from issue no.10 - 2007


The new Cold War distances the Third World War

Vladimir Putin observes the launching of a missile

Vladimir Putin observes the launching of a missile

On 28 October an interesting article by Emanuele Severino appeared in the Corriere della Sera, in which a return to the Cold War is described with the world polarized around two leader States, the US and Russia, the only nuclear superpowers. To quote the article: «A situation however is being outlined in which not only the two leaders [the US and Russia, ed.] cannot attack each other without being in their turn destroyed, but neither can their satellites strike those of the opposing group (and much less the opposing leader) without being in turn involved in total destruction. The typical situation of the Cold War. A signal of great importance, in this direction, is the protection given by Russia to the nuclear program of Iran». This protection, according to Severino, is based on the fact that Russia does not believe that religious extremism can push Iran into attacking the US or Israel, an action that would involve global conflict; therefore Russia protects Iran «because it considers itself capable of avoiding all this and because it cannot allow itself to be mistaken in its own diagnosis». The article concludes as follows: «The formation of two opposed nuclear alignments, substantially balanced according to the rules of the Cold War, distances therefore the Third World War. Also because the existence of nuclear “rogue states” is inconvenient to both. And, together, the two alignments have all the strength necessary to prevent it arising».

Manzoni and Rosmini in a drawing by Giorgio Scarpati

Manzoni and Rosmini in a drawing by Giorgio Scarpati

Manzoni and Rosmini
«A mild wisdom that illuminates by reflection»

Cardinal Achille Silvestrini recalled the figure of Antonio Rosmini in an article published in the culture pages of Corriere della Sera of Sunday 18 November, the day of the beatification of the Abbot from Rovereto. Silvestrini paid attention to the friendship that bound Alessandro Manzoni to Rosmini («whom he made read the rough drafts of I promessi sposi»), and quoted the description that the Milan writer made of the priest in a letter to Giampietro Vieusseux: «“Should he come to Florence, you would see a man that by the absence of every singularity is rendered, in the eyes of all who are not dissimilar to him, in fact singular and admirable. An ordinary stature, a long face, pockmarked, dark, but marked with that goodness that the spirit does not harm but rather renders more sincere and deep; a modest and almost timid voice, so that the slight stutter seems to caress the words that appear to come out more mature and more sought after, modest dress, a simple expression, a familiar tone, a mild wisdom that illuminates by reflection everything near him”». The friendship between Rosmini and the author of I promessi sposi, Silvestrini explained, arose in Milan: there the priest, «introduced by Tommaseo, frequented Manzoni’s house where he breathed an air of interest in the nascent democracies». Concluding the article on the Blessed, «encyclopedic thinker» rooted in «the Augustinian tradition and the thought of Thomas Aquinas», Silvestrini wrote: «These and others are the thoughts of a man, who as he was dying entrusted to Alessandro Manzoni the three famous words of his testament: “Be silent, adore, enjoy”. They were the synthesis of his life».

Etchegaray: remembrance of Cardinal Lustiger

«“We are currently much tried in our faith in the Church, that does not appear to us what it really is: a gratuitous grace. To the extent to which we have lost memory of the fact that it is a grace and to the extent to which we no longer have the spiritual experience of the Church as assembly by grace, we are tempted to judge it like all the other institutions of history”». They are words spoken in February 1983 by the Archbishop of Paris Jean-Marie Lustiger, the day on which he was created cardinal. Recalling them was Cardinal Roger Etchegaray in the course of a Eucharistic celebration, held on 28 October last in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome, for the repose of the soul of the French cardinal who died in August. Cardinal Etchegaray’s homily was published in the L’Osservatore Romano of 8 November. The cardinal concluded as follows: «Before leaving us for the heavenly liturgy, he was able to say with the humility of the publican the words said to Timothy by Paul, the former Pharisee recalled in the liturgy of this Sunday: “I have fought the good fight, I have run my race, I have kept the faith” (2Tm 4, 7)».

Ruini: the Church and the immediacy of the relationship with God

«The world of the Catholic faith. Truth and form»: such is the title of the book by the theologian and German cardinal Leo Scheffczyk, friend and colleague of Benedict XVI. The book, published by Vita e Pensiero, was presented by Cardinal Camillo Ruini at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, in Rome, on 8 November last. In his presentation, Cardinal Ruini explained: «Leo Scheffczyk shows with persuasive care how in Catholicism ecclesiality is intimately together with “the personal element”: the sense of ecclesial mediation is not in fact that of interposing itself between man and God, but on the contrary of favoring and promoting the immediacy of the relation with God». The presentation of the Pope’s Vicar was published uncut in the L’Osservatore Romano of 9 November.

US Bishops/1
A policy of collaboration with Syria and Iran

«Some US politicians “seem not to be aware of the reality of the Iraqi situation and the importance of taking a new direction”. So the American bishops write, in a short document approved the day before yesterday at the opening of the proceedings of the plenary assembly of the Episcopal Conference, underway in Baltimore. “Our nation” adds the text “must put in first place the ethical duty of exiting from the conflict rather than posing itself questions relative to the ethic of the intervention”». So began an article that appeared in Avvenire of 15 November. In the text of the US bishops there is also an appeal for the resolution of «“the precarious situation” of Palestine and the conflict with the Middle East, by a policy of collaboration with Syria and Iran».

US Bishops/2
Broglio new military ordinary

On 19 November 56 year-old Archbishop Timothy Paul Broglio was nominated military ordinary of the United States. Originally from Cleveland (Ohio), ordained priest in Rome in 1977, Broglio entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1983, working in the Ivory Coast and Paraguay. He was then official in the second section of the Secretariat of State and particular secretary to the then Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano until 2001, when he was nominated apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic and apostolic delegate to Puerto Rico.

New President of the Ecclesiastical Academy and new Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education

On 13 October the resignation presented by the 75 year-old Spanish Archbishop Justo Mullor García from the function of President of the Papal Ecclesiastical Academy was accepted. The 67 year-old Venetian Archbishop Beniamino Stella, apostolic nuncio to Colombia since 1999, was called on to succeed him.
On 13 October also the resignation presented by the 79 year-old Archbishop Giovanni De Andrea, from the post of vice president of the Office of Work of the Apostolic See (ULSA) was accepted. In his place 77 year-old Bishop Franco Croci, Secretary of the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See since last July, was nominated.
Also on 13 October 52 year-old Monsignor Massimo Boarotto, from Verona, was nominated delegate of the ordinary Section of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA). Until now he was office head in the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
On 10 November the 64 year-old French Dominican Jean-Louis Bruguès, bishop of Angers since 2000, was nominated Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education.
On 10 November also 43 year-old Monsignor Grzegorz Kaszak, of the clergy of the archdiocese of Szczecin-Kamien, up to now rector of the Pontifical Polish Ecclesiastical Institute in Rome, was nominated Secretary of the Papal Council for the Family. On the same date 64 year-old Father Gianfranco Grieco, Conventual friar minor, until now on the editorial staff of the L’Osservatore Romano, was nominated office head of the same Papal Council.

The first assailant of the Twin Towers converts to Christianity

«Ramzi Yousef, the Al Qaeda man who first violated America and carried out an attack on the World Trade Center in February of 1993, has supposedly been converted to Christianity. The terrorist, captured in Pakistan in 1995 and condemned to life imprisonment by the Court of New York, confided his conversion to a reporter of CBS television». The news appeared in Libero of 12 October.

New nuncios to Iran, Germany and Colombia

On 10 October the 64 year-old French Archbishop Jean-Paul Gobel, apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua since 2001, was nominated apostolic nuncio to Iran.
On 15 October the resignation presented by 70 year-old Archbishop Erwin Josef Ender from the position of apostolic nuncio to the Federal Republic of Germany was accepted. The 68 year-old Swiss Archbishop Jean-Claude Périsset, apostolic nuncio to Romania since 1998, was appointed in his place.
On 29 October 61 year-old archbishop Aldo Cavalli from Lombardy, apostolic nuncio to Chile since 2001, was nominated apostolic nuncio to Colombia.

New ambassadors of Korea, Ecuador and Indonesia to the Holy See

On 11 October the Pope received the letter of credential of the new ambassador of Korea to the Holy See. He is 56 year-old career diplomat Ji-Young Francesco Kim, third secretary of the embassy in Italy from 1980 to 1982.
On 27 October the new ambassador of Ecuador presented his credentials: Fausto Cordovez Chiriboga, 77 years old and married with eleven children, many times minister in the governments of his own country.
On 12 November it was the turn of the new representative of Indonesia: Suprapto Martosetomo, 53 year-old career diplomat, secretary of the “Policy Planning and Development Agency” of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the past two years.


The hidden heart of Christianity

IFeed the hungry/I, fresco, Parma Baptistry

IFeed the hungry/I, fresco, Parma Baptistry

In la Repubblica of 15 November an article by Pietro Citati on the little ones of the Gospel appeared. We reprint some excerpts: «Jesus commented on these words [blessed are the poor in spirit] in another passage of Matthew, where he praises the Father because he has hidden the secret things “from the wise and prudent” and revealed them “to the little ones”. The little ones are precisely the poor in spirit: they too ignore human wisdom and receive in exchange heavenly revelation, unknown to the wise. The heavenly revelation is not packed with laws, judgments, philosophies, systems as in earthly culture. “Come to me”, Jesus adds, “all you who are tired and burdened and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am meek and humble of heart. And you will find refreshment for your spirits. Because my yoke is sweet and my burden light”. They are the words that move me most in the Gospels: Jesus, who brought to men a terrible religion, founded on the crucifixion, reminds us that, in spite of what upsets us in his message, his yoke is sweet and his burden light. If the beggars and the little ones are the hidden heart of Christianity, the members of the Church must cultivate charity as supreme virtue: greater, Paul says, even than faith and hope. When we place the gift in the outstretched hand or help the humiliated and the persecuted, ours is an absolute gesture: it is not waiting to be reciprocated and doesn’t even want gratitude. [...] I admit I still practice alms giving, because so I was taught many years ago; and I am not worried whether the outstretched hand is that of a true or a false beggar».

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