Category: Science and religion

“The Shroud, investigation of a mystery among science, faith and history”: conference in Trabia. Interview with the rapporteur Emanuela Marinelli, scholar of the sacred cloth

(from – It took place in Trabia, in the Parish of Santa Petronilla, a conference on the theme “the Shroud, investigation of a mystery among science, faith and history ". A scientific presentation of the sacred cloth with the final exposure of a life-size reproduction.
To speak the sindonologist Emanuela Marinelli, among leading experts on the subject. We interviewed her.

How this passion for the Holy Shroud was born in her?
It was pollen research that caught my attention, because I have a degree in Natural and Geological Sciences. In 1977 I learned of the analyzes conducted on material taken from the Shroud by Max Frei Sulzer, a Swiss scientist, internationally renowned criminologist and expert in micro-traces. The pollen species identified on the Shroud by Frei are fifty-eight; of them, only seventeen grow up in France or Italy, while the abundance of those that do not exist in Europe is truly surprising, but they grow in the Middle East. Many are typical and frequent in and around Jerusalem.

From science teacher to apostle of the Shroud: how science and faith come together before the Mystery?
The most interesting researches are scientific ones, who proved how the Shroud really wrapped a corpse. Attempts to prove that it is an artistic work have all failed. The comparison between the tortures suffered by the Man of the Shroud and the story of the Gospels shows that it is Jesus.
A believer finds in the Shroud a confirmation for his faith, but he does not consider the Shroud authentic by faith. This is a point where confusion is often made. It must be made clear that faith has nothing to do with the authenticity of the Shroud, because Jesus Christ existed as a historical figure and the preservation of his funeral sheet is also admitted by non-believing scientists. The authenticity of the Shroud is not a theme of faith, it is a science theme. Once the authenticity of the Shroud has been ascertained for scientific reasons, the believer finds in it reasons for confirmation and meditation for his faith. Looking at the Shroud is like reading the Fifth Gospel.

What does he mean when he says that looking at the Shroud is like reading the Fifth Gospel?
The journalist Orazio Petrosillo said that the Shroud is the "news from Calvary". In fact, on the Sacred Linen you can see the streams of blood of the Man of the Shroud and through their observation you can perform a virtual autopsy of his corpse and see how his wounds tell us what happened to him in his last hours of life. The sequence of tortures endured leads to retrace, as in a Via Crucis, the moments of his suffering and everything coincides with what is described in the Gospels. Here then is that the relic itself becomes like a fifth Gospel that faithfully describes all the moments of the Passion of Christ.

What have been the main representations of the Face of Christ in history?
Up to the fourth century symbolic representations of Christ are imposed (agnello, pane, pesce) together with the use of features derived from other religions: Christ the sun, Shepherd, Orfeo, Ercole, Thaumaturge, Maestro, Philosopher. In many cases the representation of the young and beardless Christ is used in order to emphasize his divine nature.
After the freedom of worship granted by Constantine to Christianity and sanctioned by the so-called Edict of Milan of 313, a different image of the face of Jesus begins to spread, characterized by a not too long beard, from the mustache, with a majestic appearance, with long hair that falls to the shoulders and sometimes shows a central parting that divides them. The close relationship between the Shroud and the depictions of the Face of Christ from the 4th century onwards is evident.
The similarity cannot be attributed to pure chance, but it seems to be the result of a correlation, mediated or immediate, of one image from another and of all from a common source: the Shroud.

Why do you think, there are still many controversial points about the truthfulness of the sacred cloth?
There are those who deny the authenticity of the Shroud out of ignorance, some for prejudice, who for his interests. The scientific research carried out on the Shroud is already more than enough to guarantee its originality, but some don't like that. It is the same situation as the historicity of the Gospels, already amply demonstrated but stubbornly denied by someone: it is clear that Jesus bothers, today as 2000 years ago, to those who do not share his words because to accept them he would have to radically change his life.

Carbon tests 14 made in 1988 they dismissed the Shroud as a medieval cloth, therefore as a sensational fake. It was a deliberate falsification of the original data? If, because?
An important article, which I wrote together with researcher Tristan Casabianca, to Dr.. Giuseppe Pernagallo, data analyst, and to Prof.. Benedetto Torrisi, professor of statistics at the University of Catania, appeared last year in Archaeometry, examines from a statistical point of view the raw data of the radiocabonic analysis of the 1988, that is, the data derived from the individual measurements. The laboratories did not accept, for almost thirty years, to disclose these raw data. Only in 2017 they granted them to Casabianca, who has taken legal action to obtain them.
Statistical analysis shows that the samples were not homogeneous, therefore they could not be considered representative of the entire sheet. The outcome of that test, therefore, it does not allow to retain the medieval Shroud, as was stated in the 1988.
The British Museum statisticians who worked on the data must have realized that something was wrong. They decided to publish the processed data anyway, hoping that no one would ask for the raw data and notice the inconsistencies. But it was naive to think that the truth would never emerge!

What do you think the historical value is, theological, spiritual and scientific of the Holy Shroud?
I would distinguish the historical and scientific value from the theological and spiritual one.
The historical and scientific value concerns everyone, even non-believers. The Shroud is a unique object, there are no other funeral sheets with the image of the deceased imprinted, an image that is still inexplicable. It would have great historical and scientific value even if it were from the Middle Ages, but its value is even greater due to its antiquity. Studying the Shroud we have really interesting news on a cloth from two thousand years ago, on its fine craftsmanship, on the micro-traces it contains, on the Roman crucifixion
The theological and spiritual value, on the other hand, only interests believers, who through the Shroud can meditate on the passion of Christ, retracing all the painful moments of his sufferings. But they can also rejoice in his resurrection, because “our resurrection is closely linked to the resurrection of Jesus; the fact that He is risen is proof that there is a resurrection of the dead. He is risen, and because He is risen we too will rise " (Papa Francesco, general audience, 4 December 2013).

What is the Shroud for you and what it represents for your life?
The Shroud is above all a fascinating mystery from the scientific point of view and for this reason it is worth studying it. The identification of the Man of the Shroud with Jesus, however, makes it much more important, because it is an extraordinary relic, that everyone should know and think about. This is why I thought it right to write books and articles, give lectures and radio and television broadcasts, open a website and a group on facebook… I do everything I can to spread this good news: we still have Christ's funeral sheet today, soaked in his blood and imprinted with his image, which bears witness to his resurrection. One cannot remain indifferent to this gift of the Lord.

During his many conferences, he saw fruits of conversion in those who came into close contact with the Man of Sorrows?
I have witnessed conversions, more than one, and these are truly miracles that God performs in the heart of those who approach the Shroud with the desire to understand its mystery. A mystery of pain and light that fascinates in its eloquent silence.

Card on the Shroud
The Shroud (from the Greek sindon, bed sheet) it is a long linen cloth (442 cm for 113 cm) which certainly enveloped the corpse of a tortured man. An ancient tradition considers it the burial sheet of Jesus Christ. The precious relic has been in the possession of the Savoy since 1453 until the 1983, when Umberto II gave it to the Pope. From 1578 the Shroud is kept in Turin.
The first certain historical records of the existence of this relic date back to the mid-fourteenth century, when Geoffroy de Charny delivered the Shroud to the canons of Lirey, in France. His wife, Jeanne de Vergy, she was a great-granddaughter of Othon de la Roche, a crusader knight who most likely took her away from Constantinople during the sacking of the 4th crusade (1204).
The Shroud may have arrived in Constantinople on 16 August 944 coming from Edessa (today Urfa, in Turkey) with the name of Mandylion, a cloth on which the image of Jesus was thought to be miraculously imprinted. All depictions of Christ, from the 4th century onwards, they are inspired by the Shroud. An ancient tradition attributes to St. Jude Thaddeus the Apostle the transport from Jerusalem to Edessa of the fabric with the imprint of Christ.
In 1988 the Shroud was dated with the Carbon method 14. Based on this analysis, it would go back to a period between 1260 and 1390 d.C. But the methods of the withdrawal operation, the sampling area and the reliability of the method for fabrics that have gone through vicissitudes such as those of the Shroud are considered unsatisfactory by a significant number of scholars.
In 2013 three new analyzes, conducted at the University of Padua, they dated the Shroud to the time of Christ. These are two chemical dating, based on vibrational spectroscopy, and a mechanical dating method.
A recent statistical survey, based on official data and raw data from the dating of 1988, published in Archaeometry in 2019, showed that those results are not reliable due to the inhomogeneity of the samples used.
Many other scientific analyzes confirm the authenticity of the Shroud: the great abundance of pollen of Middle Eastern origin and of aloe and myrrh; the rudimentary manufacture of cloth; the presence of aragonite similar to that found in the caves of Jerusalem; a side seam identical to those existing on first century Jewish fabrics; conspicuous traces of Middle Eastern DNA.
The negative imprint of the body that was wrapped in it is visible on the Shroud, besides the stains of his blood. There is a perfect coincidence between the wounds observed on the Shroud and what is described in the Gospels: scourging, crowning with thorns, carrying the cross, crucifixion with nails, spear blow to the side, short stay in the sheet.
The human footprint, due to dehydration and oxidation of the superficial flax fibrils, it can only be explained by assuming that the body has emitted light radiation. The Shroud therefore takes us to the threshold of the mystery of the Resurrection.

Emanuela Marinelli graduated from the University of Rome La Sapienza in Natural Sciences and Geological Sciences with 110 and lode. He obtained the Diploma of Catechist Specialized in Catechesis of the Passion at the Vicariate of Rome and the Roman Center of Sindonology, where she was a teacher. He has lectured on Iconography, Christian Iconology and Symbology at the LUMSA University and on the Iconography of Christ and the Shroud in the Postgraduate Diploma in Shroud Studies at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University. She was the coordinator of the Organizing Committee of the World Congress of Orvieto Sindone 2000. He has written many articles and twenty books on the Shroud, translated into various languages. She was among the promoters of the Link pro Sindone Nel 2015 in Bassano del Grappa (WE) she was awarded the Gold Medal of Merit of Catholic Culture. In 2017 she was awarded the Castello di Prata Sannita literary prize and was awarded the honor of Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. Among his works “The Shroud, analysis of a mystery ", Sugarco (Milan) 2009; “The Shroud, witness of a presence ”S. Paolo (Cinisello Balsamo, Milan) 2010. With Maurizio Marinelli "Discovering the Shroud" Edizioni Messaggero Padova (Padova) 2010. With Maurizio Marinelli “The Shroud, a mystery between history, science and faith ”Shalom (Camerata Picena, Ancona) 2010. With Marco Fasol “Light from the Sepulcher” Faith&Culture (Verona) 2015. With Livio Zerbini “The Shroud, history and mysteries ”Odoya (Bologna) 2017. With Marco Fasol “Jesus and the Shroud” Arachne (Rome) 2020. (the care of) “New light on the Shroud” Ares (Milan) 2020.

San Bonaventura Doctor of the Church. The bubble of Sixtus V

(from – Although Pope Sixtus IV when he canonized s. Bonaventure, had declared him Doctor of the Church, it was nevertheless this title, although glorious in itself, common to others, revered with this cult. Now wanting Sixtus V to distinguish its merits, destined to give him a more singular cult. Four were the main Doctors of the Church, that is s. Ambrogio, s. Agostino, s. Jerome and s. Gregorio. Since the Pope s. Pius V had raised the angelic s to the honor of the fifth Doctor. Tommaso d'Aquino, so the same Sixtus judged the seraphic s worthy of being ranked sixth among the primary Doctors. Bonaventure, both already peers and fellow students at the University of Paris. Having been this Pontiff assumed by the Order of s. Francesco, he was very sure for the studies made of the Works of s. Bonaventure, that the many merits of his doctrine deserved him such an honor. Now he wanted this declaration to be made with ecclesiastical magnificence, solemnity, chosen for this function the Basilica of the Holy Twelve Apostles, he went there in person on the morning of the 14 of March of 1588, day when we celebrated the anniversary of the translation of the sacred body of s. Bonaventure, accompanied by many Cardinals and a large number of Prelates. Made that there was adoration to the Blessed Sacrament, dressed in sacred papal robes in white, adorned with the precious machine gun, he ascended the papal throne, surrounded by cardinals, dressed in purple-colored cape, to be the time of Lent. Then in the presence of the large people, rushed to the noble and solemn function, Tommaso Gualtieruzzi secretary of the Short Pontiffs, in a prelate habit he read from the pulpit placed beside the Gospel, the constitution described here, with which s. Bonaventura was declared by supreme pontifical authority and counted among the primary Doctors of the Church.

servant of the servants of God

The Holy Mother Church still militant on earth, but eager to achieve the crown of justice, kept in the triumphant Jerusalem, admiring with pleasure the eternal glory and the unmistakable crowns, who adorn the head of those holy souls, who happily reign in the company of Jesus Christ, he does not cease to praise admirable God and his servants. Not only does it exalt with praise the illustrious victories and the illustrious merits of the saints, but he still venerates and piously worships the same saints, honored by God in a unique way; and venerates them because instructed by their preaching and salutary teachings, founded on the shedding of their blood, educated by the lustres their examples and charity actions, it comes with fervent prayers, that they daily have an advantage in her before God. Whenever possible in the exile of this passing world, greatly endeavors to give each saint in particular also the due and congruent honors, like that heavenly hierarchy, where everything is ordered in perfect charity. For since in that great house of the divine father of the family, rich in all good, there are many houses and those blessed souls enjoy the bliss of the same glory with a certain admirable variety, thus the Catholic Church which has the similarities of the celestial, placed in order as the teams that make up a well-disposed army, and knows and distinguishes by means of a celestial light that illuminates it, that sacred disposition, that must be held in the veneration to be given to the saints. Wherefore while she glorifies the glorious choir of the Apostles, the honorable assembly of prophets and the army of very strong martyrs, all proportionately honoring with well-deserved worship, he exults in various ways with the same spirit of charity and with the same affection of religious devotion. Among all then those most blessed choirs of the saints, whose right mind memory is celebrated with religious worship by every believer, the order of the holy doctors shines with singular splendor, distinctly indicated by the apostle s. Paolo, when speaking of Jesus Christ he said that he some destined apostles, other prophets, other evangelists and then other pastors and doctors, he was made up of diligent cultivators and faithful workers of his vineyard, to form saints in the work of the ministry and to build up his body. These are those, of which speaking in high voice thunder the Wisdom says: Those who will make me shine, they will have eternal life. The angel says of these same in the sacred book of Daniel: Those who will be learned, they will shine like the light of the firmament; and those who teach many, why be fair, they will be like stars, which will shine perpetually for all eternity. And these are finally those, that the same Redeemer Christ the Lord honored with that worthy praise: Who will operate and teach, will have the great name in the kingdom of heaven. Having then been at all times the doctrine of the sacred Doctors useful and salutary in the Church of God, then mainly the experience proved fruitful and necessary, when the horrible fury of the persecutors of the Christian name was curbed, they raised themselves up with more ardor within the Church, while she was at peace, the cruel wars of heresies. Then it was that the tricks and falsehoods of the heretics, who by instigation of the devil do not cease to over-seed the tares in the field of the Lord, they were discovered by the solicitude and diligence of the Doctors; then the pestiferous and detestable errors were cut off by their work with the sword of the spirit, and bring down its lie with the force of Catholic truth. Hence the holy Doctors are deservedly indicated by the name of the stars called Hyades, because precisely after the harsh winter and the long nights of infidelity, and the storm of persecution has subsided, then arose more resplendent Aglines in the holy Church, when the sun of truth shone above bright and clear in the hearts of the faithful, beginning to appear as new the most resplendent year of true faith.
Among those, that the great God wanted to fill with the spirit of intelligence, and that they spread their eloquent wisdom in the Church of God like rain, rightly counts s. Bonaventura confessor, and Pontiff and distinguished Doctor of the same Catholic Church, already ascribed for the admirable holiness of his life and for his excellent doctrine from our predecessor Sixtus IV to the role of saints. Because he was born in Bagnorea, a city in Tuscany, in fulfillment of the vow made by his pious parent, he entered his youthful age in the seraphic Religion of s. Francesco, whose fresh footsteps following what new soldier from the beginning, with equal humility and constancy he undertook the regular observance of his institute with much fervor of spirit and with such great anxiety of heart, who from then on saw in him a great holiness; become for the illibacy and purity of life, for holy humility, for the patience, La gentle;, out of contempt for earthly things, for the desire of the celestial, the example and admiration of all. He was also raptured in God with such sweetness of spirit, and he was thus in flaming with holy divine love, that already introduced into the cellarer of the mystical groom, and intoxicated with the precious wine of charity, He seemed to see Jesus Christ crucified and grieved all over the place, and who lived in his sacred wounds. To this exemplary holiness of life he added, become all man of God, the merit of an excellent doctrine, thus disposing God, succeeded in his glory and the advantage of the highly profitable Church not only by example, but with word and erudition again. Therefore applied to the study of sacred letters, to the reading of the Holy Fathers and to the much needed science of scholastic theology, under the discipline and teaching of Alexander of Ales, distinguished theologian of that age, he made such progress in a short space of time, and he came to such great perfection of doctrine by the rarity of his good talent, for the assiduity of the study and particularly for the singular grace of the Holy Spirit, who solemnly decorated doctoral and master's insignia in the famous Academy of Paris, there he was a public professor of sacred theology. He then brought back so much praise in interpreting and in the science of all theology, that the most famous writers admired his doctrine and erudition. How excellent he had been in theology enough the treaties declare, the Works and writings, which for the sake of not mediocre benefit of God, however, are preserved to the great advantage of the Church; and that scholars of the present age and past times have always read with great fruit, and they approved and greatly commended them. He left in their posterity many monuments of his truly divine genius, by means of which the most abstruse and obscure difficulties are clearly developed and neatly brought to light; with an abundance of convincing reasons, the truth of the Catholic faith is illustrated, pernicious errors and profane heresies remain defeated, and the mind of the faithful remains admirably inflamed in the love of God and in the desire for the heavenly homeland. Because it was singular and proper to itself. Bonaventura moves minds not only with the subtlety of the arguments, with ease of teaching, with the exactness of defining things, but also with a certain strength that is divine, joining in such a way to write a supreme erudition and an equal ardor of pity, waves in the act of teaching moves, penetrating the most intimate breasts of the soul, to the point of still composing the heart with certain seraphic spines, and pour into it a prodigious sweetness of devotion; which grace spread on his lips and in his pen admiring our predecessor Sixtus IV supreme Pontiff, he did not doubt that the Holy Spirit seemed to have spoken in him.
Having therefore been granted by the Lord to this faithful servant of his so great and so rare talents, so that with the good use and traffic of the same he would amplify the treasures of heavenly grace for the benefit of his brothers, he was elected by divine disposition in Rome with full consent of the whole Order, seventh Minister General after the patriarch s. Francesco. In exercising such a job he showed not only prudence, vigilance and supreme concern, but he still burned with such ardor of fraternal charity, and he served his brothers and sisters with such Christian humility, that in him the teaching of Jesus Christ was fulfilled, who said to his disciples: Who among you is greater, be your minister. Indeed, that our Pontiff our predecessor Clement IV of pious remembrance who loved him very much, and also very pleased with the reading of his Works, seeing it for its excellent virtue and prudence adapted to be in a wider field useful to many, the distinguished archbishopric of York showed him. However, it does not suffer from detaching itself so easily from the dear embraces of seraphic poverty, he humbly and modestly refused this dignity offered to him. But at another time, having the Supreme Pontiff Gregory X intimated for important affairs of the Christian republic, the General Council in Lyon, and looking for men well-endowed with holiness, of doctrine and wisdom, to make use of their firmness and loyalty in operating, in treating you very thoughtful shops, he chose from the two flourishing Orders of Preachers and of Minors mainly s. Tommaso and s. Bonaventure, both very clear lights of that age, by commanding them to bring themselves into his presence. But the first on the journey became infirm, he happily passed to heaven to receive the crown of glory; and party s. Bonaventura for Lyon, he was most welcomed by the Roman Pontiff Gregory, who lived so entrusted to him virtue and wisdom, who decided to give it mainly the task of directing and administering the affairs of that Council. Laonde so that not only was there, but he also presided over the Council's interests as principal director with dignity and authority, he decided to place it as a fiery and luminous lamp on the exalted candlestick, to shine more and more in the house of God. So he added it to the sacred College of Cardinals, and at the same time I will count him to the Order of Bishops, declaring him bishop of Albano, bestowing an honor to dispense the oldest cardinals to one, who had never coveted any honor, indeed they had fled them, and who then did not refuse to intuition to obey the command of the vicar of Jesus Christ, and in order not to escape the effort for the benefit of the Church.
Adorned with that vast dignity, it greatly benefited the glory of God, and to the common utility of the Church; because he used his work in the rough affairs of the Council, manly defended the Catholic faith, he heatedly refuted the prave opinions, and from him prudence, doctrine, holiness and prayers the pastoral concern of Pope Gregory was so sustained, that the dissension of the schism is sedated by divine mercy, Michele, Paleologo imperator de ’Greci, and the eastern nations returned to the union, to communion and obedience from the Apostolic See; finally considered worthy of being condecured by the Greeks with the name of Eutichio.
So rightly past that was the very strong champion of G. Christ from the pilgrimage of this life to the heavenly homeland, everyone regretted his death, they all did common harm, everyone commended him with tears in his eyes in the act of competing for his funeral. One of the others published with distinguished eloquence, but with sincere praise the integrity of the life led by this most holy man, the freedom of his customs, the multiplicity of labors incurred for the benefit of the Church, and the sublimity of the doctrine he showed in the face of that whole Council. This was Pietro Cardinal of Tarantaise, man for erudition and for Christian eloquence insigne, raised afterwards to the sublimity of the Pontificate with the name of Innocent V. The same Supreme Pontiff Gregory X then, penetrated by intimate pain for having lost a brother, a coadjutor, a loyal advisor, he testified with heavy words in the presence of the Council fathers, than the Catholic Church, which had brought back from the pity and doctrine of such a great man copious advantages, he had made a great loss with his death.
But with more truth it was said by the Holy Spirit: Of eternal memory will be the righteous; aware that he, how illustrious he had been in life, most illustrious was after death, proving God, who is admirable and glorious in his saints, with more prodigies and with amazing miracles the sanctity of his servant. The fame of which prodigies by increasing all, the same Sixtus our predecessor observing them from the height of the Apostolic See, fully understood that you were the finger of God, who only works admirable things. Spontaneously therefore, and at the petition of Emperor Federigo again, of kings, of the republics, of the dukes and more cities, and almost all the faithful, who ardently unanimously required the canonization of the distinguished Cardinal and Bishop Bonaventura, he undertook the thought, worthy of a Roman Pontiff. Therefore examined with the utmost care and diligence, and the sanctity of his life was found great, joined to the truth of miracles, come to the fulfillment of the legitimate and necessary acts, with his highest power conferred by God in his person. Peter, through the advice of the cardinal brothers of the holy Roman Church, and with the consent of all Prelates, ascribed to the glory of God and to the exaltation of the Catholic Church in the catalog of saints the same blessed Bonaventura, and added it to the role of the holy confessors, Pontiffs and Doctors, ordering that the feast be celebrated annually on the second Sunday of July, with reciting throughout the Church the office in the manner of a confessor Pontiff Doctor.
And although this glorious doctor s. Bonaventura is most famous in the Catholic Church, and shine brightly in heaven, where it is crowned with that wreath, that God promised to his lovers, nor does he need anything human who enjoys these goods with Jesus Christ, that neither eye saw, nor did they ascend into the human heart; nevertheless the charity of Jesus Christ, and a certain ardent desire for devotion, that since almost our adolescence we have always nurtured towards him, it stimulates us to think, as far as we can with the help of the Lord, to propagate and make holiness and doctrine ever more luminous. We certainly moved, as it is right, from the holy communication we have with it, by report to our Seraphic Religion, in which we were educated and lived for many years, and to whom, as a worthy mother, we are indebted to show all the certificates of piety and gratitude. But the glory of God moves us much more, the pastoral office we exercise, and the hardships sustained for the Church of God by such a holy man, and many illustrious merits, and its close conjunction with the Roman Church, to whose very wide Order and Senate admitted, he occupied it with supreme praise. We are finally moved by the usefulness of the universal Church, which for the erudition of such a great Doctor can always be greater and more abundant, especially because the dangers of heretics and their diabolical machines, with which they try to completely demolish sacred school theology, make us warned to have to consider with all the effort, to illustrate and propagate the aforementioned theology, of which there is no more advantageous thing to the Church of God. Consciously by the grace of Him, which only gives the spirit of science, of wisdom and intellect, and that increases from age to age, according to need, his Church of new benefits, and provides it with new subsidies, was found by our majors, Wise uomini, school theology, which was mainly cultivated for a long time, flattened, excellently arranged, and in various ways excellently explained, it was left to posterity by the glorious Doctors, angelico s. Thomas and seraphic s. Bonaventure, very clear professors of this faculty, and the first of those that have been inscribed in the catalog of saints. Cognition and the use of this so salutary science, which derives from the abundant sources of the Holy Scriptures, de 'Supreme Pontiffs, of the Holy Fathers and de'Concili, in truth, he has always been able to bring great benefit to the Church, or both to understand and to interpret in its true and healthy sense the sacred Scriptures themselves, or to read and explain the Holy Fathers with greater security and usefulness, or both to discover and refute errors and heresies.
In recent times then, when those dangerous days described by the Apostle have already come, neither as men blasphemers, bold and seductive go from bad to worse, wandering them, and others still drawing from them, it is certainly this science which is very necessary to refute heresies, and to confirm the domes of the Catholic faith. And certainly that is the case, their enemies of truth are judges, which more than anything else frightens school theology, because they understand well that for that right connection of things and of causes united among themselves; for that order and disposition similar to the military discipline marked for soldiers to fight, for those clear definitions and distinctions, for that robustness of arguments and for that subtlety of dispute, light is distinguished from darkness, the truth is discerned from the false, and their lies wrapped in an infinity of prestige and falsehoods remain uncovered and unknown, just as happens to those who are taken off their clothes. How much more eglino therefore endeavor to oppose and to land this immensely stronghold of scholastic theology, the more we must defend this invictive proponent of faith, uphold and preserve the legacy of our fathers, and decorate, as far as we can, with deserved honors the bitter defenders of the truth.
For this reason so that the erudition of the Seraphic Doctor spreads wider, and scholarly and scholarly men bring more and more works of sweet fruit from him, to glory of the same saint, although he is most blissful in heaven, we first established a College in this Basilica of the Saints Twelve Apostles of our city of Rome under the name of s. Bonaventure, where the sacred theology is publicly explained according to the Works and Commentaries of this distinguished and devoted holy Doctor. It is our second concern, than in a decent impression, His works are well corrected together in this Vatican printing house, that they can meet again, in part never printed so far, and to our authority and expenses sought everywhere, and in part already printed and published.
For which we have determined effectively from the beginning of our pontificate, so inspired by God, as piously we believe, to make famous, as far as possible, all the name and glorious merits of this s. Doctor, and increase the worship of the faithful towards him, certainly we are still excited to do this by the example of Pope Pius V, of holy memory, our predecessor, meritorious of the Christian republic, and that we still recognize and venerate as our father. Since he moved by religious piety and by the singular devotion that he nurtured towards himself. Tommaso d'Aquino, decorum of his Order and ornament of the Catholic Church, yearning likewise to decorate him with decent honors to guess his excellent merits at the Catholic Church, established among other things and ordered that the party be perpetually celebrated annually with a double office rite, similar to the other four main holy doctors; we also considered it right to do the same as we did. Bonaventure, Exemplary doctor, for between these two saints passes a close conjunction and a perfect resemblance of virtue, of holiness, of doctrine and merits. I am indeed the two olive trees and the two candlesticks that make light in the house of God, and that for the pinguedine of charity, and for the splendor of wisdom they illustrate the whole Church. These by the singular providence of God like two stars that have sprung up at the same time, they came out of two very clear families of Regular Orders, extremely useful to the holy Church to defend the Catholic Religion, and always prepare to undertake labors and meet dangers for the zeal of the Orthodox faith, and from which, as from a fertile and well-cultivated field, they are born daily, by the grace of the lord, fruitful and fruitful plants, that is, men who are excellent in holiness and doctrine, who with fidelity and fortitude take care hard to Peter's ship shaken by so many waves, to whose government the Roman Pontiff presides with supreme vigilance.
Being these two saints peers, exercised in the same studies, co-disciples and teachers together, equally honored by Pope Gregory X in having called them both to the Council, and in the pilgrimage of this life closely united in bond of brotherly love, of spiritual amity, and companions in the holy labors, and finally walking with equal steps towards the heavenly homeland; an everlasting bliss enjoy you equally happy and glorious, from where with the same affection of charity, since we must piously believe, they pray for us, fatigued in this valley of tears, begging for divine help.
For what therefore he requires from us and love for the Seraphic Order, and the greatness of the merits of s. Bonaventure, and the usefulness and building of the Catholic Church, whose government was committed by God to us, although undeserving, after having conferred with maturity all these things with our venerable cardinal brothers of the Holy Roman Church, with their advice and unanimous consent, with our certain science and with the fullness of the apostolic power conferred on us, we still approve and commend the doctrine of the same s. Bonaventure, already praised by our predecessors Clement IV, Gregory X and Sixtus IV, admired greatly in the Council of Lyon, also used in that of Florence to explain difficult things, praised and approved by the authoritative testimonies of conspicuous men, and worthy of a distinguished Doctor of the Church, we are still in the process of approving and renewing this constitution of Sixtus IV in force of this constitution, which we want as expressed in this place, except for the order to have to celebrate the feast of s. Bonaventura on the second Sunday of July, we decree and declare that we have been the same s. Bonaventura with great reason ascribed and counted by the Consortium of Doctors, and that by virtue of our constitution he must by apostolic authority be considered and venerated among the principal and primary who were excellent in the magisterium of the theological faculty. […] And so that the glorious remembrance of this wise Doctor is celebrated for his great merits with more fervent worship, moved by the example of our predecessors Bonifazio VIII, who commanded the same for the four main Doctors and Pius V, who did the same thing for himself. Tommaso, we order that the feast of the same be celebrated in all parts of the Christian world. Bonaventure in double rite by all ecclesiastical people, both secular and regular of any Order, both publicly and privately ai 14 of July, despite the aforementioned ordination of Sixtus IV, who stared at her on the second Sunday of the same month. However, we command that in the impression of the calendars the title of Doctor must be added to the name of it holy and the double rite of the feast should be indicated, although in the reform of the recent Breviary and Roman Missal it is ordered otherwise, so that it cannot be judged or interpreted differently from what it has been by anyone of any authority provided, like above, ordered. […] Therefore, it is not lawful for anyone to tear this sheet apart or contradict our decree of approval, innovation, of declaration, of precept and concession, under pain of incurring the indignation of God and the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

Completed the publication of this decree, the large chorus of singers rang out, who sang the Antiphon in joyful and happy voices: An optimal Doctor, after which Pope Sixtus recited the prayer of the Doctors of the Church. The solemn Mass was then celebrated by the Cardinal Ascolano, after which, Maurizio Bressi, French by nation and highly learned man recited an eloquent prayer in praise of the seraphic Doctor s. Bonaventure. Rejoicing the most devoted Sisto for the contentment of having conferred this excellent and deserved honor to the Seraphic Doctor, he also wanted to give another mark of the very partial devotion that he had towards him. It had made some galleys work to make them run in the shores of the Mediterranean. To the principal of those woods, to be delivered to the fleet commander, he wanted to put the name of s. Bonaventure, hence for the many and illustrious merits of a saint so powerful in his patronage, he would remain victorious in making his prey the enemies of the cross of the Savior of the world.

(Gaspare da Monte Santo O.F.M. Obs., Gesture and doctrine of the Seraphic Doctor San Bonaventura, Florence, 1874, pp. 330-343).
Text collected by Giuliano Zoroddu.

COVID-19 provoked a crisis of confidence in the Georgian Orthodox Church?

(from pandemia da COVID-19 ha colpito il mondo in maniera molto disomogenea; la Georgia ha sorpreso tutti per il risultato raggiunto nella lotta contro il virus.
I motivi di questo successo sono diversi e comprendono le accuse secondo le quali la vera portata e le reali statistiche sarebbero state nascoste (secondo la Mappa dell’Università Johns Hopkins [en], alla data del 29 June, in Paese si contavano 926 casi confermati e 15 decessi). Anyway, la prima ondata sembra attenuarsi, thus offering an opportunity to reflect on the reactions of the main actors and institutions of this South Caucasus country.
The Georgian Orthodox Church exercises enormous social and political influence in Georgia, where 83.4% of the population adheres to it. Repressed during the Soviet regime, the church has received substantial financial support in the form of public funds and property restitution, that, secondo un relationship [ka, like all subsequent links, unless otherwise indicated] the 2016 of local NGOs, ammonterebbe a diverse decine di milioni di lari (tali privilegi finanziari sono stati subsequently contested [en] by the country's constitutional court).
The Orthodox church is widely respected in Georgian society: from a study by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) e del CRRC Georgia published last January è emerso che, in November-December 2019, the 50% the population implicitly trusted the church. However, this indicator has been in constant decline for several years: the figure stood at 64% in July 2019 and it was even superior in previous years.
This means that church actions during the pandemic deserve to be scrutinized. Some observers wonder if it will damage its popularity even more.
La Georgia ha ufficialmente recorded his first case of COVID-19 the 26 February. The first reaction of the Georgian Orthodox Church was on 17 March, with the sprinkling of the central streets of Tbilisi, the capital, with blessed water. Archbishop Shalva Kekelia described the act as a way to ask the Lord for help in protecting the country and people from the virus. Three days later, the Patriarchate issued a declaration urging the faithful with health problems to isolate themselves until full recovery and suggesting to carry out religious services outdoors to avoid gatherings in confined spaces.
With the increase in the number of cases, the 21 March Georgia declared a state of emergency [en] prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people. Asked by journalists of On.Ge if the ban also applied to religious services, Prime Minister Georgi Gakharia he answered which "applies to everything and everyone". A public debate ensued on security during participation in religious services that prompted patriarchy to release a release in data 25 March in which he reaffirmed that, while keeping religious services active, the church supported state measures to manage the crisis. The statement stressed that some media outlets had described the situation in such a way as to suggest that the church could be blamed for the consequences of spreading the virus..
Attempts by the authorities to find common language with the church and the faithful peaked in early April, as Palm Sunday and Easter approach. Gakharia ha dichiarato [en] who would follow Easter on television and the minister of health, Ekaterina Tikaradze, he added that people had to pray at home, since "God is everywhere", not only in church.
Nevertheless, the Georgian Orthodox clergy was adamant, stating that religious services would continue. However, he stressed the strengthening of the social distancing guidelines within the churches, urging parishioners to listen to sermons outside through loudspeakers and ordering the sanitation of places of worship. The church has been less flexible on other rites: eg, the use of a shared spoon to administer the wine of communion during the masses. “It is absolutely unacceptable for church members to doubt the mystery of the sacrament and demonstrate it by their actions, how to refuse to share a teaspoon as a source of infection ", it reads in a church release released after the synodal meeting of 20 March.
In response to the synod's decision, Giga Bokeria, an opposition representative from the European Georgia party, he suggested the church not to expect special treatment and that the restrictions should have applied equally to all institutions and citizens [ka].
Therefore, a part of Georgian society continued to wait for Easter with some discomfort [en]. The 7 March, the theologian and former Georgian priest Basil Kobakhidze granted ainterview to Pirveli TV where he accused the patriarchate of "fanaticism" in his approach to the COVID-19 epidemic. Kobakhidze, who lives in France, he argued that the church has become a "state within the state" and could contribute to the spread of the disease. At the same time, highlighted that the country's political elite and senior clergy were in no danger, since they would have had problems receiving adequate medical care.
And though, the 15 April, the government has declared a lockdown for four of Georgia's largest cities (Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi and Rustavi), preparations for the Easter vigil have continued. Tikaradze he stressed very gently that all members of Georgian society, including the church, they had to share responsibilities with the government to defeat the virus.
Padre Shalva Kekelia, priest of the Church of the Transfiguration in the Tbilisi district of Vake, ha dichiarato that he intends to create a temporary structure for the faithful such that, while respecting the measures of social distancing, could have accommodated 2.000 people. The faithful could have stayed like that in the church for the night, avoiding violating the curfew. Similarly, Bishop Iakob of Bodbe, one of the most influential clerics of the Georgian Orthodox church, he stressed in an interview to InterPressNews that the church had not ordered anyone to attend masses and that "Christians must be responsible for themselves."
The 17 April, Kobakhidze, in another interview, ha dichiarato that the patriarchate's commitment to organize major religious functions posed a serious threat to public health. But, how to stop, in support of his words, not only the most important detractors of the church took sides. The same day, 13 religiosi have signed an open letter in which they declared to temporarily refuse to participate in the liturgy [ka]:
However, in preparation for Good Friday and Easter, the Georgian Orthodox clergy gave the impression of choosing which restrictions to follow. During the lockdown in Georgia, the movement of vehicles was prohibited from hours 12:00. Nevertheless, the 17 April patriarchy ha dichiarato that the ban had not been agreed in advance with the church, therefore the clergy, the choristers and ushers could have moved freely by car to participate in the worship.
The Easter liturgy thus took place in the presence of a small number of faithful compared to previous years, and many of the participants were relatives of the religious.
Hundreds of faithful across the country attended mass on 18 April, despite calls from the authorities to stay home. In the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity of Tbilisi, come reports [en] Reuters, everyone wore masks and respected social distancing. The virus instilled terror in many people who turned to God, Patriarch Ilia II said in his Easter speech. “We must not be afraid of temptation, Christians face problems with gratitude and see the hand of God in everything ... and at the same time try to find the right solution for the problem ", continued the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church.
Although there have been some cases of religious results positive for COVID-19, come an employee of a church in Tskneti [en], outside the Georgian capital, it is difficult to say whether public prayers were the cause. The 5 May, Tikaradze, Georgia's health minister, He said the authorities had not yet identified any "parochial cluster" of COVID-19 cases.
Whether the faithful are infected or not could be irrelevant. For some Georgians, the church's reaction to government-imposed anti-COVID restrictions has revealed how clergy view their relationship with the state and wonder if the lessons of the pandemic could provoke a crisis of confidence about the role of the Georgian Orthodox Church in society.

Religions and the afterlife

(from – Brunetto Salvarani) - One scene that left its mark were the coffins on military trucks during the pandemic. What hides the discomfort caused by that vision: a question of rites, of relationships and memory?
Faced with an invisible but pervasive and potentially omnipresent enemy, in just over a moment we were all suddenly catapulted into one world risk society, forced to redefine agendas and invited by circumstances to radically review ours modus vivendi and our priorities, discovering us - more than we already knew - defenseless, exposed, lost. On the existential and psychological as well as social and economic level.
The massive contagion caused by the virus has thrown us into a planetary panorama in which languages ​​taken from the medieval imagination and apocalyptic fears have re-emerged; favored the eruption of death into homes and families, as a very real presence or as a constantly looming bogeyman; and, simultaneously, forced us to redesign extremely delicate passages such as the management of mourning in the absence of the deceased's body and the piety natural towards the dying.
In such a framework, there is no doubt that the military columns departing from Bergamo in search of a space to accommodate the bodies entrusted to them have risen to the symbolic image of the pandemic experienced in our country: the media-based reiteration of the news also played a role, in a time when we were all at home, rather stunned in front of the screens, TV or our devices.
It was repeated, rightly: deceased who left without a handshake, without a prayer, without being able to enjoy a collective reworking of mourning. All true, but I wonder if what happened could not be a precious opportunity to rethink our rituals in art from the beginning, difficult, of leave (and when I say our, I allude to both religious and civilian), with the aim of making it eloquent for Churches, faith communities and societies devoid of memory and unable to produce germs of the future, barricaded as we are in our own small way Here and now.
We repeat ourselves: we're on the same boat, but in reality we look with anguish at the drifting of our personal tiny life raft ...
The fact is that, in the face of death, I have the impression that public discourse is increasingly aphasic and helpless. The case of the famous Sardinian village of Porto Cervo is emblematic, main center of the Costa Smeralda, without cemetery: inaugurated in the sixties of the last century as a fun space par excellence, the possibility of dealing with death and the dead is not expected.

The hidden death
Which, in the last few years, the religious monopoly in the funeral culture is gradually eroding, in favor of a professionalization and privatization of the ceremonials related to the end of life, with the wildfire enlargement of the farewell houses the funeral-home, while on the tombs the classical Christian symbolism is frequently accompanied or replaced by others, coming from a generic natural religiosity.
The funeral should be the time when the dead evangelize those who remain on this side; instead, during the farewell rites applauds the deceased, scroll his images on video, and we find out, one more time, unable to live in silence, loss and emptiness.
I would say that the management of death would have a great need for an unprecedented tradition, of a new and renewed The art of dying of which the work in progress is not perceived today. That, we flee before the same funeral rites and symbols, replaced by increasingly depersonalized practices, mass-produced sweetened by the representation kitsch of a fake customization: an always the same representation, reassuring, authoritarian in the lexicon and ritual gestures often trivially repeated without reflecting on it.
- What is the image of dying after sunset of the "newest"?
According to one of the fathers of cultural anthropology, the Polish Bronislaw Malinowski - was the 1925 - «among all the sources of religion, the dead, supreme and final crisis of life, is extremely important ".
He presented it as the enigma that induced conscious human beings to become religious or animistic, to see a soul in all existing things and to believe that the soul could be emancipated from death itself, until adding: "Death is the entrance into the other world, not only in the literal sense. According to the majority of theories on primitive religion, much of the religious inspiration, if not all, is derived from there; and in this the orthodox opinions are completely correct ... Death and its denial, immortality, they always made up, and still constitute, the central theme of future human expectations ".
Among the most obvious aspects of Christianity, and among those historically most popular, there has always been the prospect of being able to find a better life in the afterlife. Indeed, the younger generations keep alive the memory of an almost totally centered Christian preaching, one side, on the ultimate and definitive realities e, other, on the scenarios perennially looming over the daily life of post-mortem, Latin sayings hindmost (the term originates from Sirach 7,40). In Latin, the word last does not refer, as you might guess, All newer things, but at last things, the final and final ones.
That, death, judgement, inferno, paradiso, but also the purgatory that, indeed, technically it is not a part of the Catholic catechism - and indeed represents an ecumenical stumbling block (the Orthodox Churches, eg, they do not believe in the existence of purgatory, and severely read the Catholic choice to place it among the possible outcomes of the post-mortem) –, for long centuries, have been placed constantly (and dantesque) before the eyes and minds of the Christian faithful as real places, located from time to time really in the abysses underground or above, in the clouds in the skies, used as bogeymen always able to arouse pungent worries in devotees, concerns and fears of all sorts.
Probably also due to these fears daily agitated in catechesis for children and homilies for their parents, the talk about hindmost with time ended up being discredited, so much so that today silence seems to reign over it, an oblivion, if not even a real removal, more or less desired and more or less included in its scope.
Mind you, the phenomenon goes beyond the boundaries of what were in the past Christian lands: they are religions as a whole, a bit all and a little everywhere, who find themselves in a discreet embarrassment today, when they are forced to do it, to talk about the afterlife with some knowledge.

Dying in religions
As the philosopher Roberto Mancini writes: «Many are willing to believe in a God imagined as a supreme entity, few believe in happiness and salvation. Many fear hell, few hope for the resurrection. That, instead of welcoming real life, we skirt it from outside, wounded by the paradoxical nostalgia for what we have never discovered yet ". Evidently, it is a very serious matter, and to be addressed with due attention (and sensitivity).
- About dying, what are the most significant differences between the Jewish-Christian tradition, Islam and Eastern Religions?
It is evident that between western culture and religions (in which it is permissible to insert the so-called monotheistic religions) and the Eastern ones have developed diversified - and almost mirror - visions of pain and death.
On the one hand, in Christianity and western culture, dying was perceived as a unique drama, a tragedy that has no equal. Death is the end of man, and even if Christianity invites us to think about the resurrection and new life with Christ beyond death, a sense of failure remains unfailingly in the Christian, of a loss that produces anguish e, at times, despair.
You are unable to bear the thought of death, and he often referred to the fact that, if it caused fear to Jesus himself who prayed to the Father, if it had been possible, of remove the cup (Lc 22,42), it is not clear why it should not frighten even his followers.
From the eastern point of view, what would be lacking on the Christian horizon - on this side - is a broader vision: in the thought of Christianity such a situation of suffering would have occurred, perceiving death as absolute evil because an excessive value was given to the individual, to the person, until it flows into a absolute anthropocentrism which tends to peril dangerously into an absolute egocentrism (it is noteworthy that Pope Francis himself, in the encyclical of 2015 Praised, you speak of an "excess of anthropocentrism" in today's culture, al n.115).
Now, if everything focuses on man, prince of creation, it is logical that, at the moment when human existence suffers a check on such enormous proportions, such an event is felt in a tragic way, like an irreparable catastrophe. The more man is emphasized as the point of convergence of everything that exists in the universe, the more his individual disappearance will appear as unnatural and dramatic.
Across, a second attitude that the Christian - but more properly the western man - assumes towards suffering and death is an understandable one refusal attitude. Death cannot be accepted: it is a radical nonsense, rather, the non-sense par excellence, so we resort to stratagems capable in one way or another of making it seem that death does not exist, or it is just an accident in the course of an illness.
today, generalized hospitalization of death, from this point of view, it should be considered an expedient to eliminate its mystery. Edgar Morin writes: "Christianity is the last religion of salvation, the last one to be the first, the one that will express more forcefully, with more simplicity, with more universalism, the call to individual immortality, the hatred of death. It will be determined only by death: Christ illuminates what concerns death, lives on death ... ».
Eastern religions, and most traditional religions, they live in aother dimension. The suffering, the pain produced by pain, death are reworked in a other horizon. The cosmocentric vision that predominates has in fact favored the birth of a different mentality, according to which man is part of the universe and must be included in all other existing realities.
There is not only man on earth, and his tendency to stand above every other earthly reality is precisely his most serious mistake, which necessarily leads him to the dead end of suffering.
The various forms of Buddhism, particularly, they believe that the culmination of pain for man derives from his attachment to life, and that there is no way out for those who delude themselves into exiting the ocean of suffering, accentuating their individuality: life is pure evil, insofar as it manifests itself as an attachment to one's self.
Eastern man, unlike the western one, believes that - until importance is given toego – we will not be able to get out of the spiral of pain and desire: and this very different view of life also leads him to a different view of death. That will not be read, therefore, like a tragedy, but on the contrary as a liberation, so much so that the religious man must learn to die already in this world.
The detachment from life, therefore, is the hallmark of man religious and of the saint in Buddhism. This is why death and pain will not be understood as moments of shock, but fundamental milestones in the long run dharma of salvation. The samnyàsin in Hinduism or the bodhisattva in Buddhism they are emblematic figures of this detachment from life which already corresponds to a real death, but where you also enjoy one appeasement total, since the ego has been definitively overcome and now only the totality exists, the cosmos, the Atman, that is, the universal breath of life.
Pain and death, in that conception, they are nothing but natural facts not to be exorcised, but almost to be invoked in view of the final liberation. Exemplary is a prayer from the Hindu tradition, taken from Upanishad and datable around 700 a.C., that reads: "From not being let me come to being;/ from darkness let me come to light;/ let me reach immortality from death ".

Body and resurrection
- The gospel speaks of the resurrection of the flesh.
It is not unusual to find it, in the texts of the Church Fathers, references to Christians defined as those who are not afraid of death (aphoberoi thanatou). A relaunched topic, few years ago, by Pope Francis, in one of his morning homilies in Santa Marta, the 22 November 2016, in these terms: "I don't like to think about these things ... but it's about theme-truths of human existence: death and fear of dying ".
Fear that can vanish, he had continued, if you remain faithful to God, thus warning against the deception of thealienation of living, that is, "as if one should ever perish", instead exhorting to think about what "trace leaves our life".
On closer inspection, according to the biblical scholar M.E. Boismard, «The divine revelation concerning our victory over death was progressive ... We should not be surprised to find that Paul was able to change his positions having better understood, illuminated by the Spirit, the actual data of the problem. Let it be said in passing, Paolo seemed nicer to me the day I realized he was afraid of death, despite being convinced that leaving his body he would find Christ. Death does not perhaps contemplate, in spite of everything, a laceration of our being?».
The fact remains that there is no more critical and lacerating theme for the first Christian movement - but we could broaden our gaze and admit it, for ever Christianity - the problem of death and resurrection, especially of the resurrection of the flesh. «but if Christ is not risen, your faith is in vain and you are still in your sins " (1Cor 15,17): in this Pauline consideration resides, in fact, the centerpiece of the Christian creed.
If the resurrection of Jesus had not been given, in all probability Christianity would never have been born: the Christian faith originates from that empty tomb, that however, in itself, it does not prove anything. moreover, the fact that symbols par excellence of the Christian almost immediately became the cross and the crucifix has a paradoxical flavor: that risk hiding the heart of Jesus' message, his resurrection from the dead.
Unlike many previous and coeval philosophers, in his preaching Jesus does not propose to elaborate any theory on death (nor on the afterlife), nor have the gospels chosen to transmit his reactions to the deaths that could be said normal (with the exception of that of his friend Lazarus of Bethany, the brother of Marta and Maria, which causes him emotion and upset, Gv 11,33).
In him, some, there is no stoic type behavior, that look on the characteristic reality of those who tend to proudly despise the event of death; what if, on the one hand, he does not appreciate the noisy expressions of pain, on the other, he seems to have given in to the emotion of the loss of a brotherly friend, Lazarus himself. Such an emotion, but, it has a much deeper source than pure and simple feeling, insofar as it is born where the same life that God is: Jesus is therefore in a position to proclaim his surprising dominion over death with words and deeds.
The analysis of the New Testament data leads to a single resolutive message: God is present here and now, and he never abandons the people who spend their trust in him. Jesus is present on earth, to love her tenderly and intensely: if with parables he reveals himself as a poet of creation, it is not because you naively dream of an ideal world that would ignore suffering and death, but insofar as it perceives and intends to announce to its interlocutors the constant eruption of life and what it calls, following the tradition of Israel, kingdom of God in Here and now. A kingdom that has an unprecedented and unexpected extension, and goes from the afterlife to the afterlife, from the future to the hour, more like event that how sign.
About the resurrection, it must be said that the best theology is reflecting on it, bravely trying to reread that great mystery in the coordinates of our time and our cultural sensitivity: is what is proposed, eg, the Galician theologian Andrés Torres Queiruga, to which you can refer to to verify it the question to about (Rethinking the resurrection, Computing 2007).
The early Christians grasped that event as the seal that God - that God who is love (1Gv 4,16) - decided to definitively place the existence of Jesus, that, in turn, it had been deeply marked by love. Why, as Luciano Manicardi points out, «If Jesus is risen it is not because of a divine nature, but above all because his human life, very human, limited, who has known suffering and finally death, it has been a life of agape, of love to the point of giving life ».
- Some traces of the theological reflection of the last century with the theme of dying can be recovered?
One could speak of it as a real flashback, so much to say that we would no longer be facing a "dead gora", as it seemed, but, on the contrary, to the outbreak of unrest of theology of the twentieth century (if anything,, we should ask ourselves why, to such a lively and potentially stimulating theology, there will be no parallel recovery of interest at the popular level).
In reality, given that the Christian reflection on the afterlife can only be - for intuitive reasons - an insistent one work in progress across the board and never definitively sold out, the first news about it, on the theological side, it is the passage from an eschatology understood as an argument about the ultimate things (the traditional treatise the last, as a rule in conclusion to theological studies) to an eschatology addressed systematically and directly connected to the history of salvation.

After death
The second surprise is that, insospettabilmente, in the season of modernity, of science and technology increasingly central to the daily life of western humanity, of what will happen to every man in post mortem, and what will happen to the whole world at the end of time, he resumes discussing with passion by academic theology: up to inaugurate a phase of reflections destined to last a long time, and to involve some of the best minds of the various Churches. On two lines, basically, on which the theologians, alla fine, tend to agree.
On the one hand, the christocentrism absolute of eschatology: the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the historical event par excellence, e la parousia it will be nothing but the definitive unfolding of the same resurrection in humanity and in the cosmos; but an initial participation in this event takes place as of now, through the action of the Spirit.
On the other, his anthropocentrism: eschatology is not intended as a physics or a topography of the future (the Novissimi are not spaces or environments!), but like the encounter with the risen Jesus who, in due time, it will involve all man and all humanity. The change in sensitivity is evident: from consideration of the final events, of the last things considered in themselves, to privilege the ultimate reality as such, so the whole human history is now seen in the perspective of its final future.
Among the many theologians cited here, I limit myself to recalling the powerful reflection of the Swiss Hans Urs von Balthasar, defined by Henri de Lubac "the most cultured man of our time", who will return to the eschatological question several times. What moves him to deal with it is, in the first place, the belief that the task of freeing eschatology from cosmological representations and the domain of the figurative would no longer be deferred for theology, in the certainty that it has not yet exhausted to fully explore Augustine's consideration that "our place, after this life, it is God himself ».
And it is still he who declares openly, already in 1960, that in the eschatological office, "Despite the curtains still lowered and the sign: Temporarily closed due to reconstruction, there is intense activity in development "; rather, «Makes overtime».
The plan chosen by von Balthasar to begin his (heavy, undoubtedly) purpose is the anthropological one: in the sense that it seems to him necessary to start from God and the Trinity so that the value of the statements on eschatology capable of speaking to the man of today and to the current culture emerges firmly.
In fact, argues in a decidedly inspired passage: «God is the ultimate end of his creature. He is heaven for those who earn it, hell for those who lose it, the judgment for those who are examined by him, purgatory for those who are purified by him. He is the one for whom all that is mortal dies and that rises for him and in him ".
Every element of the Novissimi, secondo from Balthasar, it's not one space born a place, but an anthropological situation, a specific dimension of the relationship between God and man.
It is worth noting that, in the last years of life, von Balthasar will be involved - after publication in the 1984 of an article of his that appeared in theRoman observer, newspaper of the Holy See, entitled Small catechesis on hell - in a rather harsh discussion that will feature both specialized journals and individual theologians.
Here von Balthasar chooses to reaffirm with conviction that, alla fine, it is legitimate hope for everyone: "Love can only hope for the reconciliation of all men in Christ. Such an unlimited hope is not only allowed in a Christian way, but commanded ».
- How to compose the modern dream of eternity and the "say the death" of faiths to understand life?
In the last decades, Western culture has developed a series of theories that, in magazines, could be traced back to the working hypothesis of a post-mortal man.
This is what he claims, among others, in a book from several years ago, the historian Aldo Schiavone, starting from the exceptional progress made by the technique, History and destiny (Einaudi 2007). His thesis is that western civilization would have led us, through the extreme, vertiginous stretch of its path, on the final edge of a threshold beyond which a passage so full of risks awaits us, but also of extraordinary opportunities.
From that edge, the experience of the relationship between past and future - the relentless arrow of time - would appear suddenly in a completely new form, which requires an exercise of reason and realism, capable of separating forecast and apocalypse, and to completely revolutionize ourselves.
The irradiation of the technique, in fact, it is now total and generalized, and involves the whole of our experience to the maximum: from politics to work, up to the construction of individual personalities. A scenario in which our generations are very likely, and even more those of our children and grandchildren, they might even be the last to deal with the experience of death in a generalized way, in the terms in which our species has met her so far, culturally elaborated through an effort that lasted thousands of years: «I mean death as an inevitable event, spontaneous and indeterminate, which is always produced in a way (relatively) unexpected and sudden - although sometimes long and tormentingly prepared and expected. The deadly, In short, as did natural absolute, enigmatically symmetrical to the opposite naturalness of being born completely removed from our control and our power of evaluation and choice ".
Of post-mortal society, indeed, therefore, it has been debating for some time. One of the key contributions to the ongoing debate is offered by the Canadian sociologist Céline Lafontaine, significantly titled, in the Italian translation, The dream of eternity (Medusa 2009).
It is Lafontaine who coined the expression post-mortem, in reference to our company. From his point of view, undoubtedly suggestive, the notion of post-mortality it would concern the ostentatious will to win - thanks to the advancements of the technique, in fact - death, to live without growing old, indefinitely prolonging existence.
A scenario in which the increased average life expectancy granted to women and men of the present time are mixed (especially westerners) and the successes of a medical-scientific research that increasingly faces death as a disease to be removed and eradicated, and which currently makes listening to the word of death increasingly rare and difficult.
That, emblematically, the same term death it seems expelled from common language: who dies, today, It's disappeared, the flew to heaven, the it went out, or he passed away and it is no longer among us, is missed the passed away, e così via.
Euphemisms in which, on the one hand, the attempt to collectively exorcise an experience that frightens and that - as already mentioned - we no longer know how to deal with rituals and family and community management which until a couple of generations ago were the common response to a situation perceived as equally evident normal; while, on the other, likely, it is precisely the effect of post-mortal society, so death is no longer an eloquent story, able to make people think and reflect (not even on the slope, trivial but so undeniably true, of the popular saying "today to me, tomorrow to you »...).
The impression is that we no longer have any willingness to listen to his call to deal with ours natural finitezza; with the unrepeatability and definitiveness of our choices and actions.
The goal of my book - After - is in this key: denounce the lack of reflection on what is traditionally defined eschatology up to the times, within the framework of a culture of postmodernity and for a now post-metaphysical Christianity.
We are - I believe - at the beginning of an unprecedented path also for the different religions, in what Pope Francis likes to define a change of era, even more than an era of change.
Among the possible slopes, I am fascinated by the suggested working hypothesis, three quarters of a century ago, by the Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer who, from the place of captivity where he was forced by Nazism, he found the courage to put his finger on the wound, thus inaugurating an unpublished chapter in the Christian reflection on the afterlife.
Behind his correspondence contained in Resistance and yield, written in a dramatic moment of the European crisis of the twentieth century, radical questions emerge that we should ask ourselves. Christianity still makes sense in a situation where the ancients last they seem absent? What message remains? Christianity may exist not religious available to modern man?
On closer inspection, we are in the heart of a paradox: in spite of the fact that on the basis of the words and gestures of Jesus the Christian religion was born, it is increasingly evident that his message does not necessarily propose a religious reading of reality. Indeed, i vangeli non narrate the foundation of a new religion, but the generation of a new humanity. in the here and, and not in the afterlife. In fidelity to the earth, even before the sky ...
As Bonhoeffer himself wrote, in a letter dated 30 April 1944 addressed to friend Bethge: «For me, the discussion on human limits has become absolutely problematic ... I would like to talk about God not on the limits, but in the center, not in weaknesses, but in strength, therefore not in relation to death and guilt, but in the life and good of man. Reached the limits, it seems to me better to keep silent and leave the unsolvable unsolved ... The Church is not there where human capabilities fail, to the limits, but it is in the center of the village ».

Sant’Antonio Maria Zaccaria

(from – Antonio Maria Zaccaria, was born in Cremona to an old Cremonese family at the end of 1502. Very young, he became fatherless and grew up with his mother Antonietta.
We know little of his childhood, however his first studies of philosophy and medicine were held in the city of Padua. He became a great man of science and doctor. When he returned to his family he had obtained his doctoral degree.
He approached the study of theology after realizing that it was not enough just to cure bodies but also souls. He used to visit the sick, he taught catechism, inviting young people to approach Christian life.
He soon became a priest. It is said that in his first mass the people saw his head surrounded by a bright halo. Many wanted to approach him for advice. Even the devoted countess Lodovica Torelli, noble lady of Guastalla, he wanted him as his particular chaplain.
However his stay with the countess did not last long and after a few months Antonio went to Milan. In the Lombard city he found a great corruption among the people and thought of working to try to stem it.
Approaching Giacomo Moriggia and Bartolomeo Ferrari, the three decided to found the congregation of the regular clerics called San Paolo. This in favor of the great devotion that Antonio felt for the Apostle who had been struck on the road to Damascus. Regular clerics are better known as Barnabites, from the Milanese church of Barnaba.
The foundation of the new religious order was approved by Pope Clement VII. The order quickly spread to other regions, giving the church of Rome many saints. Antonio together with the Countess Lodovica Torelli, founded the congregation of religious called Angeliche di San Paolo, an all-female institution, of which the countess was the benefactor.
Congregation members used to wander the streets and squares of the city. When they found a large group of people, they stood on an improvised pulpit to preach against the depravity of customs and exhort penance. Thus many conversions succeeded.
He was responsible for the reform of some monasteries in Vicenza. In 1539 while he was in Guastalla he fell ill and presaging his imminent death he was taken to his mother's house in Cremona. He would have preferred to die in Milan among his religious but his health conditions did not allow a further arduous journey.
He died on 5 July at the age of 36 years, after living an exemplary life for Christian charity. Among its many merits we also mention the spread of the practice of the Santissime Quarantore, which consists in the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for forty hours.

"Brain death is a deception: I'll explain why "

from Catholic Christianity – After discovering the instrumental use of the new definition of "brain death" to harvest organs and interviews with a doctor and a philosopher, who explained the history of this new policy launched at Harvard in '68 along with the disastrous consequences produced, the well-known Austrian philosopher Josef Seifert, a friend of Benedict XVI and former member of the Pontifical Academy for Life (EIA), It explains the scientific blunders behind it and why Catholics do not have to believe in this "fake death".
Professor Seifert, She was one of the first to raise objections concerning the criterion of brain death within the Church. Why?
From the first moment I heard about this new definition of death during the Essener Conversations on State and Church, I was convinced that the new definition or new death criteria in terms of irreversible brain dysfunctions were deeply wrong. My reasons were and are very simple and understandable by anyone:
1. One year after the first successful heart transplant, the pragmatic interest in this redefinition of death in order to obtain organs was patently obvious and admitted (si veda “Report of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Harvard Medical School to Examine the Definition of Brain Death” – Journal of the American Medical Association/JAMA, 209, pp.337-43). The intention of harvesting organs clearly motivated the Harvard commission to redefine death. The Harvard report gave no single reason, apart from two pragmatic, why patients "brain-dead" were dead. There are many signs and evidence that the definitions of "brain death" were particularly based on the utility rather than the truth. Just the fact that the Harvard commission gives only two pragmatic reasons for this redefinition of death makes it very suspect. The convenience of declaring someone dead for a utilitarian motivation or to "the need to have his organs" does not make that person dead. But many other reasons made me doubt.
2. How can anyone declare a person "dead" if his heart beats, his breathing (although it is not spontaneous but supported by ventilation) It is fully functional in the lungs and in all body cells and shows many signs of life? As you can be declared dead a mother "brain dead", she is carrying a child and gives birth nine months after having conceived? Disconnect forced ventilation would kill both her and the baby. How does a human body to be dead if it has implications, if it can be fed and absorb fluids, showing the "miracle" of metabolism with the transformation of food into bodily substances, being able to resist disease due to its immune system, maintaining a normal body temperature, showing a proportional growth (The young TK "brain dead" chronically was "dead" for 20 years according to the definition of brain death). It goes against all evidence of life support that a person whose body shows an infinite number of trials and signs of life, exceeds puberty, It is pregnant and gives birth to a living child, is dead? When ever a corpse gave birth to a child?
3. A bio-philosophical argument in favor of "brain death" argues that without the active brain functions man is nothing more than a collection of cells and organs dissociated together. Only the brain would give unity to the body. But as you can be attributed to the brain, an organ that is formed relatively late, preceded by several weeks of living organism which is the brain, as a central integrator of one part of the body that brings life? A high level of integrated human life clearly precedes the formation of the brain. The brain is the product of this integrated human being and developing, not its cause nor its sole carrier.
4. The term "brain death" is extremely ambiguous and mean completely different things: 1) the death of an organ, 2) the death of a living person whose brain is not functional. Also, Also the physical state of the organ death is completely ambiguous: 1a) death of the brain stem, 1b) higher brain death (brain death), 1c) complete brain death, etc.. None of these very different concepts of what constitutes death has good arguments in its favor. Soprattutto, reigns as the most complete confusion about which of these "brain dead" is to be considered the man's death and since the total confusion and uncertainty about the reasons of their death claims remain, any unclear definition, confused in the content of the reasons of what is human death, It is completely unethical and violates human rights to allow, on bases quite shaky, the extraction of unique vital organs (not double) and then actually, or at least potentially, to kill a human being.
5. The human person (l’anima) It has a substantial being that can not be reduced to the human ability to use, in a way empirically demonstrable, his intellect or his conscience. So many arguments of those who defend the "brain death", of those who infer from the alleged cessation of consciousness, of thought and perception that a person is dead, They are based on an anthropology materialistic or actualist completely wrong that identifies the '' personhood 'with the' 'act as a person ".
6) The violent reaction to the so-called patients dead when their organs are harvested, analogous to the violent reaction of embryos when they are aborted, as "the silent cry" film documents, proof that it is at least likely that the "brain death" People are sentient and that these reactions are not "signs of Lazarus" (inter alia: Lazarus was alive) in a body.
Saint John Paul II, in 2000, in a speech during the International Congress of the Transplantation Society, He spoke of "brain death" as a criterion henceforward shared "by the international scientific community" to which the Church has not objected. Why do you think? Catholics are obliged to adhere to this assertion?
Why the Pope's speech did not know him. It may be that he has given credence to unfounded members and leaders of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (NOT) which twice, in 1984 unanimously and 1989 the vast majority, It opted for the acceptance of the definition of "brain death" (Professor Alan Shewmon, a pediatric neurologist very famous and perhaps the leading medical expert on the issue of "brain death", He began to doubt the correctness of that meeting in his advocacy of "brain death" of 1985 and the 1987, and I, She invited as an expert by the PAV, I had strongly opposed - Josef Seifert, “Is ‘Brain Death’ actually Death? A Critique of Redefining Man’s Death in Terms of ‘Brain Death’”; in: R.J. White, H. Angstwurm, and. I. Carasco de Paola). But the favorable position of the Pas identifying death with "brain death" has absolutely no value. The step (who he had defended many philosophical errors, need, theological and other types of errors) It has no magisterial authority. Even the Vice President and, subsequently, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Monsignor Elio Sgreccia, man of extensive knowledge and profound wisdom, He not accepted the many voices (Dr. Alan Shewmon, del teacher Cicero Coimbra, my and other) who criticized this redefinition of death. Then, He may also have influenced the Pope's speech. But the speech of John Paul II to the doctors transplant surgeons is not a proper Church document that obliges us to agree, especially with the doctor empirical judgment that contains. We are therefore obliged to accept this speech of the Holy Father John Paul II in its entirety. We just have to accept the magisterial statement that we can grub unpaired vital organs (not double) only by people certainly dead (after death, as formulated by Pope Benedict XVI), but we should not agree to the declaration clearly wrong of John Paul II in this speech that there is a universal consensus in the medical community around the "brain death" as actual death, nor should we accept that it is legitimate to remove vital organs from patients declared "brain dead". The first of these statements contradict the fact that there is a considerable number (and growing) doctors and scientists first level professionals who are not in agreement with the definitions of "brain death". The second statement is taken from the Pope as a result from the first. The doctrinal statement consists only of the need to be sure that a person is dead before they are harvested only vital organs (not double). The rest is just medical or philosophical claims that people whose brain is not functioning died, but we have absolutely no obligation to agree with such statements, especially when we realize that they are false. Also, Pope John Paul II had also serious doubts about the truth of his speech so he asked that in 2005 He held another meeting of experts (I even) No alla, where a large majority and with excellent reasons was rejected the equation "brain death = death". The text of this meeting was ready to be sent to the printer, the correct book drafts, but then the volume was suppressed by Pas who summoned another meeting in which the majority was in favor of "brain death". A large part of these silenced speeches was published by the National Council for Research in Italian and English. (Roberto de Mattei (Ed.), "The end of life: Is Brain Death still Life?" National Research Council, Soveria Mannelli: Rubettino, 2006, 2007; Roberto de Mattei (Ed.), "The end of life. Brain death and still life?”, National Research Council. Philosophy and Science. Essays 193, Rome: Rubettino, 2007). However, nor the clever machinations nor the opinions of majorities are important when the truth is at stake. Even Dr. Shewmon the question of whether we are obliged to adhere to the Pope's speech responded excellently in "You only die once. Why Brain Death is not the Death of the Human Being. A Reply to Nicholas Tonti-Filippini” (Communio 39, fall of 2012, pp. 422-494). Likewise, Dr. Nguyen and theologian Doyen explained it in an excellent article (“Pope John Paul II and the Neurological Standard for the Determination of Death: A Critical Analysis of his Address to the Transplantation Society”. The Linacre Quarterly 84(2): 155-186, 2017).
It is said that the criterion of life always has been that of the integrated functions of the body, without which we can only speak of certain organs or cells operating. In summary, the body of a person with a beating heart whose brain, cerebellum and brain stem were totally damaged, It would be a mass of living biological material, but not a person. As it justifies its position in the face of a theory (that homeostasis and integrative functions of the unit) married for the whole physiology and science since Aristotle to judge the presence of the life and soul in a body?
Obviously, there is a distinction between the life of the organism as such (or as a whole) and the life of the single cell of a human hair or skin or liver, stored in a refrigerator after a fatal accident. But the question is precisely whether the brain is the central integrator and if all activities of the integral life depend on a functioning brain. This is obviously false for the following reasons:
1. Many integrated vital functions (proportional growth, immune system, breathing in the lungs and cells if ventilation is continued, Blood flow, maintaining body temperature, and many other) They are observed in the patient "brain dead". The statement that the brain is the central supplement has been completely and scientifically refuted by Shewmon and its demonstration was accepted by the US President's Council on Bioethics and the German Ethics Commission.
2. The human organism integrated whole precedes the formation of the brain and therefore the unified life of an organism can not be made dependent, after the brain has developed, from brain function.
What is the evidence that the brain is not the center of the integrated vital functions, so in the case of "brain death" the human person can not be said to be dead?
As mentioned before, "brain death" certainly does not imply the complete loss of the integrated human life. In the case of "brain death" chronic (a living patient 20 years in "brain death") integrated human life can continue for decades. The fact that a patient "brain dead", if ventilation is removed when its muscular system can not inhale air and inhaled alone, die soon, It does not imply that "both already dead". On the contrary, He may die soon because he is still alive: the dead do not die.
Because the soul can be present in a person whose brain and brain stem are inactive but whose heart beats? And why not support this unorthodox as some say?
The human spiritual soul is not located in the brain or in a single part of the body. There is no dogma of the Church which teaches that the soul leaves a body, of a living human body, when the brain stops working. So it's not unorthodox claim that the soul lives in the body until natural death of man. Rather the opposite is heterodox, because the Church as dogma declares that man has a single soul (not three different souls: vegetative soul - Plant -, sentient soul or sensitive soul and rational soul). Then, as long as man is an integrated vegetative life or sentient life (both clearly marked in patients 'brain dead'), the only rational human soul that confers all levels of life to the body is present.
What did Benedict XVI organ donation? Some say that he agreed with the speech of John Paul II although he later removed his fist from the catechism drafts the definition of "brain death" and though in his speeches by Pope admitted explantation only after death. He never got to confront him?
I have spoken with Pope Benedict about this when he was still Cardinal, told me that Professor Spaemann, come me, He had tried to persuade him long to reject the definition of "brain death" as a definition invalid or as a criterion for death. I wrote about it even when he became pope. I wrote nothing more than what he said in his famous speech to the pope that the organs (vital and non double) They must be harvested only after death. This statement clearly indicates that it was not without criticism from the definition of "brain death".
So what criteria to use to determine the end of the integrated functions of the body and therefore the death of the person?
Only the traditional criterion of the total and irreversible collapse of all vital functions including the heartbeat and breathing. To those who defend the removal of vital organs soon after the heart has stopped beating I object: until you can resuscitation, although in some cases it is not required from a medical point of view and moral, we can not declare a person dead. Until then there will still be life, and his soul is in him. The argument that the patient in this situation would no longer need his heart, It is not convincing. For explant heart, one could kill him and end the life that is still in him, which could be "revived".
He thinks it is lawful, after accurate diagnosis of brain, cerebellum and brain stem completely damaged, however, voluntarily donate organs and that would put an end to life (as the heart) A person in a coma as a gesture of altruism?
Not, because it would mean committing suicide or homicide - albeit for a noble cause. Although we love another human being than ourselves and we were ready to die for him, like St. Maximilian Kolbe, we are not the masters of life and death of man, or to another person or ourselves. We can take the place of an innocent victim in a murder only if another person is committing, but we can not ask us to someone who kills us. Failure to comply with this or would commit suicide, more precisely, ask another person (which should explant our organs) to become a murderess. The good cause and intention not justify this act.
When you can donate organs, whether the criterion of "brain death" is not permissible under any circumstances?
If the "brain death" is not actual death, then both the traffic is donating individual vital organs (not double) explanted from a person "brain dead" is a mistake because it means kill. This does not exclude the willingness to donate an organ twice when we are clearly in a state of complete and irreversible brain dysfunction. Since donate these organs does not kill us, we could also donate during life. In any case I would not recommend it for diagnosis of "brain death" that may be incorrect: though in that case I woke up, for example, without one of our kidneys or our eyes etc. It might be something unpleasant and unintended. Also, If we decide to just give our double organs and non-viable, it is likely that the hospital does not read well enough our wills, espiantando maybe even your heart, our only vital organ, and then killing us all.

Il professor Safran: l’uomo non è stato creato ma fabbricato

di Amos Vitale - To Judaism could be together without a fight. Una volta di più le autorità Halachiche (i rabbini incaricati di interpretare la realtà contemporanea alla luce delle regole fissate dalla scrittura e dalla tradizione) disorientano i moralisti della domenica, e cominciano ad analizzare una delle questioni morali più scottanti e delicate di questa fine millennio con taglio del tutto anticonvenzionale.
Responsabile della sezione di etica medica e legge ebraica all’università di Gerusalemme, consulente del rabbinato Aschenazita (di matrice culturale centroeuropea) in Israele, scienziato, rabbino, il professor Igael Safran è fra le prime autorità a pronunciarsi su un argomento che una volta di più rischia di vedere la cultura ebraica su un fronte opposto rispetto alle altre tradizioni religiose. E da molti viene considerato eccessivamente moderato.
"I see nothing terrible - wrote attacking the US authorities Halachica Yaakov Menken - in research on cloning is currently underway. Mi stupisce che il rabbinato israeliano le trovi discutibili. Il fatto che si possano prefigurare degli abusi non è certo un motivo per proibirle e per fermare una ricerca che può determinare grandi progressi della medicina. The real moral problem - he added - is not so much the creation of human clones, As such we will act against them after they have been brought into the world ".
"Rather than rush to launch anathemas - said his colleague Avi Shafran - we should stop to admire the miracle that regulates the functioning of DNA that these esperiementi show if anything more clearly". A quanto sembra, professor Safran, the rabbis are among the rare men of faith whose Dolly, la pecorella scozzese clonata, non è dispiaciuta.
Quando il gran rabbino Aschenazita Israel Lau mi ha chiesto di predisporre un parere sulla nascita della pecora riprodotta da altre cellule della stessa specie senza l’intervento di un esemplare maschio, mi era sembrato opportuno consigliargli la prudenza. La questione, in fact, si presenta in maniera molto controversa e non può essere liquidata facilmente con una battuta. La presa di posizione del rav lau si è infatti mantenuta su questa linea di equilibrio.
L’ebraismo non lancia anatemi nei confronti della ricerca scientifica, non è interessato a gridare allo scandalo non appena qualcosa di nuovo si muove in una provetta, ma contemporaneamente ha il dovere di domandarsi dove ci stanno conducendo le scoperte dei ricercatori. Sta di fatto che questa posizione intermedia da molti è stata attaccata. Gli uni (essenzialmente non ebrei) l’hanno considerata troppo avanzata, mentre altre autorità ebraiche, a cominciare dal gran rabbino sefardita (di cultura mediterranea) di Israele, Eliahu Bakshi Doron, si sono espressi in maniera molto più possibilista. Secondo lui in questo campo tutto quello che non è espressamente proibito dalla Bibbia deve considerarsi lecito.
Ma quali sono i pro e i contro identificati dalle autorità ebraiche?
Parlare degli aspetti inquietanti sollevati dal problema della clonazione è fin troppo facile. Basti pensare alla possibilità sinistra, che senz’altro sarebbe piaciuta a Hitler, di riprodurre a piacimento soldati obbedienti e pronti a tutto. Ma anche all’eventualità di dar vita ad esseri umani concepiti al solo fine del prelievo degli organi, in una sorta di agghiacciante usa e getta. Di mettere al mondo bambini senza genitori e senza amore. Per non parlare della possibilità di formare esseri intermedi, incroci fra uomini e bestie. Tutti noi abbiamo il dovere di interrogarci. Dove ci condurrà la capacità che si va sviluppando di far nascere uomini senza passare attraverso il processo della riproduzione? Fino a dove potremo arrivare?
Uno scenario da incubo che è stato evocato anche da molti altri leader religiosi. Ma allora perchè non lanciare l’anatema?
Non è così semplice. Lo stesso processo scientifico, in fact, per quello che se ne sa potrebbe essere estremamente utile per curare alcune malattie e sanare gravi disfunzioni. Mi riferisco in particolare alla lotta contro il morbo di parkinson, che comporta la necessità di produrre continuamente cellule nuove, alla possibilità di portare a termine trapianti molto difficili e a una soluzione praticabile per soddisfare le aspettative delle coppie sterili.
Eppure in questo suo atteggiamento possibilista la cultura ebraica tradizionale sembra riscoprire qualcosa di molto antico, un’idea che la accompagna dalle proprie origini.
È vero. Enough to remember how they came to Adam and Eve world. Ma prendiamo un punto di riferimento fondamentale della letteratura cabalistica, il “Sefer Yezira”, il libro della creazione, che risale probabilmente all’ottavo secolo. Nel suo breve testo (solo 1600 parole) si spiega la relazione segreta fra le componenti del corpo umano, il tempo e le lettere dell’alfabeto ebraico. Si tratta in realtà di un manualetto utile a chi voglia creare nuovi esseri viventi. Lo stesso che usò il rabbino loew nel ghetto praghese del ‘500 per dare vita al mitico Golem.
Ma il Golem, oltre che il capostipite di tutti gli automi, è il prototipo di ogni sciagura che può essere determinata dalla clonazione. Un robot dalla forza straordinaria capace di combinare non pochi guai, che infine fu distrutto dal suo stesso creatore.
Some. Infatti non rispondeva a quelle caratteristiche minime che l’ebraismo considera necessarie per poter attribuire a una creazione la dignità di persona.
And what would?
Il Talmud e la letteratura rabbinica indicano tre punti di riferimento: essere nati da una donna, essere dotati della capacità di esprimere in una qualche forma la propria volontà e della capacità di mettersi in comunicazione con il mondo esterno.
Sono caratteristiche di cui gli esseri clonati potrebbero essere provvisti?
Per quanto se ne sa direi di sì. Chi nasce da una donna, anche senza l’intervento maschile, sia dotato di volontà e padroneggi un linguaggio deve essere rispettato.
Una creatura orfana di padre?
Non precisamente. I tribunali rabbinici stanno analizzando la complessa questione di chi sia effettivamente il padre dei bambini nati dall’inseminazione artificiale. La risposta più frequente è che il padre della madre diviene il padre giuridico. L’elemento paterno resta, anche nel processo di clonazione, il problema è che non sappiamo ancora esattamente dove si nasconda.
In that sense?
Le cellule utilizzate in questi esperimenti, for example, provengono spesso dalla zona dell’orecchio, che contiene le componenti maschili della generazione precedente. Tanto allarme, da parte di teologi di tutti i colori, le sembra allora ingiustificato?
Abbiamo la necessità di domandarci: siamo di fronte a un progresso per l’umanità o piuttosto siamo alla vigilia di un imbarbarimento?
The problem is that in Hebrew the word 'progress' (‘Kadima’) It contains within itself the concept of 'regression' (‘Kedem’). I nostri maestri hanno previsto che dopo il quinto millennio (ci troviamo ora nell’anno ebraico 5757) si apriranno le porte degli sviluppi scientifici. Questo comporterà l’esplosione di grandi potenzialità, but it will not automatically guarantee better protection of our human dignity.
La cultura ebraica non nega del resto la possibilità di perfezionare la creazione. Noi pratichiamo sui nostri figli la circoncisione, che costituisce il prototipo di un intervento correttivo sulla natura umana. Rispettare il mondo della natura non significa automaticamente desiderare che tutto resti immutato. Della natura, in fact, fa parte a pieno titolo anche lo stesso intelletto umano.
Si può allora permettere qualsiasi cosa?
Non esattamente. La Bibbia, for example, does not recommend the breeding of mules (che nascono dall’unione fra un asino e una cavalla) ed esclude tutta una serie di unioni e di innesti. Dei limiti ci devono essere. Ma la regola non è tanto quella di scatenare una crociata contro la ricerca. Si tratta piuttosto di trovare una dimensione umanamente accettabile in tutti i sentieri che stiamo praticando. Natural and 'artificial' is not necessarily two things in opposition, ma piuttosto due livelli diversi di conoscenza.
Se il nostro grado di moralità è capace di crescere di pari passo con le nostre competenze scientifiche, allora potremo utilizzare in modo utile anche i risultati della ricerca.
Altrimenti non saranno gli anatemi dei rabbini, e nemmeno le prediche di altri leader spirituali, a salvarci dal baratro.


CEIdi Riccardo Cascioli – Si dice “Creato” ma alla fine si pronuncia sempre “ambiente”. È nel campo dell’ecologia infatti che si dimostra in modo palese la sudditanza culturale di certi cattolici rispetto alla mentalità del mondo, ovvero alle ideologie dominanti. Ne è un ulteriore esempio il messaggio della Conferenza Episcopale Italiana per la Giornata di salvaguardia del Creato che si celebra il 1° settembre. Quest’anno il tema è “Educare alla custodia del creato, per la salute dei nostri paesi e delle nostre città”. Nel testo si sente l’eco del problema della cosiddetta “Terra dei fuochi”, la zona della Campania diventata nota per il rogo dei rifiuti tossici, così smaltiti dalle organizzazioni criminali, ma non è questo certamente il problema che qui vogliamo discutere. Il fatto è che ormai da tempo ogni volta che si parla di problemi ambientali invariabilmente si parte facendo qualche riferimento biblico alla Creazione, tanto per dare una prospettiva cristiana, poi si entra nel merito dei problemi assumendo pari pari i criteri ideologici del momento. Come se il fatto che esista un Creatore non abbia da suggerire un criterio originale da cui partire per giudicare anche questo problema, e si limitasse invece a dare appena una spinta morale, che poi ineluttabilmente scade nel moralismo («Siccome siamo cristiani, allora dobbiamo preoccuparci dell’ambiente e fare…»). La prima mistificazione è quella di usare come sinonimi “creato” e “ambiente”, che invece sono due termini che hanno dietro due concezioni diametralmente opposte del rapporto fra l’uomo e il mondo che lo circonda (e Dio, ovviamente). Nella cultura oggi prevalente quando si parla di ambiente si parla di un sistema con un suo equilibrio naturale che rimarrebbe tale per sempre se, unfortunately, non intervenisse l’uomo a portare scompiglio con la sua condotta scriteriata. In questa impostazione prevale una concezione negativa dell’uomo, la cui presenza – sia quantitativa sia qualitativa – va tenuta a bada (meno nascite nei paesi poveri, meno consumi nei paesi ricchi). Non a caso si parla sempre di difesa dell’ambiente: se si deve difendere vuol dire che c’è un aggressore, e tale è infatti la concezione che si ha dell’uomo. Che oggi troviamo implicita anche nella gran parte dei documenti ecclesiali. And yet, completamente diversa è l’antropologia cristiana, che invece pone l’uomo al vertice del Creato così che “tutto è per l’uomo, ma l’uomo è per Dio”. Il riconoscimento di un Creatore è decisivo, l’uomo con il suo lavoro collabora dunque alla Creazione e in questo senso va inteso il termine “custodia” o “salvaguardia” del Creato: non mantenere le cose così come sono, ma renderle migliori. È vero che molte volte gli uomini usano male la loro libertà e fanno il male, ma nella concezione di creato si riconosce anzitutto la vocazione al bene che l’uomo ha. Da questo equivoco discendono poi una serie di conseguenze nefaste. Anche nel documento della Cei troviamo ad esempio il mito della “sostenibilità”. Così saremmo chiamati a «garantire un ambiente sostenibile». Chi ha scritto il documento probabilmente ignora – anche se questo non l’assolve – l’origine di questo concetto, che nasce proprio per giustificare da un punto di vista “scientifico” la necessità di mettere l’uomo sotto controllo. Basterebbe leggere il Rapporto della Commissione Brundtland (“Our Common Future”, il nostro futuro comune) in that 1987 ha definito ufficialmente questo concetto: è qui evidente che lo scopo, puramente ideologico, è giustificare politiche di controllo delle nascite e di riduzione dei consumi. More, si presenta ancora una volta lo schema per cui la crisi ecologica è frutto dello sviluppo. Ma la realtà dimostra invece proprio il contrario: è vero che anche nei paesi sviluppati ci sono problemi, legati soprattutto alla cultura del «profitto come unica legge», ma nell’insieme tutti gli indicatori ci dicono che laddove c’è sviluppo le condizioni ambientali sono nettamente migliori, e sempre in progresso, rispetto ai paesi sottosviluppati. Pensando alla nostra Italia basterebbe rileggersi l’ode di Giuseppe Parini “La salubrità dell’aria”, scritta nel 1759 – dunque prima della Rivoluzione industriale – per avere un’idea di come fosse inquinata allora Milano e di come oggi le cose siano nettamente migliori. Per sviluppo ovviamente non va inteso soltanto il miglioramento delle condizioni economiche, ma un insieme di fattori che includono tra l’altro l’educazione, la sanità, lo stato di diritto. Not the case, anche in Italia, certi fenomeni clamorosi di criminalità ambientale – vedi Terra dei fuochi – avvengono più facilmente in zone più arretrate o dove più forte è la presenza della criminalità organizzata. Da ultimo vale la pena notare come anche nel documento della Cei si citino luoghi comuni, come quello del ripetersi di eventi meteorologici estremi, e termini scientificamente inesistenti come “bombe d’acqua”, a dare l’idea appunto di vivere cambiamenti climatici senza precedenti, provocati dall’uomo. Non è così e lo abbiamo dimostrato molte volte: se c’è una responsabilità dell’uomo è nelle conseguenze che certi eventi hanno, perché ci si dimentica la storia del territorio in cui viviamo e abbiamo smesso di occuparci della sua “manutenzione”. Davanti all’esondazione di un fiume, molto più facile prendersela con i cambiamenti climatici (poi mettiamo i pannelli fotovoltaici pensando così di salvare il pianeta) che non riconoscere il fatto che non si tiene pulito il letto del fiume, che non si libera la rete fognaria, che non si rafforzano gli argini, che si costruisce troppo laddove non andrebbe fatto, e così via. È una vecchia storia, ma trovare sempre gli stessi falsi argomenti anche nei documenti ecclesiali, fa una certa tristezza.


Gesù bisDefinitely did not like the AU professed atheists and those of the CICAP know that a team of scholars with a search for Enea 5 years has shown that the Shroud is not a fake and that you can get the picture irradiating the linen with ultraviolet radiation of excimer laser of total power 34 trillion watts. In fact, atheists UAAR write in their website in an article in 29 December 2011: "A study carried out by some technicians ENEA (public research body) has recently tried to call into question that the Shroud is a forgery medieval, a fact supported by historical evidence, artistic and chemical, and by radiocarbon dating ". Shines a little 'ill-concealed anger: In fact, those who would be scientists if they said things with which they are only now agreed technical and Enea is also defined in brackets "public research body" 'as if to say that, being public, could do something else or say different things because it spends money even atheists. But where it shines a lot of superficiality when they write that "tried to cast doubt on the Shroud it is a medieval fake". They give it for granted now that is not established, namely 'that the Shroud is a medieval fake,"'Circumstance supported by historical evidence, artistic and chemical "as it is now known to anyone familiar with the results published by scholars of the Shroud that the opposite is true and that is the historical evidence, artistic and chemical, as well as anatomical - pathological, biological, pollinologiche, mathematical, computer, etc.., damage as certain the fact that the Shroud is actually the period of Jesus Christ, but remained dubious radiocarbon analysis of 1989 who dated the cloth as dating from the medieval period. The eternal skeptics Cicap now seem to be on the corner also because they find better things to do than bring the judgment of one of the authors of the research in radiocarbon Christopher Ramsey stated that he would: "In archaeological science, being able to play something does not mean that this was the technique used, "thus showing that he had discovered the hot water. In practice Ramsey says that if it had been reproduced the Shroud footprint with an excimer laser is said to have been used that way to make it. So being in the Middle Ages still unknown excimer laser shroud can not be the work of man. Unless there has been a extraterrestrial, the shroud is the work of God, unless those Cicap, skeptics blue, not come to say that God is in fact an extraterrestrial! But it is not over because with the CICAP, l’UAAR (Union Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics) other body of skeptics blue, Also recorded are the opinion of Dr. Luigi Garlaschelli, chemical, known because it would have gotten a chemical way to reproduce the Shroud (essentially for staining with ocher pigments and aging in an oven at 250 degrees). It has already been widely written about how it was easily removed busted the thesis of Dr. Garlaschelli. But it is good to read the part of the report of ENEA scholars who are interested: "The last experimental analysis of in situ physical and chemical properties of the body image on the Shroud was made way back in 1978 by a group of 31 scientists under the auspices of the Shroud of Turin Research Project, Inc. (STURP). The scientists made use modern equipment for the time, made available from different manufacturers for a market value of two and a half million dollars, They carried a number of measures and non-destructive infrared spectroscopy, visible and ultraviolet, of X-ray fluorescence, thermography and pyrolysis, mass spectrometry, The Micro-Raman analysis, photograph in transmission, microscopy, removal of fibrils and microchemical tests. The analyzes performed on the Shroud did not find significant amounts of pigments (dyes, paints) or traces of drawings. Based on the results of dozens of measurements, STURP researchers concluded that body image is not painted, or printed, or obtained by heating. Also, the coloring of the image resides in the outer part and the surface of the fibrils that make up the threads of the cloth, and measurements made recently on fragments of Shroud show that the thickness of the coloring is extremely thin, approximately 200 nm = 200 billionths of a meter, or a fifth of a thousandth of a millimeter, corresponding to the thickness of the so-called primary cell wall of the single linen fiber. Recall that a single linen thread is made up of approximately 200 fibrille”.
And more: "In this paper we have briefly summarized the state of the art knowledge on the image on the Shroud and explained the reasons for the extreme difficulty in reproducing an image having the same physical and chemical characteristics, with the result that today the science is not yet able to explain how it has formed the body image on the Shroud. In light of these difficulties high technological and scientific, the hypothesis of a medieval forger does not seem reasonable ".


Musso prof,,it,Paolo,,en. PaoloMichele Marsonet

Varese – the relationship between science and faith - or, if you prefer, between science and religion – is one of the major themes of contemporary thought. Not only contribute to the debate philosophers, as many believe, but also scientists. Are aware of the many works that Albert Einstein wrote about. Numerous, however, well as scientists of our time reflecting on the topic by proposing solutions of various types but, anyhow, interesting. Paul Musso, Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Insubria, provides a summary of the debate in a book published by Edizioni Mimesis: "Science and the idea of ​​reason. Knowledge, philosophy and religion from Galileo to the holes blacks and beyond ". The author frames the issue in the broader context of our knowledge of the natural, emphasizing at the outset that this is not the only kind of knowledge that we have. The controversy over this statement is still wide open. It can first be noted that not only are there different kinds of scientific knowledge, but also knowledge that protrude from the scope of science. Who supports a similar position is often accused of not properly distinguish between the cognitive process and the mere expression of subjective feelings. And, to understand why the opposition occurs above, you need some brief history. He was of the opinion positivists of the last century that modern science had occupied the entire field of knowledge, including those spaces that, traditionally, were reserved to the philosophy. The scientific spirit was therefore transferred without hesitation in the philosophical and, in this regard, the Viennese Moritz Schlick said that a philosopher who knew nothing philosophy was like "a knife blade without handle and without". By that he meant that the philosopher had to be an expert in at least one scientific discipline if he wanted to talk with a sense of utter. Only in science gives true knowledge, and statements of philosophy and religion (but also ethics) are nothing more than meaningless utterances. The positivists, therefore, attribute value only to those analytical and empirical statements of logic and mathematics. Knowledge is only one empirical, based on the immediate data, and the scientific conception of the world is characterized by the method of logical analysis. A key role is carried out, within this vision, by modern formal logic (o matematica) because with its help you can get the utmost rigor in the definitions and assertions in; using it, also, you can formalize the intuitive inferential processes that are of common language, translating this into a form automatically controlled through the mechanism of the symbols. Musso note that these theories are based on an assumption rather strong background in, according to which only science has the character of objectivity, while all the other manifestations of human culture would be subjective. Or, to put it in an even more radical, Science is the only rational, while other forms that can take our culture would be irrational. Ne gets, according to the author, the emergence of the "disease of the century", namely the inability to understand the meaning and role of the feeling, "And this, paradoxically, at the very moment in which it is exalted as perhaps has never happened in any other era of human history ". The reason is conceived as a cold calculation capacity, closed in on itself, while the feeling is reduced to pure reactivity of the instant. It can not be so if it is recalled that enhances the feeling the reason instead of diminishing it. And this is important when addressing the issue of relations between science and faith. Einstein himself said that "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind ". The great physicist was not referring to any particular religious faith, but intended to emphasize that the surprise experienced by each of us, given the complexity and beauty of the world around us can not be reduced to a mere matter of calculation. Note that Galileo himself to the study of self-restraint "affections" applied only to the case of "natural substances", which means for the experimental science. The author rightly notes that "this not only does not exclude, but on the contrary, guarantees that others are also possible forms of knowledge, as it means, note, that experimental science does not deal with the whole experience, but only a part of it ". The religious quest is, at bottom, the attempt to discover the "sense of the whole", to answer the question about the meaning of everything that exists. Of course, if you find an answer to this question, it should not be imposed on those who have opinions different from our own, but - as far as possible - Shared. It involves sharing, again, finding the right balance between reason and feeling.