Category : Italy

(CC) Philip Jenkins–Ethiopia's Martyred Monks

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 Mus­solini. That massacre at Debre Libanos was one in­stance in a larger campaign of several years’ duration in which Ethi­o­pian 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 Ethio­pians””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 Ethiopi­an 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).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ethiopia, Europe, Italy, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Violence

BBC-Berlin attack suspect Anis Amri killed in Milan

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.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Germany, Italy, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Terrorism, Violence

[Economist] No, grazie: Italian voters have rejected Matteo Renzi’s constitutional reforms

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).

Read it all

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Europe, Italy

Renzi goes down to Defeat in Italian Referendum

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.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Italy, Politics in General, Theology

Choose one chair–Wisdom from the father of Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007)

From here:

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).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Italy, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

New Steps on an Ancient Pilgrimage: Walking Together from Canterbury to Rome

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 à Becket, where Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Robert Runcie prayed together.

Read it all and follow the links.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Europe, Italy, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Theodore of Tarsus

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.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Europe, Italy, Spirituality/Prayer

(Independent) Forget Brexit ”” Italy is poised to tear Europe apart

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.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Italy, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(WSJ) Crime, Justice and Mercy in Vatican City

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 Ángel 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.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Italy, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Charleston's Fantastic Spoleto Festival Kicks off Today

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.”

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Art, City Government, Economy, Europe, Italy, Music, Politics in General, Theatre/Drama/Plays

(Reuters) Vatican to give homeless private VIP tour of Sistine Chapel

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.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Italy, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pope Francis, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(WSJ) Paul Moses–St. Patrick, St. Joseph and Irish-Italian Harmony

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.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, History, Immigration, Ireland, Italy, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(CNS) Vatican public restrooms to include showers for the homeless

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.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Health & Medicine, Italy, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pope Francis, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Synod on the Family

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.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, History, Italy, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Roman Catholic, Theology

(NPR) Vatican Synod Tests The Pope's Vision Of A More Merciful Church

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.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, History, Italy, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology