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Conclave watch: Italian job or Asian pivot

Tuesday, 19 February, 2013 1 Comment

After seeing the last two pontificates going to a Pole and a German, the Italians are said to be eager to see one of their own wearing the Ring of the Fisherman. The Ring of the Fisherman In all discussions, three names dominate: Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, and Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan. Of the three, Cardinal Scola, 71, is said to have the most impressive CV. If, however, someone younger is needed, Francesco Moraglia, the Patriarch of Venice, is waiting in the wings, He’ll be 60 in May, but the problem is that he’s not a cardinal. Of course, nothing prohibits the election of someone who is not part of the Sacred College, but tradition is central to the rites of the Catholic Church.

If youth is an issue, and Benedict XVI has certainly put the matter of age into play by way of his renunciation of the Papacy, conclave historians will note that Karol Wojtyla was a mere 58 when he became John Paul II. That being the case, it may well be worth keeping an eye in the coming weeks on a young cardinal who has enhanced his theological credibility by helping to author the huge history of Vatican Council II. As well, his doctrinally correct pastoral work is said to be pleasing to Benedict XVI and his simple lifestyle and outreach to the poor have impressed the faithful. Step forward, archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.

Backgrounder: He’s 56 and he’s got 118,000 likes on Facebook. More importantly, he’s from the Philippines, which is the only Asian nation with a Catholic majority. Rome would like to see that state of affairs change in our life time and just as the USA is said to be pivoting towards Asia, the Vatican is aware that the Pacific and not the Atlantic will be the decisive ocean in the 21st century. Cardinal Tagle might just be the person to lead the new wave of evangelization, about which we’ll have more here on Friday.


Giovanni Trapattoni kicks off our Italian week

Monday, 18 February, 2013 0 Comments

Italy is very much in the news these days. For instance, there’s a critical general election next weekend and that will be followed by the papal conclave in Rome as a result of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. True to form, these major events have been preceded by the arrest of the former head of the country’s third largest bank for alleged fraud and bribery, and the arrest of the chairman of the air defense group Finmeccanica over his alleged involvement in a corruption scandal.

Life goes on, however, and that symbol of a kinder, gentler Italy, Giovanni Trapattoni, will today preside over the opening a new shopping mall in Munich. Trap, as fans call him, managed local team Bayern Munich for two seasons and he remains very popular in the Bavarian capital because of his style, charm and cryptic use of German. The expression “Ich habe fertig!” (“I’m done!”) is a legendary Trapattonism that owes its linguistic fame to his usage of the verb habe (have) instead of bin (am) during an emotional press conference and has since become part of spoken German.

Fertig!

Beneath the jolly exterior, beats a canny heart and Trapattoni struck a one of the century’s best deals in 2008 when he convinced the Football Association of Ireland to appoint him as manager of the national squad on a munificent salary of €2 million a year, plus €750,000 a year for his backroom team. It was this kind of profligacy that saw Ireland seek an EU bailout in 2010 and in a selfless gesture of burden-sharing a year later, Trapattoni agreed to have his pay cut to €1 million per annum. Odd jobs like opening a shopping mall in prosperous Munich helps Trap to cope with that sharp drop in income.

Whilst in Munich, the devout Catholic Giovanni Trapattoni will, no doubt, find time to pray for the Bavarian Pope, Benedetto, who is the subject of tomorrow’s post here.


The Pope’s heart

Wednesday, 13 February, 2013 0 Comments

According to people who know about these things, congestive heart failure leads to serious loss of energy because the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. A knock-on effect is that mental capacity starts to be impacted. Congestive heart failure was one of the ailments that affected Franklin D. Roosevelt and towards the end of his presidency it robbed him of vitality in debate.

The papal heart Yesterday’s revelation that Pope Benedict XVI had been fitted with a pacemaker focused attention on his declining health, and his brother had this to say to the BBC: “When he got to the second half of his 80s, he felt that his age was showing and that he was gradually losing the abilities he may have had and that it takes to fulfil this office properly.” That’s worth pondering because as we now know, many Popes have served the final part of their papacy with some sort of dementia. Benedict XVI will be one of the Popes who will not do that. And by virtue of being alive, compos mentis and in the ‘hood, so to speak, he’ll exert a significant influence over the selection of his successor. In this way, his decision to renounce his office acquires a new dimension of wisdom.


Germany is glad to see the back of Benedict

Tuesday, 12 February, 2013 0 Comments

Pope Benedict resigns

A sigh of relief swept across much of Germany when the news of Pope Benedict’s resignation became public yesterday. His papacy was marked by a drumbeat of criticism that displayed contempt for his office and willful ignorance of the pontifical role. It was clear from the outset that Benedict was going to dedicate himself to correcting the theological aberrations that had developed since the Second Vatican Council, while reminding the 1.2 billion faithful that the heritage of the Catholic Church extends far further into the past than 1962, the year the Second Vatican Council was convened. Both of these goals enraged the elites that manufacture popular consent in Germany because they wanted a green, feminist, socialist, post-religious Pope who would conform to their warped interpretation of the world. They didn’t get what they wished for in April 2005, and they most certainly will not like what’s coming in March 2013.


@Pontifex tweets

Wednesday, 12 December, 2012 0 Comments


The old belief

Sunday, 9 December, 2012 0 Comments

“The feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is celebrated on 8 December, emerged in some Anglo-Saxon monasteries in the eleventh century. But the attempts to introduce it officially provoked contradiction and theoretical discussion, bearing upon its legitimacy and its meaning, which were continued for centuries and were not definitively settled before 1854. The ‘Martyrology of […]

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Alberto Salazar and the art of exhaustion

Tuesday, 7 August, 2012

On Saturday night in London, Mo Farah and Galen Rupp disrupted the African hegemony of long-distance running events by winning gold and sliver in the 10,000 metres race. How did they manage it? In essence, Farah moved to Oregon last year to train with Rupp under the guidance of Alberto Salazar. In the current issue […]

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“Non si può seguire Gesù da soli”

Sunday, 1 July, 2012

Who knows what this pilgrim at the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in mid-June was praying for? Health, perhaps. Better weather, possibly. An Italian victory in Euro 2012? Tonight, in Kiev, Italy play Spain in the final of the championship and for the Italian coach, Cesare Prandelli, the tournament has been a triumph of faith. […]

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For our mental, moral, and spiritual uplift

Monday, 11 June, 2012

Busy week for Dublin. The city hosts both the Eucharistic Congress, celebrating the Catholic faith, and Bloomsday, celebrating the 90th anniversary of the publication of Ulysses by James Joyce. And the connection between the two? In a letter to his brother Stanislaus, James Joyce wrote: “Don’t you think there is a certain resemblance between the […]

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The boy who became the pope

Thursday, 19 April, 2012

On this day in 2005, Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger became Benedictus PP. XVI. Fans of the scholarly Bavarian cardinal were thrilled. He was, after all, the draughtsman of the Vatican’s crackdown on liberation theology in Latin America and the perfect intellectual partner during Pope John Paul II‘s courageous challenge to the Soviet empire. And today, seven […]

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Heard the one about the three monks?

Thursday, 5 April, 2012

Seeing that this is Holy Thursday, it’s time for something contemplative, and they don’t get much better than this very old Irish joke, which begins: “Tríar manach do rat díultad don tsaegul.” Not familiar with ancient Gaelic? Here’s some help: tríar = three persons, a threesome; manach = of monks (genitive plural of ‘manach‘); do […]

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