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Sudan bloodshed The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has deplored the mounting bloodshed in Sudan’s South Kordofan state and the “indiscriminate violence on the part of government troops against civilians”. More than 53,000 people have been driven from their homes and the new Anglican cathedral in Kadugli has been burned down. “This violence is a major threat to the stability of Sudan just as the new state of South Sudan is coming into being,” he said in a statement.

‘Spiritual baton’ passed on Hungary’s Catholic Church is to partici- pate in a special pilgrimage to Poland at the end of June to mark the handover of the European Union’s rotating presidency between the two countries. “The aim is to show Europe our community is built on a spiritual foundation,” said the organ- iser, Laszlo Budai, a local government leader from Szigetszentmiklos.

Special Curia meeting Pope Benedict XVI held a special meeting on 13 June with the leaders of the Roman Curia. The Vatican did not disclose the purpose of the meeting. Pope Benedict has only rarely called together all the heads of Vatican offices when he wants to discuss a major policy issue.

Property body exonerated Polish Church leaders have welcomed the Constitutional Court’s exoneration of the Church-State Property Commission, which provoked public protests by hand- ing out state assets to the Church in compensation

for Communist-era

seizures. “We can now close this matter – this Property Commission can no longer be used for … political aims,” Mgr Stanislaw Budzik, the bishops’ conference secretary general, said.

Relic goes missing

A 780-year-old relic of the patron saint of lost causes and missing objects was stolen from St Anthony’s Catholic Church in Long Beach, California, on Monday, just hours after it was put on display. Fr Jose Magana said he decided to bring out the relic this year, on the 780th anniversary of the death of St Anthony, to bring hope to his parishioners in difficult times. People were “praying to St Anthony for the return of his own object”, he said.

The Tablet in Israel The Tablet’s online editor, Abigail Frymann, is in Israel this week reporting from Marian pilgrimage sites. You can follow her blog at

For daily news updates visit

Letter from Rome

currently Patriarch of Venice, as the next Archbishop of Milan. He will take over Europe’s largest diocese from Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, who is already beyond retirement age. The 69-year-old Scola grew up in the


Milan area and in 1970 was among the first priests ordained exclusively for Comunione e Liberazione (CL), an ecclesial movement favoured by the current Pope. He then worked for the international theological journal, Communio, co-founded by Joseph Ratzinger, and eventually became rector of the Lateran University. Cardinal Scola is touted as an intellectual, but in all his posts he has most distinguished himself as an ambitious renovator of structures and creator of programmes. And now he is being moved from one plum diocese to another. Milan produced two popes in the last

century, Pius XI (1922) and Paul VI (1963), and some claim Cardinal Scola’s eventual move to Italy’s most important diocese could make him the first of the Third Millennium. But that’s the reason why Pope John Paul II sent him to Venice in the first place. Three of the lagoon city’s patriarchs were elected to the papacy in the 1900s – St Pius X (1903), Blessed John XXIII (1958) and John Paul I (1978). It’s hard to see how Cardinal Scola will become more papabilein Milan unless he performs miracles there, something the Holy See may well be expecting of him. Actually, the more interesting aspect to Scola’s expected appointment is the man whom Pope Benedict chooses to replace him in Venice. One of the names to emerge is Archbishop Pietro Parolin, 56, who served brilliantly for seven years as the Vatican’s “deputy foreign minister” before being named nuncio to Venezuela in 2009. It would be fitting if someone named “Pietro” were Italy’s leading papabile.

Ratzinger Prize for excellence in the field of theological studies. The awards were announced on Tuesday at the Vatican and Pope Benedict is scheduled to present the winners with their diplomas and a cheque for €50,000 (£44,000) on 30 June at the Apostolic Palace. They are Manlio Simonetti, 85, an Italian layman distinguished in patristic-biblical studies; Fr Olegario González de Cardedal, 76, a Spanish professor of dogmatic and fundamental theology; and Cistercian Fr Maximilian Heim, 50, a specialist in the works of Joseph


he Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) Foundation has awarded three European theologians with the first

ithin the next few weeks, Pope Benedict XVI is expected to name Cardinal Angelo Scola,

Ratzinger and abbot of the Heiligenkreuz Monastery in Austria. The prizewinners were selected by the Ratzinger Foundation’s “board of researchers”, composed of Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the retired vicar of Rome; Cardinals Tarcisio Bertone SDB and Angelo Amato SDB (both former secretaries at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [CDF] when Cardinal Ratzinger was prefect); Archbishop Luis Ladaria SJ (current CDF secretary) and Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès OP (secretary of the Congregation for Education). The Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI)

Foundation was established last year at the Vatican to encourage the study of theology, organise conferences and “recognise scholars distinguished for their unique contributions” to theological research. In Wednesday’s issue of L’Osservatore Romano, the foundation ran a full-page advertisement and invited readers to offer their financial support through cheques or credit cards. It listed 11 Italian banking institutions as “sponsors” and three universities as “research partners” – the CatholicUniversity and the Lateran University, both in Rome, and the Kujawy-Pomorze University in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

petitioned Pope Benedict to change Vatican teaching and recognise the moral legitimacy of homosexual relationships. The coalition’s requests came in a three-page letter that several of its members posted to the Pope on 10 June. They were in Rome for the week-long Euro Pride, an annual international gay festival which, for the first time, included events specifically dealing with faith and homosexuality. Former American Jesuit John McNeill, a pioneer in Catholic ministry to homosexuals, was on hand for the world premiere of a documentary about his life. The Vatican dismissed him from the Jesuits in 1988 for disobeying a CDF order to stop his controversial ministry. McNeill, now 85, led several hundred thousand people – including many heterosexuals – in the Euro Pride parade last Saturday through the streets of the Eternal City. The Italian bishops’-owned paper, Avvenire, criticised the event for its insulting placards against the Church and the Pope. The spokesperson for Rome’s gay Christian group Nuova Proposta, which was chief organiser of the faith-based component, Aurora Bianchi, agreed that the slogans were counterproductive, but said there were many fewer than in the past. Robert Mickens

A 18 June 2011 | THE TABLET | 31

coalition of some 44 Christian- based lesbian and gay organisations from 23 European countries has

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