from issue no.05 - 2006


Cardinal Dias Prefect of Propaganda Fide

Ivan Dias

Ivan Dias

On 20 May the Indian cardinal Ivan Dias, 70 years-old in April, was nominated Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Formerly apostolic nuncio to Africa, Korea and Albania, he has been archbishop of Bombay since 1996.


Madonna della Rugiada

The Madonna della Rugiada

The Madonna della Rugiada

«This year again a million pilgrims came to the sanctuary of the Madonna della Rugiada who has been venerated in Seville since 1280. The faithful come from all over Spain, by foot, in coaches and by train». From Il Tempo of Sunday 4 June.


Benigni, the Talmud and Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli

Under the heading Benigni reveals: here are all the poets who wrote my Tiger, la Repubblica of 23 May, printed the introduction to the film script of The tiger and the snow, written by Benigni himself and now in the bookshops. This the opening of the text: «The Talmud begins on page 2 precisely to tell the reader that even when he has finished reading it he still hasn’t begun. And Machiavelli says: there are people who know everything, but that is all they know. And so why read? But there may yet perhaps be someone in the world, as in fairytales, who does something that was taught us when we were very little and that we’ve all forgotten. May God bless you, dear reader! But who are you? Where are you? Show yourself! You are perhaps reading thus, tranquilly, without being aware of your uniqueness».


Veni, Sancte Spiritus

We report from L’Osservatore Romano a small excerpt from the Holy Father’s homily at the Pentecost mass: «This is the mystery of Pentecost: the Holy Spirit enlightens the human spirit and, by revealing Christ crucified and risen, points the way to becoming more like Him, of being “the expression and instrument of the love that emanates from Him, that is”. In meditation with Mary, as at its birth, the Church on this day prays: “Veni, Sancte Spiritus”».

The resignations
of the cardinals of Abidjan, Marseilles, Washington and Naples

On 2 May the resignation of the cardinal of Abidjan (Ivory Coast) Bernard Agre, 80 years-old in March, was accepted. His replacement was nominated as 61 year-old Jean-Pierre Kutwa, archbishop of Gagnoa since 2001.
On 12 May the resignation of the cardinal of Marseilles, Bernard Panarieu, 75 years old in January, was accepted. His replacement was nominated as 63 year-old Georges Pontier, bishop of La Rochelle since 1996, and vice-president of the French Bishops’ Conference.
On 16 May the resignation of the cardinal of Washington DC Theodore E. McCarrick who will be 77 in July, was accepted. His replacement was nominated as 66 year-old Donald W. Wueri, bishop of Pittsburgh since 1988.
Then on 20 May the resignation of the cardinal of Naples Michele Giordano, who will be 76 in September, was accepted. His replacement was nominated as 63 year-old Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples since 2001.

Tettamanzi and the immigrants

Tettamanzi: yes to the vote and public offices: this the heading of an article in L’Avvenire of 28 May reporting the appeal of the cardinal of Milan in favor of the immigrants. The article continued: «The tone of the intervention by Cardinal Tettamanzi was clear from the title: Building the city: the role of the immigrants, the title also of the seminar at which he spoke, organized by the Pastoral Mission for Immigrants, with the ISMU Foundation (Foundation for Initiatives and Study of Multi-ethnicity) and the Chamber of Commerce. In favor of a “strong and urgent appeal” not only to the city (to open “its heart” and “rid itself of fear” by accepting the “new human riches”), but also to those who “build and govern Milan”».

Martini and the prayer of intercession

In May Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini returned to Italy and ordained three priests in the church of Saint Ignatius Loyola in Rome. An article in La Stampa of I June reported some reflections that the cardinal expressed during the visit: «“I live a lot in a place of extraordinary symbols where one breathes the biblical story, from the patriarchs to the prophets, down to Jesus, to His Passion, Death and Resurrection”, Martini recalled during his stay in Rome, “for the believer it is a place full of fascination because it is the land that Jesus saw, the sky that he contemplated, the stones he walked on, the places where he shed His blood, the places where the word ‘He is risen’, spread”. Jerusalem, source of continuous inspiration for meditation: “I live the prayer of intercession, I walk among different contenders without wishing to attribute right or wrong to one or the other, but praying equally for all”». The same article also contained a little revelation by the Archbishop Emeritus of Milan: «”In a private audience, Paul VI said to me: ‘I wish that every Christian would visit Jerusalem’”».
On 11 June Cardinal Martini will receive a doctorate honoris causa at the Academy of Israel. Commenting on the news, the author of the article writes: «The sancta sanctorum of Jewish culture crowns the “red” prince of the Church with laurel».

Vatican City
Giani becomes Inspector General of the Gendarmerie

On 3 June 44 year-old Domenico Giani, from Arezzo, was nominated new Director of the Security Services and Civil Protection of the Vatican City State and Inspector General of the Gendarmerie. Holding a degree in pedagogy, a former official of the Financial Police and employee of the information and security agencies of the Italian Council, he has been deputy vice-inspector of the Gendarmerie since 1999.

Zapatero and the ETA

«The government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is preparing to initiate negotiations with the terrorist organization of Basque separatists, the ETA. Two months after the ceasefire announcement and after some checks by the Ministry of the Interior, the executive seems decided to go ahead: the peace process could be close. At the negotiating table – Zapatero explained in an interview with Catalunya Radio – the agenda for discussion will be: the abandonment of weapons, the dissolution of the terrorist organization and the “future of its members” ». So it was reported in an article in L’Avvenire of 30 May.

New bishops in Benevento, Rossano and Teano. An auxiliary in Cagliari

On 3 May Andrea Mugione, who will be 66 in November, was nominated metropolitan archbishop of Benevento. Originally from Caivano (province of Naples and the diocese of Aversa), nominated bishop of Cassano allo Jonio in 1988, he has been metropolitan archbishop of Crotone-Santa Severina since 1998.
On 6 May 46 year-old Sando Marciano was nominated archbishop of Rossano-Cariati; ordained priest in 1988, he was rector of the upper seminary of Reggio Calabria. At present he is the youngest bishop in the Italian Bishops’ Conference.
On 13 May 51 year-old Arturo Aiello was nominated bishop of Teano-Calvi. Originally from Vico Equense in the province of Naples and belonging to the archdiocese of Sorrento, he was spiritual director of the diocesan seminary.
On 3 June 63 year-old Mosé Marcia was nominated auxiliary bishop of Cagliari; originally from San Sperate (Cagliari), he was the bursar of the diocese and spiritual father of the regional Sardinian seminary.

New ambassadors from Bulgaria and Spain

On 13 May the new Bulgarian ambassador to the Holy See presented his letters of credentials. He is 65 year-old Valentin Vassilev Bozhilov, a career diplomat. The biography released by the Vatican Press Office did not include his postings between 1979 and 1983.
On 20 May then the new Spanish ambassador presented his credentials. He is 60 year-old Francisco Vazquez Vazquez, a Catholic and former member of parliament, senator and mayor of La Coruna for the Socialist Party (PSOE).

Four new non-resident ambassadors in Rome

On 18 May four new ambassadors to the Holy See, non-resident in Rome, presented their credentials. They are the representatives of Ciad (Moukhtar Wawa Dahab, resident in Paris), India (Amitava Tripathi, resident in Switzerland), Cape Verde (Domingos Dias Pereira Mascarenhas, resident in his home country), Moldova (Valeriu Bobutac, resident in Hungary) and Australia (Anne Maree Plunkett, resident in Ireland).

The last two Popes and Iran

The embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Holy See has translated into Persian My Life (the autobiography of Pontiff Benedict XVI) and Witness to hope. The life of John Paul II, the protagonist of the century, edited by George Weigel. We report the conclusion to the introduction, written by the ambassador, Mohammad Javad Faridzadeh. «The conclusion to this brief introduction is that, apart from the differences, which can’t be denied, but whose recognition should not lead to a type of relativism concerning revealed heavenly truths, experiences that our ancient sages defined in such terms as contemplation, watchfulness, silence, fear, hope can be a certain treasure recorded, along with other impressions of the heart and of the spiritual life, with lavish commitment. It is a matter of experiences of ecstasy, joy, rapture, meditation, of fear and trembling, on a pathway dense with obscurity and wonder. These memories of the dangers of the terrible whirlpool of the encounter with the glorious and majestic face of God, and the sweet accounts of the enthusiastic joy for the caress of the breeze and of divine grace can be listened to and profited from».

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