from issue no.08 - 2007


Martini: «I love latin, but…»

Carlo Maria Martini

Carlo Maria Martini

The Sunday insert of the Il Sole 24 Ore of 29 July carried an article by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, Archbishop Emeritus of Milan, on the motu proprio that liberalizes the celebration of the mass according to the ancient rite. Thus the Cardinal: «The ancient rite was that of my first communion, of my initial experiences as an altar boy, of the contacts with the Word of God offered by the liturgy. It was the rite of my priestly ordination, of my masses, of the sacraments received». And, following: «I would therefore have the credentials to benefit from the recent motu proprio and to return to celebrating the mass with the ancient rite. But I shall not do so». After having listed the reasons for this choice, he points out the difficulties of bishops, who cannot «multiply the celebrations», nor find ministers capable of «filling all requirements».


Brzezinski against the American anti-missile bases in Poland

Pope Benedict XVI during  
the Angelus of Sunday 29 July

Pope Benedict XVI during the Angelus of Sunday 29 July

The installation of US antimissile systems in Poland? «Zbigniew Brzezinski is right when he describes the initiative as clumsy and irritating, because of the unjustified positioning “next door” to Russia». Thus Arrigo Levi, in an article that appeared in La Stampa of 31 July under the heading Nuclear warfare, the fears of the Pope, commenting on the appeal of Benedict XVI, at the Angelus of 29 July, for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Pope Benedict XVI with the children

Pope Benedict XVI with the children

The wonderful creation and the spaces of hell

«So, if men live in peace with God and among themselves, the earth truly resembles a “paradise”. Sin unfortunately always spoils this divine plan over and over again, generating divisions and causing death to enter the world. It happens therefore that men yield to the temptations of the Evil One and make war on each other. The consequence is that in this wonderful “garden” that is the world spaces of “hell” also open up». Thus the Pope at the Angelus recited in Lorenzago di Cadore on 22 July last. The ninetieth anniversary of the famous Note to the belligerent powers written by Benedict XV fell that day. Benedict XVI had the following to say in remembering that document: «While that appalling conflict raged, the Pope had the courage to assert that it was a “futile slaughter”. This expression of his has been recorded in history. It was justified in the concrete situation of that summer of 1917, especially on the Veneto front. But those words, “futile slaughter”, contain also a wider, prophetic meaning, and can also be applied to many other conflicts».

Sacred College
The resignation of Cardinal Keeler in Baltimore. O’Brien in his place

On 12 July the resignation as pastoral head of the archdiocese of Baltimore (US), presented by Cardinal William Henry Keeler, who was 76 years old in March, was accepted. In his place 68 year-old Edwin Frederick O’Brien, originally from New York (Bronx), military ordinary since 1997, was nominated. Ordained priest by Cardinal Francis Spellman in 1965, for the archdiocese of New York, he gained his doctorate in Moral Theology at the Saint Thomas of Aquinas Pontifical University in Rome. From 1990 to 1994 he was Rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Nominated auxiliary of New York in 1996, in April 1997 he was nominated coadjutant archbishop of the military Ordinate, of which he became ordinary the following August. From 2005 to 2006 he was the coordinator of the Apostolic Visitation of the seminaries and training houses in the United States.

Middle East/1
Arrigo Levi: Israel should negotiate with anyone who wants to negotiate

To negotiate with Hamas or not? The editorial of La Stampa of 20 July, signed by Arrigo Levi, with the title Israel, peace is made with enemies, focused on this question. Here is a passage from it: «What history teaches, however, or so at least it seems to me, is that it will never be military force that will save Israel, even if Israeli military power is a necessary precondition for the survival of the State of Israel; and that the way of negotiation, with whoever agrees, in whatever way and by whatever means, publicly or confidentially, to open negotiations with Israel, even if also putting off to the end and hypothetical success of negotiations the public and final recognition of Israel, still remains the right way; even if it is no guarantee at all that it will lead to success. To explore the possibility of opening this path, however difficult it may appear, seems to me right today, as it was right ten or twenty or thirty years ago: all the Israeli governments of the past have always left open or ajar the way of negotiation, with whomever recognized or did not recognize Israel, provided that they were disposed to negotiate with Israel».

Middle East/2
Powell: Hamas won the elections wanted by the West

«I don’t believe that a solution to the problems of the region can be sought without taking into account the role that Hamas performs in the Palestinian community». Thus Colins Powell, for whom Hamas «won the elections that we insisted should be held». The words of the former Secretary of State of the United States were reprinted by the Corriere della Sera of 20 July.

Middle East/3
UNICEF: the Iraqi children were better off under Saddam

«In Iraq people were better off under the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein. Two years ago the former Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi declared as much in an interview and the specialist at the UN Commission of Human Rights Jean Ziegler in a report. The majority of Iraqis then confirmed it on the numerous occasions they were consulted by research centers and opinion polls. This time the statement came from the UN Foundation for Children: “The children in Iraq”, Daniel Toole, director of the UNICEF emergency programs, said yesterday at a press conference in Geneva “are much worse off than a year ago and certainly much worse off than they were three years ago”». So began an article in la Repubblica of 17 July.

Félix del Blanco Prieto new Almoner of His Holiness

On 28 July the resignation presented by 78 year-old Archbishop Oscar Rizzato from the post of Almoner of His Holiness was accepted. In his place the 70 year-old Spanish Archbishop Félix del Blanco Prieto, apostolic nuncio to Malta and Libya since 2003, was nominated. The new Almoner, ordained priest in 1961, entered the Vatican diplomatic service in 1968 and has worked in the pontifical legations of Spain, Mexico, Argentina, and Austria. From 1988 to 1991 he worked in the Secretariat of State, as second secretary of Cardinal Agostino Casaroli. In 1991 he was nominated archbishop and apostolic nuncio to São Tomé and Príncipe and apostolic delegate to Angola. From 1996 to 2003 he was nuncio to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.

New undersecretary at Saints

On 14 July 63 year-old Monsignor Marcello Bartolucci, was nominated undersecretary of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. An Umbrian from Valfabbrica (province of Perugia and diocese of Assisi), priest since 1968, he was till now office assistant in the same ministry.

The second secretary of the Pope coadjutor of Leopoli

On 16 July 46 year-old Monsignor Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki, second secretary of the Pontiff, was nominated coadjutant of Marian Jaworski, the cardinal archbishop of Lviv of the Latins (in Ukraine). Mokrzycki was born in Poland and ordained priest in 1987 by Bishop Jaworski, then apostolic administrator of the archdiocese of Lviv of the Latins with his residence in Lubaczów in Poland. In 1991, with the restoration of the archdiocese of Lviv of the Latins, he moved to that ecclesiastical district. After having been secretary of Bishop Jaworski, Mokrzycki was an offficial of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments from 1995 to 1996, when he entered service in the particular secretariat of John Paul II and, more recently, of Benedict XVI.

Two new prelates auditors to the Roman Rota

On 5 May two new prelate auditors were nominated to the Court of the Roman Rota. They are 45 year-old Spanish Monsignor Alejandro Arellano Cedillo, judge of the Rota of the apostolic nunciature in Madrid, and the 48 year-old Indian Michael Xavier Leo Arokiaraj, head of the chancellery of the same Roman Rota.

The mysteries of Via Rasella

The Vatican expert Andrea Tornielli has recently published a biography of Pius XII (Pio XII. Eugenio Pacelli. Un uomo sul trono di Pietro) [Pius XII. Eugenio Pacelli. A man on the throne of Peter], Mondadori, Milan 2007, 661 pp., 24,00 euro). On 28 July Corriere della Sera printed a harsh comment by historian Sergio Luzzatto on the book’s treatment of the massacre of Via Rasella in Rome on 23 March 1944, which was followed by the ferocious reprisal of the Fosse Ardeatine. The controversy concerned the people killed in Via Rasella. According to Tornielli the victims of the partisan bomb are alleged to have been «non-combatants», while according to Luzzatto the regiment of the «SS Polizei Bozen, to which they belonged, took part in some of the more ferocious episodes of the war against the partisans in Italy». The following day Tornielli, again in the Corriere della Sera, specified that the antipartisan repressions should be imputed to other “SS Bozen” battalions, while the one in question, called such only after the massacre, was made up of Italian soldiers who, among other things, refused to participate in the Ardeatine slaughter. Luzzatto, in return, repeated his accusation that the soldiers were «collaborators».

Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Don Giuseppe Costa new managing director

Since 1 July the Libreria Editrice Vaticana [Vatican Bookshop Publishing House] has had a new managing director. He is Don Giuseppe Costa, a Salesian, who takes over from his confrere Don Claudio Rossini. The nomination was made public on 24 July. Don Costa, formerly publishing director of Società Editrice Internazionale (SEI), comes originally from Gela, in Sicily. Teacher of journalism in the Faculty of the Sciences of Communication at the Pontifical Salesian University (PSU) he is author of various publications on radio and television communication and written communication. Worth mentioning among these are Dietro il giornale. Elementi di storia, teoria e pratica [Behind the newspaper. Elements of history, theory and practice] (LAS, 2004, 186 pp., 13,00 euro), and Giornalismo. Teoria e pratica [Journalism. Theory and practice] (LAS, 2006, 316 pp., 21,00 euro) written with Angelo Paoluzzi.

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