Archive for August 2010
The Vatican is always in the first row in the fight against the evil. We see it everyday, with the never-ending effort of its ministers and leaders to spread the word of the Lord and defend it against the vices lurking in contemporary society. The media are also employed to make sure that the good words reach the delicate ears of the faithful. Not accidentally is the Vatican in the heart of Italy, a country where its missionary aims do find a very fertile soil.
Like all the heroes fighting for justice, however, the Vatican too has had too face obstacles and criticisms in the face of recent scandals. One of those who strenuously rejected the allegations against the Church is bishop Giacomo Babini.
This is Don Giacomo:
In April 2010, he stood up to defend the Pope against the various accusations moved against him. Recognizing the gravity of the alleged scandal, Don Giacomo decided to speak up and to warn the public that a scary plot was in action to undermine the Vatican’s image. Giacomo’s shocking revelation about the plot can be found here.
Not only is Giacomo a bishop, he is also an emeritus bishop. When one is an emeritus bishop, whatever that means, it must also mean that he has to do more than a normal bishop. So Giacomo felt compelled to say more about the scandals in which the Vatican seems to be involved, particularly in connection to pedophilia, a long lasting element of the Vatican’s missionary practice. Don Giacomo has been interviewed a few days ago on a catholic blog (I do not mention the blog itself, but you can find a report about that interview on this more hit-deserving website). On that occasion, he was asked to explain his thoughts on the concept of homosexual priests.
Here is Giacomo’s telling answer (my catholic translation): “I already said, many times, that I consider homosexuality a real perversion against nature. Now, if these things [namely, being homosexual] are committed in such an obscene way by priests, then it would be the case that, as it once used to be done, we should send these priests to life jail. (…) Homosexuality in a priest, if translated into a depraved practice, is even worse than pedophilia. (…) As a priest, I would be more sympathetic with a paedophile who repents, and suffers for his condition, than with these vicious beings. I tell you more, if I had met a paedophile priest, I would not have denounced him, I would have tried to redeem him. A father, such as a bishop is for the priests, does not denounce his sons who do wrong and repent. However, with the vicious ones we must be intransigent.” Catholically added emphasis.
“Sorry kids, we need to redeem these guys. Now shut up and go back into that dark corner, until we come and get you again.” They must have removed this last bit from the interview..
A comment on the Vatican, from a world-wide famous, and recently deceased, Professor of the London School of Economics, can be found here.
Unexpectedly, a story of bribery populates today’s Italian news. The stage of this story is Abruzzo, the mountainous region of central Italy, and particularly L’Aquila, the city that was struck, almost 16 months ago, by a terrible earthquake that killed 320 people.
A series of polemics followed that dramatic event. First, local authorities were fiercely criticised for ignoring alarming signs in the days preceding the earthquake. Second, it emerged that many buildings that collapsed during the seism had been built with poor materials. Later, a series of scandals involving the Civic Protection Department revealed a dark world behind the “rebuilding” of L’Aquila.
The series of scandals continues uninterrupted. This time, it centres around Daniela Stati, the councillor for Civic Protection in Abruzzo. This is Stati:
Actually, she is now the ex councillor, for she resigned today in connection with this story. It is alleged that Stati received, and yielded to, many external “pressures” aiming at convincing her to assign funds for the reconstruction works in L’Aquila to one particular contractor, Abruzzo Engineering. According to the allegations, the latter was offered the contract in spite of the fact they hadn’t even presented a complete project. In fact, the group was preferred to Consorzio ReLuis, a group led by a private university from Rome, which had offered to do the work without receiving funding from the Abruzzo Government.
Details are still emerging around this -slightly uncommon- story: among them, there is a €15,000 (12,500 GBP) diamond ring that Vincenzo Angeloni, representative of Abruzzo Engineering, ‘gifted’ Daniela Stati on 15th December 2009, the same day in which the building group was eventually offered the contract. Wiretaps show a series of friendly exchanges between Ms. Stati, Mr. Angeloni, and Mr. Ezio Stati: the latter is the father of Daniela, himself an ex politician who had to resign in 2000 for being found guilty of bribery. A family business, so to speak. During another of these wiretaps, Angeloni phones Ezio Stati, whom he greets as “the councillor’s father”, informing him of his intention to buy a TV, “a very big one!”, as a present for old good Ezio. The latter happily abides, like “The Dude”, commenting that he is “waiting at home as a parrot”. (Not clear why he says so.. Must be politics jargon).
(Damien Hirst’s work)
The story is still to fully unfold. However, Daniela Stati appeared today on Italian TV SKY, to give a statement rejecting the groundless allegations, and appealed directly to the Italian PM, saying “Mr. Berlusconi, I am another national scandal!” – with reference to Silvio’s idea that the fact that, once a week, a person of his crew is found involved in dirty stuff is the fruit of mere communist propaganda.
Then, Daniela Stati emphatically claimed: “My only fault is that I tried to defend the rights of the workers of [Abruzzo Engineering], I tried to offer a job to this society!”
A very reassuring explanation. To hell the accusation of bribery, and greed over the tragedy of the people from L’Aquila. This was just the attempt of a committed woman to foster workers’ rights.
Damn you, communist propaganda.
Today is the 30th anniversary of the bombings at Bologna train station, one of the bloodiest (probably the bloodiest) terrorist attacks Italy suffered during the so-called anni di piombo (“years of lead”), in the 70s and early 80s. Eighty-five people died as a result of the explosion. Nowadays, the lancets of the station clock are still indicating 10.25 am, the time the bomb went off.
Each year, on the 2nd of August, relatives of the victims, along with common citizens, meet in front of the station, to commemorate the event and to ask for the truth about those responsible for the death of all those innocents. As of today, two neo-fascists have been condemned as material executors of the attack, but nothing has been said as to whom they acted for. The inquiry into the responsibilities of the Bologna bombings has led to State’s representatives and the so called “strategy of tension”, yet very little effort has been made to date, to find the instigators.
Today’s celebration is the first in which no member of the Government is present. Ministers used to take part in the 2nd of August commemoration, as a sign of the State’s support for the victims’ plea for justice. However, and particularly in the last few years, Ministers present at the ceremony have been also object of contestation from some groups of citizens, in relation to the trentennial delay in ascertaining the truth behind the bombing.
This year, then, no one from the Government is attending the ceremony. The reason for this is explained by Ignazio La Russa, Italy’s Minister of Defence. This is La Russa:
Ignazio explained yesterday: “In the past years, you always booed the Ministers who came to the ceremony. Thus, it’s not worth it for the Government to send its representatives”. His view was echoed by Manes Bernardini, from the Northern League: “This year, Bologna will pay for the contestations of the previous years”. Other members of the Government agreed with these statements.
So, here is today’s lesson about democracy in Italy. The Government is there to be praised. If citizens contest the Ministers, if they made them accountable for their (in)action, then the Government will simply avoid showing up. Or, if it is the citizens who showed up to ask question, the Government will kick them out
(The Minister of Defence, La Russa, grabs a freelance journalist, Rocco Carlomagno, who was annoyingly contesting the PM Berlusconi during a press conference, and throws him out of the room).