Oct 26, 2006

Milanese Sacrileges--a New Catholic Italy?

Chiesa Online reports that Benedict XVI gave an important speech in Milan, the home base of the ultraliberal Archbishop Tettamanzi. How liberal is Tettamanzi? Sandro Magister says the Milan Cathedral, the Duomo, is now famous for:
1. Elton John playing and singing “Candle in the Wind” at a 1997 funeral Mass.

2. Lenten meditations on writings by Oscar Wilde, Marguerite Yourcenar, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Jack Kerouac, that replaced the readings from the four Gospels. Then the audience turned and watched videos projected toward the rear of the church.

3. A new video box installed in the Duomo crypt, where the visitor sits and watches a religious film which is covered the entire time with a black rectangle and where there is no sound. The explanation is that “the blocking of 90 percent of the view brings the visitor into a cloud of unknowing, in which he finally faces the free decision: to believe or not believe.”

4. Presentations of (a) selections from the writings of Jewish philosopher and mathematician of the XVII century, Baruch Spinoza; (b) a Japanese video that notes "each human being has his own rhythm, and rhythm is the force that unifies the universe,” and that showed a dual image of a young woman with her face first immersed in and then raised out of a basin full of gelatinous liquid, (c) musical concerts of a contemporary secular nature.

Nevertheless, the Pope in Milan insists that Italy is "rather favorable terrain" for rebirth as a Catholic nation--producing a new Catholic Italy to lead the way for all of Europe and the world. Frankly, I am reminded of the old films on the History Channel where people strapped on wings and attempted to fly off buildings and bridges.

First of all, Italy has lost the will to survive because its families have fewer children than any other European country except for Spain (1.22 children per family in 1997). Second, the number of Italian priestly vocations continues to spiral downward, as explained in a previous post that notes Italy now imports 1,700 foreign priests. Add a third element--Archbishop Tettamanzi and what he does or permits in his cathedral. A rejuvenated Catholic Italy cannot arise out of this environment.

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