from issue no.06 - 2011


President Peres, The Director of 30Giorni and peace in the Holy Land

Shimon Peres [© Associated Press/LaPresse]

Shimon Peres [© Associated Press/LaPresse]

“I knew all the Italian leaders. One that struck me, however, was Andreotti. The first time he was Minister of Defense, like me. Many years ago. And already his wisdom impressed me. One day I asked him how he managed to survive through so many governments. He replied: ‘Look, it is enough not to consider the ministers as friends. To be with friends, you go on holiday: being in government is another matter’. I have always liked this wisdom of his”. Thus the president of the State of Israel Shimon Peres in the Corriere della Sera on 2 June. In the interview, he also commented on the peace between Israel and the Palestinians: “I think that direct negotiations should be opened and conducted with discretion. Because there should always be a distinction between open positions and moves behind the scenes... The right way is to open negotiations in public and then conduct them with discretion, to reach a real agreement”.


Abraham Yehoshua and the proclamation of a Palestinian State

Palestinian children watch a demonstration of Orthodox Jews pass by in the Old City of Jerusalem [© Magnum/Contrasto]

Palestinian children watch a demonstration of Orthodox Jews pass by in the Old City of Jerusalem [© Magnum/Contrasto]

“The campaign waged by Israel against the Palestinian initiative to obtain recognition of their own State at the United Nations Assembly in September is in my view politically and morally incorrect, and linked to the issue of international recognition of the 1967 borders”. Thus Abraham Yehoshua, in La Stampa of 13 July. The article, after a historical digression on the UN resolution of 1947, which marked the birth of the two States, “one Jewish – Israel – and one Arab – Palestine”, and on the subsequent Arab-Israeli wars, went on to explain how: “the recognition of a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders, therefore, will sanction the decision by the United Nations in November 1947 regarding the partition of the region, supported by Israel at the time and at the basis of its international legitimacy. So if the Israeli government is sincere in wanting to recognize a Palestinian State – as it has repeatedly declared – why is it so opposed to the expected resolution of September? I think the only reason is the reference to the 1967 borders”. A clear allusion this last, to the theses of some Israeli politicians who have declared the impossibility of defending those boundaries. According to Yehoshua, however, an astute military presence, Israeli and international, would be enough to ward off any threats to the Israeli State. These military garrisons, according to the writer, “would not undermine the Palestinian national identity (just as the foreign military bases in Europe and other regions during the Cold War). A military presence is largely temporary and one day, with changed circumstances, can be removed. Conversely Israeli civilians in enclaves within the Palestinian State would be a constant provocation to stir up hatred and dissent”. The article concludes: “The possibility of a crowd of Palestinian civilians, including women and children, who take to the streets of villages and cities to demonstrate in a nonviolent way (as recently in various Arab countries) against outposts and Israeli settlements in the West Bank in September after the UN decision worries me a lot. Would the Palestinian Authority know how to hold off these events? And what would Israel do? Send in the army to repress them by force? And how would Israeli extremists react to those protests in front of their homes? Such a scenario can be avoided if the Israeli government supports the UN resolution in September and immediately initiates direct negotiations on all controversial issues, as called for by the President of the United States”.


Sacred College

The deaths of Sterzinsky and Swiatek


On 30 June Cardinal Georg Maximilian Sterzinsky, 75 year-old retired Archbishop Emeritus of Berlin died after a long illness. On 2 July his successor was appointed: 55 year-old Monsignor Rainer Maria Woelki, auxiliary of Cologne since 2003.

Then on 21 July 96 year-old Belorussian Cardinal Kazimierz Swiatek, Archbishop Emeritus of Minsk died. With his death the College of Cardinals was reduced to 196 cardinals, of which 114 are voters.


Angelo Scola <BR>[© Romano Siciliani]

Angelo Scola
[© Romano Siciliani]


New bishops in Sabina, Urbino, Milan. Resignation in Oppido Mamertina


On 10 June 58 year-old Monsignor Ernesto Mandara, auxiliary in Rome since 2004, was nominated bishop of Sabina-Poggio Mirteto.

On 24 June 64 year-old Monsignor Giovanni Tani, rector of the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary since  2003, was nominated Archbishop of Urbino-Urbania-Sant’Angelo in Vado.

On 28 June Cardinal Angelo Scola, 70 years old in November, Patriarch of Venice since 2002, was nominated Archbishop of Milan.

On 2 July the resignation of Monsignor Luciano Bux, who was 75 years old on 29 June, as bishop of Oppido Mmertina-Palmi, was accepted.




From the Christian people to “militant Catholicism”


On 7 July in la Repubblica, Michele Smargiassi summarized the results of a study on Catholicism in Italy, Geografia dell’Italia cattolica [Geography of Catholic Italy], by Roberto Cartocci, professor of Political Science in Bologna. According to the study, “in recent years, an earthquake in national religious customs has quietly taken place. A transfer of consciousness, a decantation, an electrolysis which has split the country in two: secularization in the North, devotion in the South”. It is a slow process “that only erodes however what sociologists call the ‘Catholic majority’, that mass of Italians equal to approximately about fifty percent of the population that limit themselves to simply observing the more general precepts, showing up in church at Christmas and Easter. ‘The Catholic minority’, who go to Mass every Sunday, has persisted, however, since at least twenty years, at around thirty percent. Within this group, actually reinforced, a legacy of the thrust of John Paul II, is the ten percent of ‘militant Catholicism’, made up of parish leaders and active members of ecclesial movements”.




The loss of the traditional faith


On 7 July Giancarlo Zizola commented in la Repubblica on the study by Roberto Cartocci, Geografia dell’Italia cattolica [Geography of Catholic Italy], explaining that ‘on the ruins of Catholicism’ there meanders everywhere “a model of religion as ‘devout atheists’ that continues unabated to incorporate God as the key element of the bourgeois system, fully functional in the interests of the dominant powers. The same faith in God, ends up being reduced, in this cultural context, to an identity-affirming characteristic, a way to cover over the interests with the cloak of religion”. He continues: “It is precisely this contradictory development that is called into question by the collapse of the structures of established Christendom, which nevertheless continues unabated to celebrate itself on the edge of the precipice. The Church that emerges from these representations is a great and glorious institution deeply exhausted and sedated on its own bureaucratic power”. And it continues with a quote from a writing by the Jesuit Father Bartolomeo Sorge, according to which the current crisis of Christianity represents “a sign of the end of the ‘regime of Christendom’: the overlapping between faith and politics, the throne and altar, sword and crucifix, that had characterized the ‘Constantine’ centuries, but that now ‘appears to be definitively overcome’, both on the historical plane (as a result of the secularization process) and on the theological one (the Second Vatican Council)”. The article concludes as follows: “After all, Ratzinger himself had no doubts in an interview in 1997, about suggesting the abandoning of the idea of a mass national Church: ‘Ahead of us it is likely that there is a different era’, he said, ‘in which Christianity will find itself in the situation of the mustard seed, a group of small dimensions, seemingly unimportant, but yet living intensely against evil and bringing good into the world’”. Title of the article: “Welcome to the country that has lost the ‘traditional’ faith”.



Attilio Nicora <BR>[© Romano Siciliani]

Attilio Nicora
[© Romano Siciliani]


Changes at the head of APSA


On 7 July 74 year-old Cardinal Attilio Nicora’s resignation as president of APSA was accepted, president of the Authority of Financial Reporting since 19 January 2011. His successor is 68 year-old Archbishop Dome­nico Calcagno, secretary of the department since 2007. The new secretary is 59 year-old Monsignor Luigi Mistò, ordained a priest in 1976 for the Archdiocese of Milan.




Nominations to the Laity and Health Care Workers


On 18 June, 48 year-old Spanish Monsignor Miguel Delgado, of the Opus Dei clergy, was appointed undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, of which he was previously the office head.

On 14 July 56 year-old Monsignor Jean-Marie Mate Musivi Mupendawatu, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, was appointed secretary of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, where he was under-secretary since July 2009. The 53 year-old Italian Camillian Father Augusto Chendi, until now an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, takes over the former’s position.




New nuncios in Hungary, at ASEAN, in Chile, Belarus and Uzbekistan


On 6 June 69 year-old Archbishop Alberto Bottari de Castello, nuncio in Japan since 2005, was appointed pontifical representative in Hungary.

On 18 June the first apostolic nuncio to ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) was appointed. He is 58 year-old Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, apostolic nuncio to Singapore and East Timor since last January, apostolic delegate to Malaysia (with which on 18 July, after the Prime Minister’s audience with the Pope, the establishing of full diplomatic relations was announced) and Brunei and non-resident papal representative to Vietnam.

On 15 July 58 year-old Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, the pontifical representative in Rwanda since 2008, was appointed nuncio in Chile.

Also on 15 July 55 year-old Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, nuncio in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan since 2001, was appointed pontifical representative in Belarus.

On 22 July 59 year-old Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, nuncio in Russia since last February, was also appointed Nuncio to Uzbekistan.




New non-resident ambassadors


On 9 June Benedict XVI received in audience six new ambassadors to the Holy See who do not reside permanently in Rome. These are the representatives of Moldova (Stefan Gorda), Equatorial Guinea (Narcissus Ntugu Abeso Oyana), Belize (Henry Llewellyn Lawrence), Syria (Hussan Edin Aala), Ghana (Geneviève Delali Tsegah) and New Zealand (George Robert Furness Troup).

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