from issue no.01 - 2008

Carlo Maria Martini in Jerusalem

Carlo Maria Martini in Jerusalem

Cardinal Martini and the love to the Jewish people

La Stampa of 10 February published a summary of the speech of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini that appeared on 2 February in Civiltà Cattolica. In the text the Cardinal says that “it is necessary to succeed in loving the Jewish people with all the expressions of its life and culture”. In particular, the prelate asks that the faithful be instructed in the Sacred Scriptures. Thus the daily newspaper concludes: “If the ‘People of God’ know the Bible better, according to Martini, ‘evangelization programs will be easier and more spontaneous’.

Cardinal Ouellet general spokesman of the Synod

On 12 January the 64 year-old Sulpician Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Québec since 2002, was nominated general spokesman of the Synod of Bishops that will be held in Rome from 5 to 26 of October next on the topic “The Word of God in the life and the mission of the Church”. At the same time the 68 year-old Capuchin Wilhelm Emil Egger, Bishop of Bolzano-Bressanone since 1986, was nominated special secretary.

Eastern Churches
The resignation of the Syro-Catholic Patriarch

On 2 February the Pope accepted the resignation from the Patriarchal office of 78 year-old Ignace Pierre VIII Abdel-Ahad, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrian Catholics since 2001. At the same time he nominated the three members of the committee that will govern the Syro-Catholic Patriarchy until the election of the new patriarch: 63 year-old Théophile Georges Kassab, Archbishop of Homs, Hama and Nabk of the Syrias since 2000, who will at the same time govern the patriarchal eparchy as apostolic administrator “sede vacante”; 67 year-old Gregorios Elias Tabé, Archbishop of Damascus of the Syrias since 2001; 78 year-old Athanase Matti Shaba Matoka, Archbishop of Baghdad of the Syrias since 1983.

Khamenei and the USA

“Iran will not for the moment normalize its relations with the USA, but the door to the possibility cannot be closed. So said the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. ‘It is not the moment to normalize our relations with the USA, but if one day I realized that it was useful, I would do so’”. Thus in La Stampa of 4 January.

New Undersecretary to the Papal Council for the Family

On 9 February Don Carlos Simón Vázquez, 43 year-old Spaniard of the clergy of the diocese of Coria-Cáceres, was nominated Undersecretary of the Papal Council for the Family. University Professor at the Theological Institute of Cáceres and the Theological Faculty of Burgos, Don Simón Vázquez has in his curriculum a Licentiate in Medicine at the University of Navarre and a doctorate in Moral Theology at the Pontifical Lateran University.

Hong Kong
The Auxiliary becomes Coadjutor

On 30 January 69 year-old John Tong Hon, Auxiliary of Hong Kong since 1996, was nominated coadjutor of the same diocese headed by the Salesian Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, who was 76 years old in January.

New nuncios to Bangladesh, Rwanda, the Dominican Republic and Scandinavia

On 12 January Monsignor Joseph Marino was nominated archbishop and apostolic nuncio to Bangladesh. Marino, a 55 year-old American, was ordained priest in 1979. Having entered the diplomatic service in 1988, he subsequently worked in the pontifical representations in the Philippines, Uruguay, Nigeria, in the Section for the Relationships with the States of the Secretariat of State and, finally, in Great Britain. He speaks Italian, French and Spanish.
On 17 January the 55 year-old Venetian Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, was nominated nuncio to Rwanda. He was nuncio to Bolivia from 2002. Scapolo takes the place of the 62 year-old Lombard Archbishop Anselmo Guido Pecorari, in Kigali since 2003, who for a short period will work as unattached nuncio at the Secretariat of State.
On 24 January the 60 year-old Polish Archbishop Józef Wesolowski, was nominated apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic and apostolic delegate to Porto Rico. He was pontifical representative in Kazakistan and other Central Asian Republics from 2002. Previously he was nuncio to Bolivia from 1999.
On 26 January 61 year-old Swiss archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, was nominated nuncio to Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway. From 2004 he was nuncio to Korea and Mongolia and previously nuncio to Trinidad and Tobago (2000-2004) and to Burundi (1996-2000).

L’Osservatore Romano in color

From the Sunday 3 February issue L’Osservatore Romano will also use color. The historic change, which involves the front and last page, is part of a graphic re-design set in place a hundred days after the changeover in editorship of the official daily of the Holy See, now directed in tandem by Giovanni Maria Vian (editor) and Carlo Di Cicco (assistant).


England and the succession of Paul VI

Paul VI during the mass in suffrage for Aldo Moro

Paul VI during the mass in suffrage for Aldo Moro

In the la Repubblica of 13 January Filippo Ceccarelli made known the content of some declassified documents from the English Ministry of Foreign Affairs and from the archive of the British Prime Minister, relative to 1976, in which the alarm at a probable rise to power of the Italian Communist Party is revealed and possible countermeasures are debated. One of these documents also speaks of the hypotheses about the succession to Pope Paul VI, declared to be sick. Here is the text: “The issue of the succession is by now open. It is above all the non-Italian clergy who want a foreign Pope. The Belgian Cardinal Suenens thinks that the next Pope will still be an Italian, to avoid increasing the chaos created after Council. But this will be the last time, and for a long period to follow”.


“Jerusalem saved by the children’s games”

Palestinian children watch a group of Jews passing in the old city of Jerusalem

Palestinian children watch a group of Jews passing in the old city of Jerusalem

“It is the story of Omri and Ziaad. An Israeli and a Palestinian child divided by Jerusalem. ‘In Jerusalem there are walls; and around the walls and inside the walls there is often war’. Omri’s uncle died because of a Palestinian bomb, Ziaad’s brother because of an Israeli gun. It happens that Omri and Ziaad then find themselves next to each other in a hospital room. They fear and ignore each other, they don’t know how to speak to one another. A game brought by a nurse soothes their fears: if it is possible to do a puzzle together, destiny can be different from bombs and guns. Ziaad ‘has much less desire to kill a great many Israelis’; Omri is disturbed by a Palestinian with whom it is possible to play and who ‘doesn’t even cheat too much at cards’. Till death, the highest wall, itself ends up by uniting. Omri says: ‘Ismail, the brother of Ziaad, is also dead’. Also, exactly. It is the scandalous conclusion of two children: maybe Omri’s uncle and Ziaad’s brother in heaven also ‘manage to play checkers and cards and also do the puzzle together’”. This is the short review of the book Shalom, Omri. Salam, Ziaad (Sinnos publishers), written by Manuela Dviri and illustrated by Staino, that appeared in the Corriere della Sera on 10 January under the heading: “Jerusalem saved by the children’s games”.

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