from issue no.04 - 2006


«Trust destroyed»

Chinese children in a village of Niupidi

Chinese children in a village of Niupidi

«The condemnation comes from Asia News, the News Agency of the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions: Liu Bainian, the vice-president of the “Patriotic Association” which seems to be working in China to hinder the “springtime” of relations with the Holy See, “is preparing the ordination of another twenty bishops without the approval of the Holy See, with the purpose of destroying all the work of reconciliation between the Chinese Church and the Pope, that has come about up until now”. And this very morning, in Wuhu, in the province of Anhui (Central China), without the permission of the Holy See, a new bishop will be ordained. According to some Chinese Catholics, this is “a slap in the face to the Vatican”; so much so that the new cardinal Joseph Zen, of Hong Kong, accuses Beijing of having “destroyed trust”». Thus La Stampa on 3 May.


Conference of the Italian Encyclopedia Institute on the figure of John Paul II

On 21 April in Rome, the Treccani Conference on “John Paul II on the first anniversary of his death” was held in the Igea Hall of the Palazzo Mattei di Paganica. Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar General of Rome, and the life- senator Giulio Andreotti participated in the conference. The president of the Italian Encyclopedia Institute Francesco Paolo Casavola and the director of “Treccani Book of the year” Adriano Lippi also took part.
Ruini recalled the first conversation he had with John Paul II at a dinner to which he was invited in 1984, in prospect of the ecclesial convention of Loreto which was to take place the following year: «The first strong impression was his determination in going to the heart of the problems». Tracing also an analysis of the philosophical and theological thought of Pope Wojtyla, the president of the IEC affirmed that «the unifying principle of Wojtyla’s thought was that of high-lighting that, through his Incarnation, Christ united himself with all men and that therefore it is man himself who is the first fundamental way of the Church». «From his whole magisterium therefore» he concluded, «it emerges therefore that the Church has an anthropocentric mission, centered on man that is, to be realized theocentrically, referring it constantly to God». Professor Casavola declared himself in agreement with Ruini about the essential traits of the Pope who died a year ago. And the life-senator Giulio Andreotti, author of the article on the dead Pope in the “Treccani Book of the Year”, recalled how Karol Wojtyla «came from a persecuted Church and had worked “physically” as a laborer. Therefore it was known how his vocation was born: he was a man charged with great innovations». (from AGI news bulletin of 21 April).

Pannella, mediation and the anthropology
of power

On the fringes of the special congress of the Luca Coscioni Association, Marco Pannella affirmed that, as far as assisted procreation and ethical subjects were concerned «mediation and negotiation on these topics are fundamental, but it is necessary to do so directly with the Vatican». An interesting opening, that however clashes with the continuation of his contribution: «Today we feel anathematized by an anthropology that has sacralized the moment of power over others, a group of bullies like the Taleban fundamentalists».The speech of the Rosa nel pugno (Rose in the Fist) parliamentarian was published in Corriere della Sera on 23 April.

Trivento Theological Faculty between psychology and pastoral

It was the president of the Pontifical Council for the Unity of Christians Cardinal Walter Kasper who inaugurated in Padua, on 31 March last, the new Theological Faculty of Trivento. Along with him there were the Patriarch of Venice Angelo Scola, Senior Chancellor of the Faculty, and the Bishop Of Padua Antonio Mattiazzo, Vice-Chancellor. The new foundation enjoys autonomy in respect to the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy and proposes the entire cycle of studies: bachelors, masters and doctorate. It has its central seat in Padua and several separate seats, but all connected in a network, throughout the dioceses of the Northeast. In the next academic year a research project on the subject “Between psychology and pastoral: the practice of the relationship of counseling”, will begin. The project intends to deepen the study of a practice that is spreading in many areas of private and public life, both civil and ecclesial: psychological therapy.

Küng and the disappearance of confession

On 13 April La Stampa published a reflection by Hans Küng a year from the election of Benedict XVI. In the article, entitled The surprises of a conservative, the German theologian hints at possible «surprises» from the present Pope. Küng writes: «The oceanic masses of the preceding Pope, however well organized and efficacious for the media, did not succeed in concealing the fact that things are not going well for the Church. There is a profound difference between what the hierarchy orders and what the members of the church really believe in, a difference which is reflected in the way they live. Attendance in churches is on the decline, as are religious marriages. The practice of confession has disappeared in the greater part of Western countries. The ranks of the priesthood thin out and lack replacements».

Faithful and priests are declining since 1978

«The percentage of Catholics in relation to the world population is in stasis, or rather slightly receding. The fact is pointed out in the new Statistical Yearbook of the Catholic Church and reflects the vertiginous increase of inhabitants in the emerging zones of the planet – Asia, Africa, Latin America – while the Old Continent continues to spin ever more on itself. In a quarter of a century (from 1978 to 2004, the last year that the Yearbook’s figures refer to) the number of European Catholics in respect of the total of faithful in the world has fallen from 35 per cent in 1978 to 25.4 in 2004 […]. The number of bishops has increased by a thousand units and also their average age (from 62 to 67 years), but this is a merely organizational fact. The progress of priestly vocations appears, instead, “somewhat deluding globally” (these are the very words of the compilers of the Yearbook): the overall number of priests continues to drop, falling from 421 thousand to less than 406 thousand». Thus in La Repubblica of 30 April.

The terrible Al Zarkawi? A USA invention

The terrible Al Zarkawi? A USA invention, this is the title of an article in Corriere della Sera of 11 April. Thus the incipit of the article: «Every age has its own usual suspects, to whom all the atrocities possible are attributed. First Carlos the jackal, then the Palestinian Abu Nidal, then the Shiite Imad Mugnyeh, master kidnapper. Today the Icon of Evil is Abu Musab Al Zarkawi. If the situation in Iraq is on the edge of collapse, it is his fault and that of his kamikazes. But it is similarly true that the Americans have helped him by exploiting his thirst for death. An internal document – cited yesterday in The Washington Post – revealed that the Pentagon has deliberately emphasized the role of Ali Zarkawi in the Iraqi plots. Both to present the guerrilla warfare as the product of Quaedism, as well as to provoke a split between local rebels and foreign jihads».

War and Satanism

«In Iraq horror is added to horror. The victims of the war in progress don’t find peace even after death. The police have in fact discovered a traffic of brains “recently buried dead”, managed by robber profaners of tombs and by witch doctors who are willing to pay even the equivalent of a thousand American dollars in order to have “a spoonful of fresh brain”, to use in “a black magic rite”». Thus La Stampa of 30 April.

Sacred College
The death of Cardinal Primatesta

On 1 May the 87 year-old Argentine cardinal Raúl Francisco Primatesta, archbishop of Cordoba from 1965 to 1998, created cardinal by Paul VI in 1973, died. Now the Sacred College remains composed of 192 members, 120 of whom are less than 80 years old. The cardinals created by Pope Montini are now nine, only one of whom, the American William W. Baum, is, until 26 November next, an “elector”.

Monsignor Dewane coadjutor of Venice

On 25 April Frank J. Dewane, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace since 2002, was nominated coadjutor bishop of Venice in Florida. 56 year-old Dewane, originally from Green Bay in Wisconsin, ordained priest in 1988, was collaborator at the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations Center in New York from 1991 until 1995 and an official of the Pontifical Council «Cor Unum» from 1991 until 2001. He knows Italian, French, Spanish and Russian.

Conti archbishop of Fermo, Sanna of Oristano; Sanguinetti bishop of Tempio–Ampurias and De Luca of Termoli

On 13 April Luigi Conti was promoted archbishop of Fermo, the most populous diocese of the Marche. 65 year-old Conti, originally from Urbania, in the province of Pesaro, a priest since 1965, was nominated bishop of Macerata in 1996. He is also president of the Episcopal Conference of the Marche.
On 22 April Ignazio Sanna, pro-rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, was nominated archbishop of Oristano. 64 year-old Sanna, originally from the province of Nuoro, ordained priest in 1967, is a member of the centuries Institute of Schoenstatt priests since 1974. He was also a member of the Vatican diplomatic service for a brief period.
On 22 April then 61 year-old Sebastiano Sanguinetti, originally from the province of Nuoro, was nominated bishop of Tempio-Ampurias; he was bishop of Ozieri since 1997.
On the 22 April also 57 year-old monsignor Gianfranco De Luca, originally from Atri, in the province of Teramo, was nominated bishop of Termoli-Larino. A priest since 1974, De Luca was parish priest of San Nicolò a Tordino since 1985.

New nuncios in Indonesia and in Jordan and Iraq

On 13 April 53 year-old Leopoldo Girelli, originally from the province of Bergamo, was nominated archbishop and apostolic nuncio in Indonesia. Girelli, ordained priest in 1978, entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1987. He worked in the nunciatures of Cameroon, New Zealand, in the first section of the Secretariat of State, and – lastly – in the nunciature of the USA.
On 29 April 53 year-old Francis Assisi Chullikat, from India, was nominated archbishop and apostolic nuncio in Jordan and Iraq. Chullikat, ordained priest in 1978, entered the Vatican diplomatic service in 1988. He served in Honduras, South Africa, the Philippines, in the UN Center in New York, and – ultimately – in the second section of the Secretariat of State.


Betori confirmed Secretary General

Giuseppe Betori

Giuseppe Betori

On 6 April the Pope, «accepting the proposal presented by the Presidency of the Italian Episcopal Conference in conformity with art. 30/1 of the Statute»,confirmed Giuseppe Betori as Secretary General of the IEC «for the next five years». Betori, a 59 year-old Umbrian from Foligno, was nominated Secretary of the IEC on 5 April 2001.

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