But please! Cant they find SOMEONE ELSE FROM ROME to come and bless their new building ANYONE, in fact, except the stridently ANTI-AMERICAN Renato Cardinal Martino?
To refresh everyone's memory, Cardinal Renato Martino, who spent most of his time as the Holy See's observer to the United Nations (there's a surprise, huh?) re-decorating the Holy See's mission there and eating in New York restaurants, is RENOWNED for his bitterness against the United States - at the time of the Iraq War and after it - so much so that the Secretariat of State finally had to silence him.
Long-time Vatican columnist Sandro Magister published an article entitled, Renato Martino: A Cardinal Out of Control, in which he notes:
Martino is a genuine loose cannon in the curia. On repeated occasions, his statements to the press have created serious difficulties for the Vatican authorities. On the eve of the war in Iraq, for example, his pacifist and anti-American quips were so frequent and so unbalanced that he forced the secretariat of state even though it was against the war to impose silence upon him: a silence he observed for a few months. But as soon as he began speaking again, in December of 2003, he wreaked havoc once more. He was to present to the international press the popes message for the World Day of Peace. And instead, the following day the media spoke of something completely different: the accusation Martino had made on the occasion against the United States, charging it with having treated the imprisoned Saddam Hussein like a cow. http://www.chiesa.espressonline.it/dettaglio.jsp?id=46686&eng=y
See Michael Novak, National Review Online, Martino? There He Goes Again!
The Italian newspaper Il Foglio ran a piece Dec. 16 about the frustration at the Vatican, at the secretariat of state, with the imprudent, irascible anti-Americanism of Cardinal Martino, an unfortunate recent appointment (late last year) to the Council for Justice and Peace, who has not ceased being an embarrassment to his superiors. When I was in Rome last February, Cardinal Martino was already under heavy fire for his intemperate and irrepressible anti-Americanism. Even those who before the war leaned more to the French/German position than to the American were dismayed by his uncalled-for comments. Il Foglio pointed out today that Cardinal Sodano, the secretary of state (the official who functions something like a prime minister for the Vatican, the top leader of administration domestic and foreign), not only changed the whole title of the document on World Peace released today but also edited out the most offensive passages of Cardinal Martino, from whose department the draft arrived in the last few days. http://www.nationalreview.com/novak/novak200312170902.asp
Moreover it should be noted that when Novak went to the Vatican prior to the Iraq War to press the legitimacy of the United States position, he was received at the Secretariat of State by the popes foreign minister, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran (himself also anti-American), but Martino, in a clear insult to this noted and devout Catholic layman, delegated the session with Novak to his staff. http://ncronline.org/NCR_Online/archives/022103/022103i.htm
Characterizing the United States liberation of Iraq as a war of aggression http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=32545, Martino says of the United States position: We cannot think that there is a universal policeman who takes it upon himself to punish those who act badly. The United States, being part of the international assembly, has to adapt to the exigencies of others. http://ncronline.org/NCR_Online/archives/012403/012403g.htm
But for someone who is going to bless a pro-life apostolate, Cardinal Martino has a very benign view of those who have been instruments of death for hundreds of thousands. After Saddam Husseins capture by United States forces, Martino said he felt pity and compassion for Saddam Hussein and criticized the U.S. military for showing video footage of him being treated "like a cow." I felt pity to see this man destroyed, (the military) looking at his teeth as if he were a cow. They could have spared us these pictures," he said. "Seeing him like this, a man in his tragedy, despite all the heavy blame he bears, I had a sense of compassion for him," he said in answer to questions about Saddam's arrest. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1216-04.htm (reported by Philip Pullella of Reuters)
In fact, in published interviews, Martino, explicitly says that classic just-war teaching may now be headed the way of the death penalty. When the National Catholic Register asked the archbishop if he meant by this that "there is no such thing as a just war anymore," his answer was unequivocal: "Absolutely." http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110003260
Nor should we forget Cardinal Martinos close ties to and support of the French-born, former UN staffer (you could NOT make this up!) he wrote the UNESCO hymn now a priest (ordained in record time and assigned immediately to the Cardinal Secretary of State as a personal assistant), the anti-American, anti-Bush recording artist, Father Jean-Marie Benjamin. As TIME noted: In Italy, Father Jean-Marie Benjamin, a French-born musician and priest now living in Assisi, is fighting an audiovisual battle against the Bush Administration. He has launched a second edition of his book Obiettivo Iraq (Target Iraq) after the first edition of 10,000 copies sold out in three months. The book, documenting the effects of the U.N. embargo and Benjamin's efforts to smuggle humanitarian aid into Iraq, also contains a video of his catchy pop single Mr. President, which is getting lots of play on Italian radio. "Hey! Mr President, we've understood it all," Father Benjamin warbles, "That we are slaves of Wall Street, lobbies and multinationals/ The taxes of the British people and of the good American people/ To exterminate a whole population/ To colonize Iraq and the Kurds!" http://www.time.com/time/europe/magazine/2003/0120/cover/story_3.html
This Father Benjamin, with the help of Martino, engineered the eve-of-war visit of Tariq Azziz, right-hand man to the Butcher of Baghdad, to Pope John Paul II and thence to Assisi, where the peaceful posse was joined by none other than Melkite-rite Archbishop Hilarion Cappucci, who was arrested by Israel in the 1970s for gun-running on behalf of the PLO, having stashed the weapons in the door-panels of his church automobile. He has also taken part in pro-Palestinian demonstrations led by mock suicide bombers. Among Father Benjamins post-war kudos are his spearheading of a legal team to defend Azziz in his upcoming war-crimes trial and his being named in the Duelfer Report as the recipient of a voucher for 4.5 million barrels of oil in the infamous Oil-for-Food scandal. See his website http://www.jmbenjamin.org/index.html and substantiating links at http://amywelborn.typepad.com/openbook/2004/10/oil_for_food_fo.html
Truly, conservative Roman Catholics in the United States should say:
Bravo, Father Pavone and Priests for Life for your God-inspired defense of the unborn.
But we are trying to CONVINCE not ALIENATE our fellow-Americans, so, please: NO ANTI-AMERICAN CARDINALS TO BLESS THAT APOSTOLATE!
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Do you know what Fr. Pavone's attitude about the war is? Maybe he is sympathetic to the Cardinal's position since he invited him to Amarillo.