from issue no.09 - 2008


International Symposium on Vatican II and Pope John Paul II

Karol Wojtyla at the Vatican II Ecumenical Council [© AP/LaPresse]

Karol Wojtyla at the Vatican II Ecumenical Council [© AP/LaPresse]

The Pontifical Theological Faculty St. Bonaventure-Seraphicum of Rome will host on 28-29-30 October next an international symposium on “Christ-Church-Mankind. Vatican II in the pontificate of John Paul II”. At the event, in addition to the minister general of the Conventuals (Father Marco Tasca) and the dean of the faculty (Father Zdzislaw J. Kijas), there will be many cardinals (Bertone, Levada, Caffarra, Ruini, Poupard and Rylko), archbishops and bishops (Pieronek , Sanna, Piero Marini, Amato), ecclesiastics (Giertych, Miranda, Augé, Iammarone, Szostek, Oder) and academics (Buttiglione, Tortorella, Cangiotti, Borghesi, Weigel, Waldstein, Sivigla).


Pope Luciani and humility

Pope Luciani and Cardinal Ratzinger [© AP/LaPresse]

Pope Luciani and Cardinal Ratzinger [© AP/LaPresse]

At the Angelus of Sunday 28 September, the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul I, Benedict XVI wished to remember his predecessor: “He chose as his episcopal motto that of Saint Charles Borromeo: Humilitas. A single word that sums up the essence of Christian life and indicates the indispensable virtue of those in the Church called to the service of authority. In one of the four general audiences held during his brief pontificate he said among other things, with that familiar tone that distinguished him: ‘I limit myself to recommending a virtue, very dear to the Lord: He said: learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart ... Even if you have done great things, say: we are useless servants’. And he observed: ‘But the tendency in us all, is quite the contrary: to put ourselves on display’ (Teachings of John Paul I, pp. 51-52). Humility may be considered his spiritual testament.
... He was thus an unparalleled catechist in the footsteps of Saint Pius X, his countryman and predecessor first on the Chair of Saint Mark and then on that of Saint Peter. ‘We must feel ourselves small before God’, he said in that same audience. And he added: ‘I am not ashamed to feel like a child before its mother: one believes in one’s mother, I believe in the Lord, in what He has revealed to me’ (ibid., p. 49). These words show the depth of his faith. While we thank God for having given him to the Church and the world, we treasure his example, striving to cultivate his humility, which made him capable of speaking to everyone, especially to the small and the so-called forgotten ones. We invoke for this Most Holy Mary, humble servant of the Lord”.


Olmert and 1978

Sadat, Carter and Begin [© AP/LaPresse]

Sadat, Carter and Begin [© AP/LaPresse]

“In exchange for peace, Israel must withdraw from the most decisive areas”. Words of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in an interview with the New York Times and summarized in La Stampa, 30 September, in which the retiring premier laid out a sort of balance-sheet of his political activity. The summary in La Stampa reads: “He awaited the epilogue for his final self-criticism. A global mea culpa that goes back to 1978, when the then Parliamentary Assembly of the Likud opposed the handshake between Prime Minister Begin and the Egyptian Sadat”.

Giulio Tremonti with our Director at the Rimini Meeting 2008 [© Grazia Neri]

Giulio Tremonti with our Director at the Rimini Meeting 2008 [© Grazia Neri]

Tremonti, the crisis and techno-finance

“To understand what happened and what is happening one would have to reread (or read!) Goethe’s Faust, the most fantastic story about the transformation of wealth, its transition from the material to the immaterial”. So said the Italian Minister of the Economy Giulio Tremonti, in an interview in Il Foglio of 23 September. And he went on to explain: “To create globalization a Mephistophelian overdraft with due date was signed; like all drafts, like that of Mephistopheles, the techno-finance draft has now come due.”

Panebianco and creative destruction

The Corriere della Sera dedicated the editorial of 18 September, written by Angelo Panebianco, to the international financial crack. One reads there: “In the end, a re-dimensioned America will have to cede the scepter of superpower and adapt itself to the role of major power in the midst of other major powers (China, Russia, India and perhaps others also). In another, and contrasting interpretation, the ‘creative destruction’ that is typical (according to the economist Joseph Schumpeter) of the progress of capitalism, eliminating what is no longer vital, and rehabilitating the financial system, will ultimately give renewed vigor to American power”.

Ciampi and the rescuing of the Ambrosian

Must banks in difficulty be saved? According to the former President of the Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi it is a “natural reaction, provided that it happens with transparency”, as happened in Italy. “When it was necessary, the operation was done well and transparently. I am thinking, for example, of the rescue of the Ambrosian, effected when I was governor”. Evaluations of Ciampi in an interview published on 6 October in La Stampa.

United States
U.S. opens to the Taliban

“The United States is ready to support negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban, but we will never speak with al-Qaida. So said U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the summit meeting of NATO defense ministers in Budapest, thus in effect throwing the full weight of his country behind the call for dialogue launched in recent days by Afghan President Karzai to Mullah Omar”. This was the beginning of an article published in la Repubblica of 10 October.

Brown opens to the Catholics

Great Britain, historic turning point. Such was the title with which La Stampa of 26 September announced a proposed bill, drawn up by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, that will allow Catholics to inherit the throne. Thus in the subtitle: “Yes to Catholics. Equal opportunities on the English throne: Brown proposes a law to change the rules. For three centuries only Anglicans could be crowned”.

Crociata new CEI secretary general

On September 25 the Pope has appointed a new secretary general of the Italian Episcopal Conference. He is the 55 year-old Sicilian Mariano Crociata, Bishop of Noto since July 2007 who assumes his new post on 20 October.

Sacred College
The death of Cardinal González Zumárraga

On 13 October the Ecuadorian Cardinal Antonio José González Zumárraga, archbishop of Quito from 1985 to 2003, created cardinal by John Paul II in 2001, died. On October 15 then the College of Cardinals was composed of 192 cardinals, of whom 116 are electors.

New prelate of the Academy of Theology and new consultants to the Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Pope

On 24 September, the French Carmelite François-Marie Lethel was appointed secretary prelate of the Pontifical Academy of Theology. On the same date the new consultants of the Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff were appointed. They are: Monsignor Nicola Bux, a professor at the Puglia Theological Faculty; Don Mauro Gagliardi, of the Pontifical University “Regina Apostolorum”; Don Juan José Silvestre Valor, of the Pontifical University of Santa Croce; Father Uwe Michael Lang, Oratorian, official of the Congregation for Divine Worship; Father Paul Gunter, Benedictine, of the Pontifical University of San Anselmo.

New spokesman of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints

On 10 October the new general spokesman of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints was appointed. He is 58 year-old Father Vincenzo Criscuolo, a Capuchin from the province of Salerno, a graduate of the Gregorian with further studies in Munich and Moscow, until now consultant of the same Department. He takes the place of 76 year-old German Dominican Eszer Ambrosius, who was spokesman since the ’eighties.

Montemayor nuncio to Guinea-Bissau

On September 17 the Argentine archbishop Luis Mariano Montemayor, nuncio to Senegal and Cape Verde and delegate to Mauritania since June, was appointed pontifical representative to Guinea-Bissau also.

New Ambassadors of Bosnia and the Czech Republic to the Holy See

On 18 September the Pope received the letters of credentials of the new Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Holy See. She is 59 year-old Mrs. Jasna Krivosic-Prpic, Deputy Director of the Investment Agency in her homeland for the last two years.
On 27 September it was the turn of the new representative of the Czech Republic. He is 45 year-old Vosalik Pavel, ambassador to Canada over the past four years.

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