from issue no.09 - 2007


Alexei II and the motu proprio on the mass of Saint Pius V

The Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias Alexei II and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Paris, 3 October 2007

The Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias Alexei II and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Paris, 3 October 2007

«The recovery and the valorization of the ancient liturgical tradition is a fact that we greet positively. We hold greatly to Tradition. Without the faithful safeguarding of the liturgical tradition, the Russian Orthodox Church would not have been in a position to resist in the age of persecution». Thus Alexei II, Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias, in an interview given to Andrea Tornielli in il Giornale of 29 August.


The humility of the faith in Jesus

IJesus and the adulteress/I, Rembrandt, National Gallery, London

IJesus and the adulteress/I, Rembrandt, National Gallery, London

«If God does not exist everything is possible». This famous expression of Feydor Dostoevsky is at the heart of an interesting reflection on the relationship between State and Church by Gustavo Zagrebelsky that appeared in the la Repubblica of 14 September. «In any case, this at least must be granted: faith in God is not in itself a guarantee of modesty, exactly as lack of faith in God is not in itself a necessary presupposition of pride. Everyone is at risk and nobody can boast assurances, whereas the disdain for non-believers in God, that Dostoevsky’s maxim conceals, is properly and precisely a fruit of that pride that it means to condemn. The usefulness or the danger of religion as remedy against self-disintegrating social trends depends also perhaps on its self-understanding, as religion of truth or religion of charity. The dilemma is particularly sharp for Christianity, born originally, in the first small communities, as a religion of charity (the Sermon on the Mount and the first two commandments: “You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your spirit and with all your mind” and “You will love your neighbor as yourself”, Mt 22, 37.39) when the truth (“I am the truth”: Jn 14, 6) was not a complex of theological propositions nor, even less, of theologico-political ones, but simply the acknowledgment and the professing of Jesus, the Christ». The author concludes: «In short, there is here in a nutshell the contrast between the arrogance of truth and the humility of charity. The first – despite all contrary proclamations by the self-interested – seeks power, the second rejects it».


Israel and the Shoah

Children in a concentration camp

Children in a concentration camp

«Note down author, title, publisher: Zertal, Israele e la Shoah [Zertal, Israel and the Shoah], Einaudi. This is a history book that should be obligatory reading for all those – politicians, journalists, the various “experts” – who every day pontificate here among us, on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and on the Middle East question in general». So opens Sergio Luzzatto’s book review in the Corriere della Sera of 4 October (title: “Israel and the Shoa, the secret weapon of Ben Gurion, from the need of heroes to the cult of tragedy. And the myth becomes history”) of the last book by Idith Zertal, described in the article as a historian «among those better known and appreciated in Israel». The leading figure in the book is the charismatic Labour leader Ben Gurion who, while the Holocaust was taking place in Europe, conceived «an extremely lucid, even if vaguely cynical, scheme: he decided to spend the repercussions of the Shoah as currency in the market of international politics». In particular, it was a matter of «taking control of the revolts in the ghettos in a nationalistic key, to propitiate the creation of an independent Jewish state». This exaltation of the Jewish uprisings against the Nazi executioner, is claimed by the author to have coexisted with a «blanket of silence» spread over the victims of the Holocaust itself, in so much as, on the eve of the war of independence of 1948, «the Zionist leadership needed heroes, not victims». It was following the trial of Adolf Eichmann, when Israel «was invited to measure the enormity of what had happened to the Jews of Europe», that the old Ben Gurion began to work out «a national pedagogy founded on the tragedy. More: on the transformation of Israel from a secular society to a messianic entity, from an ordinary state among states to a Biblical community of the Catastrophe and the Redemption». After him, «Moshe Dayan was able to parse as will to power the paradigm of the sacredness of the land of Israel. Land threatened by the “Arab Nazis”, who were prepared to perpetrate the “second Shoah”. Land therefore to defend, but also land to enlarge, in order to restore to the sons of David the entirety of ancient Isirael [...]. But the political and propagandistic choice of shifting the Shoah to the Middle East has cost Israel a very high price. Not only the demonization of the Arab leadership made much more hostile by the enormity of the accusations. Also the banalization of the horrors perpetrated by the Germans between 1941 and 1945. Therefore, in the last analysis, the debasement of the suffering of six million victims».

Sacred College
The deaths of Cardinals Lustiger, Gagnon and Kozlowiecki. The eightieth birthday of Szoka

On 5 August the 81 year-old French cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, Archbishop of Paris from 1981 to 2005, died. On 25 August the 89 year-old Canadian Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, a Sulpician, president emeritus of the Papal Council for the Family, died. On 28 September 96 year-old Cardinal Adam Kozlowiecki, Polish missionary Jesuit, archbishop of Lusaka in Zambia from 1959 to 1969, died.
On 14 September the American cardinal of Polish origin Edmund Casimir Szoka, president emeritus of the Papal Commission for the Vatican City State was eighty years old.
At the end of September therefore the Sacred College was composed of 180 cardinals, of whom 104 are electors.

Scola and the power of the Spirit

On 11 September the Patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Angelo Scola, attended an assembly of priests, religious and lay people of his diocese. The Avvenire of the following day reported the cardinal’s conclusion: “We don’t have to do other than obey circumstances and see how to shape these indications within our situation”. The method and the style? Always Communion, that urges in any case the exclusion of every “form of resistance to the power of the Spirit”».

Silvestrini and the judgment according to the Gospel

On 26 September Cardinal Achille Silvestrini celebrated a mass for the repose of the soul of Bruno Trentin, one of the leaders of the CGIL, a month after his death. The passage from the Gospel chosen by the cardinal stirred curiosity. In a short interview that appeared the following day, a Corriere delle Sera reporter asked the cardinal for an explanation. This was the cardinal’s answer: «I wanted to recall that, as the Evangelist writes, the final judgment of Christ will not be made on doctrine [...]. Christ asks if you have given the hungry to eat, the thirsty to drink, in particular if you have been of help to “the least” of your brethren. The just, the Gospel says, are not even aware that they have acted for the sake of Jesus, nevertheless Jesus says to them: “Come you blessed of my Father”».

Northern Ireland
The English and the path of hope

«The English have chosen the path of hope: the hope of reconciling the two sides in battle, an enterprise that seemed impossible». This comment, that appeared in Avvenire on 1 August, by the archbishop emeritus of Armagh, Cardinal Cathal Brendan Daly, at the news of the return to the motherland of the last English military contingent stationed in Ulster, as foreseen by the peace process that has bloomed in Northern Ireland.

War on terrorism/1
UK opens to the Taliban

«The British Minister of Defense, Des Browne, emphasized yesterday the need for the Taliban to be involved in the peace process, to the benefit of the entire territory, constantly scarred by bloody violence». This was the opening of an article that appeared in L’Osservatore Romano of 26 September on the current situation in Afghanistan.

War on terrorism/2
«September 11 has made us stupid... »

«September 11 has made us stupid... I honor, and weep for, all those murdered on that day. But our reaction to 9/11, mine included, has knocked America completely out of balance and it is time to get things right again... I will not vote for any candidate running on 9/11. I will only vote for the 9/12 candidate». So states Thomas Friedman, famous editorial writer of the New York Times, reprinted by Corriere della Sera of 1 October.

War on terrorism/3
The ideological war and reality

In La Stampa of 30 September an interesting editorial by Barbara Spinelli appeared. We quote some passages from it: «The war against terrorism in which we have been immersed for years by now is taking on bizarre aspects, without precedent in recent history. It is ever more an ideological offensive, that peremptorily eliminates facts, uncomfortable protagonists, contradictions. To engage in ideology means to invent a world, to substitute it for reality». Afterwards he recalled the words of a Bush adviser to an academic in 2002: «The world at this point functions in a different way. We are now an empire, and when we act we create our own reality. A reality that you observers study, and on which we shall then create others that you will also study». The adversary-saboteurs are accused of belonging to the so-called “reality-based community”. Spinelli concludes: «Europe will have the job of putting pressure on America, so that it regains not leadership, but a little common sense at least [...]. So that the right of citizenship be restored to the community that politics wants to construct on the principle of reality».

Bishop the Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archive, a vice nominated

On 4 August the 59 year-old Barnabite Father Sergio Pagano, Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archive, was elevated to episcopal dignity and assigned the titular see of Celene. Originally from Genoa, Pagano entered the Barnabites in 1966 and was ordained priest in 1978. Also in 1978 he entered the VSA, and has been Prefect of it since 1997.
On 29 September the French Jesuit, Marcel Chappin, was nominated vice-prefect of the VSA. Up to now he was in charge of the historical Archive of the Secretariat of State (Relations with the States Section).

Ravasi President of the Pontifical Council of Culture

On 3 September the resignation presented by 77 year-old Cardinal Paul Poupard, from the position of president of the Papal Council for Culture was received, and 65 year-old Monsignor Gianfranco Ravasi, up to now Prefect of the Venerable Ambrosian Library, was called to succeed him, who was at the same time nominated titular archbishop of Villamagna di Proconsolare as well as President of the Papal Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church and of Sacred Archaeology. Originally from Merate (LC), Ravasi is a priest since 1966.

Di Mauro Secretary of the Prefecture for the Economic Transactions of the Holy See

On 3 September the resignation presented by 77 year-old Bishop Franco Croci, from the position of Secretary of the Prefecture of the Economic Transactions of the Holy See was received and 56 year-old Vincenzo Di Mauro, delegate since 2004 to the ordinary Section of the administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See was called to succeed him, who was at the same time elevated to the titular episcopal See of Arpi. Born in Monza (MI), Di Mauro completed his theological studies in the Milan seminaries of Saronno and Venegono and was ordained priest in 1976. Graduated in Modern Letters and Journalism from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, he was parochial vicar and then, from 1984 to 1987, diocesan assistant of Catholic Action for Youth and assistant to the Catholic teachers. In 1991 he was assistant to the archbishop for the chair for non-believers. In 1994 he was taken on by the Papal Council for the Laity, with the assignment of attending to the Movements and Associations Section, and was nominated office head in 1995. In 1998, and until 2004, he returned to Milan where he was parish priest in Saint Maria di Caravaggio.

A Nigerian head of Protocol of the Secretariat of State

On 4 September 47 year-old Monsignor Fortunatus Nwachukwu, a Nigerian, nunciature counselor, was nominated head of Protocol of the Secretariat of State. Ordained priest in 1984, a graduate in Dogmatic Theology, Monsignor Nwachukwu entered the diplomatic Service of the Holy See in 1994 and has worked in the apostolic nunciatures in Ghana, Paraguay, Algeria, in the the UN office in Geneva and, lastly, in the Relationships with the States Section of the Secretariat of State.

Guido Marini new Papal Master of Ceremonies

On 1 October Don Guido Marini, 42 year-old Genovese, was nominated new Master of the Papal Liturgical Celebrations. Ordained priest in 1989, Marini obtained his doctorate in utroque iure in Rome at the Pontifical Lateran University and, in 2007, the abbreviated bachelors in Psychology of Communications at the Pontifical Salesian University. From 1988 to 2003 he was private secretary of the archbishops of Genoa: Cardinal Giovanni Canestri (until 1995), Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi (until 2002) and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. He was also master of the liturgical celebrations of cardinals Tettamanzi and Bertone, as well as of the actual Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco. In 2005 he was nominated archiepiscopal chancellor. From 1992 he taught Canon Law at the Genoa Section of the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy. In 2002 he was nominated canon of the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, of which he is prefect since 2003. Since 2004 he also carries out the office of spiritual director of the archiepiscopal Seminary of Genoa.
Guido Marini takes the place of 65 year-old Bishop Piero Marini, Master of Papal Ceremonies for the past twenty years, who also on 1 October was nominated president of the Papal Committee for the International Eucharistic Conferences in place of eighty-three year-old Cardinal Jozef Tomko.

New nuncios to the UAE, Uganda, Malta and Libya, and the Philippines

On 4 August the 73 year-old Lebanese Archbishop Mounged El-Hachem, apostolic nuncio to Kuwait, Yemen, Bahrein and Qatar and apostolic delegate to the Arab Peninsula since 2005, was nominated apostolic nuncio to the United Arab Emirates.
On 27 August the 58 year-old Korean Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam, pontifical representative to Bangladesh since 2002, was nominated apostolic nuncio to Uganda.
On 3 September 57 year-old Monsignor Tommaso Caputo, head of Protocol of the Secretariat of State since 1993 was nominated apostolic archbishop and nuncio to Malta and Libya. Originally from Afragola (NA), Caputo was ordained priest in 1974. A graduate in Canon Law, in 1980 he entered the diplomatic Service of the Holy See, and has subsequently worked in the pontifical representations to Rwanda, the Philippines, Venezuela and finally in the Secretariat of State.
On 3 September the 63 year-old American Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, pontifical representative to Zimbabwe since 2002, was nominated apostolic nuncio to the Philippines.

New ambassadors of Slovakia, Ireland, Nicaragua and Italy to the Holy See

On 13 September the credentials of the new Slovakian ambassador to the Holy See were received. He is 60 year-old Jozef Dravecky, former university professor of science and in diplomacy since 1991. In the past he was ambassador to Bulgaria and Lithuania.
On 15 September it was the turn of the new Irish representative. He is Noel Fahey, 61 year-old career diplomat, formerly ambassador to Germany (1998-2002) and the United States (2002-2007).
On 24 September then it was the turn of the new ambassador of Nicaragua. He is 52 year-old José Cuadra Chamorro, once already ambassador to the Holy See (1997-1998), as well as representative to the Quirinal (2002-2006) and to Mexico (2006-2007).
On 4 October, the feast of Saint Francis patron of Italy, the new ambassador of Italy presented his credentials. He is Antonio Zanardi Landi, 57 year-old career diplomat, who from 1992 to 1996 was counselor and minister counselor of the Italian embassy to the Holy See. Ambassador to Belgrade from 2004 to 2006, Zanardi Landi’s most recent posting was that of vice-secretary general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Italiano Español Français Deutsch Português