from issue no.10/11 - 2009


Benedict XVI’s message to Bartholomew I

Benedict XVI and Bartholomew I in Phanar [© Associated Press/LaPresse]

Benedict XVI and Bartholomew I in Phanar [© Associated Press/LaPresse]

On the occasion of the feast of the apostle Andrew, Pope Benedict XVI sent a message to the Ecumenic Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I. The letter, sent through Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, comments positively on what happened within the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue, which held its eleventh plenary session in October, in Cyprus.
Here is a passage from the message of Benedict XVI: “The theme of the plenary session, The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the Communion of the Church in the First Millennium, is certainly complex, and will require extensive study and patient dialogue if we are to aspire to a shared integration of the traditions of East and West. The Catholic Church understands the Petrine ministry as a gift of the Lord to His Church. This ministry should not be interpreted in the perspective of power, but within an ecclesiology of communion, as a service to unity in truth and charity. The Bishop of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity (Saint Ignatius of Antioch), is understood to be the Servus Servorum Dei (Saint Gregory the Great). Thus, as my venerable predecessor the Servant of God Pope John Paul II wrote and I reiterated on the occasion of my visit to the Phanar in November 2006, it is a question of seeking together, inspired by the model of the first millennium, the forms in which the ministry of the Bishop of Rome may accomplish a service of love recognized by one and all (cf. Ut Unum Sint, n. 95)”. The message was published in L’Osservatore Romano, 30 November-1 December.


Bersani and the crucifix

Pier Luigi Bersani [© Associated Press/LaPresse]

Pier Luigi Bersani [© Associated Press/LaPresse]

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, after accepting the appeal of a family from Abano Terme (Padua), came to the verdict in early November that displaying the crucifix in classrooms constitutes a violation of the principle of religious freedom. A verdict that stirred controversy. Invited to the Congress of the Chianciano Radicals, the new leader of the Democratic Party, Pier Luigi Bersani commented as follows, “If you extend the reasoning made for the schools, then you must also change the system of dating the years, seeing that everything is based on the birth of Jesus Christ”. A phrase reported by L’espresso on 3 December.

Vladimir Putin [© Associated Press/LaPresse]

Vladimir Putin [© Associated Press/LaPresse]

1989: was it real glory?

On 1 December, in the letters section of the Corriere della Sera, Sergio Romano commented as follows on the festivities to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall: “In the Berlin ceremonies and in the press comments, the voice of those for whom the collapse of the Berlin Wall marked the end of the Cold War, the crisis of the communist system, German unification and the return to democracy of the satellites of the Soviet Union, certainly prevailed. But not everyone forgot that the collapse of the USSR and its European empire also had political effects and social consequences that would be unjust to ignore. Vladimir Putin is not wrong when he argues that this event was one of the greatest geopolitical catastrophes of the twentieth century. We judged the events of 1989 from a strictly western viewpoint. We would have come to more balanced conclusions if we had remembered the civil wars, the socio-economic crises and the criminal activities that accompanied the transformation of the communist states for over a decade”.

Fraudulent documents for the neocon wars

“Different foreign intelligence systems provided us with documentation on what goes on in Iran. These deal with study plans on nuclear weapons; but they show that such studies have not been developed. The conclusions, however, are different. The U.S. intelligence services believe that Iran is continuing the search for the atomic bomb. After a thorough work of screening, the Agency suspects, however, that part of the documents are false”. Statements of Mohamed El Baradei, former director of IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), in an interview that appeared in la Repubblica on 14 November. Afterwards, interviewed on the war in Iraq, he continued: “Iraq was invaded because it was alleged that it was hiding weapons of mass destruction. But we were cheated and deceived with false documents. The decision to declare war depended on our review of the sites. We asked for two more months to complete our checks. But we were not granted them. Then we discovered that the decision to declare war was already taken at least a year before our review.

Anglicanorum Coetibus

On 9 November, the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus with which Benedict XVI provides for the institution of personal ordinariates for Anglicans who enter “corporately” into full communion with the Catholic Church was published. At the same time supplementary norms were also published.

Sacred College
The resignation of the Cardinal of Seville accepted

On 5 November, the Pope accepted the resignation of the Franciscan Cardinal Carlos Amigo Vallejo, who was 75 years old in August, as Archbishop of Seville, the diocese he led since 1982. He is succeeded by 64 year-old Juan José Asenjo Pelegrina, who has been coadjutor since November 2008.

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