from issue no.09 - 2003


The hundredth birthday of Cardinal Bafile

John Paul II and Cardinal Bafile on July 4

John Paul II and Cardinal Bafile on July 4

Great celebrations in the Roman Curia for the hundred years of the Abruzzese Cardinal Corrado Bafile, which fell on July 4. The Cardinal, along with family members, was received in a special audience by the Pope in the Sala Clementina of the Apostolic Palace. Numerous cardinals and archbishops participated in the event. After the Pope’s speech and the greeting of Bafile, a large reception took place. In the afternoon a mass was celebrated in his honor in the church of San Lorenzo in Piscibus, close to the Vatican.
The event was widely covered in the Osservatore Romano, which on July 4 also anticipated the presentation which monsignor Francesco Di Felice (Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family and assistant to the Abruzzi Sodality of San Camillo de’ Lellis of which the Cardinal is high patron) wrote for the book edited by him in honor of the Cardinal: Cardinal Bafile on his hundredth birthday ( Vatican Bookshop Publication, 135 pp., euro 35).
In effect the completion of a hundred years is a rare event, even within the Sacred College. Consulting various publications and the most informed internet site directed by Salvador Miranda in Florida, it would seem that at least in the last three centuries no cardinal has reached this goal.
Of the 611 cardinals created in the twentieth century, those who have lived longest were: the Chinese Ignatius Gong Pin-mei, who died in March 2000 at 98 years and seven months; the Italian Jesuit Paolo Dezza, who died in December 1999 four days after having completed his 98th year; the Tuscan Franciscan Ferdinando Giuseppe Antonelli, who died in July 1993 two days before reaching his 97th birthday; Gennaro Granito Pignatelli from Belmonte, who died in February 1948 at 96 years and ten months, 37 years of being Cardinal; the Portuguese José da Costa Nunes, the last Patriarch of the East Indies, who died in November 1976 at 96 years and eight months; Curia member Francesco Morano from Campania, who died in July 1968 at 96 years old the celebrated French Jesuit theologian Henri-Marie de Lubac, who died in 1991 at 95 years and six months; Alberto Di Jorio, member of the Roman Curia, who died in September 1979 at 95 years and two months.
As for the 475 cardinals created in the 19th century, the longest lived seems to have been the French Jean Baptiste de Belloy-Morangle, who was also the inventor of the filter for the coffee machine, and who died in June 1808 at 98 years and eight months, having been nominated Archbishop of Paris in 1802, when already over ninety, and made a cardinal the following year by Pius VII.
In the 18th century, however, the longest lived of the 343 cardinals created seems to have been the Neapolitan Francesco Carafa di Traetto, made cardinal in 1773 by Clement XIV and deceased in September 1818 at 96 years and five months.
Actually, nine cardinals who are over ninety are part of the present Sacred College.Other than Bafile there are in fact: the Austrian Franz König, 98 years old on August 2; Corrado Ursi, from Puglia 95 years old on July 26; the Dutch Johannes Willebrands, 94 years old on September 4; Opilio Rossi from Piacenza, 93 years on May 14; the Austrian Salesian Alfons Maria Stickler, 93 years old on August 23; the Polish Jesuit Adam Kozlowiecki, 92 on April 1; the German Benedictine Paul Augustin Mayer, 92 on May 23; the Canadian Louis-Albert Vachon, 91 on February 4; the Argentine Juan Carlos Aramburu, 91 on February 11.


A messianism for hope, not for fundamentalism

Amos Luzzatto

Amos Luzzatto

“The time has now come for choices between a messianism that keeps hope alive, which kindles the Jews by motivating them daily to efforts and sacrifices, such as the building of a culture which is adapted to a better society – not the best that utopian fantasy can imagine – and a messianism that is only a camoflauge for intransigent politics, which finds its very best allies in the fundamentalists of the Arab-Islamic world, who are its mirror image”.
Thus Amos Luzzato, president of the Union of Italian Jewish communities, in Avvenire on July 4.


The Enchiridion of the Concordats from Dehoniane

The cover of the Enchiridion of the Concordats

The cover of the Enchiridion of the Concordats

Dehoniane publications of Bologna has recently brought out an interesting volume, particularly appreciated by scholars and enthusiasts of pontifical diplomacy. This is the Enchiridon of the Concordats. Two centuries of the history of Church-State relationships (2,336 pp.,85 euro) which presents in chronological order the original text– with facing Italian version – of all the agreements reached between the Holy See and other States in the last two centuries, beginning with that between Pius VII and Napoleon Bonaparte.
In the preface, the Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano congratulates the promoters of the initiative and hopes “that the new work makes the committment of the Holy See to promoting new ways of collaboration with the civil authorities even better known, thus giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s and also asking Caesar to give to God what is God’s”.
The new text offers in particular all the texts of recent agreements, stipulated between the Holy See and the States of central and eastern Europe, which were regained their freedom after 1990. Also included is that agreed with the Czech Republic in July 2002, but which on May 21 last the Prague Parliament rejected with 110 votes against from the 177 parliamentarians present.

The theme of the 2004 Day of Peace is announced
“International Law, a way for peace”. This is the theme selected for the XXXVII World Day of Peace, which will be celebrated on January 1 2004. The news was announced on July 17 by the Press Office of the Holy See.

Audience for the conferring of the “Paul VI” International Award
On July 5 the Pope received in audience the participants at the conferring of the “Paul VI” International Award on the French Protestant philosopher Paul Ricoeur. On the occasion the Pope gave a speech during which, after having greeted the dignitaries present (among whom were Cardinals Giovanni Battista Re and Paul Poupard) and the “people in charge of the Paul VI Institute, beginning with its president, docto Giuseppe Camadini”, he reiterated “his appreciation for the initiatives promoted by this worthy institution, which contributes to keeping alive in the Church and in the hearts of people of good will the gratitude towards this great pope”.
The Pope added, “his touching memory is ever more alive and rooted in the mind of the people. Paul VI had deeply felt the disquietudes and the hopes of his time, and strove to understand the experiences of his contemporaries, illuminating them with the light of the Christian message. He indicated to them the source of the truth in Christ, the only Redeemer, font of true joy and authentic peace”.

Bush, Baker and miracles
Bush asks Baker, his father’s old friend, for help. With this title the Corriere della Sera of 27 July, taking up that which had appeared in the Washington Post , reported the news that the President of the United States, George W. Bush, had asked former U.S. Secretary of State, James Baker, to accept the position of Treasurer in Iraq. The article began as follows : “George Bush hopes that James Baker will repeat the miracle of 2000: that just as recourse to the Supreme Court of the United States saved him from defeat in the elections, so he will be saved from the disaster in Iraq”. The conclusion of the article was also interestingand reads: “Critics sustain that what Bush needs is not a change of men, but of politics. They invite him to accept a resolution of the UN which will allow France and Third World countries such as India to participate in the reconstruction [of Iraq ed.] If Baker succeeds in persuading him, that too would be a miracle”.

The Sudanese government writes to the Pope
“With a letter to the Pope and to the president of the council, Berlusconi, the Sudanese government expresses its wish to put an end to the bloody conflict which for twenty years the Muslim north has been conducting against the Christian and animist south”. The news was reported in Avvenire on July 8.

Distinguishing Caesar from God
In La Stampa of July 21 Enzo Bianchi, Prior of Bose, in a long article entitled Iraq, after the war the Apocalypse, analysed the intertwining of religion and politics in the United States: “What in Europe sounds like fundamentalism and integralism, appears in the USA simply as cultural unity. It is the result of evangelical Protestantism which loves the ostentation of religious rites unifying the nation, which permits the coexistence between religious integralism – in family, sexual, educative and penal matters – and an unlimited liberalism in the economic and social sphere. This conflict of cultures is happening and we hope that old and wise Europe continues to be able to live the distinction between faith and politics. And, above all, we hope that Christians will contest in the name of the gospel the emergence of a civil religion that does not any more know how to distinguish Caesar from God”.

The death of the Patriarch Bidawid
On July 7 the leader of the Iraqi Chaldean Catholics, 81 year old Raphael I Bidawid, Patriarch of Babylonia of the Chaldees since 1989, died after a long illness in Beirut.

The death of Monsignor Majo
On July 7 Monsignor Angelo Majo, Archdeacon of Milan cathedral since 1974, who would have been 77 years old on August 2, died. Monsignor Majo was remembered in two articles in Avvenire (July 8: Milan mourns Majo, a life for the cathedral; July 9: Angelo Majo, a life spent for publishing and culture).

The divine surprise
On July 6 Barbara Spinelli wrote an editorial for La Stampa commenting on the remark, and consequent polemics, directed by Social Democrat deputy Martin Schulz to the President of the Italian Parliament Silvio Berlusconi at the European Parliament. Spinelli wrote: “Italy should have represented all of Europe for six months: now it is feared that it will instead be isolated, discredited, disdained. We are not alone however, and because of this the the event in Strasbourg was not a tragedy but more akin to a divine surprise: to something new which we are not prepared for. There are no injured bodies going about, there are no massacres of self esteem or the honor of the fatherland, as one might be led to believe by the reactions of many newspaper readers. We are simply under the scrutiny of Europe”.

The death of Father Cremona, the Vatican and television
On July 8 in La Stampa , Filippo Ceccarelli recalled Father Carlo Cremona, who died suddenly on July 13, in the following words: “It is important , not only for a believer, to have eyes and heart capable of recognising that which is defined as “a sign of the times”. Who knows whether the death of Father Carlo Cremona the other day, which happened almost live on the set of “Uno Mattina” in the presence of Ruta, Goria, the writer Bevilacqua and the female volleyball champion, so, who indeed knows if this death so instantaneous and immaterial, so televisual, may enter into the new register of the signs of the times”. After having recalled the life of Father Cremonat, “almost half of which was dedicated to the RAI”, the article dwelt on the relationships between RAI and the Vatican, concluding: “and so, as one can see the relationship between the Church and RAI was at once both unbalanced and entangled. But the new development, perhaps, is that for the first time one glimpses that it can’t last forever. And that, beyond all the rhetoric , the death of Father Cremona does indeed close an epoch”.

The accounts for the Pope’s Charity
On July 17 the Press Office of the Holy See issued a communique from the Pontifical Council, presided over by the German Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, in which the activity of the Department which manages the so called Charity of the Pope was outlined for 2002. In all the Pontifical Council distributed 5,718,606 dollars and 2,450,225 euro: about two million dollars to 49 countries for natural calamities or those provoked by humans; about two million dollars to 48 countries for health, education, formation and assistance to poor quarters; almost two and a half million Euros – through the John Paul II foundation for Sahel – for 233 development projects in the Third World (especially in Africa) and almost two million dollars – through the fund Populorum Progressio - for another 223 projects in poor countries (especially in Latin America).

Accounts in red for the Holy See

On July 10 Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, president of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, presented – for the first time in Euro – the accounts of the balance for 2002. For the second consecutive year the balance was in the red, with a deficit of 13,506,722 Euro (credits for 216,575,034, and debits for 230,081,756), due particularly to losses in the financial sphere and to the costs of media initiatives (L’Osservatore Romano and Vatican Radio). With regard to Peter’s Pence 52,836,693,50 dollars were collected in 2002, 1.8% more than the preceding year.
A curiosity: the budget of the Holy See is notably lower than that of one of the more important diocese of the United States. In fact on June 26 the Archdioces of Philadelphia published its balance sheet for the fiscal year 2002-2003. And so, what is the sixth diocese in the USA, with a million and a half faithful, results as having a “turnover” of 334,449,037 dollars.

The gay bishop elect resigns
On July 6 it was anounced that Jeffrey John, the Canon who on May 21 was designated Anglican Bishop of Reading had turned down the appointment. The episcopal nomination of John, a declared homosexual with a partner of 27 years standing, had aroused numerous protests within the Anglican community, and some African prelates had threatened a schism.

Benotto Bishop of Tivoli, Maniago Auxiliary of Florence
On July 5 Giovanni Paolo Benotto, 54 years old, a native of the province of Pisa, was nominated Bishop of Tivoli. Benotto, ordained in 1973, was personal secretary to the Archbishop of Pisa Benvenuto Matteucci until 1980, and since 1993 vicar general of the Tuscan Archdiocese actually directed by Alessandro Plotti.
On July 18 Claudio Maniago, 44 years old, born in Florence to a family of Friuli origins, was nominated Auxiliary to the Archbishop of Florence, Ennio Antonelli. Maniago ordained priest in 1984, after having been a student in the Almo Collegio Capranica, taught liturgy in the Theological Faculty of central Italy; for twelve years he was Provicar General and for two years has been Vicar General of the archdiocese.

The Italo-American Rigali archbishop of Philadelphia
On July 15 Justin Francis Regali, archbishop of Saint Louis since ’94, was nominated Archbishop of Philadelphia in place of Cardinal Anthony Joseph Bevilacqua, who was 80 years old in June. Rigali, 68 years old, a native of Los Angeles, was ordained in ’61. From 1966 to 1970 he worked in the Nunciature in Madagascar and from 1970 to 1985 he carried out his activity in the Secretariat of State as the person responsible for the English language sector of the first section. In ’85 he was raised to the dignity of Archbishop and nominated president of the ecclesiastical Pontifical Academy. In 1989 he was nominated Secretary of the Congregation for the Bishops, a position he held until 1994 when he was called to lead the metropolitan See of Saint Louis in Missouri.
A curiosity: Rigali is of Italo-American origin, like Bevilacqua, who is actually the only Cardinal in America with Italian forebears. Rigali in fact explained to Thirty Days,“the twelfth son of Santino Regali and Carola Luchini, was born on October 4 1851 in Fornaci di Barga in the province of Lucca (the archdiocese of Pisa). He was baptized the next day in the parish church of Loppia, He emigrated for the first time to the United States in 1869. Afterwards he returned to Italy temporarily. He subsequently married Charlotte Sweney, of Irish origin,in the United States. My mother was of Irish descent”.

Priest from Padua Bishop of Pesqueira
On July 23 the sixty year old Italian, Francesco Biasin, originally from the province of Padua, was nominated Bishop of Pesqueira in Brazil. Ordained a priest in 1968, in 1972 Biasin attended a course in priestly spirituality at the Focolari school for priests in Frascati (Rome). He was subsequently sent to Brazil as a priest fidei donum. Recently returned to Italy, he has for the past four months undertaken the job of person responsible for the diocesan Missionary Office of the diocese of Padua.

New Nuncios in Mozambique,Morocco, Cameroon, Honduras
On July 3 the 61 year old Indian Archbishop George Panikulam was nominated Apostolic Nuncio to Mozambique. Panikulam, ordained priest in 1967, entered the pontifical diplomatic service in ’79 and pursued his mission in Canada, Venezuela, UN-New York, until 1999 when he was raised to Archiepiscopal dignity and nominated Apostolic Nuncio to Honduras.
On July 17 the 61 year old Calabrian Archbishop Antonio Sozzo was nominated Nuncio in Morocco, succeeding Archbishop Domenico De Luca whose resignation was accepted on grounds of age (75 years old in January).Ordained priest in 1971 for the diocese of Verona, Sozzo entered the pontifical diplomatic service in 1976 and served in Panama, Uruguay, Nigeria, Chile, Germany, Morocco, Belgium and Spain. In 1995 he was promoted Archbishop and Nuncio in Algeria and Tunisia; from 1998 he was Nuncio in Costa Rica.
Also on the 17th the new Archbishop Eliseo Antonio Ariotti was nominated nuncio in Cameroon. Ariotti, 55 yers old, a native of the province of Cremona, ordained priest in 1975 in the famous Marian sanctuary of Caravaggio, entered the Vatican diplomatic service in 1984. He served in Uganda, Syria, Malta, the United States, in the second section of the Secretariat of State, in Spain, and during the last three years in France.
On July 18 the new Archbishop 50 year old Antonio Arcari, a native of the province of Brescia, was nominated Apostolic Nuncio to Honduras. Ordained a priest in’77, Arcari entered the Pontifical diplomatic service in ’82 and served in the nunciatures of the Central African Republic, the United States, Bolivia, Ireland, Croatia, Albania and, finally, Peru.

New ambassadors of Korea (with a speech in Latin) and Cyprus
On July 4 ther new ambassador of South Korea 61 year old Bosco Seong Youm, an academic, director of the Korean Institute for Greco-Roman studies since 1996, presented his credentials. It was not by chance then that the diplomat prepared his letters of credential in Latin, thoroughly mastered by him with a doctorate in classical literature awarded by the Pontifical Salesian University in 1986. Youm is the author of various primers for the study of Latin and has begun, in collaboration with the Korean Benedictine publishing house, to work on the translation of some of the works of Saint Augustine , with facing Latin text and commentary. Already De libero arbitrio, De vera religione and De doctrina christiana have been published, and De civitate Dei is expected by the end of the year.
On July 5 it was the turn of the new ambassador of Cyprus, 57 year old Georgios F. Poulides, a career diplomat , formerly Consul in Genova and Ambassador to FAO. Poulides is the first representative of Nicosia to reside in the city.

Don Toso Rector of PSU
On July 7 the nomination as Rector of the Pontifical Salesian University for the next three years of 53 years old don Mario Tosi, a Venetian, teacher of theoretical philosophy, was announced. Toso, formerly Chairman and Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy (1994-2000) is a scholar of the social doctrine of the Church and is a consultant to the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace.

Padua: the future of tradition
This is the title of an article dedicated to the University of Padua which appeared in Repubblica on July 12. The article is part of a large case study on Italian universities of which, among other things, different classifications are drawn up. Padua is judged to be first among the larger Italian universities.

The messianic light makes everything appear simpler
“A tradition says that the unexpected arrival of the Messiah would involve only a small change.Thus the messianic light, when it spreads, will leave everything in its place. It will only make it all appear ‘more tranquil and simple’. Finally ‘there was no detail that attracted attention’”. The conclusion of an article by Roberto Calasso on a discarded passage of Kafka’s famous The Trial (from the Corriere della Sera of July 1).

Black Africa between Christianity and Islam. The experience of Daniele Comboni by Romanato
In October blessed Daniele Comboni, a great missionary figure in Africa, will be canonized, thanks also to a miracle brought about through his intercession on a Sudanese woman , an observing Muslim (cf. ThirtyDays, n. 4 April 2003, pp. 56-59). And it is precisely to the figure of the Veronese priest beatified in 1997 that the most recent work of professor Gianpaolo Romanato, professor of modern and contemporary history of the Church at the university of Padua, is dedicated. The volume, Black Africa between Christianity and Islam. The experience of Daniele Comboni, is published in the history series edited by Sergio Romano for Corbaccio publications (450 pp., ' 24,50). Availability in the bookshops is planned for September 5).

“Catholic youth on the move …”by Piva
In the insert Tuttolibri of La Stampa on July 12 there was a review of the volume “La gioventù Cattolica in cammino …”Memoria e storia del gruppo dirigente (1946-1954), (Catholic youth on the move …Remembrance and history of the managerial group), in which Francesco Piva, Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Tor Vergata, reconstructs the internal events of the catholic youth organizations in the years 1946-1954, among which is the block resignation of 22 managers of the GIAC (Italian Youth for Catholic Action), in dispute, among other things, with the rigidity whereby Luigi Gedda guided Catholic Action. In the book an episode is reported in which the then Monsignor Montini was protagonist, who “discreetly had the rebels receive a check so that they could decide what to do with their lives, calmly and thoughtfully”.


Those photos without respect for the rules of international law for the defeated

The first page of the L’Osservatore of July 26

The first page of the L’Osservatore of July 26

“ ‘Evil without name’. Thus Giorgio La Pira defined war, because in the majority of cases it jeopardises human beings and civilization. Yesterday, without regard for what is prescribed by international law for the defeated, the photos of the disfigured corpses of the two sons of Saddam Hussein, Uday and Qusay, killed on Friday in Mosul during a raid carried out by the United Stated military, were published”.These were the opening words, bold type, of the main front page article in the Osservatore Romano of July 26. Heading and sub-heading: Once again the tragic face of war. “The US authorities publish the photos of the disfigured corpses of the two sons of Saddam Hussein”.


Checks the greed of those who aspire to bishops’ mitres

A bishop directs the sacking of a church,  a miniature taken from the Decretum Gratiani

A bishop directs the sacking of a church, a miniature taken from the Decretum Gratiani

L’Osservatore Romano of July 16 published a substantial review by Felice Accrocca of the first tomes of the Opera omnia of Saint Pier Damiani (1007- 1072) edited by Guido Innocenzo Gargano and Nicolangelo D’Acunto for the Città Nuova publishing house (Letters [1-21], 1/1, Roma 2000; Letters [22-40], 1/2, Roma 2001; Letters [41-67], 1/3, Roma 2002). Title of the review: From the hermitage of Fonte Avellana an invitation to Gregory VI: “The greed of those who aspire to bishops’ mitres must be checked”.

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