Category : Italy
(Sky News) Coronavirus: Italy’s hardest-hit city wants you to see how COVID-19 is affecting its hospitals
And for the record, it is NOT like flu, it is more often than not chronic pneumonia and it is killing hundreds here each day.
The head of emergency care, Dr Roberto Cosentini, says they have never seen anything like it, and he and his staff are warning other countries, especially the UK, that they will see it soon.
“It’s a very severe pneumonia, and so it’s a massive strain for every health system, because we see every day 50 to 60 patients who come to our emergency department with pneumonia, and most of them are so severe they need very high volumes of oxygen.
“And so we had to reorganise our emergency room and our hospital [to] three levels of intensive care.”
"It's crippling – here they call it the apocalypse."
— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 20, 2020
Struck down by coronavirus at the age of 83, the long life of Alfredo Visioli ended with a short ceremony at a graveyard near Cremona, his hometown in northern Italy.
“They buried him like that, without a funeral, without his loved ones, with just a blessing from the priest,” said his granddaughter Marta Manfredi who couldn’t attend. Like most of the old man’s family – like most of Italy – she was confined to her home.
“When all this is over,” she vows, “we will give him a real funeral.”
An infection control experiment that was rolled out in a small Italian community at the start of Europe’s coronavirus crisis has stopped all new infections in the town that was at the centre of the country’s outbreak.
Through testing and retesting of all 3,300 inhabitants of the town of Vò, near Venice, regardless of whether they were exhibiting symptoms, and rigorous quarantining of their contacts once infection was confirmed, health authorities have been able to completely stop the spread of the illness there.
Andrea Crisanti, an infections expert at Imperial College London who is taking part in the Vò project while on sabbatical at the University of Padua, urged countries that have been limiting virus testing, which includes the UK and US, to learn lessons and ramp up the numbers of people being screened.
“In the UK, there are a whole lot of infections that are completely ignored,” Prof Crisanti told the Financial Times. “We were able to contain the outbreak here because we identified and eliminated the ‘submerged’ infections and isolated them,” he said of the Vò approach. “That is what makes the difference.”
— Dirk Brockmann (@DirkBrockmann) March 18, 2020
The hospital had planned to send severe cases to Bergamo. “But we got indications that, if patients are over 65 or 70, they won’t get intubated,” said Davide Grataroli, one of the hospital doctors. “So, we’ve chosen to manage them here as best we can.”
That has been the situation for nearly three weeks. The patients know that the lack of intensive-care facilities dooms those not strong enough to survive the disease with limited help. “They accept it with resignation and no complaints,” said Ms. Busi, the nurse.
“The most devastating part is that they are dying alone,” she said. “Families see the patient for the last time at the emergency room. The next time is at the mortuary.”
Such a lonely death is hard to take, the nurse said: “It’s not our culture. We’re very connected here.”
“They are dying alone. Families see the patient for the last time at the emergency room. The next time is at the mortuary.”
— Bill Grueskin (@BGrueskin) March 17, 2020
A very good interview that gives you an idea of the situation on the Coronavirus inside Italy, from a doctor helping to coordinate the response
Watch the whole thing–it is very much worth your time.
(AJ) ‘Each day carries the fear of succumbing to the virus’: Anglicans in Italy experience coronavirus lockdown limbo
The Anglican church in Venice, like the other churches in the city, was not able to hold services on Ash Wednesday by order of the regional authorities, nor on the first Sunday of Lent. Nevertheless, the doors of the church were open during the times set for services so that people could use the building for private prayer. Bishop David Hamid, the lead bishop for Venice, has been in regular contact with the diocese and advice has come from it on how to administer Holy Communion, with no shaking of hands for the “peace.” Fortunately, as yet no information has emerged of a member of the church having contracted the virus, nor of anyone within the wider Anglophone community living in Venice, nor on the neighbouring mainland. At present we are in a “state of limbo” not knowing when we might be able to return to a more normal routine or what might be possible in the future. Each day carries the fear of succumbing to the virus. We are grateful for the emails of support and the offer of prayer that we have received.
What seems somewhat paradoxical is that the two churches which form part of the great panoramic view of Venice—Santa Maria della Salute, and Il Redentore—were built as acts of thanksgiving for the ending of successive plagues. On particular days each year for 400 years, and even today, Masses of thanksgiving are celebrated in these churches and popular traditions associated with those historical events observed. However, when a contemporary “plague” hits the city, a ban is issued preventing them from offering public worship. Hopefully, however, the day will quickly come when, within these same churches, a public thanksgiving will be offered for the speedy demise of the coronavirus and all who helped to combat it.
On March 2, Sims sent the following update:
The restrictive measures are in place through Sunday 8th March, with some slight variations from region to region. Religious services can be held provided people do not group together and a distance of at least a metre is kept between persons. This is a difficult criterion to meet. We have suspended all midweek activities and worship as have the Catholic and Protestant churches. We are evaluating if the criteria can be met on Sunday.
Pope Francis appears not to have prioritized the virus. On Feb. 23, as news of the coronavirus in Italy began receiving major coverage, the pope held a “peace summit” in Bari, where he criticized the “populist” leaders gaining power throughout Europe. Whatever one’s opinion of insurgent politicians, the comments offered nothing to address the fears of panicking Italians, who were donning face masks and emptying supermarkets. By Wednesday, the pope prayed for the disease’s victims and the medical personnel treating them, and Ash Wednesday celebrations were suspended or restricted in Italy.
Compare the pope’s response to how Cardinal Federigo Borromeo of Milan handled the black plague when it struck his archdiocese in 1630. “Be prepared to abandon this mortal life,” he said in Alessandro Manzoni’s classic “The Betrothed” (1827). “Go towards the plague with love, like a prize, as if towards another life, if a soul can be saved for Jesus Christ.” (Although the cardinal’s words are from a work of historical fiction, they reflect the reality of the time.) He invited priests to continue to provide all the sacraments even at great risk. Many clergymen answered the call, remaining in their churches and celebrating the Holy Mass amid one of the most terrifying plagues in history. Many died as martyrs serving believers who found solace in the church.
No one is urging the clergy to commit suicide-by-coronavirus. But “during the most serious time of this outbreak the pope decided to comment on the dangers of populism,” the Italian Catholic conservative writer Francesco Giubilei told me. “People of faith around the world today need spiritual direction and guidance on how to confront this crisis.”
My first piece for @WSJ on Italian Churches shutting down masses in the areas affected by the coronavirus. During the black plague 400 years ago, priests were ordered to continue to serve mass and many died as martyrs. A big difference from today. https://t.co/SXRheP4a1S
— Alessandra (@alessabocchi) February 28, 2020
O God of Love, thou didst deliver servant Josephine Margaret Bakhita from the bondage of slavery to serve you in true freedom; by her example help us to see those enslaved among us, and work to release them from their chains. In your mercy, give to all survivors healing from their wounds and joy in their liberation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
— MAVA (@MA_VA38) February 8, 2019
People who campaign against the ghastly phenomenon of human trafficking and sex slavery soon become aware that they are contending not only with flesh-and-blood wrongdoers but also with invisible forces which, if nothing else, are very much alive inside people’s heads.
One of the most notorious North-South rackets involves transporting young women, often minors, for sex work in Italy and beyond from Nigeria, in particular the southern area around Benin City. That part of the country has a powerful Christian presence, from Catholic to Pentecostal, but it is also a stronghold of traditional animist practices, including witchcraft. Its sex-slave trade has existed for three decades but it seems to have burgeoned recently. The International Organisation for Migration estimates that in 2016, some 11,100 Nigerian women landed in Sicily, and 80% entered a life of forced prostitution.
Before she is spirited off to Europe, the bond between a victim and her trafficker is often sealed with a voodoo ritual in which she surrenders pieces of clothing, fingernails and body hair; these fragments may be combined with drops of blood into a mixture which the victim is made to drink. This terrifies the young woman into thinking that curses will befall her family unless the debt to the trafficker, which can be around $50,000, is paid off.
According to Eugenia Bonetti, a Catholic religious sister who heads an NGO called Slaves No More, one of the many tragic consequences of all this is that young Nigerian women who are expelled from Italy or are helped by charities to return home can find themselves ostracised by their own families. Christian religious orders in Nigeria try to look after these returnees but they are treated as social pariahs.
In March, an attempt was made to tackle this problem by fighting fire with fire….
The sex trade and religion: For those who fight #sextrafficking, dark rituals compound the problem https://t.co/ccz6bHVTAB via @TheEconomist Nigerians forced into prostitution abroad need practical+spiritual help #nigeria #italy #slavery #ethics #family #voodoo
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) June 26, 2018
“Beauty educates,” said Serena, quoting Giussani. The children who come here often feel tossed aside. One used to be awakened by her mother with the words, “Get up, you piece of [expletive]. Breakfast is ready, you piece of [expletive].” But beautiful surroundings make the children who come here feel important, welcomed and cherished. If a toy breaks at Cometa, it is fixed right away. Likewise, every child is recoverable.
The people in Cometa don’t only treasure beauty, they assume it. In a world of distrust and betrayal, they assume there is beauty in each person and in every situation, so they lead with an almost unnerving level of hospitality.
The vocational high school curriculum is built around the idea that machines will soon be doing most physical tasks, but no machine will be able to create the feeling of a loving home. Whether they are being trained as waiters, carpenters, fabric designers or pastry chefs, students are taught to understand and create hospitable experiences. “Everything is a home,” said Mele. “Everything says, ‘Welcome to my home.’”
The idea is to give students the power to welcome others, born out of a sense that they have been welcomed. One of Giussani’s mottos resonates through Cometa: “Reality will not let you down.” You can take the radical leap, because life ultimately is beautiful.
This takes stubborn determination.
'The people in Cometa don’t only treasure beauty, they assume it. In a world of distrust and betrayal, they assume there is beauty in each person+in every situation, so they lead with an almost unnerving level of hospitality' https://t.co/BCoehXJJjj #italy #beauty #faith #hope
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) May 1, 2018
Two upsets 1,300 miles apart lit up European soccer’s most prestigious tournament on Tuesday night, one in Manchester and one in Rome. But the impact of those results, which stunned the soccer world, was felt by fans far beyond either city.
Specifically by a couple of Boston-based billionaires with a habit of buying sports teams: John W. Henry and James Pallotta.
Neither name is exactly chanted from the stands here in Europe, but without their investments, Tuesday night’s stunning results in the Champions League might never have happened. First, Henry’s Liverpool—the team he acquired in 2010 after helping to turn around the Boston Red Sox—knocked off the Premier League’s dominant force, Manchester City. Then, in Italy, Pallotta’s Roma stunned Spanish giant Barcelona, marking the club’s most significant result since he added it to a portfolio that also includes the Boston Celtics in 2011.
Between them, Henry and Pallotta have sunk over $1 billion into their respective clubs. But in European soccer, that is simply the price of doing business. Despite years of investment, this is the first time in either one of their tenures that their clubs have qualified for Europe’s final four. There, they can expect to meet perennial contenders Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, who are both in commanding positions in their own quarterfinals.
A Mad Night for European Soccer—and a Pair of Boston Owners https://t.co/DQmvW8O4vc
— Linda Pizzuti Henry (@Linda_Pizzuti) April 11, 2018
The Betrayal of #Christ by Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) [1591-1666] with comment by #BaylorUniversity's Heidi Hornik @ChristianCent March 28, 2018, p. 55 #HolyWeek2018 #HolyWeek #MaundyThursday #christology #judas #bible #art #history #italy pic.twitter.com/6BJ8hUzC8f
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) March 30, 2018
Italian historians, archaeologists and anthropologists are hard at work to document the presence of Jews from ancient times into the early modern period. There is no lack of evidence, some of which dates back to the first century, following the Roman conquest of ancient Israel. Yet many museums are not aware of the considerable quantity of evidence they have in their archives and deposits. In recent years, Sicilian cities have begun to publish catalogs of this material, and I recently attended a public meeting in southeastern Sicily that featured professors and government officials intent on creating a tourist guide to Jewish Sicily, from Taormina to Siracusa and Noto.
It is hard to overstate the enthusiasm for the Jewish revival. Cooperative ventures between Italian and Israeli universities are under way. These efforts should produce new experts and new historical finds in the coming years. Such activities will be reinforced as other communities emulate the Catania model and new centers of Jewish life are created.
There is a lot of work to be done before the Italian Jewish revival is fully realized. Anti-Semites are particularly active in northern cities like Milan and Turin. The country is also a landing point for many Islamic immigrants, many of whom are openly anti-Semitic. Possible descendants of the old communities will want to formalize their faith by converting, and there is a shortage of rabbis qualified to do that. But in an era when European Jews are under siege, that’s not a bad problem to have.
Italian television recently broadcast a heartrending documentary about one of the largest single acts of mass Christian martyrdom in the 20th century. This happened in 1937 when soldiers and militias slaughtered some 300 Ethiopian monks at one of the country’s holiest religious houses. In this instance, the perpetrators were neither communists nor Islamists but Catholic Italians, serving the fascist regime of Benito MusÂsolini. That massacre at Debre Libanos was one inÂstance in a larger campaign of several years’ duration in which EthiÂoÂpian monasteries and churches were systematically bombed and subjected to mustard gas attacks. Outside Ethiopia, the persecutions remain largely unknown.
In popular memory, fascist Italy has always been regarded as a less pernicious member of the Axis powers, but in his colonial policies Mussolini yielded nothing to Hitler. In 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia, and in the words of its local commander, Rodolfo Graziani, “the Duce will have Ethiopia, with or without the Ethiopians.”
The savage Italian campaign ultimately killed several hundred thousand EthioÂpians””some sources say a million. Graziani envisaged the extermination of all local chiefs and elites, much as Hitler would later attempt in Poland. Given the profound identification of the EthiopiÂan church with national spirit, Italian forces particularly targeted religious establishments….
A global church must have a global memory. Let’s never forget Debre Libanos.
Read it all (this appeared in the Christian Century print edition of January 18, 2017 on page 45).
— EPLF (@DahlaKib) December 28, 2016
The Berlin market attack suspect Anis Amri has been shot dead by police in Milan, Italy’s interior minister says.
The man, who opened fire on police who asked him for ID during a routine patrol in the Sesto San Giovanni area in the early hours of Friday morning, was “without a shadow of a doubt” Anis Amri, Marco Minetti said.
One police officer was injured in the shootout.
Germany has been on high alert since the attack, which left 49 injured.
It was, said a hoarse, red-eyed Matteo Renzi, an “extraordinarily clear” result. His plan to reform Italy’s constitution was not rejected on December 4th by a margin of five or even ten percentage points, as the polls had suggested: the gap between No and Yes was a mortifying 20 points in Italy proper.
Official figures showed the rejectionist front winning by 60% to 40% in metropolitan Italy (and by 59% to 41% counting ballots cast by Italians abroad). And that was with a high turnout, which Mr Renzi’s advisers had believed would favour his cause. The humiliation came at the end of a 66-day campaign into which Mr Renzi threw himself with frenetic energy. He had little choice but to resign in the face of such an unexpectedly decisive outcome.
Mr Renzi had argued that that the reform was essential to make Italy more governable, and so more amenable to structural reforms. Anti-EU populists spearheaded the No campaign, though they were joined by establishment figures such as Mario Monti, a former prime minister, worried about the accretion of executive power sought by Mr Renzi through the combination of the constitutional reform (which would have emasculated the powerful Senate) with a lop-sided electoral law (which engineers a guaranteed majority for the largest party, even one with a small plurality, in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house).
— Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) December 4, 2016
Italy plunged into political and economic uncertainty early Monday after voters rejected a constitutional reform upon which Prime Minister Matteo Renzi had staked his government. The result is certain to reverberate across a European Union already buffeted by political upheaval and anti-establishment anger.
Ostensibly the vote was about arcane changes to Italy’s Constitution that would have streamlined government. But opposition to the reforms came from the same anti-establishment sentiment ”” spiked with skepticism of globalization, open borders and the feasibility of an ever-closer European Union ”” that has transformed the politics of a growing list of European countries.
When I was a boy, my father, a baker, introduced me to the wonders of song,” tenor Luciano Pavarotti relates. “He urged me to work very hard to develop my voice. Arrigo Pola, a professional tenor in my hometown of Modena, Italy, took me as a pupil. I also enrolled in a teachers college. On graduating, I asked my father, ”˜Shall I be a teacher or a singer?’
“”˜Luciano,’ my father replied, ”˜if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.’
“I chose one. It took seven years of study and frustration before I made my first professional appearance. It took another seven to reach the Metropolitan Opera. And now I think whether it’s laying bricks, writing a book””whatever we choose””we should give ourselves to it. Commitment, that’s the key. Choose one chair.”
(–used yesterday by yours truly in the morning sermon).
Thirty-six IARCCUM Anglican and Catholic bishops, representing 19 different regions where Anglicans and Catholics live side by side in significant number, will meet in Canterbury and Rome for a summit meeting in October of this year. The bishops will arrive in Canterbury for the first leg of their meeting on 30th September. They will be staying at the Lodge in Canterbury Cathedral, will take part in the liturgical life of the Cathedral, and will make a pilgrim visit to the shrine of St Thomas Ã Becket, where Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Robert Runcie prayed together.
Read it all and follow the links.
Almighty God, who didst call thy servant Theodore of Tarsus from Rome to the see of Canterbury, and didst give him gifts of grace and wisdom to establish unity where there had been division, and order where there had been chaos: Create in thy Church, we pray, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, such godly union and concord that it may proclaim, both by word and example, the Gospel of the Prince of Peace; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Today we remember Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury from 668 – 690 pic.twitter.com/GJxRDfSXZT
— Church of England (@c_of_e) September 19, 2016
All eyes have turned to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union as having the most drastic political and economic impact onto the 28-nation state but if you look at the country’s economic data, bank issues, and the impending constitutional referendum coming up, Italy is like a bomb waiting to explode.
The Italian financial system, which to put it gently, is in a major state of flux right now. While Britain’s EU referendum in June was seismic in terms of having economic and political repercussions across the bloc, there is another referendum of equal importance, coming up in Italy in October, and the result could fundamentally alter the state of the already delicate Italian economy.
Italians will have a say on reforms to its Senate, the upper house of parliament, in October. The proposed reforms are widespread, and if approved could improve the stability of Italy’s political set up and allow Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to push through laws aimed at improving the country’s economic competitiveness.
Read it all and make sure to take a careful look at the productivity graph.
Mercy has been the animating force of Pope Francis’ three-year pontificate. And the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, which the Catholic Church has been celebrating since December, is the greatest expression of the pope’s interest. Millions of Catholics are taking the opportunity to renew their faith and receive plenary indulgences during what Francis has called “a true moment of encounter with the mercy of God.”
Vatican City’s judicial system, however, is not taking the year off. Msgr. Lucio Ãngel Vallejo Balda has spent the Jubilee in a Vatican City jail cell, and he could face up to eight years behind bars for crimes against the Vatican City State. He and his co-defendants won’t be the first to be prosecuted by the world’s smallest state.
There are two types of courts within the Vatican: religious and civil. Religious courts punish heretical priests, for example, and their jurisdiction extends beyond the Vatican’s walls. Penalties follow the principle of salus animarum, the salvation of souls. They come in the form of invitations to repentance, expulsion from the priestly state or, in severe cases, excommunication.
You can read about it there. Also, please note that this is 10 time mayor Joe Riley’s last one to open: “Mayor Riley helped convince the late composer Gian Carlo Menotti to establish the festival in Charleston almost 40 years ago.”
In Pope Francis’s latest gesture towards Rome’s homeless, the Vatican said on Tuesday homeless people will get a special private tour of its museums and the Sistine Chapel.
About 150 homeless people who frequent the Vatican area – where Pope Francis has already set up facilities for them to have showers – will make the visit on Thursday afternoon, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano said.
Right after Valentine’s Day, the front window of my Brooklyn home sprouts a field of cardboard shamrocks each year. A statue of St. Patrick appears on the bookshelf and a sign is posted on the back door: “If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough.”
This is the work of my Irish-American wife in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day. As the Italian-American husband, I have in past years suggested equal attention to St. Joseph, a favorite saint of Italians. Nothing doing.
The proximity of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 and the Feast of St. Joseph two days later leads to a good deal of teasing and ribbing every year between Catholics of Irish and Italian ancestry.
There is nothing extraordinary about this little bit of fun, unless one considers the bitterness that once marked relations between these two peoples.
The archbishop who distributes charity on behalf of Pope Francis has announced that the public restrooms in St. Peter’s Square will include showers where the homeless can wash.
The service will require volunteers and donations of soap, towels and clean underwear, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, told Catholic News Service Nov. 13. “We have to be evangelical, but intelligent, too.”
Several people living on the streets of Rome or in tents say it is not difficult to find a parish or charity that will give them something to eat, but finding a place to wash is much more difficult.
ECKSTROM: Well, the argument is really about, most immediately about communion for divorced Catholics. So under church law right now, if you are divorced and get remarried outside of the church, you can’t get communion. And so what they’re arguing about is whether or not they should change that rule and allow those divorced Catholics access to communion.
ABERNETHY: Now there’s no voting, no decision-making, no change in this synod. But next year there’s going to be another synod next October about the family again, and then, Kim””
KIM LAWTON, managing editor: Well, then there could be some change. I mean, nothing’s ever guaranteed, especially when you’re talking about the Catholic Church, but this is supposed to be the time for just discussing and debating some of these issues. And then decisions would come later, down the road. And on this issue of divorce and remarriage, you know, the church doctrine is that sacramental marriage is forever. It cannot be dissolved. And so therefore they don’t recognize divorce, and therefore if you are divorced and you get remarried, in the church’s eyes you’re living in adultery, and that’s why you cannot take communion and other sacraments. And so what the cardinals are arguing about is does it affect the doctrine that marriage is not able to be dissolved if you change how you treat people who are in those situations? And I think some of the conservatives are worried if you start tinkering around with that, what other issues and areas of teaching can be tinkered around with?
ABERNETHY: But there’s a lot more that they could be discussing and probably will be discussing.
Pope Francis has summoned bishops from all over the world to Rome to discuss issues concerning families ”“ including hot-button issues like artificial contraception and gay civil unions.
The meeting, called a synod, opened on Sunday and is seen as a test of Francis’ vision of a more merciful Church.
Not since the landmark Second Vatican Council half a century ago has a church meeting raised so much hope among progressive Catholics ”” and so much apprehension among conservatives.