from issue no.06 - 2005


Archbishop Levada new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

On 13 May Benedict XVI appointed the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He is 69 year old Archbishop William Joseph Levada, archbishop of San Francisco since 1995. Monsignor Levada, a fourth generation Californian of Portuguese and Irish origin, a priest since 1961, has already worked in the former Holy Office, as simple official, from 1976 to 1982. Appointed auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles in 1983, he was promoted three years later to archbishop of Portland in Oregon, where he remained until 1995. From 1986 to 1993 he was the only American bishop on the Commission that compiled the Catechism of the Catholic Church. From 2000 he was a member of the Congregation of which he is now Prefect.


Cardinal Ruini and the Council

On 17 June a book by Archbishop Agostino Marchetto devoted to the history of the Ecumenical Vatican Council II was launched on the Capitoline in Rome. Speakers at the launch were Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Senator Francesco Cossiga and Andrea Riccardo. Il Giornale of the following day summarized the speech by the President of the Italian bishops as follows: «The Council – the Vicar of Rome recalled - “closed in 1965, and so was certainly not born and did not developed for a long three-year period of work for the purpose of defending the Church from the attacks of modernity”. The year 1968, Ruini recalled, was still far off when Paul VI closed the Council. “It was a response, instead, to the devastating experiences of the 20th century”. If anything, it was a stirring sign of openness to the world – the President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference went on – through the “return to biblical and patristic sources”».


John Paul II The last nominations of the pontificate

On 1 and 2 April, last two days of the life of John Paul II, twenty-four provisions on renunciations, episcopal nominations and new nuncios were made known. For almost all of these provisions - contrary to the usual procedure - the dates of the effective pontifical decisions were also made known, covering a period from 14 February to 23 March. The dates of the acceptance of the renunciations of Cardinal Miguel Obando Bravo, the dates of the nominations of new nuncios to Japan, New Zealand, El Salvador and Panama, the date of some provisions regarding the ordinariate for the Armenians of Eastern Europe, were not made known.

Benedict XVI The first nominations of the pontificate

On 21 April, two days after his election, Benedict XVI re-appointed as Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano whose appointment, like those of all the heads of department except for the Great Penitencier, had fallen into abeyance with the death of John Paul II. On the same day Pope Ratzinger, confirmed donec aliter provideatur all the heads of department of the Roman Curia and the President of the Pontifical Commission of Vatican City. Archbishops Leonardo Sandri (Substitute) and Giovanni Lajolo (Secretary for Relations with States) were also confirmed. While the ministry secretaries were confirmed «for the five-year period in course».
On 25 April Benedict XVI confirmed the members of the ministries of the Roman Curia «for the term of the five-year period for which they were appointed by the late-lamented Supreme Pontiff John Paul II».
Again on 25 April Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, was promoted to the order of bishops, and was assigned the suburbicarian see of Velletri-Segni, that previously belonged to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
On 30 April Benedict XVI approved the election of the new Dean of the Sacred College in the person of Cardinal Angelo Sodano, as well as that of the new Vice-Dean, in the person of Cardinal Roger Etchegaray.

Saints and blesseds/1 The process for the beatification of Karol Wojtyla begins immediately

On 13 May, during his first audience given to the Roman clergy, Benedict XVI read the rescript with which he gave the go-ahead to the start of the cause for beatification of Karol Wojtyla, granting a derogation of the five years delay after death required by canonical rules. The rescript, signed by the Cardinal Prefect and by the Archbishop Secretary of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, dated 9 May, explains that the dispensation from the five-year rule was given by the Pope on the appeal from Cardinal Vicar Camillo Ruini, made at the audience given him on 28 April. On 28 May, then, the Vicariate of Rome issued the edict for the cause of beatification, the solemn opening ceremony of which was fixed for 28 June.

Saints and blesseds/2 Benedict XVI will not preside
at ceremonies of beatification

Benedict XVI has made it known that, contrary to what was done by John Paul II and Paul VI in the latter part of his pontificate, he will not participate personally in the solemn liturgies for the proclamation of new blesseds. So the first ceremonies of beatification of his pontificate were presided over in Rome, on 14 May, by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints, and in Warsaw, on 19 June, by Cardinal Józef Glemp, archbishop of the Polish capital city.

Saints and blessed/3 The heart of the saintly Curé d’Ars

On the centenary of the beatification of Jean Marie Vianney, the relic of his uncorrupted heart was brought to Rome, to the parish named after him, in Via Lentini 6 (in Borghesiana, on the south-eastern outskirts of Rome), where it remained several days. On Sunday 22 May it was placed in the private chapel of the Pope.

Church/1 Don Giussani and his cardinal

«Whether in the age of Cluny, or in the age of Péguy, the Christian people is in the world as coefficient of peace, source of peace, equalizer that assures peace, maker of peace. It seems to me in reading so many pieces by our cardinal that I believe this is his most intimate, secret and impassioned thought». This unpublished passage written by Don Luigi Giussani appeared in the May issue of Tracce, the official magazine of Communion and Liberation. The piece from which it comes, under the title Eucharist: the great prayer, is a talk given by Don Giussani during Lent in the parish of San Vittore al Corpo, in Milan, on 22 March 1996. Cardinal Martini is the only person to whom Don. Giussani dedicated one of his books. It was The religious sense (first edition 1986). The dedication goes: «To my bishop». A small work edited by Student Youth in 1964 was dedicated to «the Pope of Ecclesiam Suam as an expression of the meditated and faithful attempt of his students in Milan».

Church/2 Cardinal Scola and the deaths at which he has been present
«The holy deaths in which I have been present (the going of Don Giussani first, then that of John Paul II) have expressed a pain already marked by glory. Benedict XVI, speaking of “guillotine”, testified to us the necessity of the “wound of acceptance”. To be real, joy asks contrition and change of us». The passage comes from a telegram sent by Cardinal Angelo Scola on the occasion of the spiritual exercises of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, held in Rimini from 29 April to 1 May.

Church/3 Libero and the anniversaries of 1978

Watch out for the curse of ‘78. The Knight [Berlusconi, ed.]and the Pope tremble. Such was the curious title of an article that appeared in Libero on 14 June and went on to explain in detail: «Football and politics linked by a strange cabal. In that year Liverpool, Juventus and Inter won, Paul VI died and there was a referendum. Then the managing director of Milan was under investigation and John Paul I…» To be understood: he died. Threatening coincidences.

San Giovanni Rotondo/1 Giulio Andreotti and Padre Pio

The week preceding the third anniversary of the canonization of Padre Pio (16 June 2002), Senator Giulio Andreotti gave a long interview to the Settimanale di Padre Pio, from which we print an excerpt: «I had been invited to San Giovanni Rotondo by one of Padre Pio’s collaborators. I was very enthusiastic about the agrarian reform: it was something of the feather in the cap of the golden years of the Christian Democrats. Padre Pio made a declaration, that was published, in which he said: “This will impoverish the rich, but won’t enrich the poor”. So I replied to the invitation from the gentleman by saying: “No, I shan’t be coming”. And I didn’t go, and hence never met Padre Pio in life. However, since I have had opportunity to go into his spiritual character, I have been really fascinated, and I must say that I keep a little book of daily sayings by Padre Pio on my bedside table, and regularly read it at night».

San Giovanni Rotondo/2 A bell falls from the sanctuary

«There are already those who are proclaiming it a miracle by the monk with the stigmata that a massacre of the faithful was avoided.» So concludes an article in La Stampa of 12 June reporting the fall on the previous day of the largest bell from the bell tower of the church of Saint Pio at San Giovanni Rotondo. Smashing to the ground on a spot where there were few people, the bell, weighting about 2,000 kilos, slightly wounded a pilgrim who was hit by a splinter.

Synod on the Eucharist Benedict XVI confirms the nominations, but cuts a week

On 12 May Benedict XVI confirmed the celebration of the 11th General Assembly of the Synod of the bishops on the theme: “The Eucharist: source and culmination of the life and mission of the Church”, deciding that it shall be held in the Vatican from 2 to 23 October 2005. The Synod will last one week less than made known by the Holy See on 12 March last (2-29 October). There has been confirmation, instead, of the nominations of the delegated presidents (Cardinals Francis Arinze, Juan Sandoval Íñiguez and Telesphore Placidus Toppo), of the general chairman (Cardinal Angelo Scola) and of the special secretary (Archbishop Roland Minnerath), as of the nominations already ratified by John Paul II of delegates and substitutes to the Synod.

Nominations/1 The resignations of the cardinals of Wellington, Managua, Krakow and Nitra. Nomination of the successors

On 21 March John Paul II accepted the resignations of 75 year old New Zealander Cardinal Thomas Stafford Williams, in charge of the archdiocese of Wellington. John Atcherley Dew, 57 year old coadjutor of the archdiocese since April 2004, succeeds him,.
On 1 April the resignation was accepted of the cardinal of Managua, the seventy-nine year old Salesian Miguel Obando Bravo. Monsignor Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano, 56 years old, succeeds him, a priest of Managua since 1974, already auxiliary of Obando Bravo and bishop of Matagalpa since 1991.
On 3 June Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of 78 year old Cardinal Franciszek Macharski,. He is succeeded by Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, 66 years old, Assistant Prefect of the Pontifical Household and former particular secretary of John Paul II. A priest since 1963, Dziwisz became secretary of the then Archbishop Wojtyla in 1966. Bishop since 1998, in 2003 he was elevated to archiepiscopal dignity.
On 9 June Benedict XVI accepted the renunciation of the bishop of Nitra, 81 year old Cardinal Ján Chryzostom Korec. He is succeeded by 48 year old Viliam Judák, , a priest since 1985, till now Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Bratislava.

Nominations/2 Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, Archpriest of the Basilica of Saint Paul’s
On 31 May a moto proprio of Benedict XVI was signed and published whereby he redefined the status of the patriarchal basilica of Saint Paul Without the Wall and created for the first time the post of archpriest of the Basilica, who also takes on the responsibilities of the suppressed Pontifical administration of the Patriarchal Basilica of Saint Paul. Archbishop Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, 79 years old, onetime nuncio to Italy was appointed to the post on that same day. The Benedictines will continue to officiate in the Basilica, but the abbot will have jurisdiction only intra septa monasterii, that is in the cloister attached. A paragraph on page 14 of L’Osservatore Romano of 13 April, made known that the abbey of Saint Paul’s had lost the character and title of territorial area. The 53 year old Englishman Edmund Power has been elected as new abbot of Saint Paul and takes over from Dom Paul Lunardon, who became 75 on 25 May.

Nominations/3 New bishops for San Marino, Palestrina, Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi and Oria

On 17 March John Paul II named Monsignor Luigi Negri as bishop of San Marino-Montefeltro. Negri, a Milanese, 64 years old in November, was ordained priest in 1972 after attending the Seminary of Venegono. Author of numerous publications, he taught History of Philosophy and Introduction to Theology at the Catholic University of Milan. As a student at the Berchet high school he joined the undergraduate Youth movement becoming its first diocesan president from 1965 to 1967. He has held various posts within the Communion and Liberation movement.
On 24 March John Paul II named Monsignor Domenicao Sigalini, 63 years old, originally from the diocese of Brescia, as new bishop of the suburbicarian diocese of Palestrina. Sigalini, a priest since 1966, holder of a Math degree, was in charge nationally of the Italian Bishops’ Conference pastoral work with young people from 1991 to 2001, when he became vice-assistant general cleric of Catholic Action. Palestrina was the last provision for an Italian diocese made by John Paul II.
On 14 May Benedict XVI named Monsignor Francesco Alfano, 49 years old, originally from the province of Salerno, as archbishop of Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi-Conza-Nusco-Bisaccia. Alfano, a priest since 1982, after studying at the Almo Capranica College, was episcopal vicar for the clergy of the diocese of Nocera Inferiore-Sarno from 2001.
Again on 14 May Benedict XVI named Monsignor Michele Castoro, 53 years old, originally from Altamura in Puglia, as new bishop of Oria. Castoro, a priest since 1977, served in the Congregation for the Bishops from 1985, and in 1996 became office head.

Sacred College The death of Cardinal Sin

On 21 June, after a long illness, Philippine cardinal Jaime L. Sin, died at the age of 76. From 1974 to 2003 he was archbishop of Manila, created cardinal by Paul VI in 1976. Sin, though having the right, did not participate in the last conclave for reasons of ill-health. With his death the number of cardinals comes down to 181, of whom 115 are under 80 years old. Only one of them was created by Pope Montini: the 79 year old American William W. Baum.

Diplomacy/1 New nuncios to Japan, New Zealand, El Salvador, Panama and Tanzania

On 1 April Archbishop Alberto Bottari de Castello, a 63 year old Venetian, was appointed nuncio to Japan. From 1999 he was nuncio in Gambia, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Again on 1 April Monsignor Charles Daniel Balvo, a 54 year old American, was nominated archbishop and new nuncio to New Zealand and to another nine small countries in Oceania, and also apostolic delegate in the Pacific Ocean. Balvo, a priest since 1976, has been in the diplomatic service of the Holy See since 1987 and has served in Ghana, Ecuador, the Czech Republic, Jordan and, lastly, Lithuania.
On 2 April Archbishop Luigi Pezzuto, a 59 year old from Puglia, was appointed new nuncio to El Salvador. From 1999 he was nuncio in Tanzania, and was earlier in the Congo and Gabon. Monsignor Pezzuto was also appointed nuncio to Belize on 7 May.
Again on 2 April Monsignor Giambattista Diquattro was appointed archbishop and new nuncio to Panama. Diquattro, a 51 year old from Bologna and a priest since 1981 for the diocese of Ragusa, has been in the diplomatic service of the Holy See since 1985 and has served in the Central African Republic, in the UN in New York, in the Secretariat of State and, lastly, in the nunciature in Italy. Monsignor Diquattro is the last nuncio and the last Italian cleric elevated to episcopal dignity during the pontificate of John Paul II.
On 15 June Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Joseph Chennoth, a 62 year old Indian, as new nuncio to Tanzania. From 1999 he was nuncio to the Central African Republic and Chad. Chennoth’s transfer of nunciature is the first of the new pontificate.

Diplomacy/2 New ambassadors from Panama and Macedonia

On 17 March Cardinal Angelo Sodano on behalf of John Paul II received the credentials of the new ambassador of Panama to the Holy See. He is Lawrence Edward Chewning Fabrega, a 64 year old career diplomatic, for the past two years director general of the foreign policy of the Foreign Ministry. The Latin American diplomat is the last to have been accredited in the course of John Paul II’s pontificate.
On 19 May Benedict XVI received the credentials of the new ambassador of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. He is Bartolomej Kajtazi, a 39 year old electronic engineer who has worked professionally in the communication sector. The Catholic Macedonian diplomat of Albanian extraction is the first to be accredited under the new pontificate.

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