News Brief

Source: FSSPX News


Italy: Convict Ran Away Thanks to Papal General Audience

An Italian prisoner allowed to attend the general audience of Benedict XVI, on March 12, took advantage of this to run away. Angelo Di Gennaro, a convict in the prison of Castrogno di Teramo (central Italy) went together with three other “exemplary prisoners” to the Wednesday general audience. After the audience he did not come back to the prison. His companions declared that by listening to the Pope we can but be convinced that “truth sets us free.” (Source: Ansa)


Italy: Turin Shroud Authentic, Admitted Prof. Fanti

The Turin Shroud is authentic according to a report written by Italian Professor Giulio Fanti. It is in no way a forgery dating back to the Middle Ages, he affirmed in an interview granted to the Italian daily Il Giornale, in its March 20 edition. On the occasion of a Carbon 14 datation performed in 1988, it is obvious that there were miscalculations, he stated. The probability for the fabric to date back to the Middle Ages and not to Antiquity is only 1.2%. (Source: Il Giornale)


Italy: Church Collection for Building Mosque

Capuchin Father Giorgio Butterini, of the community of St. Francis Xavier, near Trent, in northern Italy, will allot a portion of the parish collection to build a mosque. Faced with the decision, Don Ivan Maffeis, the spokesman of the bishop of Trent, does not want to engage any polemic discussion, but he thinks that it is a “provocation which might have a boomerang effect,” by strengthening even more the rejection of Islam by part of the population. On the Muslim side, the initiative was well received: “It is a symbolic signal which comes from the authentic inhabitant of Trent, a man of solidarity and welcome,” declared the imam of the Muslim community of Trent, Aboulkheir Breigheche. ( Source: Apic)


Vatican: Next Encyclical Not to Be Published Before Summer

Benedict XVI’s third encyclical, Caritas in veritate, should not be published before the Summer of 2008, Roman news agency I.MEDIA learned from Vatican sources on April 1st, 2008. The publication of this encyclical of a social character was initially scheduled for the month of March, before Benedict XVI’s visit to the United States (April 15 to 21). The delay in its release might be partly due to the translation into some 38 languages, among them Arabic and Chinese. According to some Italian observers, the release of this encyclical of a social character might also have been delayed to avoid “a political use” of the text during the campaign for the Italian legislative elections of April 13 and 14. (Source: IMedia)


Russia: Mikhail Gorbatchev Denied Conversion to Christianity

“I was and I remain an atheist,” Mikhail Gorbatchev declared to Russian news agency Interfax, quoted by ENI agency. “Religion is important for societies, and it is of my own free will that I visited churches, synagogues, and mosques during my journeys. But it cannot be said that I did this because I am a believer.”

The declaration follows the claim of Lithuanian priest Miroslavo Anuskevicius, who exercises his ministry in Assisi, and affirmed to the Italian daily La Stampa, that Gorbatchev, in company with his daughter Irina, had spent half an hour praying on his knees before the tomb of St. Francis on this past March 19, before visiting the basilica. “I came to the Church through St. Francis, so it was important for me to come and visit his tomb. I am overwhelmed to be in a place so significant not only for Catholicism but for all of mankind,” the former Secretary of the Soviet communist party, now age 77, supposedly said. But in the interview he granted to Interfax, he denied being a Christian: “I went to that tomb as a tourist and not as a pilgrim.” (Source: ENI)


France: 3,600 Conversions to Islam Yearly

Every year, between 150 and 200 Muslims become Catholics in France, according to Le Monde of April 2, who reports the route followed by these newly baptized. Most of them face lack of understanding from those around us; some must even hide their conversion from members of their family. However, these baptisms are far from being on a par with the number of those who become Muslims. In August 2006, La Croix, revealed that the phenomenon of conversion to Islam affected 3,600 persons per year in France, especially in the suburbs.

The number of Muslims in the world, taking all denominations together, is estimated to represent 19.2% of the world population. It is now higher than the number of Catholics, which is 17.4%. We could read this in the March 30 edition of The Osservatore Romano. (Sources: Apic/IMedia)


France: Twenty-Five Thousand people Connected with Satanism

In its fifth yearly report, handed to Prime Minister François Fillon, the interministerial mission for vigilance and fight against sect misconducts (Milivudes) is concerned about the growth of Satanism in France, the rise of which had already been underlined in its 2004 report. According to the Mission for fight against sects the number of persons in contact with Satanist circles is 25,000, and 80% of them are less than 21 years old.