from issue no.06/07 - 2007


The death of Father Marchesi

Father Giovanni Marchesi

Father Giovanni Marchesi

Among the authoritative Jesuits of La Civiltà Cattolica Father Giovanni Marchesi, who died prematurely in recent days, was particularly well known for the breadth of his personal field of apostolate. It went from the Christological Conventions promoted by Cardinal Angelini to the Philatelic Council. The depth of his analyses and strong human sympathy made him a point of reference for many people from very diverse fields.
He will not be forgotten.

Giulio Andreotti


Mubarak, Pope Benedict and Saint Francis

Francis before the Sultan

Francis before the Sultan

«In my opinion, a clash of civilizations or religions does not exist, but a clash of interests does. The conflicts we see today find their motivation in political groups in search of dominion and destruction that take religions hostage and manipulate them in order to achieve their objectives. Looking back at the history of Saint Francis and those who followed his example in the thirteenth century, we can feel a hope. Today, in all the religions there are still those who follow the example of the saint and are determined to build bridges between the followers of different religions and to promote peace between civilizations». This is the closure of a speech by the President of Egypt, Muhammad Hosni Mubarak, contained in a volume given to the Pope on the occasion of the visit to Assisi and printed in full in la Repubblica of 17 June.


Return to the two-thirds tradition

Cardinals entering conclave

Cardinals entering conclave

On 26 June the motu proprio of Benedict XVI concerning some changes in the norms relative to the election of the Roman Pontiff was published. In the document, that carries the date of 11 June, the Pope recalls that, after the promulgation of the apostolic constitution Universi Dominici gregis of 1996, different “authoritative solicitations” (auctoritate insignes) reached John Paul II requesting the restoration of the traditional norm, according to which for the valid election of the Roman Pontiff two-thirds of the votes of the cardinal electors present were always necessary. And with the motu proprio Benedict XVI restores this traditional norm. According to the new dispositions, after the thirty-third or thirty-fourth poll, voting by ballot between the two cardinals who have received the greater number of votes in the last count begins directly. Also in this case, however, a majority of two-thirds will be necessary. It is further specified that the two cardinals left in the running for the election will not be able to participate actively in the ballot, and will have therefore only eligibility for election. Before this motu proprio, the Universi Dominici gregis established – in point 75 – that after the thirty-third or thirty-fourth poll, should the electorate not have reached an agreement, the cardinals could decide, by absolute majority (that is half plus one of the electors present), that polling could go ahead in which «simple absolute majority» was sufficient. This change broke a centuries-old tradition. That is now restored.
The motu proprio was published only in Latin. Further on we publish our translation in English.


With the apostolic constitution Universi Dominici gregis1, promulgated on 22 February 1996, our venerable predecessor John Paul II introduced some changes in the canonical norms to be observed in the election of the Roman Pontiff that had been fixed by Paul VI of happy memory2.
In paragraph 75 of the cited constitution it was established that, all the polls having been carried out without result according to all the fixed norms, in which two-thirds of the votes of all present are required for the Roman Pontiff to be validly elected, the cardinal chamberlain should consult the cardinals electors on the way to proceed, and the criterion decided by absolute majority be followed, maintaining however the principle that the election be considered valid either by absolute majority of the votes, or otherwise only voting for the two names that in the previous count gained the greater number of votes, simple absolute majority being also required in this case.
However, after the promulgation of the above cited constitution, many authoritative solicitations reached John Paul II that the norm sanctioned by tradition be restored, according to which the Roman Pontiff was not validly elected if he had not obtained two-thirds of the votes of the cardinals electors present.
We, therefore, after weighing the issue carefully, establish and decree that, the norms prescribed in paragraph 75 of the apostolic constitution Universi Dominici gregis of John Paul II being revoked, these said norms are replaced by what follow:
If the polls to which paragraphs 72, 73 and 74 of the cited constitution refer produce no results, a day dedicated to prayer, reflection and dialogue should be observed; then, in the successive polls, maintaining the order established in paragraph 74 of the same constitution, only the two cardinals who in the previous poll have obtained the greater number of votes are eligible, the criterion according to which in these ballots also the qualified majority of the cardinals present is demanded for the validity of the election must be observed. However, in these polls, the two eligible cardinals do not have the right to vote.
This document will come into force as soon as it is published in L’Osservatore Romano. This we decree and establish, notwithstanding all contrary opinion.
Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, 11 June 2007, third year of Our Pontificate.


1John Paul II, apostolic constitution Universi Dominici gregis, 22 February 1996, in AAS 88 (1996) 305-343.
2 Paul VI, apostolic constitution Romano Pontifici eligendo, 1 October 1975, in AAS 67 (1975) 605-645.


The assassination of Don Popieluszko

Don Jerzy Popieluszko

Don Jerzy Popieluszko

In the Corriere della Sera of 30 June, Alberto Melloni analyzed the content of two books by Giovanni Barberini, Al di là della cortina di ferro. Ricordi di un viaggiatore solitario [Beyond the Iron Curtain. Memories of a solitary traveler] and L’Ostpolitik della Santa Sede. Un dialogo lungo e faticoso [The Ostpolitik of the Holy See. A long and laborious dialogue]. In narrating events in Poland, Melloni notes, the author dwells on the realistic policy adopted by the Polish ecclesiastical hierarchies towards the communist regime. The main advocate of this policy was Cardinal Wyszinski. The decision «to make Glemp primate of Poland» was due to the authority of Wyszinski himself, according to Barberini, and not to a preference of Pope Wojtyla. Melloni continues: «Glemp, notwithstanding the Polish Pope, continues that direct dialogue (19 meetings in 9 years) with a Communist Party ever more discredited but that at the same time appears the only fragile buffer between Poland and the invasion by the “brother countries” in the name of limited sovereignty. Two episodes cited by Barberini are proof of this. The first one (to be found in the memoir) was the decision of Jaruzelski to inform Glemp with three hours notice of the introduction of martial law, at dawn on 13 December 1981: a gesture of respect and patriotic complicity that not everybody, in the Polish Rome of the early ’eighties, were able to appreciate. The second (taken from the more recent essay) regards the business of Don Popieluszko, the audacious preacher tortured to death by a squad of secret service agents on 19 October 1984. Glemp had known already for some months, and not by intuition, that the circle that wanted to put the tacit dialogue between Church and government in crisis, was tightening around the priest and therefore warned Father Popieluszko, inviting him to leave the dangerous private apartment to which the priest had moved for a diversionary stay in Rome; but the priest asked the cardinal for a written document (and therefore a sanction) that Glemp did not want to inflict on him, becoming thereby an impotent spectator of his massacre».

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

The citizens of the West prefer Putin to Bush

«The majority of public opinion in Great Britain, Germany and Canada, three countries who are allies of the USA, trusts the choices of the Russian president Vladimir Putin in foreign policy more than those of George W. Bush. It is one of the indications that emerge from a report on how the world sees the USA, carried out by an American research institute with interviews of 45 thousand people from 47 countries». Thus in Avvenire of 28 June.

Kissinger and the neocons

«Often I am in agreement with the analyses of the neocons, rarely with their solutions. The neocons are not strategic analysts. They are backwards trockists, they believe that foreign policy is only an aspect of domestic policy. The neocons are in search of worldwide harmony, of a universal happiness to be obtained by overthrowing regimes». So Henry Kissinger, in an interview given to the German Die Zeit and reprinted by la Repubblica on 28 June. In the continuation of the interview, the former American Secretary of State explains that the neocons «if they could, would overturn the Chinese, Russian, Iranian and also the North Korean governments; and they would define it as long term strategy. I believe instead that we Americans have neither the ability, nor the constancy for being the godfathers of the universe».

Sacred College
The death of Cardinal Angelo Felici

On 17 June Cardinal Angelo Felici, originally from Segni, in the province of Rome, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints and President Emeritus of the Pontifical Commission «Ecclesia Dei», died at the age of 88. At the end of June the Sacred College therefore is made up of 183 cardinals, of which 105 are electors.

Al-Zawahiri saved by Rumsfeld

Such was the La Stampa headline on 9 July. «At the beginning of 2005 the special forces and the CIA were about to launch a large-scale raid in Pakistan to capture an al-Qaida leader, but the then Secretary for Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, imposed a veto fearing an excessive number of casualties and a serious weakening of President Pervez Musharraf. An inquiry published by The New York Times and based on the testimonies of a dozen American operatives reconstructs what happened in the first months of 2005». This the opening of an article by Maurizio Molinari. The terrorist in question would have been Haitman al-Yemeni, very close to the bloodthirsty Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of al-Qaida.

The New York Times against the war

«It is time for the United States to leave Iraq without further delay except the time needed by the Pentagon to organize an orderly re-entry». This the beginning of the editorial of The New York Times of 8 July, reprinted in la Repubblica of the following day. The editorial continues: «Up to now we have postponed any conclusion in the hope that the president prove capable of extricating himself from the disaster that he himself had created».

Roman Curia/1
Sandri Prefect of the Eastern Churches and Filoni substitute

On 9 June the resignation due to age limit of Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud from the role of Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches was accepted. In his place the Argentine archbishop Leonardo Sandri, 64 years old in November, until now substitute for the General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, was nominated. Sandri, ordained priest in 1967 for the archdiocese of Buenos Aires, received his degree in Theology at the Argentine Catholic University and his Master’s in Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He entered the diplomatic Service of the Holy See in 1974, and worked in the Pontifical Representation in Madagascar and subsequently, from 1977 to 1989, in the Secretariat of State; finally, from 1989 to 1991, serving as counselor at the Apostolic Nunciature in the United States and the Organization of American States. In August 1991 he was nominated regent of the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household and in April 1992 councilor for the General Affairs of the Secretariat of State. In July 1997 Sandri was nominated archbishop and apostolic nuncio to Venezuela. In March 2000 he was nominated nuncio to Mexico and in the following September he was nominated substitute for the General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.
On 9 June also the new substitute for the General Affairs of the Secretariat of State was nominated. He is 61 year-old Archbishop Fernando Filoni, originally from Puglia, nuncio to the Philippines since February 2006. Filoni, ordained priest in 1970 for the diocese of Nardò, graduated in Philosophy and Canon Law. He entered the diplomatic Service of the Holy See in 1981, and subsequently worked in the Pontifical Representations in Sri Lanka and in Iran, at the Secretariat of State, in Brazil and in the Philippines. In January 2001 he was made archbishop and nominated nuncio to Jordan and Iraq, where he remained until 2006.

Roman Curia/2
Tauran at Inter-religious Dialogue. Farina archivist and librarian

On 25 June the French cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, Archivist and Librarian of Holy Roman Church since 2003, was nominated president of the Papal Council for Inter-religious dialogue. The handing over ceremony from the outgoing president, Cardinal Paul Poupard, will take place on 1 September next. From 1990 to 2003, when he was created cardinal, Tauran held the post of Secretary for the Relations with the States in the Secretariat of State.
On 25 June also, the Salesian bishop Raffaele Farina, until now Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library, was nominated new archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church, and promoted at the same time to archiepiscopal dignity. Farina, 74 years old in September, originally from Campania, formerly rector of the Salesian Pontifical University, was prefect from 1997 and was nominated bishop in November 2006.
On 25 June also 57 year-old Monsignor Cesar Pasini, from Milan, until now vice-prefect of the Veneranda Ambrosian Library, was nominated Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library.

Foley pro-grand master of the Holy Sepulcher, Celli to Social Communications, Calcagno Secretary of APSA

On 27 June the resignation presented, for reasons of age, by Cardinal Carlo Furno from the post of Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, was accepted and the American archbishop John Patrick Foley, 72 years old in November, president since 1984 of the Papal Commission for Social Communications, become Pontifical Council in 1988, was nominated pro-grand master of the same Equestrian Order.
On 27 June also the 66 year-old archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, from Rimini, secretary of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See since 1995, was nominated president of the Papal Council. On 7 July, 64 year-old Domenico Calcagno, bishop of Savona-Noli since 2002, was nominated in his place.

New undersecretary at Migrants

On 28 June 50 year-old Monsignor Novatus Rugambwa, until now counselor of the Apostolic Nunciature in Indonesia, was nominated undersecretary of the Papal Council of the Pastoral for Migrants and Travelers. Originally from Tanzania, Monsignor Rugambwa was ordained priest in 1986. Graduated in Canon Law, he entered the diplomatic Service of the Holy See in 1991. Before working in Jakarta he served in the Pontifical Representations in Panama, the Republic of the Congo, Pakistan and New Zealand.

New nunciature in Africa for Burkina Faso and Niger

On 12 June 54 year-old Monsignor Vito Rallo, a Sicilian, was nominated archbishop and apostolic nuncio to Burkina Faso and Niger. Ordained priest in 1979 for the diocese of Mazara del Vallo, Rallo graduated in utroque iure and entered the diplomatic Service of the Holy See in 1988, subsequently working in the Pontifical Representations in Korea, Senegal, Mexico, Canada, Lebanon, Spain and, lastly, as special envoy and permanent observer of the Holy See, at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

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