Columns
from issue no.03 - 2003


Pope/ 1

“I invite you all to take the Rosary in hand”


“At this hour of international anxiety, all of us feel the need to turn to the Lord to implore the great gift of peace. As I suggested in the apostolic letter ‘Rosarium Virginis Mariae’, the difficulties which the world stage present at this beginning of the new millennium make us think that only an intervention from on High [....] can create hope in a less dark future” (n.40). Numerous prayer initiatives are underway in these days in various parts of the world. While I encourage them with my heart, I invite all to take in hand the rosary to invoke the intercession of the most Holy Virgin: “the rosary cannot be recited without feeling involved in a precise task in the service of peace” (ibid., n.6)”. Thus John Paul II at the Angelus on February 9.




Pope/2

Ash Wednesday of prayer and of fasting for the cause of peace, especially in the Middle East


“I invite all, Catholics, especially, to devote the day of March 5 next, Ash Wednesday, to prayer and fasting for the cause of peace, especially in the Middle East, with particular intensity. First of all I implore God for the conversion of hearts and the far-sightedness of just decisions to resolve by fitting and peaceful means the conflicts which hinder the pilgrimage of humanity in this our time. In every Marian sanctuary an ardent prayer for peace will be raised towards Heaven with the recital of the holy Rosary. I also trust that in parishes and in families that the rosary will be recited for this great cause on which the well-being of all depends. This choral invocation will be accompanied by fasting, an expression of penitence for the violence and hatred which infect human relationships. Christians share the ancient practice of fasting with many brothers and sisters of other religions, who through it intend to divest themselves of all pride and prepare themselves to receive from God the greatest and necessary gifts, among which is particularly that of peace”. Thus John Paul II at the Angelus on February 22.





TULLIA ZEVI

“I too will fast inspired by the Pope and by a Queen”


“Dear Director, I identify myself with the refusal of Pope John Paul II of all wars, especially if designed as a prevention of worse evils (which?), an anticipation of better times (when?), and a debasement of the negotiating processes.
I will also fast on March 5. I am inspired not only by the example and exhortation today of the spiritual head of Catholicism, but also by the memory, rooted in our collective unconscious: the example of Esther, queen of Babylon, an example of female courage. Faced with the announcement of the imminent extermination of her people, enslaved in Babylon, Esther transcended her characteristic image of the docile consort of the sovereign, and ordered the Hebrews to observe a week of fasting; she then spoke with energy and as a suppliant to the King, who cancelled the decree of extermination and instead condemned to death his perfidious councillor Haman, author of the idea.
I’ve been guided in this decision not only by the pope of our times and by a Hebrew queen of many centuries ago, but also by the hope that my example, even in its smallness, will have a minimum of effect not only on the believers of all faiths in an invisible Being whose essence inspires and comforts them, but also on those – secular or agnostic – who work for a pluralist secular society, respectful and guarantor of every kind of diversity. On those who, that is, believe secularly in the duty to “do good and not evil for all of their life” (Proverbs 31,12)”.
mhus Tullia Zevi, former President of the Union of Jewish Italian Communities, in an open letter printed in Repubblica on February 27.





Iraq

“The world has need of hope”. An appeal by the Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins, the Patriarch of Babylonia of the Chaldees (Baghdad) and by the Cardinal of Sarajevo


“We, who have gone or are still going through the tragedy of war, wish to say to the entire world, in particilar to the powerful of the earth: do not enter on the road of war, because it is a road without exit”. These are the words of a joint appeal from the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and international president of Pax Christi, Michel Sabbah, of Cardinal Vinko Puljic, Archbishop of Sarajevo, and the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldees, Raphael Bidawid, made public on February 24. “We wish to be the spokesmen for our people who have suffered and are suffering war, oppressions and injustices and who live in our countries, become tragically a symbol of suffering [....] We turn .... in particular to those who have the responsibility and the power to decide about the future, so that good sense and dialog may prevail in the knowledge that “war is an adventure without return”. Along with the Pope we also say: No to war! War is always a defeat for mankind [....] No less tragic are the consequences that a war inevitably brings along with it: divisions, hatreds and many refugees. The millions of refugees from Bosnia and from all of former Yugoslavia are before the eyes of the world: the unlivable conditions of the Palestinians .... and, in the case of war, how many will be the refugees from Iraq, who will join those who already sought hope by fleeing from that land, for too many years marked by war and the embargo? [....] Don’t leave us alone, because the world today has need to construct this hope”.





Mother Teresa

On October 19 The ceremony of beatification: it is possible to book via internet


The beatification ceremony of Mother Teresa of Calcutta is planned for Sunday October 19 in Saint Peter’s Square in Rome. In order to facilitate the participation of the faithful, the official beatification site (www.motherteresacause.info) offers the possibility of booking on line, by sending a message, or by sending a fax to the number indicated on the site itself.





Cardinals/1

Gantin’s visit to the Ivory Coast


On 21 February the church of Saint-Jean de Cocody in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) was filled with faithful who had come to hear Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, Dean Emeritus of the Sacred College, who had come to express solidarity for the population in the midst of their crisis. The Cardinal did not wish to make any assessment of local political questions but to share the sufferings of the people and to pray together. The religious ceremony opened with a message in which the Pope expressed compassion for the people of the Ivory Coast and made an appeal to Christians, and to the faithful of other religions, to act for the unity of the country. Gantin exhorted the belligerents not to abandon the path of negotiations recalling the Pope’s phrase: “War is not only the last of solutions, but also the worst ....”.





Cardinals/2

The resignation of Cardinal dos Santos accepted


On February 22 the resignation of 79 year-old Franciscan Cardinal Alexandre José Maria dos Santos, from the office of Archbishop of Maputo which he had held since 1974, was accepted. As leader of the most important diocese in Mozambique, he is succeeded by the Capuchin Francisco Chimoio, 56 years old in December, and Bishop of Pemba since 2000.





Curia/1

Meeting of department heads about “personnel management” and the possibility of a patriarchate for the Greco-Catholic Ukrainian church


On Thursday 6 February a meeting was held in the Vatican, in the presence of the Pope, of all the department heads of the Roman Curia. The news was announced by the Press Agency of the Holy See without specifying what the agenda for the meeting was. It was understood that the cardinals and archbishops had discussed two topics: a) problems regarding “personnel management” in the Curia (respect for work hours, respect for papal confidentiality, the way for “career advancement” ....); b) the possibility of raising to the rank of Catholic patriarchate the major archbishopric of Leopolis of the Ukraine.




Curia/2

Clemens Undersecretary of the Congregation for the religious


On February 12, 55 year-old Monsignor Josef Clemens was nominated Undersecretary of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life. Clemens worked for nineteen years at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as private secretary to the Cardinal Prefect Joseph Ratzinger. Originally from the archdiocese of Paderborn, Clemens was ordained priest in Rome in 1975, at the church of Sant’ Ignazio, and the following year completed his licentiate in theology at the Gregorian University. Moderator, Father Maurice Flick. Subject: “The theological method in Hans Kung. Infallible? A question”.





Marian dogmas

Amato: “I prefer to stick to traditional and conciliar titles”


“In these days, in the catholic sphere, the debate about Mary’s title ‘Co-redemptor’ and about a possible fifth Marian dogma, that of her mediation and co-redemption, has become more intense. I have already expressed my opinion about this many times. The title ‘Co-redemptor’ is neither a biblical, nor a patristic, nor a theological title. Vatican Council II deliberately avoided it. Mary is the “redeemed in the most perfect way”; she is the first fruit of the redemption of her Son, the unique redeemer of humanity. I prefer, therefore, to stick to the traditional and conciliar titles of Mary as mediatrix, advocate, auxiliary, partner of the Redeemer (cf. Lumen gentium 62)”. So Salesian archbishop Angelo Amato, new Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since January, in his first interview. It appeared in the last issue of the magazine Ricerche teologiche (n. 2/2002, published by Dehoniane), under the signature of the director of the twice yearly magazine, Don Enrico Dal Covolo, vice-rector of the Salesian Papal University. In the course of the conversation, Amato also brought up a fond memory of the Jesuit priest Zoltan Alszeghy, the unforgotten professor of the Gregorian under whose direction the Secretary of the former Holy Office presented his thesis, a study of the sacrament of penance in the Council of Trent. “Unfortunately,” Amato said, “it seems to me that he is completely forgotten today. And yet, along with Father Maurice Flick, he was one of the great figures in post-Concil theology, making a large contribution both to theological methodology, and to specific and highly problematic questions, such as original sin, the theology of the cross, acculturation, salvation in other religions. In him eruditio and pietas dwelt in harmony.”





Curia/3

Comastri preaches the spiritual exercises


The spiritual exercises for the Roman Curia were held this year by Angelo Comastri, from Tusany 60 years old in September, Prelate-Archbishop of Loreto since 1996 and former Bishop of Massa Marittima from 1990 until 1994.





Diplomacy

New nuncios in Bulgaria, Belgium and Luxemburg


On 22 February 69 year-old German archbishop Karl Josef Rauber was nominated nuncio to Belgium and Luxemburg. From 1997 he served in Hungary and Moldova. On the same day 60 year-ol Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, a Sicilian, was nominated nuncio to Bulgaria. From 1999 he was papal representative in Bosnia-Herzogovina and from 2002 also in Macedonia and Slovenia.
Meanwhile, on 8 February, on receiving the approval of New Delhi, the nomination of the Spaniard, Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, as nuncio to India and Nepal was officialized. The frormer Counsellor in the First Section of the Secretariat of State was already nominated apostolic nuncio since December 12 last, without the country of destination being specified.





taly

Fragnelli nominated Bishop of Castellaneta


On 14 February 51 year-old Pietro Maria Fragnelli was nominated Bishop of Castellaneta in Puglia. Fragnelli, a native of the province of Taranto, was Rector of the major Roman Seminary from 1996. He was replaced in the latter post by 56 year-old Monsignor Giovanni Tani, from Romagna, Spiritual Director of the same Seminary from 1985 to 1999, when he became a parish priest in Rome.





Gorbaciov

Perestroika for America also


Michail Gorbaciov wrote a long and interesting editorial in La Stampa on 15 February, under the heading ‘Perestroika for America also’. We report the most significant passages of the text: “The Iraq question has by now developed to a point dangerous beyond measure. It may prove to be irreparable. I write this in full conviction, while wishing to avoid all excess of emphasis [....]. The United States administration, on the other hand, has entrusted everything to a military solution of the problem and does not intend to take any other options into consideration. At the same time no one is convinced by what it considers its reasons [....]. Such behavior by the American administration, so inexplicable in political and even rational terms, forces everyone to ask themselves a question: does all of this really have to do with Iraq? Or is Iraq instead merely a casual victim, a kind of pretext? Or is the point beyond which the entire world situation will be destabilized being crossed consciously, in the goal of establishing a new world order, not steered by law any longer, but by force? [....] One cannot avoid reminding the current President of the United States of the result achieved by another President of the United States in the long-ago 1963. John Kennedy then said: if anyone thinks that the future of the planet will be called pax americana, then they’d better think again, because it’s mistaken. Either the world will belong to everyone, or it will not survivee. [....] I don’t intend to outline apocalyptic scenarios, but such a great fracturing of the world cannot but worry us all, Americans included, since it can lead to the ruin of all existing institutes of international cooperation. But a change of course can not come about unless thinking about the pattern of economic and social development they have chosen begins in the United States itself, and unless there is a great effort to look at the future with greater realism. In other words a profound perestroka is needed by the United States of America.





Scalfari

Christ has made redundant the God of Hosts



“Personally I’ve always been an admirer of Machiavelli. And of Gucciardini. And I’m much devoted to Kantian (but not to Hegelian) thought. Kant derives directly from the Enlightenment, and was indeed one of its great products. Nothing of the sort with Hegel. Kant secularized the divine, Hegel restored it to its throne. [....] Machiavelli posed himself a problem and asked himself a question: what were the ways of making Power efficient and of conquering it, and he replied: match the means to the end, calculate – we would say today – the cost/benefits. In different spheres of his thinking Machiavelli also asked himself questions and among these were questions about ethics, that is about the common good, about the ends of Power and not only about Power as an end. In fact both De Sanctis and Croce liked that in him. Because he made distinctions. He confronted distinct problems in distinct ways. [....] Let me use a simple example because I’m always afraid I’ll be misunderstood: Aznar has good reasons today to fear that at the next elections the Socialists (pacifists with no “if”s and “but”s) of Zapatero will regain the government of the country. Blair also has some problems in his own house. Berlusconi, being the formidable carpets seller that he is, noted these dangers first of all; he is in fact deeply worried and proceeds by instinct, hoping at least in the “imprimatur” of the UN. By this I don’t mean to identify pacifism with ethics but one thing is certain: ethics have absolutely nothing to do with war. The God of Hosts, dear Ernesto Della Loggia, has nothing to do with the modern world, Christ made him redundant at the first move. It’s hard for me to understand how such a thing as that can still come to your mind. [....]
Monsignor Tauran, Vatican Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, said the other day that this war would be a crime. He can allow himself that because he has the Vicar of Christ in his house. I limit myself to saying that it’s an imbecility and should be avoided. If you allow, without “if”s and “but”s.
The closing paragraphs of the article by Eugenio Scalfari printed in the Repubblica on 27 February under the heading ‘Pacifist Europe between Kant and Machiavelli’.





Books

‘Una scommessa per l’America Latina’ (‘A wager for Latin America’) by Guzman Carriquiry


Una scommessa per l’America Latina. The memory and historical destiny of a continent’, (published by Le Lettere, Florence 2003, 274 pp., 16 euros), has just arrived in the bookshops. The author is Guzman M. Carriqury Lecour, a Uruguayan and Undersecretary of the Papal Council for the Laity. In five chapters the volume aims to propose some keys of interpretation and perspective on the Latin American continent in the light of the phenomenon of globalization and of the geopolitical situation after 11 September. Particular attention is devoted to the “bipolar dialectic” between North and South America; to the relations between Latin America and the other continents beginning with Europe; to the cultural aspects of the “encounter-clash” between the Latin and Anglo-Saxon worlds. Finally there is thorough analysis of the actual situation in the Latin American Church, with its lights and shades. The book, launched in Milan, on 21 March, by Roberto Formigoni, “governor” of Lombardy, Enrique Iglesias; President of the Inter American Development Bank; Luis Meyer, Paraguayan Minister for Programing, Nicolas Cotugno Fanizzi, Salesian Archbishop of Montevideo. On March 27 there will be another presentation in Rome, at which Cardinals James Francis Stafford and Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga, Francesco Cossiga and Andrea Riccardi will take part.


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