Saturday, January 15, 2011

News From Italy and Sicily -- 1. Pope John Paul II Beatified (Excerpt from the Mitrokhin Archives); 2. Mount Etna Erupts


Pope John Paul II, who was beatified yesterday in Rome, pictured with Gen.Wojciech Jaruzelski, Prime Minister of Poland, in Warsaw on June 17, 1983 at the height of Jaruzelski's totalitarian regime.

      "On the eve of the Pope's arrival on June 16, 1983, the underground Warsaw weekly Tygodnik Mazowze expressed the hope that the visit would 'enable people to break through the barrier of despair, just as his 1979 visit broke through the barrier of fear'  In his first words after his emotional homecoming at Warsaw airport, John Paul II reached out to those imprisoned and persecuted by the regime:

'I ask those who suffer to be particularly close to me. I ask this in the words of Christ: "I was sick, and you visited me.  I was in prison and you came to me."  I cannot myself visit all those in prison [gasps from the crowd], all those who are suffering.  But I ask them to be close to me in spirit to help me, just as they always do.'

      At every stage during the next nine days, as during John Paul II's first visit four years earlier, the gulf between his immense moral authority and the discredited one-party state was plain for all to see.  Even Jaruzelski sensed it during his first  meeting with the Pope in the ornate surroundings of the Belweder presidential palace.  Though a non-believer, Jaruzelski later admitted that: 'My legs were trembling and my knees were knocking together......The Pope, this figure in white, it all affected me emotionally.  Beyond all reason.'"

From Christopher Andrew and Vasily Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archives (New York, Basic Books, 1999), p. 539

From The Daily Mail (London), January 14, 2011

"After reports of mysterious mass animal deaths around the planet, photos of a fierce volcanic eruption might seem to confirm that the end of the world is nigh.

Thankfully, these magnificent photos of Mount Etna's latest eruption are merely a chance to revel in the awesome power of nature, rather than a reason to start stocking up on canned goods.

The 3,329-metre (10,922 feet) volcano erupted for around an hour yesterday evening, lighting up the Sicilian sky and providing amazing scenery for the village of Milo, just 12 kilometres away.

Etna is Europe's tallest and most active volcano and has seen increased activity in recent months, yet its seismic might poses no immediate threat to the nearby towns and cities."

No comments:

Post a Comment