In Brief

Source: FSSPX News



Benedict XVI at the synagogue of Cologne

At a press conference held in Rome on July 5, 2005, it was announced that Benedict XVI would visit the synagogue of Cologne during the World Youth Day.

The Archbishop of Cologne did not give details of the pope’s personal agenda but specified that he would be going to the synagogue for a religious service, during which “psalms in Hebrew” would be read. Accepting this invitation by the local Jewish community, Cardinal Meisner described it as “symbolic”, demonstrating clearly that the Jews are “our brothers and sisters”, and added that “nothing similar to the events of World War II must happen again”. – The visit to the synagogue will take place on the morning of Friday August 19.


No Volkswagen popemobile

According to a spokesman for the German car manufacturer Volkswagen, based in Wolfsburg, the plans for an armored popemobile “are no longer on the agenda”. The pope made it known that he would forgo any new popemobile for WYD and wanted to use the existing vehicles. He suggested that Volkswagen put automobiles at the disposal of charitable organizations. “This proposal is being studied,” said a spokesman for the German group.


Vacant See coins

Two series of coins commemorating the vacant See (sede vacante) were issued on June 30, by the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of Vatican City State. In fact, during the vacancy of the Apostolic See, the camerlengo Cardinal, Eduardo Martinez Somalo, had the power to have the coins minted and to issue stamps.

The coins are made up of sets of eight, on which appears the coat of arms of the Cardinal Camerlengo, surmounted by a pavilion, a kind of half open parasol, the symbol of the Apostolic vacancy. The box is available at the price of 30 euros. A second box costing 50 euros offers a silver coin worth 5 euros, representing on one side the coat of arms of the Cardinal Camerlengo and on the other, the Holy Spirit represented as a dove.

There will be no direct sale. “Exceptionally for the two issues, sale by mail-order will be limited to one coin per person according to the terms which appear on the order forms,” the Philatelic and Numismatic Office said. “For technical reasons, delivery to shops, groups and associations will be made after September 1, 2005. The precise date will be announced as soon as possible to interested parties.”


Swiss Guard celebrate 500 years

The “beloved sons of the Alemanic Confederation,» as Julius II called them in 1505, are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Pontifical Swiss Guard. This jubilee, marked by numerous events, will carry on until the end of 2006.

In particular, in April 2006, eighty former Swiss Guards will follow the route taken by their predecessors during the winter of 1505-1506. Recruited between October and December 1505, 150 arrived on foot in Rome, where they made their entrance on January 22, 1506, the date retained as that of the official constitution of the Pontifical Swiss Guard.

Benedict XVI is keen to take part in these 500th anniversary festivities. On May 6, he will preside at the commemoration of the Sack of Rome (May 6 1527) when 149 Swiss died protecting pope Clément VII. A commemorative plaque will recall this tragic event. During the day, the new guards will make their pledge in St. Peter’s Square. This will end with a firework display in the colors of the Pontifical Guard.

A souvenir book for the events of the jubilee year will appear in the Autumn of 2006. Stamps will be issued by the Swiss Post and by the Vatican Post, a commemorative medal will be made by Swissmint, the official institute of minting Swiss coins. The programm of events may be consulted on the Internet:

Ten Catacombs opened on June 30

On the occasion of the feast of the first martyrs of the Church of Rome, the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology, in charge of the guarding, protection and maintenance of the Christian Catacombs on Italian soil, has opened some Catacombs normally closed to the public.

“It is an experience which I am trying to promote in order to make the Catacombs a place of reflection, prayer, catechesis, places for a sort of evangelization,” as in the early days of Christianity, because it is a living place of transmission of the great values of witness and of faith,” said Mgr. Mauro Piacenza, president of the Commission of Sacred Archaeology. “Certainly with the Catacombs, we will make sure that June 30 remains a special moment.” The Catacombs opened exceptionally are those which are currently being excavated and where the cleaning and lighting work allows for easier visiting. These are the Roman Catacombs of the saints Marcellin and Peter on the Via Casilina, and Comodille on the Via Ostiense, St. Christine at Bolsena, St. Senator at Albano Laziale, St. Catherine at Chiusi, Villa Saint Faustin at Massa Martana, St. Gaudieux at Naples, Porta d’Ossuna at Palermo, and Vigna Cassia at Syracuse.


University course in exorcism

The Institute Sacerdos and the Socioreligious Research and Information Group (GRIS) is organizing a second session in Rome, on the theme “Exorcism and prayers of liberation” The courses, given at the Pontifical Institute Regina Apostolorum, directed by the Legionnaires of Christ, will start on October 13 and will be aimed at priests and theology students preparing for the priesthood. They may also be followed by video conference in Bologna, Perugia, Assisi…

The anthropological, phenomenological and sociological aspects will be dealt with by Cecilia Gatto Trocchi; Satanism and esotericism in the world of young people, by Carlo Climati; biblical, historical, theological aspects by Fr. Pedro Barrajon; pastoral and spiritual aspects by Fr. François Dermine; liturgical aspects by Fr. Gabriele Nanni; scientific, medical, psychological and natural aspects by Tonino Cantelmi; juridical and legal aspects by Mgr. Velasio de Paolis and Marco Strano; the exorcists Giancarlo Gramolazzo and Francesco Bamonte will close the session in February 2006. The first session already attracted 127 participants, from Italy (101), from Africa (10), from Mexico (5), from Brazil (5), from the United States (3), from Germany (1), from Austria (1), and Slovakia (1).