In Brief

Source: FSSPX News


Vatican: Mentally disturbed man attempts to mount popemobile

A 27 year-old German man attempted to jump onto the vehicle in which Benedict XVI was making his weekly circuit of St. Peter’s Square on June 6. “The man wanted to get near to the Pope’s vehicle, not because he was making an attempt on the Pope’s life but in order to attract people’s attention,” said papal spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi. After his arrest, he was questioned by Vatican judge Gianluigi Marrone, who concluded that he should be admitted for treatment in a Rome hospital.


China: Bishop from underground Church arrested

On June 5, a bishop of the underground Catholic Church was arrested by the police in Hebei Province (Northern China), announced the Catholic Agency Asianews, quoting the Kung Foundation, an American association for the defense of religious liberty.

This is the ninth arrest since 2004 of 73 year-old Mgr. Giulio Jia Zhiguo, bishop of the non-official Catholic Church of Zhengding, who has already spent twenty years in prison. The prelate was arrested at his home; the police told him that he would be in custody for around ten days, reports Asianews. – The Vatican is preparing to publish a personal letter from the pope to the Catholics of China, which will have to be first checked by the Communist authorities of Beijing. It should be remembered that the “patriotic” Church is answerable to the Chinese government and has five million faithful, while the “underground” Church, faithful to Rome, has around ten million members.


Rome: Vatican to be equipped with solar panels

The Vatican State is to install solar panels on the roof of the Paul VI Hall in 2008. According to a statement made to the Italian Agency Apcom, on June 2, by the engineer Pier Carlo Cuscianna, head of the Vatican technical services department, hundreds of solar panels will shortly be installed on the gigantic roof of the Audience Hall in the Vatican City. The heating, air-conditioning and the lighting of the Paul VI Hall will no longer be supplied by electricity from the city of Rome, but by the solar energy accumulated by the photovoltaic cells installed on its roof.

The reason for this decision was the ecological awareness of Benedict XVI, explained Pier Carlo Cuscianna. Furthermore this initiative will not be the only one which the Vatican State intends to set up for the use of renewable energy. Other projects are currently being studied.


Switzerland: Islamic center not granted in Bern

Even before the summer of 2007, the city of Bern made known its decision on the subject of the allocation of the 23,000 m2 of the Wankdorf site.

The planned construction of one of the largest European Islamic centers by Umma – a federation of 11 Islamic associations of the canton of Bern – was announced in the press last April. On June 1, Bern City Council made it known that 45% of the Wankdorf City zone would be destined for a regional hospital, and 55% for offices and businesses. Barbara Hayoz, a city councilor, declared that the construction plan for an Islamic Centre did not correspond with the vocation of the district, a vocation achieved by this hospital. She pointed out that the municipality was maintaining intercultural dialogue, having granted permission for the construction of the “House of Religions” (see DICI no. 155) and that at present she could see no location in Bern suitable for the Islamic Centre.

Farhad Afsar, the spokesman for Umma, has not made any comment on the decision by the City of Bern, having not yet received confirmation from the city council.


Rome: Vatican Radio acquitted of accusation of “electromagnetic pollution”

During the year 2001, the activities of the transmission centre of Vatican Radio, situated near to Santa Maria di Galeria, were the object of heated controversy. Accusations of electromagnetic pollution were leveled against the radiophonic transmitter by the local population. They claimed it emitted waves which were carcinogenic and detrimental to health.

On June 4, the first penal section of the Court of Appeal of Rome, announced the acquittal of Cardinal Roberto Tucci, president Emeritus of the Management Committee of Radio Vatican and of Fr. Pasquale Borgomeo, its former director general, of their condemnation in 2005 for “throwing dangerous objects.” Fr. Borgomeo had received a ten day suspended prison sentence.

But “this affair is not over yet,” said Fr. Lombardi, the head of Vatican Radio: “An appeal has been launched, which does not surprise us given the relentlessness of the accusations against us for many years.”