from issue no.08 - 2006


Letter of Benedict XVI for the fiftieth anniversary of the episcopacy of Cardinal Angelini

Benedict XVI with cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini

Benedict XVI with cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini

«On this 29 July you, Lord Cardinal, will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of your episcopal ordination, which took place in the church of Saint Ignatius in Rome, the city of your birth on 1 August 1916. This means that in three days time, you will celebrate your ninetieth birthday. On this happy occasion I am very glad to have you receive the expression of my most cordial felicitations and to send you fervent good wishes, assuring you of special remembrance in prayer and associating myself with your thanksgiving to the Lord for the very many gifts with which He has enriched your life and your ministry, for the edification of the Church in Rome, in Italy and in the world». Thus begins the long letter that Benedict XVI sent to Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini for the fiftieth anniversary of his episcopal ordination. The long pontifical letter, dated 6 July, featured prominently in L’Osservatore Romano of 27 July. Cardinal Angelini, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Health Workers, is the only native Roman cardinal among the 191 cardinals composing the Sacred College.

Benedict XVI with some children in Valle d'Aosta

Benedict XVI with some children in Valle d'Aosta

Benedict XVI writes to Bartholomew I

The sixth symposium of the project “Religion, Science and Environment”, promoted by the Ecumenic Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, was held in Brazil from 13 to 20 July. Representatives of the Holy See and of the Brazilian Episcopate, including the President of the Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Geraldo Majella, attended the symposium. On the occasion of the symposium Benedict XVI sent a message to the Ecumenic Patriarch, through Cardinal Roger Etchegary. We report a passage from the letter: «In expressing to you, Holiness, enthusiastic appreciation for the intentions that inspire it, I wish to assure you of my adherence to the values of the symposium. I see in our joint commitment an example of that collaboration that Orthodox and Catholics must seek with constancy to respond to the appeal of a shared witness. This supposes that all Christians cultivate intimately that openness of spirit that is dictated by charity and has its root in the faith. In this way they can offer together to the world a credible witness of their sense of responsibility for the protection of the creation… I request you, Holiness, to transmit to all the participants in the symposium my most cordial good wishes, assuring them of my prayers so that it may constitute a significant step forward in the effort, shared by many, for the safeguarding of that world that God created with wisdom and love».

The Muslims, the Jews and the miraclesof Teresa of Lisieux

In the weekly magazine Grazia of 18 July an article appeared about the Catholic Church of Cairo in Egypt dedicated to Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus. In the church there is a statue of the saint, surrounded by votive offerings in all languages. Frequenting the church, along with the Catholic faithful, there are also Muslims and Jews, attracted by the flowering of miracles through the intercession of the Little Saint of Lisieux. The article concludes thus: «“Saint Teresa did her first miracle for a Muslim here”», recounts the priest, «“the second for a Jew. It is they who have begun to create publicity for the church of Shoubra [the area where the church is, ed]”. Father Malek claims that the faith of Orientals is one that we Europeans cannot understand: “Europe wants to reason, to understand everything by reason. Here people have a feeling faith”. The young boys in the priest’s study do not want to convert, they only want the priest to go to bless their home, in civilian clothes, so that the Muslim neighbors will not become suspicious. But Father Malek says that it is the heads of the mosques themselves who send their faithful to pray to the saint».

The cabalists
of terror
«All the ingredients are there. Simultaneous attacks against systems of transport in a symbol-city. With the addition of the date for the cabalists of terror: the 11th, as for the massacres of New York, Djerba, Madrid». Thus the beginning of an article that appeared on the front page of Corriere della Sera of 12 July (with the title: The cabalists of terror), devoted to the attacks in India, where seven explosions in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) caused the deaths of hundreds of people.

The diaries of Moshe Sharett and madness

«In April of 1975, in the Wellington pub, on the eve of the second devastating civil war, that lasted 16 years, Eduard Saab, director of the Orient Le Jour brought me a photocopy of some extracts from the diaries of Moshe Sharett, premier and minister of Israel for many years. Reading them, I became aware of the dreadful swing peace/war, well-being/ corpses, to which history had condemned Lebanon. There is a logic in the Lebanese tragedy even if Eduard Saab (then killed by a sniper) never tired of repeating to me and Bernardo Valli: “Don’t try to explain the events of Lebanon: a subtle thread unites them, certainly, but all the rest is pure madness”». Thus Igor Man, in Lo Specchio, the La Stampa weekly, of 29 July.

Lord Balfour and the inevitable coexistence between Israel and “Arabia”

On 20 July The Times of London received a letter from Robert Bruce Lord Balfour, a descendant of that Lord Arthur Balfour who first spoke publicly of the need to create a Jewish state in Palestine. In the letter, summarized by the Corriere della Sera the following day, the English Lord admonishes the Israeli government about the risks connected to the military intervention in Lebanon, among which the increase of hatred of the Arab peoples towards Israel. Thus Il Corriere sums up the sense of the letter: «If Israel wants to put an end to all of this “perhaps it should resign itself to suffering a little and not reacting on the instant”. Seeing that “neither Israel nor ‘Arabia’ are destined to disappear, both of them would do better to teach their peoples to take this into account”».

Sacred College
The death of Cardinal Suquía Goicoechea

On 13 July the Spanish cardinal Angel Suquía Goicoechea, archbishop of Madrid from 1983 to 1994, died. He would have been ninety years old on October 2. The Sacred College therefore is now composed of 191 cardinals, of whom 120 are voters.

Gardin Secretary of the Congregation for the Religious

On 10 July Father Gianfranco Gardin of the Conventual Friars Minor was nominated Secretary of the Congregation for the Religious replacing the Passionist archbishop Piergiorgio Silvano Nesti, who was 75 years old last 16 February. Gardin was born in San Polo di Piave (Treviso) in 1944. Entering the Order of Conventual Franciscans, he made his perpetual profession in Padua in 1965. Ordained priest in 1970, having taken a master’s degree in Moral Theology, he was vice-rector of the Theological Seminary of the Order in Padua from 1973 to 1988 and then lecturer in Moral Theology in the Institute of Saint Anthony Doctor in Padua. From 1995 to 2001 he was Minister General of the Order. In 200 he was elected president of the Superior Generals Union. Since 2005 he has been director general of the Messaggero di Sant’ Antonio.

Father Lombardi takes the place of Navarro-Valls

On 11 July Father Federico Lombardi was nominated new Director of the Press Office of the Holy See to replace Joaquin Navarro-Valls, who had held that position since 1984. Born in Saluzzo (Cuneo) in 1942, Father Lombardi entered the novitiate of the Turin province of the Company of Jesus at Avigliana (Torino) in 1960. Ordained priest in 1972, he became sub-editor of La Civiltá Cattolica the following year, and became assistant-editor in 1977. From 1984 to 1990 he was provincial of the Italian Jesuits. He was director of programs of Vatican Radio from 1991 to 2005, when he became its Director General. Since 2001 he has been also Director General of the Vatican Telelevision Center.

First nuncio to the Principality of Monaco

On 11 July Archbishop André Dupuy was nominated first apostolic nuncio to the Principality of Monaco. The 66 year-old Frenchman Monsignor Dupuy has been apostolic nuncio to the European Communities since 2005.


USA and Israel between messianics and realists

Brzezinski and Wojtyla

Brzezinski and Wojtyla

«A stinging denunciation by Zbigniew Brzezinski of the politics of the Bush administration in the Middle East and of the unconditional support of Israel has ignited the discussion between the “realist school” and the “messianic school” of American diplomacy underway since the American invasion of Iraq. Speaking at the New American Foundation, a research institute, the former White House Security Advisor under the Carter presidency declared that “the United States is learning in Baghdad that a solution to Middle East problems cannot be imposed by force alone, and Israel is learning it in Lebanon… The Democrat guru concluded his speech with a trenchant criticism of the Israeli reaction to Hezbollah’s provocation: “It is obstinate, very heavy-handed, politically counterproductive and morally unjustifiable. Israel has the right to defend itself, but it is using Lebanese civilians as hostages. It kills them in the hope of intimidating the enemy”». Thus in Corriere della Sera of 23 July.

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