courage to say so and why instead are Oriana Fallaci and a few others who have being saying so for some time left all on their own or treated with irony? And yet many do think that it is an aggressive war which must be reacted to, as the number of Fallaci’s readers in itself shows who, in Italy alone, would make up a political party». Thus the president of the Senate Marcello Pera in an interview given to La Repubblica on 30 August.

Clash of civilizations: an expression that horrifies

Regarding the clash of civilizations, the president of the Union of Italian Jewish communities Amos Luzzatto, in an interview granted to L’Unità, affirmed: «We must set ourselves against these interpretations, organize public opinion so that it says no, we are horrified. The expression “clash of civilizations” should be abolished from our vocabulary. This is not a verbal tribute, but a fundamental educational contribution lest the evil sown by violence develop: a civilization that clashes with another denies itself, it is not a civilization. Every civilization excludes the killing of the other».

The starlets of evil

The presence at the Rimini Meeting of the former terrorists Francesca Mambro and Nadia Mantovani aroused controversy. In particular Massimo Gramellini in La Stampa of 24 August, in his daily column, under the heading The starlets of evil, notes: «Public discussions are not works of art. They are purveyors of notoriety. To invite Mambro and not the daughters and the widows of the victims of terrorism means sending an ambiguous signal to the young: that in order to gain the respect and the attention of the world it is more useful to be executioners than victims».

The hour of religion instruction in Milan

Hour of religion, the great flight is taking place in Milan: such was the title of an article which appeared in La Stampa on 8 September dedicated to the gathering held in the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio of the 1,800 Milan religion teachers. Thus in the article: «In 182 classes in the high school the number of students who choose religion is zero: entire classes without even one student interested in religion. And the number which has abandoned instruction has by now reached 60,000. Practically a mass apostasy».

The Serbian Foreign Minister with the Pope and in the Vatican to speak of Kosovo

On 9 September the Pope received in audience Vuk Draskovic, Foreign Minister of Serbia and Montenegro. On the occasion the leader of Belgrade’s diplomacy made the Pope a gift of the book Crucified Kosovo containing photographs of the numerous Serbain Orthodox churches damaged or destroyed in the independent region where Albanians are in majority. Afterwards Drakovic was received in the Vatican by the Foreign Minister of the Holy See, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, and by his deputy, Pietro Parolin. The main topic of discussion was again the dramatic situation in Kosovo. Draskovic expressed the dissatisfaction of Belgrade at the conditions of the Serbian minority in the region.

New nuncios to Africa, Switzerland and Belarus

On 31 July the 49 year old Spaniard Andrés Carrascosa Coso was nominated archbishop and apostolic nuncio to the Congo. A priest since 1980, in the pontifical diplomatic corps since 1985, Carrascosa served in Liberia, Denmark, in the second section of the Secretariat of State, in the UN Center in Geneva, in Brazil and until now in Canada. On 26 August Carrascosa was also nominated nuncio to Gabon.
On the same date 61 year old Sardinian Archbishop Mario Roberto Cassari was nominated nuncio to the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. He had been nuncio to the Congo and Gabon since 1999. On 8 September Cassari was also nominated nuncio to Ecuador and Indonesia.
On 8 September 68 year old archbishop Francesco Canalini, from the Marche, nuncio to Australia since 1998, was nominated apostolic nuncio to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Canalini was formerly nuncio to Ecuador and Indonesia.
On 15 September the 51 year old Croatian Martin Vidovic, who has worked in the first section of the Secretariat of State since 1994, was nominated archbishop and apostolic nuncio to Belarus. From 1983 to 1994 he was editor of Vatican Radio’s Croatian program. From 1994 he was secretary of the nunciature in Bosnia and since 2001 he is a member of the Pastoral Consultancy of Peregrinatio ad Petri Sedem.

New ambassadors of Guatemala, Canada and Ireland to the Holy See

On 2 September the new ambassador of Guatemala to the Holy See presented his credentials. He is 62 year old Juan Gavarette Soberón, lawyer and notary, self-employed businessman in the legal and banking sector. In the text of the speech to the new ambassador the Pope said among other things:«It gladdens me to observe that the defense of human life from conception until its natural end, is constitutionally recognized by your country and this is a badge of honor for Guatemala». On his part the ambassador underlined the old friendship that binds him to the Cardinal of Guatemala Rodolfo Quezada Toruño, «an extraordinary person known in my country as “the bishop of peace”».
On 5 September it was the turn of the new representative of Canada to the Holy See. He is Donald Smith, 59 year old career diplomat, formerly ambassador to Zagreb and for the last four years director of division at the Foreign Ministry. In the text of his speech the Pope said among other things: «In the face of the sufferings and the divisions which often afflict the human family, the need to find definitive solutions for human conflicts becomes ever more acute». The new ambassador on his part recalled that this year marked the thirty-fifth anniversary of the moment when Paul VI and Premier Pierre Elliot Trudeau decided to establish full diplomatic relations. Smith further described himself as a «Protestant with a profound admiration and respect for you, Holy Father, and for the Catholic Church».
Then also on 5 September it was the turn of the new Irish ambassador: he is 52 year old career diplomat Philip McDonagh, from 1994 to 1999 counselor in the embassy in London and from 1999 until now ambassador to India. In the text of his speech, the Pope said among other things: «Ireland is justly proud of its ancient tradition of warm hospitality and of generous assistance to the needy. Based on a Christian love of neighbor and nourished by a stable family life, these virtues have formed the “soul” of Ireland and continue to be one of its most precious resources». For his part, the new ambassador who was first secretary in the Irish embassy to the Quirinal in 1977-78, used some expressions in Italian. In particular he recalled when he was in Saint Peter’s Square at the moment when the white smoke announced the election of John Paul II. The seventy-fifth anniversary of the establishing of diplomatic relations between Dublin and the Holy See occurs this year.

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