from issue no.10 - 2006

30Days in brief


Daniel Ortega and Miguel Obando Bravo, Archbishop Emeritus of Managua

Daniel Ortega and Miguel Obando Bravo, Archbishop Emeritus of Managua

The Sandinistas and reconciliation

«It’s been a very lovely day on the path of peace and of national reconciliation». Such was the comment of Cardinal Miguel Obando Bravo on the victory of Daniel Ortega in the presidential elections that took place in Nicaragua on November 5 last. Ortega, former guerrilla leader, triumphed thanks to the alliance between the Sandinista left and part of the right. The declaration of the cardinal was taken from the Corriere della Sera of November 7.

A hope for China

«...I formulate the hope that relations between the Holy See and China achieve the same results as were achieved between the Holy See and Russia». Thus the Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone concluded his impromptu speech, delivered at the conclusion of the presentation of two volumes published by the Editrice Vaticana Bookstore, one, edited by Massimiliano Valente, on the relations between The Holy See and Russia from Leo XIII to Pius XI and the other, edited by Giovanni Coco, on The Holy See and Manciukuò (1932-1945), that recounts the relations between the Vatican and the ephemeral State created by the imposition of Japanese arms in Manchuria. The two volumes were presented in the German College on 13 October last at a round table conference, chaired by the Secretary of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences Don Cosimo Semeraro, at which Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, the Russian ambassador to the Holy See Nikolay Sadchikov, Professor Rita Tolomeo of the Sapienza University in Rome and Professor Annibale Zambarbieri of the University of Pavia participated. A greeting to all present was given by the president of the Pontifical Committee that edited the two publications, Monsignor Walter Brandmüller. L’Osservatore Romano of 17 November last dedicated an ample three pages to the event, reporting all the speeches of the meeting including that of Cardinal Bertone who, among other things, emphasized the work carried out by Benedict XV «a man... capable in mediation and relations and therefore of international opening», who «established himself in relations with the Eastern world by historic decisions. I am thinking, for example, of the creation of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches to the foundation of the Pontifical Institute of the East and then also concretely toward Russia».

Saddam and the freedom of the Church

Cardinal Renato Martini, on November 7, released an interview to La Stampa in which he criticized the death sentence imposed on Saddam Hussein by an Iraqi court. In the interview the prelate wished to intervene on behalf of the dictator: «When Saddam was there Iraq was a lay State and Christians were free to profess their faith. It is at this moment, because of the war, that their situation is constantly becoming more critical and many are forced to emigrate. Under Saddam Christians were protected. I remember, when I was permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, having to ask dispensation from the sanctions so as to get delivered to Iraq a large cross that Saddam Hussein had donated to the Armenian-Catholic Church. This is certainly not an example of persecution».

Sacred College
The death of Cardinals Vachon, Monduzzi and Pompedda

On 29 September the 94 year-old Canadian cardinal Louis-Albert Vachon, archbishop of Quebec from 1981 to 1990, died. Then, on 13 October, the 84 year-old cardinal from Romagna Dino Monduzzi, prefect emeritus of the Pontifical House, died. On October 18, the 77 year-old Sardinian cardinal Mario Francis Pompedda, prefect emeritus of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signet, died. Thus at the end of October the Sacred College was composed of 187 cardinals, of whom 115 are electors.

Hummes prefect of the Clergy, Comastri Vatican dean

On 31 October, the Brazilian cardinal Cláudio Hummes was elected prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy. He takes the place of the Colombian cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, 77 years old in July, who however remains president of the Pontifical Commission «Ecclesia Dei». Hummes, a 72 year-old Franciscan, priest since 1958 and bishop since 1975, was archbishop of Sao Paulo from 1998.
On 31 October also, the Tuscan archbishop, 63 year-old Angelo Comastri, was nominated dean of the patriarchal Vatican Basilica. He takes the place of the Piedmontese cardinal Francesco Marchisano, 77 years old in June, who maintains the post of president of the Office of Work of the Apostolic See.

Bertone nominated member of various Congregations. New prelate to the IWR

On 30 September the Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, already a member of the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, for Divine Worship and for the Clergy, was also nominated member of the Congregations for the Eastern Churches, for the Bishops and for Propaganda Fide. Then on 14 October the Salesian cardinal was also nominated member of the cardinals’ Commission of Vigilance of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IWR), in place of the Slovak cardinal Jozef Tomko who was eighty years old in 2004. In the bulletin Changes in the Pontifical Yearbook 2006 of 1 October the nomination of the new prelate of the IWR that had taken place in the preceding months, was then officialized, an office that had been vacant from 1993. 45 year-old monsignor Piero Pioppo, of the Acqui clergy, an official of the Secretariat of State and personal secretary of Cardinal Angelo Sodano when he was Secretary of State, was called to the office.

Episcopal nominations for Girotti, Stankiewicz and Farina

On 15 November three ecclesiastics who work in the Roman Curia were elevated to episcopal dignity. They are the 70 year-old Roman Conventual Gianfranco Girotti, regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary since February 2002; the 71 year-old Pole Antoni Stankiewicz, dean of the Roman Rota since January 2004 and the Salesian from Campania, 73 year-old Raffaele Farina, prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library since 1997.

New bishops in Alghero, Ozieri and Pistoia and the nomination of the new military ordinary

On 29 September Giacomo Lanzetti, 64 year-old Piedmontese from Carmagnola, auxiliary of Turin since 2002, was nominated bishop of Alghero-Bosa in Sardinia. Also on 29 September Monsignor Sergio Pintor, 70 year-old Sardinian from Oristano, was nominated bishop of Ozieri also in Sardinia. He was manager of the IEC Office for the Pastoral of Health from 1996.
On 14 October 58 year-old Vincenzo Pelvi, auxiliary bishop of his native Naples since December 1999, was nominated new military ordinary for Italy.
On 4 November 57 year-old Mansueto Bianchi was nominated bishop of Pistoia. Originally from the province of Lucca, a priest since 1974, he was bishop of Volterra from 2000.

The tradition of the Church and the theocons

On 26 October the Corriere della Sera published an interesting editorial by Claudio Magris, in which the Triestine writer and essayist affirms among other things: «The traditionalism that remains in the past denies and offends the Church and its Catholicity, or rather universality, because it considers it in fact a dead relic. The so-called theocons can understand these things little, because in general they have no experience of Christianity and of Catholicism, they aren’t familiar with it.... The very self-definition itself as “devout atheists” is not the best premise for dealing with matters of faith». And he concludes: «Those reverends (Protestants in this case) who have seen in the massacre of 11 September the punishment of God for the guilt of the United States and those who greeted the electoral victory of Bush as the will of God are much more blasphemous than the winos who curse in the bar who are maybe less removed, even though sinners, from tradition».

When John XXIII wanted the delegates of the Chinese Patriotic Church at the Council

In La Repubblica of 21 October, Marco Politi reviews the book Giovanni XXIII. Una vita nella storia [John XXIII. A life in history] by Marco Roncalli, a nephew of the good Pope. In the volume an unpublished episode regarding Vatican Council II. Thus, in summary, Politi’s article: «John XXIII intended to invite both the bishops [Chinese, ed] linked to the Vatican and those of the Patriotic Church selected by the communist authorities. And so he began to look for – also with the help of Giorgio La Pira – which diplomatic channel would be most useful for linking up with the government of Beijing . There was however the need to win over the Vatican Curia to the project. Capovilla recalls that a meeting of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs (the branch of the Secretariat of State dealing with external relations) was convoked. A dozen cardinals were present, among them the head of the Holy Office, Ottaviani. A motion was voted: to seek contact with the Peoples’ China or not? The opponents didn’t want this to sound like recognition of the Beijing regime and in the end there were nine “No’s” against three “Yes’s”».

The Pontificalis Liber by Patrizi Piccolomini and Burcardo

The Editrice Vaticana bookstore, for the liturgical series Monumenta Studia Instrumenta, has published a photocopy reprint of the Pontificalis Liber by Agostino Patrizi Piccolomini and Giovanni Burcardo. The volume was edited by the liturgist Don Manlio Sodi, teacher at the Pontifical Salesian University and consultant to the Office for Liturgical Ceremonies of the Supreme Pontiff. And it reproduces the book of the liturgical celebrations presided over by the bishop requested by Pope Innocent VIII in 1485 and compiled by two men responsible for the pontifical ceremonies of the time: Agostino Patrizi Piccolomini, adoptive nephew of Pope Pius II, and Giovanni Burcardo.

Girelli nuncio in Timor East also

On 10 October, 53 year-old Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, nuncio to Indonesia since last April, was nominated pontifical representative to East Timor also.

New German, Albanian, Belgian and Japanese ambassadors

On 28 September the new German ambassador to the Holy See presented his letters of credentials: Hans-Henning Horstmann, 61 year-old career diplomat, for the past four years ambassador to Vienna. On 29 September it was the turn of the new Albanian ambassador: Rrok Logu, 44 year-old university lecturer in Engineering, former consultant of the archdiocese of Tirana-Durres for relations with State institutions. On 26 October it was the turn of the new ambassador from Belgium: Frank De Coninck, 61 year-old career diplomat, Grand Marshal of the Royal Court for the past four years. On 13 November the new representative from Japan then presented his credentials: Kagefumi Ueno, 58 year-old career diplomat.

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