from issue no.10 - 2005


The anointing of the sick must be administered only by priests (bishops and priests)

The L’Osservatore Romano of October 21 published (p.5) the following Note about the Ministry of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick: «The Code of Canon Law in can. 1003 §1 (c. also can. 739 §1 of the Code of canons of the Eastern Churches) takes up exactly the doctrine expressed by the Tridentine Council (Session XIV, can. 4: DS 1719; cf also the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1516) according to which only priests (bishops and presbyters) are ministers of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. This doctrine is definitive tenenda. Neither deacons nor lay people therefore can exercise this ministry, and whatsoever action in this sense constitutes a simulation of the sacrament».
The Note in question bears the date of February 11 and is signed by the then Cardinal Prefect Joseph Ratzinger along with the archbishop secretary, the Salesian Angelo Amato. The Note was published by L’Osservatore Romano along with an unsigned comment.


Ratzinger and ‘Sweet France’

La Documentation Catholique, the celebrated and authoritative French Catholic magazine, edited by Father Vincent Cabanac, has dedicated a special monographic issue to the new Pope Benedict XVI. In the booklet a series of texts by Joseph Ratzinger are collected which range from that given to the Bramberg Katholikentag in 1966, when he was a simple professor, to that read in Subiaco on the vigil of the death of John Paul II. Curious the page dedicated to the speech that Cardinal Ratzinger gave in May 1998 in Villa Bonaparte, residence of the French ambassador to the Holy See, when the then ambassador Jean-Louis Lucet decorated him with the insignia of ‘Commendateur’ of the Legion of Honor granted him by President Jacques Chirac. On that occasion the then Prefect of the former Holy Office confessed to «having always been, from his youth, a zealous admirer of Sweet France» and of having been a reader of the great French writers such as «Bernanos, Mauriac, Peguy but also of secular writers such as Anouilh and Sartre». After having sung the praises of the great French theologians Congar, Danielou and Chenu and the Jesuit de Lubac, Ratzinger closed his brief speech with a significant: «Long live the friendship between France and Germany; long live France!».


The promise and the imperatives of the Lord

At the opening of the works for the XI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Monday October 3 2005, after the lectio brevis of Terce, the Holy Father gave a meditation, of which we publish the concluding part: «This is the question: is this promise conditioned by imperatives? That is, is it only to the degree we are able to fulfill the imperatives, that this God of peace is with us? What is the relationship between imperative and promise? I would say that it is bilateral, that is that the promise precedes the imperatives and makes the imperatives possible and also follows on this fulfillment of the imperatives.
Therefore, before everything that we do, the God of love and of peace is open to us, and with us. In the Revelation begun in the Old Testament God came to meet us with his love, with his peace. And finally in the Incarnation he became man with us, Emanuel, this God of peace who made himself flesh with our flesh, blood of our blood is with us. He is man with us and embraces all human being. And in the crucifixion and in the descent into death, he made himself totally one with us, he precedes us with his love, he embraces before everything our doing. And this is our great consolation. God precedes us. He has already done everything. He has given us peace and pardon and love. He is with us. It is only because he is with us, because in Baptism we have received his grace, in Confirmation the Holy Spirit, in the Sacrament of Orders we have received his mission, that we can now do, cooperate with this, his presence ,that precedes us. All of this doing of ours of which the five imperatives speak is a cooperating, a collaboration with the God of peace who is with us.
But on the other hand, according to the measure in which we really enter into this presence which he donated us, into this gift already present in our being, his presence naturally grows, his being with us. And we pray the Lord that he teach us to collaborate with his preceding grace and to be thus always really with us. Amen!»

The transformation of the world is in the fragile, consecrated white host

«Benedict XVI gave his first book as Pope, which collects his speeches in Cologne and is on sale this week all over the world, an audacious title: God’s revolution. But the real daring is there where he writes that the ‘big bang’ of divine revolution, “whose final end is the transformation of the world” is in the fragile, consecrated white host, the sacrament of the real presence of Jesus man and God. The image of Benedict XVI on his knees and in silence before the Eucharist is by now the key image of this pontificate. It was so in August with the million of youths in Cologne. It was so in mid October with the hundred thousand First Communion children in Saint Peter’s Square. It was also so with the 250 bishops and cardinals gathered in Rome for the Synod, in the rigorous Eucharistic adoration of Monday October 17 ». Thus Sandro Magister in L’Espresso of October 27.

Sacred College/17 October
The death of Cardinal Caprio. Falcão’s eightieth birthday

On 15 October 90 year-old Cardinal Giuseppe Caprio, from Campania, president emeritus of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, died. On the 23 October Cardinal José Freire Falcão, archbishop of Brasilia from 1984 to 2004, was eighty years old.
At the end of October therefore the Sacred College was composed of 180 cardinals, 111 of whom are electors.

Castro: «The Church precedes us»

« “The Church precedes us all”. Perhaps this is the most revealing and surprising remark made by Fidel Castro last Monday in Havana, at the end of the discussion with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. As soon as he had returned from the island, the cardinal archbishop of Genoa told the journalists: “We were speaking about the necessity of helping the poor and the destitute to emerge from their povery, of the duty of promoting human development: two subjects that are dear to Castro. At a certain point, comparing the different initiatives in favor of man in Cuban society, but not only in it, the lider maximus came out with this remark». This the incipit of an article published in L’Avvenire of October13 about the journey made by the archbishop of Genoa to Cuba at the beginning of October.

The liberation from the Poles in place of the October Revolution

October Revolution, good-bye holiday. By decision of Putin the Russians will celebrate the liberation from the Poles in 1612. This is the title of an article in Corriere della Sera published on November 5, dedicated to the decision to annul the celebrations of the Russian Revolution.

Cheney, Rumsfeld and the cabala

«George Bush’? “A cowboy”. The Cheney-Rumsfeld axis? “A secret cabala”». Thus the former Secretary of State Colin Powell, through the mouth of his right-hand man, Colonel Larry Wilkerson. The statements of the colonel were reported by La Stampa of October 21. Wilkerson criticized the Cheney-Rumsfeld axis also for having made decisions «potentially disastrous on Iraq, North Korea and Iran and on internal crises such as hurricane Katrina».

The secret prisons of the CIA in Poland and Romania

This was the title of an article in Corriere della Sera of November 4 reporting articles of the preceding days in The Washington Post and The Financial Times and the accusations made by the humanitarian organization “Human Rights Watch” about the so-called “black sites”, places in which presumed terrorists are tortured by CIA agents outside United States territory. The accusations were denied by the authorities of the eastern countries involved, but closer investigations are underway with the EU Commission.

«Why did we kill eighteen children?»

The White House will examine the circumstances of the Ramadi massacre, when seventy Iraqi civilians, among them eighteen children, were killed by bombs dropped by US planes. «This was announced by the White House spokesman Scott McClennan, pressed publicly in the White House briefing by journalist Helen Thomas, doyen of presidential reporters, who asked four times for clarifications on the massacre in the words: “Why did we kill eighteen children?”». So said the account that appeared in La Reppublica of October 19.

The papers of Saddam and those of Mussolini

On 19 October, in La Stampa, Igor Mann wrote an article on the trial of Saddam Hussein, which is taking place in Iraq. We report a passage: «At the trial he is allowed to speak, without fear: the faults of the West who used him (badly) to get rid of Khomeni we know, we have already digested them and there are no compromising documents around such as those (presumed or real) with which Mussolini, if tried, would have embarrassed various Anglo-Saxon leaders (and so he was prudently prevented from talking). This is a different story, turbid but easy to interpret».
Father Lombardi Director General of Vatican Radio

On 5 November the Pope nominated the new Director General of Vatican Radio. He is 63 year-old Father Federico Lombardi, originally from Saluzzo (CN), Director of Programs at the same station since 1991. Father Lombardi replaces 72 year-old Father Pasquale Borgomeo, a Neapolitan, who directed Vatican Radio from 1985. On 5 November also the Cardinal Secretary of State nominated the new Director of Programs in the person of 65 year-old, Father Andrzej Koprowski, a Pole, Father Lombardi’s deputy since 2003.

Valentinetti Archbishop of Pescara-Penne

On 4 November 53 year-old Tommaso Valentinetti, bishop of Termoli-Larino since 2000, was promoted archbishop of Pescara-Penne. Valentinetti, a priest of his native diocese Lanciano-Ortona since 1977, was a student of the Almo Collegio Capranica.

New Russian representative
to the Holy See

On 28 October the Pope received in audience the new representative of the Russian Federation to the Holy See. He is 59 year-old Nikolay Sadchikov, a career diplomat, who was ambassador to Sweden from 2001. Since the Russian representation to the Vatican does not yet have ambassadorial rank, there was not the exchange of ritual speeches between the Pope and the newly arrived diplomat.

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