Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.

Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.

Only In Italy is a daily news column that translates & reports on funny but true news items from legitimate Italian news sources in Italy.
Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.
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April 2004
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"Politics, Vatican, Kerry & 3rd Grade"


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"Ciao a Tutti!" Welcome to the only newsletter that could have convinced Michelangelo to sue the Vatican for inadequate worker's compensation coverage, "Only In Italy!"

Have you heard the great news? We're slowly becoming a normal country.

Yes, it's true! Our prime minister's government is the longest-lasting government since 1946! (Excuse us while we wipe away a tear of joy.)

It took just 58 years and 59 previous governments to reach this shocking goal but who's counting? We still don't know how it happened but we're happy. We're moving proudly ahead into the unknown future (maybe).

Now, if we can only prevent Venice from sinking into the lagoon, kids from spray painting the Roman Coliseum and Naples from recording crappy folk music, we'll be all set.

My daughter Erica and I visited Sicily in January 2004 to meet with our relatives for the first time. I fell in love with the people, the food and the history. I learned about my heritage. My grandfather came to America when he was 17, he just passed away two years ago at 107 years old. My daughter and my granddaughter who will be 18 and I are going back to visit. Can't get enough of Sicily. Thanks for the newsletter. Nitz

Thanks for your warm letter, Nitz. We're happy to see that you enjoyed your recent trip to Sicily and we look forward to having you back real soon.

Your grandfather lived to 107 years old? That is fantastic! On your next visit to the cemetery, please place a flower on his grave on our behalf and tell him that his old country is slowly on its way back to sanity (maybe)! He won't believe it (not even in death) but one never knows.

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       


Vatican: Sorry, No Communion For Pro-Abortion Politicians

Vatican City - April 23, 2004 - A top Vatican cardinal said today that priests must deny communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians, but would not comment on the pro-abortion stand of Catholic presidential candidate John Kerry.

Cardinal Francis Arinze spoke during a press conference to launch a new Vatican directive clamping down on liturgical abuses in Mass which bars lay people from giving sermons, non-Catholics from taking communion and rites of other religions from being introduced in the service.

The document restated Church teaching that anyone who knows he is in "grave sin" must go to confession before taking communion.

Arinze was asked whether that meant that Kerry should not request or be given communion for his unapologetic support of human rights, including a woman's right to abortion.

Kerry says he personally opposes abortion, but supports the rights of others to have one. He argues that church doctrine allows Catholics the freedom of conscience to choose.

Arinze, a Nigerian whose Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued the document, said the church's position was clear and that U.S. bishops should decide.

When pressed to speak generally about the case of "unambiguously pro-abortion" Catholic politicians, Arinze concurred that such a politician "is not fit" to receive communion.

"If they should not receive, then they should not be given," he said.

Bishop Raymond Burke, the archbishop of St. Louis, has said he would refuse to give Kerry communion; Kerry's own archbishop, Sean O'Malley of Boston, has endorsed that principle without naming the senator.

The Vatican directive, commissioned by Pope John Paul II, softened a stricter earlier draft that had discouraged the use of altar girls and denounced such practices as applauding and dancing during Mass.

It said, however, that "shadows are not lacking" and that the Vatican cannot remain silent about abuses that "not infrequently plague liturgical celebrations."

And it reiterated the pope's view that the "mystery of the Eucharist is to great for anyone to treat it according to his own whim."

Roman Catholics believe that they symbolically receive the body and blood of Christ when they take communion.

The Second Vatican Council in the 1960s led to many liberalizing changes in the Mass, such as having priests face the congregation and celebrating the service in the local language rather than Latin.

The 71-page document, called an instruction, keyed on what the Vatican considers such abuses as lay people increasingly taking on the role of priests, even non-Christians "out of ignorance" coming forward to take communion and the introduction into the Mass of books and rites of other religions.

The document said only priests may read the Gospel to congregations, and that only priests or deacons may deliver the homily, never lay people. However, it allowed that bishops can appoint "extraordinary ministers" to give communion when there is no priest available.

It said the use of altar boys was "laudable" but repeated Church policy that girls or women may also serve at the altar.

The document made no specific mention of clapping or ritual dancing during Mass, as the pope himself has witnessed during his trips to Africa and elsewhere.

"Gesu Cristo!" Where does the Vatican find all this free time?

No wonder Bishops and Archbishops are postponing First Communion and Confirmation ceremonies. They're too busy giving media interviews and monitoring pro-abortion Catholic politicians to make sure they aren't receiving holy communion.

For the love of God, as Catholics we certainly agree with the Pope's view that the "mystery of the Eucharist is too great for anyone to treat it as a whim" but the mystery of what goes on in the minds that rule the Vatican is beyond mental solution!

Kerry Takes Communion After Threatening Vatican Edict

Rome - April 24, 2004 - Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry received communion from a Catholic priest Saturday, one day after a top Vatican cardinal said politicians who support abortion rights should be denied the Eucharist.

Kerry took communion during the 6 p.m. mass at Boston's Paulist Center, where campaign spokesman David Wade said the candidate regularly worships. The church is close to the Beacon Hill home Kerry shares with his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry.

"We're following the directive of our archdiocese," said Father Joe Ciccone, who gave Kerry the Eucharist. "They have said we should give him communion."

The Paulist Center attracts Catholics uncomfortable with some of the Vatican's orthodox teachings or who otherwise feel alienated from the Roman Catholic Church.

The congregation includes gay couples, whose adopted children are baptized there, unlike in some other Boston parishes. In November, its leaders refused to read aloud during Mass from a letter opposing gay marriage, as requested by the Massachusetts bishops.

The congregation is not geographical, but ideological, drawing people from as far as away as New Hampshire, said Drew Deskur, the center's music director and a parishioner for 25 years.

"It's not St. Around-the-Corner," Deskur said. "It's an intentional community that draws people from all over Boston. It tries to make sure that everyone feels welcome and that everyone participates in the liturgy."

The Archdiocese of Boston "does not hold to the practice of publicly refusing Communion to anyone," said archdiocese spokesman Rev. Christopher Coyne. He said it was up to the individual to decide whether to receive Communion.

In the days before Kerry attended Easter Mass at the Paulist Center, staff members received threatening phone calls and e-mails from Catholics who believed the senator should be denied Communion.

Coyne said he also received many letters and angry calls from concerned Catholics about Kerry's ability to take Communion. He said he contacted the Paulist Center ahead of time to ensure there would be no problem when the senator received the Eucharist.

The chapel celebrates Mass and can conduct every sacrament except marriage.

The center does not resemble a traditional church, but is housed among a row of brownstones. A band plays during worship, and the lyrics are projected onto the wall above the pulpit so parishioners can sing along.

Kerry joined in the singing from his pew near the back Saturday night. His wife was out of town, so he attended alone with several reporters and staff in tow.

"Gesu Cristo" Part Two!

Hmmm...After reading these last two articles one has to look out the window (preferably at sunset), take a deep breath and ask oneself:

Are these political issues, church issues, or the 3rd grade?

It's sad to see the Holy Eucharist involved in such controversy started by children. Why don't we just put away the Eucharist and calm everyone down with some lollipops?


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Berlusconi's Government is Italy's Longest-Lasting Since 1946

Rome - May 5, 2004 - Premier Silvio Berlusconi's government becomes the longest-lasting in the history of the Italian Republic today, nearing three years in office, no small feat in a country where notoriously wobbly coalitions have collapsed at a rate of one a year since World War II.

Since the republic was founded in 1946, Italy has had 59 governments. A 1972 administration set the brevity record, falling after 10 days. The longest was that of Socialist leader Bettino Craxi, at 1,059 days from 1983 to '86.

Berlusconi swept to victory at the helm of a conservative coalition in May 2001 elections. His government, which was formed a month later, tied Craxi's record Tuesday.

Much of the blame for Italy's political wobbles can be cast on an electoral system that produced patchwork coalitions and gave small parties the power to topple an administration. The electoral system was reformed a decade ago, paving the way for Berlusconi's record.

"Porca Miseria!" After 59 governments in 58 years, all of us at the news office are thrilled to see that Italian legislature, senators, politicians and their assistants stopped humping each other long enough to form a long-lasting government.

Italians can't really blame its politicians for their behavior because they're low-level brain powered people. They just recently crawled out of the sea, formed spines and began walking upright.

So, the celebrations we will have for the longest-lasting government since 1946 will not be enough. We will also be celebrating "Walking Erect Day".

Now that we can walk erect like everyone else, we can deal with tough issues like: How difficult it is to keep a pair of socks together. Why do we always lose one?


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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