from issue no.05 - 2003


The Pontificate
of Pope Wojtyla is now the third longest in history after that
of Saint Peter

On 30 April the pontificate of John Paul II became the third longest in history. Having lasted 24 years, six months and eight days of duration it has in fact surpassed the reign of Pius VI. Only Pius IX and Leo XIII, after Saint Peter, governed the Church for longer. Up to now.
Meanwhile preparations intensify for the 25th anniversary of the election of Pope Wojtyla, which occurs on 16 October next. Close to that date, on Sunday 19, the celebration of the beatification of Mother Teresa and the celebration of the World Mission Day are already planned. Furthermore the news has also leaked that all the Cardinals of the Sacred College will gather in the City from 15 to 19 October to “celebrate” the Pope.
2003 is however a year full of Jubilees and Papal anniversaries. In fact the twenty-fifth anniversary of the death of Paul VI (6 August 1978) and of the election and death of John Paul I (26 August and 28 September) occur. The fortieth anniversary of the death Blessed John XXIII (3 June 1963) and of the election of Pope Montini (21 June) are also remembered. Then the forty-fifth anniversary of the death of Pius XII (9 October 1958) and of the accession to the throne of Peter of Angelo Maria Roncalli (28 October). Finally the hundredth anniversary of the death of Leo XIII (20 July 1903) and the election of Saint Pius X (4 August).
Going further back into the past, there are more anniversaries connected with other illustrious, and at times questionable, successors of Peter. The five hundredth anniversary of the death of Alexander VI Borgia (18 August 1503) and of the election of Julius II della Rovere (26 November 1503), the seven hundredth anniversary of the death of Boniface VIII Caetani (11 October 1303) and the thousandth of Silvester II (12 May 1003).
“Christ is risen”.
The greetings
of Igor Man to the Editor of Avvenire

An interesting comment by Igor Man on the Pope’s Stations of the Cross appeared on the front page of La Stampa on Saturday 19 April. We report amply from it: “Stations of the Cross, the last ‘station’, the fourteenth: Jesus is laid in the sepulchre. On the old and very sad face of the Pope, a trace of a smile appears unexpectedly. The lights of the Colosseum are torches of remote flame. The attentive silence of the people anxiously accompanies the ongoing suffering of John Paul II, the Pope whom everyone remembers as athletic, vibrant as a lavish organ of powerful music in the form of words (“don’t be afraid”). Now the man who goes untiringly around the world so that the Gospel may mean not only hope but also certainty, struggles slowly along the Way of the Cross on this warm Roman night. Like an old intercity he stops at every station because there is always someone who is waiting. [....] “This papacy of Wojtyla’s is one of signs”, the Spanish aristocrat Navarro-Valls said to me many years ago. If the sign is the epiphany of the symbol, for Christians the Cross is the symbol of love, of hope. Here, perhaps, we can find the meaning of the smile (barely a trace) of John Paul II. He, a post modern prophet, like all prophets, “knows”. He has known a thousand apocalypses, he “knows”, certainly, that Jesus was never dead. “Who are you seeking? He is not dead”: says the angel to those who come anxiously seeking the mortal remains of Jesus of Nazareth. For other people the Cross is only torture, and the most humiliating of them, but for the Christian it shares the consolatory symbolism of the Staircase that lead to Paradise and of the Tree of Life, with its roots in the good soil. Just as the egg, in its robust fragility, ensures the repetition of creation. There are small unknown countries on the earth where Jesus who rises again by breaking the rock of the sepulchre, is tenderly likened to a chicken which emerges from the shell. White, as the whiteness of purity is the gift which the courageous Galilean , Son of God, gives us of Himself, making us a gift of the light. He, Sol novus,in the darkness of us. Brother-companion also of those who do not believe in Him”.
On Sunday 20 April, in the editorial of Avvenire , there appeared a singular eulogy of Igor Man by Dino Boffi, which read: «The day before yesterday I exchanged greetings with Igor Man, a colleague of incomparable finesse. “Christ is risen”, he began, leaving me stunned for an instant. What news is this? I was tempted to respond, as if to ward him off with a witticism. In fact, almost immediately I grasped that that hardened reporter was pointing me in the right direction. He was giving me a tip-off in tune with the times». Then after having explained where that greeting had come from («when he was young Igor’s mother had taught him to say: “He is indeed risen”, by way of reply to the greeting. It was the way they had at Easter, embracing each other and exchanging greetings»), the article dealt with the Iraqi conflict and the lacerating quarrels it had caused internally in the West. And, after repeating a categorical “no” to the war, it concluded: “Fortunately Easter comes round again. It’s never seemed to me that the Feast day arrived at the right moment as it does today. May it open our eyes to all that is real. May it seriously make us realists”.

Fundamentalists /1
Brzezinski and
pre-emptive war

“That the theory of pre-emptive war is is the product of Bush’s hawks is a fictitious truth. Already in 1994 under the Clinton administration, his adviser Brzezinski sustained that “the United States, the only ones in charge, will take the initiative only when their own interests are at stake”, thus showing that pre-emptive war was part of strategic thinking. The abviser made this clear in an interview with Paolo Garimberti, assistant editor of La Repubblica and anchor-man at the time of Format, a program produced by Giovanni Minoli”. Il Manifesto of 3 April gave this summary of an installment of the television program La storia siamo noi (We are history), broadcast the previous day.
Fundamentalists /2
The US Right
and McCarthyism

On 6 May a documented article appeared in La Repubblica by Vittorio Zucconi, dedicated to McCarthyism, the infamous anti-communist repression unleashed in the United States, half way through the ‘fifties, by the Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy. We report the conclusion of the article: “But the cavalcade of McCarthyism truly finished when his own party, the respectable right and the President in office, Eisenhower, decided that they had had enough of the madness. It was the Republicans who presented a motion of censure, who said that’s enough”.

Mass of Saint Pius V
in Saint Mary Major

For the first time since the days of the liturgical reform a cardinal will celebrate a mass of Saint Pius V in a patriarchal basilica of Rome. The rite, planned for the afternoon of 24 May in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, will be officiated by Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos, Prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy and President of the Papal Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.
Martin Co-adjutor
in Dublin

On 3 May Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, 58 years old, was nominated Co-adjutor with right of succession to the Cardinal of Dublin Desmond Connell, 77 years old. Martin, a Dubliner, ordained priest in 1969, was posted to the Roman Curia seven years afterwards, where he served in the Papal Council for the Family and then in that of Justice and Peace, of which he was first Undersecretary (1986-94) and then Secretary (1994-2001). In this last role he participated as head of delegation and deputy head of delegation at numerous international conferences of the United Nations. Nominated Bishop in 1998, from January 2001 he was Permanent Observer Archbishop of the Holy See to the UN Center in Geneva.

Mazur (the Bishop already expelled
from Russia) nominated to Elk
On 17 April, Maundy Thursday, the nomination was announced of Jerzy Mazur, 50 years old, of the Divine Word Order, as Bishop of Elk in Poland. Mazur is the prelate who in April of last year was expelled from Russia where he held the post of Bishop of the newly constituted diocese of Saint Joseph in Irkutsk. Also on 17 April, the Holy See appointed Cyryl Klimowicz, born 51 years ago in Kazakistan, to the latter diocese. He was ordained priest in Poland in 1980, from 1990 he was parish priest in Bielorussia and from 1999 auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Minsk-Mohilev, also in Bielorussia.

Bishop of Saluzzo

On 16 April Monsignor Giuseppe Guerrini, 62 years old, from Cuneo, was nominated Bishop of Saluzzo. Ordained priest in 1964, formerly vice-rector of the seminary of Cuneo, he was Judicial Vicar of the Diocesan Tribunal.

Auxiliary in Chiapas

On 30 April an Auxiliary Bishop was nominated for the diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, in the Mexican State of Chiapas. He is Enrique Díaz Díaz, 51 years old, Episcopal Vicar of the Archdiocese of Morelia since 2000.

Apostolic Administrator
in Hanoi

On 26 April the Holy See nominated an Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese of Hanoi, headed by Cardinal Paul Joseph Pham Dinh Tung, 84 years old, in the Vietnamese capital since 1994. The post of Apostolic Administrator was entrusted to Monsignor Joseph Ngò Quang Kiet, 51 years old, Bishop of Lang Són and Cao Bang since 1999.

Diplomacy /1
De Villepin with the Pope, Bolton with
Tauran and Ruini

On 4 April the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dominique de Villepin, was received in audience by John Paul II, and afterwards had a discussion with the Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano and with his “opposite number” in the Vatican, the French Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran.
On 9 April John R. Bolton, a Catholic from Baltimore, Undersecretary in the US Department of State with power of attorney for the control of armaments and international security, was received in the Vatican by Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran. Bolton, also on 9 April, had discussions with the US Curia Cardinal James F. Stafford (he too originally from Baltimore) and, separately, with Cardinal Camillo Ruini, President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference and Papal Vicar for the diocese of Rome.

Diplomacy /2
New Nuncios in the Balkans, in Hungary
and in Argentina

On 9 April the Spanish Archbishop Santos Abril y Castelló, 68 years old, was nominated Nuncio in Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the Vatican Diplomatic Service since 1967, Abril y Castelló worked in Pakistan, Turkey and the Secretariat of State. Archbishop since 1985, he was Nuncio in Bolivia (1985-89), in Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea (1989-96), in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1996-2000), and since 2000 in Argentina. On 12 April Abril y Castelló was also nominated Nuncio in Macedonia.
Also on 9 April the Polish Archbishop Juliusz Janusz, 59 years old, was nominated Nuncio in Hungary. Having entered the Pontifical Diplomatic Service in 1973, he served in Thailand, Scandinavia, Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands and Hungary. Nominated chargé d’affaires in China (Taiwan) in 1992, he was promoted three years later to Archbishop and Nuncio in Rwanda. From 1998 he was Nuncio in Mozambique.
On 26 April Archbishop Adriano Bernardini, 61 years old, originally from the Province of Pesaro, was nominated Nuncio in Argentina. He entered the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See in 1973, and served in Pakistan, Angola, Japan, Venezuela and Spain. Nominated chargé d’affaires in China (Taiwan), three years later he was promoted Archbishop and Nuncio Envoy to Bangladesh. From 1999 he was Nuncio in Thailand, Singapore and Cambodia, as well as Apostolic Delegate in Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia and Brunei.

Diplomacy /3
New Czech Ambassador
to the Holy See

On April 28 The new Czech Ambassador to the Holy See, Pavel Jatner, 56 years old, a computer scientist, presented credentials. Formerly representative of Prague to Austria (1993-1998) and to Morocco (1999-2003), Jatner was formerly congressman for the Christian Democrat Party and vice-president of the National Assembly of the former Czechoslovakia.


The Pope hopes that Castro can lead the Cuban people to new goals of democracy while respecting the achievements of these past decades.

Corpo della notizia



The death of Cardinals Carter and Sabattini

On 6 April the death occurred of Canadian Cardinal Gerald Emmett Carter, 91 years old, Archbishop of Toronto from 1978 to 1990, created Cardinal by John Paul II in 1979. On 19 April Cardinal Aurelio Sabattini, 91 years old, also died. An illustrious canonist of the Roman Curia, he was created cardinal by Pope Wojtyla in 1983, and had been Prefect of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signet (1983-1988) and Dean of the Vatican Basilica (1983-1991).
At the end of April the Sacred College, therefore, numbers168 Cardinals, of whom 112 are electors and 56 are over eighty years old. Oddly enough the 36 Italian Cardinals are equally divided between 18 “voters” and 18 “non voters”.


Saint Nicholas: the “miracle” under the bombings

“A burst of gunfire, a bomb blast. Boats hit and sunk as in a videogame, people sinking like refugees in rubber dinghies, fishingboats overturned like nutshells by the waves created by the explosions. The feast of the patron saint turned into a disaster in a second. Five small boats gutted, seventy injured, the most serious, luckily, will recover in thirty days”. Thus the Corriere della Sera of 9 May reported the accidents (caused by a mistake with the fireworks) during the feast of Saint Nicholas in Bari, and also referred to the significant presence at the celebrations of a “plenipotentiary of the Russian President Vladimir Putin”. “But a couple of hours after the panic the people of Bari aren’t thinking any more of the tragedy that grazed them and are blessing Saint Nicholas for the “miracle”, an article in La Repubblica said. La Stampa, instead, reported the comment of Father Giovanni Matera, prior of the Basilica of San Nicola, who said: “The feast of Saint Nicholas means joy and faith. Something very serious could have happened. We have been granted a grace”.

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