from issue no.06/07 - 2008


The spiritual fatherhood in the Orthodox tradition

The Monastery of Bose

The Monastery of Bose

From 18 to 21 September 2008 the monastery of Bose (Magnano, province of Biella) will host the XVI International Ecumenical Conference of Orthodox Spirituality, organized under the patronage of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Patriarchate of Moscow. This year, the theme of the symposium is Spiritual Fatherhood in the Orthodox tradition.


The lightness of Christian life

The cloister of the Abbey of Chiaravalle (MI)

The cloister of the Abbey of Chiaravalle (MI)

“William of Saint-Thierry, Bernard of Clairvaux, Aelred of Rievaulx, Brother Yves, Richard of Saint-Victor don’t speak of heavenly life, but principally of earthly life. They knew that they were still far from God, Who is elsewhere, faraway, at the height of the heavens. But while they inhabited this earth, they prayed, travelled, preached, repeated the rites, they anticipated the heavenly life, made it current and everyday, as if it had already been embodied among the plains, hills and monasteries of Europe. What is future was present. What is invisible was seen. To use the robust physical language of the Fathers, they had a foretaste of life in Heaven. Their love for God grew: it was gradually fulfilled, but continued to grow; it had no end and could never have an end. It knew only the uninterrupted desire, never anxiety.
How many tones had the language of the Fathers! [...]. Above all, it was light, because “the yoke of the Lord is sweet and its weight light,” repeated William, Bernard, Aelred, Yves, Richard, recalling the passage of Matthew. The first sign of Christianity is to transform all the weights – the weight of pain, misfortune, law, command, uncertainty, analysis, disquietude, doubt, distress – into something sovereignly light: light as the breath and beat of a feather. Who does not know lightness, said Aelred does not even know the Christian faith”. Thus Pietro Citati reviewing in la Repubblica of June 19 Trattati d’amore cristiano del dodicesimo secolo (Treatises of Christian love of the twelfth century).

Agostino Vallini

Agostino Vallini

Vallini new Cardinal Vicar

On 27 June 68 year-old Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura since 2004, was appointed the Pope’s Vicar General for the diocese of Rome. He takes the place of Cardinal Camillo Ruini, who turned 77 in February.

The three presidents of the Synod of Bishops nominated

On 24 June the names of the three president delegates to the twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which will take place in the Vatican from 5 to 26 October 2008 on the theme: “The Word of God in the life and mission of the Church”, were announced. They are the Cardinals: William Joseph Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay in India; Odilo Pedro Scherer, Archbishop of São Paulo in Brazil.

Teresino Serra: “The mission takes place principally on one’s knees”

“The mission takes place principally on one’s knees. Evangelization is closely linked to prayer. The mission is to live Psalm 127 every day: in vain do you rise early, in vain do you stay awake all night. In vain do you work if the Lord doesn’t build the house”. Thus the Superior of the Combonan missionaries, Teresino Serra, in an interview published on the site at the end of May.

Sacred College
The eighty years of Cardinals Biffi and Shirayanagi

On June 13 the Italian Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, Archbishop of Bologna from 1984 to 2003 was eighty years old. On June 17 the Japanese Cardinal Peter Seiichi Shirayanagi, Archbishop of Tokyo from 1970 to 2000, cardinal since 1994, reached the same age. At the end of June then the Sacred College was composed of 194 cardinals, of whom 116 voters (among them, there are twenty Italians and there is no longer any Japanese).

The new cardinals appointed in the Curia departments

On June 12 the list of appointments as members of the Departments of the Roman Curia of the new cardinals created in the consistory of November 24, 2007 was published. The only cardinals that were included in three congregations are the Archbishop of Genoa and President of IEC Angelo Bagnasco (Eastern Churches, Divine Worship, Bishops) and the Chairman of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” Paul Josef Cordes (Causes of the Saints, Evangelization of Peoples, Clergy). None of the new cardinals was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Antonelli to the Pontifical Council for the Family, Fisichella to the Academy for Life

On 7 June the 71 year-old Umbrian Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, Archbishop of Florence since 2001, was appointed President of the Pontifical Council for the Family. He takes the place of the Colombian Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, who died last 19 April aged 72. Antonelli was previously Bishop of Gubbio (1982-1988), then archbishop of Perugia (1988-1995) and then Secretary General of IEC (1995-2001).
On 17 June 57 year-old Bishop Rino Fisichella, was promoted to archbishop and appointed President of the Pontifical Academy for Life. He takes the place of Archbishop Elio Sgreccia, who turned eighty on June 6. Fisichella resigned as auxiliary of Rome (since 1998), but remains Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, a position he was conferred with in 2002 and renewed in 2006.

Burke Prefect of the Signatura, a Thai Undersecretary at Inter-religious Dialogue

On 27 June the 60 year-old American Raymond Leo Burke, Archbishop of Saint Louis since 2003, was appointed Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Burke was bishop of his diocese of origin from 1994 to 2003, La Crosse in Wisconsin, and previously had worked in the Signatura as defender of the bond. Burke takes the place of Cardinal Agostino Vallini who on the same day was appointed Vicar General of the diocese of Rome.
On 21 June Monsignor Andrew Thanya-anan Vissanu, a 49 year-old Thai, was appointed undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. Priest since 1986, Thanya-anan entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1991 and most recently served in Indonesia.

Amato Prefect of the Saints, Ladaria Secretary of the Doctrine of Faith

On 9 July the 70 year-old Salesian Archbishop Angelo Amato, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from December 2002 was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. He takes the place of Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins who turned 76 years in January.
Also on July 9 the new Secretary of the Holy Office was appointed. He is the 64 year-old Spanish Jesuit Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, a native of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands. Having entered the Society of Jesus in 1966 and completed his studies in Philosophy and Theology at the Pontificia Comillas University (Madrid), and at the Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Sankt Georgen (Frankfurt am Main), Ladaria was ordained a priest in 1973. He then obtained a doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1974 where, since 1984, he is Professor of Dogmatics in the Faculty of Theology. From 1986 to 1994 he was also the vice-rector of the Gregorian. Member of the International Theological Commission from 1992 to 1997, he is its Secretary General since 2004. He is consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith since 1995.

New Nuncio in Senegal, new Representative in Strasbourg

On 19 June the 52 year-old Argentine Luis Mariano Montemayor, was appointed archbishop and apostolic nuncio in Senegal and Cape Verde, and apostolic delegate in Mauritania.
On 7 June the 54 year-old Monsignor Aldo Giordano, a Piedmontese from Cuneo, was appointed Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Priest since 1979, Giordano, who is not part of the diplomatic service, was Secretary General of the European Council of Bishops’ Conferences (ECBC) since 1995.
On 12 July the Spanish Archbishop Miguel Maury Buendía, nuncio in Kazakhstan since May 19, was also appointed Pontifical Representative in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

New ambassadors of Cameroon and Gabon

On 16 June the letters of credentials of the new ambassador of Cameroon to the Holy See were accepted. He is 61 year-old Antoine Zanga, academic and politician, Minister of Post and Telecommunications of his country since 2004. Zanga is the first ambassador of Cameroon to the Holy See who will reside in Rome.
Then on 26 June the new Ambassador of Gabon to the Holy See delivered his letter of credentials. He is 51 year-old Mboutsou Firmin, journalist, former director of Gabonese Radio Television and for the last eight years ambassador to Equatorial Guinea.


The Führer and Rosenberg

Alfred Rosenberg

Alfred Rosenberg

In la Repubblica of July 10, for the first time, some contents of the audience spreadsheets of diplomatic meetings of Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, relating to the Thirties were made public. In an interview the Prefect of the Vatican secret Archive, Monsignor Sergio Pagano, said: “In the text relating to the audience on September 13, 1935, the ambassador complained that in Germany ‘the clergy, rather inclined to the monarchy, is not favourable to National Socialism’, and this ‘deaf’ opposition could be read by the regime as an attempt to rebuild the political Zentrum (Center), becoming threatening to National Socialism. Pacelli responded with a comment on the Führer: “But Hitler said even now in Nuremberg that he is not combating Christianity; quite the contrary. So why does he keep a Rosenberg as Reichsleiter (national executive)?”, alluding in this way to praise given by Hitler to insane anti-Christian, anti-Semitic and racist ideas sustained by Alfred Rosenberg in his book The myth of the twentieth century, which along with Mein Kampf were the fundamental texts of Nazism”. The article is entitled: That question to the Führer.

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