from issue no.04 - 2003


Pope Wojtyla/1
“Never again war”

I belong to the generation which lived through the Second World War and survived. I have the obligation to say to the youngest, to those younger than me, who did not have this experience: “Never again war”. These are perhaps the most dramatic words that John Paul II used, after the recital of the Angelus on Sunday 16 March, in the last attempt to avert the war in Iraq.

Pope Wojtyla/2
The young Karol
under Nazism

La Stampa of 17 March, in reporting the words pronounced by the Pope at the Angelus of the preceding day, devoted a long article, by Marco Tosatti, to the youth of Karol Wojtyla, from his attempt to flee, following the Nazi invasion, up to his decision to enter the clandestine seminary run by Cardinal Sapieha, after having luckily escaped, on 6 August 1944, the last great Nazi round up. Particularly touching is the part in which the article reviews the gruelling work of the young Karol during the period of Nazi occupation. Tosatti writes: “The young Karol worked in a quarry which supplied sodium to the Solvay factory, an expedient to avoid deportation to enforced labor camps in the East. Every day he had to walk seven kilometers there and seven back. His job was to load heavy stones, got from large boulders which others split, on to wheeled trolleys. After the death of his father, he managed to get transferred from the quarry to the factory. He had to carry up two buckets of material, hanging from a yoke across his shoulders, to the “boiler” situated at the top of a flight of steps ....”.
Pope Wojtyla/3
The Trittico Romano
by John Paul II

On 6 March in the John Paul II Hall of the Press Office of the Holy See the launch of the new book of poems by the Pope took place, with the title, in Italian, Trittico romano – Meditazioni. The opening speech was given by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, while a critical comment on the texts was read by Professor Giovanni Reale. In the course of the presentation the actor Nando Gazzolo read some of the new poems by John Paul II. Along with a good number of journalists, seven cardinals, seven archbishops and three bishops from the Roman Curia also attended the event.
Towards the end of his critical comment, Professor Reale said: “Wojtyla unites in himself, - in different measure – the three great spiritual forces through which man has always sought the truth: “art”, philosophy”, “faith and religion”. The link between these three forces, in the unity in which they are found in Wojtyla, constitutes what Plato called the ‘daimon’, with which man is born and which accompanies him through life and which certain modern psychologists call the “code of the soul”. It is precisely this ‘daimon’ that accompanies Wojtyla, and which is constantly present in all that he does and says”.

The Iraqi Church
Monsignor Warduni: mercy on our children

Among the many appeals to avert the war in Iraq, a particularly touching one appeared in the pages of Avvenire on 18 March. It was made by Monsignor Shlemon Warduni, auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad of the Chaldees: “Have mercy on Iraqi children, have mercy on Iraqi youth, on the old people and women, who are truly desperate”.

either negotiation
or violence

“Two prospects face the world: the first maintains that conflicts can be resolved through negotiations and the way of law, the other claims that the way of violence is more direct and effective.” So said Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, Archbishop of Milan, on the occasion of a convention in Saint John Lateran. The words of the Milan Cardinal were reported by Marco Politi, in an article entitled Prudent and aligned; the bishops split in an article which appeared in Repubblica on March 26.
Cardinals /2
Estou: say the rosary at home
to ask for peace

Among the many interventions in favor of peace that of the Archbishop of Kinshasa, President of the Bishops’ Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Monsignor Frédéric Etsou-Nzabi-Bamungwabi stands out. At the end of a message which concluded by inviting the faithful to a mass celebrated by him at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Peace of Fatima, he said: “I ask Christian families to recite the Rosary in the evening in their homes, to obtain from the Holy Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, her intercession for a quick end to the war in Iraq”.

Baghdad like Montecassino

“Baghdad like Montecassino”. The Archbishop of Genoa, Tarcisio Bertone, guest yesterday morning at the annual convention of Caritas, uses very harsh words when he speaks of war. “The English and the Americans have no respect for the artistic and cultural heritage. They showed this in the Second World War, bombing sites of enormous interest and they are showing it now. This is the least important aspect of the war when compared to the loss of life – he adds – but nevertheless it represents a defeat for mankind”. From the Genovese news section of Repubblica on 30 March.

of peace /1
Chirac to the Pope

On 25 March the front page of La Stampa carried the letter sent four days previously to the Pope by French President Jacques Chirac. The letter says: “Peaceful reorganization of the region [Iraqi] should go hand in hand with the establishing of a lasting solution in the Middle East, which takes into account Israel’s secuity needs and respect for the rights of the Palestinian people [....] I have also in mind the safeguarding of the Christian community particularly threatened in this region of the Near and Middle East and towards which, we know, all the compassion and solicitude of Your Holiness goes. Further we must be careful that the Iraqi conflict does not feed the antagonism between civilizations and religions. It is there, I think, that one of our principal responsibilities before History lies.

of peace /2
Lula to the Pope

“At this very grave moment for the future of the world, I write to manifest the recognition and appreciation of all our people for the words pronounced and the actions performed by Your Holiness in favor of peace”. This is a passage from the letter sent to the Pope by Luiz Ignàcio Lula da Silva, the new President of Brazil, who wished the letter be delivered directly into the hands of the Pope by his Foreign Minister, Celso Luiz Nunez Amorim, received by the Pope on 31 March.
American hyper power and
virtual reality

A singular analysis appeared in the Repubblica of 16 March, written by George Soros, a controversial financier of Hungarian origin. The text runs: “I see the parallels between this pursuit of American supremacy by the Bush administration and the unrestrained growth, or bubbles, of the financial market. The bubbles are not created out of nothing. They have a solid basis in reality, but a mistaken interpretation distorts the reality. In this case, the dominant position of the United States is the reality, the pursuit of American supremacy is the mistaken interpretation. For a certain amount of time reality sustains the mistaken idea but, in the end, the gap between reality and false interpretation becomes unsustainable.
The US government
and Caligula

“Oderint dum metuant (let them hate me as long as they fear me): according to Suetonius, this was the motto of Caligula. It can’t be the motto of the USA, which says it went into Iraq to protect democracy, respect for UN resolutions, peaceful contrast of opinions and freedom of speech”. These are the closing lines of Sunday 23 March editorial in La Stampa by Barbara Spinelli.

Prayers and fasting for the American troops

“The US Congress has approved a motion in which President George Bush is asked to proclaim a national day of prayer and fasting to obtain divine protection for the American troops engaged on the front in Iraq”. Thus Repubblica on line of March 28.

The American
armed forces
and the chaplains
of Satan

“The American armed forces, a million four hundred counting soldiers and officiers, are the most integrated organization in the world, multi-ethnic, multi-religious and open-minded (some years ago, by constitutional decree, the “satanists of the army” asked for the institution of a “witchdoctor” as their chaplain, alongside to the priests, pastors rabbis and imams)”. So said Corriere dells Sera on April 1.

Sacred College
The death
of Cardinal Groer

24 March saw the death of 84 year old Benedictine Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, Archbishop of Vienna from 1986 until 1995.
The Sacred College is now composed of 170 Cardinals, of whom 112 would be electors in an eventual Conclave. The Austrian Cardinals are now three, of whom only one is an elector (the Archbishop of Vienna Christoph Schonborn). The more than ninety year old Cardinal Paul Augustin Mayer is actually now the only Benedictine Cardinal in the Sacred College.

Hebda Undersecretary
for legal texts

On 1 March the US Monsignor Bernard A. Hebba, was nominated Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for legal texts. Until now he was Secretary of the same department.

Marchisano also President of the Commission
for the Safeguarding of the Monuments of the Holy See

On March 8 Archbishop Francesco Marchisano was nominated President of the Permanent Commission for the Safeguarding of the Historical and Artistic Monuments of the Holy See. The Piemontese prelate, 74 years old in June, presently holds the following post: Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, Vicar General of the Pope for Vatican City, President of the Building of Saint Peter’s, President of the Papal Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church and that of Sacred Archaeology.

Vela Chiriboga Archbishop
of Quito

On 21 March the Pope accepted the resignation of Cardinal Antonio José Gonzalez Zumarraga, 78 years old, from the position of Archbishop of Quito. In his place Monsignor Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga, 69 years old, bishop since 1972, Military Ordinary of Ecuador since 1989.

D’Ambrosio Archbishop of Manfredonia, Beschi auxiliary in Brescia

On 8 March Domenico Umberto D’Ambrosio was nominated Archbishop of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo and delegate of the Holy See for the Charity of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. D’Ambrosio, 62 years old, and a native of his new diocese, was Archbishop of Foggia-Bovino from 1999, and had formerly been in charge of the diocese of Termoli-Larino.
On 25 march Monsignor Francesco Beschi, 52 years old, originally from the Lombard city, was nominated auxiliary Bishop of Brescia. He takes the place of Virgilio Mario Olmi, who was 75 years old last August.

Périsset Nuncio
in Moldova also

On 22 March the Swiss Archbishop Jean-Claude Périsset, 64 years old, Apostolic Nuncio in Romania since 1998, was nominated papal representative in Moldova also. Until now representation to Chisinau was effected by the Nuncio in Hungary.

A mission “sui iuris” set up

From 16 May of last year a “sui iuris” mission was set up in Afghanistan. The news, which was not at the time published in the Bulletin of the Holy See, derives from the 2003 edition of the Pontifical Yearbook. It is the first time that the tormented Asiatic country has been given an Ecclesiastical Catholic District. The Barnabite Father Giuseppe Moratti , 65 years old from Recanati, who was chaplain to the Italian embassy in Kabul since 1994,was nominated head of the mission.

First Vatican- Israeli Rabbinate Summit

On 3 March the Press Office of the Holy See issued a joint communiqué from the mixed Commission for Catholic-Hebrew dialogue, which met from 23 to 27 February in Grottaferrata. At the meeting, the first of its kind, a delegation from the Grand Rabbinate of Israel (presided over by Rabbi Shar Yishuv Cohen) and a delegation of the Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with Judaism (presided over by Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia) participated. The communiqué speaks of “ample convergence on the two fundamental themes dealt with: the sanctity of life and family values). q


The church under coalition bombs

Monsignor Shlemon Warduni, auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad of the Chaldees, on 27 March launched an appeal on behalf of the Christian churches in Iraq, for the cessation of the war (while another of the interminable bombings of Baghdad was taking place), by means of a phone call to Teleradiopace which broadcsts from the diocese of Chiavari. In the course of the telephone call Warduni confirmed that the Chaldean Patriarchate of Baghdad was closed because it was damaged by the bombings of 21 March. Monsignor Emmanuel-Karim Dally, formerly auxiliary Bishop of the Chaldean Patriarchate of Baghdad, was injured in the bombings. Reporting these facts was the Misna news agency which had also recently given news of other Catholic churches hit and damaged by coalition bombing. But obviously it is not only churches that have been hit. The Latin Archbishop of Baghdad, Monsignor Jean Benjamin Sleiman, in a declaration reported by the National Catholic Reporter, of 28 March, stated that the first victim of coalition bombings was a young Chaldean Catholic.


Mitzna: peace and Great Israel

After the bomb in Haifa (of 5 March, which caused 25 deaths and left 50 injured) the Labor leader Amram Mitzna, formerly mayor of Haifa for about ten years, gave an interview to Unità of which we report two passages: “It is necessary to break this bloody spiral through clear decisions both in the political field and in the operative sphere, otherwise we remain prisoners of a vicious circle whereby response to a terrorist attempt provokes a bloody reaction which in turn sets off other terrorist attempts [....]. It is an illusion, a tragic illusion, to think of continuing to want to lead a normal life and at the same time considering it possible to achieve the plan for Great Israel. This plan, which of necessity carries with it control of three and a half million Palestinians, is irreconcilable with the objective, which was that of the Zionist pioneers, of making Israel a normal country, safe and wholly integrated into the reality of the Middle East”.


Church and Eucharist

At the Angelus of 31 March the Pope announced that on Holy Thursday, 17 April, he will sign his fourteenth encyclical. The theme of the new papal document is the sacrament of the Eucharist. Expected title: Church and Eucharist.


Jimmy Carter and the eschatological war

“As a Christian and as a President who faced difficult international crises, I gained great familiarity with the principles of a just war and it is clear that a substantially unilateral attack on Iraq does not enter into these parameters. This is an opinion shared almost universally by religious leaders, among the exceptions some spokesmen of the Baptist Congregation stand out, on whom weighs the concern for Israel, based on an eschatological or last day theology,”. So said the former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, in an article for the New York times, which appeared in Italy, in Repubblica on 10 March.

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