January 2012 — In this first issue of 2012, we welcome several thousand readers of Catholic World Report, which will no longer appear in print. Welcome! Let us know how you like Inside the Vatican!
The year 2012 opens with a group of new readers for the print edition of Inside the Vatican: the readers of Catholic World Report magazine, which as of this month is no longer appearing in print. I would like to begin by heartily welcoming all of you new readers! Please consider staying with us throughout the year, and beyond. We appreciate you and we need you.
In order for those of you who are not yet subscribers to Inside the Vatican to subscribe easily, we have placed a postage-paid subscription card inside this issue of the magazine. Please feel free simply to put your name and address on the list and drop the card in the mailbox. Or, if you wish, you may send an email to me: [email protected]. I will forward your email to our subscription department for billing.
During this past year, two good friends of Inside the Vatican passed away: Archbishop Pietro Sambi (see photo), and Cardinal John Foley. I wanted to pause for a moment to remember these two good men, who were so well known to so many of you, Sambi for his wisdom in choosing bishops in America, and Foley for his EWTN broadcasts of Christmas and East Masses from Rome. May God grant both of them eternal peace.
This issue opens with a blockbuster “Lead Story” which we believe will be historic. By that I mean, we think this story so remarkable, so unexpected, and yet so documented and certain, that it may cause some in the Jewish community to re-think their opposition to Pope Pius XII. Many in that community have accused Pius of silence and indifference with regard to the Jews during the Second World War. But our correspondent, William Doino, Jr., has found documentary proof — proof beyond a shadow of a doubt — that Pope Pius XII, in person, was instrumental in seeing to it that hundreds of Jews shipwrecked in the Aegean Sea were not shipped to German concentration camps but were able to proceed to Palestine, their destination.
We think this proof of Pius’s action on behalf of Jews at that time is so compelling that it should influence the Yad Vashem Museum of the Holocaust in Israel to change the text of a placard it displays there which casts doubt on Pope Pius’s attitude toward the Jews.
If that text is changed — meaning that the attitude of certain key opinion-shapers in the Jewish community to whom the curators of the Museum respond — it could mean a watershed in Jewish attitudes toward Pius. This in turn might remove one of the greatest obstacles to progress in the stalled process of Pius’s cause of canonization. So please read this issue’s “Lead Story” intently.
But that is not all this issue contains. It also includes our annual “Top Ten People of the Year” choices. This year, like every year, we choose 10 people whose courage, wisdom, love, and sacrifice we think reveals the action of the Holy Spirit in the world today, despite all the many difficulties and sins which cause so much pain and suffering. We offer these persons, not as saints — we are not canonizing anyone — but rather as “signs”: signs of hope, signs of faith, signs of vibrant Christian life in an age where the faith seems so fragile that even Pope Benedict has spoken of a type of “faith fatigue,” that is, a weariness in belief, and in living out the faith.
We are persuaded that if you read about the lives and missions of the 10 people we have chosen, you will feel a greater sense of hope for the future. And that is one of the missions of this magazine: to offer hope to the Church and to the world, hope that in our time there are still believers who carry on the faith handed down to us, in the Risen Lord. These people offer that hope.
This issue is just the first issue of 2012. As the year unfolds, we will be publishing many reports from Rome and to contribute in our pages to the “new evangelization” Pope Benedict has called for.
Pope Benedict has made it clear that he wants to link his pontificate to this initiative. And he has one great, unexpected ally from outside of the Catholic Church in this enterprise: the Russian Orthodox Church. The positive relationship that has been established between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of Rome is one of the most stunning achievements of Benedict XVI’s pontificate. Just one decade ago, a chill dominated relations between the two Churches. Why has this changed? Because Benedict is respected throughout the Russian Orthodox, and because the Russian Orthodox share Benedict’s primary insight: that the de-Christianization of countries that in the past were the heart of Christendom is the great challenge our age faces.
And so, as this year unfolds, leading up to the Synod in October on the new evangelization, and the opening of the “Year of Faith” on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and to the 1,700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan of the Emperor Constantine in 313 A.D., which legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire, we will be writing about all of the many initiatives which are underway to keep Christianity legal, and vibrant, so that we may prove in our time, as in all times, that the “gates of hell” will “not prevail” against Christ’s Church. Please stay with us as this journey unfolds.
Editor’s Note: Three items for your consideration:
(1) Pilgrimages. We now offer pilgrimages which bring you right inside the Vatican. Contact us for more information.
(2) Ads. We are now advertising books from the Vatican Press; please consider buying the books!
(3) Subscriptions. Please consider buying a gift subscription to this magazine. It is inexpensive, and it is a gift that lasts all year long…