It is with sadness that we mark the passing surely of one of the most renowned Romans of our times.
Former President & Prime Minister of Italy and Senator for Life, Giulio Andreotti passed away yesterday in Rome. He was 94 years old. An incomparable statesman.
A brief but fitting tribute to this giant of catholic proportions — scars and all — is published on this page by Dr. Robert Moynihan, editor of Inside the Vatican magazine.
Eastern Christians, not least those of Kievan spiritual roots, will remember this statesman for, inter alia, his courageous recognition and defense of Ukrainians when it was neither politically popular nor personally safe to do so. (For instance, in March 1976 the Red Brigades of Italy kidnapped then-Prime Minister Aldo Moro, and murdered him in May. Andreotti — friend, colleague, fellow party member of the Christian Democrats — refused to negotiate with the terrorists.)
Here is what Andreotti publicly declared about Josyf (Slipij), Patriarch of Halych-Kiev and All ‘Rus, then-recently released from the Soviet GULAG.
“If the stars were in proportion to the thorns which marked your life as a priest and Major Archbishop, then we would with certainty be able to foretell the discovery of galaxies as yet unknown and unimagined. Wisdom (our successors will decide whether it was in fact wisdom or not) wanted that all the events surrounding your release unfold here before the Catholics of Rome in silence. It is truly a strange world! In this world we fear to respect those who are persecuted, feeling that perhaps we will only cause the persecutor to be more vicious with those who are left behind. And yet had we known all, we would have welcomed you with such joy, just as the Christians of Rome welcomed St. Peter when he was released from prison. For you were as St. Peter, who had that stark awareness of God’s hand in everything and of the presence of the angels, and who later established you here, as a permanent sign to all …” (Speech at the Consecration of St. Sophia Sobor [cathedral], Rome, 28 September 1969, by Giulio Andreotti, then-President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies)
As another small tribute to Andreotti, we take the liberty, for the edification of readers, to publish a glowing example of his romanity — not without touching traces of his simple humanity — to be fathomed & savored in the editorial of issue no. – 2010 of the magazine he edited in his last, fruitful years, 30Giorni (30Days)
Click here to read the editorial on the website of the now-defunct 30Giorni. (Editors, chief of whom was Andreotti, suspended the 30+ year publication last November, months after the death of its inspirer, Don [Father] Giacomo Tantardini, close friend of then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis.)
Click here to read the same editorial in .pdf.